Friday, May 30, 2008

I'll do Graffitti if you sing to me in French

Her bedroom was on the second floor of a brick building in Berkeley. From the street I could see through the curtains and into her room. My view prevented me from seeing anything other than the yellow coloring of her ceiling. I wondered if she was in the room already. I scuffed the sole of my shoe on the ground and began to walk the fifteen blocks home.

We'd spent the evening together. I'd met her at her house at 7pm and then we went out to dinner. We walked from her apartment off of Derby to Tuk Tuk Thai, a local and cheap Thai restaurant. The restaraunt was located on Shattuck one of the main streets in Berkeley. The restaraunt was large and open. I liked it for its decent fare, both in price and quality of food.

When looked at the food menu for several minutes and when the waiter came over I ordered the vegetarian Panang and she got the Pad Thai.

"How is your food," I asked, breaking the silence, after we had recieved our dishes.

"Its okay. I like the Pad Thai a little spicier though. It tastes a little funny. I wonder if they put fish sauce in it."

"Let me try it," I said sticking my fork out. She picked up her plate and leaned it towards me. I shoveled a small bit of noodle and tofu onto my utensil. Once the food was secure on my fork I moved the fork around. "Here comes the airplane," I said as I put the food into my mouth. She groaned and rolled her brown eyes. "It tastes okay. I don't taste fish sauce. Its not very spicy."

"Its okay. I like the Pad Thai at that restaurant down the street a little better. Have you ever been there? I think its called Red Chaba?"

"No, I haven't."

"Its really good. The Pad Thai is way spicier and it has more peanuts."

We fell into a silence. I pushed some rice around on my dish. I looked at her. She was looking down at her food. Her brown hair covered her young face. Although she was only a year younger than me at 23, her skin gave her a softness that made five more years melt away. A wave of emotion came over me. I wanted to say something to her but couldn't seem to get the words out. I wondered what she was thinking. I wanted to hear her say she was thinking of me, of desire, of wanting. She looked up and I turned my eyes away.

"How is the band going," she asked.

"Its okay. We recently got a new bass player. His name is Arthur. I met him at the art store, he's a clerk there. I used to go into the art store all the time. He came into the restaurant once and I bought him a couple of drinks. We went out to the Missouri Lounge once and became occasional drinking buddies. About a month ago he told me that he played bass. I told him that we had a spot open in the band and asked him if he wanted in."

"That's good. When do you think you'll be playing a show?"

"I really don't know. I'd like the band to play in a the next month. We just have to get Arthur a caught up on the songs."

"How many times have you played so far?"

"Well, we played once in Mike's basement, were you there for that?"

"No. I don't think so."

"Well there was that one, and then two at the Stork Club, and one at the Acme. So I guess four all together."

"That's pretty good."

"Yeah, I think so. What about you? Do you play any instruments?"

"When I was in high school I played the violin. I was the second seat in the high school orchestra. My music teacher wanted me to join the county orchestra, and to practice more but I lost my desire after a while."


"Why what?"

"Why did you lose your desire to play?"

"I don't know. I guess it just lost its appeal." She shrugged her shoulders and pushed around her noodles. I looked for our waiter. I waved my hand for him.

"Yes," the waiter asked.

"Can we get the bill?"

"Sure, one moment." The waiter went off for the bill and returned a few minutes later. The passage of time was spent in silence.

"How much is it?"

"Don't worry about it. I'll get it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, of course. You can buy dinner next time." I put down a twenty dollar bill and grabbed my hoodie from the back of the chair. I threw it on. "Are you ready?"

"Yeah, let's go." She grabbed her blue sweater from the chair next to her and put it on. I paid close attention to the sound of the zipper running up her middle. She moved away from the table and towards the door. I looked down at the floor, which was made of an unassuming white tile. The tiling led my eye to her shoes, they were black slip ons. Shaped like ballerina shoes I wondered if she had ever been a dancer. I opened the door for her and hoped that she would skip out onto the sidewalk and pirouette. My hopes were met with disappointment. She stood on the tarmac and looked up towards the sky. I let my fingers slide off the door handle and began walking down the street next to her.

It was a cold. It was late spring, but there was a slight breeze that chilled my body. I pulled my hood over my head. I dropped my hand to my side then looked down at it. "Should I slip it in hers," I thought to myself.

"Are you cold," I asked.

"A little. I wish I had worn a warmer shirt."

I rubbed her arm for a moment and then let my arm fall back to my side. I was worried that my nervousness would reveal itself. We walked most of the way to her house in silence. At moments I would start to speak, I would think of things to say, but I would let the words die in my mouth before they came to life on my tongue.

She turned towards me when we reached the front of her house.

"Thanks for dinner."

"Uh yeah no problem." I moved towards her. She turned her body to the side and hugged me.

"Stay in touch. I'll see you soon," she said. She pivoted away and ran to her door. "Bye," she shouted as she went inside.

I stood outside on the street. "I should have said something," I thought to myself. The walk home was cold. The breeze continued to blow. It kept me slightly chilly.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Writer's block

When the computer gave the message telling me there was an error in the word document I ignored it and hit enter. The message came up again. Again I hit enter. The message popped up again, and I felt a small jab in the face. My finger smashed the enter key. There was a second of respite and I breathed out. Then the error message came up once more. My fingers hit the control alt delete buttons, and nothing happened, the error message stared at me, taunting me.

I started to curse. I'd gotten two paragraphs into my story. I'd had writer's block for the last four weeks and finally my hand was loosening up. I was inspired, I was on a roll, I had a beautiful momentum then my computer fucked up. I could feel my imaginative story about two punk rock kids growing up fading being replaced by a blinding, white, anger.

I got up out of my chair and walked into the living room.

"Bryan, have you been using my computer," I shouted into the air.

There was a moment of silence then Bryan replied with a grunt from his room. I walked to his door and flung it open. Bryan was sprawled out on his bed, blankets covering his head, while his legs were bare to the air.

"Were you using my computer," I said.

"uhhh, what," he replied.

I tried to enunciate my words for his retarded brain. "Have, you been using my computer?"

"I think yesterday or the day before I checked my email. Can we talk about this later? I'm trying to sleep."

"I don't give a fuck about your sleep. You were looking at internet porn. I know it because my computer shit the bed. You gave me computer digital AIDS you bastard!"


"You fucking shit head!" In a further step down the road of cathartic rage I slammed his door shut as I stormed out. I marched back into my room and sat down. I pushed the enter button. The error message came back like a boomerang. I hit the button again, again the same reply. I breathed in deeply and decided that I would hit the button one hundred times. At ninety-nine I'd entered a state of zen. It didn't matter anymore, it doesn't matter, I kept telling myself. My finger hovered over the enter button and gingerly sank on the key.

"Fuck," I said aloud when the message repeared with its same mocking words.

I grabbed the keyboard and ripped it from the computer and threw it against the wall. The keyboard smashed into pieces. The small keys were spread across my floor. I kicked the box that contained the computer's hard drive then yanked the power cord from the socket.

"Fuck you, you fucking piece of shit machine," I screamed.

I punched the monitor flush on its screen. The impact caused nothing to happen to the monitor with its industrial strength. My knuckles were hurt, however.

"You motherfucking shit bag fucktard."

I grabbed the keyboard off the floor and smacked it against the wall. More keys flew across my room. With the third blow the keyboard broke in half. I flung the part left in my hand across the room making a small dent in my wall. I sighed and sat down on my bed.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck...."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's it like to be old?

When I got home from school I ran up into my room. Davey had given me a new cd. I threw it in my stereo and turned up the volume. The Cock Sparrer's started blaring from the speakers. I looked in my full length mirror, snarled, then shook my hips. It was hard not to invision myself as a punk rock version of Elvis. I'd recently dyed my boring light brown hair into a midnight black and my hair was long enough that it could be styled with vaseline based pomeade products.

After hearing the album three times I laid down on my bed. I stared up in the ceiling and thought about the day. It was pretty dull, I thought to myself. Today in gym class we had to run about the track. I ran the first lap, then walked backwards the second lap with Davey until the gym teacher yelled at the pair of us. The third and fourth laps Davey and I practiced giving the v-sign to the jocks in front of us, their backs to us, their eyes focused on

Monday, May 12, 2008

Much Luck

I was standing at the kitchen sink doing the dishes when she came in. I could tell from her footsteps that she was agitated.

"How was work tonight?" I asked her.

"Fuck. It was terrible," she said.


"This fucking guy threw a plate at me. I mean literally threw a plate of food at me. Look at my shirt. Its fucked. There's ketchup all over my shirt."

"That sucks."

"Then on top of that I got stiffed three times. One of them was the ketchup shit bag, who is another reason why I should never live in Berkeley. The second was this asshole who started yelling at me right after I cleaned up my shirt. After that douchebag threw food all over me I went outside and screamed. While I was outside asshole number 2 thought I was taking far too long. When I came back in he started telling me how I was the worst waitress ever and how I was a complete waste of life. I almost flipped my shit on him. My manager ended up comping his dinner, I don't know why. Asshole number 2 stiffed me on a $40 check. He basically robbed me of at least six dollars. Well even more because I have to pay out the kitchen for some of his food."

I kept washing the dishes, as she talked to me. Her voice seemed to be getting more hoarse. She sat down as she finished her rant. She gave an exasperated sigh.

"You should probably get a new job," I said. "Maybe waitressing isn't the right racket for you. There's a lot of assholes that eat out, and your place definitely attracts a huge chunk of them. Berkeley is a breeding ground for uptight yuppy shit bags."

"I know but what am I going to do? Fuck! I hate the service industry. Its not like I have a shit ton of marketable skills."

"You can make a mean batch of brownies, and you look cute in those pants."

"Thanks, but that's not sound financial advice. I'm just glad that I have tomorrow off. I don't think I could take another day of this shit. I'm impressed with myself that I didn't just walk out of there."

"I know it doesn't mean much, but you should try not to let these people get to you. Are you hungry? I just made some soup."

"Eh, I guess I should eat. Its just so hard. Why do these people have to go around making my life so miserable?"

"I don't know. Maybe they're so miserable that they have to dump it on others. You can't control how they feel, but you can control how you feel. You can be happy if you want to. I know that sounds tacky, but there are things you can do to prevent shit bags from raking on your nerves."

"I know, I know, I'm just having a bad day."

"Yeah, you haven't had much luck lately."

Friday, May 9, 2008