Category Archives: Short Stories

[Short Story] The A.C. Express

AC

I’m drinking with a gentleman named Noel in West Hollywood. Okay, so a couple of lies is no way to get started. Noel is no gentleman and we are at the corner of Melrose and North Fairfax so we are in Fairfax. People on their way up will refer to this as West Hollywood, but we are not on our way up. We are drinking in Fairfax.

No job and drinking in the early afternoon is fun the first time and that’s about it. My last job, blogging about eating spaghetti didn’t last long. I didn’t have one reader for a whole month, not one! Still, it got myself and Noel in to a blogger’s BBQ earlier in the day where we drank Mexican beer and ate meat in a parking lot surrounded by souvenir shops, strip clubs and a Dunkin Donuts. No surprise, where there is a Dunkin Donuts there is certain to be a strip club nearby.  Okay, so back to the bar in Fairfax. Eventually Noel passes out in the bathroom and a redhead sits next to me. I buy her a drink and instead of receiving a thank you her reply is “let me tell you about my Jesus.” I turn the other way and there is a guy wearing an Iron Maiden tee with a black trucker hat. No logo, it’s worn off. Bored, I ask him his name. He tells me “Busta Tool” and that’s the end of that conversation. I stare straight ahead, finish my drink and adjourn to the bathroom where Noel is still passed out. There are no mirrors in this bar because no one in this bar wants to see what they look like. Self-hatred is high on this particular afternoon in Fairfax.

Back at the bar the trucker has left and I can feel someone else sit next to me. It’s Noel. He looks at me and tells me the drinks just aren’t working. He takes out a plastic bag of pills. It’s got all colors. He smiles and asks me if I’ve ever climbed a rainbow. You know what, the drinks obviously aren’t working for me either. I put out my hand and he places a blue, red, orange and yellow pill in my hand. I take them all down and wait. The bartender approaches. He is reading a magazine and is trying to solve a question that reads like an SAT question written by Eminem – “If Billy is taller than Margaret and Jack, and Margaret is taller than Richard and Anna, but not Sam, and Sam is the same height as Billy, which came in handy when Billy murdered Sam in cold blood for the love of Anna and then drove around wearing his clothes for a week while chain-smoking, will the dry-cleaning bill cost more or less than the cigarettes?” I don’t remember if I answered, but it’s the last thing I remember about that bar in Fairfax.

When I wake up Noel is nowhere to be found and someone is jamming something up my ass. I look back and it’s a guy in a white coat, a doctor giving me some type of enema to eradicate the pills. There is a lot of yelling all around me and this doctor is really working hard. The pain is so awful I pass out.

When I wake up I’m next to a guy who smells like whisky, hamburgers and Newport cigarettes. He opens his eyes and tells me “sobriety is best when the years line up.” I begin to focus and look around. A door opens and a guy in a uniform grabs me. He tells me I will need to make a payment and I tell him I don’t have health insurance. He looks at me and just says, “bail.” He can see from my reaction my confusion. He hands me a sombrero and says that I was found passed out, wearing the sombrero, blocking traffic on Atlantic Avenue. I explain to him that I was in Fairfax and now he looks confused. I look down at the papers he has handed me and see ATLANTIC CITY DETENTION CENTER on the heading. I look around. There is a guy wearing a shirt that reads: Atlantic City – give us your weak, desperate and addicted. “So I’m in Atlantic City?” I ask. He nods and points again to the fine. “Fucking New Jersey?” I start to chuckle and nod in agreement. At this point I just want to get out of here, get a coffee and figure out how to get back to L.A. Then I look back toward the holding cell.

In the corner is a guy wearing a long white coat. He looks very familiar. I immediately crave more yellow pills…

 

 

 

 


[Short Story] Walking Through Duane Reade On Acid

duane reade

The acid kicks in as soon as I walk through the doors of Duane Reade. I walk straight into a seasonal isle and am blocked by two guys having a conversation about what it takes in order to be considered a king pin in the drug world. They agree that once you move product across state lines you have reached this status. They notice me and let me pass by.

The fluorescent lights are freaking me out so I take a left and find myself in the beer aisle. Two guys (one wearing a cape, the other a scarf and tee shirt) grab a six pack, then a twelve pack and then decide on a thirty pack because they can send in a for a blow up chair. “Dude, always take a free chair.” Says the guy wearing a cape. The guy in a tee shirt and scarf nods approvingly.

Next, I find myself in some random aisle with a lamp so I rub it just in case a genie pops out. Next to the lamps are the condoms. A girl is looking at them with her friends and says “It’s not exactly date night, it’s more like rape night!” She says this excitingly though so no need of concern. She then says something about Morrissey. A voice inside me says stay away from any girl that likes Morrissey, she is likely insane.

Next I walk by the pharmacy offering free flu shots. I wonder if it’s the “shot” like a heroin junkie or just the mist like a light cocaine bump. I look closer and realize the pharmacy is closed and move on, almost knocking over a sunglasses display. I stare at a pair of aviators and wonder if I should wear sunglasses more often. Maybe I’d feel like a rock star, or I could wear a hat pulled down and be incognito. Of course, no one knows me, so… I notice a brunette dressed in a United Airlines flight attendant outfit, she is next to a pilot who is looking at aviators. I’m assuming he is a pilot because he looks like the dad from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Regardless, I hope they have a good date night and not a rape night. For what seems like an hour I’m lost inside a paradox of nail polish. Eventually someone guides me away.

A voice tells me to walk left and there is some cheap jewelry. Why is it whenever I walk by jewelry I fantasize about robbing all of it? There is a mirror and I catch myself in my hoodie, I put up the hood and briefly fantasize about being in a rap battle. Someone is pulling my arm…

“Dude, what are you doing?” It’s my friend James. I just look at him and tell him it’s the acid.

He stares at me and tells me that I didn’t take acid, he was with me all day. “Dude, this is the just the way it is at Duane Reade.” He nods.

“Why are we here?” I ask.

“You wanted tissues.” He points one aisle over. “Oh yeah, I always like to have tissues in case someone is bleeding. Makes me feel like a doctor.”

James stops me and says, “Did you even hear what I said about Morrissey?”


[Fiction] Hero

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I’m sitting at a bar called Graffiti’s that has no graffiti. I’m taking it easy, drinking Corona beer, my version of a night off and nothing is happening. Nothing ever happens.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Last week someone called the cops on me. When the cops showed up they took me into custody and didn’t say anything. Down at the precinct they said I was a suspect in a serial murder case due to my appearance. I am white, wearing glasses, light thinning hair and was wearing a short-sleeve buttoned up shirt. They asked me three times why I was wearing such a shirt, after two hours I was released. So you see, I guess sometimes things happen.

Next to me is a guy who introduces himself as Tequila and says he was a leash baby and hates tequila. I quickly get up to use the restroom, but when I return he knows because I’m carrying over two dollars in change and it sounds like a tap class in my pocket. Not exactly incognito. I order another Corona and we both stare at a guy that walks in suspiciously wearing a trench coat. He walks right in front of an intense game of darts and almost gets hit.

I’m sort of hoping he’s a hitman and he’s going to take someone out, that would be something. Unless of course he’s looking to take out guys that have the appearance of a serial killer, that wouldn’t be good. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe hitmen should always carry their weapon in a flower box or guitar case. After he sits down he pulls out a carton of cigarettes and inspects them, bummer, not a hitman, just a shoplifter. Nothing is going to happen tonight. I order another Corona. The bartender, who is drinking tequila straight brings it over.

I look over at the cork dartboard and remember when I hit a hat trick a couple years back at this bar. That was something, I guess. Two guys are playing Cricket, one is wearing a leather jacket, the other a tank top that says BRO. I’m pretty sure I can beat both of them. My good thoughts quickly vanish as my arm is pulled. Tequila tells me about a reoccurring dream he has where a helicopter lands in front of his house and his family is kidnapped. They are taken to a non-active volcano where inside Nic Cage lives. Someone hands him a samurai sword and tells him “it’s time.” I wonder if Tequila owns a trench coat.

I order another Corona; pretty sure nothing is going to happen when something happens. Over at the dart game leather jacket throws a dart at tank top guy, hitting him in the neck, the dart doesn’t stick, but he starts choking. The whole bar just watches for what seems like minutes, but it’s just a few seconds until someone yells “Is there a doctor here?” This is Graffiti’s. There are no doctor’s here. Then the bartender looks and points at me, “This guy is only drinking Corona, he can help!”

I freeze for a second and then shrug and get off my stool and walk over. Tank top guy is on his back (BRO is staring at me) and is still choking so I kick his head to the side. He vomits everywhere and is okay. Everyone cheers even though all I really did was assault the guy. I feel like an artist praised for creating a mural of a whore being slapped by a pimp. Well, maybe not a mural, this is Graffiti’s after all. I go back to my stool. The bartender approaches tells me he is okay with my short-sleeve button down and asks me if I’d like a drink on the house.

I order a Corona.


[Fiction] The Night I Met Melvin

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Tonight I’m less stressed than usual, maybe it’s the extra drinking, regardless, I’m at ease.

Knock, Knock

At my door is a guy wearing Elvis sunglasses, but it’s not Elvis. It’s a guy named Melvin that I sort of remember meeting a couple weeks ago at a party. He’s holding a dozen eggs. “Got a frying pan? Let’s cook these fucking chicks up?” It’s not midnight yet so I let him in.

I open two beers, hand him one and he finds a frying pan. He proceeds to crack six eggs and then asks me how I like them. Before I can ask he murders them and scrambled it is. Two minutes and two more beers pass and he asks me for hot sauce. I don’t have any. He looks at me, shrugs and proceeds to empty the eggs into the sink. “Can’t eat eggs at this time of night without hot sauce.”

We grab two more beers and adjourn to the living room. He is still wearing the Elvis sunglasses and starts telling about how he has been spending his days at Starbucks waiting for something to happen. He is coming to the conclusion it isn’t going to happen. He then receives a text message and says a guy he knows just took a lot of pills and is planning to shoot some guy his girlfriend is cheating him on with. I ask him if we should stop him and he says there’s nothing he can do – low on gas and spent his last three dollars on eggs. I get the name of the bar, grab four beers and we drive down to the bar where he thinks his friend is. He’s not there, but since we are already drunk the four beers on the drive over I decide to buy Melvin a drink and tell him to text his friend.

The name of the bar is The Horizon and Melvin tells me they are known for their wings. “Seriously, they are 10 for six dollars, but here’s the thing. You can get 40 wings for $24!” I just look at him and then he gets a text and says his friend is going to be okay, he decided to go home, turn up some Coltrane and just ride it out. Then Melvin asks me if I want to go eat chocolate chip cookies. I ask him how high he is and just nods.

At the end of the bar is a very strange girl who motions me to come over. I yank my head to have her come my way. She’s wearing a shirt that says SHIT and that’s seems like a sign to not get up from my spot. Sure enough she comes over. I order another beer and she reaches in her bag and pulls out a tennis ball. It’s cut in half and has a picture of her inside. She tells me it was from her boyfriend. “Should I stay with him?” I do some strange non-committal nod that could mean anything and then she asks me if I play tennis. I tell her no and she leaves and goes back to her spot.

The bartender approaches and tells me I need to take care of my friend. At first I look at him blankly and then realize he means Melvin. The bartender points over to the Golden Tee video game in the corner where Melvin is standing. He has removed his pants and appears to be pleasuring himself. The Elvis glasses are still on. “We can’t have that in here.” I agree and walk over and tell Melvin to pull up his pants and that it’s time to go.

On the way home Melvin and I stop off to buy one more six pack. Inside the deli Melvin stops and touches my shoulder, “Can you buy some hot sauce? I’d like to eat the rest of the eggs tomorrow morning.” I buy the beer and hot sauce. Back home I point Melvin to the fold out couch and decide to pour myself a bath and enjoy one more beer. Overall I’m still not too stressed. Not a bad night, not bad at all…

 


The Mugging, a short story

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His breath smelled of fried rice and Budweiser, definitely not Bud Light, it was Budweiser. With his beer rice breath on my neck I could only look down and that’s when I knew I was fucked. The guy was wearing several pair of socks, one over another and so on, no shoes.

“Hey, you’re going to break one of my ribs”, I barely speak while trying to wiggle a little room between my side and his gun. I was thirty seconds into the mugging and quite honestly something needed to happen. He wasn’t demanding or trying to take my wallet he just had me in a headlock, gun jammed into my side, beer rice breath occasionally tickling my ear. My rib comment didn’t go over well; instead, he jammed it harder into my side. “You can have what I want.” He doesn’t budge. “I have cigarettes.” Immediately he pulls away the gun and backs off. I turn around and we stare at each other, he puts his gun into the back of his pants like Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop.

Ten minutes ago I was walking by the alley, trying to decide between Mexican and Italian for dinner. Italian is usually better, but often too filling especially if I go anything chicken parmigiana route. Mexican is tacos which rule. I was leaning toward tacos when I was grabbed and thrown into the alley, totally fucking up my dinner decision.

Now I’m in an alley that has old plastic crates littered throughout and am still hungry. He grabs a seat on a red-like colored crate and motions for me to do the same. I consider running, but there’s still the issue of the gun so I pull up an ocean blue colored crate. “Cigarette” He says so I give him one and pull one out for myself. They are Winstons’ which draws a look of disgust from beer rice breath as he stares at the pack while putting one into his mouth. I pull out a book of matches, he snatches them and lights his cigarette and throws away the match. I take the matchbook back and light another one for myself. In between drags beer rice breath keeps bending down as if he’s in pain. Each time he bends down I can see the gun stuck in the back of his pants. The next time he bends he says, “Messed Up.”

“Don’t worry about it, just let me go and I won’t say anything.” I say and he perks up, “No, shit-guy, not this”, he waves his hands, “Everything.” Why am I shit guy? He continues and says, “It was the shoes, the stinky shoes.”

I take a final drag off my cigarette, consider the risk of putting it out in his eye and instead throw it down and step on it. “What job?”

“Listen up shit-guy, you see over there –“ He points at a bowling alley across the street. “Sure, Rusty’s Bowl-O-Rama, what about it?”

“That was my job, I cleaned the shoes. I cleaned the shoes for 10 years and then they fired me. I have not worked since.” He bends down again, exposing the gun.

I move a little bit closer, pull out another cigarette and light it. “How long ago was that?” During one of his bends beer rice guy says, “Five years shit-guy.”

I take a drag, the next time beer rice breath bends forward I offer him a cigarette, when he reaches I step on his socks and go for the gun. It’s heavy, I don’t know how you can stick that in the back of your pants. Sure it looks fucking tits, but it’s just not very practical. Beer rice breath puts up no resistance and doesn’t even turn around. I think about what would happen if I shot him in the back of the head. It would probably be loud. As I contemplate the sound the gun actually falls apart, the handle falling to the ground. I throw down the other piece. Beer rice breath starts crying, mumbles something about shoes and slides forward off the crate that now appears more orange than red, maybe rust if that’s a color. Yeah, I’d go with rust. His crate was rust colored.

I decide on Chinese food, yeah, Chinese and a good cold beer.


White Christmas

Short Story Updated; Originally Published as Part of My Collection, Emotionless Souls

white

Uncle Jay took the last of my coke. Alright I said it, still doesn’t help me. Now how will I get through this holiday charade known as Christmas Eve? Uncle Jay is standing across the room staring at the over decorated tree with glazed eyes and a cocaine induced grin. I wish he would die this instant.

Three feet away is a speaker blaring Christmas music that sounds like Barry Manilow, but I’m not sure. To be safe I begin walking across the room toward Uncle Jay; balancing my Jack on the rocks in my right hand as I maneuver past an ill placed holiday basket containing ten thousand nut variations. I approach a small table where Jake and Pete are playing Black Jack. Every year another piercing appears on Jake’s face. This year it’s the left eye brow. It’s one of many family secrets in the open that no one talks about.

Jake and Pete are discussing what girl would cause the biggest stir if she were to appear on Bangbros.com. Pete quickly says “Britney Spears” and he is so proud of his answer he hits on eighteen, predictably busting in the process. Jerry seems content with the answer, but not very impressed as if he was anticipating Pete’s response. Jerry pauses for dramatic effect and then says “Jessica Simpson”, then adds “The shock value alone”. This response draws an agreeing nod from Pete.

His form of a concession speech.

I continue past, taking a drink in the process, resisting the urge to yell out the correct answer because this would cause quite a stir.

Uncle Jay is standing alone when he spots me moving toward him. He smiles smugly causing me to get angry and trip over Aunt Carol’s new Gucci bag.

I put my hand in my coat pocket and feel the empty cellophane bag. Nothing. Less than a hour ago Uncle Jay borrowed my coat to go smoke a Lucky Strike and now my coke is gone. Aunt Carol looks up at me as I continue balancing my drink, but she doesn’t seem to mind that I kicked her bag because this gives her a chance to show everyone her new bag, for the third time this evening. A fifteen hundred dollar purse with less than twenty dollars inside.

I watch this travesty as Aunt Carol tells the story of how she saw it and had to have it and then I turn my head because there’s movement across the room where little Todd, my three year old cousin, is pulling on the tree causing ornaments to fall off. Uncle Jay just stands there laughing.

My Aunt Joyce jumps out of her seat to announce that she’s making Bloody Mary’s. Not any ordinary drink, these are made with Aunt Joyce special ingredients she stores in a leather case, stowed in the trunk of her Corolla.

Aunt Carol’s display has started an accessories fashion show. Now Aunt Sharon has to sit up and display her bright red Marc Jacobs bag, smiling proudly as if it were a child. Tabitha, a friend of the family (so I’m told), giggles when everyone looks at her asking her to show them her bag. Although reluctant at first, a confidence beams out of her as she grabs her new gold Fendi bag. A hush falls over the room until Aunt Carol asks “Is it fake?” Tabitha quickly replies saying, “No, it’s real, isn’t it great?”, followed by Aunt Carol reiterating that “Well, it still could be a fake. You never know.”

Aunt Joyce returns with her Bloody Mary, sits, and takes a big drink.

I finish my Jack on the rocks. Aunt Joyce quickly notices my empty glass, stands up and runs to the kitchen to fetch me another one before I can say a word. I stand there waiting, my head spinning from the six drinks and two grams I’ve consumed today.

My cell phone is vibrating so I answer it and it’s Jackson, my friend who’s in town for the holidays and he wants to know what I’m doing tonight. I explain the family situation and the Barry Manilow and then he tells me I’m creeping him out so I stop. Jackson asks if I want to go out later and that sounds tempting, but then I find out he’s out of coke so we decide not do anything because it really wouldn’t be that fun.

I look back at Pete and Jerry, Pete is still trying to think of someone to top Jerry’s pick, but he’s at a loss for the obvious. Next to them my nieces Jill and Candy are playing with a scarf, throwing it high into the air and crashing into each other as it falls down. Aunt Joyce comes back with a fresh drink for me and a brandy chaser for herself. She has something white under her nose which makes me think she just did a line, but then notice it’s not powder, rather foam from egg nog she was probably drinking in the kitchen.

Continuing to walk toward Uncle Jay, I have a clear path until Carl, my brother in law, stops me and asks me what I’m driving. I tell him “Same Nissaan” which doesn’t matter because he’s not listening, but rather waiting to tell me about his truck, the new F150. He asks me if I want to see it, and I tell him I saw it last year and then he tells me that last year he was driving the F110, not the F150. A Lionel Ritchie song starts playing on the radio so immediately Aunt Sharon goes over to Grandma and starts rocking her back and forth. Little Todd is pulling on Grandma’s leg, Aunt Sharon continues to rock her back and forth and Grandma is shooting darts out of her eyes at anyone watching. This is enough of a distraction to walk past Carl.

Finally I approach Uncle Jay and I tell him “We need to talk.”

“Okay, but hey first can you see if you have any gum in your jacket? I think I may have left some in there when I borrowed your jacket.”

Gum. Right. I put my hand in my pocket and there’s nothing buy the empty bag.

“No, check the other one.” He says.

I put my hand in my left pocket, finding a half pack of gum and another bag, my bag of cocaine. I let out a visible sigh and hand over the gum.

“Are you okay?” Uncle Jay asks.

I look across the room. Aunt Carol is now holding Tabitha’s Fendi bag and shaking her head, Grandma is kicking at Todd in an attempt to get him to go away, and Pete has a perplexed look on his face.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” I say. “I guess.”

“So what did you want to talk about?” Asks Uncle Jay.

“Oh.” I pause and take a drink of Jack Daniels. “It was nothing. Merry Christmas.” I hold up my glass and then realize he doesn’t have a drink.

We both stare for a minute at the family and chaos ensuing.

“I’ve got some coke.” Says Uncle Jay.

“Oh?” I reply.

“Yeah. I’m just saying, if you want…”

“Cool.” I say.

Walking past Pete I lean down and whisper “Olsen Twins” into his ear. His face brightens as he hears the words, knowing that in a minute he will be able to show up his cousin, and once again be on top. Uncle Jay and I leave the room and head to the bathroom, humming a Lionel Ritchie Christmas song along the way.

 


A Miracle On Rivington Street

Happy Holidays everyone! Here’s some updated fiction to get you in the holiday spirit!

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The only thing colder than the weather outside is the Bud Light I’m drinking. You could say the same for the last five Bud Lights I’ve had in less than two hours. It’s not snowing, but the temperature is hovering just above freezing and there’s a frigid rain, cold as ice, followed by a brisk breeze straight from Canada. The weather alone is enough to kill you.

I had just finished work and was still wearing my Santa suit. The more drinks I consumed, the heavier my beard became. My red hat was resting on the bar. I looked back, through the windows onto Rivington Street, watching the hipsters walk by as non-holiday indie rock played in the background. Turning back I stared at the twelve inch decorated Christmas tree resting on the shelf above the register. Each season, the item is switched out. For Easter there was a bunny missing an eye, Halloween a smelly looking Jack o’ lantern. Thanksgiving, a straw weaved horn of plenty filled with wine corks. For those without calendars, it was a place to know what time of the year it was. That, and me sitting at the bar in my Santa Claus outfit, the same outfit I am supposed to wear for the next two weeks at Tom’s toy store on Ludlow Street. The same beard mixed with sweat, alcohol and tears.

Today the line was non-stop with children, mostly from New Jersey, telling me what they wanted and how they had been good children this year and deserve among other items: train sets, bicycles, cell phones, hunting rifles and underwear. I had three different flavors of juice spilled on me today (FYI cranberry is the worst), a woman tell me I was a bitter man (to be fair this was after I said her son stinks), and my beard pulled off by a girl named Laura who screamed I was a phony. My supervisor, a pale gentleman named Guy of all names was reducing my pay due to lack of business. It was two hours ago I decided I would not go back to this job, or any job for that matter. If you could get away with one action and not have repercussions I’m guessing most people would deeply consider murdering their boss. For many of us, this has been a tough year.

Six months ago I lost a lucrative construction job due a lawsuit my company lost. Then, my sister, my only family left passed away in a tragic chainsaw incident. Now, the holidays had arrived and I was miserable. I haven’t felt this bad since two years ago; again, it was around Christmas time. That year I wanted others to feel my pain; I started one of those Christmas letters to send out. I titled it, the Christmas Nightmare:

Well this year started with a bang, literally. I went into the corner deli for a sandwich and went to grab a pen that said Happy New Year’s when the man behind the counter, apparently thinking I was going to grab one of his priceless fifty cent lighters and run grabbed his gun and shot me in the arm. The next two months I was in and out of doctor’s offices, and my arm was in a sling. Once the weather warmed up I was as good as new. The first day it hit ninety I got sunburned, third degree burns. The next week I was back in the hospital.   Two months later the wounds were healed, but left scars that I attempted to cover up with a tattoo of my name; however, the tattoo parlor “artist” thought I wanted the name translated into German. So now I have a tattoo of my name in German, on my upper neck that looks more like a name of a beer than my name. For my birthday there was a surprise party planned, many came and it was a blast, so I’m told. I guess in all the excitement the organizer forgot to invite me. The next three months I went through identify theft, I was mugged for a plain grey tee shirt, and lost feeling in my penis. Thanksgiving consisted of Gatorade and barbeque flavored chips. At this point I’ve got nothing to lose. After the holidays, I’m going to Vegas to become a lounge singer. I understand I may spend years as an opening act, but the payout of someday maybe headlining is really the only thing keeping me alive. I worry my sunburn is turning into skin cancer.

I never sent this out, nor did I ever make it to Vegas. I have not had a dermatologist visit this year, so there’s still that…

Behind the bar, a row of liquor bottles lean against a mirror, I catch a glimpse of myself in my suit, half drunk. No place to go. A holiday cliché. I motion with my bottle to the bartender for another beer, lifting a glass for another shot of Jameson.

To my right is a table of aspiring authors. Years ago, I had sat down to write a novel about what Christmas meant to me as a child. Now, I couldn’t care less. The dream is dead. Is the dream of writing a novel, or the dream of Christmas dead? Yes.

One of the aspiring authors is discussing his blog on the war and product commercialization and the ruin of the true meaning of Christmas. I chuckle to myself, thinking I should hand him my Santa hat because he’ll need it in a few years.

Behind this group are two finance guys who probably read about this bar in Time Out and figure it’s a good place to unwind after a few lines of blow. I bend over and pull my bag closer to the bar stool, the gun inside makes a small clank as it hits the bottom of the bar.

At the end of the bar two girls drinking white wine and looking very cool (even for the Lower East Side) and giggle as they looked over at me. I notice and stare at both until it becomes uncomfortable, thinking which one may be the lucky one. In one motion I drink my shot of Jameson, and then chase it with a gulp of beer. Two of the aspiring authors place napkins on their drinks and go outside to smoke. As they leave, a woman wearing green tights walks in and sits next to me.

Two weeks ago, I was offered a job in Human Resources at EEG, a large finance company only to have the offer retracted after they performed a background check and found two misdemeanors from over ten years ago. It had been a week since I decided that would be the last interview. The last time I would be rejected.

After closer examination the woman in green tights was wearing an Elf costume. She had a sweatshirt over the top half and had clearly changed her shoes, but being in my current line of work I know Elf tights when I see them. Not to mention the tights accentuated her long legs, very flattering. I asked her where she was working, but she didn’t answer, only showing a card that read Jerry’s Appliance Store. I ask if I can buy her a drink, but she ignores me.

“Listen lady, the least you can do is say NO thanks.”, but she continues to say nothing, only looking forward. Out of frustration I kick my bag, the gun containing two bullets rattles against the leg of the barstool. The woman looks down at the bag, and then gives me a half smile and motions to the bartender for a tap of Brooklyn Lager.

“Good choice.” I Say.

No response from the woman. I bend down to grab my bag, but am interrupted when a group of eight walk in the door. The five guys are all wearing glasses with thick black rims, the three girls appear drunk. The all reek of freshly smoked weed.

“Eleven dollars”, the bartender says to me.

I dig out a ten and one and place it on the bar. The bartender, wearing a shirt that reads LES is MORE nods and shakes his head at the lack of tip. Looking back over at the woman in Elf tights I notice a bulge in her side that appears to be a gun. Great, I can read the headline now: A disgruntled Santa and Elf shoot-up a bar two weeks before Christmas. A holiday cliché.

She finishes her Brooklyn Lager and then quickly stands and reaches at her side to pull out her gun. I grab my bag, and begin to open it when I realize it’s not a gun, but rather a narrow leather journal. She writes down something, rips out the page and hands it to me, and leaves without saying a word.

I HAVE DECIDED NEVER TO BE REJECTED AGAIN SO PLEASE EXCUSE ME FOR NOT ENGAGING IN CONVERSATION WITH YOU. IF YOU WANT TO MEET ME COME TO MY APPARTMENT, 112 ESSEX STREET, #15A.

P.S. KEEP THE BEARD ON.

I grab my shot glass and motion for one more for the road, drink the Jameson down, and grab my bag.

On my way out the door I laugh. I’m a drunken Santa, walking in the rain, and carrying a bag with a loaded gun, on my way to see a girl. Such a holiday cliché.