Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tie Your Shoes

Jan. 3, 2008

Last night's toss-and-turn nocturnal adventure turned out to be a doozey. I hadn’t dreamed anything like this before.

I peeled off my skin and followed a man to a red hole. Loosing my shell made me lighter. I slipped inside and continued to follow the man. He began moving quickly through an orbital wind tunnel of sorts. He would turn and beckon with a devilish grin, leading me downward. The wind became cold and without my skin it made my whole body sting. I remember feeling the coldness in my bones—like they were freezing from the inside out. We continued down. I remember thinking I had a choice—like the lucid dreaming they hound about on Coast to Coast—I could follow in pain and curiosity or surrender with relief. My bones froze and became heavy. Each step was a stab to the soul. I chose to continue. My heart stopped pumping so I removed it from my chest and pumped it manually like a stress ball. Soon my eyes, scorched by the wind, fell out. My ears began picking up signals like a ham radio and bombarded my brain with millions of frequencies. I singled on one and listened as I continued down. The pain danced with the signal forming a new sensation. Outside of the dream world we're handicapped with 5 senses. This sense seemed to be tugging on my spinal cord sending synapses everywhere at once, both in my body and brain; a sensory explosion. My feet soon froze to the floor of the wind tunnel and the signal I picked up became clearer. It was the voice of the Devil. He was laughing. “You’d follow me anywhere,” he said, “even without a heart.” I lifted my heart in the air and continued to pump, to show the Devil it was still with me. The Devil laughed and lit it on fire. The burning felt like an overused ice pack and I continued to pump. I pumped faster, my forearm contracting beyond its physical ability. I pumped my blood throughout my body and began to feel warm again. My eyesight came back. The Devil stopped laughing and looked angry. The man who I followed through the red hole and assumed was the Devil approached the Devil from behind. He slipped a shoelace around the Devil’s neck and began to choke him. The Devil stopped breathing and dropped like a bag of sand. Before I could say anything the man bent over and re-laced his shoe. “Good things to have around,” he said while pulling at his laces. “You should tie your shoes more often.” Before he finished I was standing, fully skinned, above ground watching him descend down the red hole again, like I previously had. This time, I chose to tie my shoes instead.

I don’t know what any of it means. The funny thing is I never tie my shoes. It seems an odd way to get me to start doing it.

Miles Foreman

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This Doesn't Smell Right

Oct. 5, 2008

The world reeks of excuses. A foul and lingering smell—the kind that can't be contained—like the world hit the granddaddy of skunks on the universe express and its innards are on fire. And the stench is rising. One of my clients told me today to cut the B.S. and prescribe her meds. Here I am, sifting through her lies, and she halts me and orders me to give her the very meds I'm gingerly withdrawing. This is an addict in her finest form, protecting her drug of choice. She continued to tell me that my assessments were wrong and that I only wanted to see her in pain. She told me I was sadistic. She said I was crazy; and told me I "must get off on it."

This is the only place I can really say how I feel. When I chart, I'm professional. When I'm in report with the treatment team, I'm patient. When I write here, I let it out. This girl is an emotionless, conscienceless, soulless stench of a human. She’s chiseled herself down to the weightless center; as hollow as any empty vessel. Her behavior is suspect to an amoral existence and attitude as sharp and self-serving as her unquenchable narcotic appetite. Here is a girl who blame-shifts as naturally as she breathes. She is the product of addiction and the curse of this good nation. Like many of my clients she lacks the ability to emotionally mature because she reached a ceiling in early adulthood. She never learned to own her mistakes. She never learned to take responsibility; and now she’s become the feces mankind. And the stench of people like her has reached its boiling point. Unfortunately, it is the aroma of our time.

Dr. J. D. Z.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's Chemistry

Jan. 6, 2008

Walking on campus sucks. In the midst of 30,000 faces I feel more alone than ever. I tried talking to a girl this morning outside of Chemistry and she faked an incoming cell call. She gave this 'sorry, but I have to take this' look. It's really starting to get to me. Jules and Bry said collage would be different. "There are no bullies in college," Bry said, "you'll be fine." I don't know what's worse: being recognized a retard or being avoided like a leper. It's my fourth semester and the only friends I've made are school faculty members. Dr. Epstein and I went to lunch last Thursday to talk about the micro project. I guess my social circle will continue to be teachers, chemicals and bacteria.

I feel so alive in the lab. I feel like things make sense. There are no mind games or ridicule. It's funny, I often think of the irony: I get teased for retreating to a world where there are no laughing faces and pointing fingers. I'm just hoping there is a girl out there feeling the same thing; and somehow we can find each other. Somehow we can live together in a kind of social exile.

Nils Strother, 19

Monday, January 5, 2009

From the High Ropes

Jan. 4, 2009

The rag wants my review of The Wrestler Friday. I need more time. This is one I want to sit on for a few days. When walking out of the theatre in New York some bozo said, 'who wants to see a movie about fake wrestling?" I tremble when I hear comments like these. I walked out of the film with the kind of buzz that got me into the biz; more floating than walking. While dissecting, marinating and stewing upon this giant of a film, this clown deflated my hover with a single pop. I wanted to power slam him into the concession. He continued to dazzle: "It sucked like Million Dollar Baby," he quipped. "Why do they think anyone cares about the depressed situations of losers?" Another power slam and then a chokehold. I'd climb the ropes quick, wanting to end him. Kapow!!! 'No more commentary from the likes of you,' I'd say while gloating in his agony.

Day dreaming aside, I need to write something soon. Merv says I need to slip more features in this year; at least one more a week. As if 5 reviews aren't enough. He says I need to do more interviews with more movie folk. I've got one scheduled Thursday with some Sundance short film guys. I don't like going above that in the celebrity hierarchy. Guys trying to break into the biz give better interviews. The already there folks are tainted and turned by the Hollywood hullabaloo. Honesty is more common on Capitol Hill. I need to get someone though. Someone to please the powers that be (I've always hated that cliché.) I'll probably call Gill with Bale's people again. Readers can't get enough on Ledger. Bale's a good sport anyway. I'll call tomorrow; right now I'm set for another power slam.

Eli Cobb (Not my real name obviously) 42

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back to the Past

Sep. 12, 2008

I don't know what to write about. My mind is blank. This journal thing is new and I find it exhausting—coming up with new material everyday is torture. Yesterday's entry is boring. I reread it and wonder why my family would care to know about my life. I don't need my loser life qualified by its written version. Dr. Fry says write. He told me yesterday to shut up and write. "Everyone has excuses," he said, "but action is a rarity."

I'm going on two years without a drink. I think sometime next month will be the actual anniversary but I want to say something about it tonight. I am friendless, jobless and closer to hopelessness than I remember being when drinking. I was busy every night and hung with friends every weekend. I had a good job and seemed eager for the future. But now, after the accident, everyone insists that it was self-destructive behavior that brought on, what I call bad luck. Yes I drank that night, but I did not intend to hurt anyone. I didn't wake up that morning and say, 'Today I think I'll kill a little girl.' I didn't think about the joyous life that would be pain killers, disability checks and insomnia. I didn't think about all the pain I was about to cause later that night. There's not a second that goes by that I don't wish I could go back in time and punch myself in the face. But, even after two years of weekly AA meetings I still don't think I was ever an alcoholic. I was stupid. I was arrogant. But my drinking was in control. I don't think it warranted this kind of outcome. Dr. Fry says I need to forgive myself. He says it isn't necessary to live with so much guilt. But hey, at least I get to live. And at least the guilt reminds me of what was lost.

Billy Zader

Friday, January 2, 2009

Baby Mama

Sep. 5, 2008

Friday is my baby’s big day. It seems like yesterday I was singing him to sleep and changing his diapers. After raising four boys and having watched all of them transition from snot-nosed tots to responsible adults, I find it hardest to let my last one go.

He came to me months back with that twinkle I’d seen three times before. “Mom,” he says with that handsome grin, “she said yes.” I screamed and hugged him, barely getting my arms around his tree-trunk frame. Erica fits our family like a missing puzzle piece. She’s so perfect for Bryant and gets along with everyone. Yesterday I went with her to make the final floral arrangements. She held my hand during lunch and looked at me with tearful eyes. “I love your son,” she said, “I can’t believe I found him.” I told her stories of Bryant as a boy and how his steady character acted as the backbone of the family. I told her about him protecting kids from the school bully and how he always saw himself as a hero. I told her about the cape he wore everyday afterschool and his high-kick jumps atop the coffee table. Bryant’s faith in God and love for his family made him our personal hero. After Sarah died, Bryant organized a community vigil and spoke only about the positive, uplifting things. I told her even though he experienced tragedy and lost his sweetheart he turned it into a learning experience. Erica shared some things with me about Bryant that I didn’t know. She told me he sings her favorite song to her at night over the phone and leaves her favorite candy bar on her desk at work. I smiled so wide my jaw began to hurt. I love all my kids and never get tired of hearing the good things they do. My baby has transformed into the kind of person that will make a difference in this world. At 60 I know I’m on the downward slope. I feel my age everyday, but when I stop and think about my kids and the choices they’ve made I feel like a new momma all over again. I am ready for that next stage. I’m ready for grandchildren. Nick’s been married for nearly 8 years and still no kids. Now that my babies are grown I’m ready to love and spoil a whole new generation of Hulling’s boys (and girls). Bring on the babies.

Karen J. Hulling

Thursday, January 1, 2009

All Smiles

Nov. 13, 2008

Today I ran five miles in the slush, counting each puff of fog out of my mouth. I got to work a few minuetes before nine and brew some stingers talking with Karl in his cave. Karl's wife would turn a new shade of red if she knew the thread he spun. At about 11, my boss, bad breath and all, dumped a new record of files on my desk, citing shit deadline talk for comfort. God, I thought the last workload was heavy. Lunch came and went and I found myself sneaking fountain breaks across from Rhonda's cubicle. She smelled like the first day of school and looked like a vintage pinup--her retro phase has carved its way into my heart. I brain stutter just thinking about how bumbly I would be trying to talk to her. It's bound to happen with all the damn fountain drinks I'm getting. She must think I'm a horse. By four I'd made my daily calls and lazed on the internet for the next thirty. Karl, as he does, harrassed me just before five about hitting Sherlock's later. It was definately the kind of day that requires a night of drinking. I passed Rhonda on the way out and gave her one of those big-eye nods. I don't think she saw it though. The boys began piling in at Sherlocks at a quarter to six and the rounds began. I ordered a burger and fries and tried to eat while the others poured in beer after beer. Gus came by and pointed out some girls that looked like the he/she's over on 5th. But that didn't stop Reggie and his band of heathens to buy 'um drinks. I drank two beers and slipped out the front door before the sloppiness hit its peak. Karl and I drove to Darren's and caught the second half of the Monday Night blowout. Darren spent an hour looking for the number of a 'sure thing.' I had one Sam Adams and went home.

It ended up being one of those days where I tell myself I'm not as bad off as it appears. It's now been eighteen months since Kate and the empty spot seems bigger than ever. I grab beers with the boys and fantasize about Rhonda but I'm slipping off the edge on the inside. I wish I wouldn't have said those things to Kate. Like Liz on 30 Rock, I need a do-over. Maybe tomarrow will be better. Maybe I'll call Kate. Maybe I will.

Scott Snider