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.”

 

Actual Cover Letters I Send To Literary Magazine Editors Pt. 2

Dear Editor,

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….I bet you were waiting for me to start off the cover letter like a professional and not some 90’s retro computer game. Well expect the unexpected, my friend. Here I would love to tell you that there is some deep significance to the number seven that applies to the story I’m sending, but there isn’t. I thought it would be fun to draw.

If you couldn’t tell, this letter isn’t going to get any different from what’s above. I’ll probably ramble a few more sentences about nonsense and sprinkle in some inappropriate jokes here and there, because well screw it. I really don’t care if you publish my work or not.

Trust me, it’s not that I don’t think my work is good. Everything I write is fireworks on the 4th,  including my name. I would like you too, if you feel it fits you journal. But if not, we’ll do this song and dance again soon.

You see for whatever reason, I measure my success by the amount of times I hit the green submit button. That’s the gold metal to me. Whatever happens after that is a bonus. This year I’ve submitted 30 pieces, which means I’ve kicked ass 30 times. Chicago Marathoners have nothing on me and you best believe 31 is coming in a few brief seconds. Well, that is, until I figure out how to tie in a solid joke at the end.

………

………

……………………So I got nothing. I was trying to out smart you by making a pun with a movie quote from Se7en. But I’m done. I wasted all my creativity on this this piece. …Okay and this cover letter that you probably won’t read. So you won this round, but I’ll be back. You can count on that one.

P.S. Please enjoy my my 700 word piece entitled “Oscar”.

P.S.S. I really loved your last piece “Mooncake” by Grace Prasad.

Sincerely,

Darby Cashed

Aka the people champ

Aka the Voodoo Child

Aka the Italian Stallion

Aka the most successful deadbeat writer you’ve never heard of

 

Part 1 Here

 

How to Stand Out At a Concert

You move through the herd of selfie takers by the Riot Fest Demon Head

Dodge the Random Zombies in between stages, Texting their friends

Bump into the groups scrolling Instagram while Weezer warms up

You tilt your head to make out Rivers Cuomo from the sea of iPhones recording

“Bro, give me your Phone, I’ll take a sweet video for you” Says the stoned kid in the Bulls Hat next to you.

“It’s cool man, I’ll just enjoy it now.”

Welcome to being fucking weird in 2018.

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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.

In a Perfect World

In a perfect world, I’d give a shit about our Retarded president and the hurt he’s caused. I protest my thoughts on Twitter and join the fight.

In a perfect world, I would go out for drinks when my co-workers ask me too. I wouldn’t make up an excuse and go write at Starbucks alone.

In a perfect world, I would acknowledge the pleas of homeless. I wouldn’t pretend I that I don’t have any change. Or ignore a man who has blood running from his eyes.

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to get into crushing debt to learn how to place lines on a computer screen.

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t watch the woman sneak her wedding ring off as I order another drink. And the next morning, we wouldn’t lie to each other saying that “we’ll totally do this again sometime”.

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t get sad watching all the empty eyes berried in their phones on the train. It wouldn’t break my heart to see all the endless scrolling, just for a little hit of stimulus.

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have felt nothing when I was called a Racist, Bigot, Nazi, white trash, nigger lover, faggot, ignorant, or any other hateful slang.

But unfortunately, I live in this one,

where the hardest part is looking at yourself in the mirror everyday.

Book Review: Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis

I wondered into Barns and Noble yesterday after work for no particular reason. Although I love indie bookstores, it was nice to walk into a store I knew there wasn’t a 50-50 shot at seeing a rat. I bumped into a guy checking out the Fiction section when I saw “Less Than Zero” by Brett Easton Ellis on the shelf.

Now, I’ve seen American Psycho like everyone else. Even had a date say I look like Patrick Bateman (she was crazy, I don’t). But something about this book spoke to me, so I grabbed it after reading the back cover.

I’m glad I did, because it’s an amazing book! I read it in a matter of hours, a feature in which only one other book has managed to accomplish for me. The quick and dirty notes: it’s about this wealthy 18 year old, Cliff, who is visiting home for Christmas. He reunites with old friends, parties, has wild encounters, and struggles with all of it.

Every section has this longing for meaning that is like a inch in your back you can’t quite scratch. You keep reading because you want it to resolve, but really never does. The story is mainly centered around the city of LA, which is easy to take shots there. But in reality, it goes much deeper.

If you look at it from a thousand point view, everyone of our needs is met. Even more so than before when you add in the influx of technology.

Need to go somewhere? Uber.

Wanna find a group to hang out with? Meetup.

Need a date? Tinder.

But when you really start to look at human nature, the history of who we are and how we’ve got to this point, you begin to see the flaw in this design. A flaw I think we are only beginning to scratch the surface on, and throws out a giant question.

What else is there?

My grandpa fought in Korea. He literally scraped his friend’s brain matter of his own face because he had to keep fighting. He might have been next if he didn’t. Yet so many years later, he did this so I could drink heavily, watch Netflix in my underwear, and listen to a girl on the train ramble on about Kylie Jenner’s favorite brand of matcha.

But what did we expect?

We weren’t ready for this unexpected consequence of numbness all the time. It’s like the people that are always like “give peace a chance”. That’s awesome in theory, but there is no human nature added in that equation. We like to feel shit. Not just the good stuff, like happiness, or joy. ALL OF IT! Truthfully, this is one of the main reasons I enjoy the company of women more than guys, because they naturally understand this.

So naturally we do what humans do and make mountains out of mole hills. We self sabotage. Create some chaos. For example, at one point Cliff, the main character, watches one of his good friend’s fuck another man because he’s owes coke money to a gangster. He contemplates leaving but stays by thinking “I need to see this.”

And truthfully, the more I think about it, I feel like it’s not just the particular character Cliff who would stay to watch.. Now, I’m not saying every single person would want to witness that level of shame from their friend. But I think the overall underlined concept is much more universal than we give credit too.

Anyways, I don’t know what else to write. I know this isn’t a very good review of the book. But I feel like the mere fact I can rant for 600 words about only a few pages, should give you a solid indication of how powerful this book is.

 

In conclusion,

10 out of 10

Will probably use it in an argument against a tree hugging hippy.

Actual Cover Letters I Send To Literary Magazine Editors Pt. 1

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Dear Wonderful Editors at the ______Review,

I write this cover letter as the worst song from Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True” pops up on my Spotify mix. Needless to say, this wasn’t an ideal way to start out, but hey, it can only get better right? It’s like tripping before you get on the dance floor, puking before you run, or writing a cover letter to a publisher. Just get the awkward stuff out in the open ASAP.

I mean, I could’ve talked about how great your journal is, or how I read it every day, or I why really enjoyed “What Your Drink Says About You” By Josey Rose Duncan. But come on, you know that you guys put great stuff out there. I know that you guys put great stuff out there. Instead let’s just cut the bull shit and nod our cowboy hats across the bar in a “game recognizes game” fashion. I’ll ramble about music, and you read my piece and tell me what you think. And if it’s not for you guys, that’s okay! We’ll do this whole thing again next month with a new piece and a new rant.

What do you think? I think it sounds good to me.

Anyways, below is my 800 word story called “Nouns and Verbs”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing both the piece and the letter.

PS. For the record it was “Watching the Detectives” Not sure if any of y’all are a big EC fan, but trust me, without that song that album is a 15/10. Easy.