A Twinge of Envy

He really envied their lives sometimes. They were able to trust other people, even if for some of them it was only in a limited fashion; no matter what their sins they could go home to their loved ones, or have a night on the town with friends. He had forgotten what it was like to have friends, or to fall in love; well probably lust but the difference really was irrelevant. He couldn’t afford to have any of those entanglements. Yes entanglements would seem the proper term for the relationships all these normal people got to have. He had a comfortable life, often more comfortable than his perspective clients might enjoy, even before they made his acquaintance, but it was a sterile kind of luxury. He never lacked the means to acquire anything he needed or wanted, but he rarely had anyone to enjoy it with. When there was someone else it was always by arrangement and usually quite brief.

Sometimes, before he met with a client he imagined he was on his way visit with an old friend or former business associate. That they were just going to have a few drinks and reminisce about the good old days. The illusion usually fell apart when he met the clients, he simply just didn’t know what to say to them. What did people talk about anymore anyway? He did try on occasion to be a bit friendly during the meetings, just to put them at ease, it didn’t ever work out. By the time they got around to realizing who he was they were usually put right out of a talking mood, or if they did talk they would begin to babble about their families. Their wives or husbands, and their children. Often this would lead to a moments of confession and self-reflection, a litany of regrets that he little understood. Soon the sobbing would begin and the whole affair seemed very cathartic for them. In the end they were only left with one question, it was always the same single word, “Why?”

He would look at them calmly in a manner that he hoped was comforting, though it probably wasn’t; he never could tell if it was acceptance or terror on their face when he simply, and politely replied, “Because it is my job. I kill people. It’s just what I do.”

Sometimes he envied them, when their meeting was over they were done with the matter; he was the one who always had another meeting to go to.

This piece of short fiction was inspired by a Daily Prompt.

I Have Christian Slater to Thank for This.

I heard this song for the first time in the early nineties as it played over the opening credits of Pump Up the Volume.

Dark, brooding lyrics dripping with depression, anger, and subdued outrage, all wrapped up in poetical honesty and a heavy synth intro; it had it all. As soon as the first lines were sung the tune became an essential part of my teen angst bullshit. I ran out a bought the soundtrack the next day and was slightly disappointed that the cassette1 only included the Concrete Blonde2 version that was used towards the end of the movie.

For some reason I never got a hold of a copy of this track until I found Leonard Cohen’s, I’m Your Man in a used CD store a few years later. After hearing that entire album I became more than a little bit obsessed with Cohen’s music, the man is an amazing poet who has proven himself capable of many style changes over the years. “Everybody Knows” still remains to this day one of my favorite songs of all time. Sadly the truth of the lyrics are still relevant and also sadly I understand that truth on an adult level now. In all this song and many of Cohen’s other works have shown me that sadness and pain, are not inseparable from truth and beauty, but do help us appreciate the latter having gained proper perspective. 

I hope you took the time to give it a listen. If you haven’t heard much oh his work I highly recommend getting on Spotify, or YouTube, or however you get your music and check out more of his catalogue; I promise that even if this track isn’t your cup of tea there is something there that will speak to you. If you are familiar with Mr. Cohen’s songs and poems I would love to hear what your favorite ones are.

Also if you can you should check out the movie Pump Up the Volume, it’s not half bad3.

  1. Yes I am that old. 
  2. Only slightly disappointed because I happen to also like Concrete Blonde and there are other good tracks on the album. 
  3. I’m also a Christian Slater fan. (Don’t tell anyone) 

Cut Loose

This is a continuation of Fall, which is a Memoir.

It has been, at this point, close to four months since my injury and I am tired. Tired of using my cane, and wearing the brace to hobble my way through this socioeconomic blight of a neighborhood, down to the convenience store that is five blocks away, bright and early, and fully hung, over three mornings a week to catch the bus out to my physical therapy and then to hurry across several lanes of traffic to make it to the bus back when I am done. I am sorely tired of leaning on my daughter’s stroller as I limp a mile and a half each way, several times a week to the grocery store to pick up what limited provisions I can carry on my back. I am tired of being the one waiting up for my significant other to get home from work; even the slight hint of irony to our role reversals just pisses me off more.

Therapy for my knee has become more aggravating. One recent pool session involved playing race the clock as the water slowly drained out so they could fix the aquatic treadmill; the device that is supposed to be an integral part of my treatment and yet has been out of service since the day before my first appointment. Upon my arrival for what has turned out to my final encounter with Jude and the pool the treadmill was working but, it turns out to be almost unnecessary due to how far along I am in my recovery anyway. What is perhaps even more annoying, my last land appointment my therapist was absent and so I was left in the care of someone who actually listened to my concerns and made an attempt to involve himself as I did my exercises, all while handling two other patients and never once fidgeting with his fancy new smart phone nor going and hanging out at the desk in the middle of the gym. This only reinforces my opinion that my regular guy is an irreparable douche with a bush broom attached to his upper lip. All of this while my anxiety is growing over the tiny little fact that my limited insurance is about to top out on how many of these oh so extremely therapeutic appointments are going to be paid for.

With all of these things in mind I go to my evaluation at the orthopedic clinic that is handling my case. The same as always Physicians Assistant scowls at me because I am still using my cane which I was presented with the last time I saw him. On that previous visit he tried to ream me because I could barely flex my knee at all despite having been to therapy a grand total of once, and now I have to show how far I have come since. Standing with my back to the wall and holding on to the back of a chair for balance I slowly raise my emaciated leg, I force my foot farther and farther back towards the wall despite the stiffness and pain. My weeks in the vice like contraptions in the physical therapy room have paid off as I manage to eek out the ninety degrees that is required for the PA’s satisfaction. He tells me I can sit down and he scampers off with my latest set of x-rays to go see his master, the actual doctor in charge of my case.

It seems it is another busy day for the clinic and my attendant doesn’t return for half an hour. When he returns I am told the good news, the thing I have wanted the most since I started coming to this building. I am getting out of the brace. I can hardly believe it at all. I find myself excitedly asking about how much longer before I can stop using the cane and get back to my job at the restaurant.

He says, “Right away, you can take that brace and cane home and burn them, Dr. Vlasic says to cut you loose.”

And just like that I am ticked off all over again. “Cut me loose.” This phrase should have been a great relief to me. Instead, I what I hear is that some jackhole of a doctor whose name sounds like a brand of pickles and hasn’t talked to me or even looked at me once since the second or third day after I woke up in the hospital, who may have a piece of paper in his files that lists my occupation as a cook is letting his testy little minion tell me that I have been dismissed from their collective presence and I am free to figure out on my own how I am supposed to return to work with what limited mobility I have. I am not their problem anymore, that is what is really be explained here in not so many words. I am a poor person, with the type of insurance that poor people have and that is not going to last very much longer so I am being “cut loose” before they are stuck trying to squeeze money from my limited personal finances instead.

At the end of the day I am left with a certifying that I am fit to return to my job that hastily scrawled by someone who’s probably closest experience to what I do for a living is that the have at one point eaten in a restaurant, and the kind of deep seeded anger and depression that could almost be mistaken like optimism from the outside. I manage to shove the accursed and by this time foul-smelling brace into my back pack and then, out of habit, lean on my cane as I make my way past the reception desk to the elevators. I have a bus to catch and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a one way ride this time.

I Don’t Think We’ve Been Properly Introduced

Cynical bastard stops drinking, rides a bike and starts writing about it.

That seems to be the gist of this blog based on the posts I’ve made in the few months it’s been up, but there is just a little bit more to it.

I quit drinking a little over a year ago and as I have sobered I began thinking about what I would have rather done with the time I spent under the bottle, I began to remember how much I enjoyed writing both creatively and keeping a personal journal. In the years before I allowed alcohol completely take over all of my free time I had even started letting other people read some of it, I thought I was starting to get good at it.

Then one day I just stopped writing.

I can’t exactly remember when I stopped, I am fairly certain that I was in the middle of writing a story that I was becoming quite proud of. Then one night, I decided that I’d rather get drunk  than work on the story; I set it aside and never came back to it. I don’t really remember much about that story anymore. Writing isn’t the only thing that fell by the wayside while I was a drunk, but I think it may have been the first casualty. Now I am getting my head space back in order and this has just been nagging at me so I have decide to return to writing.

I chose blogging because I want people to read my works, to give me feedback, and to help keep me inspired; besides making it public keeps a little pressure on to produce something from time to time.

I want to get back to writing fiction eventually and have done two very short pieces to date. Hopefully soon there will be more, once I feel a bit more up to it, until then I’ll be writing about what I know, just to keep my hand in.

Incidentally, my name is Doug. Pleased to meet you.