Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Breaking Out

I'm going for a drive!
Where are you going?
I dont know. I just have to get out of here.
George went out the door and got in his Versa. He put the car in gear and shot into the warm darkness. Kids. Money. Family. It was all coming down on him. And worse he worked at home so like a lot of people he could never get away from his problems.
But he was free now. He was out. He jammed the stick shift through the gears with the radio blaring. The empty road flared up and then he saw lights. He should go to a bar and get drunk. He should go to a strip joint and pay for a lap dance. He saw Dairy Queen and turned the car into the drive through.
What can I get you?
George stared at the lit marquis. What will it be? A shot of whiskey. A cigar.
Ill take a malt.
What size.
George paused. Fuck it.
A large!
Please pull around.
George pulled the car around and a pimply faced kid met him at the window.
That will be 4.19
George handed him the credit car. Expensive but you know what, fuck it!
The kid came back with his malt and a receipt.
George zoomed into the parking lot and parked among minivan moms and baseball dads. Some Little League game had let out. George dove into his large malt. Yeah he had a cholesterol problem. You know what, fuck it! He ate the whipped cream, the cherry, then he sucked up the chocolate malt like a man on a mission. His throat numbed out and the sugar buzz came on like a veil. George sat slumped down in his 12,000 dollar car in the suburban parking lot.
Yeah baby. He was out. Fuck it. Maybe he would get another malt. Maybe a hot dog. That would show them. Nitrates, pig guts, carcinogens. He drove home and left the empty malt cup the car. Fuck it. He was a man . He would not take this shit.He would drink malts and eat hot dogs and screw women if he felt like it. HE WAS A MAN.
He went in the house and saw his wife.
Oh hi.
I came back he declared.
Cindy stared at him and shrugged.
Oh...I didnt know you left,..I thought you were in your office.
No...I went out!
Cindy looked at him.
Can you take out the garbage?
George stared at her defiantly, thinking of the malt cup she would find in her car in the morning.
Sure. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Grief

Nobody saw John and Georgia for a long time. They had all been in the city together for thirty years before age had  wrecked most of them. When Georgia died Randy got the news while ordering a Big Mac in a drive thru. He probably hadn't seen Georgia and John for over a year and now they were going to a funeral in the burbs. They didn't have kids and there had been rumors that something wasn't quite right with John.  Someone said he was a drunk.
Hey man thanks for coming.
Randy hugged John and remembered doing a loan for him five years before. They had sat in Johns immaculate house with their three cats and three litter boxes. Georgia was a clean freak and John was anal and the house looked not lived in at all.
How are you doing John?
Oh you know man. Day by day.
Johns face was bright red and Randy couldn't help but wondering if he was back on the sauce. At parties Georgia and Johnnever stayed long. Georgia got drunk fast and John would always say yeah man Georgia has had enough .They were both heavy smokers.
After the funeral they got together a few weeks later at a pizzeria. There were fifty big screens blasting out sports. John was there with a very old woman. The rap was she had been taking care of John. His face was even more red.
Randy here is like Ernest Hemingway, a writer.
The woman Betty smiled and had no idea what John had said. They left early when John was too drunk to stand and six months later John married Betty.

www.williamhazelgrove.com

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Obnoxious Woman

My kids are all teasing me that I'm going to be fifty.
Oh really.
Aren't you like fifty six?
Oh yes. Terrible isn't it.
Well yeah.You are getting old. That's why I'm using this new cream on my face.
Oh
You notice it is red.
Well yes
Well it says it takes off the top layer.
You do look younger.
I know. I look young for my age. Everyone says I look forty.
You do.
I know.  John is losing his hair and I tell him hey buddy maybe its time to stop the comb over.
Ha ha.
Your husband is bald isn't he?
Well..no. his hair is receding
Hes bald. That's what John said and I said John your hair isn't receding your bald.
Oh....well I guess--
I mean if we didn't have kids I guess we could be in spas and traveling.
Maybe.
Oh yeah my girlfriends all travel the world. Their husbands are brokers but no kids. They weren't stupid like you and me.
I like my kids.
Oh come on . Would we do it again knowing what we know now?
I think so--
No we wouldn't. Its like taxes. We should just tell the government  to fuck off. I mean I live on a lake and five acres but its in the middle of nowhere.
Hmm.
But you know what, life sucks then you die.
Ah....
Hey its been great. Gotta get to Sams Club. They are having a special on Spam Surprise.

www.williamhazelgrove.com 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Obesity

John liked to sit in the corner at Starbucks. He could curl up against the wall and the chatter of housewives and businessmen didn't bother him as much. He was thinking of leaving when a very large woman sat down next to him. John concentrated on his writing but then the cheesy popcorn bag opened. The woman took off her glasses and slowly savored her cheesy popcorn. She was so big she had to push the table out in the aisle. John tried to ignore the crinkling bag and the wafting aroma of chemical cheese.
Hello.
Fuck. She's on the phone.
Oh no. I am sticking to my diet. I am only having a bag of cheesy popcorn.
John tried not to listen and redoubled his concentration.
Well I have to eat something....it says for sodium it is only twenty percent of the daily allowance.
The words had frozen out the screen. The putrid cheese scent of chemical popcorn was overwhelming.
Well I am only having bean soup and ham tonight.
The crinkling bag was extremely loud.
Well I have to eat something...fine. I wont eat cheesy popcorn. I promise...I know what the doctor said. I will never eat it again.
She hung up the phone and continued to eat. John could not help but watch how she slowly brought each piece to her mouth and slowly chewed. The bag was now empty and she folded it up. She sat staring and then stood up. John managed to get back to his writing. He was hard at work again and lost in his prose when the rotten egg gas wafted over again. The crinkling bag broke his concentration forever. The new bag of cheesy popcorn floated beneath her mouth. The woman stared at him then shrugged in defeat.

www.williamhazelgrove.com 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stealing Salt

The bags were outside the Ace stacked on wooden pallets. Toby didn't have the cash on him and going into the Jewel to buy the water softener salt seemed like a hassle. But mostly he didn't have the money. He was a writer with a family and had just put his last ten bucks in the tank and now he didn't have any money to break the hard water ruining their clothes and tearing off the upper layer of their skin. Taking a shower had become like being pelted with bricks.

 But the salt was right there. Toby looked around. He was in his fifties and still felt like a thirty something and yet he was this father of two and husband of one contemplating stealing. But he had done it before. In fact stealing salt had been going on since his family found their way into the lower middle class after the crash. But he owned a home and fathers did not go around stealing salt but there it was.

Toby looked around. No cops. He lived in a far western suburb of Chicago and the cops were busy with teenagers smoking pot in parking lots. No. The coast was clear. Toby pulled up his SUV and bailed out like a commando. He threw open the hatch and grabbed the forty pound bag of salt and threw it in the back. He looked up once and saw the surveillance camera.

Fuck!
It was too late now. He  had to just hope his plates didn't show. He jumped in the truck and threw it into gear when a squad car turned the corner. He felt perspiration sting his body as the police car cruised past him and turned out of the parking lot. Toby drove to the parking lot and parked between two cars and turned off the lights. He watched the prowling squad car go by on the highway. Toby started the car and took the back roads home.

When he lugged the salt in his wife looked up from the couch.
"I hope you got a good deal."'
Toby wiped his brow and nodded.
"It was on sale."

www.williamhazelgrove.com

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Other Woman

When Jack and Monica broke up everyone wondered who the other woman was. Was she a twenty something or was she older with kids. Nobody knew. All anyone knew was that on one Friday night Jack came home on their twenty fifth wedding anniversary and said he wanted a divorce and that he was seeing someone. Months passed before Cindy and Jim saw Jack again. They were downtown on State Street when he saw Jack walking toward him. He thought about acting like he didn't see Jack but then Cindy waved.
 Jack looked up and that was when Jim saw the woman on his arm. She looked to be in her forties. They made awkward small talk and then they were gone.
Can you believe he left Monica for her Cindy exclaimed as they drove home.
No...did you think-
Yes. A dead ringer for Monica.
Jim looked out the window. It was true. The woman looked just like Monica. Maybe a little younger but in essence it was Monica.
I wonder why he left her.
Who knows why men do anything Cindy  grumbled.
Jim rolled his shoudlers.
I mean she wasn't like some young hottie.
His wife turned to him and glared.
I hate men. They all judge woman the same. If she had been hot then it would have been alright but because she is older and looks like Monica then you want to know why.
Jim sighed.
That's not what I meant.
Sure. Men are all pigs that way.
Jim frowned.
He  had been married twenty five years. It was a dangerous time. Kids leaving. People getting older. Re evaluation. Everyone thought about it. Just start over with someone else. Maybe Jack just had the guts to do  it.
Jim looked at his wife and shrugged.
I mean maybe they were having problems...it's funny, Jack said he and Monica never fought.
He paused, titlting his head .
Maybe he just wanted someone different.
Cindy shook her head and stared out the window.
Men are pigs.

www.williamhazelgrove.com
 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Terrorism

John and Michelle moved from the city after 9/11. They felt vulnerable with their kids and moved forty miles West of Chicago. John hated living in the ex urb and counted the years as his kids got older. When his son graduated high school they put the house on the market to move back. Then the Paris attack hit.
I'm so glad we live in the country," his eleven year old daughter said one day.
Whys that?
Because we wont get bombed.
John looked up the statistics. He had one chance in five million to be killed in a terrorist attack. Driving a car was much more dangerous. Being out in a lightning storm was more dangerous. Taking a piss was more dangerous.
We will be safe in the city he told his daughter.
They went downtown for the lighting of the Christmas tree. There were police everywhere. Four helicopters hovered overhead. The crowd was enormous. John saw some people with a  banner, BLACK LIVES MATTER.
I want to go home his daughter said, looking scared.
John and Michelle exchanged glances.
Why honey?
Because I'm scared
John remembered 9/11 then. He remembered taping up his doors for a chemical attack. He remembered not getting the mail out of fear of anthrax. He remembered stock piling water and food.
They will light the tree soon his wife said.
No I want to go home now..
His daughter began to cry as the giant tree suddenly lit. Fireworks exploded directly overhead. Rockets flew into the sky. Smoke filled the air. The helicopters remained overhead.
Isnt the tree pretty?
I want to go home!
Look at the fireworks John told her.
She began to cry. Michelle and John stared at each other in the red glow of the fireworks. They stared the way they had when they got the realtor fifteen years before. The way they did when  they took the house off the market.

www.williamhazelgrove.com