30 or so Stories I’ve written in 2018 that have been rejected: Nouns & Verbs

 

The last non-broken kitchen light flickered overhead as the fan circled around. The other two bulbs were taken out by a thrown coffee cup. Mark sat at the table below, sipping his Budweiser. He hadn’t moved much during the whole fight, only to cover his head. The once clean checkered tile was covered with broken dishes, beer bottles, and plastic bags from Target. B.B. King played over the stereo in the other room. He was surprised the record didn’t skip as she stormed off to her sister’s house.

Mark put the bottle to his lips. “Was it affect or effect?” He thought. I’m pretty sure it was affect. Affect is a noun, that’s how I remember. Effect would be more like how she effectively left that damn door open again– the thing that started the whole fight. He looked over by the edge of counter and saw it still open. The wind forced the blinds into the air. He let out a half smile as he set the beer down. They’d been together for 10 years and she still had a way of getting under his skin.

Mark adjusted his posture. The worn leather chair made a popping noise. Carrie hated that, but she hated that they still had this old kitchen furniture more. It was Mark’s job to find a new set and she liked to remind him more frequently now that the rest of the kitchen was fixed up.

“Effect is normally used as a verb. I know it. I watched a Schoolhouse rock on it back in grade school.” He thought. See, I don’t have to teach 3rd grade like you Carrie to know my nouns and verbs. He crossed his boots under the table and kicked a Campbell’s Chunky Soup can. It rolled on the floor until it got stopped by a box of spilled elbow macaroni.

A meow came from the open door behind him and a black cat slithered its way to the table. It stopped at Mark’s chair.

“What?”

The cat meowed again.

“Not you too.”

He reached down to pet his head. The cat ran towards the fridge.

“Oh great, just like Carrie. Figures. You are her cat after all.”

He grabbed the bottle and pointed the end at him.

“You know I didn’t want to start arguing. I had a long day at the factory. Michael was on my ass from the moment I punched in. I wasn’t the one who came in here yelling about some ass hole at Target and how it effected, or affected, or whatever the hell.

Who gives a shit!

She did that. She’s the one who left the damn door open. If she would’ve closed it, I wouldn’t have made the joke about how letting in the cold was effecting the heating bill. How was I to know that it would lead to a blow up about money and how I haven’t been pulling in my fair share.”

He was about to say more but B.B’s guitar made him stop. He took a giant swig of his beer. Foam poured on his stained white t-shirt but he continued on.

“B. B. gets it. You know, she always acts like this is all my fault. She didn’t seem to give a fuck when I was gone working all that overtime. We had all types of money for the kitchen then. But now? Ha, the broken dishes affected that!”

He picked up a piece of a bowl from the table and hurled it towards the wall. The black cat darted into the other room. The record skipped, interrupting “The Thrill is Gone”.

“Damn cat!”

Mark stared down at the bottle and flipped the label towards him. It said, “Mass conception of Alcohol can lead to impaired judgement and other hazardous effects.”

“Shit.”

He tipped the brown bottle back and felt the last of the warm suds hit his throat. He placed the empty bottle on the table and a half smile came over him. “ Well fuck me, effect is the stupid noun. She’s right,” he thought as he stood up. The chair kicked a piece of a plate. He stepped over fallen Fruit Loop’s boxes and walked to the closet. Mark grabbed the broom and started sweeping up the broken porcelain.

Welcome to Livin’ in the City

When you first move to the city, you feel sorry for the homeless.

You give what you can, to this person shivering, with blood and puss coming out of their face and think about how your helping.

Then weeks go by,

And the same homeless people are sitting in the same corners.

With the same blood and puss stains.

Leaves fall

Snow hits

And they are in the same spots,

doing the same thing.

Almost like a job.

So you stop feeling bad,yet at the same time,

you start feeling bad, because you don’t feel bad anymore.

You look through these people,

through their eyes,

the sores on the side of their face.

You ignore their questions,

bury your face in your phone.

Then,

after awhile,

you don’t feel anything,

which is worse part of all.

 

Greatest Invention Ever

Every time I use the oven, the smoke alarm goes off.

I’ve tried everything

I’ve taken the batteries out, but then the maintenance man bitches

I’ve moved it to the other side of the kitchen, but then it picks up smoke from the neighbors

I’ve placed a fan towards the vents, only to have the alarm go off.

I guess somethings are meant to be annoying.

The only combatant I have these days is headphones.

Beep Beep

Neighbors pound and shout “WHAT’S GOING ON IN THERE!”

But I only hear Tom Petty running down a dream.

God Bless Bose

Business Ethics

 

business-1753098_1280If you’ve been around the OL dating game at all you’ll probably start to notice all the complex relationship statuses. The shit labeled like it is straight out of a math book, with poly- and mono, and all the three letter acronyms. One that always cracks me up is

“Ethical Non-monogamy”.

It’s not polygamy, which any idiot can deduce from the non part of the monogamy section.

It’s ethical dammit! These people make it sound like Mormons don’t have any ethics to them.

Adding the word ethical is what makes me scratch my head at the entire identifying statement.

Why does the person identifying with the label need it to be “ethical”?

If I walk down to a bar at 10 am on a Sunday and order a beer, I don’t say I’m an ethical alcoholic. Oh no, ethics has nothing to do with it. Nor do I give a fuck what anyone thinks about it. Moscow mules taste just as good in the am as they do in the pm.

But this Segways into a bigger picture to why the word is added for the person. It softens the phrase by giving their brain a positive idea to latch on.

Personally it makes me think that on some level they think what they’re doing is wrong. Whether or not they are conscious of that idea is irrelevant, but it’s stands out like a 70 year old European in a banana hammock.

When you truly are indifferent about something you just put it out there and let the other person deal with it. It’s like handing someone a blank canvas with a color palette.

But a throwing out a leading phrase like that is like handing someone a coloring book. You can use any color you want, but it’s still obvious what the picture is.

On a subtle level, it clues me into how the person thinks about this particular concept. We all generally accept various connotations of words.

But in reality is nothing is black and white, just grey. Our brains place shit in categories for us to help digest these bigger complex ideas. This is how the human race has evolved.

The thing is, when you take a stance on a widely accepted issue, you’re going to get scrutinized.

It’s instinct to want to push down the nail that sticks up above the rest. It is, what it is.

So at the end of the day,

that is what bothers me the most about the “ethical non-monogamers”.

I don’t give a fuck about how many people you are in a relationship with.

I just want you to leave the ethics for your Social Studies class,

and be proud of who you are.

Riddle Me This

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Her profile reads:

Paul’s height is six feet, he’s an assistant at a butcher’s shop, and wears size 11 shoes. What does he weigh?

There’s multiple levels to a good riddle.

99.9% of the time the answer is always in the question. But the smartest thing you can do is keep your eye on the big picture.

Two are measurements, one is an occupation, and the question is a measurement.

Add in the fact that it’s a riddle, and you can start to see why one phrase sicks out above the rest.

Also why the other three have to match.

Misdirection.

It’s a great tool that helps bring novelty to the familiar, but this post ain’t about relationships. It’s about a bio.

Now I’ve read a shit ton of profiles, but ones like this really stand out to me. Most are generic, not because people don’t like to talk about themselves, but because most people don’t give themselves permission to be themselves around strangers. The ironic thing is, the finger prints of your personality is all over everything you do.

What you write,

or what you don’t write,

What you wear,

What’s in the background of your picture

These things speak in volumes.

And much like the answer to the riddle, they aren’t on the surface.

Which is why this sparks my curiosity.

So why a riddle? Why this one? When did she hear it? Does it mean anything to her?

Now I’m not retarded. The odds of the stars aligning, us meeting up, her looking remotely like her pictures, so I can even get the faintest opportunity to see if she’s the person she claims to be is fucking terrible.

It’s the never ending Zeno’s paradox of online dating.

But I guess those minuscule odds is why I like to play the game.

I type:

Paul weighs meat. Who doesn’t love a good riddle?

Be Honest

Why do you give a shit?

About the eyes,

the words,

the sharp pain of standing out with an opinion.

You’re worried about getting isolated

yet,

you hide inside yourself

day after day

around the people you claim are your friends

who you’ve spent over 20 years with

and

still

aren’t close enough

to have the decency

to drop your fork on the porcelain plate and honestly say:

“Your pot roast is tastes drier than grandma pussy.”

…Why do you give a shit?

One Step Closer

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I messaged her on a whim. Not because I didn’t think she wouldn’t respond, but because my luck has been so bad lately in the Tinder world. She was a Latina princess. Looked like she had back dimples, and had to walk sideways through some closets.

As much as I enjoy this type, it means about dick and shit compared to a personality. It’s unfortunately taken me almost 30 years for me to figure that one out. My problem is I’m a perfectionist. I may only have 4 or 5 hobbies, but I plan to do those 4 or 5 hobbies the best I can until I die. For some reason, dating seams to fall in that spectrum. I could be out with a girl that the bartender is downloading mental snapshots for his spank bank as we order a drink, but if she doesn’t meet most of the criteria, my eyes are already wondering. But I digress.

The online game is hit or miss for me. The Engineer part of me wants to believe in technology bringing the world together. But the other part who has ran down this path 400 times, knows I can save more time asking out every girl I see at the local Jewel Osco.

So I send out this message and she bites. I can tell right away that her English isn’t so hot, but I don’t call her out on it. When I speak my broken Spanish, I get self conscious as fuck. We message back and forth about when and why moved to Chicago. She’s an Au-pair wanting to learn English.

Reading in between the lines, I get the feeling that she wanted a little more than that. What exactly, I have no idea, but it was obvious. The rumbling in my gut wanted to find out more. We talked about meeting for coffee. I knew a few spots around her place. I wanted help with “mi espanol” y she wanted help with English. The perfect set up in between talking about our commonality about our young nieces.

She said she just met her one year old niece, right before moving here. I asked if it was hard, leaving all that behind for a dream.

……

……

She unmatched me.

……..

……

Damn it.

Yet, at the same time. I’m one step closer.