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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Sleeping Serial Killer

They come for me.

They know I've killed their kind. Murdered, coldly. Flush them them, grind them under my heel. I'll wipe their guts all over and not think twice.

I was asleep. Dreaming, deeply. I was in a shantytown and the walls were crumbling and the holes revealed maggots and grubs. The people even had bugs crawling out of their hair, long since given up trying to kill them. They live with them. I ended up in a pit where bareknuckle fighters--


Something landed on my face.

At some level, I knew it wasn't part of the dream. Something landed on my real face, in the flesh. And I knew what it was.

Not completely awake, I lay still, sensing the dark the room. I couldn't let it escape or there'd be no sleeping the rest of the night, not with it in the room. Nor would my wife. In a black room, eyes closed, the ceiling fan blowing, I snatched at my pillow only a few inches from my head.

Halfway to the bathroom, I wondered if this was real life. Did I just dream this? Is there really something in my hand? Did I just do that?

I threw the contents in the toilet. There, swimming freely, wings splayed, was a fully grown cockroach. I flushed him from the world. He could haunt the sewer system, but not our bedroom.

I didn't tell my wife. She'd never sleep again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Starbucks Experience


I can't help look at the receipt for a cup of joe I can make at home for 10 cents. My wife reminds me I'm paying for the experience. The Starbucks Experience.

Non-offensive music.

Cushy chairs.

Bubbling baristas.

I'm dropping my daughter off at camp, I've got 2 hours to kill. As much as I cringe over the receipt, it's the perfect place to go knock out some writing. The employees seem very happy. I mean, super happy. That's part of the Starbucks Experience. It came with my cup of medium roast joe with room for milk or cream.

The Starbuck Experience is heightened when a guy in line tells the guy behind him to go back to Jersey. They argue traffic. I try not to look. Sadly, it ends there. The Starbucks Experience does not include bare-knuckle fighting.

The baristas seem unperturbed by the near melee. Still super happy, I don't know how they do it. But then one barista asks another one - one with long pigtails - to throw a muffin or scone or chocolate-crammed cake funnel into a toaster.

Pig-tails says, "You want me to THROW it in, or PLACE it in?"

Barista number one says this. "Whatever."

I didn't think it was possible, but the Starbucks Experience just got better.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Am My Mother

All my life, I've watched my mother spontaneously fall asleep in all places. When the bell strikes 8, she'll be unconscious on a couch, in a chairs, in a movie. Name it, she'll sleep on it. One second she's awake, the next she's mashing her face into her palm.

Mom (right) face-mashed asleep 45 years ago.

She's fallen asleep in mid-sentence, more than once. No joke.

Mom. Still face-mashing.
Now I have joined the club.

Take a week of early rising, add a dash of heat, 3 pounds of Italian food and mix in 3 beers (okay, 4) and stir. This is the recipe to becoming my mother.

We were with friends at a restaurant. Afterwards, we stopped at our house for a closer. I just wanted to sit down. I remember laying on the floor with the dogs. I vaguely remember laughter, something laid over me. Something flashing. Half an hour later, I came to (barely).

There were pictures of stuffed animals on my shoulder, blankets over my head. There were pictures of friends posing next to me. They were laughing. I had sleep-face. I fell asleep while talking to my wife.

If this was college, I'd be missing an eyebrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Sword and the Cute Little Turquoise Shirt

I was at a softball camp. It was a sea of bat-wielding, glove-bearing females. A game got started. The coaches were shouting and clapping and people were stomping and sliding. I asked my sister-in-law which one was the head coach.

She's the one with a sleeveless turquoise shirt and white shorts that go to the knees.

Oh. Turquoise. And something else. And... could you point at her?

All I know is people were wearing clothes. That's it. No colors or styles or brands. Hell, I couldn't tell you if they all had both eyes. There were people on the field playing softball and they were wearing clothes. That's all I took in.

Action, first. Details, second.

Lanna style sword, Northern Thailand, Southeast Asia, Asia (1890-90232 / 238-4895 © Robert Harding Picture Library)

A reviewer once commented on my writing. She pointed out the difference between male and female authors.

Jake stood 6-foot. His tan scalp beaded with perspiration that tracked into his ice-blue eyes. His callused hand rested on the hilt of his weapon, the gold rings glittered with rubies and emeralds clicking on the metal handle in a rhythm not to be mistaken for nervousness. But anticipation. His fingernails were chipped, broken and soiled with blood. The same blood smeared across his blue tunic that fit snugly across his chest. The leather boots -- the heels worn through -- strapped up to but not over his knees. The nostrils of his wide nose flared. He smelled an enemy. The rings tapped the sword as he unsheathed it...

The sword is 4' long. Jake cut the other guy's head off with it. 

I suppose she has a point.