Archive for the Fiction Category

86’d

Posted in Fiction with tags , , , on April 22, 2012 by Dave

I’ve since been 86’d after a year stint at the Down and Out Bar and I must say it was a good run. It was a run to proud of. My 86 was handled with utmost professionalism by the staff. I had crawled up the sorry excuse for a hill from The King Eddy to the Down and Out Bar and attempted what was to be my last breach. The security officer pulled me gently to the side before I walked in and in a low voice said my first name. This especially took me off guard as I had not expected him to know it and I felt awkward for not knowing his.

He continued on, “there have been too many instances.” I wondered for a moment if not knowing his name was one of the instances as I was only familiar with two minor infractions. I wanted to ask about the instances, but perhaps it was best not to know the details. Perhaps it was bad enough that I had not known the name of the man who let me pass into this bar on hundreds of nights. Perhaps this 86 was more than just. It was necessary. He then tapped me on the shoulder for what we both knew would be the last time. I nodded in agreement, stuck my hand and the only words that I could find were something along the lines of, “I understand. Thank you.” I continued home.

A ruling had been made in some weekly staff meeting. Video tapes replayed. Reminders issued. And finally tonight they had enforced it. As with most things; relationships, an 8-ball of coke, or a good book – they come to an end. Except for running out of coke you usually feel a little lighter about it. A little like a sailor once again standing on the dock gazing the sea. Pondering far away lands that seem to be rushing at him in the wind. And the seagulls seem to know it too dangling along shores squawking at the horizon every day. How could we forget about these moments that make your skin feel crisp?

But I had no shore or dock to stand on with my crisp skin. I was on 5th and Broadway and I was surrounded by drug salesman firing off lengthy lists of pharmaceutical offerings under their breath. It reminded me of this tunnel you can walk through in the Museum of Tolerance where racial slurs are whispered at you from tiny speakers. Though these weren’t racial slurs, they still had the power to cut men down. Downtown Los Angeles is full of men and woman that have been cut down; weeping on steps, sleeping on sidewalks with rats running over them. The stench at times is difficult to take. Man seems to have a knack for smelling worse than animals. Especially here. I ponder how close I am to joining them. Just a few more bad paychecks at the dealership and I’m finished.

Reflecting on my run as a regular I recall mostly the primary activity is gossip (and occasionally some fucking). Once you are settled in endless curiosities are made regarding your personal life. Only to find out later they were clearly and shamelessly shared with other regulars at later times. I suppose this would be the case at most bars, amongst their regulars too. As if our lives hold some special importance inside taverns or bars across america. That there surely must be some uniqueness to our lives because we’re not sweeping the garage floor at night.

I suppose if there was something unique, honorable or remarkable in any way about being a regular in a bar we would know about previous batches of regulars: Batch 14 from 1945-1946. Batch 32 from 1976-1979 and so on. But, I have yet to see any mention of these previous batches and no walls of honor. Yet, surely they thought admirably of themselves. Surely they too thought they had some special attachment to life. That their lives were a less common. Perhaps the truth is that regulars are actually just that. Regular people. Searching for something. Something not unlike the sailor pondering far away lands, except they don’t know they are sailors and they don’t know about the sea that stretches out and the reason for this just might be because they’re inside a dark box called, a bar. And they won’t leave.

Until there are too many instances.

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Close Combat

Posted in Fiction on January 12, 2012 by Dave

When he finally stood up he noticed that the sun had wiggled itself between the crevices of his curtains; he closed them and with that the lightsabers disappeared in his apartment. It was time for breakfast.

 

In the Rain

Posted in Fiction on November 23, 2011 by Dave

I remember in the last winter storm I saw a homeless man sit on the steps of Pershing Square for 3 days. Every day I’d step out into the cold rain to walk the dogs, but their faces would turn grumpy and they would shake their little bodies insisting we turn around, but not before I’d notice his black umbrella looked more worn than the last time I saw him. And his knees rattled like wooden baseball bats against his chest trying to get in.  And his body was stubbornly tucked underneath the umbrella which did him little good. I asked myself how he could do it. And I Imagined he must have told himself there’s no choice but to grin, bare it, and chew the seconds away one-by-one. When the finally rain stopped, when the sky was fresh, when it seemed the skyscrapers turned shiny again, and life could once again move- he was gone too. Without shelter.

Pershing Square at Dawn

Posted in Fiction on January 10, 2011 by Dave

Yesterday I took the dogs for a morning walk in Pershing Square as the sun began to rise. I found myself in the food court where they have plastic cafe tables. I thought I was alone until the sun revealed shadows sitting at the tables. Some alone, some having important looking discussions, some hunched over and rocking back and forth, one gentleman even had his laptop out. At first I thought they were copper-colored humans on proud display, but as I sat there in silence they reminded me more of a pack of deer laying in an upstate NY field. I was a hunter encountering them before he was ready to hunt. Entirely unexpected. Entirely not the vision I set out with for how my afternoon would unfold. A pack of deer shouldn’t have let me get this close. Their ears raised a little and wiggled around like small radar stations and the black ends of their noses let some heat out.

I remained undetected and stood motionless as the sun slowly revealed more humans. At any moment I expected everyone to jump up at once and sprint away, but no such thing happened. This was no Paris cafe, no Munich beer garden and very much not the Jarden in San Miguel. It was Pershing Square in Los Angeles and the only thing that seemed willing to move were the rats along the edges.

Even the minimum wage security guards stood motionless under the lights with their notepads in hand ready to document an infraction. The night lights blinked for a second then then went out signaling the official start of daily activities according to the LA City Parks and Recreation department.

I could see as far as the benches now and saw more bodies. These had covered themselves with all their possessions like birds hiding under their wings. To them it was still dark. It was still midnight. The lights could turn off or on all they want. I circled the park a little more until the sun slid in between the skyscrapers like a giant bright slices of toast.

Pershing Square Metro station

Posted in Fiction on January 2, 2011 by Dave

In DTLA Pershing square metro stop. Where on cold nights you can slip underground in your socks and sleep against the wall and girls in high heels and night dresses will walk by you
stumbling and being alive before they are old.
Screaming that the Down and Out Bar is where it’s at as the escalator pulls them up into the city.
Swallowing each and every one of them in a nice orderly fashion.

Binghamton City Limits

Posted in Fiction with tags on August 19, 2010 by Dave

Sitting inside to mouth of a whale. Watching him open up, and swallow more people while letting as few escape as possible. The driver seemed to give me a dirty look from his big mirror. I could feel his foot push the accelerator to the floor. The son of a bitch was trying to get away with his load, firing all the cylinders down Chenango St.

I’d save us over and over again from being taken away and over the cliff of the world. I knew what he was up to and the world for me ended up near the train depot. I had yet, at this age, to know where Binghamton ended.

Prizefighter

Posted in Fiction on August 15, 2010 by Dave

Creeping out
of a small hole and
weighing in
at about
one
whole stick of butter

Poking at the traps
laid out in front of him
then
slapping all 4’s down
with purpose
to
run and slide
on the marble
making music with compact-sized
taps

Until he comes
across a spot
where the moonlight
shone all the way down
to the floor
and for a few moments
he stops
and looks
wiggles off a flea or two
and
when least expected
he
squeaks
in it.