The Future of OKC

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She just grabbed the last box. A doctor. It was always a doctor. Even if he had a PhD. in interpretive dance, he was technically still a fucking doctor. Which meant more status than a broke writer. Fuck it, he thought. The best way to get over someone is to find someone new.

He pulled open his laptop and typed OkCupid in the google search bar. The screen loaded and he filled in his credentials.

User name: Mischief_Creator

But his password tripped him up every time. It was either Pussyslayer34 or NeedleDick14, both nicknames he’d received in college. Finally the screen loaded. “Welcome back Tom! There’s been a few changes since you’ve been away. Click ‘Next’ and we’ll walk you through them.”

“Strange,” He thought. “But I suppose it was bound to happen.” Tom had been a veteran since 2011. His Friends with Benefits neighbor showed him the site one night before heading to the bar. “It’s like shopping for Men! I fucking love it!” She said. Yet I would always seem to get a text after each date that read “Come over & Brg Condoms”.

He read on. “In an effort to be more personable. We’re no longer using user names. Please type your real name.” I guess internet dating has finally become the norm. No longer a shameful back alley thing. Couldn’t argue with that. I’d been on hundreds of dates myself. He typed ‘Tom Swartz in the column and clicked next.

“Thanks! We’re almost there!” A virtual pat on the back. “Now we need you to update your profile!” He figured this was normal protocol to update after he’d been away. Tom took a brief glance. “It’s all still relevant,” he thought. He scrolled down and hit Next.

“ERROR!” appeared in giant red letters. Beneath it read, “Too little emoji’s on profile!” What the fuck? Since when did that become a thing? He had to google how to use emoji’s on iOS as he only knew how to do it with semicolons. Finally he placed an upside down smiley face that he found funny and pressed next. The error message appeared again. This time it said “A minimum of 15 emoji’s needed.” Well this is stupid. He placed 14 more next to the first one and continued on.

“Great! Just one last thing.” Finally. This shit is taking forever. “We just need the link to your YELP! Dater” Tom took a sip of his water. What the hell? He clicked the hyperlink. “Yelp Dater: Because you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.” There were different sections for men and women. He clicked at random. A picture of chiseled jaw appeared below it read Jack Williams 9.5/10 reviews: “A real Gentleman. He let me wear his jacket on the walk to my Hyundai WD” Another read: “Great Girth 😉 WD”

Tom typed his name in the search bar. It had a random picture of him firing the finger guns at the camera. Underneath it said Tom Swartz 4.5/10 and only one review. “Only date if you like getting your insides scraped by a q-tip for 45 seconds WND” He had to google the last acronym. It meant exactly what he hoped it didn’t.

“Can’t win ’em all,” he thought. He copy and pasted the link. “Thanks Tom! Now get to swiping!” Swiping? I thought this was OKC, not Tinder. Oh well. The first girl popped up. Gloria. Her pictures where of only her giving a kissy face and showing maximum allowable cleavage within the particular shirt, accept for the last one in which showed her ass poking out enough to demonstrate she’d done a dead-lift or two. Maybe the profile demonstrated something. “This sums me up: smiley face, frowny face, beach emoji, airplane, crying face, water drops, mouth.” Huh. He swiped left.

Tom went at this for a while but all the profiles were the same. Same styles of pictures. Same “Live.Laugh.Love” and sixty five emoji’s demonstrating the slow death of the English language.

“Fuck this!” He thought. I’m trying to get back out there. I’m tired of hearing all this shit about leagues and staying in my lane. I don’t want to swipe a certain way and prey to the gods they swipe the same way. I want to choose. I want to find someone that likes words. Someone that can express themselves. Someone that want to understand and be understood.

He showcased his determination while walking into Starbucks and ordering a coffee. As he was getting a straw, he laid eyes on a beautiful dark haired girl. She was typing away on a Mac. “Actual words,” he thought. He walked over and just when he was about to speak he noticed her Spotify on her phone. Modest Mouse. Old School Modest Mouse. Lonesome Crowded West baby! Back when Issac had a drinking problem and a lisp. The glory days!

He tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me. I got to give you mad props on your music choice. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time.” Her eyes lit up. “Mine too! My brothers introduced me to it back home in Michigan.” “Get the fuck outta here!” Tom said. “You’re from Michigan too?”

They hit it off. Time felt like it stopped for a while.She had came down to Texas for law school at SMU. He use to work in the Patent Office and talked about the struggles of being a lawyer. He told her how he had the same dream but realized while working there, it wasn’t for him. That made her frightened. Tom said, “Look you can’t be afraid of your destiny. This is why you’re here! Get Excited!” She smiled after that. They talked for a while longer until finally there was a break in the conversation. Tom knew what that meant.

“I need to let you get back to studying but I would love to see you again sometime,” He said, ” Let’s exchange numbers Ms._____”

“Alicia. Alicia Horner. And I’d like that too Mr.___” Responding with the same happy tone.

“Tom Swartz” He answered.

She began typing in her phone and Tom followed suit.

“My number is 267….”

“Wait. Wait.” She said. He saw her smile vanish.

“I’m sorry. I can’t do this.”

“I only date guys with a 7 YELP Dater rating or higher.”

Met a Maverick

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I looked at the clock. 7:30. Fuck.

No time to iron, if I wanted coffee. And shit, I always wanted coffee. Besides it was only the holiday party. Who am I going to impress? Well there’s a new chick in procurement with a great ass. But also a weird limp which made me ponder of the two were some how connected. It was one of those limps that you didn’t notice until you did. I’m sure half of the guys on 14 thought the same joke about how to straighten it out. I know I did, I thought as I locked my front door.

Shit, I forgot about my ticket. Every morning this seemed to happen. I hit the go app on my phone. I could make a cup of coffee faster than this piece of shit. The screen flashed: “0x0034 Internal Error Try again” God dammit! Again! I cut across Cedar Springs with my thumb on restart. Luckily it’s been dead this week, so I could pull this maneuver.  At Olive the home screen appeared. I hit the walk button, while typing in my ticket. I saw a car cut straight and took a step.

HOOONNNKKKK! “GET OUT OF THE FUCKING ROAD RETARD!”

I dodged the Jetta back to the sidewalk. Every damn morning. I looked at my watch. 7:45.  I could do this. Just got to sprint in and out. My girl would be working anyways. She’s the 7-11 MVP. LeBron James had nothing on her. Rocks two registers at once, speaks Swahili, and can make the same joke about Friday to me every morning. This Ethiopian was the epitome of Rock Star. I looked both ways. What The FUCK! This damn light skipped me again! Shit! I waited for a break in traffic and ran like Frogger. I decided to sprint past the American Airlines Center for a little insurance. Figured it might save me some time. I crossed Houston and hit the entrance.

Only one gigantic guy at the counter. Fucking A. I could pull this off. I b-lined it for the Texas Blend. Filled up the green cup, with lid and cardboard condom all in record time. Even got a straw like my dentist told me too. Such a sweet lady. “Now some people might make fun of you for drinking coffee with a straw. And you just have to say ‘SHUT UP!’ I’m doing this for my health. You have NO POWER over me” She also runs a charity for anti bullying.

I got behind Mr. Skyscraper who was buying an insane amount of water. “So how much for ze case over there?” He said in a broken German accent. Damn, he already had 6 giant bottles. “Which case?” The 7-11 Rockstar asked. “Ze case by ze door?” He pointed behind her. “Oh the wine or water?” Terrible booze placement if you ask me. I could sprint out with a small case. “Ze waner,” he answered. Jesus fuck. I’m gonna be here all fucking day. I jumped in, “I’m gonna take a random stab at it and say he’s talking about the water.” I looked over at the clock 7:55. “Zes Thank you!” He responded. “No problem.” “But vait,” he said, “how much for it?” You got to be fucking with me. “I think like 4 dollars,” She said. He looked upset. “But get it and I will see for you,” She said.

He walked over to get the case, while she fired up the other register. That’s my girl. “Only two more days huh” She said. I looked at my watch 7:59. Fuck I got to sprint it. All because this fucking freak of nature needs to drown himself in Aquafina. He can’t just KNOW how much a fucking case of water is. He needs to haggle cause 4 dollars is breaking the bank.

I get to the door and I hear “Could you please hold for me?” I hang back because he caring over a gallon of water. Screw it. I won’t make it on time anyways.

I look up and it’s Dirk Nowitzki.

Main and Lake

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BUZZZZ BUZZZZZ

Lupo checked his phone. “This is so weird. Matt keeps calling me,” He said. “The Matt that works here?” I asked. Lupo rotated the chicken breast. “Haha nah. He’s a guy I met back at a party. Weird guy.” Lupo responded. “Your fries are burning boss,” I said “But what like dungeons and dragons weird?” I asked.

The swinging doors flew open. “Wooha Here She Comes! Watch out Boys!” John busted in singing. “You fucking Eddy’s got my order yet?” “Almost up there Johnny. Some D and D nerd keeps calling Lupo.” I said. “EDDY! Don’t let Tom see that shit out.” John said. Lupo pulled the chicken off the grill and began slicing it. “I won’t. And he’s not a D and D kid. More of a trench coat type. Like I bummed a cig off of him and we got to talking about music. He seemed alright until I went over to his house to buy weed,” Lupo explained.

“What did he sell you some bunk ass shit, tried to pass it off as catnip?” I said. John jumped in, “I got dis chronic mannn. Only looks like shit at Jo an’s fabric.” We all laughed. “Weed is weed when you’re in a pinch. But he just got all weird about shit. Telling me he didn’t have anyone in his life that cared.” I grabbed the dish and put it in the front window. Lupo continued, “I mean I felt for the guy. No know my story. Both my parents moved back to Texas, so it’s basically just me now. We’ve been friends for a few years.” I interrupted, “So after he spilled his guts out you were like: So can I hit that shit or….”  John grabbed his food and laughed, “Thanks brotha!” “Nah he’s a good dude. I haven’t talked to him in a while though. Just kinda random he’s calling me this much, Out of the blue,” Lupo said.

The ticket machine printed again. “Yo El Lupe can I get a burger on the grill. Half curl and a half straight.” I threw the ticket back at him. The door flew open again. “Lupo, there’s a cop here to see you.” The color changed in his face. “Really? why?” He asked. “I don’t know brotha. He didn’t make it sound like you were in trouble though.” John answered. ”

I walked out front. If I was gonna have to close this bitch down by myself, I wanted a heads up. John walked over and pointed at the T.V., “Dude look at this!” There was a helicopter view showing a car speeding through Downtown. “Turn it up John, I can’t hear.” John grabbed the remote. The Newscaster spoke: “It appears he’s opened fired all over town in a rampage and is now headed towards Main and Lake. Cops have set up a road block. If you near the area please find a safe place to hide. It is a very dangerous area. We’re getting word that the assailant’s name is Matt Haven.”

“Dude that’s crazy around here.” I said. Lupo walked over. “Guys I have to answer some questions. Do you mind closing down the back?”

Fucking March

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I had my shoes kicked up on the desk. Phone out. Relishing in the bliss of what was suppose to be a chill holiday week.

“Hey Darby! So I was thinking about the ECO-proposal and did you add in extra time for the SCADA integration.” He said

I fumbled my phone to my pocket. “Jeez you scared me boss. I thought you were talking the week off?”

“Err yea had a change of plan. My son isn’t coming until later this week. Anyways, I talked with Bill this morning and he told me they have to push signing the contract until after March. So I was thinking….”

Dammit. This was it. Here was the writing on the wall. He kept jawing but lost me. Our last meeting still fresh in my mind. March was the when we’d determine if there was an encore performance or not. Whether the band gets to stay together or one of us flies off the rails. Gets addicted to heroine. Just a little bit at first cause this engineering stuff is stressful, but hey, he’s still producing, so no one notices. Then things go bad to worse, drafters are finding needles near the plotter. Mark hasn’t shown up for weeks. And some guy named T-bone keeps showing up and hassling the receptionist. “I’m sorry sir, but like I said, we’re an Engineering firm. We don’t sell dishes here.” “NAH bitch da FUCKIN CHINA! Tell ’em debts need to be PAID IN FULL!”

I knew it. This project was too good to be true. The president’s old drinking buddy from Florida was over his head with this power stuff and needed our help. We’d send the proposal and just before signing they’d want more work from us. “Could you add an extra high side breaker?” You bet your sweet ass we can. But when it came down to it, they were no different from the fat kid at the bike shop. They’ll try every bike but we both know they aren’t buy anything.

“Okay, I get right on that for you,” I said.

He walked away. “Thanks Darby!”

I pulled up Microsoft Word and began typing.

“Objective: Personable leader looking to acquire a challenging position….”

God I sound like a douche on paper.

The Christmas Card

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Dear Cousins,

Thank you so much for the Christmas card. I’ll be honest, when I saw Houston I thought it was a pink slip. Or hate mail from a possible HR rep. It’s not that anyone hates me at work, it’s just you never know how sarcasm hits on an email.

Anyways, I would send you a card back but it’s depressing when you constantly date a revolving door of women from the internet. I’ve attached a picture of the latest girl I’ve been dating. Her name is Taylor and as you can see she has a great “personality.”*

But how do you guys like Houston? I hear it’s nice! Plus a hell of a baseball year! Unfortunately, its been a tough weather year. Can win them all. I think I heard you didn’t move until after Harvey, which is good. I saw a lot of the aftermath from our crews. On the train I met a few refugees. One told me a story about swimming away from a water snake! Crazy! During that time, Michia called me asking me if I was okay. Strange considering the distance from Houston to Dallas but thoughtful. Same with a few others of the family. The last one to call was my mom. I tried to stop her by saying “Look save it mom. I’m safe from the hurricane. It’s a couple hundred miles away.” She responded, “Yea I know dumb ass. You owe me $35.00 for the life insurance policy I took out when you were 7.” I love my mom.

Taylor: I love the guitar in the picture! Although I’m not much of an acoustic fan the irony isn’t lost with me. And I gotta say, thank you for playing a C chord. Most of the guitar pictures are of people just holding the neck. Glad to see someone in the family with musical talent doing something with it! My advice, drop out of college and move to L.A. or Nashville. I’m sure you’re mom’s rolling her eyes. But real talk, Sista to Sista. You’ve got the Brains. You’ve got the beauty. You’ve got the talent. The only question is…. Do you have the drive? Do you have the audacity to handle criticism? To play gigs in empty smoky bars? To network? To flirt? To lead on? To give yourself to the audience in a way that makes them think they know you in a different level? I don’t just KNOW, I believe 100% that YOU CAN! I’d bet my entire life savings of $53.82 on it! Just remember when you make it big, your 2nd cousin believed in you and has played guitar for 17 years. Plus, he remembers when you use to awkwardly chase him around in Middle School, telling him you wanted to merry him. #Blackmail

Steve: Digging that 23 number. I had the same one back in my football days. I never got to pitch with it on before. Actually, I only got to pitch once wearing 12. It was short lived.  I nailed a batter, which lead to the game getting canceled. Needless to say my pitching career ended pretty quickly. If you’re projecting that much focus by biting your lip, I know you’re gonna be a stud. All the greats do it, Maddux, Kerry Wood, Kyle Hendrix, and now you. Keep it up kid!

Derek: Unfortunately I can count the number of times we’ve spoken on my hand. No disrespect to a new comer of the family. We just met at a weird time for me. I hear you’re a bad ass salesman, and not just from the old man but lots of fokes. From a kid who’s never felt comfortable with our extended family, for you to come in like you did is nothing short but immaculate! I’ve always felt like I’ve never lived up to what’s expected of me. I can’t help it. I like my booze. I like my porn. I like making jokes. I am who I am. But I have a close friend who use to work at the B.H. wings and she tells me nothing but wonderful things about you. She said you barely knew her but set her up with an Accounting interview at Whirlpool. Super nice of you! She did say you tried to touch her butt once, but like a gentleman, apologized profusely about it. Believe it or not, ME FUCKING TOO! Only I didn’t apologize. I was at her wedding. It’s still nice!

Last but not least cousin Kelly: You are the epitome of cool! Ever since I was a kid, you were one of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. My sister won’t ever admit this, but I feel like she’s always been jealous of you. I’ve always pictured as a young Madonna for some reason. Not the “Ray of light”, Stella got her groove back, but the original. Gummy bracelets, Celebration, Material girl type shit**. I remember when you’d show up at our Great-Grandma during game night and play Uno with us. You were cool. You’re Michigan State ass didn’t have to put up with my five year old antics. Trust me I know. I’ve seen myself how I act over 20 years later. You’re a saint!

But I have to say my favorite story is when I went to sell you knifes. I showed up late on that rainy day. And I felt awful, I had to hit up my recently divorced cousin. The same one trying to sell her house and pickup the pieces. You could of told me to fuck off. Shit you should’ve. Instead, I came over and you let me give my sh-peal. Normally, I’d go right out of the book. But not this time. I went off script. I couldn’t help it. We were having fun! We cut tomatoes and I made jokes about how Rachel Ray was your bitch. We laughed about our family. You weren’t a victim like I was told. Just a human being. I’ve never felt more awful in my life.

You gave me shelter. Life kicked me in the teeth that week. I lost friends.  Every appointment I had canceled. I spent my last 20 bucks on gas to drive to your house not even sure if you were going to be there. Look to you it was probably a small blip in the radar. But you really have no idea the type of shock waves it sent to another soul. I had another appointment after yours which offered me another job. The same job which propelled me to get back into school.

Look kids, I know our family. I’ve been a part of them since birth. I love everyone of them, but we have this smile for the camera type persona. We look fantastic on paper. We get together because we assume that is what you’re suppose to do. Tradition upheld, year after year. And that’s completely okay. It’s just, look, things fucking happened to me this year. I got the shit kicked out of me in Oklahoma. I fell in love with a childhood actress in L.A. I lived one of my childhood dreams, only to have it fall apart on me months later. I made friends. I had people tell me they never wanted to see me again. I’ve gone toe to toe with life. Round after round. I got knocked down. I got back up. Though most of this, I felt alone. And now I’m going to miss our Christmas party for the first time ever.I don’t even have a fucking tree and my last tinder date laughed at me about this.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ve always thrown away Christmas cards. I don’t mean I didn’t read them. I’d check for money first, but then just toss them into the trash. But for some reason there’s something about this one. This one flooded me will all these memories. This one that reminds me I’ve loved. This one that gives me the slightest bit of hope on following a dream. This one that has a funny imperfection above one of the pictures that I’m sure the perfectionist of the family will notice. This one is beautifully flawed. And I’ve decided that THIS EXACT ONE is going to stay with me all year. It’s going to move with me, where ever that may take me. It’s going to be a conversational starter, the reminder, and all the memories I never want to forget.

Thank You!

-Darby

*Edit: We are no longer together.

**PS: I may or may not have danced around to “Get into the Grove” when writing this letter.

**PSS: I may or may not have lost my lady friend because of the dancing. In which I may or may not have cared cause let’s be honest, no one wants to date someone who’s not into Madonna. Am I right?

Slamming Your Dick in a Desk Door: Free Writing Pt.1

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Why do they all look the same?

I mean I get that every girl has different aspects. Different phases that make them look or act a certain way. But it like they all want to throw that shit away and look like this idealized version. Or worse, look the exact opposite and shove it in your face. Two extremes. I just want someone in the middle. Why does my writing feel like a boring narrative of observations? I did I write a paragraph of a short story an then get back to journals of my internal dialog. I’ll you why.

Girls in spandex.

Thanks winter. You’ve completely fucked my entire conscious creativity stream like a…….

Fuck see. The same chick walked back out after grabbing her whatever the fuck breakfast and overly emphasized her strut all the way back to the Jeep Cherokee. I don’t get it. Every girl drives a Jeep Cherokee. Back in the day it was a Grand Am or sometimes a Jetta. But all that stopped after Jessy was shot by Johnny Chen’s crew. Isn’t that some bullshit? The best character of the entire series dies within the first movie. The poor guy coulda gotten a paid like the rest of those fuckers. But no. Michelle Rodriguez was smart.  Lost tanked, Resident Evil was shit. Home girl did what she had to do to get paid. Bring me back she said!

Girl in a blue vest running past. Here I am again. Lost train of thought. Why a vest? I never understood the vest concept. I’ve never felt like I’ve needed my torso to be warmer than my extremities. No one has ever gotten frostbite on their hips. It doesn’t fucking work like that. Speaking of frostbite, here comes an elder Asian lady dead sprinting like the terminator. Her arms are locked in her armpits. She looks on a mission. Almost took out the group of girls in front of her. Grabbed her drink and dead sprinted back, cut thru traffic. The horns are buzzing at her. She’s yelling something. Probably about the message she’s late to give.

I’d watch more but my attention was taken elsewhere. Booty shorts walking into work across the street. You have to appreciate the stern commitment to dress code these days. It’s 20 below, snowing and blowing outside. None of that will stop a guy’s hard on. Nor the extra money he’ll drop for snapshots in the spank bank later. Now back to garbage in my head. I had a few good ideas last week. I had a funny one today at the gym. But now the keyboard is out. I’m even typing. Words are forming. Hell, one person might start to read, then probably hang himself out of the sheer stupidity of how bad it is. He would go to extreme lengths of making his noose. It’s be a completely custom design that has DARBY is fucking retard braided in different colored yarn, just so everyone has no questions as to why it was done. There would be a massive investigation where I would finally get a bunch of views on this site. CSI would study the shit out of the sub-communication of this post. Eventually placing the blame on Fast and the Furious franchise. Asking questions like how did we not see any of this? Clearly the writing was on the wall.

Still dribbling shit on the keyboard. I took a long pause because two deaf guys were signing next to me. Each gesture made me nervous. The pound on the table was about me. This guy sucks at writing. This guy get too distracted by all the women walking by. This guy can’t even pay a fucking tension to his keyboard. This guy is so thirsty he doesn’t notice the grotesque chins on the girl walking by. He only stares from the chest down. This guy should use that noose in the above paragraph. It’s all garbage. I’m done typing. It’s over fuck being a writer. I’m burning my notebooks. I’m getting rid of my blogs. I’m gonna stop placing “Mark Twain’s long lost hope” in the occupation category for my tax returns. It’s over. This shit is fucking stupid. I’m giving up on this dream. I’m never writing anything again. Not even my name.

 

….an hour later I finished a story about an actress wearing a vest.