Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The wind kicks up swirls of dust, making brief spirals of deep red from the iron-enriched earth meeting the light of the sunset. They bleed into the sky before settling back down to cover the beleaguered road out of this desolate town.

This is the kind of place where, if someone claimed to see Elvis in their morning toast, the entire town would stop running for a week for talk of it.  The kind of place where the mailman is invited to your baptism.  The kind of place where, if you aren't baptized by the time you're 13, the town starts to talk.  There really isn't much more one needs to say to describe it.  You hear that and you know the layout of the place, its map somehow etched on your very heart even if you have never once ventured outside of a place like New York, or San Francisco, or hell even Memphis.  And sure, maybe the person next to you has imagined the church on the wrong side of the street and where you've mentally placed the post office there's actually a Waffle House, but really does it even matter?  You know this place, even though you've never been here.  You know it because somehow it's a part of every American's soul.  Its geography and values are mapped onto your genetic code; tiny little white picket fences bridging tiny little nucleotide houses in your DNA.

I knew I had been here for too long by the time I had learned to read.  By the time I had learned how to drive that knowledge had fueled a need far greater than I had ever known for food or sleep.  Those existential needs, the kind that you can't immediately satisfy, are always the kind that sink lowest in the pit of your stomach.  The need to feel accepted, the need to be respected, the need to be far enough away from this place that it only exists to you in memories; those needs aren't easily satisfied.  Some are damn near impossible to fulfill, and so they just gnaw away at you until you break.

I haven't broken yet, mind, but the depression coming from my inability to cut and run has been leading me to this road every night with a bottle of bourbon for the better part of a year.  Imagine, a 20-year-old whiskey-drunk every day before sundown.  I guess I've read that sort of thing was pretty common, especially in the cities and the universities, or maybe even some of the more rural little towns where you didn't really have neighbors within a couple miles, but not here in this condensed little suburbia. This sort of behavior is considered beyond obscene, but I've long grown past the point of caring.  I can't leave the town, so I try to leave my own head however I can.

There was always something holding me back.  Mom got sick from some bad air when the filters in the general store went, and I had to run the shop for her.  Dad broke both his legs falling off the tractor and I had to take over the better part of the farm while my brother ran the store.  Mom died from all the poison in her lungs and I had to make arrangements.  I take one final pull of bourbon.  As that mild fire burns its way down my throat I throw the bottle and watch it shatter into dust against the reinforced polymer glass of the Dome. I can dress it up any way I'd like, say it was the family or the responsibility or even just that I was comfortable here, but the truth of things is that I'd have been gone years ago if this road didn't end sharply in an impenetrable barrier, the other side of which would kill me in minutes.

Most of my sober time is spent reading.  The library here is a big deal, modeled after the one in New York, with the lions and everything, and it's the one delightfully out-of-place bastion in this homogenous little burg.  Naturally it's devoid of people at practically all times, and it's nice to have the run of the place.  There's so much about the way things used to be, what life was like outside of the Dome, what life may still be like somewhere else.  If I could ever offload the farm I would work there, becoming the regent of dusty books, and slipping into that magical uncovered world.

Above me a vision of a plane glides across the Dome, and fizzles out as it passes a bad patch in its visual display.  Out on the edge of town I suppose that doesn't matter so much.  I keep overhearing Shelly from the diner yesterday telling me that I was one of those guys who thinks he knows everything.  I turn around and start to stumble back home.  What good is all the lost world's knowledge if I'm stuck in a damn bubble?  How can I know anything if I've never been anywhere?  Just as I think I'm going to snap, maybe run head first into the Dome until my skull caves. Just as I'm about to give up and slink back to the farm for the rest of my life, the man's wispy, whiny voice from that old record in the library emerges from the sludge of drunken thought and plays in my ear like a hymn.

"There must be some kind of way out of here…"

Monday, February 3, 2014


Irina Kravchenko by Julia Hetta

The delivery man approached the door slowly, and breathed a heavy sigh.  There was, for a brief moment, hope that this delivery would be different - that the woman on the other end would open her door to greet him, even if she did so with tears in her eyes, and it exasperated him that he was still wishing for something that he knew would never take place. Being a grocery deliverer he was not inexperienced with reclusive behavior; quite the opposite as a substantial percentage of his route were, at least at some level, antisocial.  Still, the complete shut-ins - the ones that wouldn't open the door to him, would only acknowledge his presence with the sliding of money under the door or worse,  through a mail-slot stuffed with unread letters - made him especially sad.  It was with this fatalistic, morose demeanor that he approached the door and performed the agreed-upon announcement of his presence.

Knock (pause) knock-knock-knock (pause) knock.

Sarah had heard the figure approach her door.  She had heard that same sigh again as she had the time prior, and the time prior to that, from the man that delivered her groceries. Her mind raced through myriad possible reasons for his disdain.  Did she not tip him enough? Was there graffiti on her door?  Oh god, she thought, what if he smells something?  Sarah kept the place nearly immaculate, but she remembered being in someone's house once and it had a distinct smell that no one else seemed to notice.  She told her mother, who explained that everyone had a scent, and that after awhile when someplace becomes like a home you don't smell it anymore.  This terrified Sarah, and now she was remembering this event and her mind raced pondering what her scent could be like and what if it smelled just awful? She couldn't bear it, and sprayed a cloud of air freshener in the air, trailing her like jet wash as she tiptoed toward the door.

The cost was $33.42, paid the same way every week: 1 twenty, 2 fives, 1 two, a one, one quarter, a dime, a nickel, and two pennies.  She hoped the delivery man liked the two-dollar bills she left him as much as she did, and wonder what he did with the rare bills as she checked the back of the quarter to make sure that the state imprint was earlier in an alphabetical list than Missouri.  It was Missouri, so she tossed it into the air.  Heads, thus making it acceptable to include.  Missouri was 25th in the alphabetical list, which put it in the first half, but it was also an odd number, which Sarah didn't like, so she had to flip to make sure it was ok. She wondered if the delivery man ever noticed, but what if, she thought, the delivery man was from Wyoming or something and he only liked states from the second half of the alphabetical list?  She got her breath back to its normal rate after a few moments and proceeded to slip the money out of the empty side of the mail slot, which she had stuffed with mail so the delivery man or anyone else for that matter could not peer in.

She counted to eleven twice to make sure that the count was an even number and that the delivery man would be gone before she opened the door to receive her items, glaring through  the peep hole to make absolutely certain no one would see her.  There was no graffiti on the door, Sarah noticed.  It must be the smell, she concluded, and released another nimbus of air freshener on her way to the fridge.

The celery needed to go into the right crisper drawer, first a row of three, then two on top, and capped by another creating a green pyramid.  Four tomatoes would go next to this to keep the cucumbers from rolling away.  In the left crisper drawer she would put the lettuce and the carrots. The milk went in the refrigerator door, and the bread would go on the second shelf, as always.  Sarah hesitated, and began moving the loaf of bread to the top of the fridge next to the butter spread.  The end was just sliding onto the shelf when her hands began to shake. It doesn't belong there, she thought, but it doesn't matter; I can put things where I want. The shaking increased from a tremor to a quake, and her jaw began to hurt from clenching her teeth.  Sarah screamed a word that only she would ever consider a profanity, threw the bread on the floor, masked her face with her hands to hide her tears from no one in particular, then immediately picked up the bread and put it on the second shelf.  She closed the fridge with a timidity that had become all too routine for her, and slumped to the floor, sobbing.

She cried for a few minutes, feeling every second pass
as she lamented the impossibility of her life. Her stomach stopped constricting momentarily enough for her to catch her breath, and in the silence the lives from the apartment below reached through the floor to her.  Shouting. A woman was shouting with venom in her voice; Sarah could tell that the woman was out to hurt feelings from the tone, though she did not recognize the language being screamed.  A man yelled equally loudly, and she knew that he was saying things he will never be able to take back.  The sound of shattered glass, or porcelain called up to her, and the clatter and crash of furniture being thrown sounded like a symphony.  She lay there, hearing the violence and the screams and the emotional pain the two belted at each other and she caressed the floor with her hand, her ear still pressed hard to the burgundy carpet.  Her tears stopped, and as the police broke down the neighbors' door she drifted off into a tranquil, dreamless sleep, a smile stretched across her unmoving face.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Submitted by Ridiculum Consilium
There's these spots, just below my shoulder blades, that at one bourbon shy of inconsolable itch in such a way that it feels like I could have grown wings, had I been a better man. Maybe if I donated more, or if I treated my parents a little better.  Maybe if I called her back like I said I would this all wouldn't have happened and I would be soaring over a farm somewhere feeling the wind in my face and the sun on my back.

Instead I have this itch reminding me of what I could have been, and as I lose weight and feel so light that it seems a stiff breeze could take me off my feet it's just that much worse of a feeling.  They prepared me for the drop in weight, the hair loss, the nausea; they never told me about the awful sensation of feeling like you could fly but being unable to shake the ground. They never properly conveyed that it wasn't that I would regret that there was so much I hadn't done, but rather that there was another person I hadn't been.

The dreams are the worst, though.  I get these fever dreams from the drugs sometimes where I see myself change.  My bald head in the moonlight, my pale skeletal frame ending at my torso in a worm-like tail, crawling on my hands up a mountain like the dried-up husk of some penitent Tibetan monk.  When I get to the top I see that other me doing a corkscrew dive in the sky.  When he sees me he waves that sad sympathetic wave that people do just to say that they recognize that you're worse off than them.  That wave that says "I'm sorry that I'm fine and you have to look at me and all the fine people like this when you're clearly not fine." It, like pretty much everything else I eat, breathe or do, makes me sick, and I wake up retching, again, in this little white room with the EKG beeping away to tell the nurses and orderlies and doctors that everything is A-OK, because my fucking heart is fucking beating at the fucking normal rate for another night and that they're doing a damn fine job of keeping it that way.

I lay here and I watch that little machine count out my last heartbeats and know that it'll stop soon, and I weep -not cry- weep.  I openly weep and sob and scream, which causes me to vomit again, and so here I am sitting in bile and tears because in the end that's really the only thing that I can produce anymore.

It's not meant to be like this.  I was made to fly goddammit.

Oh god.  I just don't want to die like this.
I don't want to die with this itch.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I no longer know the day. We have traveled so long. The old man once marked the days since our escape from home on his walking stick, but we burned that with the rest of our wood days ago to keep warm. He says he knows the way, though without his crutch he moves slower and slower.

West. We are traveling west, always.

I do not know where the old man plans to lead us. He talks to the others at night when we have stopped but I am sent for firewood with Bora Gal. I tell him that we can walk west faster than the old man, but he says that we will not find the refuge without him. I ask him what the refuge is. Is it a village like ours? Is it like Qara Qorum, from where the riders come? Bora Gal does not know. I ask the old man if we are going to the lands west of the steppe, where the ground is gold and the rains do not follow. The old man takes my firewood. "Thank you Qara Chinua," he says, and asks me if I have eaten.

I do not trust the old man.


Today Bora Gal killed a ram with his bow. We have had so little meat since we left the village. Mother is scared to light the fire. She says the riders may see. Cousin Batujin says keeping wolves away is more important. I cannot decide, but I am full of meat and I am warm. No one talks of the west, or our village, or what was lost. Bora Gal is the first to fall asleep. Mother smiles, something I have not seen since we left.


Mother scolded at me. She says Bora Gal is not Bora Gal. She says Bora Gal is BaiShan, and that I am KuangSun. She says Bora Gal and Qara Chinua died in the village. She says I am KuangSun. I have heard this name, but I do not remember where or when.

The old man still calls me Qara Chinua when I bring him the firewood and asks me if I have eaten. We are high in the mountains now and food is scarce. He angers me when he asks me this, but I tell him I have and continue my chores in the camp.


The old man continues to lead us west. We have been in the mountains for days and we are growing weak. The old man gets more at dinner because he knows the way. I have told Bora Gal I think the old man is lying. He has not told us where we are going because there is no place to go. Bora Gal still believes the old man. Mother still believes the old man. Batujin still believes the old man. The others follow mother and Batujin because my family led them out of the village as it burned.

Mother says the riders will see our fire, but who would follow us here? I do not believe the riders are looking for us. The fire is small, and I am still cold.


I dreamed of horses. Riders. I dreamed of their hooves on the steppe, and that they gave us chase. I saw them trample mother, and Batujin, and Bora Gal. The old man was with them, and he laughed. I could still hear their hooves when I awoke. There were no riders. Great white stones fell from the sky and crashed about us. Batujin lay on the ground and did not stir. I called to Bora Gal as he held mother's hand, trying to drag her to me until he fell. The old man tried to flee, but he fell too. I ran to him, and rolled his dead body on top of me. In time the sky became calm.

They are all dead.

The ground is too hard to dig. It is too cold, and I am too weak. I pray someone finds this and buries my family.

I pray that I reach the land where the ground is gold and the rain does not follow.

I pray that the riders never find me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This is the story about how I put Des Moines, Iowa behind me.

Perhaps someday someone who doesn't know me will read that first sentence and think that this is the story of me triumphantly leaving my hometown for new exciting adventures.

It is not.  I am not from Iowa.  I was only there for a weekend, and, in fact, there's nothing particularly bad about Des Moines.  So, stranger (possibly a stranger from the FUTURE!), I hope I have assisted you in properly setting your expectations.

It was a working weekend, the kind where I would be forced to wake up early and sit at a computer for several hours at a time with no hope for a bathroom or cigarette break, or lunch.  The other guy working the event, my competition as it were, would try to keep us awake (we couldn't drink coffee, no; coffee was a diuretic, and again, no bathroom breaks) by joking around and asking questions about all the stupid shit that people were trying to sell, like the hat signed by late 70's rock group Foreigner, or why the shirt once owned by Poison frontman Brett Michaels included a photo of, presumably, the people that had the display case made for it with Brett wearing said shirt, and more importantly, what anyone purchasing this useless piece of memorabilia would do with the photograph.  Would they take it out?  Would they put themselves in the image?  Or, more likely, would they just leave it as an eternal reminder of an event that they never actually experienced?  Fran and Steve, as I named them, would inadvertently be a part of someone's life, possibly forever, for no other reason than they met some aging dude from a hair band and procured a shirt he owned.  I love America.  I hate America.

Despite all of this the work was an ordeal that left me physically and emotionally drained, and though there is certainly nothing particularly wrong with Des Moines, the only thing I wanted was to put the city to my back and get home to Brooklyn, where things, well, maybe didn't make sense, but at least moved with a strangeness I found familiar. It was in this haggard, yet determined state that I boarded the plane in DSM departing to O'Hare and connecting soon after to La Guardia, followed immediately by my goddamn bed.

Let me explain a bit about my travel habits, as some people are not entirely aware of exactly how awful air travel is:  No checked bags.  Ever.  Am I leaving town for 2 months?  Fine, I'll do laundry and stuff a duffel bag with t-shirts. I don't care so long as the second I touch down I get to leave the airport and go somewhere else. Anywhere else.  In the security line I've got anything previously in my pants pockets stuffed into my jacket pockets, my jacket under my arm, my belt undone, and my computer bag unzipped with my free hand on my laptop for easy removal, poised to dump everything in a plastic cart and be on the other side of the security gate in under 30 seconds if I didn't have to wait for every other asshat in the world that somehow forgets that his keys, cell phone, lighter, dog tags, lucky thimble, and about $30,000 in spare change was in his pocket until immediately before he has to go through the metal detector.  I am wearing socks; you have no idea how many people, women mostly, can be found in bare feet at the security checkpoints in airports. It's a special brand of disgusting, seeing people lined up with their bare feet touching the dirty airport floor.  I have my seat booked as close to the exit as I can manage. To summarize, I am a master of travel, mostly because I hate airports, and generally anyone in them that happens to engage me.

It my hurried irritation I boarded the plane.  They put me in the last boarding group.  I'm not sure why, possibly because I purchased a discounted ticket, but I actually suspect it had something to do with the $9.50 fee I elected not to pay while checking in at the electronic kiosk that offered me to board early.  It's fine; I'm in the front of the plane; I'm ready to crack open my book and ignore the in-flight announcements; I'm ready to drink my complimentary ginger ale; I'm ready to mouth "fuck you" out the window as I ascend like a newly reborn phoenix over the midwestern city.

This is what I was thinking about while I shuffled toward my seat, as people ahead of me found difficulty in putting a bag on a shelf and getting out of the aisle.  Ignoring this for now, I located my assigned seat, and, as I raised my bag to the overhead compartment directly above it, something strange happened: A young man, coming from the back of the plane toward me, bag in hand, stopped short and looked at me with an angry pout and sigh that wordlessly said to me "I can't believe you just did that.  You took my space in the compartment."  There was no mistaking it, and for a second my mind raced through scenarios wherein I was in the wrong and that space actually should have gone to him.  Despite the implications of this missive, I do at least want to believe that people are basically good and reasonable.  Failing this I was forced to conclude that this man, appearing some scant years older than me, was simply feeling entitled. To the overhead space. Directly above my assigned seat.  Meeting his pouty expression, so near tantrum, I said to him with a calm voice, with as little derision as possible, "Don't give me that fucking look."  His pout slackened, eyes widened, into a look somewhere between shock and fear, and as he hustled back to his seat, I knew that he was going to New York.  You see, while everyone is infinitely complex and a unique little snowflake and whatever bullshit people say to make each other feel special, there are, in point of fact, 2 types of New York personalities.  One that feels entitled to relative convenience if not luxury because they live in the epicenter of world culture.  The other is completely aware that no one deserves a goddamn thing in this world.  It's kind of odd that the two somehow manage to live such seamless lives in such a small area, but that's just part of the mystery that is New York, I suppose.

The next hour or so is the same as every flight you have ever had, because every flight is exactly the same.  I am not seated next to an attractive person; I am not seated next to a good conversationalist with interesting things to say.  I have the same nondescript person I've already forgotten about who wants to ignore me as equally as I do him, thankfully.  I have the same nondescript cheerful flight attendant offering me a cheerful single-serving soda and a cheerful bag of pretzels or peanuts, and somewhere in front the first-class passengers are having the exact same experience with, I suppose, better drinks and more comfortable seats, though I'm not sure who would pay extra to fly first class for an hour or so from Des Moines to Chicago.

Descending to Chicago the plane hovers through this layer of cloud that appears only a foot thick or less.  In one moment this cloud cover was the only thing visible - that kind of cottony layer that looks like you can walk on it; the kind I saw on my first flight and thought that maybe heaven was really up there, somewhere - the next moment I was seeing how thin it was, now well past the point of believing in that sort of thing, but still marveled at how something so fragile still looked like I could step out and walk on it.  You have no idea how much I still want to step out of a plane and walk on a cloud.

The world below is filled with the vast farmland that surrounds the greater Chicago area.  From experience, there is not much else to Illinois.  Or Indiana.  Or Ohio.  I could go on for about ten or fifteen states, but you get the idea.  Anyway, this is the main point I was getting to with all of this: I look at these farms, these perfectly carved out little squares of green, with the occasional tree-lined street separating them, dotted in the middle with a pond, or cut asymmetrically by a stream snaking through it all, and it strikes me that from up here how beautiful it is compared to the nearby suburbia.  Then, almost immediately thereafter, I think about how it all used to be great plains, just a huge endless sea of grass with ground sloths and smilodon and mastodon, and later buffalo and wolves, and now none of those things.  I love America. I hate America.

I found myself at that very moment yearning, actually yearning, to be on a horse on that ancient plain, pounding fire into the grass as I chased down some great beast.  I was on my way to my home in a concrete metropolis, and a voice in my head asked me what the hell I was doing with my life with a loudness that for one harrowing moment rose above the cacophony of my inner monologue. I wish I could have answered it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


As the sun begins to set, my gathered friends quiet themselves into a somber silence, their drinks hanging at their sides. Most of them are thinking of what to say, or waiting to see who would speak first.  Still, it creates this kind of illusion of solemnness that belies what is actually just an awkward moment.  It's beautiful in the most hilarious way possible.

There should probably be a bit of a back-story to this; I just need to figure out where to begin, exactly, and there's no way it will be a short story and make the kind of sense I want it to, so the beginning is key. I suppose I had dated Denise for about 3 years before I asked her to move in with me.  This was abnormal for me - I was much more the type to rush headlong into a serious relationship only to find out that I had, let's say, erred in my assumption about its potential for longevity. I guess it's fair to say that it wasn't that I knew Denise was exactly what I was looking for in a girl, rather it was that I had a vast wealth of experience with what I very much did not want, and Denise did not embody any of those traits.  It wasn't until a couple months later that I realized something odd was taking place.  We didn't fight, not drag-out screaming matches anyway, and not passive aggressive cattiness that some couples adopt when they're not comfortable with drag-out screaming matches.  Our disagreements involved what the best superpower to have would be, and what the victor of fights involving randomly paired dinosaurs would be.  We challenged each other intellectually without exhausting each other emotionally, and that had never happened to me before.

The love came later.  People will argue until they're blue in the face about whether or not love at first sight exists.  I myself am a firm believer in it, and would say that before I met Denise I had probably experienced the phenomena at least twice.  The thing about love is that it's remarkably easy to fall in love with someone entirely wrong for you.  In fact, I would say that it's much easier than falling in love with someone with whom you can actually forge a strong relationship, but this could be colored by my own experiences.  What I'm getting at is that there are people out there that feel hard and fast.  Their feelings come out of the gate like a thoroughbred, and they race right into your heart, and they make you wonder how you could have gone without that feeling.  It's not til later that you realize that their feelings are equally intense about most everything.  It's not that the love you experienced isn't real, or that they don't love you just as much, it's just that they hate anchovies with the same intensity, or their parents, or the way that you didn't call back right away. 

With Denise I always felt comfortable, and that I was having a good time, but that quickness of intensity never showed up.  We dated.  We conversed.  We flirted. We took our time, and I'm not saying that's the right way to go, but after a number of failed attempts it was really nice to just naturally ease into something that didn't involve me getting ahead of myself.  She was probably the first person I dated where I never questioned if I was making a mistake, and yet it took 3 years for the rent at my damn apartment to get to the point where I couldn't stay in my convenient, magical one bedroom anymore, and a plan of cohabitation was hatched.

Everyone tells you that things change when you move in with your significant other and that's true, because why wouldn't they change and if you weren't looking for something to change then why would you bother moving in, really?  Anyway, yeah, things change.  There were more soaps in the bathroom than I knew existed, for one, and I couldn't really stay up until five in the morning playing video games anymore.  She liked the sink to be empty by the end of the night so I took up cooking to make sure she was responsible for washing them.  I'd still walk around in my underwear, and occasionally so did she.  I think that's what made our compromises so great.  She helped me grow up a little, and I got her to be a little bit more immature when it didn't matter.  Still, even maturity of the highest order could not have prepared me for one compromise.

I'll preface this by stating, firmly, that I'm not a hoarder.  I'm no pack rat.  When something has ceased being useful or stops functioning properly it is extricated from my life.  There's never been a lot of room for storage anywhere I have lived, so it's just the way I have been over the years.  That said, there are items in this world that, and I firmly believe this, have this sort of symbiotic aura imbued in them, and when they come into someone's possession they just radiate sentimentality.  

There was this pair of jeans that I had since 1996.  Seriously.  They didn't even fit me back then since I was about a foot shorter than I am now.  Still, they had been with me through middle school, high school, college, and life.  They had taken me to see Daft Punk in a California desert.  They had stood with me on a bar I built for my house in college belting out some early '90s jam at the top of my lungs to a bunch of drunk 20-year-olds. They were with me when I got fired from my first job, and when I got drunk off of bourbon at my favorite bar that night and got locked in when I passed out in a booth at the back.  They were faded, ripped all the right places, and later many of the wrong ones, so much so that I couldn't really comfortably wear them out in public anymore.  Denise liked it at first when I would wear them around the house on Saturdays; I would wear them while I cleaned the apartment, but after awhile she would say with increasing frequency that I really needed to get rid of them.

It took a lot of convincing.  Allegedly I went through all seven stages of grief trying to keep them, but then she said something to me which led me to that seventh step of acceptance.  She explained that I couldn't really wear them outside anymore, and that they had become clean the apartment jeans, and that was a cruel mockery of what they used to be.  I've had friends suggest to me that this was a clever tactic on her part; a cunning use of words to placate and manipulate me to giving up my favorite jeans.  I didn't see that at all.  I saw someone who truly understood what it took for me to care about something inanimate like I did, and someone who truly understood me at my most sentimental.  I know she wanted them gone, but I also know that she really loved me, and by extension loved those jeans.  It was what I needed at the time, but I did have one small caveat, which she happily agreed to.

So, here we are, drinks in hand, somberly, slightly buzzed with a campfire burning in the middle.  A few of my best friends appear sad, and at least one of them isn't entirely faking it.  They talk in whispers, carefully glancing at me, some not sure whether to laugh or offer sincere condolences.  It's kind of exactly the mood I was going for when I finally break the silence.  "They have carried me as far as they could, and have stood strong against the tides of my life, embracing me in both good times and bad.  Now that their strength has failed and their frayed body lies at my feet, we must not weep in sorrow, but revel in the spirit they embodied.  Today we send them off as the warriors that they truly were, as is the custom of all true denim.  Rejoice with me in the passing of these jeans from this world, until the day I don them again in the halls of Valhalla."

The jeans sit in a cardboard boat lined with kindling I spent the weekend decorating like a viking longship. The torch is lit from the bonfire, and everyone in attendance takes turns passing it until it reaches Denise's hands, who then bestows it to me with the gravitas of a queen.  Kneeling I light the boat aflame and push it out into the lake.  My friends stand behind me on shore to watch, many of them holding their beers aloft in some kind of salute.  Denise puts her arm in mine and leans her head against my shoulder as the burning boat drifts over the placid waters.  I actually feel a chill stir in me, but it's replaced by the warmth that comes when you do something ridiculous with your friends.

I haven't really been cleaning the house as much since we decided to give my jeans a viking funeral.  I really hope Denise hasn't found the ring I hid behind the nightstand.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Putrefying Pus-Bucket

When you say you're going to do something, like write, you had better do it. After all...
you know what happens to liars.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess