Die Writing

The graying morning

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on November 12, 2016

Aside
 This is another piece inspired by mishearing song lyrics. This is based off the song “Heathens” by 21 Pilots. The actual opening line of the song is “All my friends are heathens, take it slow / Wait for them to ask you who you know.” I thought it opened with “All my friends are here, so take it slow…” Which led me to a story for which the following is the ending.

Are you hip enough?
 Chelsea leaned against the glass and closed her eyes. LA was gliding past outside the limo. A breeze slipped in through the cracked window and tussled her gorgeous hair. The gray morning light made her look pale, sickly, and fragile. She was smoking, with her eyes closed, and when the car stopped at a light, she ashed the cigarette in the window.
 Robbie sat on the opposite side of the cab. He was stiff and still, with his hands on his knees. His heavy tweed jacket was in awkward contrast to her fleeting white dress. The silence that filled the cab was stunned and woozy from too many cocktails. It also echoed with booming music. Robbie was facing Chelsea, but his eyes weren’t focused on anything in particular.
 ”Did you get what you wanted?” She finally asked, still without looking at him.
 He did not answer right away. He was sobering up, from the alcohol, from sleep deprivation, from the sensory overload of it all, and nothing felt real. Sensations of his own body from five minutes ago felt like they belonged to a stranger.
 Robbie focused on Chelsea, and for a moment, he again saw the lanky Wisconsin schoolgirl. It didn’t last.
 ”How?…  Why?” His words were hoarse. It was hard to talk with someone else’s throat.
 ”Fuck you, Robbie.” She opened her eyes and looked outside, eye darting between gas stations, beauty salons, and greasy food stands. “We fit each other, this life and I.”

Carnival

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on August 17, 2016

He felt better about the carnival being in town than actually being at the carnival. Everyone had gone, and he did, too. Though he would sneak away, and settle on the far side of the carousel.

There, submerged in the soft shadows, facing the tangled mess of ropes and stakes that held the tents taut, he would sit on the trampled grass with his back against a piece of railing. He felt a great human warmth in the drifting, singing laughter, the strung up electric lights, the smell of saw dust and manure. Errant words and phrases fluttered by him like moths.

The carnival filled him with a jittery energy, made it hard to focus on any thought or conversation. Still he felt that the world better off with a carnival in it.

On the streets 9

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on June 21, 2016

The elderly gentleman sat in the fishbowl window of a bar. He wore the look of distant melancholy. There were strings of bright lights and loud, animated people behind him. The man sat perfectly still, folded hands propped up in front of him, with his gaze resting well beyond Adams Morgan.

His only companions were a crumpled paper bag and the space across the table that distinctly felt like it should be occupied by a person.

***

Two Asian girlfriends half-staggered, half-strutted down a  gently sloping street. The one on the right was overcome by the hilariousness of a story she was relating to her friend, word swallowed in suffocating laughter. Hanging off her friend’s arm, she was responsible for the staggering.

The silent one marched with her head held up high, she was armed with a confident smirk, eye like jet black coal, and two paintings clutched in her free hand.

***

The woman walked into the near-empty, weekday-evening train and dropped onto an empty seat. She placed her elbow against the rubber edge of the window, propped up her chin on her hand, and stared into the rushing darkness of the tunnel. She had unruly, coarse, copper-red hair that looked tired.

Whatever she saw in that void, it lifted her. When she exited the train a few stations later, all the exhaustion was gone, and her eyes were bright again.

On the streets 8

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on June 19, 2016

The Pride Parade wound through the streets like a river of exuberant joy. Dance formations were followed by floats blasting music out of oversized speakers. The gaps in between were filled out by groups of people dancing, strutting, marching along, waiving signs, arms, and hips. The river banks were made of people, too, radiant and smiling people. Some were dancing, too, or high-fiving and hugging those in the parade. Some, with tears in their eyes, were thanking everyone that’s gone by. Everything was soaked in the sun, the heat, and the music.

The young woman stood still, pressed into the human embankment. The emotions of the moment washed over her without leaving a trace. As her mind wandered off to a foggy distance, she stood completely still, a single-serving packet of chip held up near her face.

***

The man held up a cucumber slice like a damning piece of evidence. He wore a dad’s uniform – a burgundy polo shirt with a crumpled collar and close-cropped, badly combed hair. He seemed to preside over a table filled with children of various ages at a semi-fashionable cafe diner. He fixed his accusatory gaze on the oldest of children, a young woman with long blond hair. There were no words. No scene. Just the well-rehearsed manner of a detective who’s nailed the criminal, perfectly honed by years of being a parent.

***

Just after bar closing on a Friday night. Adams Morgan was choking on traffic. In a knotty intersection of several small streets, a cab driver pulled over to the curb, then got out to yell at the traffic behind him. He was a tall, lean man wearing linen pants and a grey t-shirt. His anger seemed indiscriminant – though slowly, the traffic was moving through the intersection, but he did not stop.

Without turning around, he took several steps across the street, onto the sidewalk opposite his car. From behind, a gleaming black Cadillac zoomed up. Its breaks squealed, the headlights jumped – the lights always appear extra bright in moments like this – and seemed to swerve toward the cab driver. It slid to the edge of the street. The rim of the front tire scraped the curb as it stopped a couple feet short of the man. Who never flinched, and did not even turn around.

On the streets 6

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on April 27, 2015

The vast convention center is filled with people in suits, either walking fast and with a purpose, or congregating in small groups, busy with intense conversations. The midday sun floods through the enormous glass walls. A middle-aged Asian man stands off to a side, alone. The coat of his sharply tailored black suit is unbuttoned, and it flares open. He stands straight, calm and resolute in his bearing, eyes clear and focused in a distance. He feels strong, lithe, alert. With one hand in a pocket, his casual figure has the danger and aloofness of Hong Kong action shooter.

Instead of a gun, the man is holding a muffin.

***

It’s one of the first warm days of the year. The sun, unobstructed by clouds, is beating down on the dancers filling Dupont Circle. While the DJ is pushing out swing over the speakers, the dancers twirl and jump on the hot pavement. Musicians are setting up their equipment, lugging heavy amplifiers. A man approaches them to speak with them, though his words are concealed by the distance and the noise.

He is wearing a black leather jacket over a black tshirt. His sweat-soaked jet-black hair streaks across the pale forehead. A pair of curved mirrored aviators covers his eyes. The man stands with his hands on his hips, head cocked back, baked with the heat. He goes on for a short while – with the musicians not paying him much attention – then disappears.

On the streets 4

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on December 7, 2014

Aside

The rainy day edition.

Drip

She was walking in fast, wide strides. The night was cold and wet, yet her black leather jacket was not even buttoned up, revealing a tight black tank top. Her frame was slight and angular, filled with a visible, palpable heat and fuel that drove her through the autumnal darkness. I could not see her face because she lowered her umbrella, bracing it against the gusts of wind and rain. A brief moment, and she disappeared down the street.

It took my mind a few minutes, but I realized I have seen her before. Of course, I could not have recognized her face. But her bursting way of walking and the feverishly energetic, unbending figure cutting through he nighttime darkness were unmistakable.

Maybe I just remember people better at night.

***

It’s a century-old colonial brick house, fresh and clean from the slow rain. The sparse street lamps give it a suggestion of color, but mostly it’s just shapes, outlines, and a wet glisten. The front door is wide open, casting a soft glow into the night. The house is filled with brilliant white light, warming like the sight of a distant hearth.

A woman appears in front of the doorway. She stands tall, with shoulders square and feet set wide and firm. Her smart peacoat adds to the air of alertness and confidence. Her silhouette is sharp and dramatic. If an edgy TV cop show wanted to send a daring and brilliant young detective to a delicate scene concealing a potentially grizzly crime, they could hardly paint a more perfect scene.

On the streets 2

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on June 14, 2014

Aside

This time, in San Francisco

Step

She was ahead of my by a block and a half. Slight and wiry, she burst through the crowd of hobos and end-of-business office workers like firework. A purple dressed hugged tight to her shoulders, but left her back revealed. A blue tattoo snakes across her shoulder blades, but from the distance, I could not quite make it out. The dress closed at the waist, but then flared out. A long slit freed the fabric. The dress whipped and beat in the wind like mad wings.

She carried some large and heavy – I could not see what – the strain and the bright sun drew her muscles into a sharp relief. She walked with fierce confidence. I kept catching glances of her through the wake she’d left in the crowd. Eventually she turned a corner, but when I caught up, she disappeared.

***

His movements were languid and fluid, and sly and deliberate. In particular, his left wrist was practically limp, but in a way that suggested acute awareness of its relaxed state. He moved his tall, skinny body in a smooth, continuous, graceful way. Perhaps he was matching some mellow groove playing back, unheard, in his head. He walked on, in his gliding way, as the tree shadows around him stretched out toward the evening.

Pablo Picasso vs. Eggs

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on June 4, 2013

Aside

Pablo Picasso!

Square

Pablo Picasso sat down to have his breakfast, but the breakfast was having none of it. He had in front of him greasy eggs, coffee that smelled of stale cigarettes, and a truly revolting morning. Outside his window, the gross man selling newspapers was taking a piss behind his stand and making obscene hand gestures in Pablo Picasso’s direction. He knew the gestures weren’t meant for him – the newspaper man was involved in a loudly disastrous affair with the woman living directly above Picasso – but the sight was upsetting.

Pablo Picasso took a sip of the coffee, forgetting that it tasted of old cigarettes. He contemplated spitting it out, but didn’t. After all, it was his habit to get drunk late in the night and then confuse the coffee pot for the ash tray. There was no one to blame.

He briefly tried to blame Matisse, but right away knew it was pointless. Matisse was the nicest man around, and hardly ever smoked. He would just curl up on the kitchen counter and make cat sounds all night. Matisse was not good at being a cat, but he was so nice about it, no one had the heart to tell him.

Distracted, Pablo Picasso weakly wielded his fork at the breakfast. The eggs ruptured with a burping sound and the yolks ran out, forming a filthy shape. Pablo Picasso grimaced at the eggs and opened his mouth, intent on a reprimand, but the eggs were completely indifferent and just rolled their eyes.

“I’m Pablo Picasso!” He said firmly, brandishing the fork at the eggs. The eggs continued to ignore him, slowly spreading all over the plate in defiance of the great artist.

“I…” he started again, desperately grasping the fork. The eggs basically unzipped their pants on his living room couch, scratched their fat belly, and belched.

“I’m Pablo Picasso,” he said quietly and furiously, quickly finished his coffee and left the apartment. Carefully dodging puddles by the newspaper stand, he headed toward Matisse’s house.

Marla

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on April 7, 2013

Aside

I need to write more. Need.

Easy

She wasn’t pretty. Bony, pale, flat-chested, with angular arms. Under the shallow stomach, her pelvic bones stuck out like pistol grips. But her look growled. You couldn’t look away. Your mind would come across her leaning against the wall next to the bar’s bathroom, examine her coldly and try to slip away toward someone packaged more nicely. You would try to think, “She is not attractive.”

But her eyes would come back, “No, fucker, I am.” And spell-bound, you would mumble, “YES.”

She took her lovers like a storm, and kept only those who did not bend, only those who did not become overwhelmed. Their bonds were implicit, unspoken, and absolute, even if momentary and transient.

Rough slice

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on January 10, 2013

Aside
Dust Brothers.

Boom
A picture of hell, that man, with eyes sharp as tacks. Matted hair – chunk missing – mud on the suit. Smells of booze and puddle piss. You are used to seeing this sight and crossing the street. But where you would normally see empty eyes rolling on the sidewalk – a stare so penetrating and intelligent you feel like a child. Some swagger.

Is he even aware of the gun in his hand?

What devil thoughts are sharpening themselves under that skin. It’s like the remains of cheap meth are visible in his veins. There is a man who took the society’s demands and set them to flames. Drugs, sex, debauchery, all that is wicked and wanton, all of it palpable on his very skin like ink. Is that blood on his coat?

It’s fine. It’s not all his.

He grins with chapped lips and cracked teeth and an eye swollen shut. Someone stuck him in a cement mixer with a barrel of gravel and hit “blend.” He plunged from a great height of humanity. In his freefall he broke through every boundary set for us human beings, all that is sociable and reasonable. He vomited blood on the rock bottom and looked for the manhole cover.

“It’s ok.

“To destroy.

“Everything.”