Sunday, May 21, 2017

Garlic Bread

You know, I honestly don't remember why I walked into the river. Somehow it just happened. I stood up, walked towards the water until the ground wouldn't hold me any longer. I didn't want to kill myself. I guess I haven't been the happiest person in the Victorian as of late but I don't think I wanted to kill myself. Why not? I don't know, but I don't think I wanted to. Either way I almost did. Crayola has fucked up that river for good. The bright side of Crayola's pollution of the rainbow river was that when the doctors pumped my stomach I literally threw up a rainbow. The not as bright side was that I was in the river for long enough that I got the toxic crayola chemicals in my blood stream. So they've kept me here at the hospital the past few days doing all sorts of toxicology things that I don't and will not understand. Whoop dee doo.
So, I could've died right. Funny how things work out though. Just after I fell into the water another person flew into the water near me. Rory didn't just walk in, I heard she was hit by a car. Needless to say, the driver who hit Rory called the police and EMTs were there in no time. Had Rory not been hit, they never would've found me. Of course I wasn't really paying attention when Rory fell in the river. I don't think I would've ended up in the river if I had been paying attention. 
I think some people would call this fate. A beautiful coincidence that Rory was able to die her violent death so that I, Munny Pang, great steward of society, friend to many, admired by the entire community for his success and cleanliness, could live. What a touching sacrifice. Fate or not, I'm still living and Rory is dead. It's honestly a bit of a shame if I'm honest. I didn't know Rory well. But she was living. I overheard people in the Victorian examining pictures she sent of herself visiting all sorts of beautiful places. Apparently her last trip had been to Colorado. Wow. For a guy who hasn't left the Victorian in years Colorado seems like Timbuktu. She also had friends. Her dog was named Peter. She got to know this guy named Baker, apparently not a terrible guy. She had a life to live, a friend and a dog. And I had Trithian and the Golden Time Piece of Gul-Thrada. And don't forget about Darth Maul. And the nameless love of my life for whom I hosted a hallucinated funeral march on the back of a train. Fate or not, Rory's dead. And I'm still here. 
A nurse knocks on my door, whistling a major third like a door at a gas station. I nod, in my best effort to let her know she can come in using as little effort as possible. "Money," she says, mispronouncing my name again. "You have a visitor." I'm surprised Trithian took the time to show up. I nod again, satisfied in the optimization of my apathy. "Can he come in?" she asks. I nod.
But it's not Trithian. It's a real human. A tallish blonde guy walks in. His face is sculpted and angular. "Sorry, do I know you?" I ask. 
He laughs. "Haha, good one Munny! Glad to see you still have a sense of humor."
I look at him confused. "Ok, very funny Munny. It's me Elliot, Elliot Varane!" To my surprise I actually do know him. Before getting "serious" about writing we were friends. 
"Why're you here?" I thought I should ask him the logical question, seeing as we hadn't talked in more than a year. 
Elliot musters up a smile. "Well, I was really saddened to hear about your accident. So, I prepared this bag of treats to hopefully cheer you up."
I let out a long frustrated sigh. Not that I'm not happy about the food, that's nice, but I'm not in the mood for talking. We sit for a minute in silence.
"Well, you don't really seem in the mood for talking," observes Elliot. "I should probably get going. But we should keep in touch. After you get out of the hospital we can go fishing maybe? Whatever floats your boat."
"Maybe," I say to give him some form of social consolation. 
"Alright see you later!" he says as he walks out the door. As he leaves I reach over for the gift basket. He apparently included some garlic breadsticks. It actually smells quite good.
I take a breadstick out. It'd cooled down to room temperature unfortunately. Probably undercooked, like those breakfast sandwiches at the gas station. But I decide I'll give it a shot. I take a bite. I close my eyes. I smile. This garlic bread is real. And it's beautiful.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Darling, it's better down where it's wetter

"This movie is not quite as good as I remember," Munny thinks to himself. He remembers being more compelled by the story, being more enveloped in the drama. He used to profess it ranked among the likes of Citizen Kane and The Godfather. At this point in the movie though, Munny is no longer convinced The Little Mermaid is a literary work.
"Flounder, don't be such a guppy!" remarks Ariel. Munny chuckles. He's always liked that line. He lies down in the grass. It's harsh and itchy. Almost immediately he again assumes his previous position, precariously in between lying and sitting upright. Finding this position uncomfortable, and the movie underwhelming he decides to take a walk.
At the basketball court, a folk music band is drawing a measly crowd. It doesn't look like a single one of their albums has been taken off the table near the bandstand. They're called "Bad Faith." "Interesting band name," Munny thinks to himself. He walks over to the table and examines the album. It's called "Being and Nothingness." Munny doesn't understand this as a philosophical work by Jean-Paul Sartre, but he gets the vibe that this isn't his type of music. Munny hears the lead singer of The Existentialists ask the crowd for requests. After a long pause a member of the audience asks for a Katy Perry song. The lead singer, a 40 something with a long beard, a large belly and absurdly tight jeans sighs. He asks for another request. As Munny is walking away from the bandstand, the silence is broken by the opening chords to "California Girls."
Munny returns to The Little Mermaid but immediately becomes bored again and walks away. He walks over to the grills that had been set up. The few burgers and hot dogs left are simultaneously burnt and cold. He decides he'll pick something up from the Exon later that night since he was planning on eating dinner at the festival.
His phone buzzes. An email from a business he had interviewed at the other week. Munny realizes the timing of his arrest was not ideal for the many potential jobs he was lining up. Without more than shrugging off the little disappointment he had Munny swipes away the notification, pulls out his earbuds. He sets his music on shuffle, and coincidentally begins to play "Under the Sea." Munny groans audibly, and reshuffles the music. This time the main theme from Star Wars starts playing.
He walks away from the festival to the sound of triumphant horns booming in his ears. He pulls a cigarette from his pocket and smokes it. When Munny's stomach decides to sing along, he decides it's best to get dinner as soon as possible. He walks to the gas station. After realizing he only has three dollars in his wallet he settles on the only sandwich he can afford at the gas station, the sausage and egg sandwich.
When Munny walks outside the gas station he sees the girl with red hair. "What a coincidence," Munny thinks to himself, that he and the girl with red hair would reunite at the same gas station the same day. For a brief moment Munny believes this is meant to be. He then concludes it's merely a coincidence. Munny doesn't try and approach her, as she's on the phone. She's as beautiful as ever, but Munny sees no need to get rejected a third time, even if the second time was in a radioactive fruit trip. She is laughing, tossing her hair in the moonlight. It illuminates her pale white skin, making it glow. "Truly she's the most beautiful girl I'll ever see. She is perfect" Munny thinks to himself. He reinserts his earbuds and continues walking.
Munny makes his way down to the rainbow river and sits down on a bench near the bank of the river to eat his sandwich. The night is still. Munny closes his eyes and breathes. It's just him and the moon. He finishes his sandwich. He sits. He looks back up at the moon. It's turned blood red. He imagines the harsh red light of the moon oppressing the skin of the girl with red hair, painting her body a dirty red.  Munny continues to sit there. When he gets up, he walks over to the bank of the river and falls in.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hello Walls

Hello walls. How’d things go for you today?
No response? That’s fair. At least you’re a better listener than the other inmates. It’s hard going here, and I’m frankly a bit lonely. I guess that explains why I’m talking to you right now. I’m getting out of here tomorrow, so you won’t have to worry about me bothering you anymore. By while I have you here I think I’ll tell you about the past few days for me.
To be honest, the past few days have been kind of crazy for me. I mean, they’re often crazy for people who end up spending time in jail, but out of all the rest of these guys I think my ride has been one of the wildest. So, apparently I ate some of the weird fruit down by the rainbow river and hallucenated a sequence where the girl with red hair told me to get my life together and then immediately after died in a car accident. Pretty weird, huh? I remember the hallucenation like it was real life, in fact I was pretty shocked to find out those events didn't happen. But that's what the jail doctors say. So none of that happened I guess. They're attributing my public disturbances and littering to the weird chemicals in the fruit. So I'm pretty sure I'm getting off easy. I might have to pay a fine, but I probably won't have to have a trial.
While I was in the police car next to the river I remember the river being a thousand shades of blue. Not quite a thousand of course, but you get the point wall. At the time it reminded me of my condition. Even though the day before I had felt so happy, the events of my hallucenation seemed to unearth some weird sadness inside of me. It's weird because it's not just one type of sadness, it's layered with hope and hopelessness. The days before my hallucenation I actually seemed to be making progress in my life. And only the girl with the red hair in my dream suggested otherwise. Probably just because she wanted to get me away from her. Even in my dreams my romantic life is tragic, haha.
I digress. The point being is I had no actual reason to be sad given the events of the night before never happened and I was just tripping on weird mutant tangerines. My life actually was moving forward. If I keep this up after I get out of here I think my life could improve.
By the way, this candybar is deliscious. The one acquiantance I made here gave it to me. It's contraband of course, which makes it taste even more deliscious. You wouldn't know anything about taste, or even pleasure for that matter. Huh. There's a lot you don't know about I guess. We're pretty different, you and I. I'm trying to move forward, and you are just a wall. You've always been a wall, and I'm pretty sure you don't have any aspirations other than being a wall. Seems kind of nice if you ask me. I envy you a bit. You have no need to move forward, there's nothing at stake for you.
Part of me wants to be like you, wall. I want to find a place to be where I'm content and stay there forever. But at the same time, I can't be like you. There's a part of me that wants to move. What direction do I want to move in? I have no idea. I don't think I'll ever know if I'm going in the right direction.
I realize that I don't have it figured out. Over the years I've been waiting for lightning, or a rainstorm, something that would instantaneously change me, or at least help seeds of change grow and blossom. It's been overcast for the past ten years though, at least it feels like that. Sorry, I'm just speaking metaphors now. Point is, wall, I've finally found myself lost.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

All Shades of Blue

"Sir. Hello. Are you awake?"
Munny rubs his eyes.
"Sir, can you hear my voice?"
Confused and dazed, Munny grunts. He looks to the right, but when he adjusts his body weight he falls off the bench he's been lying on. He vocalizes a small "ouch" as his body lands on the concrete.
"Sir please indicate to me clearly that you can hear my voice."
There's silence for a few more seconds. Then Munny says to the man, "I can hear you." His body aches from his recent fall. At his eye level are a pair of black shoes. They look polished but Munny can't tell without any light to reflect off of them.
"Sir, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?"
Munny's eyes widen. "Oh no," he says.
"Does that mean you don't understand the rights I have just read to you?"
"I think I understand."
"Good. Please get up so I can escort you to the vehicle."
Munny is still. He has no idea what is going on. He doesn't understand how he found himself on the ground next to a park bench. He doesn't understand why he's getting arrested. His head is pounding. His body aches. He just stays on the ground.
"Sir, we're going to need to get up."
Munny stays lying on the ground. He doesn't want to face whatever lies next. "Why are you doing this to me," he says.
"There were reports all through last night of a man loudly talking to himself and being disruptive, and witnesses indicated that person was you. You were also seen littering the railroad tracks with peels of a fruit."
Munny thinks back to last night as he remains lying on the ground. "You don't understand," he yells at the officer. "I was mourning the love of my life, she died in a car accident outside of the supermarket."
"Sir there were no car accidents outside of the supermarket last night."
Munny says nothing. He has no idea what to say.
"Sir if you don't get into the car on your own I will have to use force."
Resigned to his fate, Munny gets up, allows the officer to put handcuffs on him and walks over to the police car.
The officer drives Munny a few blocks. The officer stops on the banks of the rainbow river to use the restroom at a construction site porta-potty. Munny looks out his window and examines one of the trees growing next to the river. Hanging off its branches are fat, bright oranges.They look familiar, like the ones he peeled onto the railroad tracks the night before. Munny asks himself, "did any of that really happen?" He remembers it so clearly. His confusion doesn't go away as he sits lonely in the car. "What should I make of this?" Munny asks himself. Munny tries to think of an answer, at least a superficial, incorrect one the will buy him temporary security. But for the first time in years, Munny can't find an answer at all to that question.
The river is cloudy, with millions of crayon particles swimming in its waters. Each individually is infinitesimally small but together they are able to paint an entire river. The river is a thousand colors. But they're all shades of blue.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How terrible to see the truth

I breathe the dense, muggy air as I walk down through the park. Everything is gray. It's as if someone has taken a photo editor to the world around me and turned down the contrast. The fog brought a monochrome hue to the park that felt cold and dead. Why am I out here? What’s the point of all of this? I am overwhelmed but a sense of meaninglessness.
I've known that I'm not a nihilist. I don't and honestly can't characterize myself that much, but I've known I'm not a nihilist. I imagine The Victorian as the best of all possible worlds. I know many of my fellow apartment residents don't share my outlook. That's why I'm not friends with Howard. Even though I appreciate Ms. Ellen for all she does I'm not friends with her. The last thing I want to become is jaded, cynical or apathetic. I don't want to be like them. I want to be different. It's about how I see the world versus how they see it. I've always been sure that they're simply blind to the good things in life.
I was definitely sure of this earlier today. I started my day like I had been for the past week and a half, taking a walk. The wind was bitingly cold but that was ok for me. It was well worth the fresh air. Getting fresh air and exercise every day was part of my transformation. Things were starting to turn around. After taking finally leaving my apartment and asserting myself to get the water bottle from Ms. Ellen I felt a control I hadn't felt in years. I realized I had the power to shape my own future. I scheduled and completed three interviews, admittedly unsuccessful, and had another five coming up for next week. I decided to sign up for a GED course. I wrote consistently for two hours a day. I felt like I was finally making progress too. I started making changes on a smaller scale too. I brushed my teeth twice everyday that week. I ate a salad every day. I took a walk every morning in the park. For the first time since I moved to The Victorian I felt like I was moving forward.
Despite the wind, the park was especially beautiful this morning. I guess technically yesterday morning but, I'm going to tell this narrative as if right now is the night of the day the events of my story transpired. I hope you're not confused. Anyhow, the park looked stunning. Fog enveloped the trees, wispy white like silk, or the air of an old woman. Dew reflected the early morning sun, each drop shining, twinkling like stars. I decided to make a wish upon these stars. I said to myself, “I wish Ms. Ellen could see this. I bet even she could find this beautiful.”
I was certain I had said this to myself, inaudible to others until I heard a call from an old man sitting on a park bench, “But how terrible! To see truth when truth is only pain to him who see.” I glanced back at the man momentarily before continuing my walk.
The rest of the day went ok. I added another chapter to my book. I finished working on another interview application. After dinner I went to the grocery store. I bought myself some fresh fruits and vegetables: broccoli, apples, spinach and a couple bags of oranges. I was planning on calling it a night on an overall satisfying day when I saw her. Tall, beautiful, skin white as milk. She was even more beautiful than I remember her the first time. Her ginger hair flowed down her back in waves, like a carrot cake icing. I decided not to come on as strong this time. I knew though something could happen. I had power to decide my future.
“Excuse me,” I called out across the parking lot. She turned around and hesitates. I waited a few seconds before she asks who I am.
“I’m Munny Pang,” I said. I tried to think about something a little less forward to say than “I love you.” I hoped she wouldn’t recognize me from the first time I saw her. I have been eating healthier this week.
“Wait,” she says. “Were you that drunk guy that hit on me at the Exxon?”
Crap. So much for not recognizing me. “Sorry about that,” I said to her. “I was a bit forward there, I admit. But I’m a good guy and you should give me a chance.”
She stared down at me, visibly annoyed.
“Give me one good reason I should waste my time on you,” she snaps.
“Well,” I started. “I am a freelance writer, but I’ve also been looking for other jobs to support myself. In fact I’ve even signed up for a GED course. I’m taking my life by the horns. I’ve been eating healthy and exercising.”
She smiled at me. I felt a warm feeling inside and smiled back until I realized she was smirking.
She responded: “First of all that was a rhetorical question. You don’t look a day under 55, I would never spend any time with you anyways. All that exercise and healthy eating is really showing, how long have you been doing it for, a week? You look like trash, but what’s worse is that you’re pleased with where your life is. You seem so happy that you’re going to have the chance to get a fucking high school diploma. And freelance writer? What kind of writer without a high school diploma gets paid? So of course you’re looking at other jobs. I’m happy that you’re pleased with your unemployment. I’m sure you’re generating enough money to be paying for those fresh fruits. You’re pathetic.”
She stormed off, got into her red Toyota and drove off. I stood in shock. She was probably just in a bad mood. I knew she was a much nicer person in normal circumstances. I still wish I got to know her. As I walked to my car, I heard skidding from the street. Then a crash. Then an explosion. I turn around to see a red Toyota up in flames. Maybe that isn’t her I thought to myself. But as I examine the wreckage I see the plain truth. That was her car. It had just pulled out from the grocery store parking lot. She was most likely dead.
In panic I ran away. I just kept running. I might’ve ran for an hour and a half before stopping. I found myself in the middle of a cornfield, far outside the city. I would’ve been totally lost if I hadn’t run into the railroad tracks. I wanted to consider myself lucky. But I finally began to see that I didn’t live in the best of all possible worlds. I saw I was pathetic. With my life halfway over I’ve done nothing. My best years are behind me. I was still writing this pathetic book for hours every day for ultimately naught. And now the love of my life is gone--no, she was awful to me. I didn’t even know her name. But I still felt remorseful. Maybe not for losing her, but for losing hope. For losing my blindness to the misery of my own condition.
The train came through around 3:30 AM. I hopped on the caboose platform. The train crept at the pace of a funeral march. I noticed I still had my oranges, the same color as her hair. They reminded me of her. They reminded me of a world more beautiful than the one I found myself in. I peeled the oranges and threw off peels like flower petals at a funeral, mourning the death of by beautiful blindness.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trithian and the Quest for the Golden Timepiece of Gul-Thrada

Writer's block sucks. How do you develop a character? Trithian is such an interesting character, but he's so flat. Realistically how would his quest for the golden timepiece of Gul-Thrada change him? What direction should I take Trithian in? Writing is so hard. I've been working on it the past two days and still I have nothing.
I haven't left my apartment in those past two days. Out of courtesy of course. In the 48 hours since the water left I haven't had the chance to shower. I don't think at this point people would appreciate me going out. I guess I could go to the rainbow river. But I don't think people would care to see me bathing in a public area. Courtesy. 
I need to drink though. I ran out of cereal milk yesterday. I haven't had anything to drink since then. There are no liquids in my apartment. I've been sweating a lot too. I think it'll be fine. Things usually turn out ok in the end.
So I sit back at my desk. I stare at my computer like I have been doing for the past 2 days. In those two days I haven't written anything. I remember hearing something about James Joyce spending a day revising only to end up with an extra comma and him taking that comma out the next day. I mean I'm no James Joyce but--. No, no buts. I'm nothing like James Joyce. And I need to get some water. People will just have to tolerate my odor. I think they can deal with it.
I get up out of my chair. I open my door. I beeline to Ms. Ellen's desk. I know she has water. She might not give it to me, but--. No, no buts. I need water, and I'm going to get it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

This is Living?

"Hey, sorry I kept you waiting, you kind of caught me at a bad time. You know, this novel isn't going to write itself."
Resisting the urge to yell at the small, chubby Asian man, the reporter nods back. Did he keep her waiting for fifteen minutes to work on a novel he could work on literally any time he wanted to? She breathes in deeply. The man smiles widely.
"Get in, get out," she says to herself. There is no way this guy is getting into Southern Living anyways. This interview is pointless, she thinks to herself. Unless he's some famous author she'd never heard of. Just because she's a writer doesn't mean she reads. From what the living room of the apartment is telling her though, this is not the case. A cardboard cutout of Darth Maul from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace sitting in the corner of a living room doesn't exactly scream literary. 
The reporter introduces herself. "Nice to meet you," responds the man. "I'm Munny Pang. Spelled M-U-N-N-Y. By the way, in case you were interested Munny is a Cambodian name that means smart."
By the way, the reporter wasn't interested.
"Thanks for stopping by The Victorian!" continues Munny. "It makes me happy you guys are writing about this. The Victorian usually doesn't get much attention, but I think it's a fine place to live."
The reporter smiles and nods. There doesn't seem to be any sarcasm in his voice. "You think so?" asks the reporter.
"I mean it's a bit rough around the edges, but it could be a lot worse. I enjoy the people here too. Have you met our concierge Ms. Davis?"
The reporter thinks back to the cranky curmudgeon that yelled at her for taking a candy from a bowl on her desk. That concierge?
"Oh, you must have seen her, she's the only concierge for our apartment building. I always looking forward to seeing her face. She's not the classic concierge but ultimately she's one of the constants in the Victorian and she always does her job."
Yes, that concierge. Wow, still no sarcasm. He looks forward to seeing her, even out of constancy? From what the reporter can tell the only thing constant about her is her rottenness. The reporter doesn't understand The Victorian at all. This apartment was in a "town making a comeback?" How? Last night she had the worst Taco in her life down the street at the creatively named "Los Tacos." She shakes her head. She thinks to herself this interview is pointless.
"What do you write?" asks the reporter. She figures she'll have an excuse to not interview Munny
if he ends up not being a literary figure of some importance.
Munny's eyes light up as if this is the first time anyone has ever expressed interest in his writing. "Thank you for asking!" he exclaims. "It's nice to talk about writing to a fellow writer. This is so exciting! Thanks for my making my day! Anyhow, I publish fantasy novels. You've probably never heard of the Bala Chonicles, have you?"
The reporter starts walking backwards. This guy is not worth any of her time.
"Anyhow, I try to enjoy writing as a side-gig, but I still dream of being able to make writing pay the bills full time. It's really something I love, it's why I get up in the morning, even if it's not with fiction. Heck I hate politics, but for the chance to be a writer I would even-"
The reporter closes the door on Munny and dashes away from his apartment. What a waste of time she thinks to herself. As the reporter fabricates an uninteresting interview she reflects on how she hates her job. She longs for the chance to write about something important, or better yet to write something important. She hardly considers this hellhole of an apartment complex worth even fabricating an interview. "God please help me," she thinks to herself.
Munny is still shocked and confused that the reporter walked out on him. He begins to think that she thought of him as such a waste of energy she didn't even bother to start an interview, but he  decides to dismisses this notion; it was probably an emergency. Munny sits back down on his couch. He wraps his arm around the Darth Maul cutout. He tries to smile. He begins to cry.