Monthly Archives: May 2010

Cosplayoff Season

Alan showed up at the scene in a blue body condom that hugged and accentuated his dreadfully average build. He wore a thick black belt around his waist, pinching his spandex shirt and allowing it to fall freely over his groin like a tunic. “So I wouldn’t have to wear a dance belt,” he said. “Hides the junk. My huge super junk.” Deadpan. The spandex hood covered his head, and he hid the rest of his face with a plastic domino mask — the cheap kind you find at dollar stores, with an elastic string to keep it in place, which he hid beneath the hood. A golden A-shaped emblem adorned his unremarkable chest. He worked in the film industry, or so he said, which is how he financed this and his other costumes — including the supposedly infamous “White Deadpool,” and the “Super-Soldier” Captain America/Superman mash-up from the late 90s. “Oh yeah. I’ve worked on a whole bunch of films. Haven’t really made any money off of them, but I’m getting there. I’m up to 9,000 plays on YouTube.”

After berating Captain Planet for his homemade mullet wig, with its sticky straw-like consistency from that awful green spray paint, Alan decided it was time to shoot for the big leagues. Between takes, he managed to slip by security, and approached Jason Schwartzman, waiting off-camera.

“So? What do you think?” he asked, striking a generic hands-on-hips superhero pose.

Jason Schwartzman looked around a moment, unsure of how to react. “Um. That’s cool, man. Yeah,” he said, once he realized that the costumed creep couldn’t possibly have been speaking to anyone else.

“Yeah, you like it?” Alan baited.

“Yeah, sure. Um, who are you supposed to be again?”

“AVENGER!”

“Avenger.”

“Yup. AVENGER.”

“Okay.” Silence. Awkward, awkward silence of the most awful kind. Jason looked for an exit — a cameraman, or a costume PA to fix his hair or something equally arbitrary. No such luck. Despite his reluctance and general level of comfort, he felt obligated to continue the conversation with the Blue Wonder. “Um, who’s Avenger? Like, the Avengers, or —”

“Nope. Just AVENGER.” Once again, Alan awaited the moment of recognition. Nothing. “He’s an original creation.”

“Oh. Okay. So you made him up?”

“He’s an original creation,” Alan emphasized, irritated. He thought that an fellow artist like Jason Schwartzman would understand the difference between an original creation and something that was simply “made up.”

After a few more moments of silence and frozen time, Jason finally turned to walk away. Alan worried that he had missed his chance, and tried one last time to capture his attention. “I based the costume design on the original Blue Beetle. His costume is actually in the public domain now, so…it’s pretty similar, you know, except I added the ‘A’ here,” he said, pointing at the emblem on his chest.

“Oh. That’s an ‘A’? Weird. I thought it was a carat. Like the arrow carrot sign, not the food.” With that, Jason Schwartzman walked away, and headed back to set, forever relegating AVENGER to background status, more likely left forgotten on the cutting room floor.

On the Balcony

They stood next to each other on the railing, the cooling rush of the black New York City night sweeping through them across the balcony.

“Aeli,” she began.

“Don’t,” he said.

“Don’t what?” she asked.

Aeli sighed, his body folding forward over his elbows. His back was arched forward and his body levered, like a superhero preparing to launch into flight off the perch.

“Don’t start,” he said.

“Start what?”

He stole a peek at her – she looked at him like a baby lamb gazing at a child holding a palmful of pebbled, brown feed at a petting zoo.

She wasn’t going to make it easy for him. He couldn’t hold it in any longer. It was so unlike him, though – he didn’t know why now, he could suddenly do the thing he’d been pushing back – but he did it anyway. He told her. Everything.

“Every time you say you like me,” he began. “Every time I say that I ‘like you’ like you.

“I mean it.”

Aeli looked into her eyes, searching for a spark of recognition. He looked at her mouth, silently willing her lips to form words, to say, “Me, too,” and then for her to fall into him like a leaf into the bosom of a forked branch.

“You do?”

It was not quite what he had been hoping for. But he was too on edge to be crushed – he felt the adrenaline coursing through him, felt the hard pound of his heart itching to burst out of his chest, and there was too much energy for him to subside.

“I do,” he said. “Every time we hang out, it’s the best part of my week. Every time I see you smile at me, when your eyes get large, it’s the best feeling there is. I want that feeling all the time.”

With his body louvered against the chest-high railing, he just kept talking, eyes casting out now into the Manhattan darkness like a line from a fishing rod. He didn’t even notice how lyrical he was being, how the words fell from him with ease. He just kept talking.

“Being with you makes me happy. And you mean a lot to me. And I think I mean a lot to you, too. I want to see you every day.” He turned to her once more. “I want to look into your eyes when I wake up.”

In that way that time sometimes slows, when the whole world around rushes to an utter halt, the party raging behind Naomi and Aeli briefly faded away into nothingness, leaving just the two of them on a ledge in an immotile universe, where no one else at all could enter or live.

How long the world stopped, Aeli couldn’t say.  But the moment passed, and, sluggishly, like the wheels of a train car being pulled from a standstill, the earth resumed spinning, first at a lurch, and then more confidently, until once again it found normal motion.

He still stood quiet, waiting for Naomi to speak. He watched her cheeks flush with color.

“I do,” she, at last, admitted. “I do, too.”

She turned to him and placed her hand into the crook of his chest.

“I’m just -”

Aeli stopped her. “I know.” He almost said, “I’m scared,” but didn’t – something stopped him, and he was glad for that. He tried again.

“I know that I’m not perfect. I know we’ve both been burned. But I think – I know that I want to try.”

Hamlet, it was not. He could have ended stronger – he knew that as soon as he spoke. But she didn’t leave; she was still right there, with her hand pressed into his cave, and it was good.  When he wrapped his free arm around her waist just between the taper of her stomach and the swell of her ass, she didn’t move away.

So he drew her in.

And they kissed.

It was like…

Broken Bread (Part II)

So, since this site isn’t called five by eight hundred, I split up last week’s story into two. Below is part two. If you missed part I from last week, you should probably read it.

“What? Ben, you haven’t seen this woman. Her body is the reason poetry was invented.” She could feel herself getting carried away. “I bet she has really soft skin.”

“Are you in love with her?” Ben opened the freezer, stared in as if taking inventory.

“Perhaps,” was what she said. Then quieter, “I do wish I was her sometimes.”

“Unbelievable,” Ben said, still staring into the freezer.

“Close that,” Bea said.

Ben slammed it shut. A couple of magnets shifted and some unpaid bills fell onto the floor. Bea leaned over to pick them up.

“You act like you’re going to love me forever,” she said. One of the papers had fallen under the fridge and she was very aware of the folds in her stomach as she reached under to get it.

Ben laughed then, a cruel incredulous laugh she didn’t recognize.

“I don’t know what you want from me. I love you right now. I plan to love you until forever, but you’re not making it very easy.”

“There it is,” she said, standing up. “I knew you weren’t sure anymore.”

“You think I don’t see the bank receipts?” The question came out like an involuntary cough. “You think I don’t notice that you spend thirty, forty dollars a day on lunch? Ten bucks at the coffee shop? What are you buying with all of that?”

“What do you think?” she asked over the sound of onions popping in the oil. Black smoke rose in waves from the pan, the smell of sautéing onions was no longer pleasant.

“I don’t know, Bea,” he said. “They always say people get accusatory when they’re guilty themselves. Why do you think I’m going to leave you?”

“You think I’m going to leave you?” she asked.

She was flattered; he thought she was cheating. He had interpreted her high lunch bills as proof that she was dining with another man. She knew her alleged cheating was much worse, but her bingeing habit was so unimaginable that Ben hadn’t even imagined it.

“Is it true?” he asked. He sounded tired. He was no longer looking at her, instead sitting at the table with his back to her.

Bea said, “No, Ben.” She walked over to him, put her arms around his neck from behind. She kissed the top of his head, around his ear the way he liked, put her face into his neck. It smelled like cut grass and faded cologne. “It was a mistake,” she said. “It’s over now.”

I’m On a Boat

So, no new poem this week because I’m on a boat.

Seriously folks, I’m actually on a boat right now.

Fine, I’ll write you a boat haiku, ok?

Boat Haiku:

I am on a boat.
You are not. That doesn’t mean
I don’t still love you.

There, happy now?

Nothing Matters In The Supermarket

It didn’t matter that Charles had lost 30 pounds so far this year. Or that just last night at the Colton Awards, named for the late Jeremy S. Colton, a distinguished painter, he received the distinction of Community Artist of the Year and praised for his innovative work as a found object sculptor. No one in the frozen foods aisle of the Waltham Super Stop & Shop would notice or care that he was honored at a banquet, respected by dozens of his intellectual peers, to whom he spoke from the podium about art, life, and passion.

Maybe if those 13 year old skate punks knew that he was responsible for all of the installation art pieces in the city that served as their urban skate park, maybe then they would be making fun of his manbreasts right now.

“Hey Fatty Fatty Fuck Face, why don’t you get out of the frozen pizzas?”

“Yeah. Maybe take a look over at the fresh produce. Unless you’re stuck in the freezer there, your Fatness.”

“I bet you squeeze your own tits and pretend like they’re a girls’!”

Charles had a Masters Degree in Fine Art. He studied in London. Florence. At Edinburgh. Within his small community of sculpture artists, he was renowned. Respected. But right now, staring longingly at that boxed DiGiorno, he was just another overweight townie, violently thrown back in time to middle school again, where he was teased just as relentlessly. He had worked so hard since then — not to lose weight, but to find some other way to prove his worth to the world. He was finally validated after last night’s ceremony, bestowed with the honor that he for years thought he deserved.

Until today, when all of it was lost. The supermarket truly is the greatest equalizer.

What’s Up,

you old war

wagon, how’ve

your tires

held up?

Chin?  Kept that

up? Open grin

still keeping

you young?

alive? full

of deep breaths?

shoulders? sagging?

they got the best of you?

of what you’re giving?

still rocking?  living?

Brad

Broken Bread (Part I)

Note: This site ain’t five by eight hundred (the amount of words in this particular story), so I’m stealing Five Chapters’ idea and posting this story in two parts. Here’s part I:

Bea had gained so much weight that her jeans no longer fit. She began to worry, which in turn made her eat more, order foods she knew were too large for her to finish and she’d finish them. She ate lunch out alone—performed her ritual while thinking about all of the beautiful women her fiancé would rather be with. Take the waitress for example—she was dining at Fresia’s down the street from her office. They boasted fresh ingredients, healthier options which, she felt, licensed her to order more, eat more. But anyway, her waitress, was this tight young thing—she’d come to describing her fiance’s potential lovers that way—with hair like silk that reached down to her impossible waist. She was beautiful: almond eyes and olive skin—a perfect exoticism. But she was kind, the way Bea wished only unfortunate looking women could be. Nevertheless, she was kind; she never judged when Bea ordered multiple meals and finished with dessert at one in the afternoon. She always remarked on something Bea was wearing—some ring or scarf or eye shadow—using words like “flattering” or “gorgeous,” words Bea would never use to describe herself. The worst part was Bea believed her. Some days Bea could only hope her fiancé would find a woman as beautiful and kind as her waitress. She’d make a good mother, an ideal wife.

She said this one day to Ben, her fiancé. He had just complimented her on her scarf or something, asked if it was new.

“You know, Ana likes it, too. I guess it was a good choice,” she said.

“Who’s Ana?” he asked.

“She’s this waitress,” Bea said. She was chopping onions in a race with the oil heating in the pan. “Works at Fresia’s.”

“Oh,” he said. Bea heard the newspaper crinkle as he turned the page; she hoped they’d do the crossword puzzle together later.

“Yeah, I go there for lunch sometimes. Ana’s beautiful,” Bea continued. “I think you’d really like her.”

Ben flipped pages again, giving up on an article halfway through the way he sometimes did.

“And she’s sweet, you know? Like a really warm heart. Probably the only reason I go to that place, now that I think about it. I think you’d really like her,” she said again. She began dicing in a haphazard pattern; the oil popped in the pan.

Ben laughed and folded the paper in his lap.

“You trying to set me up with her?” He stood and walked over to her, nuzzled his face in her neck.

“Well, if you were going to leave me for another woman,” Bea said, tossing the chunks and onion bits into the pan, “I would want it to be Ana.”

Ben stopped kissing her neck, pulled his head back.

“Jesus, Bea,” he whispered.

Check back next Wednesday for Part II. Please?