Inside My Head

the literary rantings of Angie Frissore

Out of the Box

When I got home from work, it was obvious that the electricity had been off for hours, at the least, as the air in the apartment was so thick with humidity that you could slice through it with a knife.  Taco rushed to me, thankful that I had finally arrived to free her from the overheated torture chamber.

 

After deciding that the coastline was not providing adequate shade and/or breeze with which to cool off, Taco and I headed back home from our walk and made camp on the back porch.  I sat there, restlessly, full of energy, and no outlet.  One never realizes just how dependant one becomes on all things electrical for mental stimulation.  Kind of sad, really.  I could have read a book, I could have done numerous things…but the heat and humidity defeated any desire I might have had to do so.

 

Luckily I was rescued by Jake’s phone call.  He had heard the news, as just about everyone had at this point, and couldn’t believe that there was no longer ‘Abby and Micah’. 

 

“It’s like the end of an era,’ he said wistfully.  “An era of….doooooooom! Seriously though…let’s get out of dodge for at least the afternoon.  I’m coming by to kidnap you.”

 

A short time later Jake arrived at the house, and we headed up north to Essex.  We didn’t really have a game plan or a destination in mind…the intent was simply to go where the road took us, as long as it was away from Ocean Street.

 

After awhile of navigating the intricate, tree-lined, winding roads of the north shore we came across Singing Beach, a place Jake had frequented on occasion but was foreign to me.  He quickly explained the beach’s main source of attraction.

 

“There’s something about the sand here,” he explained.  “If you walk through it barefoot, it makes noise, kind of like a whistling.”

 

I ran onto the warm sand, holding my sandals in my hand, and was fascinated by the tinny, high-pitched sound the sand made as I stepped through it.  The beach was absolutely breathtaking – the perimeter was guarded by incredibly tall rock cliffs and coves that made it feel more like a tropical island than New England.  We walked along the edge of the dry sand, picking a semi-secluded spot near the rocks, and sat down on the sand.

 

“You’re better off,” Jake said, “though I think you already know that.”

 

“I know,” I replied, looking out across the water.  “I just didn’t want to believe it.”  

 

When I first met Micah, years ago, I wasn’t completely sold at first on the idea of dating him.  He wasn’t my usual type of guy, mainly in terms of appearance, but I went with it.  It was back when I had worked at the bar, though Micah wasn’t actually working there at the time, when he had popped in and offered to help out during one of our busier nights.  They put him behind the bar I was working that evening, and we instantly established a flirty-yet-productive rapport.

 

He didn’t miss a beat behind that bar.  The place was a mob scene, though to watch Micah’s expertise one would never know that we weren’t used to such madness.  I expertly navigated my way through hordes of drunken patrons, making my way back to the bar for more rounds.

 

“What do you need, doll face?” he asked, flashing me a smile.  There was something irresistible about him, and from there our little romance blossomed.  

 

But somewhere along the progression of our relationships, amidst the temporary breakups and fights, we had made the decision to cohabitate, and things very slowly started to spiral out of control.  I saw my friends less and less, and I found myself having to report in more and more to Micah – countless calls from the bar at night, wondering where I could be (when I’d simply be walking Taco), distrust, jealousy.  After just over a year of living together, things began to unravel.

 

“He changed you, man,” Jake pointed out.  “Remember the old days workin’ at the bar? Before Micah?”

 

“Liquid cocaines…” I reminisced.  “I remember the night you got me the job there.”

 

“You used to seem so much more…I don’t know, alive back then.  The dude sucked the life force out of you.”

 

“I don’t want to talk about Micah anymore,” I moaned. “Let’s change the subject.”

 

We sat for a little while longer, taking in the sun and appreciating the breeze that had developed against the stale, humid air, before heading out for beers and fried clams.  Jake’s goal wasn’t necessarily to make me get over it, per se, but to remind me that life was still happening whether Micah was there or not.  It was up to me to jump on board or stay behind.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 2 Comments

At First Glance

“Will you hurry up already?”

 

“Seriously, dude…do I look totally fat or what?” Samantha asked, obsessing over herself in my mirror. I was getting severely impatient.

 

“We’re not going there to meet anyone.  We are going for Skippy’s birthday…to celebrate his birthday.  It doesn’t matter what you look like,” I snapped back.

 

I didn’t even want to go out that night.  Work, as always, had been hell that week and all I really wanted to do was plant myself on my couch with a bottle of wine and a package of Oreos.  But I had promised Skippy I’d come out for drinks, and deep down I knew I had to take the opportunity to get out of my house.   I was on a mission, and it did not involve flirting (for once).

 

……………..

 

Sitting at a table in the bar, I did my best to stifle a big yawn and pretend to be engrossed in the conversation.  I was thankful to have Samantha there, as Skippy’s friends weren’t really in my circle and I generally found myself grasping to make even small talk with them.  I could tell she was getting antsy, and I sympathized.  Given how uncomfortable I was, I could only imagine how she felt having met these people for only the first time.

 

We took a trip up to the bar for more beers.  We stood there, waiting impatiently, and scanning the room, which was full of what seemed to be nothing but dirty, blue-collared workers fresh off of work. 

 

“There are literally no decent men here,” Samantha groaned.  I gently reminded her that we were there for Skippy, and that the lack of scenery should not really matter.  I secretly hoped for that to change, knowing I’d eventually lose Samantha to boredom and be forced to leave early.

 

“Have another beer and suck it up,” I laughed, already starting to feel a slight buzz.  “It’ll be over before you know it.”

 

“12:00,” Samantha suddenly whispered in my ear.  After a few seconds of wondering what she was talking about, I looked up at the entrance to see three men walk into the bar.  “Take a look at these wanna be gangsta’s.”

 

Led by a large, imposing-looking Hispanic man, the small entourage approached the bar.  I couldn’t help but notice a shaggy-haired, casually-dressed man trailing behind the large man and pointed him out to Samantha.

 

“Well, one of them has promise,” I said with a sly grin, still staring at the thin-yet-athletically-built guy with piercing brown eyes.  For some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  “Check out the hottie in the Sox hat that’s with them.”

 

“Maybe he’s one of Skippy’s friends,” Samantha suggested. 

 

“I doubt it,” I said, certain that fortune would not smile upon me so brightly.  Just as the words escaped my mouth, the trio suddenly appeared next to us at the bar.  I felt a hand on my shoulder from behind.

 

“That’s him,” Skippy said, nodding towards the object of my interest.  “That’s the kid I was telling you about.”

 

“Really?” I asked, grinning from ear to ear.  “You never said he was this hot!”

 

“What do you want from me? It’s not like he’s my type!” Skippy laughed, heading over to make his hellos. For months, every complaint to Skippy regarding any particular male in my life had been met with the suggestion that I needed to meet The Coworker, whom Skippy had worked with for about a year.  Perhaps Skippy was not simply talking out of his derriere, after all…perhaps he actually knew what he was doing.

 

“Abby, come meet my buddies from work,” Skippy said, waving me over. 

 

“Cover me, boss,” I said quietly to Samantha.  “I’m goin’ in.”

 

Skippy introduced me to the large Hispanic man and his Asian friend before finally introducing me to The Coworker, but their names had already flown out of my head.  I wasn’t concerned about those two, I wanted to learn more about this shaggy hottie who wore his Sox hat like it was his job.  We quickly shook hands as our eyes locked for a moment.

 

“It’s really nice to meet you,” The Coworker said, taking my hand.  “Skippy’s got nothing but good things to say.”

 

“Oh that’s right,” I laughed.  “Remind me to send him his check for that.”

 

As The Coworker walked away for a quick refill, I sat with Skippy and his sister, who was drooling just as much as I was over him.

 

“I’m telling you Abby,” Stacy joked.  “He’s mine!”

 

“No way dude,” I protested.  “I’m older, so by default, I get him.  Besides, brothers aren’t allowed to set up their sisters.”

 

“And he’s got a kid,” Skippy piped in.

 

“You’re right, he’s yours,” Stacy laughed.  Reveling in my victory, I headed back to the bar to find Samantha, who was sitting at the corner of the bar, yawning.

 

“Sorry man,” I said.  “I had to get the lowdown on Skippy’s buddy.  Why don’t we go sit with Lisa since she’s closer to him.”

 

We made our way over to the dart board, where Lisa and Matty were duking it out and had a lovely view of the pool tables.  I tried to refrain from staring as I watched The Coworker play pool, noting his strong forearms that resembled those of a guitar player.  I had always wondered why I was never into a more mainstream part of the male body, like a good butt, instead focusing on arms and shoulders and such.

 

After about twenty minutes of standing there, looking slightly desperate (at least in my mind’s eye), I decided it was time for action.  The Coworker was obviously not going to approach me, and I had to take matters into my own hands.

 

“I’m doing it,” I whispered to Samantha.

 

“Doing what?” she asked, bored.

 

“I’m gonna get my flirt on,” I said, as I marched over to the pool tables.  After a brief bout of small talk with Jim and his girlfriend (who were conveniently situated next to the pool table in question), I lingered nearby, watching The Coworker expertly sink most of the balls on the table.

 

“Alright, I just have one question,” I announced boldly, approaching him.  “Who’s gonna kick my ass in pool tonight?”

 

The Coworker flashed me a smile (as I did my best not to melt into a pool of lust) and agreed to take me on.  Contrary to the evening’s non-flirtatious intentions, I was working my magic with ease and was well into our little ‘match’ when Samantha approached.  I avoided making eye contact with her, hoping she’d walk away.  I knew what she was about to do.

 

“Dude, can we go? This is seriously getting boring,” Samantha complained.  Not ready to end my evening (in any way, shape or form), I said nothing and handed her my car keys.

 

“Are you kidding me? How are you going to get home?” she asked.

 

“Who cares? I’ll get there somehow. Skippy’ll make sure I get home, won’t you Skip?” I yelled over to Skippy, who had just joined Lisa and Matty’s dart match.

 

“Somehow, someway, it will be done,” he yelled drunkenly.

 

“Just don’t crash it,” I pleaded as she hugged me goodbye.

 

“Thanks man, and tomorrow I want details,” she said slyly as she headed for the door.

 

With Samantha gone, and my driving responsibility gone with her, I gladly accepted the beer that The Coworker offered to me and we got back to our game. I was mesmerized by this man, this beautiful male specimen with his perfect facial structure and dark, brooding expression.  I was hooked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 29, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 5 Comments

No Messages (Working Title) Update

So after ten years of toying around with the idea of writing this book, it’s really coming together nicely, finally.  The official word count is just over 22,000, which is already just 3,000 words short of 25,347, which officially makes it a ‘novel’.  While I’d like to say what the ultimate goal is, I think the book itself will determine that.

I’m still struggling a bit on how to end it – what road will Abby choose in the end; will she finally control her fate or let fate control her?  At any rate, I’m hoping it will be not only raucously hilarious but poignant as well.  There’s lots of surprises in store as the life of Abigail Harris unfolds.

So stay tuned and keep checking in, as there will be many little tidbits to come on the site to hold you over until the completion of the novel!

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Halloween Cheesecake Horrorfest

There’s nothing I enjoy more than Halloween.  It’s not because of the pumpkins, the old memories of childhood trick-or-treating, or the ghosts and ghouls and all that nonsense.

No, I enjoy Halloween for the simple pleasure of rock-solid, 24-hour access to the world’s cheesiest and most wonderfully lame horror movies.  From Evil Dead to Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the month of October routinely brings a barrage of choice entertainment, which, as usual, recently sparked a debate amongst my friends regarding which movies hold the coveted top positions on the horror movie cheesecake rankings.

But alas, we could not come to group consensus on which movie would be the ultimate in B-movie horror goodness.  So you tell me, which movie gets your vote for Ultimate Horror Movie Cheesecake?

October 26, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Look to the sky.

“Abby? Hey, it’s me.”

“Justin? What’s going on? Why are you calling me?” I asked, annoyed.  I had tried to be outright blunt with Justin in an attempt to get him to back off from his stalker-like behavior, but nothing I tried seemed to work at all.

“Oh, I just wanted you to see something cool,” he said.  “If you look up in the sky, you can see a rainbow.”

“What? A rainbow? Justin look–”

“No, Abs,” he interrupted.  “That’s it.  Just look up.”

Justin hung up the phone and I let out an exasperated sigh, although the curiosity was getting to me.   Why would he call me about a rainbow?  I suddenly noticed that several people on the street around me were looking up and pointing.  I couldn’t help myself, so I looked up.

There was a man on the roof of the town hall, standing on the edge of the building.  Passersby were pointing and letting out shocked, hushed gasps, questioning what would happen next.  It was almost as if some of them wanted the man to jump.  I tried to focus my gaze on the man on the roof to get a better look, but all I could make out was a navy blue T-shirt that read “I’m big in Europe”.  Time suddenly froze around me.

The man was Justin.

This is why he wanted me to look up.

Suddenly my phone vibrated in my hand, and the world started to move again.  It was a text message from Justin.

I’m sorry.

The world was still moving, and moving fast as my surroundings blended in.  As my legs gave out beneath me, I heard the sound of a woman’s scream and then…nothing.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 1 Comment

Night of the Screamer

When I met The Screamer, I knew nothing of who he supposedly was. In fact, I’m fairly certain didn’t care given the multitude of other issues I had going on at the time. The only reason I was even out that night was again, a mere attempt to distract my downtrodden-but-not-quite-heartbroken self and try to just have some fun.

The night had been an all too familiar scene for me…I was one of very few women there, to start with, so upon walking into the gallery I was met with the leering stares of the scattered men in attendance. The Screamer was one of them. But he was a friend of Jeff’s, and someone I had heard enough about to render him non-sketchy and worth sharing some drinks and laughs with.

The Screamer was quite a flirt, and at several points throughout the evening I caught myself digging the attention I was getting. Romantically speaking, I was at that somewhat vulnerable place where one needs to feel that they have maintained a level of animalistic attraction despite having had someone do an Aztec two step on your psyche. It did not matter to me that I really didn’t care to pursue this little flirtatious adventure after that evening, I was just happy to have that “still got it” feeling and used the opportunity to fine-tune my feminine prowess.

The night’s inebriated adventures soon morphed into a field trip from the gallery to a seedy club on Belmont to see some thrash band that The Screamer knew. As I stumbled down the sidewalk, trying to keep up with Jeff and The Screamer in my four inch heels (which were slipping against my now sweat-drenched feet), I suddenly caught a glimpse of what I was in for and looked at Jeff nervously. If there was ever a scene that was clearly not mine, we had stumbled upon it. Hordes of heavily-eye-lined, leather-clad girls were milling about outside the club, smoking cigarettes and trying to look as cool and tough as they could (apparently the show was all-ages).

The arrival of The Screamer caused quite a commotion, to which I had to stifle a chuckle. I was glad to have grown well out of the “I think you’re hot just because you’re in a band I know” mentality that was obviously plaguing these girls who were now swarming him. I was losing my buzz, and could barely keep my jeans up due to the massive amount of sweat now soaking them. I could think of at least 37 other places I would have rather been at that moment than standing on Belmont Street surrounded by a bunch of morbid-cool teeny boppers who thought they were badasses.

We lingered outside for a moment, due largely in part to the oppressive humidity and certain kiln-like temperatures inside the club (I had overheard a rather large, somewhat scary individual ranting about the lack of air conditioning as he exited the club). Within minutes, we lost The Screamer to the crowd of metal chicks (who were so concerned with maintaining their image that they didn’t seem to care that each one had thick black eyeliner melting down their faces). Upon the realization that The Screamer was indeed not coming back for us, I stepped off the curb and hailed a cab for Jeff and me and headed back to my place for some much-needed air conditioning.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 1 Comment

Love story.

“Well?” I politely pressed, having waited now a full ten minutes for Jeff’s feedback.

“It’s nice…but there should definitely be more monkeys with frisbees,” he replied, quite matter-of-factly.

“But there aren’t any monkeys, let alone more.  And certainly none with frisbees,” I noted, annoyed that I was the only one taking this project seriously.  “It is a love story after all.”

“Nothing screams romance like a shot upside the head with a feces-covered frisbee thrown by a primate.”  I could see this was going to be a losing battle.  “After all, what is love without monkeys?”

“A fairy tale?” I offered.

“Yeah…kinda.  The moneky makes it real.”

“What about the frisbees?”

“Foreplay.”

“I’m gonna remember that the next time someone wonders why we’ve never gotten involved.”

October 23, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | Leave a comment

Waking up to us.

My stomach was turning as we turned down Market Street and began scouring the area for parking.  I wasn’t nervous about the show, which surprised me.  I was far more nervous that Micah had insisted on coming along, even if he and Eric were planning on spending the evening at a pool hall down the street.  I couldn’t let him know that Sam happened to be running the sound board for the show.

As luck would have it, we found a spot on the street just outside of the club.  I gathered my camera bag and turned to Micah, who was already having a hard time controlling his jealousy.

“If I get done earlier than expected, I will call you guys and come find you.  Otherwise, make sure you call me before you head back here,” I couldn’t stress that enough and looked Eric dead in the eyes.  He was there to run interference for me.  Keep him busy. I was hoping for some random moment of mental prowess that would allow Eric to hear that thought.

When I was finally able to pry Micah away from me, assuring him that all would go smoothly, I turned toward the club and was instantly lost in the crowd.  I pushed my way through dozens of collegiate hip hop fans and headed for the door.

“Hey, I’m Abby Harris, I’m hear to shoot the show,” I stated to the imposing bleach-blonde, muscle bound punk bouncer.  I’d seen him several times before, but usually while somewhat inebriated.  I gave him Kenny’s card, the sleazy promoter who was organizing the show.  I knew he’d mainly asked me to photograph the show in hopes that he’d have an opportunity to woo me enough to have his way with me.  Instead, I was there the placate him to an extent in order to shoot the opportunity of my still-green photography career: a national act, incredibly well-known, and with established cross-genre respect.  Unlike other acts I’d been able to shoot, this one wasn’t a nostalgic trip down pop culture memory lane…a reunion show, a ‘I wonder if we still have a following’ show.

The blonde man let me in and showed me where to find Kenny.  I was already enjoying the power that went with this line of work as the envious crowd looked on in shock to see me waltz into the place with ease.  I didn’t even like the act…which to me, was the best part.

I found Sleazy Kenny backstage, chatting up two young and stupid-looking college girls.  

“Hey Kenny,” I interrupted.  He turned around and immediately locked gaze on my chest.

“Abby, hi – I’m so glad you could make it,” he muttered, the words oozing sketchily out of his mouth as he undressed me with his eyes.  I pictured myself taking batting practice on his slimy little head with my camera bag.  “I kind of have bad news.”

“How do you ‘kind of’ have bad news?” I asked.  “It’s either bad or it’s not….what’s going on?” I prepared myself for the inevitable truth, the moment in which his master plan was foiled.

“Well, the show is being promoted by Salem tobacco.  I guess these guys’ management doesn’t want any photos…they don’t want any bad PR by being associated with a tobacco company.”

This was the best he could do?

“Call me crazy, Kenny, but I would assume, and this could just be me, that being the promoter, that would have been something you were already aware of, correct?” I asked, calling his bluff.  “I mean, you had to have known that.”

Before I completely lost my temper, I stormed out of the backstage area.  Thankfully, Sleazy Kenny had no idea that Sam and I knew each other (pretty well I might add).  I made my way through a sparse crowd of club workers to the front of house sound board.  I could spot Sam easily, given  his tall and incredibly sexy stature.  No matter how many times I’d seen Sam, there was always that moment of breathlessness when he first caught my eye.
“Abby….” Sam said deeply with a huge smile.  “You look absolutely beautiful.” He wrapped his arms around me and picked me up in a hug.  It had been almost a year since we’d been able to see each other.  He’d been on the road touring and I had been playing Rapunzel in the tall, cold tower of Micah’s jealousy.

Instantly, the disappointment of not getting to shoot the show melted away and I was wrapped up in the opportunity to spend the evening with Sam.  Sam never cared about Micah…he never really cared about anyone, for that matter.  Because of his work, we’d never really get the chance to be an actual couple, per se, but I had no issue with that.  Sam was the only man on earth whose actions when not around me did not phase me.  I didn’t care who he was with, who he saw, who he dated.  When Sam and I were together, nothing else existed.  I was the universe when wrapped in Sam’s arms.

“Well, things are pretty much covered here for now,” Sam informed me.  “Shall we venture outside for a smoke? My van’s right out front.”  I loved his fearlessness.  Here we were, in the middle of Market Street where dozens of pockets of club-goers congregated outside the several venues, and Sam and I were going to smoke a joint in his van, right in the thick of it.  

“So Micah let you out of the cage?” He asked with a sly grin.  Just because Sam wasn’t affected by my relationship status didn’t mean he wasn’t entertained with the drama of it all.  We sat in the van, smoking, and I lamented about the monster which had become my relationship.  

“I just don’t get it,’ Sam stated with a strange air of seriousness.  “You’re not the kind of girl that would let this happen.”

And I wasn’t, at least, I never used to be.  I never let any man exhibit any control over my life, and here I was, almost surrendering to Micah’s control.  He had always been sneaky about it – he was a provider, a nurturer.  Perhaps it was this that prohibited him from truly seeing the effect he had, since I didn’t need a nurturer.  I didn’t need someone to take care of me.  I could do that myself.

I tried to brush off the topic of Micah.  I nestled my head innocently into Sam’s neck and sighed.  Micah was only two doors down the street from us, and yet he may as well have been on the other side of the planet.

“Nothing else exists right now,” I noted to Sam.  “It’s just you, me and this van.  I like this.”

“Maybe that should tell you something, Abby,” Sam whispered, kissing the top of my head.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 1 Comment

Distraction

I went to the show to forget him. I wanted to be distracted by the other one, the one I’d used as the focus of my unfulfilled desires for over half of my life. This was mainly because I knew fully well that the other one would never be mine…there was an odd sense of safety in that. I could not lose a person who was never mine, and I needed to not lose someone.I tried to brush aside the feeling of loneliness involved in entering a packed club as a solitary entity. I made my way over to the side of the stage, near the ramp leading up to the backstage area. This way, I figured, I could avoid the awkwardness of having to look for him.

My plan was starting to backfire almost immediately once I saw him up on the stage. It wasn’t him sitting there…it was the Southern Man. All I could see was Southern Man‘s face sitting where the other one should be. The sense of imminent disappointment was creeping up on me as I tried to shake off these tricks my mind was playing on me.

I had to admit the band was pretty good. I hadn’t been that late, perhaps ten minutes at most, but already they were playing their last song. There were knots in my stomach as I wondered if my appearance would be seen as the act of a desperate little girl who never outgrew a crush. Would I look like a sad being having come all this way alone, to see the band of someone to whom I was never close to begin with? More than likely.

Just as the second band was starting to play, the other one came down the ramp. I reached out my hand, smiled and yelled ‘Hey!’ as cheerfully as I could. There was a brief exchange of pleasantries, including the ever-famous and always welcome hug that had the other one wrapped tightly around me. It always felt like how I’d imagined hugs felt from someone who truly cares about you, but I could only theorize.

Having to go do his band thing, he rushed off with the promise of returning in a few minutes. Twenty minutes and a beer and a half later, I realized just how pathetic I was looking to those around me at that moment. I couldn’t even pretend that I was into the next band, considering I had a good seven to eight years on the members and most of their crowd.

I made a trek to the ladies room, deciding to be on the lookout for him. I emerged from the restroom, slightly disoriented from having rushed through the last of the beer. When it dawned on me that even if I did run into him, it would be hard to notice in the dark, packed club, I left. I didn’t bother to linger or scope out the area to see if he was around, I just made my way down the street, around the corner, and back to my little corner of the world

October 23, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 1 Comment

Planes, Trains & Autombiles, Part 1

As we stood in the gate, waiting for the ticket agent to call our boarding zone, I couldn’t help but people watch and take note of our fellow passengers. Not that I didn’t always have this inclination, but anytime Samantha and I were together, these urges were generally exacerbated.

“Sketch alert,” I mouthed, tilting my head in the general direction of two young would-be ladies’ men whose over abundance of cologne could seemingly ignite at any given moment. I was placing my money on a South American heritage.

Samantha turned to get a look at the pair, who by this point had misinterpreted our staring for desire or attraction. Instead, Samantha let out a loud guffaw at the mere sight of misters Rico and Suave. This led me to lose control of the serious façade I had put on, and I collapsed into giggles.

“Ohhhh this is gonna be a fun weekend,” she spit out, through fits of uncontrollable laughter.

“I’ve got twenty bucks that says one of us has to sit next to them,” I challenged.

“You’re on!” Samantha laughed, shaking my hand. “Dude, let’s go, I think that’s our zone.”

We boarded the plane and realized that we weren’t even sitting in the same row. Not that it mattered much, but now I’d have to go over two hours without a partner in crime to witness my musings. I took the center seat in my row, cursing to myself over not getting a better seat.

I watched as other passengers made their way past my row, waiting to see who would stop. Each time another passed, I felt like standing and shouting, Big money, no whammies…STOP!

I saw the Dynamic Duo heading down the aisle and held my breath. As the approached, looking carefully at the overhead compartments for row numbers, they slowed down as they made their way towards my row.

Damn! I knew it! I cursed under my breath and looked behind me to find Samantha, who was grinning ear to ear, having won our bet.

“Excuse me,” the older of the pair said. “We are in this row, but we are brothers….would it be possible to switch seats with you so we can sit next to each other?” The older brother asked, with a distinct Italian accent. Even though I knew it was wrong, and that I’d probably (certainly) be going to hell, I breathed an internal sigh of relief. For unknown reasons, I found Italian men to be far less shady than Latin men.

“You mean you want the middle? You don’t have to ask me twice!” I responded, quite enthusiastically. As I shifted myself over to the aisle seat, I glanced back at Samantha, donning my own grin. Her expression soured as she held her hands out to emphasize her seating arrangements – she ended up smack in the middle of a mother-son pair who were on their way to look at colleges.

Smugly, I sat back in my new seat and got comfortable watching the in-flight cable programming being offered. The two Italian brothers, much to the surprise of no one, were watching Italy in the World Cup soccer finals.

An hour and a half into the flight, I was getting a tad stir crazy. I settled in to a trivia game that was showing on the plane’s entertainment system, taking occasional glances at the score of the World Cup game.

“You pull for Italy?” The older brother asked me. I had to admit I was never one for soccer, but the excitement intrigued me. If I was, however, I’d be pulling for Italy, I assured him.

The rest of the plane was remarkably quiet, save for the dull roar of the engines. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the sight of Italy scoring a goal. Instinctively, the older brother jumped immediately to his feet.

“Yea!!!!” He screamed, forgetting where he was. The other passengers in the cabin did a collective jump as his joyous scream filled the cabin. Once the shock subsided, the tension was cut with a loud roar of laughter over Super Fan and his antics. Unfazed, he politely waved to the rest of the passengers and took his seat, smiling. I looked back at Samantha, laughing, only to see her passed out, resting her head on her hand.

………

The humidity in West Palm was so thick, you could actually see it in the air. Samantha and I stood outside of baggage claim, smoking and trying to figure out what our next steps would be. In order to save ourselves almost $600, we had decided to fly into West Palm and train it down to Miami. The only issue we were faced with, was figuring out how to get to the train station.

We stood there for about a half an hour until we realized that the taxi stand was a good hundred yards away. High-tailing it over in our heels, we took the first cab we could find.

“Nearest Tri-Rail station, please,” I implored of the driver, wondering if he even spoke English. Without a word, we were weaving in and out of local traffic and arrived at the train station within what felt like seconds. I brushed off the driver’s sketchiness and handed him the $15 he insisted on charging us, even though his meter wasn’t working properly.

“Abby….” Samantha whispered. “Do you notice something odd here?”

I glanced around and couldn’t help but see that we were quite literally the only whites in the entire station. Being from the Northeast, this was not new to us. What was new, however, was the shocked looks on the faces of the crowd to see Samantha and I arrive, looking polished, ignorant and vulnerable.

I shook off the uncomfortable feeling and lead us into the station. After waiting for a good six minutes, a heavy-set, obviously exasperated ticket agent looked at me expectantly.

“We’d like to get on the train,” I begged.

“Well y’all can’t get on this train,” the agent barked.

“This is the train to Miami, no?” I asked. “We’re heading that way.”

“I say you can’t get on this train,” she repeated flatly.

“But…..I have money,” I said sarcastically, waving a fistful of fives around madly.

“Ma’am, this is the Amtrak train. Y’all can’t just get on an Amtrak train without a ticket. You can buy a Tri-Rail ticket though,” the agent snarled at me.

“Ok, that makes sense. You know, life would’ve been easier if you’d just said that in the first place,” I barked back.

“Don’t take any guff from these swine,” Samantha uttered, startling me with the clever reference. I shoved our money into the ticket agent’s chubby hand and grabbed the two tickets she all but threw at me.

An elderly white man approached us, with a surprisingly friendly demeanor.

“You girls heading to Miami?” He asked. We confirmed where we were heading, and the man pointed to the other side of the platform. “Well y’all might want to hurry up over to that other side there, as that train’s gonna be comin’ in any second now.”

After thanking the helpful man profusely, we raced up the steps and across the platform to the outbound side, just as the train was pulling in.

“Ya know, I’ve seen people run that faster,” the train conductor joked.

“Not in three inch heels, buddy,” I quipped with a grin. We boarded the train and in moments, were finally on our way to Miami.

……..

“I let you out here,” the cab driver announced, in a thick French accent. Shocked to find a French-speaking taxi driver in Miami, I had kept Samantha thoroughly entertained by my translations of the driver’s cell phone conversation. “No sense in chahging you to wait.”

Relieved, and a bit surprised, Samantha handed the driver our cab fare (including a hefty tip) and we were off. As the first few raindrops of an impending thunder shower fell, I did my best to keep up with my friend as she ran towards the stadium, skillfully navigating her way through the standing cars along the highway off-ramp. It wasn’t that she was that anxious to see the game, but her urgency was born out of a desire to not ruin her hair in the rain. Uber-tomboy that I used to be, I had made the wise decision to sport my Sox hat.

After much commotion, we made our sweaty way into the stadium. We had narrowly avoided incident after some guy accidentally stepped on Samantha’s foot, setting her off in her already tested state.

We stopped at the first vendor we could find so that Samantha could buy a hat, successfully ending her pre-game tirade. Grabbing a few beers, we headed in to find our seats. Hordes of Red Sox fans crowded the stadium, and I couldn’t help but notice that Miami fans were few and far between. Miami even had cheerleaders in some desperate attempt to increase drawing power.

Somewhere around the fifth inning, with the Sox pretty much guaranteeing a win after a major home run, a very inebriated Skippy called me.

“Dude….” he slurred. “You’re the reason he just hit that homer. You’re good luck for them – you must be!” Skippy was always very, very passionate about his baseball. “A coupla buddies of mine are at that game…lemme find out where they are and I’ll call you back!”

“Who was that?” Samantha inquired, still attempting to dry herself off after wearing half of my neighbor’s beer.

“Skippy,” I replied. “For some reason he seems to think we’ll be able to find his friends here.”

“Which friends?”

“Who the hell knows? That’s the kicker in all this. I have no idea who these idiots are.”

After a few minutes, Skippy text messaged me.

They are in section 9A.

I immediately called Skippy back.

“Are you serious?” I asked. “We’re right next to that section.” He hung up the phone to get back in touch with his friends.

They’re gonna stand up, Skippy texted.

Within a few minutes, we noticed two Skippy-looking guys with Sox hats on standing around scouring the crowd behind them. I waved.

“How do you know it’s them?” Samantha asked, puzzled.

“Because they look like potheads, and they look like they’re looking for someone,” I noted. These two definitely looked like the types to associate with Skippy. I wondered what that said about me.

 

……

 

After several beers and one replacement beer (best way to score free beer – inadvertently have someone spill theirs on you, and their conscience forces them to purchase an apology beer), the game ended.  The Sox had, not surprisingly, destroyed Miami and Samantha and I missed no opportunity to taunt the locals as we departed Dolphin Stadium.

“Dude, they have to share their stadium with their football team.  If that doesn’t say sally skirt, I don’t know what does,” Samantha lamented drunkenly (and at the top of her lungs).  “Let’s get the hell out of here before we turn into pussies too.”

The main problem with baseball in a city like Miami is that the more we harrassed the drunk male Marlins fans, the more they seemed to think we were flirting with them.  These were not true fans.  Back home, someone’s girlfriend would’ve kicked our asses.

I did my best to keep Samantha from passing out in the cab on the ride back to the hotel.  What seemed like such a short trip to the game was taking forever coming back.  Once we arrived at the hotel, we made a beeline (again) to the bar.

“Manuel, my favorite barkeep,” I announced as we crashed a group of posh club-types.  We were drunk, we were dirty, we smelled like sweat and beer, but we were paying guests, and Manuel knew it better than anyone.  “Lay it on me, brutha.  Give us two of your award-winning dirty martinis.”

“Anything for my favorite beautiful Boston girls,” Manuel flirted back.  Damn, he was a good bartender.  We took our $12 cocktails out to the patio clumsily.  With every drop from my glass, I cried out.

“Crap! There goes a dollar.  Shit – fifty cents is on the rug!”

We sat down on the outdoor balcony, surrounded by the relaxing sound of resort waterfalls.  Samantha was over the top at this point, and soon spotted a choice victim for the evening.  A well-dressed, handsome European man was dining by himself on the balcony, two tables from where we were sitting.  She sipped her drink, staring at the man and smiling, waiting for him to notice.

“You look like a total psycho,” I commented, giggling.  “I’m sure that will totally win him over.”

Finally, the man felt the heavy, creepy gaze of Samantha’s drunken stare and looked up at us.

“Cover me boss,” Samantha quipped. “I’m goin’ in.”  And with that, she was gone.  She had taken a seat next to the man and began shamelessly flirting with him.  I took out my cell phone and dialed The Southern Man.

 

“Hey Abs, how was the game?” The sound of his voice made my drunken heart swoon.  I gave him the details of our trip so far, and longed to be sitting next to him on his couch.  The martini was going to work quickly, and I soon became a gushing, romantic mess in a desperate attempt to cover the fact that I was sitting on a resort balcony in Miami, Florida surrounded by palm trees and waterfalls, drinking a ridiculously expensive cocktail by myself.

I gave him the play by play of Samantha’s escapades as she drunkenly (and quite obviously) gave me a distant thumbs-up.  All I wanted was for the Southern Man to be there with me.  I hated the fallout of seeing him…I always missed him more than ever just after my trips to Houston.  It had only been a week, but I knew it could be up to a year before I could see him again.

An hour and a half later, I hung up with the Southern Man.  Samantha was still working her magic (or attempting to) on the lonesome diner, and I was overtaken with melancholy.  Suddenly, a tender voice came from behind me.

“Are you okay?” asked Pablo, the resort worker/cabana boy/waiter asked me, with a concerned look on his face.  I looked up at him with a sad smile, appreciating the sincerity of his question.

“Yes, Pablo,” I responded. “Thank you.”

“Another drink for you?”

“No, Pablo.  Thank you.”

He gave me a knowing smile and headed back into the hotel bar.  Samantha returned, giving me the low down on her new friend.  Loudly.

“You know he can hear you,” I pointed out.

“Really?” Samantha laughed, in a loud raspy ‘whisper’.  “Okay, we should go.”

 

October 22, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | Leave a comment

Letting Go

I turned to walk up the street and back to the house with Taco in tow, only to find Micah waiting for me, standing by his truck. I wondered what he was doing there.

 

 

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this little unannounced visit?” I asked as I approached him, letting Taco off her leash to romp in the yard. Random Micah visits generally did not bode well with me, as they usually were the by-products of various people running their collective mouths and Micah’s uncontrollable urge to ‘save me’.

 

 

“I just wanted to see how you were doing,” Micah said. “You got a few minutes?”

 

 

We went upstairs to the kitchen, where I poured us both a cup of coffee. Micah took a seat at the kitchen table, tracing the outline of the wood pattern with his index finger.

 

 

“I love this table,” he muttered, perhaps second-guessing his decision to leave most of the collective furniture in my possession.

 

 

“Yeah, well it’s got nothing but good things to say about you as well,” I joked, handing him his coffee and taking a seat. “Now really, what’s this all about?”

 

“I know it’s really none of my business,” Micah stated, “but from what I hear you’ve been a little bit…out of sorts lately?”

 

 

“Out of sorts?” I asked, my annoyance level slowly increasing. “Define out of sorts.”

 

 

“Chris says you’re not acting like yourself…kind of out of control and a party girl all of a sudden.” I groaned loudly and rolled my eyes.

 

 

“I knew it,” I snapped.

 

“Knew what?”

 

 

“That Chris would feel the need to report back to you all the time. And how does he know what ‘acting like myself’ even entails? The guy barely knows me, aside from having been your girlfriend. You can tell Chris he can kiss my tiny white ass.”

 

 

“He’s just worried,” Micah reasoned. “And so am I. I mean, Abby, you’re bringing home these random guys…you’re always out.”

 

 

“Micah, listen,” I said, “that’s all swell and good and sweet that you’re concerned for me, but honestly? It’s not really your job anymore to worry about me. And fuck Chris, like’s really worried about me.”

 

 

“And the guys?” Micah pressed.

 

 

“Not that it’s any of your business at all anymore, but just because a male walks into the house doesn’t mean I’m sleeping with him. I’m sorry Chris feels the need to live vicariously through me, but he’s making mountains out of molehills here. And again, not to be a bitch, but how is this any of your business?”

 

 

Micah sighed and looked at the floor, shaking his head. He had always had this need to protect me, to shelter me from everything, even if it had led to our downfall.

 

“I’m fine, Micah. I’m just living life. Remember what that was like?”

 

 

“Fine,” he said, with a sad look in his eyes. “If you say so. I’ll leave it alone.” He gave me a hug and turned towards the back stairs, giving Taco a quick pat on the head before leaving. I watched as he got into his truck and pulled down the street, before making my way upstairs to Chris’s apartment for the long-overdue confrontation.

 

October 22, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 2 Comments

Howdy, Neighbor.

Jeff and I sat upstairs, unwinding from our respective days at work and complaining about, well, just about everything as we shared the last of Jeff’s weed.  Just as we were about to agree on the most clever way to get someone fired (which we figured would be a clever yet obvious drug plant in said person’s desk), we were interrupted by the sound of a knock at the back door.

“Who could that be?” Jeff asked, slightly paranoid.  “I didn’t see anyone come up the driveway, did you?”  I looked out the window to find that there were indeed no cars in the driveway, aside from our own.  The landlord’s family had been fully moved into their new house across town, leaving me and Jeff as the sole occupants of the sprawling property.  For the time being, at least.

Mildly freaked out by the surprise visit, we quietly made our way downstairs, tiptoeing around corners and trying to peek out of the windows before answering the door.  Jeff manned the front of the house, scanning the front yard for signs of life, as I headed for the back door, where I was met by a disheveled looking man bearing a sack of some kind.

“You must be the new neighbors,” the sketchy man muttered.

“Ummm….no,” I said nervously.  I had never seen the man before, and was starting to grow concerned over his intimate knowledge of the house.  “We’ve lived here for years.”

“Oh, I figured you just moved in.  Well anyway, I brought you some dinner,” he said, handing me the sack.  Not wanting to be openly rude, I accepted the sack and offered some off-the-top-of-my-head excuse of having to return to my own affairs.  I shut the door, ensuring all locks were sufficiently engaged, and ran for the kitchen.

“Who the hell was that?” Jeff asked, watching the sleazeball slink off down the driveway.
“I don’t know…but he gave us…..this,” I said, holding up the bag for Jeff to see.  “What do you think it is?”

“Whatever it is, it’s bleeding.”

I threw the bag onto the kitchen table as Jeff grabbed a broom handle and proceeded to work the bag open, not wanting to touch it with his hands.  He stared silently at the bag’s contents for a minute.

“Well?” I asked, impatiently.

“It’s potatoes.  And raw meat.  Did I mention raw? Yeah, it’s raw.”

I grabbed the bag and looked inside, only to confirm that there was a large chunk of raw pork, which was unwrapped from it’s cellophane packaging, coupled with a few rogue potatoes.
“Maybe it’s fine,” I said, trying to be optimistic.

“Maybe it’s been poisoned,” argued Jeff.

“But really, who would do that?”

“Who drops off a sack of unwrapped raw pig meat??” Jeff laughed.  “Maybe he’s stalking you.”

“Well, he’s not doing a very good job,” I explained.  “He though we just moved in.”

Without a word, Jeff grabbed the sack and silently headed outside, where he gently placed the sack in the Taco-refuse-bin.

“Who does that?” I asked, as Jeff ran in the house to wash his hands (repeatedly).  “Who randomly gives out raw meat to strangers?”

“Maybe we should’ve eaten it,” Jeff moaned.  “I mean, it was a free dinner.”

“Go nuts,” I encouraged.  “I’m getting a pizza.”

An hour or so later, after gorging ourselves on a large pizza with ‘the works’, we pondered the manner in which the stranger had made his way to our door.  Neither of us had seen anyone walking around, and the thought of the sketchy pork man skulking around the empty unit next door bothered us severely.

“We need to check the perimeter,” Jeff said assertively.  “Find out how he got in.”

We grabbed a flashlight and headed out into the backyard, slowly making our way around to the opposite side of the house.  The empty apartment next door was quiet.  As we approached the side of the house I noticed a path between the house and the neighbor’s fence.

“That’s where the bastard’s getting in!” I whispered.  “What do we do? We can’t have him sneakin’ up on us.”

“We blockade it,” Jeff said, still a bit stoned from earlier.

“With what?”

Jeff roamed around for a few minutes, disappearing near the utility shed.  He emerged carrying a large Styrofoam cooler.

“This? We’re gonna keep him out with a cooler?” I asked.

“It’s the best we can do right now,” Jeff muttered.  “At least he’ll know we’re on to him.”

October 22, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 2 Comments

On Curiosity and Trips to the Zoo

One by one, they call.

One by one, they are overtaken with their curiousity and succumb to the desire to seek me out again.  They show up with their memory in tow, ready to assess the current state of things.  Who is better off, whose lives have changed, whose minds have changed…dancing around the urge to know the magnitude of impact….if there was any impact.

So they show up to witness first hand the potential fall out and I humor them.  They wear masks of concern and nostalgia but what they really want, more than anything, is to feel good.  They seek justification  and validation of their own lives, and merely wish to ensure that nothing was overlooked.

That they’re not missing out.

So one by one they arrive, to stare in awe for a moment or take a picture, a momento.  Come to see the main attraction, and then it’s back to their reality until the next trip to the zoo.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Settling In.

I took a seat at the bar, near the cash register where Amy could see me, and noticed the same old regulars hanging out playing pool. 

 

“Abs! What’s up? How you holdin’ up?” Amy asked, as she made her way over to me.  I asked her to make me a double vodka tonic as I proceeded to explain how I’d spent my day informing various mutual friends of the termination of my relationship with Micah.

 

“It’s just like…I don’t know, rehashing the whole thing over and over again,” I complained.  “It makes it harder than it has to be.”

 

“How’s it gonna be living at Chris’s house?” Amy asked.  At first I had been appreciative that Micah had taken the high road and had offered to move out, but the reality of staying in a house owned by his friend was still sinking in.

 

“We shall see,” I muttered. “He already thinks I’m gonna poison Meg and convince her to leave him.”

 

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Amy said.  “The fact that he’s a complete assmunch should convince her to well enough without having to drag you into it.  You know what you need to do?”

 

“What’s that?” I asked, throwing back the last of my drink.

 

“Get out there, date again,” she urged.

 

“Ha! Last thing I need is Chris, like, spying on me or something,” I joked.

 

“Aw, come on.  I’m sure he’s got better things to do than that.”

 

“Have you met Chris?” I asked.

 

“Good point,” Amy conceded.  “Hey, watch the bar for a second.  I have to run upstairs and get some change.”

 

I walked behind the bar, running my hand along the inside bar rail.  It had been almost a year since I had been behind that bar, yet it felt like I hadn’t missed a day.  As I took the scenic route on my little trip down memory lane, a scrawny, dirty-looking local called me over to order a beer.  When I returned with his drink, he looked at me intensely, puzzled.

 

“Aren’t you a waitress? What are you doing behind the bar?” he asked.

 

“Dude, I haven’t even worked here in over a year,” I retorted, walking away.  I wondered how long it would take him to realize the irony in my statement.  Amy returned to find me giggling to myself.

 

“Dare I ask?” Amy asked, carefully placing her change in the register drawer.  She had always been slightly neurotic when it came to cash, for some reason. 

 

“It’s nothing,” I laughed. “Alright, I’m out of here.”

 

When I got home that night, Taco greeted me half-heartedly.  Micah and I had adopted Taco from a local shelter, where she had been brought up from Puerto Rico.  She was our baby; Micah was her dad, and now he was gone.  I hoped she didn’t blame me…did dogs know how to place blame?

 

We walked down to the pier, where I sat to quietly smoke a cigarette.  Taco and I had spent many an early weekend morning during Micah’s late slumbers down at the pier, just taking in the quiet of the morning.  I supposed I needed to find that peace in this new, different setting, but I struggled with how to accomplish that.  There were so many things in my life that were heavily integrated with Micah, so many changes and adjustments to be made. I felt completely overwhelmed, yet at the same time, I looked forward to being able to call the shots again – to make my own decisions without having to report in to placate someone’s jealous nature. 

 

I went to sleep that night with a strange feeling of excitement that almost felt as if it were Christmas Eve and I was twelve years old.  Abigail Harris was back in control of her life again.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 3 Comments

Ghosts of Micah

My unsettled sleep was broken by the sound of my alarm clock, pulling me out of a strange dream that had left me feeling disoriented.  I couldn’t figure out why I had set the alarm for a Saturday morning.

“Because it’s not Saturday,” a familiar voice announced, somehow aware of my internal thought process.  I sat up in bed to once again find Micah’s memory sitting at my desk, watching me.  “It’s Tuesday.”

“Go away,” I muttered angrily.  “I wasn’t even thinking of you this time.”

“Please, if you weren’t, you and I both know I wouldn’t be here right now.”

I got out of bed and brushed by him in a hurry, escaping into the bathroom to take a shower.  Perhaps a shower was all I needed to clear away the morning’s strange vibe.  I stood under the hot water, trying to focus on the day I had ahead of me.  There wasn’t much, save for perhaps a training, and that spelled trouble.  On the rare occasions I had downtime at the office, my mind would generally wander.  A wandering mind was not a good thing, as it usually resulted in being followed all day by the eerie pseudo-ghost-internal-Micah.

I stepped out of the shower and nearly fell and cracked my skull open at the shock of seeing internal-Micah sitting in the bathroom with me.  He sat, perched on the edge of the vanity, staring at me with that same old all-knowing smirk on his face.

“I broke up with you months ago,” I reasoned.  “I have no reason to be thinking about you like this.”

“Exactly,” he said.  “So why are you?”

“Displacement.”

“Oh yeah? So, what…I’m like a favorite comfy, dirty, old scar on your soul that you think about whenever someone hurts you?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said, suddenly making the realization.  “That’s exactly what you are…only…”

“Only what?” he prodded, knowing where I was going with my reasoning.

“Only you didn’t hurt me.”

“Exactly,” he said.  “So can I go now? Are we done here?”

“I think we are,” I said, distracted.

October 13, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 1 Comment