I’m taking my writing career back.
Three views at a time.
I’m taking my writing career back.
Three views at a time.
I looked down at her Profile. “Coffee addict” it said.
This is confusing. A Coffee Addict attends meetings and tells heart wrenching stories about real shit kids from the suburbs only see on TV. They show the cream they use every day to minimize the herpes sprouts that Martinez’s gave them. They’re the ragged people stopping you on your way to the Train station to explain how they need a pinch of Folders for their sick mother. And some one believes them, they go behind the Denny’s parking lot and secure it within the safety of their Anus. Everyone knows it hits faster that way. Coffee Addict.
This chick didn’t seem like someone who had what it took. She looked like the “new breed” of addict. She looked like she bought Pumpkin spice lattes before the weekly financial meeting with the VP’s. Quite possibly complained when it lacked the adequate amount of Carmel, rushing off the whipped cream mountain. You better believe she was gonna get a free bold roast of this, to show her boss why she deserved that raise. Like Lindsay Lohan would have done.
We matched. I fired off the first message.
“Want to go to Starbucks sometime?”
When did it all change?
One day you’re running, making mud pies with the neighbors. The next you’re playing politics on Instagram. Welcome to technology. It’s not who you are, but what you can lead on. It’s not what you think, but what brands you’re wearing. It’s not experiences you had, but the pictures you took. Excitement isn’t enough. Happiness isn’t what it use to be. Instead, everyone needs to be riddled with jealousy from your snap. They have to drool over your Instagram boat party. What happened? When did the thing that connects all of us become a vicious status imposing instrument? When did we become all blinded by the surface? Terrified of the depth?
And if you do break free? It can’t be ignored. No one can unread between the lines. You swipe through multiple pictures. Read different profiles. Sarah, Amber, Lia. All different faces, ages, outfits, likes, and dislikes. Yet they’re all strikingly similar. They cry out for the same shit. Hell, if you talk to a LIVE person. Flesh and blood. Brain and body. They want the same thing. The universe is random. We’re all frightened. We’re all alone. We crave meaning, but also to be understood. We are compelled to go on our own meaningless pilgrimages. Even though we’re surrounded by these things, blindness only shows what we think we want. And these trials? They sting but don’t burn. They leave wounds but no scar. At the end, they just make it all too concise and too clear.
Here I watch my six year old niece. Falling off the couch, while reaching for a cookie. Her eyes scanning and the brain buffers. The desk moved. The chair is rearranged. The curtains weren’t there before. All is strikingly familiar, yet undeniably different. Which cues the voice in the back of my head.
When did it all change?
“So who’s the guy with the goofy smile?”
“That’s the Weasel. Remember? We told you about him last night.”
“Oh yea. Wow. All the stories are starting to make sense now.”
James turned to the crowd. “Alright everyone I want to introduce you to our fancy Engineer here, Darby. If y’all have any questions at all feel free to confuse the shit out of him.”
The crowd all glared. It was like they were high school freshman and I was the baby sitter. I’m good with that. Please leave me be. It was only a matter of time before they found out the truth about this project anyways.
“Nice to meet you all”
James Continued “Alright guys lets have a safe day. Remember if you need anything at all, call Darby. The boy needs his boots dirty.”
Sea of toothless concrete men erupted. “HAHAHAHA Yea will break him in alright,” one yelled. I looked down at my boots. Shit. Nothing I can do about it now. I hopped in James truck and we drove off.
Our meeting lasted forever. The clock was behind the speaker which made things worse. Around noon James and I made a play for food. “I’ll meet you in the trailer,” he told me.
I wondered around the makeshift trailer park and entered the first trailer that caught my eye. Several GE guys we’re arguing over wind speeds, but halted when I arrived. The table starred me up and down, yet none of them looked me in the eyes. Fucking GE. They give us talkative Engineers a bad name. I broke the silence. “Is James in heeeere?” They looked at each other. The one in the back finally spoke. “Nah, wrong trailer. Next one over.” “Thanks.” I closed the door.
I walked over and opened the next trailer. There sat the Weasel. He turned decrepit body towards the door. His inch thick glasses almost fell off his nose. “Oh I chose right this time. I went to the GE trailer last time.”
He gave me a confused look. “Oh. heh heh. Yea that’s right. Your uhhhh uhhhh. Oh jeez, I’m sorry your going to have to help me with your name again.” I looked at his computer and there was a post-it note with big letters that said ‘PASSWORD: BASEBALL@12’. “It’s Darby,” I said. “Oh yea that’s right…. Darby” he reminded himself. “Have you seen James?” I asked. There was another long pause. I felt like I could see the heat coming from his head.
“Who?” He said out loud. I threw a deep exhale. I started to speak but the light came on. “Oh geez, YOU MEAN JAMES. heh heh Duh. Some days I think I’m losing it. Heh.” His eyes looked up signaling his to brain into high gear. “Well let’s see. He came in here looking for someone. Said he was about to head to lunch. He said he was looking for AH, well you.” Shit this was going to get me know where. Before I turn and look for myself, his 70 year old voice spoke again. “Yea he’s not here. umm. I can give him a call for you, if you would like. Do you think that would help?” I couldn’t take that chance. We’d here all day. “That’s okay sir. I have my own phone. But uh thanks?” He smiled at me, like a dog pleased with his owner. “Heh Yeah. Geez, I’m sorry Darbs. I just wish I could be more help.”
I walked outside and saw James sitting in his truck. “Where you been at?” he asked. “I got stuck talking to the Weasel. You guys weren’t kidding.” He laughed and put the truck in gear.
He checked his phone again. Still the picture of the confused emoji. What the fuck did that mean?
He started typing in Google. “Weird emoji on kik app” But all that came up was how to type an emoji. Well fuck I’m not that stupid. He took notes anyway. I’d be handy for later.
He’d tried kik once before when some divorcee sent him nudes of her massive nipples. The over-under started at pepperoni, but the clock ended with silver dollars. It was a tit for tat picture swap but it got cut short when he kept telling her the photos were blurry. The last time the phone buzzed it read, “You’re an ass hole.” True. I’m not a saint. But at least he wasn’t the mother Teresa of blue balls.
Before then he had only heard about kik from a Colombian, he’d dated once. “I don’t understand the point. Why not just give out the number?” “It’s an anonymous. Plus you can send videos and pictures.” “Oh, that sounds kinda cool.” “Not really, it’s just a bunch of dick pics.”
“Message me on kik :Victora*7865*” Fuck it. This time he wanted to try something different. Instead of sending a dead end message on OKC he decided to use the screen name on kik. That’s what it was for right? She had fake tits, fake lips, and was awkward holding a camera for a mirror selfie, which probably meant she was trans. Girls these days just know how to give the allure of sex, something that takes a while to learn. But he didn’t care. He’d been on dates with just about every type of personality there was. Black, white, tall, short, fat, skinny, penis, vagina, it’s all good. The main requirement is long as you have curves and depth.
He kicked out the first message. Banter about how she used stars within her screen name. Stupid shit he knew, but the kid has sent worse. If they were in person he knew he could do so much better, but he rarely ever got that chance.
Four days later the phone buzzed.
Shit. He figured it was a dead end. But there was some hope on this retarded medium. He decided to push it. He wanted to hang out with this person and have a kik adventure. For better or worse. He took the joke further and called her a kik veteran. Compared the interaction to LeBron playing a middle school-er. Minutes the later the phone buzzed again.
Progress! Still had to hold out for a few minutes. Didn’t want to seems too eager before sending the next message.
He typed, “yea, I’ve been trying to get a check for that you know? They just don’t hand them out like they use too.”
The phone buzzed again. This time faster than than before. “Oh my god, I’m going it” he thought. “I’m gonna have this story. I’m gonna meet this broad and run around the city. We’ll have a drink Buzz’s, then run across the street to Kylde Warren. Shit we might even sneak into Greenwood Cemetery and look for haunted tombs. This message is the key. I’m gonna turn it around and ask her out.” He thought. He almost dropped the iPhone as he pulled it out of his pocket. His thumb was having trouble with circle. Finally! He swiped over a page and mashed the kik icon. The screen went blank while the message loaded. He read the words.
“send me ur dick”
He put the iPhone back in his pocket.
“So what brought you to Dallas?”
God I hated this question. So inevitable. I’d do everything I could to divert it. Bullshit about the weather, check. Talk about Winona’s come back in Stranger Things, check. But once anyone heard my absence of the over pronunciation of a “TW” sound, it was over. Even if for some reason I walked the tightrope on my date flawlessly and stay away from saying ‘Twelve.’ I’d fuck up somewhere.
“Could you hand me my bag?”
“Wait. You said that weird. Say ‘bag’ again?”
Everything about this question is stupid. It inferred that you had to have something other than your two legs to be here. A reason. And of coarse that reason had to involve some type of monetary gain.
What did she want me to say? On the surface, it makes no sense. I moved from sunny Florida where I had it all. Friends, roommates, a lady with a great rack, a job I was killing it at, and a shitty blog with an actual “.com” name. It all happened in 6 months. Here it’s taken me 18 for the 7-11 clerk to know my name. But that’s what happens when you chase a dream. That’s what happens when you spend every last dollar because you have to know. No one realizes how much the ‘you‘ gets emphasized. Especially after the rest of it doesn’t work out.
Even as I answer, they look at me bright eyed, then switch to concerned like I’m a cancer patient. Sympathy and gleam in their eyes like that says “Ah, this is why we don’t do that huh.” I guess. Whatever I’m okay with being crazy. The weird one for going after something I wanted to do since 8th grade. I tried being happy saying ‘Welcome to Macy’s! Can I help you find anything?” I just wanted more. Always have. I have dreams, and follow them. I need help, and find answers. I don’t care where it takes me. I don’t care if I go broke. I don’t care if I don’t have any friends. I don’t care if the only thing that keeps me sane is a string of words written on the back on a napkin. At the end of it all, I just have to know.
“Just work.” I said.
“OMG I know just what you mean! I’m originally from the suburbs but they gave me so much more money to move here and I was like ‘DUH Stacy! you’d be stupid not to go'”
It was 5:30. I couldn’t sleep.
Figured as much when you have a nap at four. My body starts fucking with me the minute it knows I’m on vacation. It will keep me running at trucker hours when I have an audit first thing in the morning but when the only thing on the morning agenda is to beat off, the roosters are yelling at me to go back to sleep.
I decide to make the most of it and hit the gym. Doing something productive couldn’t hurt. I crank up the Gloria Estefan and dance my way into the kitchen. I scoop a bit of the red powered more powerful than cocaine and mix it with my tap water. The mixture that is guaranteed to take years off my life but it sure does make my biceps look nice.
After strapping on my chucks I head out the door. My car is an ice box. My hands barely can grip the wheel. Winter is finally here. No more booty shorts. It’s yoga pant weather. I give it a few minutes before jetting down the parking garage. The gym doesn’t open until 6:00 anyways.
I take the long way trying to kill more time. Jamming out to more Gloria. A true Cuban princess. I drive down the parking garage. Only one car in the whole place. An old Ford with the trunk open. Exactly what I expected for a holiday weekend. I park in my usual spot and look at the clock, 5:50. My gym is fucking stickler about opening up early. Especially with a unique name like 24 hour fitness.
Fuck freezing outside. I’ll play on my phone for a few minutes. Weird. A girl I’d been chatting with on OKC hands me out her number. A cute Latin chick that says she’s always down for tacos. I start texting, “Real talk, who does-”
The phone drops to the passenger seat.
I look up. The Ford is angled, about an inch from my bumper. What the fuck? I’m in a parking space. I look at the driver.
“FUCK YOU!” she says. She’s got the double birds flying in the air.
Who tha….. What tha…… I pull up to the driver side door. My shoulder pops cranking the window down. I start to speak, “Excuse-“. The motor roared. The Ford darted past me. Dale Earnhardt would shit himself on the speed.
Well, that takes care of that. I pulled up into the nearest spot and went back to my phone. 5:55. Even with all the excitement, I still got a couple minutes.
SQUEEEEAAAAAK! DUNK! DUNK!
My head flinches to the rear view. The Ford is flying around the turn back my way!
Oh fuck this shit! I’m not about to reason to a bitch with automatic seat belts. They clearly have a screw loose. I throw my car in gear and drive out of there. I get to the top level and a Blonde in a Mercedes drives past.
Poor thing doesn’t stand a chance. Good Luck.