(Update 6.21.2018)   Short work —  d.o.b. 5/22/2017

The drive home was supposed to be meditative. Mark started the year off with a goal of leaving stress at work and releasing thoughts of work by the halfway point — usually the McDonald’s on 78th street — before hitting the home stretch.

“One daaayyyy yer cooool. The next one yer not. Sometimes the fooooool, Others yer hot…”

Contemporary country was the only station that Mark’s car could play. The car was built prior to technologies of today. Fortunately, he did have access to a cassette player, but the gears wore out on it somewhere in the mid-90s. He hated new country.

One daaaaayyyyy yer healthy, then one sick N bed. Today I may be famous, but terrrmerrrow I’ll be dead…”

Mark’s fingers tried in vain, yet again, to push and prod every knob and button on the radio, but he received the same results every time.

“What the hell kinda song is this?”



“You didn’t, did you?”

Sheila stopped in mid-walk towards the sink.

“You did.”

She turned around a faced him with a look of slight dismay sprinkled with admiration and giddiness.

“I couldn’t help it.”

Mark lifted his hands, accompanied by ‘brows, in the air (both literally and figuratively).

“It’s the only thing keeping me sane right now. It’s my test to see whether or not I’m going crazy. Unfortunately, I find out, most of the time through these tests, that I am NOT going crazy. That this shit really is happening.”

Sheila’s flirty-smirk went away.

“But ‘Telephone’, Mark,” she said in a slight grumbly voice. “You are testing your theories through a fucking kids’ game?”

Mark put his finger up, respectively, trying to avoid the rise of emotion that preceded most of their arguments. He always leaned towards logic and attempt to proceed devoid of emotion, but it never seemed to work out that way.

And it wasn’t always her fault.

She played emotions in broad strokes: good and bad. Frequently, his attempt at the “logical approach” led him to more of an emotional spike than her, which never was a good mix.

“I know, I know, I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out, please. The game ‘Telephone’ is my answer to the facade of humanity in my world. I am so real most of the time, but being real is so lonely. It’s weird. And…I can’t fake it most of the time, so I feel even more lonely when put into situations that most normal people, whatever the fuck that means…”

Sheila had heard the same intro in some variation many times throughout their relationship. At times it was very frustrating, yet it was endearing also. She felt a different type of love for this raw quality of personality that he hid most days.

“I understand that people are fake, Mark,” she said, “but what the fuck are you going to do about that? People are people. You don’t have to like every one of them, and you don’t have to fake liking them. At least they will pretty much figure it out. And if they don’t, they are stupid. And if they do, who cares? It makes it pretty easy to avoid them. They are probably going to talk shit on you regardless, right? You may as well give them a reason. Otherwise, they won’t have anything on you because you are a good guy, and you know that. And I know that. And your best friends know that.”

Mark always loved, what he liked to call, her “preach”. She would go into “preach” from time to time, and usually at the times most necessary for his mental health.

“I know.” His sneer-smile — enjoyment and guilt — appeared. “It’s childish, but it works.”

Sheila strolled towards the table.

“And all you wanted to do was make sure that the gossip would get back to you in passive-aggressive form?”


“And did it prove, yet again, that you work around a bunch of gossipers that helped support your theory?”


“And, now what?”

For a few seconds, Mark looked directly into Sheila’s eyes. He couldn’t really get anything past her. He really didn’t want her to agree with him most of the time because he loved her character when it came to debating most things. It was the same independent character that he was attracted to from the first date.

“Proof, I guess,” he voice turned slightly somber. “And sadness.”

Sheila sat down and touched his hand.

“Hey,” she softened a bit. “Hey. Talk to me. Don’t retreat into your head yet. Why ‘sadness’? You can walk away from it, you know. You don’t have to subject yourself to misery, even though you know you are good at it.”

Mark felt her index finger softly rub his pinky and palm. He sat down and looked into her eyes again. He knew it was better to talk about it, but his mind always beat him up for days after.

“I’m sad because it’s all such bullshit,” he sighed. “I feel the need to remind myself that this isn’t just a bad dream. I need to be reminded that I am really participating in this world of virtue-signaling and backstabbing and fucking, goddamn ‘TRIGGERING’…”

He paused. Refocus. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of your sanity. 

His mind digressed to his old sponsor, JR. “You want to be right or do you want to be happy? You can’t have both, goddamnit!

“Breathe,” Sheila’s voice arrested the daydream.




It was a silly request, but she always made silly requests.

“Reuben sandwich. No bread. No Thousand Island. One slice of swiss. Bed of greens.”


“No. Extra lettuce. And cucumber slices. 8 of them.”

“Anything else?”

“Actually…would it be too much to ask for fresh, undressed cabbage instead of sauerkraut?”

He felt his head nod. He heard his voice say, “Of course,” but he did not know if they actually had cabbage in the back.

“Oh…one more thing. Do you have any polenta?”

“We don’t serve polenta during the week,” he heard himself say. It was a lie. They never served polenta. If he only had the balls to be honest and not try to kiss everyone’s ass, the job may have been easier. More enjoyable.

But it wasn’t.

Carl walked back to the kitchen. Since the computers were down, he placed a flimsy order card on the spindle and walked over to Maurice.

“Hey, Moe. Can you handle all this for 10 minutes? I need a smoke.”

“No problem, Carlo.”

It’s CARLLLLL, he thought to himself.  Just couldn’t assert himself in the simplest of situations.

Carl stepped down the grease-glide steps into the back alley. He hated the smell of rotting produce and meat and whatever the hell else sat dormant and dying in their trash bins, but Maurice never let his employees smoke anywhere else. It may have been Moe’s passive aggressive way of getting others the quit smoking now that he put them down 9 months ago.


“Hi mom,” Carl said with a drag of his Camel.

“Oh, hello honey,” his mom replied as if she was caught off guard by him calling. The only problem was that she was the one calling him.

There was a pause.

“It’s mom,” she said.

Carl rolled his eyes and took another slow, deep drag.

“Hello, mom.”

“Hey, listen. Your father says to make sure you go to the grocery store before coming over. He will need onions and some salsa. Do you think Maurice would allow you to bring some from the restaurant? Your dad loves his salsa, but…”

Another eye roll; another drag from the cigarette. How many times did this same conversation reoccur in the past 5 years? Carl knew he could say no to the salsa. He knew that his mother didn’t really want him to go to the grocery store. She didn’t want to seem pushy for asking.

“I’m sure he will be ok with it. It may not be today’s freshest, but he won’t charge me for the older batch and it’s just as fresh,” Carl said.

An exaggerated sigh and a “I guess that will be ok, but I know how your father isn’t a big fan of wilty cilantro. The fresh stuff tastes so much….”

Jesus fucking Christ, he thought. She continued to speak but he turned towards his own thoughts. Her explanations for why “he” or “she” liked or disliked something usually took at least 2.5 minutes of conversation. During this time, Carl frequently fell into his own thoughts. It was a skill he mastered in the past 15 years with her.



I guess I should recognize immediately that I am writing this after the turn of midnight, so I am technically not in Tuesday anymore.

This is a brain dump activity. I am attempting to do on paper what I would probably be flushing from the day’s activities into my dream world.

A mind dump.


Flava of Love

broken fob

slobbering dog


The concession guy telling me that he wasn’t going to peel the “Free refill” sticker from my cup even after his supervisor specifically told him to peel the sticker then proceeded to walk away. A much appreciated act of defiance. He wasn’t out anything by giving me the opportunity to freely enjoy as many refills as possible.

To the concession dude.

Forgotten things that  I wanted to write down but wasn’t close enough to paper and pen.

I hate those moments.

I wonder what it is like being famous. I don’t think I would like the microcosm that is fame. It must be nice to be a potentially influential figure in many people’s lives, but, oh, what a burdensome life that could be. I choose my words wisely when I say this. I could have used “would” instead of “could” in the sentence before last; how big of a change would that have made?

Fame could be fun. Therein lies the danger.

Fame could be dangerous. My quick-to-rise ego, as demonstrated many times in the past, has the possibility to inflate quickly.

The need for strong support in my life is so important lest I perish faster, and with more catastrophic results, than before.

I never really pondered how much of a balancing act a life in balance requires. I need  time to free my brain amidst all the stimuli – way more negative than positive most days – and release whatever negative nuggets are rattlin’ ’round.

This is not an attempt at fame.

This is not an attempt at money or attention.

This is me facing me.

You just happened to stop by.

Townes Van Zandt. I hear he was a son of a bitch. He had some good songs though. Very soothing melodies. I have to be in one of those moods, which usually show up late in the evening (or, in this case, early in the morning), that allow my body to relax. Fortunately, one of those times is now.

Woke up at 5:10 P.M., but thought it was A.M.. I wasn’t completely startled, but I was surprised I slept that hard through the entire night. Fortunately, I had just awoken from an hour-long nap.

I wouldn’t have been that surprised if I had fallen asleep for that long. I don’t sleep much. Not by choice. If I could allow myself the luxury to switch my brain off for a few hours and just completely immerse my entire being in sleep, even just for 5 – 7 hours, I would probably restore my health 10 years. Or, at least, I would FEEL like I had completed that task, a task with little effort outside of detaching myself – like cutting the cords to an entire city block so the bad dudes could wreak some major havoc in one of those 80s buddy cop movies – from my ENTIRE being. Like pulling a plug. Like changing a battery.

I keep wondering what things are going to be like in 10 years.

I keep wondering what I could have changed, and how I could have followed through with those decisions, in the past 10 years.

I keep forgetting that both of those decades do not exist right now.

Fortunately, I remember that thought right now.

Unfortunately, thoughts like those are not as relevant in a brain dump.

or are they?

I shot the basketball well today. I think I am adapting to the new depth perception these glasses have presented me. It took a minute. The workouts help also. I am stronger and my stamina / breathing is improving. Persistence.

Laundry tomorrow. Not here yet. (Actually, it is here, BUT I don’t have to accept it.)

Benadryl is finally doing it’s job. Took a few days but I feel my eyes drooping.

Which book shall I check in with tonight?

The Simulacra (Philip K. Dick)

The Witches (Stacy Schiff)

The Art of Comic Book Writing (Mark Kneece)

Or a movie, perhaps? Nothing that I will finish tonight. Just something to whet the brain’s pre-dream appetite.


Probably too much action for the hour.

Double Impact?

If only for the Bolo Yeoung barrel throwing scenes and his electrifying departure from the film.

Time to lay down. My fingers are still not as fast as my thoughts. If only.

Brain dump
Brain dump


Mind exercises

Mind exercises


This is just an exercise to keep the mind cool and calm. Just a meditation; a clearing of the thoughts, a calming of the mind. I want to forget the past and play with today. It will only be here once. Today could be the last day of your life.

OR…it could just be the beginning. The beginning of something really big; something that could changes one’s whole outlook around.

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!

Seize it as if you knew you were going to die tomorrow. Seize and hold on to it as you would your most prized possession.

Until then, until that day of life, of death, of success, of poverty, take hold with both hands and hold on. Do not try to resist; it will only make things harder than they are intended to be. Go out. Meet a girl. Throw her a glance, a kiss, a promise to call, but only after you get her number.

Be cool, Jack. That’s what it’s all about. Life ain’t so hard once you get in the swing of things. It only takes one time to make or break a person. Everything’s cool when you are made. Everything’s cool when you break, too. Success is bred from misery.

Youth visits once. Today flees as we speak. Why let it slip by holding on to yesterday’s clouds? Too afraid to go out in the rain? That shitty thinking must stop now!

Keep cool. Stay calm. Most importantly, talk tonight, and look people in the fucking eyes when you speak to them. Don’t be afraid to flirt either. It can only happen if an effort is made. Nothing comes for free, jackass.