Monday, April 29, 2013

Wedding Tats

I'm not going to wear that dress.
You have to. Your tattoo is showing
I'm proud of my tats.
That may be but it is inappropriate to have a dragon above your bust line.
Mom...this is 2013...most of my bridesmaids have tattoos!
I know. I know. That is why we need a high neck line in case someone else decided to put a dragon their chest.
Brittany scowled in the dressing room. She loved her tat. It was a blue dragon and reached across the top of her boobs like some creature from the dark. Five years ago it had been all the rage and while she was tired of it in a way she didn't want to hide it. She was who she was and she didn't want to cover up her breasts because her mom was squeaming. is not a big deal. Just move up the bust line a few inches dear. I think we can live with that.
Brittany pulled up her dress in the mirror. No. It looked like she was getting married in 1975 or something. She let it fall and her vision fell back in place. The dragon was very sexy and Gary loved it when they were having sex and drooled all over it. She stared at her mother in the mirror.
No. I want the dress the way it is. Its my wedding and my tat!
Her mother met her eyes then shrugged.
Alright...alright...but the wedding photos will look very strange to you ten years from now.
No they wont.
Brittany was married and her wedding photos came back clean. Her mother had all tats digitally removed. Her daughter took revenge by getting another tattoo on her stomach. Ten years later after her second baby she spent fifteen thousand dollars to get her tats removed.
It hurt like a bitch.

Rocket Man...the American Dream upside down

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


It's too high.
What do you mean it's too high
I can't see it. You put it too close to the ceiling.
George felt the blood rushing his face. He had worked hard to convert the den to a recovery room for his wife. A double mastectomy deserved that. But now there was a problem.
Look Kate. You have your chair here. You have your remotes here. And you have your window here. And now you have your television here.
Kate frowned.'s too high. Cant you make it lower?
George felt the irritation between his eyes.
It is not too  high! Look!
He jumped into the La Z Boy recliner and pulled up the handle.
I am now reclining and I am going to watch television. He hit the remote. See... you can see the television perfectly from here!
Kate stood in her robe with her arms crossed.
You're taller than me.
What! No I'm not! George released the recliner and stood up. You're just being difficult and complaining the way you always do. The television is not too high!
I'm the one that got cancer Kate said quietly.
I know! I know! But you are also the one being a bitch!
Kate stared at him dully.
Look...I'm sorry...just just...sit down...please just sit down and try it.
Kate sat down in the recliner.
There now turn on the television...there...isn't that nice? You have a window to look out of. You can control the television. A tray for your meals and you have a great view of the screen. Now...istn this all great? Right...isn't this a nice room I set up for you? Right?
Kate stared at the television and frowned.
It's still too high.

Rocket Man...the American Dream upside down


Saturday, April 20, 2013


Ron and I were adjuncts.
There was one spot for tenure and after the announcement we were in the faculty lounge talking shit.
Larry is an asshole. He's never going to give it to me I said.
Yeah...he won't give it to me either Ron replied.
I really hated the chairman. The dude just wouldn't give me any fiction classes. All Lit classes
Well...I should tell him what I think of him I said.
Yeah....I might too Ron said.
Maybe we should both just quit on the same day. That would show him.
Ron  nodded. He had just published a novel and had some of the fiction classes.
Yeah. I'm tired of working for hotdog money he said.
Yeah fuck him. I say lets go over to Loyola man. At least we get some respect.
I might just do that Ron said.
The guy is a prick.
Ron can I see you a minute Larry said opening the door.
Sure Ron said putting down his head and walking out.
I stayed there open mouthed.
I ran into Ron ten years later in a bar. Full bump. Tenure. He had a beard and patches on his sleeves.
I was working at a realty office.

Rocket Man...The American Dream upside down

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One Night Stand

They met on the bus. She lived in Lincoln Park and Toby asked her out that night. The bars were deriguer and they got smashed and went back to her apartment. The sex was amazing and on the floor and backwards and in a lot of different other ways. She wore a Japanese robe when they were done and they ate pizza on the floor and then passed out. When Toby woke he had one foot in the pizza box and his head pounded like someone had just kicked him.
I guess you'll call me then she said still in her robe, sitting up.
Sure I will he said pulling on his pants.
I really enjoyed last night she purred
Me too.
Toby found his shoes and his wallet.
It was so much better than Bruce.
Toby stared at her.
Oh don't worry...he's not my boyfriend or anything.
Toby shrugged. That's cool.
He's just a gay guy I had sex with before you.
Toby felt his heart jump up.
She shrugged. Yeah...a couple nights ago. But he wasn't as good as you.
Toby swallowed. A gay guy?
She sat down in her Japanese robe and smiled.
Uh huh.
Toby beat it out of her apartment and got tested right away. This was the eighties and people were dying all over the place from AIDS. He sweated it out for two years and then got married.

Monday, April 15, 2013

David Foster Wallace

 I never really knew him. We went to the same school for our MFA's and at parties the dude was always surrounded by girls. They already knew he was the heavy hitter. I was just trying to get my arms around Hemingway and Fitzgerald but David already had his arms around everything. And then he went off and became famous. I went to the bakery and worked the night shift and hacked out crappy novels nobody wanted.
And then I read Infinite Jest. Stopped somewhere you know in the beginning. Information overload. They say he was a very depressed dude and tell you the truth I couldn't follow his novel. But I mean this was the shit. Everyone said he was the man. Out pynchoned Pynchon and all. Just like at school everyone surrounded the dude and knew he was the man.
And by now I had gotten some printer to publish my first book. All emotion you know. Life shit. I wasn't into information the way David was. I just saw life the way it was. People  struggled liked hell and then they died. In between was life. That's what I wrote about.
Then David committed suicide and the literary world mourned. I had quit my job renting apartments and was struggling along doing loans and writing on the side. I read all the obituaries and I even went back to read Infinite Jest. Couldn't stick to it. The dude was brilliant. Lot of information. Like at that party man way back when.
Everyone knew he was the man.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Randy knocked on the door.
He waited. Tammy was already a month behind. He waited outside the screen door.
Just a minute.
He turned away then Tammy was behind the screen door.
Hi Randy.
He swallowed. Tammy was in a towel with her hair wet. The towel rode high.
Tammy...I'm here for the rent.
She smiled with her green eyes luminescent behind the dark mesh.
I don't have any money. The brakes on my car went out and I had to get them fixed.
Enough was enough. She had a different excuse every month. She lost her job. She had health issues. Now the brakes on her car.
Listen have to pay me the rent.
She stood in her towel and stared at him.
I know. I don't have the money...but I can pay you the rent.
Randy frowned.
You can pay me the rent?
Yes...She smiled again slowly, the towel clinging to her.
But you dont' have any money he said slowly.
Randy stared at her. Tammy smiled again.
Why don't you come in and I'll pay the rent she said softly.
He didn't move. He was married. He didn't move.
You'll pay me the rent he said huskily.
The summer breeze blew between them.
Tammy opened the door slowly.
Come on in and I'll get you the rent, Randy.
Randy hesitated, then walked into the apartment.
Tammy was never late again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


We can go under the chain.
No I don't think we should.
Jim looked around. The park was empty. An empty park in Maui. Who would really care?
He and Jenny ducked under the chain with their cooler of drinks and sandwiches.
They sat down on the ground and began to eat.
This is nice.
Jim looked around. Hawaii. This was it. His wife was pregnant and this was their last hurrah of sorts. He saw an old pickup truck pull in on other side of the chain.
Who is that?
I dont' know.
The man looked Mexican. He glared out from the window.
What do you want?
Jim stared at him.
I'm sorry.
You want some?
Jim shook his head.
I don't know what you mean.
The man leaned out of his window.
Get the fuck out of here.
He had heard of an underbelly in Hawaii but he dint believe it. Jenny stared at him.
What did he--"
Get the fuck out of here the man shouted.
Jim shut the cooler and pulled his pregnant wife to their car. He walked feeling the mans glare. They drove back to their side of the island quickly.
They never went back to Hawaii after the baby was born.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Rick heard them splashing around.
What is that?
Rats. They swim in the toilet at night.
Rick stared into the darkness of the basement apartment.
Jenny moved next to him. They were naked. They had met online and now they were at her place.
Do they do that every night?
But what know you have to go?
Oh they leave when you turn on the light.
Rick stared at Jenny's eyes. She was from Indiana  and less than five foot tall. She had stripped to that old Bodenes tune Red Red Wine then passed out on the couch. Now they were in bed.
That's creepy.
Yeah. We had them in the basement of our house where my dad lived.
Rick tried to see her in the darkness.
Why did your dad live in the basement?
He moved there after my mom tried to stab him in his sleep with a steak knife.
Rick felt his heart bump up. He swallowed.
What happened then?
He woke up. She only stabbed him in the arm. He moved into the basement after that.
With the rats Rick said swallowing again.
Yes she said snuggling up against his chest.
With the rats.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Get Out of Jail Free Card

Jeff and I were pissing in the alley when they walked up.
Three guys in raincoats with their hands in their pockets.
What are you boys doing here?
Jeff stared the cop back.
Oh are you some kind of wise guy? Pissing in alleys. That's against the law you know the older cop says.
Jeff always talks smack and I knew we were in for it.
We haven't done anything wrong he says.
The cop stared at him.
Yeah. We just had a burglary. Looks to me like it could be yous two guys.
I'm sweating now. I know how it goes down in Chicago. You don't want to be around when there is crime.
You cant accuse us of something we didn't do Jeff continues.
Oh yeah the cop says. Well how about I take you down to he station and find out about that?
I figure we were fucked at this point and throw my last card.
Lets see some IDs from you two clowns.
I pull out my wallet. The other two guys are already cuffing Jeff. I flip out the card the cop gave me on vacation a couple years before. The  cop squints at me.
Where'd you get that card?
Bob OHalloran I answer.
He looks at the other two cops.
Let him go. They take the cuffs off Jeff.
Have a good night boys they say walking down the alley.
I put my card back in my wallet with a shaky hand.
In Chicago it's  all who you know.

Rocket Man...the catcher in the rye of the Great Recession

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bar Fight

The frat guys they didn't know we worked there.
I was behind the DJ booth and they couldn't see me.
They thought Jimmy Gallo and Paul were all alone. And when Jimmy cut them off and said no more shots they figured they could beat his ass. But Richy and Timmy were at the bar and they were both South Side Golden Globes guys. When the first frat guy swung at Jimmy Richy knocked him cold We all started fighting then. There were six frat guys but we started beating them toward the door.
Richy was punching and breathing hard through  his teeth like a bull. We got the frat guys into the door way and then we started kicking them and then they all fell down the stairs. Richy and Timmy knocked three of them cold in the snow and they laid there until the cops came.
Jimmy had us pull down the curtain and when the cops came in we acted like nothing was up.
So you don't know nothing he said to Jimmy.
Jimmy had put back in his false tooth that one of the frat guys knocked out.
No sir. I don't know what those guys are talking about.
They say you guys beat the hell of them for no reason.
Nope. Not us.
The cop looked at us. Richy and Timmy were sitting at the bar and I was back behind the DJ booth.
Yeah. Sure. He said.
But he left and the frat guys all eventually went home. There was a lot of blood in the snow.
Jimmy laughed.
I really loved that he said.
That was a long time ago when Rush Street was Rush Street.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Stu got the Genius Grant.
Something like a half million. We had gone drinking after a book signing like ten years before. I just had a book out and had done pretty well. Stu had a book that had disappeared and was teaching. Anyway I figured I go to the library and watch him read. I figured he might want to go for a drink afterward.
 So I get there and there are lots of people waiting around. Then old Stu comes walking in. He has on a dark sport coat and some lady is hovering next to him.
Hey Stu! Stu!
He squints.
Oh...hey Joe.
You wanta go out and have a drink after your speech?
Stu looks at me.
I really cant Joe.
The lady is staring at me like I'm some kind of bug. I mean I had my glory you know. My book hit the list for a week and then fell from site. I had been there. Its been a while but I was all over the place for a while.
Come on. Remember when we went drinking before?
Stu does one of those fake smiles.
Not really Joe.
Sure..after our reading at St Marys. Remember?
I'm sorry Mr. Deter has to go.
Sure. Sure.  I say. So how about it Stu? A drink.
I really can't Joe. I have to go to a play rehearsal for one of my short stories.
Sure Stu...some other time.
The lady hustles Stu off and everybody goes in to hear him read. I drive home. I didn't need to see Stu read. I'm no genius or anything, but I've been there.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Belushi's Best Friend

This is John and me in high school and here we are in the we are with Dan Akaroyd and John Candy...oh here is Eddie Murphy.Terrence looked at the faded pictures in the scrapbook. They were only people in the basement bar and it was three AM. Chicago was cold and deserted and Terrence wanted to get home but he wanted this interview.
So would you say you were John Belushis best friend?
Angelo leaned down and snorted off the bar. He shook his head fast.
Oh yeah. We were buddies all through high school. He gave me the money to buy the bar.
Yeah...I think it would make a great know our friendship. Maybe you could write it and we'll split the money.
Sure that would be great.
Angelo stared down at the scrapbook.
Yeah...I was supposed to go to the funeral but there was a limit on the invitations. Private. I think Akaroyd didn't want me there. Jealous about John and I.
Terrence nodded. He had been doing this for three months. Coming to Angleo's bar and waiting to get an interview. Every time they got as far as the scrapbook. Angelo grinded his teeth.
Yeah John had it all man. Everything you could want. Fame. Money. All the chicks in  the world.
He stared at the scrapbook.
And he fucking OD's.
Angelo leaned down to the bar and snorted another line.
He stood up and held his nose.
Maybe you could write a book about that.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting Published

Hey handsome.
Jerry turned from the Queen.
Don't you want some of this?
The old Queen hiked up his skirt.
Jerry turned away again.
What are you here for?
I'm meeting someone.
The Queen shrugged.
Suit yourself honey.
He hated this. He hated being here. But he needed the blow. He needed to keep his publisher in coke.
The old Queens stared down the bar. It was one of those basement bars you wouldn't know about unless you were gay. Chicago gay bars were like that. Cheeks. The Manhole.
Jim came out form the back holding a brick phone. Wired.
Oh there you are. I thought you were coming an hour ago. It doesn't matter. I have what you wanted. Bruce you old bitch stay away from him. Ok come in the back. I have the package.
Jerry followed him into the back where there were stalls. Jerry didn't want to know what was going on in the stalls. He kept his eyes straight ahead.
Here you go.
Jim turned around as his brick phone went off again.
Hello! Hello! Oh this fucking thing! I hate these fucking things!
Jerry handed him the money.
All set then....well let me know darling if you ever want to come over to the other side.
Jerry nodded and walked quickly out of the bar and up the stairs into the sunlight.