Wait, hold on. Theres something important on here.
[Male Voice 1]: -ait. What?
(A few loud, fumbling clips)
[Male Voice 2]: Just speak-
(Incomprehensible over the sound of wind and agitated plastic)
[Male Voice 1]: -into here?
[Male Voice 2]: Yeah.
[Male Voice 1]: Just the first thing on my mind.
[Male Voice 2]: Yep. That. Or anything. (Pause) I just want you to document
what youre doing. Your thoughts, conversations, anything. (Pause) Im just
trying to get insight into-
[Male Voice 1]: Stop talking at me.
(Voices in the distance and wind)
[Male Voice 1]: And youre looking at me weird. Its like you want me to give
[Male Voice 2]: Im sorry about that, brother. Im just anxious, you know?
[Male Voice 2]: Not anxious. I mean eager. I think I just mean-
[Male Voice 1]: (interrupting) Can I walk away? There arent any words here.
[Male Voice 2]: (Uneasily) Alright. Just dont run off with it. Youve only got
two hours of space.
[Male Voice 1]: (Distractedly) Trust me, Kyle.
[Kyle]: (muffled further off) Be back at 3!
I later found out his name wasnt Kyle. He later found out he couldnt trust me. You can
learn a lot in Ann Arbor.
There were a lot of things going through my mind at this point, but none of them were
vectoring in any particular direction. Daylight has a profound effect on me that way. I
cant see a thing when Im thinking straight at the sun. Dr. Searle didnt know what he
was talking about. I used to really like Danny Boyles films, but after you watch them a
few hundred times in your head, they start to get old. Ive gotten good at making up my
own dialogue when that happens.
At this point I started walking toward the Cube. I planned to turn up toward NYPD, and
then back down toward Packard on that one other road to lose anyone who was following
me. No ones ever done it in the past, but its better to be safe than sorry. Regardless,
After a dozen or so steps I got distracted because I forgot what I was doing and was
entertained by the recorder. As I tossed it back and forth between my hands, I enjoyed
the fact that it had a good solid mass for its size and that it had a shiny blue scratchresistant
cover. Durable and pretty. Like an electric seashell. There should be some
money in it. Judging by the weird assembly of letters on the battery case, it was made in
one of those Asian countries that I used to play bad video games from. Kyle or Kevin or
whoever said hed give me ten dollars if I did recording with it, but I thought I could get
more money from the recorder itself. People buy things like this.
[Male Voice 1]: -uck. Wait. Son of-
I thought I was thinking out loud so I tried to turn off the tape recorder not knowing that
it was off already. Lots of things have too many buttons, and none of them are ever
labeled Do Exactly What You Want Me To Do. I tried to patent that idea a few years
back, but evidently patent and pavement arent spelled the same way, and you dont
get partial credit for getting the Id like to apply for a part right.
Unfortunately, there are very few places to unload stolen property in a high-class college
town so lauded by the AARP. At least it was all ubiquitously laudatastic when I still
went here. Its been a while since Ive sat near a psychiatrists waiting room magazine
rack that contained a relevant headline. Maybe there was a big problem at some point
that made this place really bad somehow. It certainly doesnt feel that different though.
Ive learned that people grow up but conversations tend to stay the same age.
Selectively passionate frat guy is really pissed off at being paired with fat sorority for
Greek Week. Girl with relationship problems gets too drunk at party, hooks up with
douchey guy, regrets it, and does it again two days later. Roommate 1 is annoying
Roommate 2 by not cleaning up after himself. Roommate 2 hates his pulsating orifice of
a roommate. That guy just spat on the M. These squirrels are too fat. That bum is
staring at me.
[Female Voice IDC]: That bum is staring at me.
[Male Voice 1]: I think he just wants some change.
[Female Voice IDC]: Oh my God. He...
[Male Voice 1]: I know.
[Female Voice IDC]: No. Just no.
[Male Voice 1]: I know.
That bum really just wanted some change. He subsequently felt unwanted.
At this point I was hungry. Its not a pleasant feeling, but not a particularly relevant one
either. It just means that at this precise moment I wanted food more than I wanted any
other particular thing. That balance shifts eventually. I just have to wait it out. Kurt told
me that if I brought the recorder back in one piece with anything of value on it, he would
buy me dinner as a thank you. Id like to think my silent, acquiescent nodding made the
point that if he thought value would come from involving me in anything he was doing
that his standards were despicably low and that I was staring at him from the bottom of
the very tall cliff he was standing on.
[Male Voice 1]: Hey!
(Footsteps interspersed with unrecognizable dialogue)
[Male Voice 1]: Hey! Has anyone ever told you youre too blonde for your own
[Male Voice 1]: Hi! Hey there!
This was an effort to make friends. I dont interact with the ugly ones. It just comes off
as sarcastic. This goes on for a while. You should fast forward.
You can make quite a bit of money from people giving it to you, and Ive learned that
friends are the best people to ask for that kind of thing. I recently became distressed six
years ago when my buddies got tired of loaning me money without ever getting anything
in return except another chance to loan me money. I decided then and there that I would
change my life. Id get new friends.
The other side of the coin, and I can use that colloquialism because my day to day life
clings to its vehicle, is that you can make more money by just taking it. But that often
devolves into a foot chase with authority figures and/or so-called Good Samaritans, and
these shoes are not in the same condition that they were fifteen months ago when I
bought them for free off of a shelf in a store with a neon high-top on the front when no
one was looking. I vowed to pay them back, but the closest I ever got was throwing a
beer bottle through their front window. That was 10 cents fewer, assuming the barcode
stayed intact. Random good deeds like that get me through the day. Giving. Its
[Male Voice 1]: Food. (Pause) Food. (Pause) Food. (Pause) Food. (Carried
on ad infinitum/for a quarter hour)
A few people were in a similarly altruistic mood, and I made a little less than 5 bucks in
about 15 minutes in announcing a syllable. I was satisfied. Its the week before finals, so
people tend to deign a bit more. They want that karmic smiley-face in their back pocket
when they sit down to take that all-important test that theyll forget about as soon as they
start studying for the next iteration. I suppose it says little about me in ravenously
vacuuming dubious donation in other peoples time of distress, but then again it says less
about other people believing that things actually happen for a reason. More so that they
can manipulate those reason-based things by basic socialist monetary morality. God,
college kids are idiots.
Speaking of which, I should probably tell you how I met Kyle. Kendall. How I met
Keith in the first place. Its a small and useless anecdote and I dont care to retain this
information after I give it to you. Its yours now and dont even try giving it back or Ill
react harshly in the form of aggressive physical incomprehensibility. I guess hes trying
to do research on homeless people in Ann Arbor. He explained to me that he had planned
to spend a week living as a bum, a Tenant of Transitional Territory, or a Triple-T as he
called it, in hopes of having an intrepid, fearless account of that horrible-so-horrible life.
He was unmoved when I responded by calling him a Tremendously Terrific Twat.
Perhaps that was because I never actually called him that but only came up with it 3
hours later and subsequently forgot after 5 minutes of accomplished giggling. He seemed
like the kind of guy who would have an ex-wife someday.
[Male Voice 1]: (falsetto) Hey Max, have I left you yet? (as close to gruffly as
possible) Yes. (satisfied falsetto) Good, cause Ive been meaning to.
I had convinced him that he was not of the fortitude to live homeless. I didnt do this so
much with words as with the simple force of shoving him out from under my West Quad
awning on a particularly ghastly April night. Ive always been pretty persuasive. He
called me a miscreant and ran home with his leather jacket and designer rain boots taking
on far too much water for their glittery construction. They were probably ruined so I was
going to take them from him next time I saw them.
In retrospect, there were a few points worth making that I probably didnt get across in
repeatedly shoving his face into a puddle while asking for an ever-increasing number of
cigarettes that he swore he didnt have despite the obvious taste I got from giving reverse
CPR. Specifically, homeless isnt something you choose to be. Its not even something
you are, in so simple a sense. Its just another quality in your life that you have to
mitigate. Im going to have a home someday, but that day just isnt today. I mean, yes,
today I dont have a housal area, but Im not forever housebarren. Im a person before
Im a homeless person. I remember watching Bubbles shoot up heroin and scrape for
cash by stealing copper plumbing and pulling capers on the unsuspecting public. For
whatever reason, I would think to myself back then that I wouldnt want to live that kind
of life, but that I probably could. And so I have. I guess Im cut from that cloth. Kyle
just isnt. He isnt a lot of things. Too bad dumbass isnt one of them.
[Male Voice 1]: Kyle can break. Kyle has always been broken. Kyle can break,
but Kyle has always been broken. Kyle is broken, but Kyle can still break. Kyle
can break, so Kyle will probably break. Kyle will
It was unfortunately dry out a few days later when he tracked me down to buy me a
sandwich and discuss his grand thesis. I ordered roast beef. I got turkey. After
apologizing for the earlier night, he implored my help. I laughed expressionlessly. He
orgasmed on: Your world fascinates me. There is something innately and more
intensely human and yet somehow animalistic in the way you live. I want to bring that
lifestyle to the public. I want to highlight your plight. He stifled a self-aggrandizing grin
at his inadvertent rhyme. Since I cant do it myself. I want you to be my eyes and ears
my conduit. I stared at him until he seemed to stop talking. The word okay came
out of my mouth. I was satisfied at its appearance in that particular circumstance and
nodded at its birth in approval.
He excitedly laid out the terms of the world. His first idea was to pay me ten dollars a
day for two hours of recording my doings on a school-owned video camera. I explained
to him that that was less than minimum wage by taking three rapid inhalations of my
sandwich but subsequently stated that I would still be okay with it by belching a few
strands of shredded lettuce onto his previously white shirt. I didnt feel bad because it
was clearly bought in a cheap set with a blazer and pants that he had either grown out of
or mistaken for a themed bathroom towel collection.
He said we would use an mp3 recorder instead in response. We agreed to meet the next
day which was yesterday but today as far as that interruptive voice is concerned.
He wanted to start a little charitable fellowship. I could tell. He wanted to be able to tell
stories about his interaction with me in med-school interviews. He wanted to say how he
made my life accessible in its tragedy to all who cared to know. He wanted to be able to
say how he bettered me as a person by helping me come to grips with who and, more
importantly in his mind, what I was: homeless. If all went well, I was a pretty project. If
all went perfectly, Id be dead by the time he started talking about this, so he wouldnt
have to think of me within the frame of humanity since my practical capital was worn out
within his incredible magnanimous effort. More importantly, he wouldnt need to cite his
Fuck the guy. He was kind of annoying, so I refused to let this process work on his
terms. I was going to return the recorder with nothing but the requisite two hours in
[Male Voice 1]: (In a bad imitation of a Brit doing a bad imitation of an
American accent) For seven years I spoke with God. He had a very childish sense
of humor, but I couldnt bring myself to tell him that. Im still trying to work up
the courage. Go back to your ship. This is me-time.
Coincidentally, Ive learned that I have the best relationships with people who dont care
if I say anything. Once I make some new friends, theyll all be either egregiously
talkative or deaf.
And theyll buy me a lot of food because I suck at doing it myself. Money doesnt fold
evenly into pockets that dont exist, and people look at you weird when you order food
and then respond to the request for payment by groping at your ass for five minutes.
Peter Cook is funny. I used to have a small, tan purse that I elected to keep my cash in,
but I got rid of it when I realized that it detracted from my credibility and that itd been
taken by violent force in a skirmish with a belligerent third-year football player who
blamed my queer shit for his latest loss to the upstart Indiana team that fall. I think he
was either a halfback or a goalie.
I hid from this memory by skirting into an underused sidewalk. I might be able to call it
an alley, but Im not sure what the exact definition of that word is, and I dont want to
sound like an idiot. I think I was trying to seek out a guy I know named Red, though that
wasnt actually his name. I started calling him that years ago because I shrewdly made
the connection that he was the equivalent of his given namesake from that movie with the
guy from that one scene in Anchorman where Brick killed a guy with a trident. Crazy
shit. Most of my character references come from films because Ive never really read
enough. Shawshank Redemption was actually a book before it was a movie, but I dont
know that. Actually, I dont know more things than I know.
But yeah. Red. He wasnt the guy who could get things; he was the guy who could get
rid of things, and I thought this piece of electronics could be valuable. And generally he
was just a nice guy to know. Salt of the earth, so to speak, despite the fact that hes the
kind of person who would start a sentence with the phrase Im not racist, but I found
out later that hed been dead for 3 years, so I cant really be too mad at myself for not
That suddenly became irrelevant because at this moment I thought it would be
entertaining to pretend that I was a narrator of a wild safari through a strange land. Its
fun to pretend. It helps to think of my life in terms of a movie or game or something.
This way my actions can beget consequences only within the governance of some
fanciful, fictional sandbox where people and feelings can be played with but not broken
in any way. Its all a practice run for the big scene later when somebody says Okay,
your life actually starts now. Focus this time.
I cant be certain I thought I was pretending or if I actually believed it for the time being,
but if nothing else I killed off some of the stupid minutes between lunchtime and dark.
You cant really appreciate the beauty of a cloudless afternoon or a sublime sunset when
that same asshole sun has been slapping your face red all day.
And then words erupted.
[Male Voice 1] This species is an interesting species. You can see them act as
they do without trying very hard. They tend to stay toward the right side of stuff
when they move unless theyre in England. That one over there has a red baseball
cap. He probably likes that color or that color holds some significance to a team
or thing he likes. He is walking at nearly the same speed as everyone else toward
something. All these people are going somewhere. The Cosmological Principle
kind of says that on a big enough scale everything looks the same to everyone.
That seems dumb at first glance or hear or whatever, but it sort of makes sense
after a while. Red-hat-guy is gone but now there is another guy in a red hat
walking in the same direction but few minutes later than Red-Hat-Guy-1. That
looks the same. I guess when you consider every single instance on its own, its
hard to view it as something general, but you have to in order make stuff work. In
the long term, you cant remember every instance exactly how it was at the time,
so you have to generalize it to retain some part of it. More people are walking
here. None of them are interesting because none of them are all that unique in
their differences. Theyre blurring together. Im no longer seeing people walking
somewhere; Im seeing the process of walk. Every person I see is rolling through
the rut that was occupied by the person before him. I kind of want to throw a
penny into their little river to see the ripple effect of a few of them ducking out of
the way of the sound of pling. This is uncanny. Its almost inhuman. Everyone
passing is thinking on a local level that what he is doing is unique to him, but
within the context of the world hes in, hes just another collection of molecules
sent flying by the big bang. Its almost frightening seeing what we consider hardto-
explain human higher-processes like free will, and choice, and social constructs
fit far more simply into basic animal or physical realities like instinct or
determinism or absolute reality. On a large enough scale, were all the exact
same. I could almost write a story about the absurdity of it all. I even have the
first line. Silver Pontiac! Barrel Roll! Barrel Ro-
(Noises of violent interchange between man and ground)
At this point I dove into a nearby canopy of sharp branches and caustic leaves. I saw a
car I recognized. At least I recognized a quality that set off an alarm of nausea in my gut.
My mom used to drive something similar, and I dont want her to see me. Its probably
best if she thinks Im not alive in the first place, and I dont want to bitch out that bliss.
No, that wasnt her exact car from what I remember, but Im pretty sure shed stick with
that type of model. Familiarity. Thats just the general animalistic quality of man. On a
large enough scale, everything makes me hate myself.
Black SUVS and red convertibles are also bad. Trust me. Theres a reason.
(several loud thumps followed by hyperventilation)
[Male Voice 1]: Alright. (pant) Okay. Im safe in this bush. The thorns hurt like
hell, but its probably worse for anyone who might want to come pull me out of
here who isnt used to indescribable physical horror. I think Im safe in pain. I
like safe. I think Im going to take a nap.
(47 minutes of silence interspersed with unintelligible conversation, wind, and
[Male Voice IDK2]: Hey man, are you alright? Hey, dude
[Male Voice 1]: (Incomprehensible screaming)
[Male Voice IDK2]: Holy shit! Whyd you do- Hey! Whyd you
the distance) He just broke my nose! What the hell? Did you guys
(rapid footsteps and car horns)
Yeah. I punched him in the face a little bit. Right in the face. Hell yeah. If I still had
friends, I would probably take some time to hardcore it up a bit and make myself sound
like a badass before I divulged. Unfortunately, I neither have buddies nor time, so the
story will remain a hit and run for as long as my memory allows. Im surprised its
gotten this far.
To be fair, I just woke up, and I couldnt really stop myself. To be more fair, I doubt that
would have made a difference. I always had random impulses Ive had to suppress like
Your mouth feels weird; spit on the floor, or That newscaster looks like an ass; kick a
hole in that TV or That guy next to you pulled up a bit to close to the light; flip him off
and yell. Just yell. Call him an asshole. He cant hear you, but thats not nearly as
important as you saying it. Scream the word fuck now as loud as you can. Well done!
One day I stopped suppressing one of them. One day I stopped suppressing them all.
And presently, not reacting to surprise with absurd physical violence seems dishonest in
some way. And lying is bad.
No. I would never qualify it as insanity, just reflexive irrationality.
I needed to go somewhere. I ran until I walked.
[Male Voice 1]: (gasping) Jesus. (panting) Okay. (breathing heavily) Alright.
Good. Youre safe now. Lets keep walking now, dude. This sidewalk has a nice
even grade, so you should be able to keep this momentum going for a while. I
know that bench. Theres another one coming up soon too and it has fewer
scratches. This is comfortable. Its nice. Its real. Everything here is beautiful
and - Holy hell. Roadkill. Lovely. Going back the other way now. I dont
remember anything smashed over there. Bye, badger corpse. Racoon
This ruined my entire plan of ducking behind Pizza House to make delicious use of its
dumpsters. Fun fact: that restaurant is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for
being the only two-floor eatery to take up an entire city block. I like to think that I played
some part in that even though I quite definitely didnt.
[Male Voice 1]: Lets see what the diag has to offer.
(Footsteps and indistinct voices)
[Male Voice 1]: No more games. No more bombs. No more walking. No more
fun. No more games. No more bombs. No more walking. No more fun. No
more games. No more
When I get bored, I tend to just say this to myself and walk in rhythm to it until I get to
the place I stop. I didnt stop in the diag. I kept on. I saw Maude Lang. Simultaneously,
I saw that guy who wanted something from me. I reacted. I ran to water and stretched.
There was a pretty pathetic look of terror on Koreys face as I held the tape recorder out
over the fountain. I stood with my legs riveted together with my other hand out to keep
balance. It probably looked pretty crucifixical from a distance, but people never see me
anyway, and at a glance Kirk probably seemed far more wretched. This probably looked
like we were filming a movie. No one looked at either of us as they walked by. And I
didnt really want to look at him. I was ashamed of being seen with him. I looked at
other stuff around his face in the guise of eye-contact.
[Male Voice 1]: I changed my mind. I want $20, Korbin.
[Kyle]: I only have $10 on me, but I swear Ill get you another $10. Please.
Just dont drop it, brother.
[Male Voice 1]: Show me your wallet then. I want $25, Korcavity. (Pause) And
[Kyle]: (In disbelief) Why are you doing this? (Stammering) Im giving you
free money. Im trying to help you. Im paying you for doing exactly what you
always do. (In desperate pride) Im doing you a favor.
At this point, I recoiled on instinct. I fell from the fountain, took a minute to find my
balance, and ran shoulder-first through him. I think he bled. Not to say that there wasnt
truth in his statement, but the thought that people should be immune to bad things
because they do good things hurts. And the thought that he thought he was special for
helping me out and not taking the normal route of just walking by me as sat on the edge
of the sidewalk with my hand out hurt in a different direction. And the general concept
of doing ten dollars of charity work and celebrating it with an eighty dollar bar tab kicked
my soul in the taint. Holy god damn hell. The world is wrong and Im the broken
I need to run. Im a wounded animal clambering to sanctuary. A squirrel running from a
bigger squirrel with a knife and a catalogue of stabby words. It doesnt need to make
sense to be real.
Im disoriented. I tried to run far, far away but soon realized that all I had done was run a
lap around a block and came back to exactly where I just was. I looked around in a
panic. Luckily it seemed that Kia had walked away himself, no doubt to confess to his
professor that he had given a $100+ piece of school equipment to a crazy homeless guy
who hed spoken to twice all the while hoping that he could draw some sort of sympathy
with his recent flesh wounds. I wasnt as entertained by this thought as I usually would
be. Ive always found a small joy in seeing someone get whats coming to them for
trusting a person they should know to be an untrustworthy jackass. I guess actually being
that jackass is a slight detriment to the occasion.
I was breathing quickly and decided to lie down.
Sometimes when I get this way a nice thing in my mouth sings me a lullaby at varying
volumes. This day I was lucky enough to have it come out in a whisper which is good,
because most people around me tend to be put off by the voice when its yelling in
[Male Voice 1] (in and out of tune) Be calm / Be calm / I know you feel like you
are breaking down / Well I know that it gets so hard sometimes / Be Calm / Take
it from me Ive been there a thousand times / You hate your pulse because it still
thinks youre still alive / And everythings wrong / It just gets so hard sometimes /
Be calm / Be calm
At this point I was contemplating taking a nap on the sidewalk when I looked up.
[Male Voice 1]: Hahaha! Ha!
[Male Voice 5]: (disgustedly in the distance) Jesus Christ.
[Male Voice 1]: (away from recorder) No, its not you. Its just a joke. I had a
few friends here at one point who used to really think this time was important.
They would look at each other and smile when they saw it, and dance to an
Aquabats song sometimes. It was just a funny thing to be around. I guess you
had to be there. Hey! Pay attention, dicktwister! IM ME AND MY HAIR
DOESNT EXIST! Wait Dont ever say that again. It makes no sense.
I cant remember exactly what word I was saying when I realized he was out of earshot,
but I kept wording stuff outloud because sentences are hard to control when they get
started. Youve already kicked over that tower on your little cousins sand castle. You
might as well squash the king and use its corpse to fill in the moat.
Anyways, I was laughing because I saw the Bell Tower, and it was 4:20, and I had a
vague sensation that at one point that was significant to me. I laugh when that happens
except sometimes I cry or kick things.
[Male Voice 1]: Im not tired.
I was tired.
I made the move toward the more residential area of this area. I would like some
semblance of a bed, and if not that then a roof, and if not that than an extension of at least
a foot off of one.
Its a pretty simple process finding shelter when you need it. Frat houses are good. Or
apartment complexes. Pretty much any place with a lot of occupants. A person starts to
not care about security when hes not the only one who is insecure. You need to aim for
the weakness, the flashy part on the starfox boss.
You walk. You trip. You get up. You smell smoke. You see an incorrectly-put-out
bonfire and search for marshmallows or hotdogs that may have been mistaken for
charcoal. You find an ill-used cigarette butt. You inhale as if its your own soul. You
enjoy the fact that one of your addictions is sated.
So I, like most people in my situation would, took to worshipping fire for a couple
minutes. I actually saw a picture of myself in the Michigan Daily today attributing my
joyous, rhythmic calisthenics to some sort of republican cult ritual. Evidently my armflailing
spelled out G.L.E.N.N.B.E.C.K. in Morse code somehow.
I heard he died a few years back. Something about a studio accident where he pretended
to hang himself in some entertaining allegory to the effect of American society killing
itself by embracing the idea of gay marriage. He was even wearing a jumpsuit showing a
purple map of all 49 states with a big black frowny-face where Nebraska used to be. He
really played the part well for an ale-addled apoplectic. He must have learned his chops
from those supporting roles in those John Cena movies. That fact doesnt get the
attention it deserves, however, because apparently the knot in the noose was not false and
he actually hung there penduluming on camera for a little less than a half hour before
anyone caught on or at least thought it prudent to cut him down. The story goes that the
noose was rigged by a guy named Doubletex M. Chambers. Apparently, he was related
to Al Franken. He was arraigned on a count of first degree murder but was found not
guilty because everyone on the jury was related too. Justice is tricky.
I lost track of what I was doing so I made some tight circles within the process of
walking. I made the mistake of thinking. I rectified that by stopping. The funniest part
of all of this to me is missing things you'd never think you'd miss. That's not to say
things you took for granted, I mean things like videos of cats doing stupid shit. I mean
listening to a rendition of Cotton Eyed Joe and hating myself for doing it more than
hating myself for other reasons. I mean having the ability to make faces with my gut in
the mirror. I used to want to lose thirty pounds. Eighty pounds later, Im cold.
[Male Voice 1] Aaaaugh. AAAAAAhhh. FFF--- God. GOD DAMN IT. Jesus.
AAAAUGHHH why? AAugh AAAAAAAA (Increasing volumes of desperate,
My god. I just want to sleep. Olivia and Cambridge used to hold some solace before it
was an apartment complex. Thats not working. I need to find a new soft spot.
I had a friend at Church and Willard and some point, but shes been gone for a while.
Just, walk, dude, just, walk.
Pretend youre asleep while taking steps. At worst you pass out upright and have a
satisfied hour or two unconscious on the pavement. And thats hardly a bad thing at this
point. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Holy god, I want to rip my chest out. I want to
shove my neck through a bike rack and use the bars to gut my ribcage. I want to come
out the other side with nothing but head, arms, billowing skin, and the prospect of an end.
I want to be anyone but me and anywhere but here. My god its easy to sound edgy when
you talk about that kind of thing. All you need is self-harm in specific fashion. Its
pathetic. Im pathetic. Stop talking.
[Male Voice 1]: Theres a brown leaf on the ground. Its not moving.
I think about death a lot. Usually its not a suicidal or melancholy thing. Thatd just be
stupid. You dont get poetic license when you hate poetry. To me its more of a
reminder. Im alive. You have to be alive to die. In that way, Im special. In that
special way, what I do can matter because I dont think these things around me that look
like cleaner, prettier, varying versions of my reflection are robots.
Ive never seen any of the Terminator movies all the way through.
There are a lot of movies I still want to see. The non-TNT-edited version of Shawshank
Redemption is up there. Four Lions, assuming it got a US release. That Kevin Smith
Porno movie with Darrell in it. Darryl? I dont know. Its been forever since Ive seen a
Kevin Smith movie. I hope hes still making them. When I get my own place, the first
thing Im going to do is download a bunch of films and just sit in my living room
watching them for hours on end with only short breaks for bathroom, curry delivery guys,
Its a beautiful, bare apartment with a big flatscreen on top of a cheap TV-stand across
from an ill-used pale-green chaise that was on clearance. The blinds are drawn. The
room is vaguely rectangular. Theres an achromatic poster on the wall, but I dont know
what its of. The rooms neighbored by a full kitchen with a fridge occupied by half a
case of Guinness and a jar of horseradish. The only thing occupying the top level is a
small container of fresh parsley. Im sure one day soon Ill want to cook again, and
parsley will be involved. I miss the sweetness of caramelized onions. I think parsley
could help somehow.
Im watching myself on the couch as the epileptic blue-ish light paints and erases itself
on and from the wall. Im curled up in a gigantic quilt blanket thats actually 4 blankets
sewn together because the one thing I think about out here is having a huge, smothering
cover that I cant shiver or shake off because it hugs me manifold, and when I have my
own place Ill be able to make that happen assuming Ill be able to hold a sewing needle
more steadily than I imagine I can hold one now.
Im still watching the lights. Im cradling the large, jangling black can of imported stout
in my blanketed hands while lying on my side staring at the screen. Im deliriously, yet
deliberately happy. I might have just won the lottery. I dont know. I want to cry, but
those wasted fluids would just make me more dehydrated and hungover in the late
afternoon when I wake up, so I stop myself. I placate my emotion my kicking
unintelligibly at the ghost of my past all the while grinning and quaking in a manner the
exact opposite of wretchedly. I look back on what is now the present and tell myself it
was all worth it. This is what Edmund Burke called delight and he never imagined
anything as perfect as this. These calisthenics actually fucking mean something god
damn it. Youll have your nook, Max. Youll have your candle, whatever that fucking
means. I dont know. But still. It means something. It means happiness. It does. It has
This vision is a memory because Ive had it before and I remember having it.
There are very few things I can say I remember since my downfall. Usually you dont
take stock of what you remember because you just do. Its there. You have it. That
doesnt really make sense. It doesnt need to make sense to be true.
Im breathing a bit hard at this point. I remember. I remember the word catharsis. It
applies in this situation, right?
So yeah. Theres a TV and a comfy me on a cheap couch. Its decadence at its most
wrought. I want this to happen. Fuck. Its going to happen this time. Focus, Matt.
Youre thinking straight. Goals. You have goals. Oh my God. Fuckin
Okay. Focus. Something good is happening. You need to get a job. You need to find
whoa. Wait. Hahaha! Okay. How do I turn this thing on?
[Male Voice 1]: Okay, Matt. Okay. God damn it, youre thinking straight.
Okay. Fuck. Youre in clarity now. Dont lose it. You have a goal. How do
you get there? To get an apartment and a TV and a couch and four blankets and
sewing string, you need a source of income. You need to get a job. To get a job
you need qualifications. Work experience. A college degree. Terminal
associates degree. You have that kind of. Terminal associates.
[Male Voice IDK]: (in the distance)
to himself? (laughter) Shut up! The guys
talking to himself.
[Male Voice 1]: Damn it. Shut up. Terminal Associates. Termina
[Male Voice IDK]: Hey, dude.
[Female Voice IDK]: (in the distance) Marc, just leave him alone.
[Male Voice IDK]: (Away from the recorder) I just want to talk to him. (toward
the recorder) Hey, dude. Whore you talking to?
[Male Voice 1]: Fuck off, dickbasket. Im recording.
[Male Voice IDK]: Recording, huh? Your hobo memoirs? Your uh
(distant, stifled laughter)
[Male Voice 1]: Leave me alone.
(sounds of a brief physical struggle)
[Male Voice IDK]: Just hold JUST HOLD ON!
[Male Voice 1]: (despondently) What do you want, man?
[Male Voice IDK]: I want you to uhh I want you to do an impression .
[Male Voice 1]: (confused) What?
[Male Voice IDK]: (laughing) Yeah. If you do an impression, Ill give you five
dollars. That easy.
[Male Voice 1]: I uh I dont really
[Male Voice IDK]: Come on, dude. It doesnt have to be good. Just do an
[Male Voice 1]: Um
[Female Voice IDK]: (in the distance) Seriously, Marc. We
[Male Voice IDK2]: (in the distance) Yeah, dude. We dont
[Male Voice IDK]: (away from the recorder) Shut up! Hes gonna do it! (toward
the recorder) Alright. Say Im only here for the gay dance. in a southern accent
and Ill give you a dollar.
[Male Voice 1]: You said five dollars before.
[Male Voice IDK]: Yeah. Whatever. Five dollars.
(Sounds of fumbling)
[Male Voice IDK]: (nearly incomprehensibly) No!
(Another brief struggle)
[Male Voice IDK]: No. Leave it on. It uh it can be part of the documentary.
[Male Voice 1]: Alright.
[Male Voice 1]: (in an inaccurate Mexican accent) Im only here
[Male Voice IDK]: No. Come on. Say it into the mic.
[Male Voice 1]: (in a louder inaccurate Mexican accent) Im only here for the
[Male Voice IDK2]: (in the distance) gay show?! Did he
[Male Voice 1]: Can I have my money now?
[Male Voice IDK]: Yeah. You can have it. (laughs) Ready? (away from the
recorder) Go get it!
(Sounds of fading laughter overpowered by frantic footsteps)
[Male Voice 1]: (panting) Yes. Thats
Okay. Okay. Uh
Termin. Um Terminnn. God damn it. Terminix. No. (panting slows)
Termin. Yeah. Terminator. I need to see Terminator. Im going to see that
movie one day. Its Yeah. Alright. Its dark Uh Its dark out. Bye.
So yeah. Thats all. Im sure there was something important on here. Could you give
this to Ken if you see him? Hes going to be looking for it. Hes going to be looking for
me too, but Im never ever going to talk to him again. Im going to run the other way.
Thanks. Do you think I could get the ten from you?
This is the first draft of a story I meant to redraft, but I never had the focus or patience while it was still real. It was written in a different mindset than I'm in now, and while I could now make it more accessible and tighten up the diction, I think I'd lose more in honesty than I'd gain in clarification. I'd make it a joke. While that'd be fun, it'd be inauthentic. The problems with phrasing and hamfisted allusions fail comparing to the problems that inspired the piece in the first place, and I don't want those back.
So my apologies if it's overdone and slanted in places. I don't want to be able to change that.