Monday, January 15, 2018


1. a friend gave you a pie touting it as a favorite family recipe, and you ate this pie and got sick---or had an allergic reaction. the friend calls a few days later to ask, "how did you like the pie?" what do you say?

i came to an uncomfortable truth this week. all apple pies taste the same. i thought i would get exotic and get the Safeway generic brand just to see. see all apples taste the same and crust is just a fancy way to say bread. it tasted exactly like McDonald's apple pie. same hot-pocket shape, too. i am shaken.

2. your significant other really wants you to try the swingers' lifestyle but you really do not want to do this. do you a) tell her/him no, not interested b) do it just to make him/her happy, go along to get along c) say yes cos you'll try anything once d) no with no explanation and forbid them from living the life
i guess i gotta get a job now. i rewatched Indecent Proposal this week. but i don't remember watching it the first time. it must have been when i was 13 giddily under the covers of my parents' bed some random Wednesday night when they were off hosting and i'm done with my homework home alone and turning the key to HBO for the first time and a fly comes out of my mouth. i thought i'd watch the first 15 minutes but i'm noticing i'm recalling all the scenes of this American movie with the European sensibility. fascinating. this film is like an old friend you haven't seen since the last great decade. ensconced in the gauzy glow of a Zalman King soft-core if it had a big glossy budget. young unbreakable love, that first fraught year of marriage---there is nothing more fiction-filled than a couple's first year of marriage---green gambling, altering attractiveness. two lost souls in the desert when they'd rather be gardening. neck-deep in the fantasy of feeling each other out, the uncertainty of the future, good-looking Presidents, treadmills. if you started to think Demi couldn't have ever been that hot, this reminds you. i know, i searched for Indecent Exposure first on my remote out of habit. Olivia Beagle was not a slut. that's what you really have to do, you really do have to laugh about it years later...

3. have you texted nude photos to someone and had it come back to bite you in the ass---as in someone taking revenge for your misjudgment?

one dick shot one time. it was so embarrassing. luckily i accidentally sent it to myself instead of the group email at work. see? sometimes it pays to push the wrong button...

4. have you or would you ever stop having a relationship with someone who had a weight problem and their physique drastically changed?

i was harassed virulently over my weight so i know how that feels. i ate so much weight-gain powder all the neighborhood cats knew my house was the local drug den. like, actual cats, i was on drugs, the cats spoke to me. i'd only intervene if the world could no longer see my beloved's beauty. if she disappeared. because she was too thin. health reasons, not beauty reasons. you can never go wrong using Rubenesque in polite conversation.

5. would you rather find true love or win the lottery with winnings of $10000 u.s. mint? there are some things which money cannot buy. unless you're Robert Redford. love fades, money fades, life fades.

bonus: which topic of conversation do you avoid at all costs---politics or religion? never discuss how much you're constantly backed up in polite conversation. unless you're a manly man in a hard hat and these are your symptoms. ladies and gentlemen, our next President:


o shelagh. i started with you. when i was small. when the nineties were new. we grew up together, empathizing, lingering, dreaming. at first i didn't know what to make. you were beautiful in a distant sense, a sprite out of reach, hidden in a pub, a zombie of war inherited never your own. you made me realize that your parents were special in a way my mommy and daddy could never be. they warded off ghosts and drank spirits in a garden towne, we warded off spirits and were ghosts in an industrial town.

what to make of the voice. this lass who would replace Sinead in our minds. substitute or she-ra? at first it shrieked and we were silent. but then we heard the soft yodel and fell in love. the lilting Limerick. the mezzo sauce. like a sonic shillelagh to our soul. put to the sword of our ears.

what a prize what an honor what a showing. i don't go to Instagram anymore it's too sad to leave notes for the dead. instead i attend the wake which never ends. know that you were an attractive woman like you wanted your husband to know. know that we will never be in your will but we were in your ode. reared by you. when you're gone, so are we.


Friday, January 12, 2018



* where's Megyn Kelly? she forgot her shoes.

* Von Miller: you won't smell me coming.

* Aaron Rodgers: i get the high chair.

* Damian Lillard: i burned my hand on the stove when i was a kid. didn't feel a thing.

* DeAndre Hopkins: nuk if you buck

* Garbine Muguruza: not exactly sure why Pharrell chose me...

* Jeremy Lin: you better not cut me. i'll find out if you do.

* Kris Bryant: i like clowns.

* Lindsey Horan: Hope Solo had an appointment.

* Paige Tapp: really i have the perfect name for a volleyball player. my name is on the back of my jersey.

* Pusha T: pusha play.

* Alexander Wang: i love Jeremy Lin.

* Candace Parker: i still say i'm hotter than Sue Bird.

* Chiney Ogwumike: i've scored more than Beckham.

* David Beckham: this long hair has not worked for me. not once my entire life.

* Derrick Rose: i was better than Jordan the five games i played.

* James Harden: the beard has now petrified. it is impenetrable to any of Favre's razors.

* Karlie Kloss: i thought it was cute when the press dubbed me Kloss Floss. then i went onto the internet.

* Kristaps Porzingis: really should have waited till after i got a nickname before printing those shirts. they could have had a unicorn on them and everything.

* Lionel Messi: i was told there would be tacos here. that's why i'm not saying anything. where's Cristiano? Cristiano said he would cook some of his famous tacos for me here. that's why i'm not talking. i'm just here for the tacos.

* Paul Pogba: i've scored more than Beckham.

* PK Subban: one day i'll just be a hockey player.

* Tracy McGrady: i'm like the Andy Roddick of basketball. oh well, i have the best job in the world now...

* Pharrell: i'm not happy. i'm not happy at all.


happy weekend , my babies. Justice League Action preempted again. i wish i lived in Canada.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Auverin: wannacry?

me: what?

the lounge is playing a low toasty fire in the place, a toaster's record spitting reggae as our final adult inculcation for our final conversation.

Auverin: you always told me you were the bug in the system. the virus.

me: i think that's true. i wish i had cried in front of you, if only to get you out of that longchair to give me a hug one last time, so i could remember what you felt like.

Auverin: let's finish up before it's too late.

me: your Wienerschnitzel pastrami?

Auverin: you always feed me.

Auverin's eyes are otherworldy emerald. they don't sparkle as much as simmer.

me: it's too late. it will always be too late. what were we talking about that i can keep you a while longer? the cars. Maldark's cars. not all were reported in that final race. i was thinking a Grand Tourer.

Auverin: definitely Mr. Bean's yellow mini.

that makes me laugh.

me: what were Codrus's real final words i wonder.

Auverin: ain't democracy grand?

me: how was it?

Auverin: everything you would imagine. you don't imagine just how beautiful the red of that carpet is against the drab landscape of the world. Daniel Day-Lewis interviewed me, asking me what i was wearing, which i found odd. i was supposed to interview Gwyneth Paltrow, the star of our film, but she never showed. i talked instead to a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, a nice lady from Saudi Arabia who informed me Gwyneth was vaginal steaming and would be a little late. we got to talking and soon i forgot all about my grand entrance. we got lost in conversation, i talked to her about everything: foreign films, the science of films, the emotion of film, the access to film. she drove me to a movie theatre in her home country which had just opened up. she was giddy in her own car, lavishing praise on a surfer boy she had just taught to live. by teaching him how to drive. we get to the small indie theatre in Saudi Arabia and the picture is just about to begin. that's when i remember i had given up a hell of a lot to be here. it was Vivian's deadname ceremony, the same day as the premiere, i had to miss it. that's when that nice woman with the smile that framed her hoodie and i got assaulted by a group of men right there in the theatre, just up on stage, like it was a sport, something about the largest-size they had of bulbs, between the flickering lights.

me: while you were there i was at a football game. my first one not on tv. i had never liked football, hated it in fact as a symbol of the elite jock hierarchy, but surprise surprise i caved. it's not called the national pastime for nothing. it's a snowy Sunday night in Minneapolis. Carolina Panthers v Vikings. Molly Qerim is in the stands and looking pregnant. or bloated. she can't look fat. turns out it's just Jalen Rose under her coat applying oral. between licks to her yonic rose vagina Jalen effervescently comes up for air and i slap-five him as a gesture that he's holding it down for all the brothers and is an example---i'm not a brother---and he sages me with this wisdom hit: you're only as faithful as your options. from a comedy show i didn't see. Molly snickers embarrassingly and doesn't want to talk about it. that advice could not be wronger. more wrong.

it's here that i hear the greatest-ever line from a professional athlete. Cam Newton on stage, on grass, looks at the opponents' defensive adjustment and declares before snapping the ball:

oh, you watch film, too, huh? that's cool, watch this.

Auverin: i wanted to call Vivian for help. cos he was a big strong man now. but he had changed his name to Victor and wasn't in the directory.

me: o Auverin. oh how i wanted to save you. but you see, i never experienced this. i left school before you could tell me the final story of the summer. your experience. i don't recall any of this just now. it would have happened if i had stayed in college. i feel guilty for having had what would have been a relatively nicer story. this is what was supposed to happen, supposed to be my meant line. but you are the last girl who witnessed me with a clear mind. from then on, i was on a different path, one of a damaged mind and succumbing to illness. this was the clear line of demarcation between a life of success and plays to one of regrets and days. i would never be the same after our summer interlude, i was changed for the worse, a person lesser. than you or anyone else knew. it was over for me. all over. hopes, dreams, schemes.

Auverin. Auverin. i wanted to protect you. cos you were the only one who protected me. i wanted to hold you to my bellybutton, cheek-to-cheek you, never let you go, spin you out of those meat-market raves, dance the pain away. hold your right arm high and your left arm by my side. save you from the world of man.

Auverin. you were the last person i ever knew.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


i walk. and walk. and walk faster. the snow lessens in my mind. i drift into a jog. then a brisk jog, then a rog. then a run. then i'm running as fast as i can, my unmittened fists swaying in the hurricane-gale winds. i'm sure i leave behind footprints but there's no looking back now. i sprint so as not to see the street, only the highway yonder in the sunset. which is the sunrise. classes would be starting soon, buses and charters would be arriving, doors would be shutting, i vow to never be a part of a line again.

i screech over the paltry plated barriers one-inch high on the grass. under the highway bridge and onto oncoming traffic. i still have legs, i can move. but the light is too bright. those dual lights from that 18-wheeler truck with the honey grill which plows right into me, two bright ufos perfectly backgrounded by the pink dawn. see? it's dangerous to go toward the light.

no. it can't be that easy, can it? no. i have my whole life ahead of me. in my room. it's not really my bedroom anymore, it's my room. the truck swerves at the last minute of course, barely missing my tongue, crashing into the divider and unleashing all of the contents of its trailers onto all the roads, gumming up transportation for at least a day.

i don't remember much. just stained glimpses and splotchy spots of singing sorrow. i'm in the cab. next to me is the driver humming an unheralded holiday ditty out-of-tune to keep up my spirits. Adam something. he wears a garland of Christmas lights around his neck, but the bulbs are too medium that they don't stand out. when he opens his mouth flies and other winged caterpillars come out if it. later, he tells the police reporter that actually it was i who had flies in my mouth.

the truck is a Macy's truck. the table of contents has spilt. all of that Macy's inventory is ruined. clothes from the Kardashian mother, shoes from the Ball father, perfume from Bjork that doesn't sell.

"Macy's should go back to selling toys," the driver laments. but it's too late.

later at the hospital, the police reporter gently orders me to fill out my version of events. it begins like any of my other college essays:

what has 18 wheels and flies?...

my family picks me up. eventually. as they are obligated to do.


Anderson Cooper is having a hard time.

Andy Cohen: okay let's do this trivia. first question: are you finding it difficult to concentrate at work?

Anderson: um, yes.

Andy Cohen: second question in the form: are you irritable, distracted, suddenly unmotivated?

Anderson: now that you mention it.

Anderson blows up on national tv. like a robot.

Anderson: keeping them honest i want to say keeping them honest i never knew keeping them honest how much i needed love keeping them honest till i was blue. keeping them honest.

Andy: oh no. i was afraid this would happen. sucker up, sweetie.

Andy plants a big one on Anderson's lips.

Don Lemon: dammit. that was gonna be my revolutionary move on hated national tv. i was gonna smooch my man. why do i always have to come on after you, Anderson? i'm the brave one in the spotlight here. out in the open still checking my twitter.

Anderson: just call me Black Lightning.

Anderson and Andy leave together, arm in arm, shoulder in shoulder, down the rickety staircase. during the commercial break.

Omarosa: hello America! that's my cue. i'm taking over! i'm raising my arms high up in the air just like Oprah!

Andy: wait, who dis? who are you? nuh uh, you're too much drama for me, girl. that's not my style.

Omarosa: my name is Felicia.

Kathy Griffin: *on the phone* Coop, let's all sing Deacon Blues together as the countdown runs out.

Anderson: this is the only holiday that's celebrated at different times by different people. do you know the words to Deacon Blues?

Andy: no.

Anderson: thought you wouldn't. hey Randi, you sports fans over there surely know the words to Deacon Blues.

Randi Kaye: ............................

Omarosa: America needs me. America needs to see me. there is no one like me on tv. and now it's time for me to do my Black Panther interview. wait who is this?

Robin Roberts: that's Lupita Nyong'o.

Omarosa: dammit!

Robin Roberts: *crying* god dammit! i didn't fight my impossible illness and battle losing hope and stay on this earth to interview the likes of you!

Omarosa: are you addressing me or Lupita?

Robin: i'm dressing down YOU!

Omarosa: please. we must stop this. the civil war must end. let me be your Vice President and we'll call it even. i'll even be an honest broker and share Gayle with you. with me in your orbit you're sure to win in 2020, The Boondocks predicted it.

Robin: man you don't watch The Boondocks.



it is snowing. hard. like Erie, PA hard. i motion to go back inside. i can see the faint light of the lounge. but the corner is too severe to see Auverin. is she there? i can only imagine now. she's a smart girl, she managed to wither the unforeseen and unexpected tides of college, she's probably off to her first rave by now. well her first real one, that high-school starter one in her bedroom never counted. things came easy to her. is this a byproduct of her looks? sure but not everything. the thing about Auverin, she always divulged, even her struggles. that's what made her an actor. i could never bring myself to conceal. that's what made me a writer.

i've been forgetting a lot throughout this wave of encounters. which is unfortunate. most of my uni experience i wanted to forget, tried hard to, but something happens when you scratch a locked box, you discover the gold foil, it gets stuck under your fingernails. one thing i knew i'd regret was not handling that feeble door. it was a closed gate to me. now. and forever. i would never anchor my weighted sandal on those erudite marble floors again. those floors were never cleaned that was the beauty of them. never again as a naïve wide-eyed and fried-tail student assuming the best, patterning his path on his parents, not his protégé. regarding it all as so much escape rather than the most terrifying freedom that exists in space.

two things i did remember. they came back like dull teeth. the day. the day was Friday. today is Friday. the last one before the three-day weekend that introduces the spring semester on Tuesday. the ultimate election day for the leanings of your soul. and some time tomorrow, which was already today, the sun would peek through the clouds, there was never rain when i wanted it, and i would run out of excuses to attend my last final. a final i had not prepared for. not one page. a stack of putrid books on mechanics or something was piling on my couch in the lounge, ripping the seams off the pillows. i hadn't read all semester, they were cracked shut, diversion was my drug. this was a required class, i had to take it to graduate, which is arbitrary and the product of an angry system. points too powerful in public. it was as if i was coasting till i realized you can't defy the establishment. you can't get a job as a rock guru in this society. a guru who prays over rocks upside-down, with the rocks stacked high on my erect penis.

it's all so easy, isn't it, me? to study is to succeed. a surge came over me, rendering me full of inside speech but no outward action. the snow. i blame the snow. like i tried, i really tried, to lift the boot over the icy mound that was the granite stairs, i used both hands, but i got drunk on my own immobility. this time it was different. something has washed over me, and hardened. i simply can't bear to do this anymore. something has happened, an accumulation of somethings, and i am systematically rejecting all standardized schooling. for spirituality. really for slouching. i am no longer a student. of the world. i am a student of my own mind, i shall live in there for all eternity, eons after my eventual death. it's good that they never got around to laminating my final student card. a bureaucracy can help to shade the abetting of an escape. student aid. i can't go back in there. even if i wanted to. i don't want to. i can't hold another paid book in my soft hands. not one more test. not one more light-blue essay book where i scribble some savage shit for two hours that is so filled with my bullshit i have to take a literal shit afterwards. this is the end. the end of it all. the termination of a dream first thunk up over a baptism font. the abortion of the 21-year plan.

i am negating everything. every combination of who i was and who i would have become. to center who i will actually become. but i am an artist so i must make a final gesture. even if i have spit out the tower. i could never spit on the tower, it's too big and i'm too small. the lions! the lions which guard the gate! the library lions. i caress each's mane like i'm at a petting zoo closed for a snow day. or a tome of children's fantasy, that makes it more noble. speaking of noble, the lions don't mind my silly human, they're hearty. the garlands of Christmas lights around their flowing carved manes are too small for their noble necks, the lights are as tiny as they come in sizes. i remove the lights from off each of their necks, both of them, and bury them in the snow, planting my boot over their grave.

if only i could feed them. if only i could hide in their mouths.

i turn around and face the street, my beloved street, the one which divides the institution from the limits of a city. i do not say goodbye to Auverin. like i didn't say goodbye to my opposite-street neighbor. i don't even have the guts to wave. they were both my next-door neighbors.


President Bump is hiding in the pot party bus on New Year's Eve. you know, the one that doesn't move cos what's the point. full of stoners from out-of-state and Alabama who can only get their stuff legally here in this state. can't think of a better time for a special occasion.

Bump: can i bus? heehee. i came up with that and i'm not even high yet.

the mellow crowd of sad sacks sit in their assigned seats on the bus, smoking, hitting, blunting, trying not to let their lives get any sadder.

Bump: guys, guys, hey guys, don't blame me for Sessions. i wanted that imp gone stone ages ago. he's like the ogre who keeps all the Lucky Charms for himself. RANDI KAYE?!! as i live and breathe.

Randi Kaye: oh no. it's not me, you're having Parkinson's hallucinations.

Bump: oh Randi. you were always my favorite. you're the reason i watch CNN 24-7, as a hope to maybe catch a glimpse. you're way hotter than those other gilfs on tv.

Randi: i think you mean the internet.

Bump: wrong. i mean right. gilf gifs. i would fuck you so hard on this Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test bus your brittle bones would break and your seat would rip and spill its stuffing. puff pass paint. i'm seeing you in a new light. my small grande blonde espresso roast. i'd offer you some THC-infused cocktails but i fear they'd just go right through you, you hot skeleton grandma.

Randi: your wife is right here. on this bus seated right next to me in her assigned seat.

Gina De Vecchio: i didn't want to come.

Bump: that's the problem. honey you're old news, which is worse than fake news. look i learned a lot from you on our relationship. like shag twisters and stuff. i recognize although Michelle surprisingly does in fact have the biggest tits she wears those dowdy grandma skirts. weather needs to be wet. but then you introduced the hydrophobic layer. how can you have a bong without the hydro?

the bus fills to the inside roof with mud. the stoners cheer.


Monday, January 8, 2018


1. how old is your longest living relative? according to, everyone is related to George Washington.

2. do you hope to live to this age? only if i can lucid-dream while dying.

3. what is your family's native language? your native language? Salvadoran/Dutch. jive.

4. how old were you when you started dating? my half-life is 885000 years. i leave virtually no carbon footprint because i don't go outside.

5. how old were you when you first had sex---any kind of sex? whenever it was, it made me feel 20 years younger. i've only known rough sex, there's a kind sex?

bonus: how would you describe your sense of humor? necessary


that's gotta be a record. this is the one day a year i don't care about college football...

Friday, January 5, 2018



* Attenborough: in the wilds of the Savannah, we find the wildest singer of all: man walking.
tourist: you can't say bush anymore. why is it so cold? i thought we were in the Sahara.
Attenborough: i can't explain it to you until the BBC pays me. they have so many people to pay. it's a backlog of pay.
tourist: i saw your latest documentary. you mean to tell me there are areas of the ocean man still hasn't explored yet? new rule: man can't go into space until man discovers all of the ocean. hey are you that guy who was the nerd on Lizzie McGuire and then you had that brother who choked himself to death with a bad karate chop?
Attenborough: i'm afraid you have the wrong family. i am not jealous of my brother, but he can't act his way out of a paper bag at the bottom of the ocean. he called me up on the ringer the other night again talking about fanciful creatures he called dinosaurs.

* grandma: let's break out of the nursing home, grandson!
grandson: this doesn't make us look good, granmama.
grandma: it's just tv.

* that team lost. that was the joke.

* BMXer: i wanted to be a rad helmetless skateboarder with long hair, jeans, and kneescrapes. but my grandma got me this really tiny bike for Christmas...

* comedian: breathe. breathe. if Kevin Hart and Al Bundy can get out of the shoe game, so can you.

* the first 20 times i watched this commercial i had no idea what the Starbucks scene was about. her band is opening for U2 on Broadway or something?

* doctor: good news, bad news. your cancer cleared. but your glasses make you look like an old lady.

* most of these are cosplayers. but one is a real ninja. and one is a real vagabond.

* woman in red: i'm not wearing any pants. but i'm Steve Jobs's daughter so it's okay.

* man on porch: what are you doing here!? you traveled 850000 miles to come back here?
woman: it was on Southwest so it's free. a love confession only counts if it's declared in the pouring rain.
man on porch: i can see your nipples through your soaked blouse.
woman: maybe this was a bad idea.

* woman at airport: why can't i get a man who can fold a baby stroller!? i'm sorry, honey, i know you try, but i think i'm more attracted to robots.

* coach: miss, can i borrow your lusty-red kerchief around your neck? i need to dab the corner of my mouth after that squirrelly airline liver sandwich you served me.
stewardess: i'm sorry, sir, but you're on the list. your last name is Carradine.

* don't matter if you're black or white


happy weekend, my can go now, i'm gonna be awhile combing through all these seats for used gum and old stories...

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Anderson Cooper: where are you? i'll be right over.

Andy Cohen: you didn't run to me when i had to eat Panda Express for breakfast in an airport lounge at 9AM.

Anderson: sweetie, just friends, sweetie. i know you wanted more. but the Vanderbilt virginity is too rich for your blood, that e is expensive.

Kathy Griffin: you got the keys?

Anderson: sure i do.

Kathy: meet you at your mom's mansion.

Anderson: wait, why my mom's house?

an hour later, Gloria Vanderbilt is struggling to point heaving over her iron-rimmed snake sofa. she wears a darkness that is one part Grey Gardens and one part Marvin Gardens.

Mama Vanderbilt: son, be a dear and answer that bellknock.

Anderson unlocks the door and finds Kathy Griffin frozen in a block of ice.

an hour of picking later

Anderson: what happened? give me a hug. the whole thing got way overblown.

Kathy: that was not meant to be a popsicle. i was supposed to jump out of a cake to surprise you. oh mama! did you fare okay the hour i was gone? got your medicine? RA flaring up again?

she gives Gloria a hot hug.

Gloria: where the fuck were you?

Kathy: running a stupid errand in Times Sqaure.

Anderson: what's going on here? you're my mother's caretaker now?

Kathy: you're never home.

Anderson: did any part of you want to be my friend? or was this all about access? fuck this i'm out. going back to work.

an hour later

Mooch: a call for you, Mr. Anderson. that's all i know.

Anderson: you're live on the air. New Year's Live.

Kathy: i fucked your mom.

Anderson: who is this? Howard Stern? you motherfucker!

Kathy: yes i am.

Anderson: why?

Kathy: look i just really love your mom. i like you, the silver-fox head of hair and icy glare and mood swings and reporter's arms i get it. but i need a real woman y'know?

Anderson: i never knew my mom was gay. perhaps this is why i was a child model.

Kathy: don't worry, she's fine. no bed sores, just bed pounding. got ourselves a California King mattress. which is impossible to find in New York. hey this is all your fault. Nothing Left Unsaid was too good. haunting beach scenes. left me, me, speechless. i hope this doesn't drive a wedge between us.

Anderson: don't you dare treat me like South Korea.

Kathy: i don't know what that means. see you at home.

Andy Cohen: i haven't mentioned your name once this entire evening broadcast you ginger witch.

Kathy: hi, Andy!


Auverin: go. it's not too late. leave me to my math doldrums. what the fuck is a monogon and how can i use it in an essay?

sure enough it is here. just like she said, make a left at the Rock-Ola with the monogon case.

the star in this case is the spoked wheel used to move the lugubrious stacks slowly on their tracks. i turn it ever so deliberately sending a shiver sideways on my spine. the return to plebeian book drone is too much for my throat.

me: i only hear about Call the Midwife when the Christmas special rolls out. i know this is a show apart from their Christmas episodes. i've never seen a regular episode is what i'm saying.

Auverin: same with Last Tango in Halifax. the show i blame for the premature cancellation of Vicious.

me: definitely needed a 3rd season. don't remind me of how good we had it. i still dance to that Vicious intro in my head.

Auverin: dance with me. at least dance in the library.

me: where were you?

Auverin: i lucked out and got an audition for a small small small role in one of this year's Oscar-nominated films. i can't say which. one screen-test led to another and i avoided entering the cutting-room door. i'm in!

me: get out, man! i'm the drama minor in this group.

Auverin: got an invite to the red carpet! bunches of brunches. literally spotted by a scout sipping coffee at the campus café.

me: cos you're hot. that would never happen to me.

Auverin: i'm going next week.

i look up to the little pane of window way up high past the tile rafters on the library roof. the point. the one access point outside. it's blocked, can't see a thing.

i race outside, which is something i am always loathe to do. past the two library lions guarding the entrance from junior-college interlopers.

i am only able to describe my experience of this then now after having learned the term from Gina. bomb cyclone.

it's snowing.


me: we sit down for Christmas brunch at night cos we'll be in church all day starting at midnight and i digest the most mouthwatering roulade with frosting. i even start appreciating the lights beaming through my bedroom window, they're pretty and festive and not real, just projections. they stay on a long time. i almost forget to shut them off at 10 cos i'm exhausted waiting in my bed for the ceremony to start. little did we all know that across the way from our house the neighbor had just died in her house. my mom and she were the bestest of old friends. that freaked me out, i started thinking about my own mother and her tears and her sudden span of free time, and that i didn't want to be around if anything life-changing major happened in the family. i wanted to be as far away as possible so it wouldn't impact me. we only had the lights on that one night. we didn't want to be showy in this moment of somber.

Auverin: you can't escape. California has earthquake faults longer than the state lines.

me: i'm from Hohman.

Auverin: i want to see a selfie of you in a pink bunny suit.

me: only if I get to be naked underneath.

Auverin: what kind of tree was it? that last year?

me: silvertip. that was my nickname in college. wait, this is the one place my usual line doesn't work! perfect for hanging huge glitzy ball ornaments on those impossibly strung-out needle hooks that get stuck under and destroy vacuum propellers.

Auverin: you know there's a story about this place. this library is haunted. as the prospectors with forked beards tell it, early on in the 1800s there stood a massive tree where this property sits now. it was so big and oaky anyone who came in contact with it would yell YES!, swale and hilly and swarthy alike, farmer and tourist. the villagers needed to booklearn but they were still environmentally conscious and didn't want to damage the tree in any way. you couldn't slice the tree skinnier, that would slice off its grandeur. a compromise was reached. the library would be built around the tree. some say that the tree never died but remains the very backbone of this institution to this day. inside the white dusty marble pillars of this lighthouse of books lie the original outline of the tree's branches. some squinters say you can still make out the apparition of the white woman beheaded, its guardian forest spirit. but that's just a tale for the Halloween office hours. on some nights, when the moon is wolfy enough, you can still place a star on top of the tree. it's the ultimate holiday tree. if you do it just right, your deepest darkest Christmas wish will come true.

the fireplace at the corner of the library lounge is almost out.

me: you should do a one-woman show. you're not a bad character troubadour.

Auverin: that's not a half-bad idea.


President Bump is still at that hackneyed holiday display fielding calls from lost children.

Bump: i want no one looking at my bedsheets till they're cleaned. my sheets have a lot of cheeseburger grease on them. if i'm gonna be poisoned i want McDonald's fat to be the dagger.

JUST THEN Gina De Vecchio saunters into the royal room.

Bump: oh my god! oh my gina! is this a dream?

Gina: you called for me, Mr. President?

Bump: yes. but i never thought it'd come true. i'm horrified now that my Melania has seen you.

Gina: what's that construction outside?

Bump: just some tinks. making the Cream House feel more like the Taj Mahal. my casino. please add your grace to this garish mahal intrigue. you with the pointy tits and soft, smoky, squeaky, seductive voice. please be my new First Lady.

Gina: i am hesistant to be a ho. especially this time of year. it's not my fault i'm hot.

Bump: no you misunderstand. and misrepresent. i simply want you to stand in the spot my Melania usually stands and act pretty. you don't have to say anything, just stand in the old spot. my wife had square tits.

Gina: sir, your wife is crying.

Bump: my Melania? OMG, cancel the order, how can this be? can a robot cry?

Lewandowski: can i leave finally?

Bump: the only reason this Corey stayed on, the only reason you adopted any of my policies, and put on the tough-guy street-thug act, and went on tv and acted blustery and indignant, was for access. you wanted the opportunity to fuck Hope Hicks. she's the best piece of tail any of us will ever have. i know.

Corey: i know, too. bigly. but sir, you're not allowed to say things like that anymore, even in a locker room. especially you. i'm a liberal in fact. i'm liberaler than Tom Steyer.

Bump: we're gonna need you.

Corey: for bodyguarding?

Bump: no, you're gonna be our poster child for the boyfriend loophole.

Ivanka, Jared, and Gannon are squeezed into a hot tub together. Gannon farts and Ivanka and Jared jump out.

Gannon: fine. more for me. can you smell that? no, not that, that. the suds. the steam coming off. i filled this tub with a thousand acid tabs. i need to ask myself the hard questions, after i inhale this, why do i keep coming back? i get destroyed by Link every single damn time but i'm always there for the next game!



a week went by. a week is a long time. it's not a long time for a student tripping over bargain fiction skidding on the race to Friday. but it's long for a boy not yet a man to speak with his burgeoning college friend and see what's going on. it was weird to have a friend. weirder to have a friend who was a girl. my first such friend. i really enjoy it, i see what all the fuss is about. she's a bony shoulder to cry on. i am happy and gay. i think what i appreciate most is she doesn't think me some creepish stalkerized weirdo, which i imagine is what most people cast me as.

when we meet in the lounge the first thing we notice is the pillows are cozier. our rumps appreciate it. we are in love. mutual love. with sandwiches. the way we describe sandwiches, which most take for granted, the texture of the spongy sourdough, the filling of the holes, the way the spread holds the layers together in a gooey gelatinous tasty glue.

me: i don't eat a lot of salami anymore. i notice after a big helping my lips start to smell smoky. they smell as if I've smoked an entire carton of cigarettes. this is my way of trying to quit. does this happen to you?

Auverin: what'd you get for Christmas this year?

well that was a loaded question. one which made me face the stark reality of many things rolled in one.

me: i don't remember. this last year was the first year i didn't go home for Christmas break. you may find that odd...

Auverin: no i get it. but i examine my impulses.

me: i just felt if i was ever gonna live on my own, i better start living on my own. i love my parents which made the decision harder. and for me. i simply had to burn the nest down and cut the safety nets. boy was that a miserable decision. i foolhardedly convinced myself the city christmas cheer would supplement any doldrums i had of missing the only people who actually cared for me. i spent lonely nights caressing the long hilly urban streets mittens in my pockets walking fast like a department-store Santa who just got fired for drinking. it made me clam up more, trust others less.

Auverin: mostly yourself.

Auverin polishes her stainless-steel water bottle with her tongue which wraps all the way around the bottle.

me: i felt a part of me would go missing forever. i lost my membership in the family. that year's photo album would be painfully blank. i would never know what that Christmas was like, a black hole would follow me like a Grinch who wants to sing. so in order to get some of that good will back, to recapture what wasn't there, to right a wrong that could never be retrieved, i started to think back to the last Christmas. the one i spent with my beloved folks. i remembered extra hard, making sure to affix those memories to the front of my brain.

Auverin: and?

me: i remember distinctly. each pane of wood i cleaned off. my house is stucco but the enclosed porch is wood where the roof overhangs. it's one of those areas that seems clean but in fact had never been cleaned. it was my job to spruce. holidays after all. at the time i must have thought this a pain in the ass, but my ass was skinny so it wasn't mean enough. i searched the house frantically for a broom, the rest of the fam was off at Macy's which must have expedited my next year's decision. nowhere to be found. i saw that broom everyday in my room but the one day you need the broom it's moved. so i painstakingly got the roll of paper towels and did it that way. using a den chair with a softee seat mind you, not a ladder, i reached with my gangly arms and swiped---instead of swept---each square of board till all the cobwebs were wiped. i wrenched around that filthy lantern lamp caked to the brim with dead insect wings, squishy larvae, and desiccated eggs which were once aborted fetuses. that was one fucked-up lantern lid. every corner, every line, every brown spot, till it was actionable. of course from afar it didn't look like anything. all in time to make the place presentable for the electrician. the electrician comes by and in a flash connects the NightStars thingie. it's a lamp that you pierce into the dirt flowers opposite the porch and it rains cool little stars on the side of your house to rid yourself of clumpy wire christmas light tangles once and for all. no way did he see the space or inspect its antisepsis. that electrician was busy admiring his long extension cord. he quickly plugged it in in the porch and went to his office Christmas party at Denny's. i used an entire roll of paper towels for that job, the trash can was filled to the brim with my damp dabs of dirt. i looked directly into the NightStars kettle and burned my eyes out for an hour. when i came to, i slid open the laundry slat door and the broom was right there.

Auverin: i like to put my used orange peels into the recycling bin, gives the oily junk a tangy fragrance.

me: i leave whole oranges in the bathroom. on the toilet lid. don't you eat those oranges tho.