Writing Practice – 2/18/2019

Describe this man…

This man is confident. He smiles as if he knows he is better than you. He holds his hands together in front of him as if he is pointing at you, to say, “You should be intimidated by me, and because of how handsome I am.”

Yes, he is handsome. His hair is flopped over slightly on his head, short, straight, medium-trimmed. It is not close-cropped, but not hanging past his ears, either. This is a look which has been carefully cultivated. HIs cheek bones stand out from the flush of his cheeks just slightly. His ears fall back tight against his head. They don’t stick out, which would give him an idiotic, imbecilic look.

His shoulder, inside his suit, are proportionate, straight level across, not sloping, not stooped. He holds himself this way and we recognize his power, his alpha qualities. We see in his body that strength of authority. Yet his necktie is slightly askew; slightly off at the little crook beneath his neck. Does this imply he’s a bit lax at times? Or just that he wants to appear “approachable”? Like, “Hey, I’m not really a bad guy, you can talk to me. I promise I’ll listen.”

His eyes, half-closed, suggests a smirk with his lips. These tell me he thinks about me; he wants me to come over and gather round, to hear his tale he is about to tell. He wants to hold this audience in rapt attention for five minutes, ten, fifteen, as the crowd at the cocktail party gradually swells, noting the attention and coming to find out what all the fuss is about. And he knows, too, that his story is thrilling, enthralling, so he continues to speak, to add details, wild and exorbitant that bring his audience even more delight, and as new people glom onto the back, they whisper to one another what’s happening, and they hear similarly whispered responses recapping the tale of adventure so far, how he and his wife were driving one night and picked up a hitchhiker, who turned out to be a billionaire, and they ended up at the billionaire’s home, and now he’s telling how there were thirty people in the pool, all in various states of nakedness, “Oh my, can you imagine, I never,” and he’s got this story down, he’s completely mesmerizing thirty or so guests in this new dinner party, he’s the center of attention, and soon he realizes that he’s pushed the limits of credibility to their furthest ends, any more and even he won’t believe it could have gone like that, and so, with a flourish, with a large loft of his glass to toast the room, he winds up the story with a wild “And, so, my friends, to adventure!” And all their cheers resound through the night, and they all drink toast, Cheers!, and then gradually, and suddenly, and middlingly, they distribute, they disperse themselves back out to rejoin the party, [illegible] a man, this strong, confident, Alpha male, remaining behind with his date, slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her a little tighter, sips and finishes his drink, places the glass on a table behind himself, and leaves, to bask in the gazes of the experience, having once more justified, validated, ensconced himself at the top of the social totem pole once more.

Writing Practice – 10/12/2018

AFAR, September / October 2018, p. 85

Remember the rules? There are no wasted nights on this trip.

Remember? I wrote the fucking things. And I know that rules are stupid and meant to be bent, to be broken. I can do any goddam thing I want, and still “follow” or “obey” the rule, if all I have have to do is to define “wasted” appropriately. Word games, the crime of passion of the intellectual class. What fun. What great distraction from real life. What great waste fo time, what great signal that we have excess resources and need not worry about our subsistence, our existence. So there we were, hanging in a dive bar on Mercadero De Panteleon, with six or so of our new friends, drinking whatever vile-tasting but amazingly euphoric concoction these locals love to put down. Two of us, gringos, fat and stupid Americanos, and all the time we’re laughing and talking and slapping shoulders with them, and they listened to us patiently for about three minutes when we first [illegible], and then they just started in with, “hey, padre, no worry, ok? We talk English now, okay? You no understand our espanol, and we don’t get yours neither!”

That brought out the big laughs, the first of many, and this could have easily been a scene from virtually any other Hollywood “coming of age” move in which the two friend bond again over their new companions, and wonder just why it was they had to travel 5,000 miles just to put their differences aside.

But it wasn’t that. Somehow, something changed. An hour in, guffaws resounding through the bar, twenty or more empty glasses scattered across this their table, with at least a dozen propositions to the table of senoritas across the way having flowed from us, and at least twice as many derogatory insults about the miniaturization of our new friends’ members coming right back, something in me switched off. I would say snapped, but that implies a break. A disappearance, or a situation which could be repaired. But that wasn’t it. It’s not like there was a rope holding me in there which suddenly split; it’s like there was a current, flowing through my body, a goodness feeling of pleasure, and power, and contact, that, all of a sudden, in a moment shorter than it took for my friend Rashawn to stand up to go get the next round, something simply dropped off. Dropped out. Just – quit. As if my body itself had suffered some kind of disconnect. I sat, on the stool, with my new friends all around, partying, laughing feeling good, and all of a sudden I just wasn’t. My laughter stopped. My drunk stopped – evaporated in a moment. I was sober, and I was tired, and I was gonna get out of there.

I stood up then, and said a total of zero words to every else there. I turned and walked out the door. Behind me I could hear the confused questions from around from my table, and table of senoritas too, about what the fuck was happening? Was I ok? Where was I going? Hey, come back! The party’s just getting going! Man, I’m missing all the fun!

But it didn’t matter. Somehow I just knew I needed to be out of there. To leave. To just go, so I did. Fuck the rules that say everyone parties till we all pass out. Fuck rules about “wasted nights.” Fuck rules about going off by yourself, or prohibiting that exact thing. Fuck all the rules, because I, at that very moment, had just one rule, that I was going to follow.

“No.”

Not even a rule. Just a feeling. No, not that. Find something else. Anything. Nothing. Just “No.”

So. I left. And I hav never seen Rashawn, or those padres, or the senoritas, again