“Your novel is good,” her boyfriend said, “but your real stories are better.”
Mit Shithead Neighbor Trev
My shithead neighbor Trev got put on probation for insurance fraud and gave me his tackle box full of weed, for safekeeping, since he knows my grandma piss-tests me, but today my shift got cut and I woke up late and Vanessa was already at her sonogram, so I packed a bowl of Trev’s weed and put on some Phish and took a long shower, and when I pulled back the curtain to get out, every little tile on the floor – blue, white, speckled-blue—was a plaza full of people all in a parade, and I’m hundreds of feet above them, I’m a giant, and everyone down there’s delighted to see this enormous nude dancing man, high in a beautiful porcelain balcony, blasting the greatest Tweezer jam of all time, and they go so nuts for me, cheering and all, that I think, man, I better dance my ass off, ‘cause this is the most amazing party I’ve ever seen, and it’s all on me now.
I know he would have loved these flames, even as his body is the log.
Miss You, Mona
It only failed after Mikey Castellano hauled some honeybees strapped beneath a tarp in the back of a semi from the bayou through Texas through New Mexico and Arizona to the California olive groves; barely stopping for three days and nights, he sang to let them know he hadn’t forgotten, could never forget the sound of their frantic hum: let us out; after he released them to the brown hills and roared back across the country, his wallet thicker than ever, determined to take her from the men at the Pocket Pony, off of I-65 in Tennessee, where the girls had more tattoos than teeth, where the beer was sometimes cold, and the parking lot leaked with oil drippings, almost there now, he coasted down the exit ramp, heart accelerating, listening for that familiar jukebox song, only to discover the bar had turned to concrete rubble, leveled by a bulldozer while he’d been gone.
It was a big number, maroon with tan leather seats, nav system, a lingering New Car smell from a can that masked the high odometer, the leaky oil pan, and they might’ve looked like a couple of cops in an unmarked car, maybe on some stakeout, or maybe just at lunch in the parking garage, the topmost floor, with only a scattershot of vehicles around, except they weren’t in the front seats, and he kept looking out the back to see if anyone was coming, and she kept telling him faster and he would try but damnit it looked like someone was coming and she told him harder and he ducked his head into her shoulder and she said nobody’s coming and he checked his watch when he thought she wasn’t looking and she grew quiet and said just finish why don’t you.