Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lock the Door

"Are you here to blubber about people forgetting your birthday?"
"No," Dorge responded, somewhat sulkily.
"What'cha got there, another list?"
"This is clearly a skull. This is not a list."
The half-orc frowned and squinted at the skull, "Why did you write a name on it, then?"
Dorge sighed and set the skull on the table next to his keys, "I wrote 'JUMP' on it, that isn't a name here. It's not a name where you're from, either," and then Dorge told him what it meant in Common.
"I had a name once, but you for-"
"That was a long time ago," Dorge cut him off, "What are you doing here, anyways? You still have a key?"
Half-Orc looked like he winced at that, but he was so horribly disfigured by the fire it was hard to get a read on a lot of his expressions. "I do still have a key, yes. But you didn't lock the door. So I was just waiting for you."
"Well, I'm here," Dorge said and toed off his shoes. He was a little irritated that Half-Orc hadn't removed his boots with God-Knows on them, but. Choose your battles, he decided.
"I'm just checking on you. You're writing stupid."
"Writing stupid?" Dorge parroted, shrugging off his coat.
Half-Orc nodded and shifted in his seat, "Writing about who came to what and all this. That's your mother talking," then blew a snot rocket onto the floor.
"Jesus! Seriously? You're not outside! That's not a thing, people don't do that."
Half-Orc considered, then asked if there was coffee made.

It didn't occur to Dorge until later to ask how long Half-Orc would be staying. He was surprised he had been there this long. He didn't mind it so much except that he hadn't been expecting anyone and catching up on chores while someone who fundamentally didn't understand them could be a little exasperating. He briefly considered putting out a scented candle but thought the benefits of such would not out weigh the barrage of badgering questions it would invoke and decided against it. He zipped his pointer and middle down the crease of his towels while wondering what word he would write on Half-Orc's skull.

Everyone knew that writing names was too dangerous. Incantations were one thing, summoning was a whole other ball game.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Something Sharp

They sat on the rooftop in folding chairs watching the city burn. The fire was over, now it was thick pillars of black smoke holding up the late afternoon sky. Adver was hunched over, his chin on the bridge of his arms, inscrutable. Dorge leaning back, ankles crossed, watching he smoke undulate, smelling the carnage. Somewhere below a car alarm protested twice, three times, then stopped.
"Do you still keep that list of people that didn't come to your dad's wake?" Adver asked, tilting back to Dorge.
"No, good lord," Dorge said.
Then Why is Your Jaw Clenched is what Adver did not say.
Things had not gone the way Dorge thought they would and he felt cheated. When his dad died two months ago, there was supposed to be Dorge out on his knees in the pelting rain and crying into the mute, thunderous heavens, grabbing fistfuls of wet earth. Later there would be a procession that would rival a Roman Emperor's, and probably the United States Air Force would do a flyover, screaming raptors against an eye-hurting blue sky. It was not like that.
Dorge uncrossed his ankles and brushed some of the dust and grit off his thighs, it seemed as if he were getting ready to stand, but then did not.
"All this ruin," Adver sighed.
"Is this where we belong?" Dorge asked, looking at Adver.
A shrug in response, "It's where we are."
"Were we fighting?" Dorge closed his eyes, "I'm glad you're here, either way."
"No. Not this time."
Adver would not ask how long they would be there, did not mention he hadn't eaten since breakfast, did not play with his phone, did not make long whistling sighs, did not bounce his heels. Dorge hoped he could be for Adver what Adver was to him, but knew he fell short on a lot of it.
Below them a building finally tilted far enough to come crumbling down, sending up a fresh gout of sandy gray dust. There was a piano in the heap, the sound of it had opened Dorge's eyes and he stared at it until it was obscured in the miasma of destruction. He remembered something then.
"National Geographic says Nero didn't play a fiddle while Rome burned."
Adver stretched his neck, "So, do you want me to fetch you a fiddle, or something, Caesar?"
Dorge choked on his laughter and tears pinched into his eyes, his throat raw and burning from the smoke and dust, "Yes! Ass. Then if you'll teach me how to play it, too."
"Who the hell says Nero knew how to play?"
Maybe it didn't go the way Nero wanted it, either. Maybe playing the fiddle was all he knew to do. Keep up the music, keep up the dance, keep playing, playing, playing. Maybe he cried after that final note faded away, and the tears tore out and the earth split open beneath him, enough to swallow him into the dark. Maybe there was something sharp down there to open himself with, and let more come out, thick and scabbed and finally wet and warm, underneath, there it is, he would think and rejoice, there it is.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Hey, listen"

Not having the best week. Work has been a little crazy, the girls just fight and fight, and my dad is saying things to me like, "Where am I?" That's why I'm reaching out to you to apologize.
You: woman dressed  in form fitting I-know-how-to-make-my-own-soap and work as an advocate for something. You answer questions with questions and your gait is determined and you have lists in your head of things to deploy as to why you don't eat thirty different things. You were being followed by a child, a boy dressed in what I assume was some sort of ninja costume. But that seems wrong, I'm just not really sure what it was, but he was running to keep up with you, watching his feet.
This is where I could have avoided having to write this. At this point we passed each other on Hale Street, and I could have said, "Hey, listen."
But I didn't, because I just didn't feel like it. It wasn't because I was wrestling with how to say, "Hey, listen, there's a gigantic dildo vibrator thing on the ground around the corner you're turning with that child. It's just laying there like it crawled to the sidewalk after being hit by a car and it looks dirty."
I'm not sure I would have said it like that, either, but. Was I supposed to pantomime what you were about to traipse across? Maybe we could have taken a knee and I could have suggested alternate routes with a piece of chalk.
Maybe you wouldn't have even seen it. That's not true. Even if you hadn't seen it the boy would have definitely alerted you to it's presence by holding it up and saying "WTF" in kid.
That may have very well been what happened and that's the worst scenario I've thought up after leaving you two to your fate.
So, I just wanted to say Sorry About That and I Hope That Didn't Happen.
Wow, that's certainly a load off.
I feel better already. I hope you do, too.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

About The Price

Adver and Dorge sat a a table in a Mexican restaurant waiting for the second basket of chips. The bus had been hours ago and they didn't know what to do next but were hungry. They still didn't much feel like talking as was their way, so they just looked at the murals of Aztecs behind one another.
"You know my grandfather, the one Molly was named after? He lived in this town, mining town, called Blakeley, it's not there anymore. And he had these chickens, I guess everybody had chickens, and he was out there feeding them one evening- Buzz told me this, and this guy comes up wanting to buy one of the chickens. So he stops feeding the chickens, I mean, he was just throwing some grain around, I'm sure, and they start going back and forth about the price, standing there on opposite sides of the chicken wire. Finally they agree on a particular chicken and the price and all and the guy pays him, and so he's like 'Ok, well bring her to me' and my grandpa says, 'It's your damn chicken, you get her' and walks off!"
Adver chortles politely but doesn't find this anywhere near as funny as Dorge does. He twists around in his seat to look at the mural behind him, "Is there a chicken on my mural or something?"
There was, of course.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Posted on the Outside

"Sorry guys, I'm tired." Adver read aloud from a crude sign posted on the outside of a building. He turned to see if Dorge was seeing what he was seeing but Dorge was asleep, chin tilted oddly in the air.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

When His Two Bucks Were Up

The bus smelled like new plastic and tomatoes. Scratch that. Dorge leaned his head against the glass. The bus didn't smell like anything he could identify except bus. Pine? Do you have Bus? He wasn't supposed to be on the bus, but he had accidentally caught the eye of the driver while he was waiting to cross the street and felt like the gesticulations that would be necessary for the driver to keep from opening the doors would prove too much for him to engage in, so he just got on. He actually had two dollars on him. He wondered if the driver would tell him when his two bucks were up. What was amazing (?) was that Adver got onto the bus a few streets later and was sitting by him now. They hadn't spoken yet but they both assumed the other was on the bus for the same reason. Except Adver was traveling around on five dollars, having felt awkward when the driver tried to give him change he had brushed him off. Now Adver was wondering if the driver felt like Adver thought he was some big shot, tipping bus drivers. Adver had decided to depart the bus with a "G'day mate!" and hopefully the driver would think he just wasn't from around here and didn't know to not tip bus drivers. But that would be a while from now, as both thought there were too many people on the bus to actually get up and draw any attention to themselves.
There was a young man on the bus trying to talk to a stranger about how messed up the world was. Saying things like Don't Get Me Started and You Wouldn't Believe. Adver and Dorge looked at each other and made a silent pact to get off the bus with the young man if he were to press the Ding! button somewhere close to an abandoned warehouse or morgue or open sewer of condemned anything.
Dorge took out his Kindle and adjusted the brightness so no one could see what he was reading. Dorge was always worried that people really gave a fuck as to what he was doing so always took appropriate measures to guard against this. But as soon as he messed with the brightness the Kindle powered down as it was want to do. Adver gave a quizzical look but dropped it before Dorge could turn to see it.
At the next stop a woman with long hair got on holding a guitar and smiling at the people near the front in a really peace-be-with-you-let's-pick-flowers kinda way and Dorge said Jesus Christ. Adver chortled and said Maybe? I'm no expert. Dorge replied Maybe we'll have a sing-a-long?
Then they were quiet for a while.
Adver asked Dorge if he knew that Hey Man, Nice Shot was a song about a guy who shot himself on television. Dorge nodded and said the guy's name. That was the only song of their's I liked, one of them said.
There was someone wearing their watch on the wrong hand a few seats ahead of them. Dorge had never bought that "opposite your writing hand" crap. But he decided to forgive the person on the basis that he couldn't actually see their other arm and so it must mean that person only had the one arm. It must be difficult to get a watch on with only one hand, and here this person was, totally rocking that watch. Dorge felt a sort of admiration for them then.
The bus kept going. Going and going and going.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mushrooms and Vigilantism

Dear Graziano's of Capitol Street,

First, I love your pizza. It's quick, and painless, and good. But, that's not why I'm writing. I just want to express a concern that I've had since the last time I was in, it's been a few weeks now.

I've tried to talk myself down off my high horse (like I said, your pizza is good) but my concern comes from one of your staff having a handgun holstered to their hip. It really bothers me.

Yes, I'm aware of their right to have the weapon on their person. But, it is a weapon, and I bring my daughters in there. Your argument may be the line where you tell me I'd be singing a different tune if ever your establishment was held up while me and my daughters were in there, and maybe you're right. But I think having potentially two weapons engaged in conflict is going to up the chances that at least one of those weapons will be discharged. Also, I'm aware of the likelihood that there has always been a weapon close at hand in the establishment, and I can't tell you why I'm more comfortable with the thought of a shotgun "behind the bar" than someone in your employ deputizing himself in Pizza Town.

I find the presence of the weapon to be intimidating, which is counter to the feeling of welcome that I search for when going into an establishment to have a meal.

Also, I know that the employee makes regular deliveries in the course of their work, and there is certainly an argument to be made that Capitol Street has had its share of violent crime in the past. To this I say the weapon invites violence, and lends to the appearance that the employee is carrying a substantive sum of cash. Perhaps the employee has already experienced a violent encounter and that is the reason they feel the need to protect themselves with a visual deterrent, but I certainly hope not.

In any event, it's just something I felt I needed to bring up. I look forward to having your pizza again, as soon as you go back to just wielding pizza cutters.

Sincerely,

Dorge Kas