Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Teenage Kicks

On my way out of Las Vegas my friend and I held a slum party. The underattended party was one of the best shindigs I'd ever been to. We overtook my cockroach infested apartment and invested in a keg of pbr. Along with the booze we handed out markers, spray paint, and other implements to detourn the apartment. Prior to the party getting off Darquea and I did some initial work. I made a small dance floor in my old room with the phrase "Get Teenage Kicks" embossed with spray paint on the rug. It took me quite a while to find that song again, and here it is by the Undertones, not the buzzcocks whom I initially thought it was by.



Don't bother looking for other Undertones songs, they suck balls.

Here's a buzzcocks video, their songs don't suck. They're looking young and sassy with their terrible bowl haircuts.


Give it up for early Pop Punk Bitches!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chromeo

This was the first Chromeo song that I heard. The two band members have reputedly been best friends since they were children. I really enjoyed this number as well as their ode to oedipus "Momma's boy." The chorus of "Needy Girl" is incredibly catchy and clever while the lyrics of "Momma's boy" are pure genius. Enjoy your youtube inspired dance party!



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Doing it Greek


For right now I'll just dump this brief article on the blog, later I'll write up something more comprehensive.

From SF Gate - By Elizabeth Fernandez

A band of demonstrators, many wearing black masks, stormed a bustling San Francisco mall Saturday evening, upending garbage cans and foliage and damaging crystal merchandise at one kiosk.

An estimated 50 to 75 people were involved in the disruption at Westfield San Francisco Centre, police said.

"It felt like random, vague anarchy," said Sam Cantrell, who sells sunglasses at a kiosk near the escalators on the street level where the protesters gathered.

"Everyone's yelling," he said. "Some people started running up the escalator the wrong way. People were grabbing their babies and running away in fear."


The disruption began around 6:30 p.m. as holiday shoppers crowded the mall on the last Saturday before Christmas.

Some protesters threw food, police said. Others tried to toss a large planter onto the food court below.

According to mall management, the protesters were part of a "Solidarity with Greek Uprising" demonstration, which began in the Mission District earlier in the afternoon. An international day of action was called on Saturday to protest the death of a young man in Greece in early December.

"Although people have the right to their opinions, disruptive and destructive behavior on our property is not tolerated," said mall management in a statement.

By 7:45 p.m., the area was cleaned up.

"They made a mess," said Monica Yuen, owner of San Francisco Glass Works, a kiosk selling delicate imported crystal earrings, bracelets and other jewelry. She was trying to assess the damage to her wares.

"I had a lot of jewelry on the top shelves that got smashed," she said. "They threw a big sign at it. I think some of it was stolen. I was crying and shaking."

A police source said five or six protesters were arrested for misdemeanor vandalism.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Party



The holiday party was held at Albatross, an average sized bar two blocks north of university on San Pablo avenue in Berkeley. I arrived shortly after the party had started at 9pm. A few people had already started drinking and were casually chatted. After an hour the bracelets were given out enabling the wearers to chalking up their booze to the company tab. At midnight I stood on a chair and gave this speech which myself and my friend Monica wrote. The crowd responded very positively cheering at moments and engaging at others. A loud ruckus was caused at the end. Good times.

My fellow proletarians long and toilsome have been the days preceding this joyous jubilant occasion. Our hours have been occupied by the demands of the inane, otherwise known as customers. Their tiresome requests for paltry items such as water, silverware, napkins, ranch dressing, espresso drinks, refills... is there ever an end to their triteness? More menus waiter. Another beer bartender! Clean this table you in the black shirt. Their tedious requests fill our days like salt in a gashing wound.

Why do we go forth with this masochism? Is it for the management, those boobs in their business causal attire? Their pleated pants and facial farces. Their never say die attitude that ennobles our lowly spirits? Is that what brings us to our place of employment on the daily? I say nay!

Do we return for the wages that we've already spent? As the tender tips slide ever so slowly and stiffly from the customers' wallets to our own the money seems to float away into a nebulous cloud of drugs, alcohol, and hookers. Surely if we were concerned with the capital in our lives, we would not be in the enterprise of service. I won't sully your thoughts recounting the hourly wages of the management, the cooks, the dishwashers, and hosts.

The question still plagues upon our mind. Why we return to our laborious occupations? Is it for the the free gruel that fills our stomachs like a beggar's porridge? Surely the pizzas, salads, lamb kebobs, and meaty skewers, once provided a delightful dance on our palates but with the passing days what was once a ballet on the tip of the tongue has turned into a death march down our esophagus's. It is no fault of the cooks that the food has turned so bland. We all know of their endeavors to spice our foods with their bodily excrement.

So what then do we return for???????

The annual holiday party, I say! Where finally the libations run as free and easy as the breeze through our undergarments, or lack therof. The alcohol brightens our souls from the gray of our working class existence. The rambunctious cheer and rosy cheeks of our intoxicated coworkers reminds us that we are humans, living, breathing, beings. Yes this! Right here! Right now! This is why we go through our perpetual plight. Cheers to free booze may its effects deliver us from employment on the morrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A view of the horizon


Its been a while since I've done any writing. Part of it is a writing block, or lack of desire to write. Especially the short story that has become longer than most of my others. Its a bit of a poor excuse. If you want to write, you have to write and just keep humping at it.

Of course I've also been preoccupied with training for my latest bout which was held yesterday in south San Francisco. The card was held in a high school gym with the ring in the center of the basketball court. The bleachers were pulled out and full of spectators. The fighters prepared themselves in the small two room wrestling room adjoined to the gymnasium.

My stable mate Joe Lacap was the first bout and I watched him from the doors of the dressing room. Joe's opponent was from Cung Le's gym and like Joe was a small Filipino. Their bout started off slow with both of them wary about engaging. Joe spent a fair amount of the fight being pensive and not engaging. When he did engage his strikes were clean, especially his punches. His clinch work was okay. Most fighters in the states have pretty atrocious clinch skills so I was happy that Joe got a good knee or two in. I thought that Joe lost the first round, gained the second, then scraped by with the third. The judges gave Joe a split decision win, deservedly. If he had pressed more in on his opponent I think Joe could have gained a majority win.

My bout was the third bout of the evening and my opponent was Jose Perez a latino from Cung Le's gym. We weighed in on Friday at 146 lbs each. I cut about 7 pounds for my fight. Thursday evening I spent some time in a sauna and on friday I jogged with a sauna suit. I avoided eating until the evening as well which made me slightly irritable in the evening as we waited endlessly for the scales to come out. The day of the fight I'd gained back my weight through rehydration and a good deal of eating. Yesterday morning I began by eating some oatmeal, then a peanut butter and plum jelly sandwich. Later I had a tempeh and mixed green sandwich while snacking on mixed nuts and figs. My final ingestion of food was a delightful shake composed of banana, blueberries, almonds and some soy milk. My stomach felt slightly upset I think due to the tempeh. I haven't been able to digest soy as well as I did five years ago. Prior to my fight I was hungry. I wanted to fight on a slightly empty stomach because I didn't want to feel weighed down.

Coke led the way out of the dressing room and to the ring. I looked out at the crowd and recognized familiar faces sometimes making eye contact with my adoring supporters. I tried to stay focused and calm taking deep breaths in from my stomach. My breath fell out of me as the time passed and Perez came into the ring. The referee brought us together and the bout began. We touched gloves and I went to push kick him. He came directly forward with looping punches. My nervousness shot up as I've had trouble in the past with aggressive brawling punchers. To offset his forward antics I clinched up with him and began to knee him in the stomach. My mind was focused not on having great locks but on delivering clean knees into his midsection. Every time I kneed I looked down and tried to step out. Coke had been screaming at me for a month or so to make everything clean. The first round was spent primarily in the clinch along with the second, and third. Other than the brief opening onslaught Perez wasn't that active, unless you can call standing and getting kneed active. He threw one combination that ended with a leg kick that still has my leg slightly smarting and a single clean knee while we were clinched. One of Perez's concerns was getting kneed in the nuts. In the first round I delivered a sharp knee to his pelvis which grazed the top of his cup. The referee declared the blast clean but gave Perez some time. While we were in the clinch Perez would drop one arm to cover his nuts. Unfortunately that meant instead of landing shots into his stomach I landed them on his arm. In the third round I had Perez backed in his corner. I threw a shot that landed on his cup. Immediately recognizing that I had hit him I backed away while the referee gave him time to recuperate. Other memorable moments in my kneeing him included a period of time in which I switched from left knee to right. I was at a slight angle to him and so my right knee came over his leg. My right knee crashed into his kidneys. After the blow to the kidneys I came up with a left knee into the soft padding of his stomach. I switched back and forth between right and left for a good five seconds. At one point Perez was doubled over and I was driving my knees straight up into his bent over body. He was collapsing on the ropes and I was behind him so I kneed him in the ass. I thought of the sciatic nerve which runs in the buttocks when I pummeled his butt with my platela.

In between rounds my corner gave me sage advice, which sadly I didn't follow. Coke told me to make more space with the knees, to thrust more with my hips, while Mike advised me to use more footwork, and to kick him in the body. Additionally Mike told me to drop my elbows down. Perez was bear hugging me a lot when we came close as he didn't really have a good idea of how to deal with my knees. I landed about three kicks on Perez the entire fight and barely used the boxing which I've been practicing so much.

Overall I felt like I fought okay. There's such a gap between training and fighting. Its always surprising that there is so much space between the two. After the bout I waited with some anxiety. My amateur record hasn't been that great. I've lost the judge's decision on bouts that were close and when the announcer said that there was a winner by unanimous decision I swore to myself saying "Fuck not again." I won the decision which made me happy. I did a slight wiggle in the ring but felt that I might embarrass my opponent with my jubilee.

Its funny having won. I don't feel elated, I don't feel depressed. I feel like I got another fight done. I think I've fought better before, but that I did a few things better in this fight. Its another step, another marker in a long road race.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Consumer Rampage!


In a sign of consumer desperation amid a bleak economy, the annual rite of retailing known as Black Friday turned chaotic and deadly, as shoppers scrambled for holiday bargains.

A Wal-Mart worker on Long Island, N.Y., died after being trampled by customers who broke through the doors early Friday, and other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man. At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals.

Fights and injuries occurred elsewhere at other stores operated by Wal-Mart, the nation's leading discount chain, which is one of the few retailers thriving in the current economy.

Meanwhile, two men at a crowded Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, Calif., pulled guns and shot each other to death after women with them brawled, witnesses said. The company released a statement late Friday saying the deaths were related to a personal dispute and not Black Friday shopping.

Many other retailers appeared to have fewer customers than usual the day after Thanksgiving, typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Merchants call it Black Friday because in the past, it was when many retailers went into the black, or turned profitable, for the year.

It was mainly only discount chains that were bustling long before sunrise. People showed up for a small number of limited-time "door-buster" deals, such as 32-inch flat-screen televisions for $388 and Intel laptops for $499. In many cases, after an initial onslaught, crowds dwindled after the few sought-after items had sold out.

While tussles and even broken bones are common when the doors open on Black Friday, this is apparently the first time someone was killed in the stampede. For some consumer psychologists, the mad scramble was a sign of the times.

"I think it ties into a sort of fear and panic of not having enough," said Joe Priester, a professor at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and a former president of the Society for Consumer Psychology. A herd mentality, he said, can lead individuals to feel anonymous, so much so that they are capable of trampling someone. "Fear combined with the group mentality?" he said. "It doesn't surprise me at all."

Actions "irrational"

Walter Loeb, president of Loeb Associates, a retail consultancy, said there was shopping mania at Wal-Mart every year. But this year, he said, it seems "people are becoming irrational in their actions."

That seemed the case early Friday at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, on Long Island, where the Nassau County police had to be called in for crowd control about 3 a.m., and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order.

Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault.

Witnesses and the police said the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Queens, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him.

Some workers fought their way through the surge to get to Damour, but he had been fatally injured, police said. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau County police, called the scene "utter chaos" and said the "crowd was out of control." As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. "I've heard other people call this an accident, but it is not," he said. "Certainly it was a foreseeable act."

But even with videos from the store's surveillance cameras and the accounts of witnesses, Fleming and other officials acknowledged that it would be difficult to identify those responsible, let alone to prove culpability.

Some shoppers who had seen the stampede said they were shocked. One, Kimberly Cribbs of Queens, said the crowd had acted like "savages." Shoppers' behavior was bad even as the store was being cleared, she recalled.

"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,' " Cribbs said. "They kept shopping."

Outbreaks weren't restricted to New York. At a Wal-Mart in Columbus, Ohio, Nikki Nicely, 19, jumped onto a man's back and pounded his shoulders when he tried to take a 40-inch Samsung flat-screen TV to which she had laid claim. "That's my TV!" Nicely, 19, shouted. "That's my TV!"

Other outbreaks

A police officer and security guard intervened, but not before Nicely took an elbow in the face. In the end, she was the one with the $798 television, marked down from $1,000. "That's right," she cried as her adversary walked away. "This here is my TV!"

Charisma Booker, also on the hunt for a TV, said she had been shopping at Wal-Mart every Black Friday for nearly a decade. "There are fewer people here this year, but they're more aggressive," she said. "I've never seen anybody fight like this. This is crazy."

At a Wal-Mart in Niles, Ill., a mother fought back tears when she discovered someone had taken her cart filled with toys.

Many retailers opened earlier this year and offered the biggest discounts in their history.

Certainly Wal-Mart was not the only retailer with aggressive Black Friday shoppers. But before Best Buy opened at 5 a.m., shoppers lined up to receive tickets for merchandise they intended to buy, reducing the need to elbow one another to pick up electronic devices.

Chuck O'Donnell, district-services manager for Best Buy stores in New Jersey, said the lines "went all the way around the building, just like in years past."

Critics of Wal-Mart said the retailer had been negligent about security.

"They have problems with crowds every year, and inevitability, people get hurt," said David Nassar of Wal-Mart Watch, a union-financed group. "They should expect to plan properly for this kind of a problem and have adequate security in place, and they don't."

Wal-Mart officials said the safety of customers and workers was their "top priority" and the company's "thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A murderous planet pt. 6

When I got home I sat on my bed. I opened the window at the head of my bed and laid down. My mind went over the events of the last day. The death of Kanbergs, the harassing brass, the meeting with Moussa, and seeing Joe at the water. The pieces shifted around in my mind like autumn leaves in the wind. My eyes closed and I fell asleep.

When I awoke it was dark. My hand groped at the blade resting under my pillow. My fist clenched it while my other hand reached for the small night stand light. The lamp illuminated the room. My hand waved the knife around the room cutting the shadows caused by the night's darkness leaking into my bedroom and the small bedside torch. My body ached as it rose out of my bed. The clock on the wall announced that it was 9:13 pm. There was still time to kill before trying to meet with Blackwell. It seemed as though there was always something that needed to be killed.

My wardrobe had seen better days. My work clothes were the best of my rags yet they would not be suitable for my passage into the night. I dug deeper into my closet and found a wrinkled dress shirt that had a small hole under the armpit. After slipping it on I put on a pair of gray slacks whose cuffs had turned black from the soot that was constantly being kicked up from the ground. The converse all stars that were slipped on my feet to complete my outfit had been acquired just a month ago yet already were falling apart. I looked at myself in the mirror, my small band aid seemed to highlight the rest of my face. I furrowed my brow and stroked my chin. Several days worth of beard growth rested on my face, it wasn't quite itchy enough to demand shaving but was long enough to make me look unkempt.

The walk to the down low took fifteen minutes. I walked down shattuck avenue, hiding under the bright streetlights that blazed the streets. I walked down into the lounge and paid the attendant a five dollar note to gain entry. I ordered a gin and tonic from a mustached bartender and let my eyes run to the stage. The small platform at the end of the bar was occupied by two people. A medium sized guitarist with brown hair and a gray suit strummed away while a brunette in a strapless full bodied dress and long gloves sang. The singer was doing a rendition of " Put the blame on Mame," an old number that had come back into fashion. She slowly removed her gloves as she sashayed her hips and her vocal chords rang out the slow, luxurious words of the the song.
She sang:

When they had the earthquake - in San Francisco-back in 19`6
They said that old mother nature - was up to her old tricks.
That's the story that went around, but here's the real lowdown-
Put the blame on mame boys, put the blame on mame
One night she started to - shim and shake-
that brought on the `Frisco quake
So you can, Put the blame on mame boys,
put the blame on mame.
They once had a shootin' -up in the Klondike when they got Dan McGrew
Folks were puttin' the blame on - the lady known as Lew
that's the story that went around, but here's the real lowdown-
Put the blame on mame boys,
put the blame on mame
Mame did a dance called the Hichy-koo,
that's the thing that slew McGrew
So you can, Put the blame on mame boys
PUT-THE-BLAME-ON-MAME

As she went into the second chorus she stripped off one of her black gloves and tossed it to the crowd of onlookers. She looked directly at me as she finished her last lines and threw her hair back. Her long brown hair waved through the air slowly and majestically.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A murderous planet pt 5

I ate it on the corner outside the bakery musing over Moussa's information. The wind blew gently, tossing the newspaper along the deserted roads. The roads had been empty for a long time after the gas hikes. My old man used to tell me about days when gasoline was only 30 cents a gallon. When he was in the military and the price rose up to 50 cents a gallon, the lieutenants went ape shit. His particular section wasn't cut back but others were, the sections got smaller and jobs were displaced. Since graduating high school gasoline had jumped 300%, a few years after that when the recession really started to settle in gasoline rose in cost by 200%. Despite endless promises politicians couldn't lower the prices, the market had too much demand and not enough supply. The gas hikes and the bursting of the credit bubble had sunk the US economy. In just two years the US economic hegemony slipped away, quickly being replaced by contesting markets from asia (specifically china) and western europe (the united nations).

The lack of vehicles made being a pedestrian much more popular. Those of us with panache became thug flaneurs on the streets. No one walked without a little bit of gear on them; knuckles, a short knife. The poverty of the economy was highlighted by an increase in urban violence.

My eyes scanned the sidewalks, watching the shifting movements of the bums, and occasional pedestrian. Having time to kill til attempting to interview Blackwell I went west towards the water. The bay was grey and dirty with endless pollution caused by industrialization and the unfettered growth of capital. I lit a cigarette and pulled my coat tighter around my body, cursing the weather, with global warming I should be warm.

I got to the Berkeley marina around sunset. I walked to the edge of the water and looked north west across the bay into the city of San Francisco. The golden gate bridge stretched across the water, still in good repair due to the financial interests of the wealth in Marin County which lay north of the city. The urge to have a cigarette came over me and my hand went to my lighter when the voice behind me called out behind me. My body instantly whipped around. Joe stood behind me and a little further down from the edge of the water. Joe was one of the servers at Jupiter. He looked at me with his slightly bearded face, and shaved head. He was smoking a cigarette as well and slowly inhaled.

"What are you doing," he asked me.

"Looking out into the water. In the daylight you can see sectors of the a city that are to some extent decipherable."

Joe laughed and continued to smoke.

"Do you have a lighter," I asked. He handed me his lighter and I lit my cigarette. I handed him his lighter back which he slipped into his pocket.

"I still can't figure out why I ever moved here. Now I don't know where I should go," his voice trailed off as he inhaled another drag. He blew out a slow cloud of smoke that dissipated into the air. "You hear about Mike?"

"Something happened to him," I said.

"Dead."

"If I knew anything I'd probably keep it to myself, don't want the screws coming down for any reason."

"His body washed up not too far from here today. His head was blown off. I went to the morgue with his wife to identify the mess. Police said that it was drug related. You ever know Mike to do any drugs."

I shook my head.

"Me neither. Death is a haunting thing. Mike was always anti-social but we were friends. We lived together for a while back when things were different. You have any people die on you yet?"

My shoulders shrugged themselves while I looked at my coworker. I focused on his clothing which was worn and then at the black leather gloves he was wearing. The gloves were new. I wanted to take the glove, to weigh it and calculate how much it weighed in comparison to my own torn cotton scraps.

"I've had people die on me. Who hasn't? Everyone is dying, dropping off likes flies. Nothing stays the same. The world changes more rapidly every day; and day after day we produce it. We produce the bodies, the greed, the scum in the water. Everything. Fuck. When are things going to change." Joe threw his cigarette onto the pavement and stamped on it. He snatched another cigarette from his pocket and lit it up. He calmed after the first inhale. His chest rose and fell at a slower more even pace. "The things that the city tries to patch things up are just band aids over fractured lives. It bugs me that Mike is dead. That his body just washed up here. Fucking drugs!? No fucking way. This shit reeks."

"You ever hear of the Weltschmerz, Joe?" Joe shook his head and I continued. "Its pyschological pain caused by the realization that your personal weaknesses are exposed to be part of the cruelty of the world. If you stay out here much longer you might see more bodies wash up. Thanks for the light." I walked home.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A murderous planet pt 4.

I rolled out of bed at noon. My head ached. Bad habits, too many bad habits, I thought. The bathroom mirror showed my slightly beaten face. The mirror was grainy, my reflection murky, hardly clear enough to see my mug. My bathroom had seen better days, as had the building. The small house was on the border of the badland. Every day it seemed closer to the barren stratas in the city, inhabited only by decay. One month the poverty and the security force would push the muck south, the next month the new players in town would move with "white collar" crime up north, either way the house was eroding.

My fingers went over my cigarette burn. It was blistered. I considered popping it like a zit, letting the watery pus drain out but opted instead for a small bandage.

Information was a need. Things weren't clear enough. The possibility of the brass fingering me for Kanberg's unfortunate demise filled me with annoyance. The cops were just shaking me down I thought but my mind wondered what happened to the body. What would James do? I wasn't due back at the bar for another day or two so my schedule was open to do some sniffing around.

My kitchen was as empty as my belly. My stomach rumbled as I made the long walk to Jess' Bakery. There were two things to get at the little cafe, scones and info. Jess had opened the cafe a few months before the rioting and had some how managed to scrap by. Part of it was no doubt because it was the best place for picking up intel. It served as a kiosk for black market knowledge with the dishwasher, a young man named Moussa, keeping track of all the goings on in town in his computer like brain.

The cafe was dimly lit with a row of neon bulbs affixed to the ceiling. They didn't help to highlight the various baked goods in the cases. The natural light from the glass windows of the buildings facade provided most of the illumination and created most of the shadows. Jess, a medium sized woman with long black hair was mixing a cake in the back when I swung the door open. The door jingled as I opened it, the little bells attached to it announcing my arrival. The few tables in the cafe were half occuppied. Two men sat over a couple cups of coffee and some pastries quietly discussing business while another bald man with a small goatee sat in the corner. The bald man had a newspaper in front of him. The days headlines announced the increase in unemployment, another food riot in Oakland and a recent purchase made by one of Berkeley's large corporations of a plot of land in south berkeley. The bald man obviously had no interest in the paper. He eyed me up and down and nodded.

I looked the case of scones, cakes, cookies, and muffins over.

"Hey you got any macaroons," I asked, raising my voice slightly so Jess could hear me.

"Nope, we do have coconut truffles though. They're real good," she replied.

I nodded to myself. "Got anything with espresso in it?"

"Of course, what kind of town do you think we live in? Everyone needs there fix of something. Caffeine is a cheap commodity, a low rung," Jess said laughing. She dusted herself off. A slight cloud of flour filled the air as she moved to the storefront. "We have some delicious coffee cakes, a slight sprinkle of cinnamon, a heap of brown sugar, a dash of espresso. I used organic eggs, flour, and real vanilla. Would you like one?"

"Yeah sounds delicious."

"Here you go. That will be four dollars, fifty cents," she said as she handed me a small coffee cake. The cake had a nice visual appeal, certainly more luxiourous than the paper plate she handed it to me on.

"Thanks," was my answer as I handed her a twenty. "I was wondering if you'd seen Moussa at all today."

She looked at my bill, and shook her head.

"Oh I'm sorry I thought that was a ten dollar bill, I must have just given you a single." I forked over another twenty dollar bill. She nodded and put some money into the cash register, the rest into her apron.

"Jono, show this young man something about soccer would you?"

The bald man in the corner got up and motioned me to follow him. We walked out of the cafe and around the back of the building. He unlocked a small gate and motioned me through. He stood by the gate and pointed me down a little alley.

At the end of the alley two identical twenty something year old males sat on crates watching a soccer game. One of them drank a forty ounce bottle of malt liquor while the other smoked a spliff. The back street was filled with the pungent aroma of marajauna.

One of the men looked up at me. I nodded and stood behind the men as they watched the game.

"You know anything about the game," the one on the right said.

"Nah, not much. Can play alright if a ball is kicked to me, but don't do much in the way of following."

"They say that back in the 2nd century in China football started off, but it wasn't until the Cambridge rules imposed in 1848 that the game really got standardized. Let's say that's the starting point, back in the late 1800s. Its over two hundred years later and these fucktards still can't kick a ball worth my old e induced diarrhea."

"Things never really change do they?"

"Fuck nah," said the one on the right. He turned to me. "My name's Moussa, whatcha want?"

"Was curious about what the local brass do these days about bodies," I said.

"Hmph. What kinda cake you got there?" Moussa pointed at the paper plate that I held in my right hand.

"Coffee cake. I haven't had a bite yet. You want a piece?"

"All that caffeine gets me tweaked out. What about you Oussman?" The man on the left shook his head. "What's that about bodies? You talking live or dead?"

"The still kind."

"Depends on who made the body. Where you talking about?"

"I didn't come here to get pumped, I came here to get some gas."

"Ain't a one way street here. This alley is a dead end."

I stared at the game for a few minutes, mulling over my words.

"Last night one of the waiters at Jupiter the downtown restaurant bit it. The local brass came in. They gave the boys a shake down and let us go. The girls working were waved off. What's the protocol."

It took 15 minutes for Moussa to reply. He got caught up in the match. One of the teams changed their formation making offensive maneuvers. The game picked up pace and came to a crescendo with a goal. Half time was called and Moussa lit up another joint.

"Well the days being the days and all, and business being what it is, a downtown joint like Jupiter probably wants to keep things under wrap. The brass will take care of a body these days for a few. Service for both the business and the brass. The town looks clean and the restaraunt profits ain't hurt. Ain't nobody hurt but that body. Usually they dump it over in the marina. Sometimes it float on to the shore, but usually when it get called in they just tag it on some Oakland shit. Who working?"

"Myself, kid named Strong, some girls."

"What the girls names?"

"Amanda, Chelsie."

"Those Blackwell girls. You should look her up. Might find out why that body a body."

"You know where Blackwell spends her free time?"

"She move around at night, watching over her product, keeps an irregular schedule. Might want to try Beckett's up on Shattuck. Heard she's having problems up there with the merchandise being sassy." Moussa laughed.

"Thanks."

"No problem. You enjoy your coffee cake."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A murderous planet pt 3.

James walked in after a few minutes.

"Thanks for waiting everyone," he said with a slight grimace on his face. His mustache rippled when he began his next sentence. "Amanda, Chelsie, you can take off. You two will be asked some questions," he finished by pointing his finger at myself and Evan.

"What the fuck," Evan said with a sigh. "I didn't do shit."

"That's good. It should be that way. All the same the police still have to do their work." James walked to the bar and sat on a stool. "It will only take a few minutes. Don't worry about the rest of your side work, I'll get it done myself. Just give me your drops and go," he said addressing the girls. Chelsie and Amanda scrambled to get their shit together and quickly scurried out the door.

I looked outside and could see the two officers smoking cigarettes over the body. The stocky one bent over and blew smoke into the corpse then stood back up. He looked across the patio and the two of them began to come inside.

"Which one first," Officer Funkhouser said to his partner.

The gaunt officer pointed at me. Funkhouser came over to me and grabbed my arm jerking me up from my seat. I was a little buzzed and slouched onto him. He drove his fist into my ribs. I bent over with a groan. The officer dragged me outside and dumped me on the ground. The gaunt officer lit a hand rolled cigarette. He blew smoke up into the air and looked down at me.

"Talk," Funkouser commanded.

I coughed and looked at the cobblestone on the ground. It was slightly wet with the night dew. It was cold. I cold see my breath as air escaped my lungs. I looked up at them and shook my head.

"Talk," Funkhouser repeated. His face became red and he leaned down towards me. "Talk," he screamed.

"I'm not the type to talk, even about this beautiful weather," I swung my hand up at pointed to the stars that were lightly covered by a grey smog.

"Fucker," Funkhouser said as his boot smashed into my ribs. My stomach caved into the steel toe of his boot. My body groaned and became more fetal.

"What do you say," Funkhouser said to his partner. Officer Ryder looked at his cigarette then bent over and pushed it into the side of my face. There was a slight hiss as the ember burned the skin of my cheek.

"No good cop, bad cop? Just all bad for you boys," I snarled.

"Looks like we've got a real winner here, my friend." Funkhouser clapped his partner's shoulder. Ryder shoulders shook briefly. Funkhouser kicked me again. Blood coughed out of my mouth. I rose to my feet and looked at the officers.

"Any more questions? Or will the interview continue with the end of your limbs?"

"We've got our eye on you. It don't matter to us whether you did the deed or not. Your little tough guy attitude has got the spotlight on you. The last thing we need in this fucking town is another little steamboat thinking its the grand dreadnought of the fucking fleet."

"Living without fear is the highest form of wisdom," I replied spitting out blood with my words.

Ryder came up and slapped me. My cheek flushed red.

"Can I go?"

"Scram shitbag," Funkhouser said. I left the restaurant and walked home in the dark. I could only imagine the beating Evan would get. The girls got passes because they were commodities, and their lady owned a piece of the stake. Having little else to do now that the security force was doing all the work, the brass enjoyed shaking people down more than they ever had in the past. It wasn't an unusual experience and I shrugged off the whole incident when I made it home.

I still had a half bottle of Jameson that I'd been saving. At the end of my night a quarter remained. My mind was fuzzed and dreary. The beating had took a little out of me. My morning would be one of pain I thought as I passed out in my bed. Pain and bad habits were my last thoughts as my eyes closed and consciousness drifted away from me like a steamboat chugging into the sunset.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A murderous planet part 2.

The structure of domination has shifted from straightforward arbitrary rule to a relationship based on adjustment and compromise. This has led to a considerable increase in demand for services compared to such traditional demands as for durable consumer goods Alfredo Bonanno From Riot to Insurrection

Three of the servers who worked the night shift were finishing up their side work for the night when I walked in. They didn't look up. I breathed and sat down on a bar stool. I stared at the long brass bar as I heard the servers chat behind me.

"I had a table on 41 tonight that were practically humping at the table. It was fucking gross. The man had his mouth over the woman's. He looked like he was trying to swallow the woman's face," Chelsie said.

Evan Strong a light skinned African American laughed loudly. He tilted his head back which made his curly hair shift gently back. His mirth reverberated in my brain. He rolled another piece of silverware as he sat a table near the patio and asked what the couple looked like.

"Well the woman was wearing a pink shirt, and was sort of... frumpy. While the man was slender, and mustached. They were both middle aged. They wore pretty nondescript clothing and along with sucking a huge amount of face in between gobbling down their food they also were playing footsies," Chelsie completed her sentence with a fit of giggling. She leaned over onto the big round table. Her petite frame shuddered as she guffawed.

"Footsies," Strong said with a laugh. His tone became more serious as he looked at his payout receipt. The payout receipt calculated one's total sales at the end of the night. From the cash on hand the server would deduct the amount owed to the restaurant and the various tips that would be given to the bartenders, food runners, and dishwashers. "I hope I did well tonight. Things have been so slow lately. Its been hard working here, trying to find another job, and paying my bills. Fuck, I hardly have any time to myself anymore."

"What about flight school? Aren't you going to do that anymore," Amanda asked. "Hey where's Mike?"

"I haven't seen Mike in a minute," Strong replied. He sighed and continued with what would be a long sorry monologue about his financial state. He had blown through his savings to help support his mother. His mother owned a small salon in Oakland that had been ravaged during the riots. He had moved back in with his mother to protect and provide for her. His dreams of becoming a pilot were dashed when his savings slowly dwindled as to provide for his family.

"I haven't seen Mike either. I'll go look for him," Chelsie said. She got up and went from the main dining room into the out door patio. A few seconds later I heard a scream. "Someone call the ambulance, someone call the police," she screamed excitedly.

The servers went outside and I followed. "Mike is dead," Chelsie said with a sob. I looked at his corpse. The brown of his shirt had spread further covering his torso. His eyes were open and looked into the night sky.

"What should we do," Evan Strong said.

"We ought to call management, and the police. Not that it will matter that much. With business as bad as it is management will just want this covered up. I'll go call James, and then ask him if what he wants to do," I said taking control of the situation.

I walked back inside as the servers stared at the corpse. I wondered if it was going into rigormortis already as I dialed James' number from the company phone. The first time I rang I got his voice mail. I tried again and he picked up. He sounded slightly sleepy, and slightly drunk.

"Mike is dead," I began.

"Shit," he replied. I imagined him wiping his face. His hands going from the top of his hairline, over his thick eyebrows down to his goatee.

"What should we do," I asked.

"You sure he's dead?"

"He's not moving, there is no pulse. He's staring up at the stars with wide open eyes and you know how squinty Kanberg's usually was."

"This is going to cost us."

"I know."

"Fuck. I'll be down there in a bit. Don't let anyone leave til I show up with the police. Lock down the rest of the restaurant and hang out by the bar. Don't bother with the corpse."

Herding the servers inside was easy. Closing the gates was a breeze and we gathered at the second table inside. We sat together for five minutes when Strong stood up and cursed.

"I need a fucking drink," he said. He moved to the bar and poured himself a beer. "Anyone else?"

"I'll have an Racer 5," I said.

"I'll have a pilsner," Amanda said. Her hands were shaking slightly. Her brown her jiggled in time with her hands. She crossed her arms and sighed deeply.

"We don't have pilsner. We haven't had it for months. You okay," I asked. I turned towards Evan and motioned him to pour a few more drinks. He brought the drinks over and we pounded our first beers down. We then had another round. Chelsie began to sway slightly.

It took James 15 minutes to get to the bar. Five minutes after he arrived two officers showed up. The two cops were downtown Berkeley beat cops. They came in on their off hours for the tail or the booze. One was a barrel chested Germanic lad in his mid twenties. His hair was slightly gray. His partner was older in his mid thirties. He stood behind the German and shifted his dark eyes across the room. He had a slight scruff on his face and was a little gaunt. The name tags on their uniforms read Funkhouser and Ryder. They looked at us with disdain and went outside to the body. James followed them.

"You guys stay here," James commanded.

I helped myself to another beer as I imagined what was being said outside.

The recession had been going on for a long time. The inauguration of Barack Obama, the country's first non-white president had done nothing to deter the economic catastrophe that capitalism had created for itself. As things got harder people got more desperate. Oakland had had 3 riots already. Parts of downtown Oakland had been blazed by looters. Berkeley had remained remained undamaged due to its institution of a private security force that patrolled its streets. The security force kept most of the poverty out, pushing the homeless and wingnuts towards East Oakland or north into Richmond. With the security force doing the primary policing of the towns the police themselves had become lazy and corrupt. It was well known that the police were one of the major gangs of drug traffickers in the bay area and would take bribes. I didn't doubt that James was making an arrangement with the police to avoid the public eye. They'd get rid of the body, James would offer Jupiter's services to the two officers. Jupiter's services had expanded quite a bit since I'd originally been employed at the microbrewery.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A murderous planet

"He cried in a whisper at some image - he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath" Joesph Conrad Heart of Darkness.

My cigarette was almost burned through. I took one last inhale, drawing in the nicotine and smoke. The cancer stick was one of my many vices. My vices were beginning to add up I thought as I threw the butt on the ground. It smoldered on the tarmac in the alley behind the restaraunt. I looked up into the sky. The moon was out and full, basking Berkeley in a luminous glow. Even with the moon high hanging in the sky the alleway was still dark. I could make out the rough images of a few parked cars near oxford street, and an apartment light above the building next to the restaraunt. I watched my butt slowly fade out and then walked back into the upper terrace of the patio.

The restaraunt was originally a horse stable and was composed of a two floored main building, a small patio, and two subsidary buildings that served as kitchens. One of the auxillary kitchens hosted a pannini shop during the day, at night and when it was busy management would open up the kitchen and fire up the oven for the main businesses customers. At this time of night there was no need for the secondary kitchen, nor for the first. There were still a few stragglers in the main building. Their conversation drifted out into the patio.

I let my eyes adjust from the dark of the alleyway and to the row of lights hanging in the patio. As my pupils shifted from the dark I noticed movement to my left. A figure emerged from the keg room area. The keg room was attached to the sandwhich shop kitchen, but had its own entrance. The figure wobbled out drunkenly. Instinctively I manuevered to intercept the shadow. With each step it was becoming more clear. The frame filled out showing a mid sized stocky man with light blonde hair. He was clunching his side. He wore a thin white shirt and black pants. The white shirt looked dirty, especially below his rib cage. He tightly held his side as he staggered forward. My feet became lighter as I stopped him from moving anymore.

"Its okay Mike," I said recognizing my coworker Mike Kanbergs.

He choked softly, then looked at me. His eyes opened wide. His pupils dilated and he vomited a small amount of blood upwards. Accompany the clogged sound from his throat came a cry. His eyes narrowed. I held him hard. He pushed at me with a dying weakness. His eyes lost their focus but remained open as his body went limp. I let him slide to the ground. The brown of his shirt spread. I noticed that his hands were covered in a dark red blood.

"Shit," I said. I stared for a while at his corpse then drew in three deep breaths. I thought of a forest, a row of pine trees perfectly planted. The trees reached towards the heavens. The ground was covered in pine needles. My nose was filled with the raw earthy scent of the underbrush and dirt. I walked inside.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You wanted to see how good it feels to leave

I stood by the window looking out on the landing field. Our airplane, a large jumbo jet with a china airlines logo inscribed on it, was taxiing into the gate. It would still be 40 minutes til we would board. About a half mile away another plane was prepping for its flight. Luggage was being shuttled in. A large truck sat next to it pumping in fuel. I wondered who would be on that flight, where they would be going. I turned around and looked at my fellow passengers. It was a ragtag assortment. Mainly asians, but a few foreigners who were trekking through the jungles and tourist traps of southeast asia. I sat down on the stiff plastic chairs that lined the waiting area. The chairs were blue. They were shaped like orange peels and were not comfortable. I looked at my hands and traced the lines that were in them.

The first time I was in this airport, waiting for this airplane, I was swamped with thought. Now there wasn't a thought in my head. My mind was preoccuppied with the nervousness of travel, and still scattered from things between myself and Amy. Amy was my college girlfriend.We had first met at a party. We were attending CCA, an art school in north Oakland at the time. It was an embarassing social gathering of pimple faced rejects, berets, and pretensions. I thought she was cute, if a little plump and invited her to see "The Maltese Falcon," which was playing up on Shattuck.

Our relationship was a casual friendship at first and we spent much of our time discussing art; the lines of De Stilj, the vacuity of surrealism, the explosion of Dada. We painted together and our first art shows followed. Our relationship became more serious as are time together increased. With the passing days we had more and more in common. We planned a trip to Thailand together. We would take the time off of our schooling in order to focus on our creative enterprises along with traveling. I'd never been out of the states, she'd never been out of california.

Our plans fell apart when I learned she'd been cheating on me consistently for several months. She'd started hooking up with a TA in the film department. He thought he was her boyfriend as well. He liked Goddard, she liked sleeping around and lying. Our falling out was uneventful. I wanted there to be blood, smashed heads, crucifixitions. It was a bit of stamping about, huffing and puffing, and taking back a few of the items I'd given her. I cancelled her plane ticket to Thailand.

I started to spend time with my friends again drinking and complaining for a couple months. I finished a few paintings, and started talking to Amy again. I felt we were young, that people made mistakes, that I'd screwed people over before yet still wanted them in my life. She was still leading the TA around an a short leash and so our relationship was one of limbo. I was leaving for thailand, she was hedging her bets. Before I left I told her that if she was single during the time that I was in thailand and available when I came back I would consider getting into a serious relationship with her again.

I took up an apartment in eastern Bangkok and rarely left the city. I enjoyed the grittiness of the capital, the crowded streets, the dangling wires from the broken telephone poles, the constant construction that was unguarded. It was a stark contrast to the safety of college, of school, of art professors, and lectures. I wandered the city for hours, following the klongs, the sewage filled canals. I would try to count the number of houses on the canals, the number of tuk tuks on a busy street. I rented a motorbike for a few days then decided that it was far too dangerous, and I simply didn't have the courage to risk my life in the haphazard traffic.

I met Molly Tolliver the same week that I had my parting phone call with Amy.

Amy called me in the middle of the day. I knew it was her from the unusual string of numbers that appeared on my phone.

"Hey," I answered.

"Hey, do you have some time," she asked me. Her voice was slightly shaky.

"Sure, I'm just sitting at home playing video games," I responded. I didn't know what to expect from this conversation. We'd been in decent communication, a few emails, some letters, a phone call or two. I didn't trust her anymore, and she'd done nothing to attempt to earn my trust. We seemed to be going through the motions. The distance between us had grown after she exposed her long going affair. We had tried to patch things together, but she seemed to be riding the fence. She still talked to the TA and I didn't doubt that they were sleeping together. Part of my desire to go to Thailand was to get away from her. It seemed like I couldn't quit her, it made me feel weak.

"I don't know how to say this...," her voice trailed off.

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Go ahead."

"I'm moving out of my apartment."

"So what's the big deal about that? You've been talking about how you've disliked your roommate for several months now."

"Well I already gave her notice, and I don't have a place to go yet."

"Ah," I said with conclusion. She was going to move in with the TA. She had few friends and cared more for her immediate comfort than our relationship.

"I'm moving in with Rich."

"That makes sense," I said with comfort.

"Really!?"

"Yeah, you have no friends because you've spent the last year sleeping around rather than focusing on one relationship and making friends. Now you have nothing to fall back on but Rich, who is far more lenient with you than I. You've been hedging your bets for a long time now. Biding your time til one of us quit the game and then you'd stick with the other."

"Are you mad?"

"Of course I'm mad. You're not holding up your end of the relationship at all. We said that we'd be single until I came back and then we'd try to start things over... remember?"

"But I don't know what you're doing over there," she pleaded.

"I've told you before that I don't have a girlfriend. I've done nothing over here. I wander the city, I read, I drink occasionally, its g-rated."

"Our agreement makes me feel restricted. I don't like you telling me what to do," her whimpers had turned to anger.

"It was an agreement. It was something that you wanted as well."

"You're so far away... I need something now."

"I'm not there. There's nothing I can do about that. I can try to stay close to you in other ways, but part of why you're not here now is because you cheated on me, on the relationship. I don't want to be in someone's life who is going to back out of every agreement, who won't stick it out."

"But its hard, I'm having a hard time right now, I'm lonely."

"What can I do about that? I can write you, I can call you, I can email, what do you want?" My tone had turned towards vexation. At some point my feelings had turned. Maybe it was when I boarded the plane to Tai Pei, maybe it was during the flight from China to Thailand. Maybe it was when I was wondering in the Pat Pong district, eating lunch at the MBK food court, watching a fight at Lumpinee stadium. It was quite possible that they'd turned that day during that phone call. At some point my feelings for her had turned, they'd become stale. I no longer felt attached to her. It was my sense of commitment that had kept us together. My desire to see things through. That will buttressed my emotionally confusing and unwanted entanglements. She was my first long term girlfriend, I'd been happy I'd cared. I was no longer happy with her, I no longer cared.

"I don't know, I don't know what you can do, I don't know what to do...," she started to sob into the phone.

I held the phone away from my ear for a moment. I wondered if she was faking her tears.

"You never know what to do, so you do what's easiest. You don't break off a relationship even if it comes into conflict with another because it would be too hard. You don't bring the truth to light because its too hard. You can't be alone because its too hard. What was it you said once? 'If I was in a relationship with myself I would end it.'"

"..."

"This is your fault, this is your responsibility. You've made choices. You chose to cheat on me. You chose not to try to gain my trust. You chose to hedge your bets. That said I made my own choices. I chose to leave, I chose to try to patch things up, I'm not saying that I'm clear of all the wrong but you've made choices."

Again there was silence on the other end of the phone. I was getting tired of the conversation. It had an emotionally exhaustive quality to it. We sat in silence.

"Its my fault," she said with no tone.

"Is that a question or a statement. I believe its the latter." I nodded my head and looked at the wall. I was sitting on the edge of my bed. The video game before me looked alluring. Outside of the window came the sounds of Bangkok's constant construction. I'd like to remember that last bit being the way the conversation ended. Instead there was more silence, more wasted time.

"I've got to go, the supermarket is closing soon and I need to pick up things," I finally said.

"Isn't it noon there."

"The supermarket closes early today, some sort of election thing," I replied. I hung up the phone and sighed. I laid down on my bed feeling relieved. It was as if I had just bathed after descending into a New York City sewer or a Bangkok Khlong. I sat back up and started playing my video game again.

Amy's phone call filled me with a real sense of ennui. The drama of our relationship was over and what would fill my life now, I questioned myself. After playing several more hours of video games I went out.

I walked south out of my apartment complex to On Nut square. The chang beer area was its usual evening quiet. In a few hours the dancers would get on stage as a singer would croon out the latest thai pop hits. There were two singers, one a thirty something rotund man and a petite thirty something thai woman. The man would dress down, usually in jeans and a polo, while the woman would wear a cheap sequin dress. The dancers would wear skimpy outfits which was quite amusing considering the variety of their body shapes. Their was a skinny dance, a thick dancer, a medium dancer, and a lady boy. When I'd shuffle by the stage the lady boy would cat call me. After a week I quit blushing.

The beer area also served as an open air market with usual wares. There was a booth for food; som tum, som blah, and tod blah. Several cheap clothing stalls were set up. They had sandals, underwear, thin shirts, and shorts. Most of the clothing was for women. Of the 5 or so clothing stalls only one was for men. There was a little stall that sold pirated dvds and cds. One could purchase the latest thai blockbuster or foreign import.

I moved through the market and to On Nut square proper. The front of the square was a tiled area that served beer. The square itself was a covered building with air conditioning. Inside were more clothing stores, again mainly women's clothing. I sat outside and ordered some beer. I liked the atmosphere outside in front of the building. There was a small stage on which a dj performed. The music wasn't too loud. I could still hear the chatter of the staff as they lounged around. The staff of the beer area was uniformed in tiger and chang beer outfits. The tiger outfits were flattering blue dresses that came to mid thigh on the young thai women who wore them. The chang beer uniforms were tight small shirts that clung to the nymph like frames of the other workers. I sat in silence as I drank my beer and looked at a mixed couple a few tables away. The girl was dark, with a flat nose, she looked slightly lao and I figured she was from Isaan a poor province to the northeast. The man was blonde haired and tall. He had a slight gut from drinking and spoke to her in an Australian accented English.

I drank another small jug of beer and felt a mild buzz. The beer was a cheap lager and was a session beer. A fair amount could be drunk before one was drunk. I got tired of the loneliness of being by myself and got on the BTS. The BTS, skytrain, is the above ground railway system that runs through Bangkok. The fare is charged by distance but is kept pretty affordable. The On Nut stop was at the end of the line. I got on the train and rode to Asoke. Asoke is in the downtown financial center of the sukumwit. The sukumwit is a long northwest-southeast running road that houses most of the foreign financial businesses. Asoke connects with the underground MRT, the other extensive public transit system, and also is surrounded by large malls.

I got off of Asoke and looked around. I decided to have some more beer and went towards soi cowboii. The small side street off of the sukumwit is well known for its go go bars. The go go bars are small brothels but have more of a strip club feel to them. I went into one on the left hand side of the street and was guided by the mamasan to a seat by the bar. The club was small. Running along three of the walls were booths, in front of them were small tables. The center of the club had a small stage on which a dozen young thai women danced. They slowly moved about to the thai pop that was played on the house stereo. Dressed in skimpy white bikini's I wondered if they were cold. I tried not to look at them in the eye, and when the mamasan came over I ordered a beer. I drank the beer and looked the women's legs as they danced around. Most of them were in cheap converse style flats that offset their more luxiourous looking outfits. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing here. I thought about indulging in a woman but decided against it. I stared at their legs for another drink and then got up from my chair and went out. The street was a little busier having hit 11 o'clock. A small elephant the size of a volkswagon bug walked on the street led by a young thai man. I moved around the beast and started walking down the sukumwit. The sukumwit had quite a few falang bars, mainly english style pubs. I ducked into the first one I saw. That's where I met Molly.

The pub was two stories. The pub was dark. Irish pubs always seemed dark, anywhere in the world, due to the Irish's reluctance to show their facial blemishes in full light, or even half light. Along with the darkness of the bar was a full bar, a red haired and matching nosed Irish ex-pat singing out pop songs and a handful of bored looking white people. The staff was mainly Thai, with a falang manager.

Molly was sitting by herself at the bar. She was dressed in faded blue jeans, a low cut lime green shirt that was a size too big for her wide shouldered frame and wore a black beret. She was leafing through a book. When I see a girl I'm attracted to I give myself 3 seconds to talk to her. After the initial contact its too late, I'll either seem too creepy, too apt to linger, or I'll just seem like another weak willed average fucking chump. I went and sat next to her at the bar.

"Hey can I ask you something," I began.

She looked at me and stuck her finger in her book. I knew she would give me some time.

"It will just be a minute. I was curious as to your advice about something."

"Yeah, sure," she replied with a slight irish accent. The accent made me aroused. Every american loves accents from europe, its a perversity dealing with how we were initially colonized by them.

"So, I've been looking for a little part time income while I've been out here and have gotten a few odd jobs as an extra in movies. My availability and congeniality have led me to get quite a few call backs. Next week there is a Bruce Willis movie being shot. The director wants me to do a spot as an army lieutenant. There's a speaking role in it which bumps up my salary big time. I'm in a dilemma not because I'm afraid of getting some sort of tropical disease (which is almost a certainty being out in the jungle for so long) but because a good friend of mine is having a muay thai bout. My friend and I came out here at the same time and he's having his first bout out here. I'm a bit worried for him. Its far from home so I'm afraid that if he gets his brain smashed open by some young thai punk no one will be able to help him. They'll take his limp body, slide it onto a thin stretcher, carry him to the curb and turn the stretcher over. What do you think? Do I go with something that would really jump start my career or do I hang with my friend?"

She looked out into the distance for a second then returned her gaze to my face. She had light blue eyes. "Do you really think your friend is going to get hurt? I've seen some muay thai fights and those guys don't seem to get too banged up."

"Yeah," I say with hesitation. "I just don't know. I don't know about his abilities or more importantly his opponent's abilities." I shake my head feigning confusion mixed with sadness.

"Well what do you think of the movie role? Do you want to become an actor?"

I nod my head vigorously. "I never thought that I'd want to act until I landed this shot. But I'm torn. Where does my duty lay? To my friend? Or to myself? What would you do?"

"You know I think that I would stay with the friend. Especially if he's been around for a while. If you haven't been friends with him for so long I'd go with the career. If you're close I would chose the relationship."

"Hmm. That makes sense. I'm getting all caught up in my drama... What are you reading?"

"Its e.e. cummings."

"Oh the poet?"

"Yeah. I recently got this book at the paragorn bookstore, you know over by siam central."

"I've been there, go on."

"I don't know I like him. A lot of his poems are sonnets, he talks about love and nature. He doesn't always make sense. He misspells words, and makes up all these compound words."

"What poem are you looking at now," I ask. I brush her hand away and open the book. With I rest my other hand on her shoulder as I begin to read the poem aloud.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

I finished reading the poem and set the book down. I looked at her right eye, then looked at her left eye, then my eyes moved to her lips.

"It was beautiful," I said.

We chatted, talking about where we were from, what it is exactly that we were doing out here in the city of fallen angels, and talked about music. Surprisingly we found that we had a lot in common. I took her back to my place after a few beers. We had sex. While I was on top of her I wondered what she was thinking about. I didn't ask her. I wondered if she was thinking about other people, then I wondered if Amy thought about the TA while I was boning her. In the morning Molly and I had sex again.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

You wanted to see how good it feels to leave leave pt 4.

The pub was two stories. The pub was dark. Irish pubs always seemed dark, anywhere in the world, due to the Irish's reluctance to show their facial blemishes in full light, or even half light. Along with the darkness of the bar was a full bar, a red haired and matching nosed Irish ex-pat singing out pop songs and a handful of bored looking white people. The staff was mainly Thai, with a falang manager.

Molly was sitting by herself at the bar. She was dressed in faded blue jeans, a low cut lime green shirt that was a size too big for her wide shouldered frame and wore a black beret. She was leafing through a book. When I see a girl I'm attracted to I give myself 3 seconds to talk to her. After the initial contact its too late, I'll either seem too creepy, too apt to linger, or I'll just seem like another weak willed average fucking chump. I went and sat next to her at the bar.

"Hey can I ask you something," I began.

She looked at me and stuck her finger in her book. I knew she would give me some time.

"It will just be a minute. I was curious as to your advice about something."

"Yeah, sure," she replied with a slight irish accent. The accent made me aroused. Every american loves accents from europe, its a perversity dealing with how we were initially colonized by them.

"So, I've been looking for a little part time income while I've been out here and have gotten a few odd jobs as an extra in movies. My availability and congeniality have led me to get quite a few call backs. Next week there is a Bruce Willis movie being shot. The director wants me to do a spot as an army lieutenant. There's a speaking role in it which bumps up my salary big time. I'm in a dilemma not because I'm afraid of getting some sort of tropical disease (which is almost a certainty being out in the jungle for so long) but because a good friend of mine is having a muay thai bout. My friend and I came out here at the same time and he's having his first bout out here. I'm a bit worried for him. Its far from home so I'm afraid that if he gets his brain smashed open by some young thai punk no one will be able to help him. They'll take his limp body, slide it onto a thin stretcher, carry him to the curb and turn the stretcher over. What do you think? Do I go with something that would really jump start my career or do I hang with my friend?"

She looked out into the distance for a second then returned her gaze to my face. She had light blue eyes. "Do you really think your friend is going to get hurt? I've seen some muay thai fights and those guys don't seem to get too banged up."

"Yeah," I say with hesitation. "I just don't know. I don't know about his abilities or more importantly his opponent's abilities." I shake my head feigning confusion mixed with sadness.

"Well what do you think of the movie role? Do you want to become an actor?"

I nod my head vigorously. "I never thought that I'd want to act until I landed this shot. But I'm torn. Where does my duty lay? To my friend? Or to myself? What would you do?"

"You know I think that I would stay with the friend. Especially if he's been around for a while. If you haven't been friends with him for so long I'd go with the career. If you're close I would chose the relationship."

"Hmm. That makes sense. I'm getting all caught up in my drama... What are you reading?"

"Its e.e. cummings."

"Oh the poet?"

"Yeah. I recently got this book at the paragorn bookstore, you know over by siam central."

"I've been there, go on."

"I don't know I like him. A lot of his poems are sonnets, he talks about love and nature. He doesn't always make sense. He misspells words, and makes up all these compound words."

"What poem are you looking at now," I ask. I brush her hand away and open the book. With I rest my other hand on her shoulder as I begin to read the poem aloud.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

I finished reading the poem and set the book down. I looked at her right eye, then looked at her left eye, then my eyes moved to her lips.

"It was beautiful," I said.

We chatted, talking about where we were from, what it is exactly that we were doing out here in the city of fallen angels, and talked about music. Surprisingly we found that we had a lot in common. I took her back to my place after a few beers. We had sex. While I was on top of her I wondered what she was thinking about. I didn't ask her. I wondered if she was thinking about other people, then I wondered if Amy thought about the TA while I was boning her. In the morning Molly and I had sex again.




Saturday, September 20, 2008

You wanted to see how good it feels to leave part 3

Amy's phone call filled me with a real sense of ennui. The drama of our relationship was over and what would fill my life now, I questioned myself. After playing several more hours of video games I went out.

I walked south out of my apartment complex to On Nut square. The chang beer area was its usual evening quiet. In a few hours the dancers would get on stage as a singer would croon out the latest thai pop hits. There were two singers, one a thirty something rotund man and a petite thirty something thai woman. The man would dress down, usually in jeans and a polo, while the woman would wear a cheap sequin dress. The dancers would wear skimpy outfits which was quite amusing considering the variety of their body shapes. Their was a skinny dance, a thick dancer, a medium dancer, and a lady boy. When I'd shuffle by the stage the lady boy would cat call me. After a week I quit blushing.

The beer area also served as an open air market with usual wares. There was a booth for food; som tum, som blah, and tod blah. Several cheap clothing stalls were set up. They had sandals, underwear, thin shirts, and shorts. Most of the clothing was for women. Of the 5 or so clothing stalls only one was for men. There was a little stall that sold pirated dvds and cds. One could purchase the latest thai blockbuster or foreign import.

I moved through the market and to On Nut square proper. The front of the square was a tiled area that served beer. The square itself was a covered building with air conditioning. Inside were more clothing stores, again mainly women's clothing. I sat outside and ordered some beer. I liked the atmosphere outside in front of the building. There was a small stage on which a dj performed. The music wasn't too loud. I could still hear the chatter of the staff as they lounged around. The staff of the beer area was uniformed in tiger and chang beer outfits. The tiger outfits were flattering blue dresses that came to mid thigh on the young thai women who wore them. The chang beer uniforms were tight small shirts that clung to the nymph like frames of the other workers. I sat in silence as I drank my beer and looked at a mixed couple a few tables away. The girl was dark, with a flat nose, she looked slightly lao and I figured she was from Isaan a poor province to the northeast. The man was blonde haired and tall. He had a slight gut from drinking and spoke to her in an Australian accented English.

I drank another small jug of beer and felt a mild buzz. The beer was a cheap lager and was a session beer. A fair amount could be drunk before one was drunk. I got tired of the loneliness of being by myself and got on the BTS. The BTS, skytrain, is the above ground railway system that runs through Bangkok. The fare is charged by distance but is kept pretty affordable. The On Nut stop was at the end of the line. I got on the train and rode to Asoke. Asoke is in the downtown financial center of the sukumwit. The sukumwit is a long northwest-southeast running road that houses most of the foreign financial businesses. Asoke connects with the underground MRT, the other extensive public transit system, and also is surrounded by large malls.

I got off of Asoke and looked around. I decided to have some more beer and went towards soi cowboii. The small side street off of the sukumwit is well known for its go go bars. The go go bars are small brothels but have more of a strip club feel to them. I went into one on the left hand side of the street and was guided by the mamasan to a seat by the bar. The club was small. Running along three of the walls were booths, in front of them were small tables. The center of the club had a small stage on which a dozen young thai women danced. They slowly moved about to the thai pop that was played on the house stereo. Dressed in skimpy white bikini's I wondered if they were cold. I tried not to look at them in the eye, and when the mamasan came over I ordered a beer. I drank the beer and looked the women's legs as they danced around. Most of them were in cheap converse style flats that offset their more luxiourous looking outfits. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing here. I thought about indulging in a woman but decided against it. I stared at their legs for another drink and then got up from my chair and went out. The street was a little busier having hit 11 o'clock. A small elephant the size of a volkswagon bug walked on the street led by a young thai man. I moved around the beast and started walking down the sukumwit. The sukumwit had quite a few falang bars, mainly english style pubs. I ducked into the first one I saw. That's where I met Molly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Missed Connection

This is my second missed connection in two weeks off of Craigslist. I'm hoping to amass some more. I don't know who this guy is, and can't remember seeing anyone of his description.

White Horse - m4m Sat night (berkeley)


Just want to say a few words to the guy who was wearing white t-shirt and tan pants. He was working as cleaning and putting glasses away. We had few glances and wanted to say you have a nice cute smile. I wish we had a moment to chat but knew you were busy. Drop me a line if you wish. I'm in the red shirt (Old navy shirt) and light blue jeans. If you're not comfortable. It's cool.. take care and have a good Sunday.




You wanted to see how good it feels to leave part 2

Amy called me in the middle of the day. I knew it was her from the unusual string of numbers that appeared on my phone.

"Hey," I answered.

"Hey, do you have some time," she asked me. Her voice was slightly shaky.

"Sure, I'm just sitting at home playing video games," I responded. I didn't know what to expect from this conversation. We'd been in decent communication, a few emails, some letters, a phone call or two. I didn't trust her anymore, and she'd done nothing to attempt to earn my trust. We seemed to be going through the motions. The distance between us had grown after she exposed her long going affair. We had tried to patch things together, but she seemed to be riding the fence. She still talked to the TA and I didn't doubt that they were sleeping together. Part of my desire to go to Thailand was to get away from her. It seemed like I couldn't quit her, it made me feel weak.

"I don't know how to say this...," her voice trailed off.

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Go ahead."

"I'm moving out of my apartment."

"So what's the big deal about that? You've been talking about how you've disliked your roommate for several months now."

"Well I already gave her notice, and I don't have a place to go yet."

"Ah," I said with conclusion. She was going to move in with the TA. She had few friends and cared more for her immediate comfort than our relationship.

"I'm moving in with Rich."

"That makes sense," I said with comfort.

"Really!?"

"Yeah, you have no friends because you've spent the last year sleeping around rather than focusing on one relationship and making friends. Now you have nothing to fall back on but Rich, who is far more lenient with you than I. You've been hedging your bets for a long time now. Biding your time til one of us quit the game and then you'd stick with the other."

"Are you mad?"

"Of course I'm mad. You're not holding up your end of the relationship at all. We said that we'd be single until I came back and then we'd try to start things over... remember?"

"But I don't know what you're doing over there," she pleaded.

"I've told you before that I don't have a girlfriend. I've done nothing over here. I wander the city, I read, I drink occasionally, its g-rated."

"Our agreement makes me feel restricted. I don't like you telling me what to do," her whimpers had turned to anger.

"It was an agreement. It was something that you wanted as well."

"You're so far away... I need something now."

"I'm not there. There's nothing I can do about that. I can try to stay close to you in other ways, but part of why you're not here now is because you cheated on me, on the relationship. I don't want to be in someone's life who is going to back out of every agreement, who won't stick it out."

"But its hard, I'm having a hard time right now, I'm lonely."

"What can I do about that? I can write you, I can call you, I can email, what do you want?" My tone had turned towards vexation. At some point my feelings had turned. Maybe it was when I boarded the plane to Tai Pei, maybe it was during the flight from China to Thailand. Maybe it was when I was wondering in the Pat Pong district, eating lunch at the MBK food court, watching a fight at Lumpinee stadium. It was quite possible that they'd turned that day during that phone call. At some point my feelings for her had turned, they'd become stale. I no longer felt attached to her. It was my sense of commitment that had kept us together. My desire to see things through. That will buttressed my emotionally confusing and unwanted entanglements. She was my first long term girlfriend, I'd been happy I'd cared. I was no longer happy with her, I no longer cared.

"I don't know, I don't know what you can do, I don't know what to do...," she started to sob into the phone.

I held the phone away from my ear for a moment. I wondered if she was faking her tears.

"You never know what to do, so you do what's easiest. You don't break off a relationship even if it comes into conflict with another because it would be too hard. You don't bring the truth to light because its too hard. You can't be alone because its too hard. What was it you said once? 'If I was in a relationship with myself I would end it.'"

"..."

"This is your fault, this is your responsibility. You've made choices. You chose to cheat on me. You chose not to try to gain my trust. You chose to hedge your bets. That said I made my own choices. I chose to leave, I chose to try to patch things up, I'm not saying that I'm clear of all the wrong but you've made choices."

Again there was silence on the other end of the phone. I was getting tired of the conversation. It had an emotionally exhaustive quality to it. We sat in silence.

"Its my fault," she said with no tone.

"Is that a question or a statement. I believe its the latter." I nodded my head and looked at the wall. I was sitting on the edge of my bed. The video game before me looked alluring. Outside of the window came the sounds of Bangkok's constant construction. I'd like to remember that last bit being the way the conversation ended. Instead there was more silence, more wasted time.

"I've got to go, the supermarket is closing soon and I need to pick up things," I finally said.

"Isn't it noon there."

"The supermarket closes early today, some sort of election thing," I replied. I hung up the phone and sighed. I laid down on my bed feeling relieved. It was as if I had just bathed after descending into a New York City sewer or a Bangkok Khlong. I sat back up and started playing my video game again.