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Coming… In 2017

Coming soon…


Secrets of a Self-Proclaimed Ninja

Hello, She Lied

New Years Day

Drunken Laundry

Awkward Encounter

Tidbits from a Timid Fellow

Blatant Disregard

Wasted Wishful Thinking

Interview with a Zombie

and many, many more…



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An Open Letter to 2016

An Open Letter to 2016


2016. Wow. What a shit show, but you know what? I’m still standing motherfucker.


I survived it all – both minor and major setbacks. I survived a lengthy worker strike, rejections from various publications, car troubles, money troubles, and a devastating personal loss – but I’m still standing motherfucker.


I’ve watched what you did to other people too. I’ve seen you fuck with them without mercy. I saw them get knocked the fuck down but they got the fuck back up. We cannot and will not be broken. Ever.


So fuck you 2016. You gave it your best shot to knock me out but you failed. You came pretty close a couple of times, but in the end, I’m still standing motherfucker. So fuck you again 2016. Fuck you and good riddance. Go suck a bag of dicks.

So now I’m waiting on you 2017. I’ll be waiting to see what you got. Are you going to try to outdo 2016? Are you going to try and see if you can knock me the fuck out? Do you even have the balls enough to try?


Bring it 2017, because no matter what you dish out to me, I’ll still be standing motherfucker.






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How’s it Going?

He was in the pharmaceutical aisle of Maragliano’s Markets looking for the strongest OTC headache remedy that he could find. He was hung over again, no stranger to that feeling as of late. He narrowed it down to two choices when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He saw an old friend standing there impeccably dressed in business attire, holding a basket of grocery items.


“Hey! I thought that was you. My god, it’s been so long. How’s it going?” His friend asked extending his hand to greet.


He thought to himself, where can I begin?


I cry a lot. It’s been a rough year. My wife left me. Took the kids with her. Came home to a ‘Dear John’ Can you believe that, in this day and age? A letter. Well not really a letter. She wrote in on the Notes app of my iPad. Don’t know how she cracked the complexity of my pass code: 1234. She even took my dog. My dog. She didn’t even like him, but she took him anyway. Said something about it’ll make it easier on the kids. I don’t know, Christ. It all happened so fast that I never saw it coming. I should have though. Small things at first that weren’t noticeable, but in hindsight, were always there. Little things. Passive-aggressive things. They were all there. I just never noticed them. I’m not saying it was totally her fault. I’m surely to blame for some of it, just not all of it. I take full responsibility for calling her the wrong name. Twice. In my defense, it was in the beginning of the relation ship and it never happened again. I don’t know, maybe she held on to it. Held on to resentment. I don’t think she ever forgot. Not all of our 9 years together were bad. It just got to the point where it was getting harder and harder to remember the good times.


She left me, but she kept the house. I was given instructions on when she and the kids wouldn’t be home so I could gather up my things. I packed some clothes into a duffle bag and left everything else there. I never even got a chance to say goodbye. I had no place to go, so I rented a motel room. The kind of place that usually has their clientele pay by the hour. I couldn’t afford a real hotel room. Work had gotten so crazy the past few months that I couldn’t keep up with the workload, so they did what I feared they were going to do – they demoted me. With that demotion came a huge pay cut. With that pay cut I also lost something equally as valuable – my self esteem.


Losing my wife, the kids and the dog was bad enough but then shortly after I got the news that my brother died. This was a sudden loss. He was not sick for a long time and succumbed to the illness. I think that would have made it at least a little bit easier to handle. Not much easier, as the death of a loved one is the hardest thing in the world to endure, but it would have made some kind of sense to me.


In the end, he overdosed on cocaine. I can’t even count the times I told him that shit was going to catch up with him. I even made fun of him and said to him, ‘What 50 year old man do you know that still does coke?’ He would always respond with, ‘Nothing bad can happen to me.’ The doctors told me that his airways were blocked and he died from cardiac arrest caused by a cocaine overdose. I couldn’t believe it. A part of me actually believed him and that nothing bad was ever going to happen, but I was wrong. I was never more wrong in my life. That’s when I began to put all of the blame on myself. I should have done more. I should have been there for him. I should have kept on him instead of relenting. The guilt is something that is unbearable that you try to do anything to numb the pain. For me, I began to drink more and more and more but no matter how much I drank, the pain and guilt was still there. To this day it never has really left me.


I was never much of a drinker. I had my run at it in my younger days but it was just a passing phase. During your twenties it’s almost a rite of passage. Now, it was my only form of respite from the suffering. At one point I even dabbled in my brother’s drug of choice, but it didn’t last long. Cocaine is a young man’s game. I knew it, and my brother should have known also. I stopped almost as quickly as I began.


I remember going out to Slappy’s Bar one time about a month or so after his death. I saw an incredibly attractive girl sitting at the bar alone. She was just sitting there reading a book. I don’t know what it was that made me think that I would even have an inkling of a shot with her, but in my mind I did. I asked the bartender what she was drinking and he told me it was Maker’s Mark on the rocks. I asked him to back her up. I waited at the bar as he told her. She looked over and raised her glass to me and smiled. I walked over there with so much confidence but it quickly dissipated as her beauty immediately intimidated me. I thought to myself, ‘My god, you’re so beautiful’, but my thoughts weren’t kept in my head and I said them aloud to her. How embarrassing. She laughed and said, ‘Madonna once said, “Good looks gets you through the door, but it doesn’t keep you in the room.” I told her that I didn’t know what that means. She smiled and said, ‘One day you will and it will all make sense.’ We had a brief conversation after that; she talked about things that I didn’t understand, political issues, and societal norms – mostly stuff that was way above my head. I cut it short when I came to the realization that I was truly not in her league. Looks wise and intelligence. I made an excuse and left the bar.


I actually felt guilty for going out. Not guilty for going out on my wife after our break up. The marriage was over, nothing to feel guilty about there, but guilty for going out after my brother’s death. I didn’t want to have a good time. I didn’t deserve it. I would actually count the times that I went out and with each time the guilt grew and grew. Eventually, it subsided, but every now and then that guilt still pops up in the back of my mind. Hanging out back there with the rest of my demons. Why should I be out having a good time while my brother is dead?


After his death, what I thought really sucked was how people interacted with me. There were countless people who would call and say, ‘If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to call.’ I honestly do no know one person that has ever taken up someone on that offer. A part of me thinks that the person offering their assistance knows that you won’t accept it or ever even call them for any kind of help. It’s just something nice to say to someone while they’re in mourning.


Some people don’t know what to say and they stay away, I admire those folks more only for the fact that a lot of people simply say the wrong things. I was told that he’s with god now and he’s in a better place. Really? He’s in a better place? You think there’s a better place than being here with me still? God, you say? God did this? What kind of god do you believe in that would rip apart your life in an instant without any sort of explanation? Just a tip, know your audience before you bring up religion into it. I secretly wish more people wouldn’t know what to say and choose not to say anything at all. There should be more people like those.


There’s also a time frame associated with dealing with someone who’s grieving. I learned that it’s two weeks. After that everyone becomes a ghost. Poof – gone. Even if you did want to reach out to someone for help – I know of nobody that has ever done this – there’s nobody there. Disheartening yes, but I can also understand it as I didn’t want to burden myself on anyone, nor did I want to intrude or barge into anyone else’s daily routines. It made sense to me after a while but at first, it was heart breaking.


In time things do get better, albeit very slowly. Birthdays and holidays seem to be the worst. A feeling of emptiness inside that can never be filled again. They say time heals all wounds. I don’t know if that’s exactly true. Time makes all wounds more tolerable. I think that’s a better description. With time, you become a little bit better with the adjustment.

Through this entire year – the break up, the demotion, living in a motel room, the loss of my brother – I did realize something. I realized that there is something inside of us that keeps us going. I don’t know what it’s called. I don’t even know if it even has a name or what it is exactly that makes us do it, but we keep doing it every day – We wake up. We wake up even though we may not want to and sometimes we might find ourselves screaming to ourselves, ‘Why god, why? You mean I really have to do this all over again? Again. Really? Why?’ But we do it, and we do it, and we do it, in hopes that eventually one day it gets easier. Maybe some day it does. I don’t know if it ever will or does, but we keep doing it anyway. Clinging on to that one last thread. Hope. And maybe, just maybe you get lucky and fortunate enough to have that one person that steps up and takes your mind off of things. Someone that doesn’t say they’ll be there for you if you need anything but someone who will actually sit there with you and say, ‘Man that shit sucks. You’ve had a really shitty year and nothing I can say is going to improve it but you know what? Let’s go out and do something. Even if it’s only for a little while, let’s try to take you mind off of things.’ Or maybe even better yet, they sit there with you and don’t say anything at all. They’re just there. Things are not going to go away completely, they never truly do, but for a small spec of time, maybe they can. And maybe, just maybe you can find your smile again. These were the thoughts that ran through his head as his friend stood before him.


He wanted to tell his friend all of his truth, every single word, but in the end everybody lies. He smiles, extends his hand forward to connect, and responds, “I’m okay. How’s it going?”


His friend starts thinking to himself, where can I begin




The End

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The Long Road Out of Hell


he was heading down a darkened path that he’s never known before. no light, only darkness. the GPS on his phone no longer worked, just a jumbled mess of pixels appearing underneath the cracked screen. he couldn’t remember if he dropped the phone or smashed it in a fit of rage. raging against anything and everything just to feel alive again. he sat down in the alleyway still unaware of his surroundings. he reached into his jacket and pulled out his flask, he filled it with rum, not his first choice in liquor but it was the only thing available to him before he left his house. he had no destination in mind, and didn’t know the walk would eventually find him lost. he thought about calling someone for help, but he couldn’t think of anyone to reach out to. over 50 contacts were in his cracked phone but he didn’t want to burden anyone. he could try to make someone the scapegoat but in the end he realized that this was entirely all his fault. he took a swig from the flask and made a face of disgust. while he did not care for the taste, it was doing its job of numbing him of the pain. he laughed at the irony of it all. there he was lost in a strange part of town trying to wash away his fears and anxiety but at the same time wanted something, anything to get back on track of living. he was alive but no longer living. he had gone months now wishing away his life for things that were unattainable. he took another sip and this time it wasn’t so bad. he was getting used to the taste and that put a new fear into him. he had been drinking more lately, but he dismissed it off as just a phase that he’s been known to go through every now and again. this was different now though, he was afraid that he was using it for assistance out of this long road from hell. he then wondered if maybe it was the cause that brought him down to this hell in the first place. he lost all track of time, not knowing how long he’d been walking before he found the alleyway to rest. he wondered if anyone noticed he was gone. he felt sick and alone. he thought for sure the battery on his phone died but was mistaken when he heard it ringing. no longer able to tell who was calling through cracked glass, he answered the phone.


“hello?” he said

“where are you?” she asked.

“who is this?”

“you know damn well who this is.”

“oh, hi. what’s up?”

“what’s up? that’s all you have to say?”

“it’s a start.”

“where are you?” she repeated.

“in hell,”

“no really.”

“i don’t know. i was walking and got lost.”

“look on your phone’s GPS.”

“i can’t, it’s cracked. can’t see a thing.”

“you broke your phone?”

“yes, don’t know if it was on purpose or an accident.”

“have you been drinking?”

“a little bit.”

“what have you been drinking?”


“you don’t even like rum.”

“i know.”

“i’m worried about you.”

“don’t be.”

“what brought you to this?”

“the meaningless of it all. there’s no point to any of it.”

“there is a point. you have to believe that.”

“at this moment in time, i can’t”

“okay, but there will be a moment that you will.”


“good, then that’s a start.”

“i guess.”

“come home.”

“i can’t.”

“you can’t or you won’t?”

“i can’t. i’m lost.”

“in hell?”

“that’s what it feels like.”

“i’ll find you.”


“i’m coming to bring you home. look for the cross streets and i’ll find you.”

with her words a glimmer of hope fell upon him and upon that realization he broke down into tears. things might not be as bad as he thought, possibly there might even be a turn for the better. he wiped his eyes. he was going home.

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Channeling Bukowski


He awoke with the biggest erection he ever had in his life. He marveled at it for a moment before looking over at her. She was still sleeping. Exposing her ass to him driving him wild. She had a great ass. He remembered reading somewhere that dogs often would present to other dogs. He wondered if, even while sleeping, she knew that she could drive him crazy.


He pushed up against her, and she slightly wiggled. This was it. His ticket had just been stamped for a one-way trip to Lucky Town. He poked her again with what he called ‘his magnificence’. No response. He slowly started to rub her ass. Half-asleep, she rolls over and asks, “Hank, what are you doing?”

“What? Nothing, I just figured you were in the mood.”

“What time is it?”

“I don’t know, 2:30 or so.”

“It’s late.”

“I know but that never stopped us before.”

“I’m tired.”

“That’s okay. We don’t have to do it.” He paused and thought momentarily, “Can I fuck your tits?”

“Can you what my what?

“Can I fuck your tits?”

“No. Are you out of your mind? Go back to sleep.”

“Come on, look at this thing. It’s magnificent if I do say so myself and you look so fucking hot.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re horny. I’m half-asleep.”

“Okay, how about you don’t have to do anything and I just fuck your feet?”

“I have to wash my feet first.”

“I’m sorry did you say you have to wash your feet first? I said fuck your feet, not wash your feet. Samantha, where are you going?”


She gets up stumbling into their bathroom. She lays a towel down onto the floor and stands on it. Turning on the water, she gets it to the correct temperature that she likes and lifts one foot and plops it down into the sink. She begins scrubbing her foot with soapy warm water. She continues on for a few minutes and tackles the second foot. When satisfied with her results, she dries them both off with the towel she draped on the floor. Still half asleep, she goes back to bed.


“What the hell was that about?” He asked.

“You said my feet stink.”

“I most certainly did not say that. I didn’t say anything of the sort. I was rubbing your ass to get you in the mood and casually mentioned it would be nice if I could fuck your tits and when you said no I asked if I could fuck your feet.”

“I couldn’t get in the mood because I had dirty feet.”

“You don’t have dirty feet. Now where were we?”

“We were going back to sleep. It’s late and I’m tired.”

“But what about all the feet washing? Don’t tell me it was all for naught?”


“Tomorrow? I was hoping for now.”

“Maybe you’re not really horny. Maybe you just have to pee. Go pee.”

“What? No. I don’t have to pee. I want you.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not going to happen. I’m way too tired.”

“Okay how about this?”

“How about what?”

“How about I just jerk off on your leg while touching a boob?”


With this statement she jolts up in bed. “What the hell is wrong with you?” She asked him.

“What? Too much?”

“There is something seriously wrong with you.”


“I say no to sex and you immediately go to jerking off on my leg while touching my breasts.”

“Not both of them.”


“Just one. That’s all I need. One boob.”

With a disgusted sigh, she says, “Why don’t you just go back to sleep? Even if I were in the mood, you totally killed it.”


Feeling dejected, he left the bed and went into the bathroom. He looked in the mirror and was disgusted with himself. Who in their right mind would offer to jerk off onto the leg of the woman that they love just because she wasn’t in the mood? Who does that? Not thinking too deeply on the subject and also not wanting his erection to go to waste. He decides that he will indeed take matters into his own hands. He’s all set and ready to treat his body like an amusement park when the lights turned on.


She stood there staring at him. He was like a deer caught in the headlights. She kept looking for a moment before walking over to him. Only this wasn’t the bathroom and he wasn’t jerking off. He was hunched over at his desk typing on the computer in his small office. “What are you doing? It’s really late.” She said to him.

“I couldn’t sleep so I thought I would write a little bit.” He replied.

She glances at the desk. A half bottle of whiskey and a well-read copy of Bukowski’s Post Office marked with yellow highlighter lay next to the keyboard. “Did you drink this whole bottle?” She asked him.

“Not all of it.”

“Funny.” She looks downwards at him, sitting at the desk. “Ummm. Where are your pants?”

“I don’t have any on.”

“You’re a real comedian tonight. I can see that you’re not wearing any pants. Where are they? You went to bed wearing them.”

He points towards near the door. There laid his crumpled pajama pants on the floor. “Can I ask why you’re not wearing them any longer?”

“This is how I write now.”

“Okay… That’s new. What are you writing anyway?” She stood behind him and began reading what he had written. “Are you Hank in this story? Is Samantha supposed to be me?”

“No, Well yeah, I mean sort of. No, it’s not us. You know what I mean?”

“No, I have no clue what you mean.”

“It’s hard to explain.”

“Change it.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Change it. You make us sound like idiots. Fucking feet and tits? How would you even go about fucking a foot?”

“Well you take the feet and you put them both together and make a makeshift vagina out of them.”

“Please don’t tell me you’ve fucked someone’s feet before we met.”

“Oh no, it’s all research, baby.”

She stands over his shoulder and re-reads it again. “This is not what you usually write about.”

“I’m delving into territories. Broadening my genres.”

“You know I’ll support whatever it is that you want to do, but this isn’t you. This is you trying to emulate someone that you’ve admired since college. This is you trying to see what happens when you take whiskey and a pen to paper together.” She puts her arm around his shoulder and kisses his head. “I think you need to re-find your voice again. Go back to some of the older stuff you written and compare it with some of the newer stuff. You’ll see exactly where you found your voice as your writing became stronger. You have to find it again.”

“That’s not a totally terrible idea. I can do that.”

“I also think it’s time that you do two things.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“Lay off the ‘The Buk’ and lay off the sauce.”

“I’ll try.”

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

“Did you just Yoda quote me?”

“Hanging around with you long enough you learn to pick up a few things. I’m going back to sleep.”

She started heading out of the office and back to the bedroom. “You coming to bed?” She asked.

“Soon.” He replied. “I’m just going to finish up here.”

“Don’t stay up too late. We have a lot of things we have to do in the morning.”

“I won’t. I’ll be right there.”

“And stop drinking.”



She brought up a good point. He did like her idea of ‘re-finding his voice’. He would sort through older works and compare it with newer ones. Then he thought, have I really lost my voice? He re-read what he initially wrote. He thought about what she said again. He could tone it down some for her sake. He could change things around, not be as crass or suggestive. He could go searching again for his voice.


He re-reads over his untitled work again and he smiled. It was a half-tired, half-drunk kind of broad smile. He wasn’t going to change a thing. He went back to bed wondering if it was too late to see if Samantha wanted to have sex.



The End





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Can I Sit Next To You?

A woman is sitting on a bench in the park. She’s sipping on a coffee that she bought from a bodega. A man approaches her and decides he wants to strike up a conversation with her.

“Can I sit next to you?” He asked her.

“No.” She replied.

He sits down on the bench at arm’s distance apart from her.

“Nice weather we’re having lately, don’t you think?” He asked.

“No.” She said.

“Would it be okay if I took you out to dinner some time?”


“Perhaps coffee or something like that?”


“Maybe we can go to a museum and look at the artwork?”


“How about a stroll through the park?”


“It’s about lunchtime now, would you like to get something to eat?”


“Can I buy you another cup of coffee?”


“Have I done anything to offend you?”


“Do you mind that I keep talking to you?”


“Do you want to get married?”


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Day Gone Bad

The rain that started out as mereley a drizzle earlier in the day, turned into a downpour.

She struggled with the bag of groceries while looking through her purse for the keys to the house. She gave up looking and kicked the door three times.

Hearing this, he paused the game he was playing on the TeeVee and got up to answer the door. She kicked the door again and almost kicked him in the shin when he opened it. He grabbed the grocery bag from her and looked down at her feet. She was only wearing one shoe.


“Where’s your other shoe?” He asked her.

“It broke.” She replied.

“Is it in the grocery bag?”

“No, when the heel broke, I got mad and I threw it.”

“You threw it?”

“Yes, I threw it as far as I could.”


“It went really far.”

“I’m sure it did.”

“Don’t patronize me.”

“I’m not. I believe that you threw it and it went really far.”

“It did.”

“I know.”

“What are your thoughts on Cheetos?” He asked.

“I have no thoughts on them.” She replied.

“Sorry, just trying to lighten the mood.”


She took off her good shoe and threw it towards the couch. She glanced at the television and saw some sort of zombie game paused on the TeeVee. “Really?” She said. “This is what took you so long to answer the door?”

“I got up right away when I heard it.” He replied.

“Seriously, you’re 40 years old and still playing video games?”

“They soothe me down.”

“Soothe you down?”

“Yeah, when I just want to shut everything else out, I pop it in and for an hour or so nothing else matters. Everything disappears. It’s just me shooting at and killing zombies.”

“It seems like just a waste of time.”

“It is but it could be worse.”

“How so?”

“What I’m doing isn’t hurting me or anyone else. There’s no self-destruction involved. I’m not looking to a bottle for solace or doing any sort of damage to myself or others.”

“Except the zombies?”

“Except the zombies. Enough about that though, tell me what happened today.”


“Yes today. What happened that got you all wound up?”

“Where to start?”

“The beginning. Always start at the beginning.”

“Well it started out normally. Until I burned my eggs.”

“That was that smell?”

“You’re not helping.”

“Sorry, continue.”

“Then I went down to the dry cleaners to get my work clothes, but they weren’t ready yet. It was right by a street mailbox so I went into my purse to get the bills I needed to pay. Purse drops, everything falls all over the place.”

“That sucks.”

“Wait. There’s more.”

“I gather all the stuff up, put it back in my purse. I’m all set to mail the bills but that’s not the only thing that was in my hand along with the bills that I plunked down the chute.”

“Oh no, what else was in your hands.”

“My keys.”

“Oh crap. You didn’t?”

“I did. I mailed my keys.”

“What did you do?”

“What do you think I did? I tried to get my keys back.”

“You didn’t.”

“I did. I started climbing into the mailbox and that’s when my heel broke. I got halfway in the mailbox and could feel the keys within my reach.”

“That’s good, you got the keys back.”

“Yes and no.”

“Yes and no?”

“I got the keys in my hand but that’s when I realized I was stuck.”

“Then what happened?”

“I got arrested.”

“Wait, what? You got arrested?”

“Well no, technically not arrested but I did get a stern talking to from the cop that helped me out of the mailbox.”

“What did he say?”

“Something about it being against the law to steal mail or something like that.”

“But you weren’t stealing mail.”

“I know, I showed him the keys and he let me go. Not without laughing hysterically at me first.”

“Well I’m glad you’re ok.”

“That’s when I threw my broken shoe.”

“The one you threw really far?”

“Yes, the same one.”

“Where’d you throw it?”

“At the mailbox of course.”

“Of course.”

“Then the grocery store gave me a problem.”

“What problem?”

“They said because I only had one shoe that I couldn’t shop there.”

“No shirt, no shoes, no service?”

“Exactly. I told the manager I just needed a few things and he let me go but made very clear that this was a one time only thing he was allowing.”

“So you got the stuff you needed?”

“Yes, and then it started raining on me. Hard.”

“No umbrella?”

“Nope, left that here at home.”

“I’m sorry. It sounds like you had a rough day.”

“Why do you love me?” She asked him.

“Who said I do?” He replied.

“That’s not funny. I’ll ask again. Why do you love me?”

“I’m not really sure where you’re going with this.”

“I want to know because I can’t figure it out. I’m fucked up.”

“You’re not fucked up.”

“Yes I am. I’m fucked up; I say and do stupid shit all the time. I’m clumsy. I clearly don’t listen to the weatherman when he tells me it’s going to rain. I get stuck in mailboxes. So I want to know, why do you love me when I’m so fucked up?”

“If you’re going with that rationale of that way of thinking then we’re all a little fucked up. I say and do stupid shit all the time too but luckily you have a ‘tell’ and I know when to stop. If you’re not around then the stupid shit I say continues and then I’m pretty much fucked.”

“What do you mean by a ‘tell’?”

“In poker, players look for the other player’s tell. It’s a sign that they give that they have a good hand or they’re bluffing at what they’re really holding.”

“What’s my tell?”

“You raise one eyebrow up.”

“I do not.”

“Yup, you do. As soon as I see it go up, I know immediately to stop talking about whatever it is I’m talking about.”

“You’ll have to point it out to me next time. So is that the only reason?”

“No, it’s one of many.”

“Go on.”

“I love you because you’re smarter than me.”

“I am not.”

“Yup, you are. You’re constantly reading books on topics and authors I have never even knew existed. You know what I read?”

“No, what?”

“Superman and Batman comic books.”

“You read The Punisher too. I saw you reading that big one where he fights everyone.”

“Yes, I read The Punisher Vs. the Marvel Universe. It was pretty good. He kills everybody. You should read it.”

“Ummm hello, spoiler alert, you kind of gave it all away there, but I’ll put it on my to-do list.”

“We’re getting off-topic here. You’re totally missing the point.”

“What’s the point?”

“I love you because you’re insanely hot.”

“Thank you, but that’s totally superficial.”

“Have you met me? I’m as deep as a puddle, but you didn’t let me finish.”

“Okay, finish.”

“You’re insanely hot but you don’t act like it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You walk around like you’re normal looking but you’re in the two percentile.”

“Two percentile?”

“Seinfeld reference. Only two percent of the entire population is good looking. You made the cut.”

“Ummm, thank you?”

“You’re welcome. You’re goofy.”

“Goofy? Nice, real nice. That’s supposed to make me feel better how?”

“Smart, good looking girl who can act goofy every now and again and not care what anybody thinks. Face it lady, I hit the jackpot.”

“You didn’t mention my cooking.”

“Oh god no. I love you in spite of your cooking.”

“Hey, that’s not fair I’m a good cook.”

“Honey, you could burn water.”

“Okay, I guess the other stuff kind of trumps the cooking.”

“There’s a ton more but we’ll save them for another time when you’re feeling low and you need a little pick-me-up.”

“Fair enough.”

“Was I able to make it a little bit better?”

“A lotta bit better.”

“Cool. What do you want to do with the rest of your day?”

“First I’m going to change out of these wet clothes and then I’m going to need you to scoot over.”

“Scoot over?”

“Yeah, I want to kill some zombies.”



The End

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Books on the Bed

He came home from lunch to check on his wife. She had complained about not feeling well that morning and wanted to make sure she was okay. He walked up the stairs to the bedroom and saw her sprawled out under the covers with used tissues adorned on the top. He also noticed that along with the tissues, she had surrounded herself by various books: The 50 Shades of Gray series, The Bourne Identity, an old copy of Dracula, 11-22-63, Juliet, Naked, and Between the Bridge and the River.


“This is new.” He said to her as he gazed upon her centered in the middle of various books.

“What this? No, it’s not new. I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid.”

“Surrounding yourself with snot rags?””

“Oh that. I tried to make the waste basket but I seemed to have missed. Everything else is old school.”

“Old school? It seems very new to me. I’ve never seen you do this before.”

“That’s probably because I’m never sick and I’m usually a good shot. I’m SuperWoman don’t you know?”

“There is no SuperWoman.”


“Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl/Oracle, Power Girl, Catwoman, etc. Sadly there is no SuperWoman.”

“There’s not?” She questioned.

“No. Well, I mean technically Superman gave his powers to Lois Lane for one day, thus creating Superwoman but it doesn’t really follow the canon, because it was part of an ‘Elseworlds’ story that doesn’t really exist.”

“I’m not following”

“There is no Superwoman.”

“They’re really should be.”

“All I’m saying is that you should write a letter to DC to voice a complaint”

“I just might do that.”

“So I have to ask. What’s with all the books?”

“They make me feel better.”

“They make you feel better?”

“Yeah, for some reason I feel comforted surrounded by books. It doesn’t really matter what books they are. It could even be magazines, but they possess a healing power for me and whenever I’m under the weather, the books come with me. You don’t have any books?”

“No, I do. I have books.”

“I mean books on the bed.”

“Books on the bed? No, I’ve never put books on the bed to make me feel better.”

“You should really do that. It really helps. Trust me on this one. Tomorrow, I will be better than new. I really think you need to find your books on the bed.”

“Books, not soup?”

“No, you’re misunderstanding.”

“I am?”

“Yes. Books AND soup. Always soup.”



He kissed her on the forehead and went to the bottom drawer of the dresser they shared. Her top two drawers stocked various articles of undergarments, tops, sweaters, and scarves. His contained the normal guy stuff, socks, underwear, t-shirts, but in the one corner way in the back was a small white cardboard box along with a few key back issues of Superman and Batman comic books. He kept it in hidden not out of shame but of afraid of mockery.


He walked back over towards the bed and pushed some of her books aside and laid out his dresser findings on the bed. He lied down next to her, sprawled out among old baseball and football cards and comic books that were priceless in his head, but in reality over time became greatly devaluated. He placed his readers on the bridge of his nose and began to read an old Superman comic leftover from the 70’s.


“What are you doing?” She asked him.

“I’m joining you.”

“Don’t you have to get back from lunch?”

“That’s what’s good about being a boss, I can make my own hours.”

“I still don’t get it.”

“Simply put, you’ve just helped me to find my books on the bed.”

“Oh that’s so awesome. I did something for you.”

“Yes you did. Thank you.”



“Where are we on that soup?”



The End

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The Friendmance – Derek & Victoria (The Complete Story – An IC Installment

Victoria sat outside on the deck under an umbrella waiting for Derek to return with their drinks. They had lost touch for a while now and she was glad they had an opportunity to catch up.


Derek returned with a beer for himself and wine for Victoria. He handed her the drink and she thanked him. Suddenly, she jumped in her seat to check the fly of her jeans. She settled back in her chair with a sense of relief.


“What was that?” Derek asked Victoria.

“All of a sudden I felt a swift breeze.” She replied.

“A swift breeze?”

“Yeah, I guess I could have checked more discretely, but I got surprised.”


“Shut up! So what brought this on? It’s so out of the blue.”

“Well, I was reading Bukowski a few weeks ago and you popped in my head.”

“Really? I’m so flattered. You read Charles Bukowski and thought of me, which book?”

“Ham on Rye.”

“Was that his first one? I forget. It’s been awhile since I’ve read his work.”

“It’s the first one chronologically in the Henry Chinaski series.”

“Right, right. So what did you think?”

“I liked it, kind of reminded me of Holden Caulfied in Catcher in the Rye.”

“Yes! Exactly!”

“I’m going to read Factotum next. Then continue on as Chinaski ages. I’m going to wind it all up with Hollywood.”
“Be careful.”

“Be careful of what?”

“Too much Bukowski could fry your brain.”

“I’m not following.”

“You’ll need to break in between books. I find that there is a deep-rooted sense of cynicism in his writing.”

“Of course.”

“As you read his work, a part of you might say, ‘Fuck it.’ and simply not care anymore.”

“I can see that.”

“That could be good and bad. Good, for the fact that you’re released from a self-inflicted prison of fear. Bad because, well, you just stop giving a shit about everything. Becoming anti-social in the process”

“And don’t forget about the drinking Victoria. My god. The drinking.”

“Yes, that too. It’s funny and then sad and then funny again.”

“I’ll keep your advice in mind whilst reading.”

“Maybe something a little cheery in between. Like a comic book or something.”

“Or I could just develop the ideal of write, drink fuck.”

“Oh no. It’s starting already. Time to put down Hank and pick up something else in the meantime.”

“Hank? Henry is the alter ego though.”

“His real name was Heinrich… I like to call him Hank or ‘The Buk’. Whichever you prefer, but you’re better off with Batman for the time being.”


“Definitely Batman.”




The waitress walks over to their table and starts to clear off the empty glasses. She looks tired but not unhappy. She’s having a rough night, but nothing she couldn’t handle. Her manager has been keeping a close eye on her, waiting for an opportunity to make her feel not so good about herself. Some people just enjoy the misery of others in order to forget about their own pathetic existence.


She smiles at Victoria and Derek and then takes a deep breath, ready to recite her dinner pitch once again. Hoping not to screw it up.


“Would you guys like another round of drinks?” She asked them. They both nodded their head yes. “Are you eating as well, can I tell you tonight’s specials?”


“Nothing for me thanks. Derek did you want to order something?” Victoria asked.


“Well I’m not hungry and will not be eating but you definitely can tell me what the specials are tonight.” Derek replied.


“Don’t be a dick. She looks like she’s had a hard day.”


“It’s okay I don’t mind.” The waitress said to her and then almost at whisper, “I actually can use the practice. I’m kind of new here and trying to get used to the way they do things.”


“See? She doesn’t think I’m being a dick. Go ahead. Give us the specials.” Derek said.


“Tonight we have Shrimp Marinara served over a bed of linguine with Broccoli-Rabe. We also have a Rib Eye steak with a rosemary balsamic glaze served with a side of purple fingerling potatoes and roasted garlic asparagus spears. Finally a triple fried chicken, your choice of breast or thighs with French fries.”


“You did very well, Lady.”


“I did? Thank you.” The waitress blushed.


“Like I said I’m not going to be eating but the ‘scrimp’ dish sounds delicious. My friend Victoria doesn’t like the ‘scrimps’, any seafood really, but if she was eating she would probably get the steak.”

“Okay we’re done here. Just another wine and beer please.” Victoria said to the waitress.


“Sure thing.” The waitress said as she walked back inside Slappy’s Bar to get their drinks.


“What?” Derek said to Victoria.


“Where to start?” She replied.


“Beginning is always good unless you’re Tarantino. Then the middle or the end is where you should start.”


“Okay, let’s start near the end. ‘You did good, lady?”


“She did very good. Like her nerves suddenly went away due to my calming nature.”


“She has a name.”


“I don’t know it yet though.”


“Instead of saying lady how about saying, ‘Excuse me but what is your name?”


“I can do that.”






“Why would you make her say the specials knowing full well you’re not going to eat?”


“Simply because I saw her having trouble at the other table. I saw Manger Mike giving her the evil eye and I knew that even though we weren’t eating, she could use a stress-free break, even if it was just for a moment, to stand here and not be bothered by some ill-mannered drunkard that would more than likely say something rude to her or get brow-beaten by Manager Mike.”


“Manager Mike?”


“Yeah, now you want to talk about someone being a dick. He’s it.”


“Okay, fair enough. One last thing”




“How did you remember I don’t like seafood?”


“Well you see that is my gift and unfortunately my curse. I remember things.”


“Wow, what else can you remember?”


He pretends to think for a moment, but he already knows what his answer will be. “You quit the TV show Lost because it was giving you funky dreams. I don’t know what the dreams were about, but it freaked you out enough to make you quit with only a season or so left to go.”


“Yes, I did quit because I would have these fucked up dreams of myself on the island and all these things would happen to me and then the next episode, the same thing would happen to one of the characters on the show.”


“Wow, that is freaky. Didn’t you teach me that all of the character’s names were of real people?”


“That’s right. They were named after philosophers, scientists, and from literature. I can’t believe you remember that.”


“I also remember that you’re fascinated by magic. Can’t get enough of the stuff.”


“Again, amazing.”


“Like I said, it’s my gift. And my curse.”


“So I want to tell you about something that happened to me the other day.”


“I’m all ears.”


“You ever have a Hershey’s Kiss?”


“A Hershey’s Kiss? Yes, I’ve had them. Not in a while but I have had them.”


“Did you know they have a strip of paper that says Hershey’s that they put in the foil?”


“I think I vaguely remember that.”


“Well I either forgot or thought they stopped doing it.”


“Oh no.”


“Oh yes. I ate about 15 of them before realizing I was eating the paper strip as well as the candy.”


The waitress arrives back to their table and hands them their drinks. She’s brought another wine for the lady and one beer for the gentleman. Her mood has taken a turn since the last time she visited their table.






Clearly upset, the waitress returns to Derek and Victoria’s table. Her hands slightly tremble as she placed the drinks onto the table in front of their respective recipients.


“Excuse me ma’am, what’s your name?” Derek asked the waitress.

“My name?” She asked.

“Yes, your name.”

“My name is Nicole.”

“Nicole, I couldn’t help but notice you’re upset. Is there anything I can do?”

“No, I’ll be okay. Thanks for asking though.”

“Does it have anything to do with Manager Mike?” He asked her.

“It’s nothing really.”

He could tell she was not being truthful and said, “I know how he can be sometimes.”

“No really it’s okay.”

“Will you both excuse me for a moment?”


Derek walks past the bouncer that is guarding the door that leads back inside Slappy’s Bar and heads straight to the bar where Manager Mike is sitting. They exchange words for a few moments and Derek returns to the table.


“What was that all about?” Victoria asked Derek.

“That? It was nothing. By the way Nicole, you won’t have anymore trouble with your boss any longer and our next round is on him.”

“You didn’t have to do that.” The waitress said to him. “I don’t want things to get worse.

“I’m telling you, you have nothing to worry about.”
The waitress thanked him and left their table to tend to another group at a neighboring table.


“A couple of things.” Victoria said.

“What’s that?”

“Very nice with the ‘Excuse me ma’am what is your name?’ bit.”

“Thank you.”

“Secondly and thirdly, what and why did you say something to the manager?”

“I know what it’s like to have a shit day and having a shit person shitting all over you.”

“Wow, that’s a lot of shit.”
“I know right? Anyways, I just reminded Manager Mike of Karma and how he should really ease up on the staff lest he want the effects of Karma to reign down upon him in furious anger.”

“Lest he? Furious anger?”

“Sounded good and channeled Tarantino for a minute. I also reminded him that I’m pretty close with the owner. Hey did I ever tell you about the time –“

“Stop right there.” Victoria interrupted.

“Stop right what?”

“I haven’t seen you in forever. I’m pretty sure that you’ve never told me about the time of whatever it is you were going to say.”

“Maybe, maybe not. I talk a lot. I repeat a lot of stories. Can’t remember to who and if any of it ever sticks.”

“Fair enough, continue.”

“Did I ever tell you about the time I was practicing karate kicks?”

“Ummm, no. I can safely say that you haven’t. Were you channeling your inner David Lee Roth at the time?”

“No, more like my inner Bruce Lee. Anyways, it was back when I was working for the butcher shop. I had to clean up and just finished hosing down the room.”

“Hosing down the room?”

“Yeah, you hose all the blood and stuff off the saw and tables and it goes down the drain in the floor.”

“Tell me about it. So I finished that up and after that you have to squeegee the excess water down the drain so the floor isn’t as slippery.”

“What does that have to do with practicing karate kicks?”

“I’m getting there. So I’m done with all the cleaning, the squeegee is completed and I look at the clock and I have some time before punching out for the day. I decided that right then and there was a good time for karate kicks.”

“Seems as good a time as any.”
“So I kick up my one leg high into the air. I think to myself, I can do better than that so do it again. The second kick was so much higher than the first one. Only problem was in doing it, my second leg decided that it no longer wanted to remain on the floor and wanted to join my other leg.”

“Oh no.”

“Oh yes. Before I could realize what was happening both legs are now up in the air, parallel to each other. As fast as they went up, they came down. I landed flat on my back.”

“Were you okay, did you get hurt?”

“I was fine. I was more embarrassed than hurt. I think it’s pretty needless to say I never practiced karate kicks again.”
“It’s all for the best. You should really leave that to David Lee Roth.”

“And the Kung Fu experts.”






The White Stripes’ Black Math is playing on the outdoor speakers of Slappy’s Bar. Victoria jumps in excitement at the song playing and says, “I love this song.” to Derek. He starts to reply, “You know, The White Stripes always – “
“Shhhhhhhh. This is the best part of the song,” Victoria interrupts. The song plays on for a moment before she continues, “I’m sorry for interrupting. You were saying?”

“I was just saying The White Stripes remind me of you.”

“That’s cool, dude. Can I ask you something that I’ve wanted to ask you all night?”

“Sure, go right ahead.”


Nicole, the waitress, returns to the table with drinks. “Hi guys. These drinks are with Mike the manager. Your next round is on me.” She said to both of them.”
“That’s really nice of you.” Victoria said. “Yes it is. Thank you Nicole.”
“No, thank you.” She replies. “It’s because of you that I don’t have to worry about getting called a ‘Froot Loop Dingus’ anymore.”

“I’m sorry. A what?” Victoria asked.

“He called me a ‘Froot Loop Dingus’. He apologized and told me he wouldn’t do it anymore.”

“Sounds like a victory to me.” Derek said.

“Just let me know when you’re ready for your next one.”
“Will do. Thanks again.” Victoria said.

“Now what were you saying?” Derek asked Victoria

“I have to know. What’s with the beard?”

“The beard? I don’t know. I think it looks zippy.”

“Zippy? No, you look like a racist.”

“A racist?”

“Yes, a big fat racist.”

“Great, another fat joke?”

“No, no, no. Not another fat joke. It’s the same one over and over again.”


“I’m just teasing you. You’re not fat. So really, the beard?”

“Yes, I like it.”

“Even though it makes you look like a racist?”

“I can’t be a racist.”

“Oh really? How is that?”

“Because I hate everybody equally.”

“Fair enough, but it is what you look like.”

“I don’t want to be a racist.”
“I’m not saying you ARE a racist. I’m saying you look like one is all.”

“I’ll shave it tomorrow.”

“Don’t do it on my account.”
“It’s not your account. I don’t want the perception to be out there. I’m shaving it.”



“Yes, if the racist comment didn’t work. I was going to say you look like a dirty old goat.”

“Dirty old goat?”

“Whatever would have worked to get you to shave that hideous thing off of your face.”


The drinks and the evening continued on and they were both having a good time. Listening to music, reconnecting, and genuinely enjoying each other’s company.


“It’s my turn to ask you something.” Derek said.

“Go ahead, as long as it doesn’t make me mad.” Victoria replied.

“Mad? Why would you get mad?”

“I don’t know. I’m just saying.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s not going to make you mad.”
“Then ask away.”

“Have you ever had a hot dog?”

“I’m sorry. A hot dog?”

“Yes, a hot dog.”
“Do you mean like a special kind of hot dog?”

“No, not special. Just a regular hot dog.”
“I don’t think I’m understanding, but yes I’ve had a hot dog.”


“That’s it?”


“You are a strange, strange man.”

“Not the first time I’ve heard that, but really no different than you asking me if I’ve ever had Hershey’s Kisses.”



Victoria looks over at the bouncer that’s guarding the door to the patio area of Slappy’s. She had been here several times and he has never uttered a single word to her, which slightly aggravated her. A few drinks in, she decides to say something.


“Do you know the bouncer?” She asks.

“Who Donny at the door?” Derek replied.

“Is that his name? He’s never said two words to me/”

“Yeah, that’s Donny. I’m surprised. He’s very friendly, unless you’re a sloppy drunk, then he’s all no-nonsense.”
“I’ve never even been drunk in front of him. I’m going to see what his problem is with me.”

“I don’t think he has a problem with you.”
“We’ll see about that. She said as she got up from the table and walked over to Donny.


“So what’s your deal?” She asked Donny.

“Excuse me?” Donny asked.

“I’ve been coming here a while now. You never smile. You never talk. You’ll give a head nod to Derek, yet you won’t even acknowledge me. What am I chopped liver?”


Donny looks over to the table where Derek is sitting. Derek gives him the thumbs up sign. Donny nods at him.


“I needed to know if you would commit.”

“I’m sorry. What?”

“I said I needed to know if you would commit.”

“I’m not following.”

“Do you know how many people come and go here? They’ll come in once or twice then are never seen or heard from again. Now I know.”

Somewhat confused by the exchange she said, “I’m Victoria.”

“I know.” He said. “Derek told me.”

“This would be the part where you tell me your name.”

“Not all at once Victoria. Not all at once.”

“Whatever Donny.”


They both shared a laugh for a moment before she walked back to the table where she and Derek were sitting. Fresh drinks were there at the table waiting for both of them.





The wine and beer flowed steadily as the evening progressed. Both of them were starting to feel the effects of the alcohol. Victoria looked at Donny and asked, “Can I tell you something?”


“Sure.” Came his reply. “Otherwise we would just be sitting here in an awkward silence.”


“Nothing. Please, tell me something.”
“Before this night is over. I’m going to dance with you.”
“You’re going to dance with me?”


“Well, this place isn’t really cut out for dancing.”
“I don’t care.”

“Well if I can speak honestly here.”

“Please do.”

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”
“Awww, how cute.”
“What, what’s cute?”

“You’re drunk.”
“A little. What gave it away?”
“You said you would dance with me.”
“I never came out and said I would. I just said I wasn’t opposed to it.”
“Yup, you and I are going to dance.”
“Ok. We’ll see.”


Nicole clears the glasses from the table and brings over another round.


“Hey.” Victoria said.

“No you hey.” Derek replied.

“What? What does that even mean?”

“I really don’t know.”

“Anyway, remember the last time we saw each other?”

“You’re asking me?”

“Yes, I am asking you.”

“I do, because I have the memory and stature of a baby elephant, but please refresh my memory.”
“I remember it clearly, we were hungry and wanted something to eat. I remembered that Italian place wasn’t that far away and took you there.”
“I remember.”

“The pasta there is so good. Was it not?”

“Yes, it was very good as I recall.”
“I was trying so hard to beat the clock.”
“I don’t even know what that means. What does ‘beat the clock’ mean?”

“Well, basically it means that when you know the food is so good you eat as much as you possibly can before that feeling of fullness kicks in.”

“Okay so you do what again exactly?”

“I shovel as much of the tortellini and gnocchi that I can in my mouth. Nom nom nom.”
Derek lets out a big laugh that results in a very loud snort.


“Oh my God. You totally just snorted.” She said to him.

“Yes, I did, but can I say something?”

“Please do.”

“You have never been hotter than you are right now telling the beat-the-clock story.”

“I know sexy, right?”

“Oh yes definitely. I remember that night. I just thought you were really hungry.”
“Nope, totally trying to beat the clock.”

“I also remember having a difficult time trying to keep up with you walking to the place.”

“Yes, I was on a mission. I was wondering why you were so slow.”
“I was just pacing myself.”

“Bill Murray? Stripes?”

“Yup that’s the one. Hey, speaking of Bill Murray.”


“Did I ever tell you about the time – “ Victoria shoots Derek a look. “What? Old habits.”

“Continue.” She said to him.

“I was just going to say about how I got into the effects of Karma.”

“What does Karma have to do with Bill Murray?”

“Nothing really. I just wanted to talk about Karma.”
“Holy non sequitur, Batman.”

“I’m sorry what?”

“Nothing, please go on with the Karma.”

“All I was going to say is everything that I’ve learned about Karma has been from watching TV.”

“Yes, a few years ago there was a show called My Name is Earl.”
“I remember that. It was with the guy from Mallrats, right?”

“Yes, Chasing Amy’s Jason Lee as Kevin Smith an I like to refer to him.”

“Refresh my memory. What was the show about?”

“This guy Earl who’s a life-long criminal wins the lottery but on the same day he’s hit by a car. He’s watching Carson Daly and learns about Karma from him. So he decides he’s going to change his life and putting right every wrong he’s ever made.”
“Ah yes, now I remember.”
“He makes a list and crosses the people off the list as he makes up for whatever he did.”

“Okay, but you do realize Karma is a complex structure present in Eastern Religion based on Buddhism.”

“That’s the same thing Marcia Brady said to Earl on the show.”
“Marcia Brady?”

“Yeah, you know, Ben Stiller’s wife.”
“Okaaaaaaaaay. So you agree, there’s more to it than that.”

“I have to go with what he said to Marcia Brady. Boiling it down to its simplest form”
“What was that?”

“Do good things. Good things happen.”

“Hey, whatever works for you. Is it working for you?”

“I don’t know really.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I keep thinking negative shit about people and I think it’s fucking up my karma.”

“I’ve got the solution for that.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“You should totally start making a list.”


Another round comes to the table as the two of them continue to sit there laughing and talking as the hours pass on by.


“So tell me. How many divorces have you been through so far? Victoria asked Derek as she sipped her glass of wine.

“I don’t believe in marriage.” Derek replied.

“What? What do you mean you don’t believe in marriage?”

“I don’t believe in it.”

“It’s not like marriage is a leprechaun or the Easter bunny. We’re not talking Santa Claus here. You are aware that marriage does exist.” “I’m not doubting the validity of marriage’s existence, I’m just saying that it’s not for me.”

“So what do you do, just cheat on them, leaving them all behind and on to the next venture?”

“What? No, nothing like that is even remotely close. I just think if two people are together, be it boy/girl, girl/girl, boy/boy, that they do not need a piece of paper binding them to a law of loyalty.”

“You know the gay community fought hard to have that?”

“I know and I’m not taking it away from anyone. If they want to get married, more power to any and all that wants it. I’m just saying it’s not for me.”

“I can understand where you’re coming from. I don’t think I’m entirely on board with it but I understand. There has to be some kind of compromise.”
“Well if you can think of one, I’m all ears.”

“I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I will say this.”


“Relationships are hard work.”


“I don’t even know what that means.”


“The whole ‘hashtag’ thing.”

“All the kids do it.”

“Two things.”


“One, I know they do.”

“And the other?”

“You’re a pretty far ways away from being a kid.”

“I’m just trying to fit in. What don’t you get about hashtags?”

“What do they mean exactly?”

“It’s like an emphasis about a specific point. For example you said, ‘Relationships are hard work’. I replied with #TrueStory indicating that I agree with you.”

“I still don’t get it, but anyway I don’t understand how all women aren’t lesbians. Your species can kind of suck at times.”

“Really? Again with the hashtags?”

“I’m sorry I’ll stop but I do agree with you. You know Louis CK once said there is no greater threat to women than men. We are the number one threat against women. Do you know what the number one threat against men is?”

“No, what is it?”

“Heart disease.”

“Are you a feminist?”

“I’ve never considered myself not one but I’ve never really thought about it.”

“Okay, that’s a conversation for another time. We’re talking about relationships and how hard they are at times.”

“Go on.”

“Communication is key.”

“Of course.”

“If there’s no communication, there’s a breakdown.”
“A communication breakdown.”

“Exactly and when that happens, things go downhill from there.”

“If you’re looking for an argument, you won’t find one with me.”

“No, I’m just saying, once that happens the wandering eyes begin.”

“Wandering eyes?”

“Yes, they’re might be a new co-worker that catches your eye. You might start looking elsewhere for what is lacking at home.”

“Not me.”
“Why not you?”

“I work in a warehouse. All dudes. No women to wander my eye.”

“I’m just saying. The communication is gone at home, there’s something missing, so you look elsewhere to replace it.”
“That shouldn’t be the case.”
“It is the case though. It’s the reason why any of us cheats.”

“Not me. I cheated once on someone in high school, got caught and never did it again.”

“You’re a rare exception.”

“The way I figured it, I wasn’t too good at it so why bother? If I’m not happy I’m not going to cheat, I’m just going to end it.”

“But people don’t end things. They avoid the break up even though they know something is broken there. That’s why I’m going to cheat on you. I don’t want to do it, but I’m going to cheat on you.”

“Cheat on me?”

“Yes, prior to breaking up something is going to happen where cheating is involved.”

“Cheat on me?” He repeated again.

“Yes, like I said I don’t want to do it, but it’s going to happen. I have to break up with you.”

Derek takes a moment before responding, sipping his beer, “There’s only one problem with that.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“We’re just friends. We’re not even dating.”


Victoria stares at Derek momentarily before she breaks out into laughter.






“So tell me about your day.” Derek said to Victoria.

“My day?” She asked.

“Yes, your day.”

“I’m a little taken aback. Nobody ever asks me how my day was.”

“Well, they really should and since they are not here I’m asking. How was your day, what did you do?”

“Not much I guess. I worked out for a little bit.”

“At the gymnasium?”

“No at my house.”

“What like jumping jacks and stuff?”

“Yeah, something like that.” She laughed at the notion of jumping jacks.

“Let me ask you this. How many jumping jacks can you do? Five?”


“What? Is the number too low?”

“Ummm yeah.”

“Sorry I don’t know much about you work-out types.”



The lights go on inside Slappy’s Bar and the outside lights flicker on and off. Donny lets out a bellow with his deep voice. “Last call for alcohol. Last call.”


“Well I can honestly say, without a doubt, this has been fun.”

“I agree.”

“We should definitely do this again sometime. Would you excuse me for a moment?” He asked her.



Derek walks inside Slappy’s and over towards Nicole. He asks her for the check and to his surprise the bill was relatively low for a full night of drinking. He pays the bill and gives her a large tip. He returns outside to Victoria.


“Did you ask Nicole to bring us out the bill?” She asked him.

“No, I went in to pay it.”

“How much do I owe, I must have drank 9 ½ bottles of wine myself tonight.”

“No, no, no. I got this.”

“Seriously, I want to pay.”

“It’s okay. It’s already done.”

“I feel bad. Let me pay something.”

“Don’t. I totally got this. Tonight is on me. Maybe next time I’ll let you pay.”

“Let me pay?”

“You’re right. I totally won’t.”

“Whatever. Hey, you hungry?”

“I could eat.”

“What’s with the ‘oh’?”

“That means you’re not hungry.”
“How do you figure?”

“If you were hungry you would have just come out and said yes, not ‘I could eat’. Am I right?”

“Look at me.”

“Does it look like I ever skipped a meal? I’m always hungry. What did you have in mind?”

“I know this great all-night pizza place. You want to go?”

“Sure, lead the way. I’ll grab an Uber.”


They walk past Donny who nods his head to both of them. They both say good-bye as they make their way off the patio and through the bar to the exit. Donny then lets out another bellow, “Okay let’s go people! You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”


Semisonic’s “Closing Time” plays on the jukebox, a Slappy’s Bar tradition, signifying to all that the end of the evening has arrived. Derek and Victoria head into the night, continuing on with their evening’s adventure.





The years pass on. Derek and Victoria are much older now.

His beard long gone, replaced with short gray stubble. Her hair is much shorter and gray as well. They’re sitting side by side in matching chairs, holding hands, on the porch of a well lived-in house. Years of the sun beating down had faded the outside paint. Victoria is drinking wine while he’s drinking bourbon. An Elijah Craig 18 year old single barrel bourbon. He takes a long sip and let’s out a sigh. He turns to her and asks, “Hey, did I ever tell you about the time –“

“Stop right there.” Victoria interrupts.

“What is it?”

“We can’t… I can’t… I can’t do this anymore.”

“Do what?”


“I’m not following.”

“I have to break up with you.”

They both sit in an uncomfortable awkward silence staring off at the view for a moment before Derek takes a sip of his bourbon. He replies, “Okay, but we’re just friends. We’re not even dating.”





The End


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