Monday, February 6, 2012

Trapped: A short story

It was an old factory. It made some of the cooling components for a refrigerator company which had gone out of business that year. It was one of the few that were having it’s pieces made in separate factory, then having them shipped all to one location to assemble the whole thing. Gelo Manufacturing had been open for fifty-two years, it produced thirty million parts in that time. At a point it was the central point of the small town of Algor, Alabama. Gelo had employed a fourth of the town and everything was built around to service those workers. Hospital, restaurants, and schools for the workers children. It’s what kept Algor afloat for the better part of a century. This was its last day of operation.

Thomas Cludo pushed a nearly toothless push broom through a vast hallway. It was about two o’clock. The dishes from the carry-in were being put back in to Tupperware containers, the half empty 2 liters of Coke were making their way back to offices, and the garbage was being thrown away. Around four thirty Thomas, “Big Tommy”, would be making his final rounds and gather that last bit of trash to be tossed and the soon to be demolished factory.

Tommy was twenty-nine, swiftly approaching thirty. His hair had begun to fall out in the areas it was no longer simply thinning. What had once been a black mane of hair started to look like the inside of a shower drain. His once barrel sized chest began to shrivel as the perfect abs he once had disappeared behind a thin wall of fat. Tommy had been a hero in high school. He was a cliché of a man, quarterback, center of the basketball team, and star pitcher. Every girl had loved him at one time or another, even a few of the teachers. Like all great stories, his took a turn for the worst. His senior year of high school he tore his shoulder in a football game. It was bad enough to end what was to be his greatest season. He managed to play the end of year basketball games, and filled in as a relief pitcher. He just didn’t have the arm any more. On occasion it would still throb with pain if he used it too much. Tommy’s senior year had been one of shit.

Most of the football team visited him when he first inured it, even guys from the basketball team. Certainly all the underclassmen girls. Once it was clear he would no longer be able to play the way he used to, the visitors started to drop off a bit. Even Mr. Cludo. Tommy’s father, Tom Senior put all his dreams in his young son. Especially after he had been fired from Gelo Manufacturing a year prior. Performance related is a polite way of saying he was a drunk and in a rough economy, you can always replace a drunk. Tommy realized most of his friends, girlfriends, and anyone else he was close with were only riding his coat tails to fame. Once they found out that ship had sailed, they pushed Tommy out in to the same harbor. At least that’s what he thought.

His friends and team mates still had lives. Just because Tommy wasn’t able to play the games weren’t canceled. They still had to get out there and play, and they had to play better than they had before without “Big Tommy” on their side. Longer practices left little room to go and hang out a few hours a night with their friend. Tommy didn’t see it that way. Traitors, losers, sluts. Most of the girls quit coming because it hadn’t taken long for Tommy to become agitated about the stories they told him with his team mates. How they were still going to win state. He had grown bitter fast.

The kitchen was clear of food now. It was a little after three. Tommy made his was sweeping up the hallways and the floor. There wasn’t too many people left. The production guys had been done for a few weeks, administration was doing whatever it is a business does when they shut their doors for good. Tommy just kept the place clean. Most of the administrative team didn’t notice him much. He came to work on time for the most part, cracked up with the line guys here and there. He did his job fine and was never a bother. Tommy felt differently. He hated “the suits”. Anyone not a line guy was a suit to him. Even though most of them didn’t were one, it was a casual place, he just lacked a clever name for them. These were the guys that canned his dad ten years ago, as far as he was concerned these are the guys that killed him.

Much like Tommy’s team mates, this meant extra work for Tom Senior. With his champion of a son in the hospital, he knew to get that arm better he would need the best doctors money could buy. Mr. Cludos may have been a drinker, but he wasn’t an idiot. He knew it was going to take a lot to get the best. The old man started taking odd jobs anywhere he could get them, temp services, hired labor, even got a housekeeping job back at Gelo. He had been a lineman supervisor and had shown up hung over one morning. That same morning some new kids arm got caught in the machinery and damn near tore it off. Because he was a slightly intoxicated supervisor and someone now had the right to sue. They let time Tom Senior go. Understanding he had fallen on hard times, they gave him a part time position. Everyone liked Tom, the kid hadn’t sued, this was the best they would do for him now. With all the extra hours, “Big Tommy” assumed his dad abandoned him too.

Tom Senior was a big man and had led a rough life. Working sixteen hours a day was wearing his old body down. About a year back at the plant and Tom Senior had a heart attack. All the money he had earned working the long shifts almost covered the cost of his funeral. Almost, Tommy had just started college, not on a scholarship and he needed to drop out and get a job now. Tommy’s mother passed away a few years before, it was just him against the world. The president of Gelo Manufacturing offered him a job at the funeral. He stayed composed, but Tommy was furious. “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t want to work the same place my father died in” he gritted through his teeth. That was a decade ago, and Tommy is making the same walk his dad did on the day of his death.

Tommy got a job at the sporting goods store as a salesman. It seemed it would be an easy task. Performance Sports Equipment thought they had just hired a top seller. He still looked good in good shape, not what he used to be, but good enough. The appeal was Big Tommy Cludo knew his sports, and will set you up to be a champ like him. Salesmen need to be friendly though. Tommy was anything but friendly.

About two years ago Tommy found some loose boards by the old boiler system in the basement. He was sweeping and the broom caught pulling a small plank up. It was wet down there, he figured the heat and moisture constantly battling made the wood warp and separate. Investigating a bit he found stairs underneath them, it was a small tool room. Probably when building the basement infrastructure it was used as a small workshop, then covered up when the new boilers were put in. There was a small table, a bench, and a couple chairs. They were all faded and worn, but looks never stayed without properly taking care of something. If no one is looking at it, it really didn’t matter. This room would suit Tommy well. It was big enough just to relax in. Hardly anyone came down here, and certainly wouldn’t be paying attention to some old boards. Finally Tommy had a place to blow off a little steam on the clock. With an hour or so left to kill he thought to himself, “I could step on down for a last sip and a nap”. Tommy headed down to his Chamber of Solitude for one last time.

The jobs came and went for the next couple of years. It didn’t take Tommy long to get fired from Performance. He was a used car salesman, a waiter, and then one of those guys who spins signs out front offering cash for gold. That was the last straw, twirling a sign in the blazing heat while sweat drenched one of his few good shirts. He couldn’t take it any longer. It didn’t help he was carrying a few extra pounds these days as well. If he was going to die on the job like his father, it was going to be cool at least. It wasn’t much, considering how much Tommy had figuratively pissed on an offer he was given a few years back he was lucky to get anything. He was given a job cleaning out the machine presses at the end of the day. He was surrounded with regular hard working men like his father. For once he didn’t need to get in someone’s face for being uppity with him or thinking they were better than he was. Tommy liked working there and eventually he was even promoted to the first shift cleaning crew.

As he headed down the short staircase he rubbed his hands against the crumbling stone. It crusted off in to powder in his hands. He adjusted the boards before his decent just in case someone was coming down there. He knew that some of the crates of unsold parts were being brought down around four and he wanted to make sure he got out of that. He needed to find a new job before too long and didn’t want to injure his back. Nothing new was going in place of the factory, at least for a year or so the town hoped. It was a scouted location for a distribution center for some cheap grocery store chain due to its vast size. His girlfriend’s father said he could work for him at his restaurant; that was before the break up.

Amor Cruciatus was beautiful. She was a Greek with dark skin and startling green eyes. A kind girl with a big heart. She knew all about Tommy Cludo from middle school, he was a few years older than her so he would’ve never paid attention to her. Once Tommy was no longer a big shot and working at Gelo though, she thought maybe she would be good enough for him. Since she was one of the few girls that hadn’t been pissed off by Tommy or didn’t realize what a shadow of his former glory he had become, she was more than out of his league. She did everything he could ask for, but he was already bitter, still waiting for the other ball to drop. It would only be a matter of time before she realized he was a piece of shit just like the other girls did. He did the only thing he knew he could do before she broke his heart. He dumped her.

She took it hard. Amor could not understand why Tommy would break up with her. She thought she was being the perfect girlfriend, her dad was going to let him manage bussers and hostesses at his restaurant. It didn’t make sense why he would get rid of her. She begged him not to end it, that she would fix whatever was wrong with her. She loved him, she always did and for a year she got to have him. Whatever she did, she would fix it. She didn’t see Tommy crying as he left her house, she didn’t know how much he actually cared for her, Amor had no idea that Tommy would get drunk and wreck his car that night.

Tommy felt around inside his pocket and pulled out the small flashlight to navigate to the bench. He knew the layout by heart for the most part, but he didn’t want to break the bottle he had kept down below. It was a bottle of Trace Buffalo, a Christmas gift from Amor. He had slowly been sipping it on his shift for the past month now. He quit drinking for a while after the accident. He banged up the car well enough, but he walked away unscathed. The bummer was he now needed to take the bus to work, or walk depending on the weather. He left the bottle untouched until the announced the closing of the plant. He thought keeping it up on the shelf was a reminder of why he had to deal with all the vermin in public transportation and what he had lost with Amor. Then when the word got passed down, he brought the bottle in and started drinking it before his afternoon nap. Today he was going to finish her off as a salute to Gelo and how it robbed him of a decent life again.

He drank deeply from the bottle. There was a decent amount left. More than he planned on drinking, he still needed to get the trash about 4:30. What the hell, it isn’t the end of the world if he screws up today. In a few hours he is unemployed, the garbage can screw itself. Tommy sets the flashlight on the table standing up to use it like a lamp. He takes another swing and chokes a bit. The bourbon burns going down and he sulks a bit. He doesn’t have the stomach to finish it now. Maybe when he wakes up he can finish it up. He glances around the room that has become the best part of his day. He turns off the light and lays down on the bench and slowly drifts off to sleep.

Like most of the time he drinks and sleeps, he dreams. About the night him and Amor broke up. As he ran out of her house he wiped away tears, making sure she did not see them. He drove erratically to the bar. Speeding down the bypass, needing to get a drink as quickly as possible, he understood the phrase “Move with purpose.” He waited ten minutes before he went in to Potus’s Tavern. His eyes were still a little red when he entered. There he shared intimacy with another friend, twelve shots of whisky and five beers. Big Tommy was hammered. Those who knew him pleaded with him not to drive home. He was a big man though, knew his limits and this wasn’t it. After slapping one of his former team mates across the cheek he grabbed his coat and left. Less than a mile down the road he crashed in to tree. When the cops found him his car was a wreck and he’d pissed himself.

Tommy awoke with a bit of a headache. He realized that he drank a bit too much for his personal goodbye party. His mouth was dry and he was hungry. Even after all the food he scarfed down at the carry-in the booze had made him want more. Plus, the cake was really good. Hopefully there was still some left. He wasn’t sure what time it was. With all the court fee’s Tommy had to give up any luxuries. Gym membership, going out money, and his cell phone. He stopped carrying it around a few weeks ago because he felt stupid. He didn’t own a watch so he just tried to train himself to sleep for thirty minutes and wake up. He was getting better at it, but the extra bourbon really had messed with the mental snooze button. He had hoped it wasn’t too late, he didn’t want to stay past five today considering he wasn’t going to get paid for overtime. Plus if the guys loading the extra parts in the basement saw him coming from out of the floor he might get his last paycheck docked. He grabbed his flashlight from the bench and flicked it on. He left the bottle behind, a gift to the old factory he thought. “If you are around, I saved the last bit for you dad”, Tommy muttered as he headed up the stairwell. When he got to the third to last step he pressed up on the loose boards. They didn’t budge. Tommy pushed harder, nothing. Panic ripped through his body and soul. Bending deep into his knees and summoning all his strength Big Tommy blasted forward. A faint pop emitted from his shoulder when the fire erupted in his brain. He stumbled backwards cradling his dislocated joint, falling down the steps back on to the cold workshop floor. Tommy Cludos was trapped.

Terror flew up Tommy’s throat and climbed out of his mouth. Interestingly enough terror smelled like cake and bourbon. Tommy blew his nose clearing the rest of the vomit out. He tried to choke out a scream, but it died in his throat. He propped himself up with his good arm. Clearing it, he managed to get out, “Help me”, meekly. Swallowing the rest of the booze and bile his normal speaking voice returned. Tommy knew if he had anyone was left it wouldn’t be for long, he needed to get someone’s attention. Profoundly he screamed the word, “Hey”, at the top of his lungs. He listened for a moment. Nothing. Not hushed voices growing nearer, not the click clack of machinery, only the scream of silence.

Tommy laid back on the ground. He didn’t know how long, the shock had worn away and his shoulder was throbbing. It would be far worse when he was no longer half buzzed. His mouth was dry and foul tasting, “A glass of water would be nice”, he thought. He slowly moved toward the tabe, scooting his ass against the ground. He wasn’t positive where he had landed and the flash light had rolled out of his pocket. He needed to get the bearings of the room back before he began his search back towards the steps. Feeling his way across the floor he found the bench against the wall. A few feet to the left would be the table, maybe he could swing a chair up in to the boards above and make some noise.

He wasn’t surprised he’d lose his license, and it’s not like he could afford to get the car fixed. He had a couple court fees to pay, but honestly the two weeks he did in jail wasn’t much of a sentence. Even though he had become bitter and hateful, people still remembered Big Tommy as a hometown hero, or at least felt sorry for the star that fell from grace. Even the judge.

Amor had tried to comfort Tommy a few times, coming to the hospital where he was treated, the trial, and his house when he was released. She stopped coming by after he tried to turn things sexual. She still cared about him, maybe even loved him, she began to think she was just another one of those girls he chased in his glory days, only wanting her for sex. If he had been a better communicator he may have been able to explain that all this had changed him. He was done drinking and knew they could have a real relationship together. That he ran away from her only because she was too good for him. Instead he told her “Stop holding out and to come a bit closer”, with awkward tension in his voice. It was the last time she came by his house.

It had hurt too much to crawl with a bad arm. After standing up Tommy slid his feet against the floor hoping to find the flash light. A few minutes in to it he kicked something in to the wall and picked it up shortly after. He flicked it on and the small workshop was lit faintly. It was a cheap light, he replaced the batteries in it often. Grabbing the chair with his good arm Tommy struggled to lift it up to the ceiling. Straining he banged the old wooden chair several times in to the boards. After the fifth swing it only sounded like someone was lightly knocking on a door four rooms away. He tried yelling a few more times, but it was pointless. Enough time had passed, Tommy knew the factory was empty.

While he wasn’t a genius, the man knew he was stuck. He had a bad shoulder and the parts sitting on the boards weighed several hundred pounds. Without proper leverage, there was no way to push the boxes off, and he didn’t have anything except a chair, a bottle, and a cheap flash light. He stood there for an hour, trying to fathom a million different ways this scenario could have played out. In the end, in all his day dreaming, this was his reality. Surely someone was going to pick up some of these parts. Sell them for scrap to the recycling plant. Tomorrow morning or that very night a couple of the guys would break in and take a few boxes on hand carts. He would just need to stay awake and listen for them to show up. Mike Stone, Jim Snow, and Bill Wares were always looking for easy money. He doubt they saved any up and would bail him out of this one. He moved and sat on the third step from the top, waiting for his rescuers.

Time slipped by slowly, Tommy didn’t know how long it would take his co-workers to get there. He would never have called them friends. Maybe beer buddies, certainly not friends. On occasion they would grab a beer or two after work, after the accident he stopped going for a while hoping Amor would see he was no longer dependent on the booze. When she rejected him he went back to it harder than ever. He didn’t want to catch a bunch of bullshit from those guys for turning down the offer to hang out after work now that he was “dried out”. Big Tommy was missed at the bars as he was buying cheap liquor a town over so no one talked about him behind his back. He knew they would, they were all still just a little jealous of him. They probably went to get drunk after their last shift, hopefully they will be feeling reckless and do it tonight. Waiting till tomorrow will suck. “They will probably mess with me for a while, getting stuck in this hole”, he thought. Tommy lingered on that, the catcalls and jeers they would mock him with, “Dicks”, he said to himself.

He had on and off again sleep over the night. Between sitting in darkness, his body trying to heal itself, and a lack of nutrition, Tommy was exhausted. He would wake with a jolt every few minutes, convinced he could hear his old bar friends above him laughing and joking around. Each time he’d yell out “Hey guys, it’s Tommy.” He would wait a moment and continue, “I got stuck down here, under the boxes, let me up.” His only replies were the echoes around him. Each time he yelled Tommy grew a bit less helpful. Minutes drug on like hours, without a clue how long he’d been down there, he started to think the worst. “Maybe they aren’t coming down here, maybe the thought didn’t even cross their minds”, he muttered. Tommy started shuffling back towards the bench. The stairs had made his back ache and the throbbing shoulder pains on top of it were too much to endure. Hope was a precious thing, and precious things are often rare: Especially for a man encased in a tomb.

It may have been the lack of food, but Tommy was sleeping in longer intervals, or at least he was tired more often. He felt like he was sleeping all the time and fearful he would miss his friends if they showed up. He didn’t have a clue how long he had been down there now. In and out sleep made him confused, one thing was for certain if food and water were as plentiful as sleep he would be much happier. There was a very small puddle in a corner of the room. Mostly just drips from the condensation from some old pipes against the wall. Tommy wet his tongue a few times from it, all he could taste was rust and the decay. He worried it would make him sick, plus after taking a piss a few times he was concerned the stream had ran into the tiny puddle. The only upside had been he did not need to do anything more than urinate. It would seem unnecessary for those actions as hunger was tearing in to his belly.

Tommy stretched his legs and walked around the workshop a bit. He thought about every decision that led him here. If he never would’ve gotten hurt he would have been a millionaire, if his dad wouldn’t have had a bad heart, if Amor would not have been so perfect. All these factors and decisions are what led to his inevitable death below the Gelo factory floors. “It isn’t fair”, he said in a whisper. He would have wept if his dehydration wasn’t at the point of being unable to produce tears. It had been quite some time since the last time Tommy had needed to relieve himself. His mouth was dry and sticky. “How much longer can I go like this?” Tommy thought. Through muddled thoughts he knew the answer, “Not much longer”.

He barely dreamt anymore, and if he was he could not remember it. If he had been able it would be the same as his thoughts. Amor. It was all he could think about, running to her, confessing his fears, his irrationality, begging to take him back. If he could get out he would change, they’d get married, have some kids, raise them right. Tommy would dwell on it for hours, then he would suddenly realize he was never leaving. It would appear he skipped town without ever saying goodbye. Her dad would tell Amor, “Do you see, Tommy Cludo is coward and a nobody, he didn’t even say goodbye”. Over time she would eventually stop defending him, until she started agreeing with him. Finally she would meet someone else and be happy. Again, as much as his body wanted, tears still would not spring from Tommy’s eyes. It was then, realizing he would never hold her hand or touch her lips to his again, or even see the sun, he had nothing to live for.

The flashlight Tommy had was barely even producing a dim glow, he knew soon the rest of his painful existence would be plagued in darkness. He was never much of a religious man, but he still believed in Hell. Suicide was pretty much a one way ticket there. Of course one can rationalize if no matter what you are going to die long and painful no matter what, is it wrong to just speed up the process? It’s not like God was giving him the signs he was coming in for some divine intervention and to wait it out as help was on its way. The phone lines were down and operators were not standing by. Tommy was given a choice few men ever get, he got to choose how he would die. Granted, there were not many options to choose from. For some reason hanging himself was all that could come to mind, he was barely able to stand anyway, it wouldn’t be difficult.

Tommy slid his worn leather belt through his belt loops. He fashioned it around his neck, quickly before he lost his nerve. At first he tried pulling it extra tight, each time he would get to losing consciousness his hands would slip and the belt would loosen. Oxygen would come flooding back into his lungs and give him the curse of a beating heart. Like everything in his life, Tommy was failing at his death. Strapping it around the pipe wasn’t working, he would start to lean over and would rock back up the moment he thought it would be over. His heart wasn’t in it. Although there are few who are passionate about ending their own lives, and those that were are not around to talk about it.

“A failure”, he thought. I can’t even kill myself properly. He had stared at the bottle several times. While not quite having a 4.0 GPA, even Tommy knew alcohol dehydrates you. There was just enough for a good long swig, enough to dull the senses. Hopefully the remaining bourbon was enough to keep him from turning craven so he could remove himself from the dungeon he inadvertently confined himself to. Tommy slowly treaded on his knees to the clear glass bottles wrapped in a green and tan wrapper. “This was meant for you dad”, he squeaked “I need it just a bit more than you right now”. With the lid off he tilted his head back and pressed the mouth of the bottle to his own. It was near impossible to get down. The desert that became his mouth revolted against the burn of the alcohol. Some of it went down rebelling all the way, the rest he spit out to the floor. Drinking was one of the only good things Tommy had been good at and he flinched at it like a first timer. The little bit of bourbon sitting in his stomach had made him convulse. His body was in an all-out war against the friend turned enemy. It burned at his stomach lining and had clawed at his throat on the way down. With an explosion in his head he lost all control, Tommy slammed the bottle in to the ground. Glass cut his now brittle skin sending blood pouring on to the floor. He stared at it for nearly a minute, watching streams of crimson drip from his fingertips. It would be gentle and he could probably even sleep through it. Tommy had found his way out.

Gripping the neck of the jagged bottle he cut the fore arm of his right side. Long and rough he carved down in to his wrist. His nerves protested in torment, but he was able to slide the glass horizontally across the incision making certain he would bleed properly. Tommy tried to clutch the neck handle with his hand on the disfigured arm. He couldn’t even make a fist, the remainder of the bottle dropped down. He laughed. His mouth still felt like someone had sandblasted it, so he we his fingers with blood and sucked on them a couple of times. It was disgusting, but more soothing than the dryness that had lingered for what he guessed were days. Tommy’s eyes were growing heavy, he was tired, more tired than he had been his entire life. The pain didn’t seem to last too long, it dulled within a few minutes. He questioned if this was shock. With his back against the bench Tommy slowly drifted into a dreamless sleep he would never awaken from. One would hope there was a lesson to be learned. He had no epiphanies, no better understanding of the world, and no great realization that his mistakes were his own. Thomas Cludo was a simple man who was selfish and arrogant. His last moments were the same as much of his life. Alone and feeling sorry for himself.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taking Comedy Seriously

Last night I was driving home with a few thoughts on my mind. Mostly about my future, the things I wanted, and how I was going to get them. Perhaps it was my love of video games growing up that instilled in me if you want something you just have to keep at it. Eventually you will beat the final boss at the end of the game and save the princess. Before all that though, you need to collect the silver bow and a shit ton of rupees. I think that is a fair assessment of the real world minus the bow. Actually, better bring the bow, it’s dangerous out there.

To me life has been about making all the moves to keep leveling up and getting further ahead. Unfortunately my battles were fought against a bottle while in college and it took some time to get my head out of my ass. So I am finally feeling pretty stable in this world of ours, there are still some serious wants in my life. Someday I do want to get married, have a kid or two, and teach them how important American history is and why they are better than other children. Until that time though, I am pursuing a few other things. The biggest one of course for me has been writing.

I have progressed a little bit on my novel in the past months, not a whole lot, but more than I had before. I have gotten a few more blog post’s than I have in a while. The big one on my head though is writing comedy. There’s nothing I love more than making someone laugh. I think a lot of people assume I don’t take anything serious because I turn everything in to a joke. I think it’s because much like Heath Ledger’s “Joker” I just want to put a smile on that face. I mean come on, “Why so serious”?

I guess I don’t really know how to go about it, websites like are my favorite thing on the net. I have read countless articles and I love the format, I just fear that what happens if it isn’t funny, it’s one of the reasons I have been too scared to try stand-up. I would like to take a stab at it, I guess I would post it on my regular blog, or give it a whirl via Facebook where it would reach more people.

I don’t know what kind of weak drivel I will churn out, I guess if it is bad it will be like really writing comedy and there may be some notes in the “comments” section. I guess I’d rather have someone read it and hate it then never read it all. Maybe… I might just cry myself to sleep, if so I will film it and upload it to YouTube. Either way it should be a gas. So if there is any advice for this project of mine, I would love to hear it. I am going to attempt to try and get something together in the next week or so. Wish me luck or feel free to punch me in the face next time you see me. (Only if you are a woman and a weak one at that)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homeless Bound

Fear, it is one of the biggest motivators in the evolution of man kind. A fear of the dark pushed us to create fire, a fear of the beast that stalked us pushed in to creating weapons, and a fear of death created modern medicine. At least that is my perspective. Fear keeps us grounded for sure, but sometimes it also holds us back. A fear of public speaking to being terrified of jumping out of a plane, there is something that deep down inside scares the living shit out of us. Especially clowns, or as I recently discovered, tiny hats. Anyone who knows me well knows my greatest fear, being homeless.

Whenever I say that, most people are confused. “Jeff, you have a job, family, and friends who would never let you go homeless, that is ridiculous”. My response is that of “Fears are usually irrational, they don’t need to make sense, otherwise they would be an obstacle to cross, not a fear”. Then the discussion turns to how amazing my hair looks and a listing of why 80’s cartoons are superior to present day ones. End preface…

Yesterday on my way back to Marion from Indianapolis I was on 82nd street getting on to 69 North in Castleton. A nice area, one I actually lived in for quite some time. As I waited for the light to change I noticed a man standing with the sign that he was out of work and needed money, anything would help. Now this is a rather high traffic area for those who, for the better sake of the word are, “Panhandlers”. I then noticed the man had one leg and my heart sank a bit. Fuck. Heading in to the end of October this guy is maneuvering a very busy intersection on crutches looking for a helping hand. Here I am trying to tinker around enough with my iPhone so I can pretend I don’t notice him.

After the light turned I went on my way, thinking to myself what a piece of garbage I am. Not turning over five bucks to help my fellow man, a guy that could have been a veteran for all I know, a group that is very high on showing respect for. Then justify it by recalling every 20/20 and “To Catch a Predator” special about how people asking for money are usually scammers and drive nicer cars and have larger homes than most. You start to think then if you gave money to everyone who ever asked for it, the guys on the streets, the kids in front of Wal-Mart, and all sorts of other causes, how long it would be until you had to get in line in the soup kitchen as well because you have given everything you have away. Maybe it’s those thoughts that keep you from madness each time we have turned a blind eye to poverty.

This has always presented an major issue to me. When I was a kid and my parents took me to D.C. I kept giving every, pardon my language, “Bum” on the street money. When I was out I started asking my mom if she would give me more money to give to these people. She said “Jeff, you can’t give all of your money away to everyone, you’ll run out”. This was an impactful trip. Seeing streets littered with men who were trying to buy a meal and could not. Now I know there are many who probably would spend it on booze or drugs. Shit, if I was on the street like that Lord knows I would turn to substance abuse. It’s not like the 37 cents in your pocket is going to buy the guy a new suit and a job interview. Maybe it will get him close to a bottle of mad dog though, get him through the night and take him to a better place, at least for a little while.

I conflict with the young capitalist republican in me. I don’t care for our welfare system and those who abuse it. In my honest opinion those who don’t work, (I said don’t, not can’t) and demand government assistance, in my America you would have starved to death by now. Although an individual who lost it all, and is just trying to survive long enough to get it back together, they deserve a shot. Maybe they can’t get on some government plan for some reason and there is a mouth to feed at home and so far this is the only way. A part of me wanted to drive back last night, find this guy and give him all the cash I had in my wallet. Maybe find out his story. How he got there, what the plan was, if there were pieces to re-assemble.

I guess it just makes me feel less of a human being, knowing that to tune out another person; I just needed to fiddle with Pandora for a few seconds. That if tomorrow the world turned upside down and my last resort to feed myself that day was to swallow every milliliter of pride I had, break down, and beg for money; would someone show me compassion. The word, begs, is small, but weighs heavy. When is the last time you begged for anything? Humiliation, embarrassment, and even fear are all endured through begging. It is something rare and in a sense, a cheap word to describe such massive vulnerability.

I am not sure if I was looking for a moral in my own writing, or using the internet as my own confessional. Maybe just a digital reminder that we are all vulnerable and often rely on the kind and caring hands of a stranger now and again. Either way, it always helps if you are playing the guitar or saxophone while doing so… Damn I love street music.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing for Motivation

A few years ago I read a book; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. After reading it I wrote out my first actual attempt at writing something other than a screenplay for class or an essay. It was a story about spring break my senior year of high school, I shared it with only a few friends because at the time I was self-conscious (as I still am when it comes to my writing) and because the content is not something I would want the general public to see on the web. A short time after that, I put together a rarely updated blog due to an adventure at Subway and my encounter with an inbred sandwich artist.

Promising myself I would keep up with it and fashion myself into a legitimate writer I would post every couple of weeks, then career shifted, I moved, had less and less time to write and the difficulties I have had with the artist for the comic I published made me think, writing is not going to be your thing, focus on your job. I love what I do, and at the risk of sounding pretentious I am pretty damn good at it. Although my dream to get something real published has taken a back seat to falling in to the routine of the average American. There just isn’t enough time in the day. It’s time for me to say “fuck that”.

Watching re-runs of Tosh.0 is not something I need to make sure I fit in to the daily schedule. At the age of 28 I fear I have let so many precious seconds go by. In college a lot of us spent the afternoons playing Halo or sleeping for 10 hours a day (not counting naps). Are those the things we will remember? Possibly. Every year we look back to the good old days, mostly when you could eat two junior bacon cheeseburgers and not gain a pound refer to the glory of yesteryear. I don’t want to have one of the achievements in my life being that I watched everything that was on my DVR and was really really good at Call of Duty.

I guess what has pushed in writing something of a lacking content was to convince myself to start writing again, actual writing. Maybe this was the warm up I needed. I can hope if anyone reads this particular note, maybe they will ask “Hey, how’s the book coming along”. To avoid looking a fool, hopefully I will have been putting time into it and have gotten somewhere, that way I don’t have to respond with “Oh that, yeah well ya know, been busy”. By the end of the year, about 2-3 months I hope to have my first draft of my novel complete. Let’s see.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Parking and Recreation

So last weekend I was in my old neck of the woods, the sandy beaches of Broadripple. It’s not often I venture out to the bar scene there these days. Back when I was a resident I knew a good drink special for one of the bars every night of the week. Oh how we grow up so quickly. (Marion just lacks a good drink special variety, really keystone ligh?t B-dubs, how dare you) So these days a trip to the Ripp is always appreciated. Now a new restaurant had recently moved in to the plaza where everyone would park when going out, I guess at this time they also bought the property that the plaza parking lot is on. Now they charge five bucks to park there. Also, you can not leave your car overnight… (And here comes the rant)

Now I have been parking in that section for almost two or three years now. Granted that’s not a lot of time, but living in that area you get pretty acclimated to your customs. Park in lot, go to bar, drink in excess (not me, just saying generalities… right?) stumble out of bar, cab or barter for a way home. Pick car up next day. Deal with shame. Now the extra step of paying some ass clown five bucks is involved. Yes, it seems a bit silly a 27 year old adult is going to bitch about the price of five dollars, I guess it just “grinds my gears” that new guy comes in to the area and says “hey we are gonna start charging you guys to park, and nothing you can do about it, by the way come to our restaurant”.

I guess what really bothers me is the business planning on this. The Broadripple area essentially serves the Butler students and college graduates who have not grown up. Hence why I loved living there back then. Granted Butler students have a bit more money then most of us did in college. I doubt many of them are selling bodily fluids for beer money. At least out of necessity, a lot of artistic types go there. If I had to pay 5 bucks in college to park, then pay a cover amount as well for the bars, I would have been drinking elsewhere. Before you get in the door you are out 10 bucks, I remember only having 8 to my name and still venturing out for 15 cent beers. The average college student is going to waste half their fundage on parking and cover. This has a possibility to affect the entire area. The kids start going to a different area to drink, the bars start losing money, the whole system collapses. Maybe I am being a tad dramatic, but Blockbuster probably thought ordering DVD’s online wouldn’t catch on either.

What really gets me is you can not leave you car overnight. Really? You pay 5 bucks and you can’t leave your car either. Let me get this straight. You park your car, go to the bars for hours and the biggest binge drinking state of your life, crawl back to the parking lot, and drive on out of there so you don’t get towed. Let’s be honest for all good intentions a good PR guy could spin that to be, “We don’t encourage heavy drinking, we are hoping knowing patrons must remove their vehicles they won’t consume as much”. That’s like giving North Korea nukes so they don’t feel left out and throw rocks at us. (Does that analogy even make sense? Not really but anything pertaining to Kim Jong-il rarely does. Double Rainbow!) Really this just puts kids in a position that they will still get hammered and attempt to drive. Or “not get as drunk” the key phrase being “as drunk” still all fucked up, but not as bad as usual. Forcing people to drive leaving a bar and not really giving an option to take a cab anymore, these guys should get shut down tomorrow. It’s ridiculous. Maybe it was just this particular night, regardless, a pretty bad call.

In short I told myself I would attempt at writing a bit more this year, and I was feeling passionate about that this weekend. After a few Jack and Cokes unbelievably passionate. (Those parking attendants sure can take a punch!) I was just a bit outraged at a major change to an area I once called home. Maybe I am nostalgic, maybe I was upset they are putting lives endanger, maybe I’m just cheap. Either way I didn’t care for it. From now on I am just gonna drink in P.F. Chang’s when I go to Indy. (great mojitos)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Decade Under the Influence

It’s a bit later then I wanted to get started on this, but really it seems to be now or never. As we’ve emerged out of 2011 I think about the past year. I started my blog about 2 years ago and I do a very terrible job of keeping up on it. I hope to do better at it this year considering I have a little more free time on my hands now that life is rolling in the direction I want it to.

It’s actually so long I kind of forget what the whole point in starting this blog was. Maybe a place to bitch and moan or to tell some funny stories. Granted to assure I didn’t get arrested by the Columbian government, I never did publish the really funny ones. So I guess I am just sitting here contemplating how to start my first entry of 2011, I’ll let the words and the scotch flow.

New years always marks a time of change and remembrance, looking back on the year and trying to learn from our mistakes and alter our for the better. Typically the gym just starts to get overcrowded for the month and then the chubby kids file back out and go back to deep fried Twinkie’s. It’s at this point we really look at where we are and evaluate where we want to be. It was just about his time last year I started my job as marketing coordinator at Moorehead Communications. I had no idea what to expect, I didn’t know if I would be in the same position for the next three to four years. As of last week I have been promoted to marketing manager, and so far I love it. Two years ago when I started in a Verizon store I never thought I would be doing this, pretty happy I could sell the shit out of some cell phones.

This was also the year my comic book got published, Luther the Monster, if you haven’t purchased it yet, well you are just a terrible person and probably the joke of all your friends book discussion parties. It’s magical, do yourself a favor and buy a copy over at.

You don’t want to look foolish do you? Who’d have thought my first published works would be a comic book? Oh wait, anyone who remembers me from 7th grade.

I suppose a main part of my year has been relationships. I have loved and lost and look to love again. I make specific note of this since I have not written anything since my breakup back in September. I have learned a lot about myself and what I want in a relationship. I’ve grown a bit more confident in myself, and of course my friends for putting up with a whole lot of malarkey from my ridiculous ass. I’m thinking 2011 will be a solid year for all things involving the relationship world. I feel very Ted Mosby right now, also a little NPH because I am writing this on a computer while 8 bit music plays behind me in the background (Doogie Howser anyone).

Reading over this I really need to start writing again, because to be fair, this is some pretty piss poor work. Not many jokes, not many eighties references, not even a joke at a communist dictators expense, I promise to start working on these a lot more often. Hopefully at least my grammar will improve. In short this small entry is ending where is started going absolutely nowhere. I just am really wanting to get into the habit. Hopefully the next one won’t be garbage and maybe I’ll even include some photos of myself being smoldering. I feel the need to validate the fact I used to be a decent writer, so feel free to check out the classics at

Damn that was terrible….

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Best Waste of My Time

It’s about 10:00 P.M. on a Tuesday, after watching anther rousing episode of Glee (darn tootin’) I find myself playing around a bit on the internet. I have my regular habits like most people do, certain sites I go to, updating my facebook, and checking my e-mail. Fortunately I don’t smoke pot and I won’t spend an hour watching You Tube video’s of things being microwaved. Actually, I am still going to do that for a while.

My precious moments I casually waste have me thinking though, the wonder of the internet is vast and probably the greatest invention of are time next to the Sham Wow, it will really dry the shit out of anything. Just think about e-mail, it is quite literally putting the postal service out of business, a government funded organization has profits drying up like Joan Rivers skin. It would be going down the tubes if it wasn’t regulated by the government, but when do they bail out an industry just because it can’t keep up with the times, oh yeah….

Anywho, the wonders of e-mail alone have revolutionized the modern work world if not personal communication as a whole. Instant responses within minutes instead of days, messaging someone in the office three doors over instead of walking over and taking the extra time for personal conversations. It is quite the time saver, sending attachments rather then photos or printed 40 page documents. It’s a wonder we ever were able to get anything done beforehand. For the magic of internet it does seem to come at a cost. The demand of instant gratification has always been something we as Americans have had to battle and now it seems the only way we live.

When we want to know who was in a movie, we IMDB, haven’t spoken to your baby mama in several months, write a special message on her wall or give her a poke (the facebook kind, that’s what got you here in the first place), I have not bought a CD in years thanks to iTunes and other download sources. No one goes to check at the neighborhood Blockbuster to see who was in a film let alone to rent a movie. If Netflix wasn’t going to put video stores in the hole alone, it befriended Redbox who is slipping these former giants enough Rufilin to make sure they never wake up.

The problem is we bitch so much about immigrants taking jobs and shipping the rest of our jobs overseas we kind of forget about everyone in the worlds employee of the month, not the assistant manager at McDonalds, but the World Wide Web. It does the task’s of millions; filing data, sending information, advertising, networking, entertainment (youthful and adult), and anything else you can possibly think of. In almost any industry the net has something in comparison that does it a little bit faster and probably cheaper.

I am definitely not calling for the destruction of the internet but maybe we should consider using a bit less. Write a letter to a friend, buy something in a store, and for the sake of it all quit watching so much porn. Seriously, stop it, it’s creepy. I get the irony that I am posting this on my blog and it will automatically attach to my facebook account, but those are just the breaks I suppose. I had just had that on my mind for a bit and wanted to get it out there. Also on a somewhat related note, spell-check has turned me into a retard.