Once Upon That One Time – Chapter 3

Click Here for Part 1 and Here for Part 2

We didn’t eat or drink anything while we were at the castle and the world was a barren wasteland. So we all cooked Kate’s stabbed body outside the castle and made coats from her skin, which totally helped us out. Everyone was psyched minus GBaby and his Emu but they were skin hungry and asked to eat all the skin themselves and we were like, no we need coats, so we didn’t care that they were sad. Marc called dibs on the torso. Everyone obliged.

Ralph, my flying polar bear that spits acid out of its butt and mouth and sometimes ears and nose took off along with Seph and Abigail, leaving everyone else on the ground. For the record, at some point in this story everyone starts flying as all the animals have the ability to fly but they must become in tune with their master in order to do so. Ralph and I were tight, so he could fly already. Seph and Abby were like two peas in a pod who could tear apart antelopes, so they were good too. Marc and his Rhino “Carl” were close but they were always fighting about who has the better beard/horn so they just weren’t there yet.

So we all were heading towards The Disciples layer to see what’s what cause we figure we need to see this evil guy for ourselves if we are gonna choose a side although the thought of choosing a side other than our own left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Abby and I spotted a pack of other people at a camp from afar in the middle of the barren wasteland with tents set up and fires going somehow.

We both went down to hovering above the ground and then told everyone to speed up. Adam could not keep up so we left him and his regular iguana there. When we got to the camp site it was empty and the fire that was just lit was now doused. As we entered the center of the encampment, several human beings came out from behind the tents and surrounded us. From the crowd of maybe 20 human beings, all riding some sort of medium sized mammal, 3 mid-20’s gentleman came forward who were the leaders of the group we would come to know as The Range Riders. Their names were Collin, who was riding a Silverback Gorilla with laser eyes, Mitch who was chillin’ in the pouch of a giant kangaroo, and The Steve was riding a brilliant red bull named China Shop. I walked up to Collin cause it turns out we knew these guys, especially Collin because he’s my younger brother and his longtime friends Mitch and The Steve were now leading The Range Riders who live off the land and have no faction, like us. Also they set fire to most things.

Collin said, “Hey, what are you guys doing?”

I replied “We’re heading towards The Disciples layer to see what’s what.”

Elliot said, “We heard The Chancellor is a real dick.”

“Yeah,” said Mike “We want to see it for ourselves.”

“I’m on an Emu!” exclaimed GBaby. Everyone ignored him except Pat who gave him his patented stern nod of acceptance.

“Well,” said The Steve “I wouldn’t do that if I were you guys. It’s a total poop shoot.”

“Why not, also hi. I’m JR. It’s very nice to meet all of you. I really like your Gorilla, he looks top notch.” said JR, the ninja scientist. His giant Elephant Flounder high-fived him with his trunk.

“That shit sucks over there” said Mitch “Ole Chancy Chancellor is a real dick. His cult and him do weird shit all the time like move the continents back together. It’s a real drag. ZING.”

“That all sounds stupid.” Said Marc while poking his Rhino in the face to make sure Carl the Rhino knew what was what. Carl did not approve.

“Stop poking Carl, Marc. He’s going to retaliate.” Abby said making a solid point.

“He knows the rules,” Marc said “I’m the king of this here domain.”

“Alright then, just wait for him to impale you I guess.” Abby said while teaching her eagle about the importance of hydrogen bonds.

“My roots are growing out!” Steph yelled out of nowhere, “which makes me look like I’m not even trying.” Steph said even louder while looking at her hair through a mirror that she made out of crushed limestone while riding full speed on her translucent jaguar on the way to this moment like a true boss.

“Does that really matter right now, ladyface? We’re over here trying to save what’s left of this weird world.” Asked Michael.

Steph replied, “Uhhh yeah it does Mike, I’m over here lookin’ fierce, and it’s the main reason we’re constantly doing so well, so, like, whatever shut up.”

“Yeah,” Collin said “Just maybe never go over there bros. Nothing good can come from going over there and messing with that crazy dude.”

“This guy seems like a real ass hole” I said. “Someone should sick a large animal on him to eat him while he is still living.” Everyone concurred. “What do you guys say? You wanna go fuck some shit up for the sake of fucking some shit up?” Everyone cheered except for Adam because him and his iguana had just gotten there in time for us to start walking again.

“This is bull shit guys” Adam said while wearing shorts all the time.

“Hey Adam,” Elliot piped up for the first time in a while cause I forgot he was here for a second, “When you gonna finally teach that iguana to be at all useful?”

“When you don’t cry at the end of Toy Story 3, dick.” Adam said with malice, punching at the sky in heat.

“Shut up ya good gosh darn fuckface!” Elliot boisterously threw his words like anchors into the sea, “It’s a sad story about love and loss. WHATEVER DON’T EVEN. SHUT IT WITH THE YA KNOW. I CAN’T EVEN RIGHT NOW.”

“BUT CAN YOU EVEN?” Steph cheered.

“NO. I CAN’T EVEN. THAT’S THE POINT OF TALKING IN CAPS LOCK.” Elliot took a breath and calmed down. Koo and Stew, his penguins who were underneath/attached to his feet looked up at Elliot like he was a crazy person which is an unsubstantiated fact maybe.

“You guys should go before the sky turns off the light.” Collin said.

“That was a weird thing to say,” I replied “But you’re right. Let’s head out.”

“I’m still on this Emu!” GBaby once again said out loud for some reason. No one cared still and we all moved on. But GBaby didn’t care cause he lives his life like nobody is watching except for his Emu who is always there so it’s a pretty straight forward system for living that he is comfortable within and he doesn’t have to explain that to anyone, so he doesn’t. Then the Emu made a face like he was saying “whaaaaaaaat.” We all laughed and we went on our way.

Once Upon That One Time – Chapter 2

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Click Here for Part 1

Once Upon That One Time – Chapter 2

So, to get us back on track after that jubilant stabbing, we moved away from the giant liquor store that looks strikingly like the Lincoln Memorial and everyone is having a grand ole time watching Elliot ride around on his penguins who are using rusted out cars and broken sidewalks as their own personal half pipes.

“Be careful!” I yelled ahead to Elliot, Koo, and Stew, “The sun is hot today and all the ice your penguins are making will turn to puddles!” I yelled again.

Elliot said, “I don’t care about puddles, I live in puddles, I am a puddle, no one owns me!!!” Then he fell down. It was hilarious.

Abby, from far above everyone on her eagle king except me cause my polar bear Ralph can fly, called out that we were coming up on a building. GBaby sped up on his Emu and it started a race of epic proportions. Adam was in last cause his iguana didn’t give a shit, Kate was still dead, Elliot slipped, Abby and I flew, and Marc and Mike trampled on their rhino and moose respectively. Pat was on a bear. Steph and JR had time to perform a transcendent interpretive dance to the classic “My Heart will Go On” and still managed to beat everyone there on their mighty JagEphant duo.

Once we all reached the building, except Adam who was way back screaming obscenities at his iguana and Kate who was dead, we realized it was a giant yellow fortress, like if a castle was thrown up on by the yellow brick road. The gates opened immediately and we were met by a beautiful man on a metallic demon horse. The man had baller ass armor on and lifted his visor to show that it was in fact Dylan, who we totally knew from back in the day when the world wasn’t shit.

Dylan was all like, “Welcome to The Colony where the bitches flow like wine and the wine flows like blood.” Everyone thought that was weird. All 20 of the peasants came out from their homes to pet GBaby’s Emu. The rest of us, including Adam now who was now whipping his iguana with Twizzlers, went into the main gates and down a long hall way filled with empty dip and dots carts that lead to a big fucking door. The door opened and inside was a bright white room that had a bunch of chairs and a table in the middle of it. At that table there were no chairs, just 4 people sitting on their genetically mutated animals talking about whatever.

Among them were Jess and Jo, two 20 something Asian American ladies whom rode Lelu and Lela the conjoined and hyper smell sensitive pandas as well as Allie “The Knife” Rivera who rode a robot crocodile with machetes for arms and Cain Xavier who has an awesome name and is cute until she and Allie stab you in the face and rides an orange bobcat with machetes for teeth. They were all like, “whatchu peeps doing all up in the Colony?”

So we told them this was the only place left and they were like yeah we know and Dylan was all like, you guys want wine? And I was like, totally.

Then we all sat down to talk and we found out Dylan was the head of security for The Colony and the council of 5 run that shit like it’s their job cause it for serious is. They were in an all-out war with The Chancellor of The Disciples and needed help from us, The Outlaws. To which we were all like, “stahp, what?”

They told us that anyone who isn’t factioned with The Colony or the Disciples were considered Outlaws and that we needed to choose a side.

Firstly I said, “I don’t even know what the other side is! I didn’t even know we were in a war, how can I pick a side if I don’t know anything about what’s going on?”

Then Abby said, “And furthermore why is there a war in the first place?”

Then Jasper the wise old Moose said, “Is this fighting really necessary?” To which Mike high fived him cause he made a good point. Steph sorta cringed on top of her Jaguar cause moose freak her out, especially moose who can talk.

Then GBaby said, “I’m on an Emu.” Everyone agreed. Also during this Elliot was just using the walls to penguin board, Pat was playing checkers with his bear, Marc was destroying columns with his Rhino, Adam was teaching his Iguana to love, and Kate was still very very dead.

Jess and Jo then said something in unison which was weird, “You guys should all join us and we can take down The Chancellor together” to which Allie and Cain were all like, “yeah that makes a lot of sense, The Chancellor is a douche nozzle and is trying to eradicate everyone’s existence including his own while he rides his giant squid and constantly playing “The River of Dreams” by Billy Joel on a boom box he holds to the sky in defiance of all things sacred.”

“I like that song” said Adam. Almost everyone agreed except for GBaby’s Emu. That Emu is a real prick, but he’s good at being an Emu, so I respect him.

Jess and Jo said (still together like those girls in The Shining, and still weird) “You peeps gotta join us or were not gonna be friends, straight up, dawg.” Cain and Allie sorta agreed. Apparently since the fall of man The Colony changed their main language from English to Ebonics. A bold move on all accounts.

Marc said, “Yall Panda ridin’ pucky poppers threatening us?” His Rhino sneered with delight from the thought of fighting some hooligans. Then Allie pulled a knife, like she pretty much always does.

Pat’s bear didn’t say anything because he was a bear and was busy getting the shit kicked out of him by Pat in checkers. Pat was getting better at checkers every day. The Bear was not. Cause he’s a bear.

Elliot painted the wall with puddles. “Puddle power!” He screamed.

Allie and Cain were waving around sharp objects and Cain was all like, “Dudes you gotta join up, if you’re not with us you’re against us. We’re trying to take down pure evil and see no reason why you can’t see that for yourselves. Everything we do is to try and save this world from pure destruction. The Chancellor will be truly happy to see this world be eaten up by itself!”

Then Cain followed that up with, “And to see the people devour one another before the sun explodes, ending us all including him and his squid. All he wants is to be the last one dying. Standing by himself on this earth until his Squid ingests him for nourishment, dawgs. Is that what you people want?”

You people?!” Screamed Steph from her now translucent Jaguar that changes colors based on what Stephanie’s mood is.

“I’m offended I guess? I don’t know. Do you guys have any milk shakes around or maybe a pack of dogs for Flounder the giant elephant and I to frolic with?” asked JR with a perfectly reasonable question.

“No, sorry, we don’t.” Dylan pouted, as he was super sad about this too. Everyone was disappointed by this seemingly arbitrary news.

So we got outta there fast. While leaving, Dylan brought us out on his jacked up metallic horse with hoofs as strong as plastic packaging electronics come in and said unto us, “I’ll give you bros a day to get away, but then we gotta come after you, yo. The peeps are all pissed. So it goes, ya know, daddio?”

No one understood Dylan’s jacked up jive turkey Ebonics so we just left in a hurry. And that’s what it is.

Once Upon That One Time – Chapter 1

My name is Ryan, I’m 50 years ahead in time of whenever you are right now, and shit has — Just. Gotten. Real.

I know, that’s confusing, and I don’t care. Listen, I don’t have a lot of time. Only like, the next few hours, and then all hell is gonna break loose. Before that happens I’m writing everything that has happened in this past year to me, my friends, and the race we still call human beings. That hasn’t changed. A bunch of stuff has changed, but we still get called that, so there’s at least one win for us. Chock that shit up to the score board, ass holes.

49 years from where you are right now is pretty much the same. It has cars that don’t fly and run on crude oil, it has solar panels that no one uses except for like 3 people and they’re always so uppity about it, and the President of the United States is a white dude and has been since that one time that other thing happened. Then it all went haywire. Because white people are the worst. In case it all goes badly I’m going to write down everything that’s happened as quickly as I can and then put this letter into the time capsule code named “Plot Device” that can very actually go back in time and warn everyone what this planet has become – which is full of ass holes.

See, it all started when this science lab where scientists were paid to do science did something other than science. They might of accidentally sort of started a chain of events that ended in all of the remaining animals on the earth to evolve into genetically enhanced versions of themselves that you could tame if you had the balls. After that, the rest of the animals (who were not already paired up with a human being) were killed off or went to the woods or something, point is they are gone. Now the only human beings and animals left on this earth have their friends and each other. Some notes that are important to the story and that I won’t explain because there isn’t time and also fuck you is that some of these animals can talk, and some can’t. The ones who can’t talk aren’t called dumb to their faces cause that’s just mean but…they are. Sometimes that matches up with the human riding them, sometimes it doesn’t. Whatever blah blah so on and so forth.

Other important things include that there are about 1000 people left alive on earth, the sun is getting hotter each and every day, Pangaea is a thing again so the land is just all mushed together, and there is an ongoing war between the two factions called The Colony and The Disciples Inside the Calamity Kingdoms. I didn’t choose those names, someone else did. Also there are The Outlaws who aren’t really a faction, they are just people who don’t give a shit and are on their own side. That’s where my friends and I come in.

We are the leaders of The Outlaws. Pretty sweet, right? Yeah, I know it totally is.

Are job is to fuck shit up. For everyone. All the time. No matter who is doing what, we fuck it up. We figure the sun will roast us alive, the seas will swallow us whole, or everyone will end up getting stabbed in the face – so we might as well have some fun before any of that happens.

Before I go on with all that has happened in the past year I have to tell you about my crew. I can’t just start using names and telling stories without you knowing some background on these people. First off there is no leader, there are alphas and betas but we all decide what to do together. We aren’t some group of douche bags with one biggest douche bag who thinks they know best. No one knows best. People who think they know best is what got this planet into the situation in the first place. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll tell you bout my peeps.

There’s Abby and Mike who are married to each other. Abby, the cunning and the bold, rides Sepharoph (Seph for short) who is the king of the eagles. Mike, the logic and the balance, rides Jasper, the aging moose who is as wise as the amount of years he’s been alive grant him to be. Elliot, the wildcard, rides the Emperor Penguin Duo Koo and Stew who are strapped to his feet and make ice with their belly’s so he can slide around everywhere. Koo and Stew and stronger than most penguins and don’t like each other or change or learn lessons. There’s also Pat, who is on a brown bear that hasn’t changed at all.

Stephanie and JR are here too, they are engaged to be married on a mountain. Steph, the no bullshit go-getter and JR the deceptively kind ninja scientist ride on an albino Jaguar named Bertram and an Elephant the size of a house named Flounder, respectively. Marc, the hungry and bearded, rides a Rhino named Carl with steel for a horn that Marc forged himself in an erupting volcano. As for me, I’m on my trusty flying polar bear named Ralph who shoots acid out of every hole he has in his body. (that includes his butt)

Adam is on an iguana. GBaby is on an Emu. Kate walks. Also there are others who I will get too later as their story wouldn’t make sense yet.

So all of us are in the outpost like a year ago and then some shit got to shakin’, and I mean shaking bad. The earth basically had a fuckin’ heart attacked and changed all of its shit up. The Chancellor, the dick head leader of The Disciples, built a gravity device that brought all of the continents together again because, and I’m quoting Mr. Chancellor here, “Who needs friends when you made the continents friends once more.” Sad as shit, I know.

As all of this is going on my friends and I are all sitting around, probably intoxicated, and being all like, “woah what’s going on?” Then we found out everyone was going nuts and dying and we said to ourselves, “let’s ride our animal friends into the night and see what’s to do.” So we all jumped aboard our animal friends except for Kate because she walks and went to the biggest building we could find immediately which was a liquor store that was made to look like the Lincoln Memorial. Inside we see the guy standing behind the register who is set atop a big fucking lion.

“Whatchu doin’ fools?” said the guy with the big fucking lion. Then we proceeded to explain to him what was happening outside and he was like “we should drink” to which we were all like “yeah that makes sense.” So we all start getting fucking wasted and next thing you know we sleep through the next few weeks and wake up, only to go outside and see a barren wasteland with nothing left standing as far as the human eyes can see. Seph, Abigail’s eagle friend, flew into the sky and told us that she could see something so we all hopped aboard our animals and headed off once more.

Except Kate. She got stabbed by that Lion.

7 Real Decisions to Make Your Life Better

1. Make something…

There is no joy in life like creating a thing that wasn’t previously a thing. Draw a picture. Take a picture. Paint with all the colors of the wind. Sew some cloth until you have a sweet hat ala Abraham Lincoln. Glue some stuff together. Pee in the snow. Build a chair. Duct tape a bottle opener to a knife. Write a song. Write a story. Start a blog. Get a journal and write anything down that is in your head. Be a creator of things. If you used to do some of these things and stopped because you don’t have the time, that is bull pucky. You’re just being lazy. You aren’t the President of the United States, you don’t have a schedule that spans into the coming months, you watch TV for hours sometimes. Take one of those hours and leave your mark on the world. A mark is a mark no matter how small. I think Dr. Seuss paraphrased that in some way.

2. When someone compliments you for whatever reason always start off with a smile and a thank you

If you’re like me, getting complimented is nerve racking. I have no idea what to say back to someone being nice. It’s the weirdest. But as I’ve learned, when you are being complimented, it’s not all for you – in fact most of it is for the person doing the complimenting as it makes them feel better about themselves through genuine kindness. So just say thank you, smile, and remember next time that person does a kick flip or eats a pancake really fast to look them dead in the eyes and say, “You are good at that. Praise be to you.” You know, something a normal human being would say.

3. Pick up an instrument…

It’s never too late to put a tiny amount of effort into a musical instrument so that you can trick people into thinking you can play that one John Mayer song at a party. Breath gently into a harmonica enough and you could be the lead singer of Blues Traveler. If you can’t afford a real instrument, you could always learn to beatbox because most people have mouths. Just keep saying the phrase “boots and cats” a bunch of times in a row and you’re basically a master beat-boxer.

4. Get a pet…

Anything. Maybe it’s a hamster, maybe it’s a very pretty rock. Sometimes you need to add a life to yours in order to be living for something outside of yourself. Having to feed something that is too stupid to feed itself can be oddly rewarding. Get very literally any kind of pet that is legal where you live. Do not tell the police you have a Tiger because you read this article, though. You don’t know me. Also, if you already have a pet, look at it at least once a day and say, “I am doing a very good job at keeping you alive and the evidence of that is right in front of me. Because you’re still super good at moving and/or having a heart beat.”

5. Start being psyched about tiny things…

When you heat up a meal to the exact temperature your mouth wanted on the first try, be excited. When you almost drop a thing but then miraculously your cat like reflexes that are NEVER AROUND WHEN YOU NEED THEM kick in and you totally catch that shit. Also, when you dance by yourself naked in your room after your shower and you pulled off that moon walk thing better than you ever have before – Celebrate like your future career as a back up dancer for Prince depends on it.

6. Start using the term “Throwing Shade”…

…As often as possible to describe when you give someone a look that is straight up ferocious after they say words you don’t like. It just sounds cooler than “looking like a bitch.” Plus, Beyonce does it. Need I say more? Well, I’m not gonna, so there.

7. Be proud…

…Of what you accomplish but do not shove it into people’s faces against their will. I can’t tell you how many times people have made me rage quit Facebook because they are being showboaty dick bags. Sharing is important – Validation is needed – and your life deserves an open canvas for everyone to see – but if you don’t inject a bit of humility when you tell everyone about how awesome you are doing, they will straight up think you are a turd.

That Time My Blind Date Stood Me Up Because She Was Going to Jail

I must preface all of this with a statement: This story is true. I changed one name because this is a real story and I don’t want to offend anyone, but it’s a story that I’ve been telling to friends for years and that I finally figured I’d write down. So here it goes.

My mother is wonderful. She is loving and caring and always wants what’s best for my brother and I. But, I am 26 now and you can kind of tell she’s getting antsy for me to be in a relationship that eventually leads to grandchildren. This manifests itself quite often in sentences that start like, “There’s this great girl I know that you should so on and so forth plus other words.” When she says that now I always refuse the offer for two reasons. The first is, when I meet the girl of my dreams I don’t want our story to start off with, “Well, my mom!” The second reason is this story I’m about to tell you.

In 2011 my life was a weird roller coaster full of long hours at work (which I was traveling every week to Long Island for, staying for 5 days, then coming home for the weekends) and treating myself badly. That’s all I did for a solid year. Within that year my mother started to offer up female candidates for me to meet and after a while of vehemently refusing, I said yes. Mostly to make her stop asking, but secondarily because, “Hey, it might work!?”

Her name was Greta. She lived down in New Haven, 30 minutes away from where I reside, and worked with my mom. All my mom knew about her was that she was a nice mid-twenties human being who always got a ride to work, played roller derby, and was not a lesbian. Oh, how did my mom know that last part you ask? Well, that got handled pretty quickly with this pointed sentence from my mother, “So, you gay?” To which Greta replied, “No.”

So as modern technologically based love stories go, I added her on Facebook. I was spending my weeks in a hotel so I had a lot of free time on my hands which I  used that one week to talk to Greta constantly. We told each other about our lives, I told her I liked drumming and writing, she told me she liked hitting people while on roller skates – so it was going well.

The next week I decided to take a leap. I hadn’t gone on a proper date in a very long time so I just came out and asked her. And she said yes! I was flabbergasted. We were going to go to a coffee house that’s near her house (she didn’t’ have a car so driving somewhere wasn’t an option) and meet around 12pm on Saturday for some dark coffee and light conversation.

The entire drive down I had all the windows open and the music blasting to try and keep me from sweating bullets while my mind raced about what I had chosen to wear and what I’m going to say and more importantly, where I’m going to park my car in New Haven so that someone doesn’t steal all of my belongings. I finally parked around the corner (still 20 minutes early) and wandered my way to the coffee shop. This place was awesome – filled with Yale professors grading papers and Yalie students being students who go to Yale. I was a bit out of place with my forest green plaid long sleeve and dark jeans, but Greta and I had talked recently about how she loved dark flannel shirts, so I went for it. I go up to the counter, look at the menu that is one million options long, and say “the double espresso please” because I’m an idiot.

After I got the tiny shot glass of a drink I sat down and started looking at Facebook, the way you do when you’re trying to pass time. While not paying attention my body decided to drink the espresso like it was a normal coffee, so within 5 minutes it was all gone. Still 10 minutes to go until she arrived and my leg was now in a full blown tremor. I saw a newspaper on the ground near me and picked it up because every moron spouting their opinions and personal records on Facebook were making me angry so I opened up the newspaper to read. It was a bit of a futile endeavor though due to the fact that my hands were shaking so badly I couldn’t read any of the words. So I put the newspaper down and found a clock above the counter. Still had 5 minutes. So I sat in silence for what I thought was going to be 5 minutes.

5 minutes passes. I’m watching the door like a hawk and checking my phone for the time every few seconds. She’s not there. 10 minutes passes, nothing. 20 minutes, nothing. I called her phone number, it was turned off. I Facebook messaged her, got no response. Half hour late, nothing. Called her again, still turned off. At this point I had a little bit of hope left but my buzz was leaving me so I got another drink – it was a regular coffee this time.

40 minutes late, nothing. The coffee I ordered came with a napkin and back in those days I had a pen in my pocket at all times for some reason so I took it out and started drawing. Pointillism is the kind of painting that is just little dots up close but when you zoom out it makes an actual picture. I decided to try it out with a painting of palm tree on a tiny island in the middle of a lonely ocean. Not a metaphor at all.

When I looked up from the finished drawing, she was an hour late and my coffee was all gone. So, with my symbolic tail tucked between my legs I got back in my car and drove home. That weekend I told my friends about the date that wasn’t which they said they were sorry about and I started to move on with my life – a life where people ditch me for utterly no reason….that is, until we got to Monday.

My Mother had called to ask how the date went on Saturday and I had told her she didn’t show up which was odd, because I thought we were getting along well. My Mom, the protective lion mother she is, was not at all happy with her son being ditched and marched into school on Monday preparing to demand an answer. But low and behold, Greta was not there. In fact, no one knew where Greta was until the end of the day where a notice came from the State of Connecticut expressing to her place of employment that Greta would not be showing up for a very long time.

Turns out Greta had committed her 3rd DUI in 3 years about 6 months prior to the date day. In this final DUI she caused a 4 car pileup on a bridge that injured 4 people including an infant. Greta was taken to the hospital and after being cleared was told to wait in her bed for the police to arrive to ask her questions. So she did what any fine upstanding citizen would do – she waited for the doctor to leave and then fled the scene. The next day the police found her at home hiding in her closet and brought her to jail. She posted her bail, and had a court date set. That court date was the morning of our date day, where she was told she would be going to a Connecticut based correctional facility for 3 years for her crimes. After she got this news she apparently wasn’t up for coffee.

The reason she didn’t have a car and didn’t drive to work herself was that she couldn’t have a car. Legally. The Government didn’t let her. I didn’t know if I felt better or worse about the situation. On one hand I understood the predicament she was in. What was she supposed to say to me over coffee, “Oh my future? Well, probably a lot of working out and not talking to strangers! Hope I look good in Orange!” Probably not the most uplifting of scenarios for her. On the other hand if I had just gotten convicted and sentenced to jail (which she had to report to 3 days later) I would have needed a drink badly – and what better person to pull out of a coffee bar and into a real bar than a complete stranger. Then you very obviously run away with them. This movie writes itself.

Needless to say I haven’t seen Greta since…in fact I never met her in the first place. But out of all the date stories I have, this one is probably the most interesting to tell and easy one to speculate on. And because I fancy myself a bit of a novice screenwriter I just HAD to try it out as a script. So, CLICK HERE – this is the first 10 minutes of a movie based on what I thought should have happened between myself and Greta, but with new characters names and a fictional back story. Hope you enjoy it.

 

I Forget What Love Feels Like: Free Write

I forget what love feels like. That sounds overly dramatic, and it is. But hear me out. The last time I was in love was almost three years ago now. I remember being within love. I know that everyone experiences the state of love differently. For me it’s always been a very cerebral process of adding an asset to my life and then adapting to being plural by making the relationship better than both its parts. My brain does that by itself. That is not an effort that I wrote down years ago and then repeated due to overwhelming success. In fact, every relationship I’ve ever been in has failed. If you’re not currently in a relationship or married, every romantic relationship you have ever been within has failed. That’s one of my life hypotheses I always harp on along with white people being the worst kind of people hands down. Those are two of my strongest beliefs…..yeah. Come on over, ladies.

Let me get back to my initial point. If I was to act out a love scene right now, which in the future I will most likely have to do since I write films that have me in them and I use films to act out relationships I wished I had in the first place –  so chances are I’ll have to act out being in love at some point in future, it would be just that. Acting. Acting to me is remembering. Remembering that time you felt that feeling, extrapolating it, blowing it up, and then putting it back together with everything you have and performing those moments in time. And right now I’m having trouble remembering.

When I was in love I was a better person. Well, not better. Nicer. Yeah, I’ll go with nicer. My demeanor towards the world as a whole was brighter, at the very least. I am now three years out of love and my view of the world is filled with bird shit on the windshield that wasn’t there before. Turns out though, that most of the time I prefer the bird shit. It’s just those nasty moments before sleep where you can’t help but feel alone in the bed that is meant for two and only serves one. Those moments in time are easy to act out. I have memories of being alone that are from last night. Not a very far reach.

I’ll take it from another angle. My favorite love sense is touch, which is not my favorite life sense (smell, for those baby birds out there wondering.) The best way I can explain it is….Okay, here is a scenario.

You are in bed with your significant other. A person whose faults you’ve come to terms with. You wake up before them and they are facing the other direction. They moved a bunch during the night, hitting you in the face multiple times, but you love them so you resist the urge to beat them with a pillow in the dark. Their body figured out around 4am that it wanted to be the little spoon and it took that position against your will. That’s not the way you wanted to sleep, but you didn’t want to wake them up and you have to get up in a few hours anyway for something you don’t want to do, so you settle in as big spoon and fall back asleep. Now, you’re ass hole internal alarm wakes you up 10 minutes before the actual alarm goes off. You roll slightly to turn the future alarm off then your body rolls over to see their back. They didn’t put on a shirt the night before. It was warm when you two went to sleep. Now it’s cold and they are asleep but shivering. Their back is full of goose bumps. Your hand runs over their shoulder, feeling the bumps against your skin. The hair on their arms raise up to meet your touch. Their torso adjusts but they don’t wake up. You put your hand in between their shoulder blades and wait for your hand and their back to be the same temperature. Then you move your hand over to their arm to keep the part of their body the covers aren’t reaching warm and you watch the goose bumps fade away. You kiss the back of their neck and then slip out of bed as to not wake them. When you’re getting dressed they wake up and watch you without saying anything. Right as you’re about to leave they make fun of you for wearing that piece of clothing from your old life; the shirt or the shoes or the pants that scream “single and not trying to impress anyone.” Their reward for making fun of you is a kiss goodbye. You turn around halfway out the door and show them a tender spot on your face. “You did it again you know. I’m going to have a black eye and the entire world will know who did it. It was you, by the way. I don’t want to be coy about this, you beat me in your sleep, and I’m gonna hashtag the word beat when I tell Facebook what you’ve done.” Then they give you the finger and say “I love you” simultaneously.You say you love them too and now the rest your day is a countdown until you can love them in person again instead of looking in the mirror and poking your eye to remind yourself of how love is a particular kind of insanity that you can’t believe you’re lucky enough to be a part of.

That’s what love feels like to me. I can describe it in detail. I can act it out. But I can’t actually experience that moment right now.

Love is learning the shape of someone’s back.

Love is forgiving them for the terrible things they do in their sleep.

Love is learning the amount of noise you need to make to “accidentally” wake someone up before you leave for the day so that the last thing you do before you go is say goodbye. They will think it’s a coincidence it happens every time but it’s not. It’s only the byproduct of you not being able to live with the thought of it not happening.

Also sometimes, I mix up forgetting something with wanting something.

Graham the Cracker

When I get creatively stunted while writing a certain project my method for getting rid of writers block is making the stupidest thing I can think of. Just turning off my brain, and making something so bad that it hopefully kickstarts my brain back into writing something of worth. I do things like this all the time but I never show people because…well, because they’re dumb. But I figure, it’s funny to me at least a little bit, so it might be funny to one more person. So here ya go, this was today’s. (click to make bigger)

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I’m Afraid

I’m afraid I’m not talented enough to succeed. I’m afraid that even though I put every fiber of my being into achieving my goal, it still won’t happen because I’m just not good enough.

I’m a writer. Out of all of my hobbies, writing is the one I have invested the greatest amount of true work hours into. Malcolm Gladwell said “… researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” That might also remind you of a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song aptly named “10,000 hours,” and for a very good reason, they are based on the same principle. To become an expert at anything according to Mr. Gladwell, you have to put 10,000 hours of practice into whatever it is. To writers, those hours can easily be translated and then subsequently measured by word counts.

So, let’s do some math! Well, I guess I’ll do some math and you just have to keep reading this. Good, I’m glad we had that talk. I am 8 days from being 26 years old and in the spirit of rounding up, let’s just say I’ve been alive for 26 years. I have been literate for 22 of those years. I have been writing stories for 10 of those years. On a weekly basis I average 800 written words, most of which are not publishable. That number includes weeks that I’ve written 20,000 words (that happened one time – it was a very good week) and others when I have written absolutely nothing.

4 x 800 = 3200 words a month

3200 x 12 = 38400 words a year

38400 x 10 years = 384000 words all time

For reference the book I just finished reading, Divergent, has 105,000 words. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is 76,944 words. Ulysses by James Joyce is 265,000 words. The longest novel ever recorded is Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard coming in at 1.2 million words. Granted, L. Ron Hubbard can sometimes be described as a  psychotic lunatic, but you have to give it to the dude, he wrote a whole hell of a lot of words. For even more reference, my debut novel Odessa Red (available on Amazon.com) is 45,093 words.

Now, this is not to say that the number of written words automatically equals the quality of your product. It’s just saying that as a writer, the designation I identify myself with the most, I am a relative novice. And in that light, here is the cold hard truth: I’m not good enough yet, but I’ve invested too much time and effort to stop now.

On a related note, I truly love writing and because of that love it doesn’t matter how many times I fail, I will never stop. But what you love and what you’re good at are two very different subjects. I know why I love writing. The idea that words in a particular order that did not exist previously can create entire worlds is absolutely amazing to me, and my ultimate goal is to create worlds that I love and that others can fall in love with as well.

I want that very badly, but I will never say that I want it badly enough that I will definitely succeed. I honestly don’t know if I will succeed, and I think that’s the point. I might not be good enough. I might not have the talent to describe the worlds in my dreams. But that has nothing to do with whether or not I will keep writing. I doubt myself often; mostly at night right before I fall asleep. I ask myself why I keep doing this. Why I try so hard. I read books and think that I’ll never be able to encapsulate a story like they did. But then I fall asleep, wake up, get out of bed, and do it all again. Because the elation brought on by success outweighs the misery of failure. Success hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t know if the previous statement is true or not, but I want it to be true so badly and not trying is a great way to never find out if it can be true.

Everyone has something like this in their lives. I love writing. Ask yourself what you love. I don’t know how you feel, but I know that I’m glad I’m afraid of what I love and I think you should be too. Fear drives me toward an unknown future and personally, I’d rather be afraid than be nothing at all.