Fiction

Mr. Snuggles

We met online. I had never met anyone online before, but it seemed like we were compatible. Our mutual love of animals sealed the deal. Or at least the date.    Once she found about Mr. Snuggles, my emotional support/service animal, she wanted to meet me (and him) asap. She asked what I needed him for (depression and color blindness), how long we had been together (almost a year now), if I had any other pets (not anymore). By the end of our chat, she was practically begging me to tell her if Mr. Snuggles was a cat, a dog, a monkey, what?    Living in NYC, you see a lot of people with unusual animals, or animals where you wouldn’t expect them. There’s an old lady who’s been wandering around the lower east side with a cat on her head for the last two decades. No leash. The cat never fusses…
Read more

Share this post:

Jobber 1: Mrs. Tabasky

    Mrs. Tabatsky was an elementary school substitute teacher. The first time I had her was in 2nd grade. She always talked about herself in the third person and had a nasally, monotone voice.    “Mrs. Tabatsky says that you should read quietly so you don’t disturb the other students or Mrs. Tabatsky. You don’t want to make Mrs. Tabatsky upset.”    Maybe she did this to emphasize the “Mrs.”, that yes, indeed, she was married. She was a short, fat, pear shaped woman with a doughy face and thick glasses. I didn’t even like girls yet, but I couldn’t imagine anyone living with her. So this is what adults do. They pair up. Even with people like Mrs. Tabatsky. I wondered what her husband was like. I felt sorry for him, but he was probably awful, too.    Mrs. Tabatsky might have been tolerable if she wasn’t so whiny. She was…
Read more

Share this post:

The Smartest Man in the World

   It was all so simple and obvious. Everything fell right into place if you just thought about it for a little while. It was a cliche, but all you had to do was wake up.      He had to admit that it felt good. To be one of the few who knew the secret. Who saw the truth.    But despite all of his research, there were still those who questioned him. Why couldn’t they just be grateful? Couldn’t they see how foolish they were being?    Of course they couldn’t. They had been followers their entire lives. It wasn’t easy to break free. He had to be patient with them, but it was still frustrating. Talking to stupid people was impossible unless you were stupid too, and that wouldn’t help either. You’d be able to talk to them, but you’d be one of them. You’d have nothing to say.    If…
Read more

Share this post:

400 Pennies

I woke up with a three day hangover. I was at the end of my rope. Broke, drunk, and no hope for the future.    My apartment was a mess. Even just waking up and seeing it was enough to make me want to go back to sleep. There were empty beer cans and cigarette butts everywhere and it smelled like dirty socks and ass. The ass odor was coming from my sheets. I jerked off a lot when I was hungover, it was one of the only things that made me feel better or let me fall back asleep.    I dragged myself out of bed and found a warm, half finished can of Coors Banquet beer. I drank it and dry heaved. My room also smelled of feet and dry semen.    There were plastic bags on the floor, the bags I had used to carry all that beer back. I…
Read more

Share this post:

Arbitrary Exchange

Annoying things happen all the time, or things I’d rather not deal with, like getting shit on by a bird or having to do anything in general. The last time I was shit on by a bird, it nearly made me turn around, go home, and go back to bed. I was on my way to work. The birdshit didn’t smell (it generally doesn’t), and it wasn’t visible after a few dabs with a spitty napkin. There was a Wendy’s nearby, so at least I was able to get a napkin to spit on. But the thought of going through the rest of the day in that shirt deflated me. No one could see or smell the birdshit, but I would know, and it would bother me until I forgot about it, and I knew that I would forget. I would be going about my day as usual, and then…
Read more

Share this post:

Dog Alcoholic

   Life used to be pretty good for me. I was living with this guy Marty. I lived with him, worked with him, partied with him. We were pals. I worked with him at Laguardia, I was a detector dog and he was my handler. I sniffed out (or detected) bombs, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, all sorts of contraband. If it smells funny, bark and point, that was the general rule. Better to detain some poor bastard with smelly socks than to have an airplane explode, or (god forbid) have some guy smoke pot.    We worked 12 hour shifts, they were generally long and unbearable unless I sniffed cocaine or heroin. Cocaine gave me the energy I needed to get through the shift, heroin made me so high I didn’t really care or know where I was. But most of the time, I didn’t detect anything. There just wasn’t anything to detect.…
Read more

Share this post:

Groceries

I like buying groceries. I like the buying part. But groceries are always a source of stress. I buy this food, cabbages, cauliflower, chorizo, bread, cheese, milk, coffee. I don’t worry about the coffee. I don’t worry about the chorizo or cheese until after I’ve opened their packaging. The cabbage I don’t worry about too much either. I’ve never had cabbage go bad on me. But the cauliflower, bread, and milk, I begin to worry about immediately. I have to have some sort of plan to eat it before it goes bad, and in order to eat those things, I need to open the chorizo and sometimes the cheese, which adds to the pressure.    It seems like I have too much food, but never enough. Enough to worry about it rotting, but not enough so I’m not daily going back to a grocery store or deli. I need small amounts…
Read more

Share this post:

The Physical

I sat on the edge of the bed, or whatever you call them. The half bed, half psychiatrist’s couch, half gym mat thing that they always put you on in examining rooms. It’s covered in butcher’s paper so none of you directly touches it, but it still smells old and dirty, like a bad odor covered by another, stronger bad odor.    Time elapsed without elapsing. I might have been waiting 10 minutes, an hour, 30 seconds. I kept forgetting and remembering myself, where I was and what I was doing. Maybe I belonged here. I thought about going to sleep, but knew that it wouldn’t work out for me. Either the doctor would arrive immediately, or I would just lie there, smelling the smells and staring at the ceiling.    “Ah, Mr. ____ . How are we doing today?”    He had materialized in front of me. I hadn’t heard the door…
Read more

Share this post:

The Cat

When my first girlfriend dumped me, it was a new kind of hurt. The songs we had listened to, the fading odors of her hair on the pillows. the smell of her clean body on the towels. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I sat in my underwear all day and night, sometimes for over 36 hours at a time, playing video games (mainly Shining Force) and drinking Georgi Vodka with generic ice tea mix. I took breaks to sleep and to go out to buy more vodka and cigarettes. It was a cold winter, but I had a car, I could make it to the car in just a bathrobe and shoes. Driving to the liquor shop, I thought about her. I was young and stupid in a way that I’ll never be again. I was ashamed of myself then and I’m ashamed of it now, but I was…
Read more

Share this post:

Competitive (Ch)eating

Growing up, my father always wanted me to be an athlete. “Quit being a pussy musician and learn combat skills,” he used to say. The recorder was my instrument of choice, and if he caught me playing it, I got “the belt”. It’s not like I didn’t try to be good at sports. I was just a doughy kid who didn’t have the heart of a champion. That is, until the day I discovered the glorious, gluttonous spectacle they call competitive eating. Finally, a sport where fatties finish first! Well, that is what I assumed anyway. In small, local tournaments, I held my own. The sheer size of my stomach was enough to beat the lightweights in Latham, NY.   However, once I made it to the national level, I discovered that genetics of a different sort gave skinny kids the edge. The day I met Takeru Kobayashi was a humbling,…
Read more

Share this post: