East Egg

My nod is tactlessly interrupted by a banging at my front door followed by a commanding voice ordering me to, “Leave Everything!” My poor, measly front door is no match for a banging on of such severity. Surely there is trouble of the gravest of nature afoot, only uniformed officials armed with heavy badges and a low tolerance for humoring one’s self would dare abuse a meek, hollow sheet of kindling with such aggression. They’ll no doubt be bursting through like bulls in an antique shop in seconds rather than minutes.

I should be quite worried, no? But where is the panic? Where is the trepidation? Somehow I can’t muster up the energy for anything other than to mourn the cigarette I was nursing that I now notice has extinguished between my fingers and wonder how long I have before the opiates wear off and the burning pain begins. “Leave Everything!” “Did I hear…

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A St. Patrick’s Day story

West Egg

The boys name was McKenzie. He was a handsome boy, who carried himself with a regal kind of swagger, a swagger usually reserved for rock stars on large treatments of pharmaceuticals and whores on small treatments of sexless streaks, one rarely found in a boy so humble and mannered as this boy was. One dark and dreary day, the boy was walking along a small road that he had walked along many a dark and dreary day. On his way to see a cat about a dog, he was in no particular hurry, just walking along, kicking a stone, humming a tune and thinking about girls, football and all the famous people who hailed from Northern Ireland and wondering, with no small amount of annoyance, why the rest of the civilized world didn`t recocnize Northern Ireland as the hub of talent that it clearly was. So lost in thought and…

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A St. Patrick`s Day Story

The boys name was McKenzie. He was a handsome boy, who carried himself with a regal kind of swagger, a swagger usually reserved for rock stars on large treatments of pharmaceuticals and whores on small treatments of sexless streaks, one rarely found in a boy so humble and mannered as this boy was. One dark and dreary day, the boy was walking along a small road that he had walked along many a dark and dreary day. On his way to see a cat about a dog, he was in no particular hurry, just walking along, kicking a stone, humming a tune and thinking about girls, football and all the famous people who hailed from Northern Ireland and wondering, with no small amount of annoyance, why the rest of the civilized world didn`t recocnize Northern Ireland as the hub of talent that it clearly was. So lost in thought and so familiar the road that he failed to notice that the rain had stopped falling and he no longer had use for the umbrella that he was twirling lazily on his shoulder. Suddenly, seemingly from out of no where a young girl in a traditional school uniform rode by on a bicycle. “Oh fook me, she`s nice.” he thought to himself as she peddled by, “Composure.” he repeated to himself reposefully, “Keep your composure.” As she passed she offered a welcoming smile and an, “Aye, ga`marnin` to ya!”

“Oh love, please don`t speak!” he thought, annoyed at the contrast between her petite frame and thick accent. As she advanced past him and up a slight incline she was forced to stand and peddle to maintain her momentum, exposing just a hint of a pink, satin undergarment that challenged the young Irishman`s vow of composure, causing a break of perspiration to form on his prematurely ebbing brow. “Oh fook me, don`t show me those wee things love, oh quit me sight!” Thought the boy, fighting the urge to run up to the wee lass, offer a brief introduction and polite hand shake before giving her young fun bags a good motor boating.

“Composure Iain, keep your comp…oh no, she didn`t just show me her wee knickers did she? She did! Ah, ya darty bitch. Go on ya good thing, ya…Composure Iain, composure…” He repeated until he was calm enough to look up again but by that time, the young girl was out of sight and the boy continued on with his list; “Daniel Day-Lewis, he`s a real legend, George Best, the greatest footballer aver, Rory McIIroy, Van Morrison…”

At that very moment, far, far away in a Thai cafe, sipping Singapore Slings and doing lines of coke off the tanned belly of a blond, 11-year-old boy, the Devil watched this vile display of self-control through his magic looking-glass in utter disgust. “That girl practically threw herself at that boy and all he can talk about is `Composure`!!” He raged at no one in particular. “Well, let`s see if I can`t sort out this twisted boy`s warped sense of values.” And with that the Devil transformed himself from a fat, Eastern European, Speedo wearing pimp to a short, pipe smoking leprechaun and was off to the land of Ire to set right what was wrong with this boy.

Just as the boy was concluding a quick, mental game of `Seven degrees of separation from Liam Neeson` and still kicking away at his stone, he gave it one decent kick and then watched in amazement as it seemed to roll and roll like it was being pulled by some Jedi master who clearly understood the ways of the force and how to manipulate it. The boy followed the rolling stone as it rolled up a hill and then down the other side and around a bend untill finally it came to a sudden halt at the foot of a large oak tree. Sitting at the foot of that oak tree was none other than the Devil, smoking away at his widdled pipe, trying to look cool, yet unable to mask his discomfort in his new leprechaun body.

When the boy caught a glimpse of the fabled creature he quickly raised his hands in disbelief, dropping what could have been any number of things that the boy could have had in his hands, had he had anything in his hands, which he did not. This through the Devil off his game a bit, as he sat for longer than coolness would normally dictate watching nothing fall from the boy`s open hands. This gesture, unintentionally made the boy as mysterious as it made the Devil awkward, who had just had his `element of surprise` stratagy foiled by his own inattentiveness, as nothing fell out of the boy`s hands, wondering why the boy was standing in front of him with his hands raised as if he had dropped something. This was, to say the least, not the fiendishly awe inspiring spectical that the Devil had hopped for.

“Whale oil beef hooked!” the boy said at the leprechaun, who was trying his hardest to remain calm despite having his grand entrance spoiled by the boy and now having no clue what-so-ever at what the boy had just said to him, or more accurately, at him. “Er, ah, er, Aye there lad,” The Devil started in his best attempt at a Northern Irish accent, trying desperately to regain his footing as the dominate figure in the exchange, “Ya out havin` a walk then are ya? Well, er, yeah, ya caught me there then didn`t ya?” He said unsure of his dialect, yet confident that as long as he phrased everything in the form of a question he should pass for a native speaker.

“Cot`cha? I`ve not cot a thing, ai just stumbled across thas wee thang in frunt o`me. Sims mare like yu`ve cot me, done it?” The boy said, again, more at the leprechaun than to it. “?!#”%%($&##**!!!,” The devil screamed, half to himself, with all his efforts, trying to keep it non-verbal. He took a deep breath, “OK, let`s just get this over with,” thought the Devil, wishing now he had never left his young, tan, coke mirror back in Thailand. “I`ll offer the boy his 3 wishes and surely they`ll be as greedy and gluttonous as a swine in heat and I can get off of this pool table of a country.” thought the Devil.

“Well, look here kid,” began the Devil, abandoning any attempt to keep up the charade of pulling off the accent, “You`ve caught a leprechaun, see, and when you catch a leprechaun you get 3 wishes, so, er, what would you like, let`s have it then, er, uh…What the hell do you want!” he ended a bit more bluntly than he was shooting for but, hoping to get this over with quickly, patience was not the Devil`s virtue intended to be gained by this trip.

“3 wishes,” said the boy, “Well that`s easy, I wish Northern Ireland would win the next World Cup.”

“…And, and what else son, and!” grunted the Devil, loosing his patience, “I said you get 3 wishes and you`ve only asked for 1, what else would you like son?”

“Uhh, well, ah, that`s it right there little fella, me wish for the Northern Ireland football club to win the World Cup three times.”

“You mean,” started the Devil, now unable to hide his disdain, “You want… Northern Ireland… to win… the next …three… World ..Cups…?”

“No sir, only once.” the boy responded confidently, “I only wish for it three times.”

“Oh far fook sake!!!” The Devil shook his head in disbelief, unintentionally slipping back into an Irish accent. “OK son, it`s like this,” The Devil continued angrily, “I`ll make Northern Ireland win the next World Cup, but you have to do something for me, you have to choose one of three sins and carry it out to the best of your ability, do you think you can do that son, do ya?”

“Well, I`ll try my best anyway.” replied the boy.

“OK then,” the Devil said with a sigh, wiping his forehead and remembering how ridiculous he looked, “Rape, Gluttony, or Murder. Which one of these do you think you can manage?” He said bluntly.

“Rape!? Well, I don`t mean to come off as vain or anything, but the idea of forcing myself on a bird, well, let`s just say it`s not how I do business, and murder, well, uh, I mean er, I don`t know, I don`t know if I could… I mean, who would I pick, I mean, that cunt from the other night at the pub I suppose, Wayne Rooney perhaps but… no, I just couldn`t, and Gluttony… the fook does that mean anyway huh?” The boy asked.

“Gluttony, my young lad is the sin of over indulgence,” Said the Devil, relieved to finally see the light at the end of his tunnel that would hopefully lead him quickly back to his mountains of cocaine and underage prostitutes that awaited him back at his Thai cafe. “Too much drink or food or too much kicking a stone around aimlessly, all these things, when done in excess, are considered Gluttony.”

“Ah, well, that doesn`t sound too offensive there does it? I`ve been known to drink a few pints in me day.” The boy said, rocking back and forth from his heel to toe with just the slightest air of pride in his tone. “You`ve go`cher self a deal, jus` make sure the lads bring home the trophy next time aye.”

“Will do son, well then, off ya go now, fill your boots, have a good time and don`t get yourself in any trouble now, ya hear.” The Devil said, loosening his green bow tie and taking a long pull of a flask he had patiently waiting in his inner most jacket pocket.

And with that the boy was off to fulfill his promise, if you could call it a promise, to the boy, it felt more like a duty, a duty of national importance, and a duty of national importance he was not going to take lightly, it was like going off to fight for his country, but instead of going off to fight, he would go off to drink, drink for all of Northern Ireland, and he would do it with pride, he would, and as he took his stool at The Cooper`s Pub that night he offered his warmest greetings to the bartender, and he sat up straight and proud as he ordered not 1 but 2 pints of Guinness and a shot of Johnny Walker, not Black, no sir, but Red label and as he began to drink, and drink with a sense of patriotism and purpose that only an Irishman can drink, he began to feel a great burden lift from his young shoulders as he ordered more and more pints and shots and he thought back to his conversation with stressed out little leprechaun and wondered why he would ask him to rape and murder and then choose between those two dreadful things and a simple thing like drinking a few beers and his conscious fell into the relaxation that his body felt from the warm, dark goodness that was flowing through him as thick as blood and as he looked around he could practically see what the scene would look like on game day, filled with everyone in town, wearing their jerseys, going absolutely wild at the sight of their team even going to, let alone winning the World Cup, everyone jumping up and down, shouting in patriotic frenzy as he imagined himself sitting back and with no small amount of pride, knowing that he made this all happen by his agreement with the wee fellow under the large oak tree that dark and dreary day when the girl rode by on the bicycle and showed him her knickers and his thoughts carried on down this line as he ordered more and more and he began to think less and less about the composure he had demonstrated that day and more and more on the motor-boating he could have, nay, should have performed on her supple fun bags and as his mind became fixated on the drinks he was now hammering back at a record speed and at the record slowness at which the bartender was serving them, the slightest bit of annoyance began to surface, and that annoyance slowly turned to anger and the anger quickly turned to rage when the bartender, who he had offered the warmest of welcomes to, and had implied by his mannerisms that he was to be more than generous with his tipping, abruptly cut him off from service, sending the boy into an all out fit of panic filled aggression that led to no less than 3 innocent bottles of perfectly good and aged bottles of alcohol left broken, unpaid for, and worse yet, undrank and as the boy was tossed out on his arse and left bleeding, unthanked, and unavenged he dusted himself off and stormed off back home with all the corrosive anger he could muster, stumbling along stopping off to make out with a flirtatious bush, yet pulling himself together once the unsuspecting shrubbery protested with enough indifference, finally at his own front stoop, the boy plunged tactlessly into his own front door, swinging into the house along with it creating no small ruckus yet, amazingly, awaking none of his kin folk who all slept unaware of the days dirty dealings and as the boy felt his way along the corridor like a blind man in an orgy, he came across his own bedroom door to which he entered with all the grace of a water buffalo and began to unrobe getting as far as pulling his trousers down to just above the knee he lost his balance and fell onto his bed, or what he assumed was his bed right up until the point of impact when the shriek of a woman startled him half way back into consciousness but not so much so that his imagination didn`t allow him to carry on that it was the young girl from earlier who had an appointment for a proper motor boating scheduled for right about now, and as the boy groped and slobbered all over the poor woman who begged for her boy to stop this nonsense at once, it did no more than awake the boy’s father who was himself enjoying the land of nod in front of a televised football game who stormed in the room, half ready for battle, half ready for negotiation, yet upon seeing the boy, ravaging his own mother in such a state, became furious and grabbed the boy by what trousers were left hanging and pulled him off his horrified mother who lay weeping in a silent sort of weeping that only a disgraceful or dead son can induce and before the boy`s slushy, spinning mind could wrap itself around what was happening, knowing only one thing for sure and that was that his well deserved motor boating was being interrupted in the most foul of manners, the boy picked up the lamp from the stand next to the bed and swung it violently at the pants puller-upper interrupting his motor boat, knocking him to the ground with a crash that his Guinness filled head actually could have done without, the crash caused a bit of an awareness, an awareness, as the boy became aware that was as horrifying as it was uncomposed, as he sat in the corner, holding his dead father`s body and watching his poor mother weep on the bed he realized one horrible truth about the events that had taken place that day and that made the boy hold his head in his hands and weep uncontrollably, and that truth was, that Northern Ireland was never going to win the World Cup.

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Haunted

I think that there is a ghost haunting the street I live on. It`s hard to tell for sure, whether or not it`s a ghost. I`ve tried to eliminate as many of the logical alternative possibilities as I could possibly eliminate while staying within the bounds of decent, civilized public behavior. For example, I haven`t tried sticking my hand, or anything else through it. But my curiosity been tickled, tickled right past the giggling stage, straight through the laughter, the crying, the begging and the pissing myself right up to the passing out and waking up with an obsession.

It`s a bustling, urban street, the street that I live on. Never empty, never dull. Never short of people from all walks of life, doing their walking at all paces, from the hurried salarymen, to the stumbling drunk. The leisurely school boys who are obviously taking the piss out of all the rest of us by slowly taking up the whole sidewalk and half of the street, as well as the young families they are carefully imitating. At all hours of the day and the night people are patronizing the street`s vast array of eating and drinking establishments, haggling energetically with the street`s vending machines and using it`s imaginary public toilets. It`s here, on this street, where I believe, well, am starting to believe that a ghost is haunting, well, maybe more like inhabiting. Like I said, it`s hard saying.

Here is what I know for sure; It, whatever it is, is in human form. More specifically it takes the form of a man about 5 foot 8, approximately 60 years old, weighing somewhere in the neighborhood of 165 lbs. with a weak, mangy beard. It is dressed with an unblemished record of consistency as one would dress for a sunny October morning: business casual, dark sneakers from Pay Less; dark, off the rack slacks held up by a black belt off the same rack from T.J. Maxx; a button up shirt, not inappropriately unbuttoned at the top with an elastic waist/wrist, Izod jacket zipped up just over the hump of the 3rd trimester sized midriff. The lot of which, not excluding his persons, appears to have been hosed down like a Southern Civil Rights activist with a dirt fire hose often and extensively, leaving him looking like he passed out on the conveyor belt labeled `Brown` at the Crayola Crayon factory one regretful night, fully clothed, and has never been the same since. He walks with a slight limp as if he`s been sitting Indian style for 10 minutes too long and he is always walking toward me, never with me.

Here is what I have been able to deduce from my encounters hitherto; First, It is not homeless. Though this was my first thought, given his appearance, I have never seen it carrying anything and I have never seen it sitting. This eliminates it from being homeless because, A: Homeless people don`t leave their stuff and go off on a walk-about empty-handed and B: I know all the homeless people on and around my street, it isn`t one of them. Second, It is non-verbal.  I have made 3 points of verbal contact with it; offering it a beverage, both alcoholic and non, asking it for simple directions and “accidentally” bumping into it in attempt to induce any kind of verbal response, all coming up naught. Leading me to my third and final deduction; It is not haunting me, nor does it have any specific interest in me, personally. I was both relieved and a little disappointed at this deduction.

Anything further would be pure speculation which I will be happy to do, but that`s all for now.

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Alive

    Now that I`m up off of my knees, I finally see you how they always have,

Not just the fish-net knee highs, and all the little scabs.

I see your eyes are swollen and sad and your wild hair may not be just due to the fad.

Your arms are still beautiful though they`re ridden with holes,

 If you`re gonna drink the Kool-Aid make sure your bare feet have the right soles.

I saw the lightning flash, I heard the thunder do it`s thing,

I felt an unhappy ending, as I cleaned up after the final bash.

The painted toenail shouted,

My heart sank when you found it.

I heard the ghosts of bad loves past,

They hum to me each evening.

There are words that you say  to me, my vocabulary hasn`t grasped,

I hope to learn them one day,

They woke me up, weeping this morning.

 

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Lost

I gotta get outta here. I don`t even remember how I got here anymore and everyday I lose a little more memory of home. The cravings are getting worse too. I don`t know if it`s the anxiety of never waking up in the same place I passed out that fuels the cravings or the other way around but they`ve formed a symbiotic kind of thing that`s gotten way out of control. I can`t even remember the last time I could eat anything solid. I get sick all the time and I sometimes even mess my trousers. Home, I`ve got to get home! All I remember is that it`s warmer than this place and a lot more peaceful. This crude, annoying place, I don`t know how Mrs. Funbags and her old man can live here with that obnoxious, noise making box that their always gawking at.

I`m pretty sure he`s trying to kill me too, the big hairy oaf. I almost feel sorry for the guy, me and his ol` lady gettin it on in the next room while he`s snorin` away like a lumberjack. Poor schmuck, as soon as he leaves for work in the morning she`s all over me. He acts all nice and stuff but I see the way he looks at me when she`s in the shower, I know he knows and I`m startin` to get to thinkin` that he knows that I know he knows which gives me terror I can`t control. I sometimes scream out for no reason, scream like there`s no tomorrow, till I`m blue in the face but it don`t do no good, Mrs. Funbags just gives me a few pulls off the bottle till I shut up. She`s a good gal too, ol` Mrs. Funbags, but it`s like she`s got me trapped here the way every time I try to talk to her she just shoves a bottle in my mouth to keep me too sauced up to do anything about it. So I wake up with an unknown dread, a panic unnamed, Get me the hell out of here!! Somebody, anybody help me!! Help me please!!! But don`t no one ever come. What in the hell kind of place is this where a fella can scream bloody murder at all hours of the day and night and don`t no one come to help.

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Ho Hum

Today my alarm clock went off at it`s usual time, I turned it off but it went off again and I laid in bed and tried to tell myself that maybe something really cool will happen today but the rain I can already hear outside suggests otherwise so I get up to start my morning routine of walking past my bath towel, getting in the shower, getting out of the shower, grabbing my bath towel, swearing, getting back in the shower, taking a leak, assessing the severity of my hangover, brushing my teeth and then getting out of the shower again and it`s raining so I can`t wear sandals and I have to put on socks so now I`m filled with the panic of being short on time and as I walk to the train station I see the same people I see everyday, first there`s the Godfather, a short older guy who is never attired without a white suit, sunglasses, hat and cigarette at the end of a silver cigarette holder and he is followed by Mr. Fabulous whose summer and spring wardrobe is straight out of GQ but falls flat when the temperature drops below 40 degrees and wears his Nicole Richie sunglasses even if it`s not sunny so I thought he might be blind so I walked in front of him one day and he moved out of the way so I know he isn`t and he is followed by Pat Benatar and Mrs. 10 years ago who doesn`t even look at me anymore after I broke off our silent affair last summer and just as I`m turning the corner the Walking Dead Man never disappoints with eyes so swollen and skin so pasty that I`m certian one day he simply won`t be there and that will be the end of him and then I step onto the crowded train where there is never a seat and I put in my i pod and spend the next 45 minutes playing unwinnable games of solitaire, skipping songs on the song shuffle and being molested by salary men and I wonder if I`m hallucimating when the ashy guy scratching at his face like a dog keeps staring at me like a ghost and when the train empties at the end of the line I`m overwhelmed with depression when, on the escalator I`m faced with the reality that the girl wearing the short skirt was actually wearing shorts all along and someone asks if I`m alright and I realize I`m weeping and then I get to work and find my In Box is still empty when I check my e-mail and I read every article on Yahoo! News and I entertain myself by filling in the who, what when, where, why and how questions that the “articles” have left out and I even read the comments in a hollow attempt to make myself feel better and to know that it could always be worse and my boss tells me I can go home early but I don`t have anything else to do so I just stay there.

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