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Bodega cat is the best pet

It started as a joke, like all great traditions.
Kenny gave me the pet rock the summer of my twelfth birthday. It’s not a real trademarked one like Shauna Brayer had. It’s better. Kenny made it himself from a rock he found at his parents’ cottage. The googly eyes came unglued when I unwrapped it so we magic markered on the eyes. Royal blue and black. Kenny vetoed lashes. Giddy from the fumes we solemnly set the ground rules for my pet ownership. Every night the rock was fed a secret, whispered from Bonnie Bell slathered lips. I outgrew my addiction to sticky lips but I’ve been a diligent mama bird, sustaining domesticated granite with my every hope, wish and desire since adolescence. This rock has travelled the world and lived in three world-class cities and has kept my secrets safe and my psyche sane.

8 min on the F train 6.17.14
Prompted from seamless/ grub hub transit ad

Where kids go to grow

Hi. My name is Fernando and I’m eight years old. I am called different things at school because of my teeth (they kind of stick out) and my ears (they stick out too). But it’s okay because my mom calls me mija and it’s the sweetest sound.
My baby sister doesn’t have any words yet but she calls me ‘dO’. Mom calls her mija too. She says it different though. Like, I dunno fuzzier, pinker. I’m not sure if it’s different because she’s a girl or because she’s different. I don’t remember when I got my words but I think I had them when I was doing the stuff she’s doing now. You know like running and walking and drawing like that. She tries to talk I think but it’s mostly just sounds like O and Eee. She screams a lot to get attention.
I think she’s going to get called worse names at school. Her eyes are so big and they kinda stick out too.

8 min on the F train, 6.4.14
prompted from transit ad

The new girl

I’m on a fast. I’m not religious, it’s like two months after Easter.  I’m giving up negative thinking – it’s painful. Mostly because whenever I do have a negative thought I have to pinch myself. It’s kinda like shock therapy, I’m re-wiring my brain. The new me will be a better me. A better quality me will attract better quality people – read men.
Anyway, all the books are right – I’ve read enough of them to recognize a recurring theme. People really do show you who they are right from the start. Gregory told me it was complicated to dissolving his marriage. Of course it is when you’re not actually trying to break up. I knew Ken was bad with money when he was short for the check on our first date.  He paid me back immediately from the envelope of money that was earmarked for his rent. The new and improved me won’t stick around once I recognize the tell-tale signs the story will end badly.

8 min @ Gregory’s Coffee midtown 5.31.14
prompt lifted from Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute

Because it’s easy

Motherhood is one big lifestyle reality show for Samantha. She looks like someone on TV with her oversized head and bleached smile.  Based on a score card of her invention she is an exceptional mother. Just because she can get my kids to eat cauliflower doesn’t mean she’s a better mother. Time will tell. Her seven year old already knows he’s gay but Samantha hasn’t looked him in the eye since he outgrew wearing Robeez slip-ons. Her daughter’s future food pyramid will have prescription meds as the base.
At her last effortless and perfect brunch she poisoned my kid with her gluten-free pancakes stuffed with ricotta. Apparently homemade and gluten-free nullifies Brianne’s lactose intolerance.
She claimed ricotta has minimal lactose and that Bri’s reaction was due to withdrawal from the toxins in her regular diet.  I kept the voicemail. My lawyer says it’s a solid case and we’ll clean up on damages.

8 min on the F train 8.29.14
Prompt from transit ad for food delivery

“Do you want my seat?”

‘Hey, I’m sorry about Chivalry.”
” I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“Sure, of course , I just wanted you to know – ”
“Yeah. Ok. I get it. Thanks.”
I wish I had a door to slam in his face but it’s a loft. I don’t want him here but the calendar hasn’t cooperated and this is his weekend with our dad. I’m with my dad every weekend because my mother is dead. Demian is a product of my father’s misguided grief.
I’ve asked Demiam to stop commenting on the “irony” of my dog’s death.
“I mean c’mon,” he starts, ” you knew the day would come you’d have to say..” I charge at him pushing him backwards out of the room. “Shut. Up!”
“Stop pushing me! It was just a dog.”
I stop pushing and I pull him in close,
“I will scoop your bastard eyes out with my thumbs if you do not shut the fuck up right now.”  The words shoot out my mouth like bullets and lodge in the soft flesh of Demian’s feelings. I don’t care.

8 min on the F train Tuesday night 5.27.14
prompted by a chivalrous young man during rush hour

Staring games

You think you can intimidate me but I can see the ugly inside you. You think your crisp shirt and pressed skirt hide the dark stain but it bleeds through your pores.
Your lower jaw juts forward ever so slightly daring me to maintain eye contact, challenging me to look past the small town freckles and peachy skin, challenging me to see your ugly truth. You think I’ll look away when I see your secret. You think I’ll look away before you see my secret. But I want you to see it.
On the periphery of my vision your clawed fingers clutch your purse. There is an ossified cruelty in your knuckles. Your crone’s hands have knit miles of cheap synthetic yarn, spreading your bitterness down through the generations you had no part in propagating. The longer we stare the more you share your story, your twisted desperate story. The end. You blinked.

8 min on the F train 5.22.14
prompted by the staring stranger across from me

Strong language

I finally stopped swearing. It was my last sin and now I’m perfect. In thought, word and deed. It’s all energy you know, like Guru Gukkamayamaya says. My energy is now pure white light. If you could see my aura like Guruji can, you’d see a halo of angelic white glowing with every color of the rainbow. You’d see it all simultaneously. Remember that experiment in Mr Spence’s science class with the prism? Guruji doesn’t need a prism.
Guruji says the power is in the mantra. The mantra gives the power to choose new choices. I make different choices now. The hole in my tongue is gone. Guruji says I created a forked tongue with the piercing but now I can speak purity and truth again. You can clean your soul with words. All that is past is past, I don’t speak about the past to keep it from polluting the present. Whenever the memories come I go back to the mantra. I’m cleansing my soul with words.

8 min on the F train 5.21.14
prompt sourced from transit ad