Tell Me What You Want, What you Really Really Want

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I’m sitting at Starbucks when she asks, “What are you looking for?” My eyes peered over at the coin on the linoleum floor. It looked like a nickle, but I couldn’t tell from this angle. I cleared my throat and pulled out the first words I could think of.

“So you know how can tell a lot about a person by the way they stand and wait? The more you watch them, the more you get to know them. Do they hide in the back, quick to pull out their phone? Do they stand patently? Do they try to figure out how many people are watching them?

Are they pissed because there is only one person at the register?

Obviously, a lot of this is all moment to moment. I mean, we have our good days and our bad dates, and all the other  But the fascinating thing to me, is the HOW they do this. I can’t help it, my brain just goes kid in a candy store with this type of shit.”

“Darby, what does this have to do–”

I put up my finger. “Gimme a second, I’m getting to that.” I took a quick breath and continued.

“So the how someone stands, or the way they get mad. These are all learned behaviors influenced from all types of different people within this person’s world, so to speak. Some of these behaviors we play around with, kind of like a new jacket, while others we seem to hold on for dear life. The second ones are weird traits. They’re the ones we like so much we tend to form a bit of an identity around them.”

I took a swig of my latte and placed it on the cold table.

“It would be like if you wore that Grey Jacket everyday of your life.”

She bashfully looked up and rubbed her jacket.

“Definitely a magical jacket.” I took another sip of my latte and she followed suit.

“But anyways, what were we talking about again?”

“You were avoiding telling me what you were looking for in a woman.”

“I was?” I let out a small smirk.

She rolled her eyes. “Oh my god!”

“Kidding. Back to this identity thing. Those traits are something I look for with anyone I meet, but it’s not like an active thing. See, we’ll just be talking about something mundane and it’ll hit me, like a motorcycle at a light pole. BAMM! Something just clicks in me and I realize, This is who this person is, or who they think they are. Just like with your Grey Jacket.”

“You really like this jacket.” She said smiling.

“It’s true. But see that “who they think they are” part is super crucial. Everyone is stronger than they think they are. We just tend to forget that from time to time.”

“We do.” she said, adjusting herself in the stool across from me.

I took the final drink of my latte.

“So I said all that to finally put an end to the simple question.”

“Finally.”

“I know. I know.  So what I’m looking for, is a girl that owns a specific crazy leopard pattern jacket that she bought drunk at a thrift store years ago. Maybe she was feeling excited about her new promotion, or always wanted one since she was a kid. I don’t know that part. But what I do know is for some reason she gets up every morning, sifts through the jackets in her closet, passing the leopard one because of some excuse about how it’s just not right for what she’s wearing today, and puts on the Grey Jacket.”

I began gripping the empty cup with both hands.

“And honestly, what I’m really looking for more than anything else. More than toe curling orgasms, or honest thoughts about my writing, or even putting up with my retarded bull shit. All those things are great, but the thing that might be the most insanely beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, is when I help that girl connect the dots in her brain. And she struts down Diversity street, flaunting her leopard pattern jacket on without a care in the world.”

“Wow” She said, analyzing my eyes.

“Yea. So that’s what I’m looking for.”

 

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People shuffle in, waiting in a wavy line to order a drink.

Like a well trained robot the workers turn out cup after cup of coffee

What’s the bathroom code?

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A long blonde finished with yoga gets a latte.

A cab driver with a Bluetooth headset gets a Pikes Roast

A Chinese girl struggles to order tea.

No Hello.

No Small talk.

And only one inevitable question, with a four number answer.

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A homeless man cuts in front of a teen in Daisy Dukes. He demands water as his trash bag knocks into the girl’s Kate Spade. The workers give him the cup and before he opens his mouth they say

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James the Manager of this Starbucks has a Master Degree From Columbia.

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Sarah, making the Green Tea Latte, has done Modeling for Target.

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Jade, taking the orders, has another day job to pay for her daughters private school.

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They’ve said the numbers so many times, the feeling is completely sucked out.

I asked if they’ve ever thought about putting a sign up.

They all gave me a confused look, and went back to working.

The Networking Event

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A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a Networking Event with her.

A Networking Event.

I don’t mind meet and greets, nor do I mind conventions. But a Networking Event? These words alone make my testicles shrivel up. Leave it to the Millennial Generation to design some bullshit ritual like this. We’re so busy that we have to designate a time and place for us to ask the simple question “What do you do for a living?” We can’t just be polite at the train stop or airport bar. No.

We have to go to some hotel lounge to brag about what we do for 10 hours of the day and hand out business cards, so they don’t collect dust on the shelf. It’s like a High School reunion for successful people, except you didn’t go to school with any of them. What the hell? One night every ten years isn’t good enough for these people? They chase success like a junkie because the feeling of owning an E class Benz is better than a C class. Fucking Millennials.

This thing sounds awful. I have to pay 15 bucks to get a name tag that has my name and my company on it. I also get a complementary free drink in which I have to wait in a Black Friday sized line for a small Dixie cup of Mohawk Vodka and Cranberry Juice. During the line, Dan Scott from a Pharmaceutical company, will try to impress my friend Erin by telling her he just won the March Salesman contest, while he sneaks mental shots of her cleavage. I guess I can’t blame him, she is quiet endowed in that category.

I heard back in the 70’s the Grateful Dead got invited to a party at the Playboy Mansion, they didn’t want to go to. Jerry, Phil, and the rest played bartender and spiked the cups with Acid. All the Bunnies were tripping their skimpy skirts off. Even though I hate psychedelics, it still sounds like my kind of party. I want to see how these people act when something they didn’t plan for happens. That’s when you really find out if someone worth being in your network.

Anyways, I’m going to go because she said the place had good burgers, so there’s that.

 

 

The DART Review

I walked past the American Airlines Center my way to train station yesterday. A well edited video played on the giant screen outside showing the wonders of the DART rail system.  It was shot like a dream where these two hipster girls and a black guy (cause they had to hit that quota) run around the city having a blast. They board different trains, go to the record shop, and windup downtown at some rooftop patio. The end says something like, Make your next trip a DART trip!

Now I don’t know how many of you have been to Dallas, but let me tell you something, THE DART IS NOTHING LIKE THIS.

It’s more like you get to the platform and have to pull your shirt over your face to block out all the stale cigarette smoke. The train you’re waiting for is always at the farthest platform, so you have to dodge three incoming trains from both directions just to wait. Along the way, you’ll meet a homeless man named ‘Slick J’ who tries to sell you AA batteries out of a plastic bag. A steal at only two for a dollar.

After you politely decline a few times, the train dings and you get on board. A fare inspector asks you for your ticket because we’re Dallas. We don’t want to copy how NYC or Chi-town collects fares. There systems may have been in place for decades and work but we’d rather pay someone to walk around on the train and hand out $200.00 tickets. So you try to pull up the DART app but it crashed and you get kicked off at the next stop, while they call for backup.

In conclusion, I would definitely make my next trip a DART trip!

7 out of 10

The First Time I got Laid as a Writer…

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The first time I got laid as a writer, she smiled when I asked to smoke outside. I don’t think she heard me over the bar chatter. She just saw me leave into the patio and came with. I lit a Newport in-between October wind gusts while she filled the silence.

“So what have you been writing about?” she asked.

“Well, I applied for a non-paid writers position at a satire magazine on campus a few weeks ago. My friend told me about it. She gave me her editor’s contact and told me to send a sample of my work. Right now, I’m managing/designing a protection scheme for the school’s solar car. It’s my senior project, one of the most difficult Senior Engineering projects in the school’s history. Between that, not missing a game of the Cubs historic 2015 playoff run, and getting yelled at by my restaurant manager who hasn’t been laid in 20 years, I found time to write the sample,” I said.

The cherry on my menthol lit up my face as I took a quick break from my speech. I exhaled and continued.

“I showed it to every one I knew. I mean EVERYONE. My roommate, my lab partners, my fellow engineering nerds, my friend that worked at the magazine, the girl I had a crush on at work, the girl I had a crush on in my History class, and etc. I got a lot of notes. Some I implemented, some I didn’t. I re-wrote the damn thing four times. Waited to the last minute to send it over,” I said.

“Wow” she said. A piece of grey ash smeared on her blue dress. “So what happened?” she asked.

“Well, days went by. I’d check my email but nothing. I’d hear a ding on my phone, only to read flights from Chicago for only 79.00! Orbits bastards. I got asked by everyone that helped me if I heard anything yet, but I had to give them the same lame answer.

Then a week and a half later, I saw an email from an address I didn’t recognize. I quickly pulled it up and read it.

Dear Darby,

Although your piece was entertaining, we don’t feel you’re a good fit here.

Take care

“Oh I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, ” I know writing can be tough thing to get into.”

The wind from the maple leaves rustled and almost blew out my half smoked cancer stick. We took a couple steps back behind a side of the bar.

“You’re not kidding, I ran into my friend who works there. I asked her what the editor thought about it. Now we’d been friends for a while, but she didn’t come clean with me until later in the conversation. Apparently, they spent the first 20 minutes of their meeting talking shit about it. The word choices, the grammatical errors, the sad attempt to be funny. I became a running joke, ” I said.

“Oh my god!” she said. “Did they really?”

I slammed my butt on the ground and looked at her brown eyes. My head slightly nodded.

“Yea they did. I guess one guy kept calling me a no talent ass clown. He even got up and drew a picture of his interpretation of said ass clown. He scribbled the face with red marker and the hair with green. She took a picture and showed me.” I said.

“Wow,” she said. She swayed back and worth trying to keep warm from the chill fall weather.

“Yea I was pretty hurt but what can I do? I just need to get better. You know, work a little harder. I decided to open up a shitty blog. I’m also reading articles about the craft and asking questions daily on a forum.

So as of right now, that’s what I’ve working on,” I said.

She looked back at my wide eyes. Her words hesitated to exit but I already knew what she was going to say.

“Do you still have the piece? Like, do you mind if I read it?” she asked

“Not at all,” I said.

I grabbed her hand and we walked two blocks to my apartment.

Things I have a Better Chance at than Winning the F(r)iction Flash Fiction Contest

-Meet a sane woman off Tinder

-See MSU win the NCAA Tournament

-Have Greg Graffin pull me on stage at the Bad Religion concert next month and let me yell out the “Yah Yah Yah” part on 21st Century (Digital Boy)

-Meet DT and have him not be a dick

Run into Dirk at 7-11 again

-Meet my neighbor at 303

-Move back to Florida

-Actually meet a real person off kik.

-Win the Powerball on Saturday

-Tell everyone to fuck off at work on Monday when I win the Powerball

-Beg for my job back on Thursday when I realize they pay a Million Dollars in increments that make the amount to be less than what I make now

-Actually learn the grammar and spelling rules I should’ve learned in 3rd grade when instead I daydreamed about playing Jimi Fender Strat

-Write a bunch more stories because I actually enjoy it

-Submit those stories to other contests, thus starting a never ending cycle

The Neighbor and Shape

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Dear Neighbor at 303,

I believe your name is Hannah, or at least that is who the March issue of Shape is addressed to. Although we’ve never met in person, this magazine was sitting in my mailbox a couple weeks ago. I meant to give it back to you then, but I became enthralled with the issue. Majority of the shit I read is a mixture of bad online dating profiles, technical work shit, and lots of fiction. Needless to say, it was a breath of fresh air when I read the 62 ways to nurture my body and brain. Apparently I already do number 36, so I’m ahead of the game.

Unfortunately, not everything is gold in this zine. On page 28, they say Go Bold with your Tights Game! This is horseshit. Every bimbo at L.A. fitness in the DFW area is doing that right now. Fashion is an expression and they’re saying with that is “I got dressed in the dark and I’m replacing my fashion sense with squat reps.” Don’t be that girl. Nobody likes that girl. Also on page 2, they have a picture of Shay Mitchell from the cover standing in a tall grass field when it’s obvious she just had a Brazilian done before the shoot. Kind of a dick move on the photographer’s part, don’t you think? I would imagine her thighs would be itchy enough without the wind rubbing tiny blades of grass on them. But I’m a guy, so what do I know?

Anyways, I apologize for having this for so long, but technically you’re still getting the March issue in March, so I think your still making out okay.

Sincerely,

Your neighbor at 302.

PS. To answer your lingering question: Yes, I was loaded when I wrote this.