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Where Do I Stand? (An Apolitical Rant)

02/03/2012

These are some of the most trying and irritating times in America. No, i’m not speaking of our economy or rising crime. It’s an election year. Meaning you can’t go anywhere on the internet without seeing a political cartoon or an abortion debate. Literally any news story or forum thread can (and does) degenerate into an overblown debate with walls of text and arguing of ideals.

You can’t argue ideals, people. They’re intangible, philosophical. It’s a waste of energy trying to control the other side. Guess what? Some of us don’t care about politics. I’ll live my life the way i’ve always lived it. And that’s awesomely.

But where do i stand? I don’t even know myself, really. I tend to lean conservative because i was raised right and that’s where the money is. I disagree with a lot of conservatives though, especially the black-and-white, callous pundits.

Here’s what i believe, somewhat.

The Government:

Look around next time you’re driving. Watch the news every now and then. People need government. Most don’t know what’s good for them. They think it’s okay to act on any little urge and impulse. They think it’s “freedom” to do so. Damn the consequences. They don’t have a basic understanding of denial-of-self. I prefer a bigger government because most people are dumb as a piece of wood and guidance is necessary. The government, though not fully trust-able, isn’t trying to poison us or enslave us. They’re not pumping toxins into our water and they’re not dropping fucking alzheimer’s-causing chemicals into the air. If anyone’s doing that, it’s the pharmaceutical companies. I’ll get to them later.

Abortion:

I think it’s disgusting. It’s not about “No man can tell ME what to do with my own body” and it’s not about preventing deaths from back-alley abortions. That’s absurd. True, since abortion’s legal, it’s your choice if you want to do something that awful to yourself. I can’t deny you that. But don’t make it about feminism because it’s not. It’s only necessary if it’s needed to save the life of the mother, which i assume is pretty rare. Even House has only tackled the issue once. And really, i can’t see it being okay for a woman to carry the baby of a rape. Just imagine having to look into the eyes of the man who raped you. I wish there was another way to take care of it but nobody’s come up with it yet.

Death Penalty:

Nope. Not me. Nobody deserves to die. Nobody. Evil should be locked away and studied. Put them in a 4’x4′ room with nothing in it and let them sit there forever and think of what they’ve done. Who gives a damn about “cruel and unusual”. Who gives a damn how much it costs us. The cost of perpetuating evil supersedes it. Make them smash big rocks into smaller rocks. Don’t kill them. There’s no real way to justify murder. Sure, i like to write violent and mean crime stories but it’s fiction. Nobody deserves to die.

Gun Control:

I agree we need some measure of gun control. There’s a lot of crazies out there. But you can’t take guns out of people’s hands because then only criminals will have them. Guns exist. In an ideal *cough*bullshit*coughcough* world, maybe people shouldn’t have guns. But they’re here. There’s millions of them all over the world. There’s no getting rid of them. There are some bad, fucked up people in the world. I know i said nobody deserves to die but if you come near me or my family and my life is in danger? You sir, at least deserve a new hole or two. Besides, guns are cool as shit. Have you seen someone shoot a Fitty Cal? In person? Don’t tell me that’s not cool as shit.

War:

It’s been around since the beginning of time. War. The military is necessary. You can’t stop war. I agree our reasons for entering another country should be more closely scrutinized. But really, what do we know? We don’t know why they’re really going over there. I bet the soldiers don’t even know. Regular people like you and i aren’t qualified to know these things. We don’t know what threats there really are. The government can’t tell us because the dumb among us would freak out. And shut up about a one-world government. It doesn’t mean the Antichrist will immediately rise up and enslave us.

See? Writing this is boring the crap out of me. Politics are dreadful. I’m not done though.

Immigration:

Don’t really care. Their food is amazing. They’re nice people. I wouldn’t have had most of my girlfriends if it wasn’t for immigration. I know some of the illegal folks are a problem but most of them aren’t a problem. They’re actually helping keep prices low, you fools. The only problem is telling the pilgrims apart from cartel guys. And why are people only concerned with Mexican folks? Is it because they’re our closest neighbors? I love Mexicans. Their women are great, their food is amazing, their culture is rich and old. It sucks the cartels are causing us such problems because i like foreign people.

Welfare:

This is needed. People abuse it sure. But people abuse wives and kids too. Maybe we should get rid of them too, huh? I grew up dirt poor and i’m not sure how we would have managed without welfare. We are an overabundant, rich nation. We owe it to those lesser than us. Have a heart. And yes, drug test them.

Drugs:

Don’t legalize them. What are you, stupid? Yes, weed is pretty tame but it still fucks people’s brains up. They’ll have a wrecked life and they just can’t figure out why but there they are every morning sucking on a bong. People don’t think clearly when they stay high. I’m speaking from experience here. You have prescription pills. Those are more binding to the nation than meth, coke, and heroin combined. Take some of those instead if reality is really that hard for you.

Gay:

I think it’s a gross and unnatural lifestyle and it’s not at all biological. That’s insulting to humanity. However, these are people just like the rest of us and they struggle like the rest of us. Why do you care if they get married? Marriage is a big, outdated joke anyway, stop defending it. I have lots of gay friends and they’re awesome and nothing like the gays on TV. Men aren’t supposed to act that way, really. Stop.

What else do those idiots argue about? Is that everything?

Religion? Churches shouldn’t be taxed. They provide tons for their communities. Stop being mean and petty. People never report that stuff.

Westboro Baptist? I believe in God. Deeply. And i’m pretty sure he never gave any of us the right to criticize or judge how other people live their lives. Burn it down for all i care.

Global Warming? Yes we have a responsibility to take care of things but look how big and unpredictable the earth is. We’re not the ones in charge, not by a long shot.

Airport body scanners? The TSA folks are not all perverts, you paranoid fucks. They’re actually very helpful and polite. This goes hand-in-hand with ‘War’ above. You don’t know what threats we really face right now. Sit down. Besides, those scanners are cool as shit. It’s like finally being in the future.

Red light cameras? Don’t run red lights, asshole.

Redistribution of wealth? Shut the fuck up and move to China, asshole.

So what am i? Neo-Con? Libertarian? Tea-Partier? Moderate? Independent? Any other numb-nuts label they came up with? Some of us don’t care about politics, remember. Voting is useless unless you’re voting on local officials and laws. Didn’t the 2000 election teach you anything. It’s not about who you want to be our leader. It’s about who THEY want.

Please don’t argue any of these points with me. I won’t bother. I’d rather argue about who’d win in a fight, Batman or James Bond or something. The answer is Batman.

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Deadpan Delivery (aka I Love Aubrey)

02/01/2012

Can i just say how much i’ve fallen for Aubrey Plaza? There, i did. I’d only seen an episode or two of Parks and Recreation before, although now i watch it all the time. Mostly because of Aubrey but also because it’s pretty damn funny. Just look at her for a second. Or a minute, i’ll wait…

I’m not jumping on a bandwagon here, promise. I’ve had a thing for her for quite some time. Long before that Warcraft commercial that made her super popular (Look at those legs when she’s on the couch). I love deadpan delivery, especially when it comes from a sad, quirky, brown haired, brown eyed girl. That’s my type, you see. I don’t like blondes so much. They have too much fun.

I don’t really remember her in Funny People because i only saw it once and i felt like it was too long and it didn’t know when to end. The part with Eminem yelling at Ray Romano was hilarious though. But i’m sure she stole the scenes she was in. Here, let’s look at another picture.

Don't give me that look.

I love the black eye liner and i have to tell you something else. My favorite thing right now is black nail polish. Especially if she’s not wearing anything else that’s black. It hints at a darkness and a sadness that any normal guy would find attractive. And not because i have a savior-complex or it’s easy to take advantage of sad girls. Because it’s not, trust me. Also, i got past that savior-complex thing a long time ago. And i didn’t even have to pay a therapist! Sad girls are not easy. That’s part of why i like them so much, because it’s a challenge. That and they usually say the most interesting things like “I want to eat your brains. And i will!”. <–True story.

Back to Aubrey. Her delivery is what i admire most. She doesn’t care what’s going on around her and she doesn’t smile or laugh at her own jokes. I’ve been working on my deadpan delivery. It’s not easy because my jokes are so funny, you know. They even make me laugh and most people can’t do that. People have always told me to “be more enthusiastic” and i used to be all “Oh shit, i better be more enthusiastic then!” but now i don’t really care. Why pretend, you know? Then you’ll just end up running around like a fucking oblivious dork everyone sniggers about when you’re not around. Everyone needs at least a small degree of self-hatred. It’s healthy.

Anyway, Aubrey Plaza is the crown princess of deadpan. She doesn’t get a lot of screen time in P&R but it’s fine. It makes her appearances that much more memorable. Look at this music video she’s in:

http://music-mix.ew.com/2012/01/31/aubrey-plaza-j-tillman-father-john-misty-hollywood-video/

The range. The emotional depth. The eating of flowers. Even the bloody face is attractive on her. She does crazy well.

Look, i went on and on about this chick. But can you blame me? Sad, quirky girls have this hidden sexuality that’s never overt or threatening. I’ve never been one for the All American Girl, i find them typical and droll. And not droll in a cute way like Aubrey.

Here, one more picture for the road:

You shouldn't smile more, dear.

Oh my.

The Best Comic Book You’ve Never Read

01/26/2012

Image

It’s too big for a movie, too real for an HBO series. Stray Bullets by David Lapham. When i was just a young lad at the tender young age of 15 or so, i was a comic book nerd. Yeah, that’s right, 10 years before it was cool to like geeky stuff. I was geeky stuff. However, i had loving parents who loved to shelter me. I had to be careful what comic books i brought into the house. Not to mention, i was too young to drive and there was nary a comic book store nearby. Reading something like Stray Bullets would not be tolerated. I’d have to hide them under my mattress like a porno and that would depreciate the value.

I wanted to read Stray Bullets so badly. Preacher too. It wasn’t until i was an adult that i went on a quest to track down all the shit i didn’t get to see when i was a teenager. This is how i finally read Stray Bullets, the single best crime comic ever written. In fact, it’s one of the best American stories ever written. It’s right up there.

The story starts off simply enough. It’s the modern day (most of the series takes place in the 80s) and Joey and Frank are disposing of a body. We’re never really told who the body is, and in true Stray Bullets fashion, things go from shitty to fucked-off in no time. By the end of the issue, everything looks like this:

Image

It's Susan Smith all over again!

Yes, like any great 90s indie comic, Stray Bullets is in glorious B&W. You know what? It wouldn’t have worked in color.

Issue 2 starts 20 years earlier, with Joey as a child somewhere in the background. We’re at a Star Wars showing with two obviously bad guys who murder a back stabber in an alley. Then one of the murderers himself gets offed. Typical Jersey night, right? Except little 7 year old Virginia was peering around the corner and saw the whole thing. Something happens inside her and just like Joey in issue 1, things get fucked off.

Image

The signature cover.

Virginia (aka Ginny) freaks out in school and stabs a boy. Then she gets in a fight in the woods on Halloween and ends up left for dead. Ginny becomes the muse of Stray Bullets, the driving force. Nearly every plotline (and there are TONS of plotlines) involves little Ginny somehow. David Lapham is a master storyteller in that regard.

Stray Bullets is an epic tale, spanning a decade or so and damn, if it’s not uber-realistic. Anyone who grew up even remotely poor will recognize these people. It’s a big big cast of people caught up in shit lives amongst awful and hidden criminals, the mysterious Harry pulling the strings somewhere.

There are just a few major story arcs and myriad subplots that all add up into this brilliant piece of American literature, Pulp Fiction style. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen on the big screen, like nothing you’ve ever read.

There’s drugs, sex, murder, pedophilia, spaceships (you’ll see), infidelity, theft, a magical cow, more drugs, more murder. It’s 40 issues of gut-wrenchingly real people and situations. Even space cadet Amy Racecar is explained beautifully. Not one character in underdeveloped, no matter how reprehensible they seem on the surface. Even the enigmatic hitman Monster is sympathetic. Barely a word is uttered by him until he won’t help someone unless she marries him.

It’s a heartbreaking practice in a kind of noir not seen many places. It’s at points poignant and terrifying and funny and incredibly sad and manic. It was left on hiatus way back in 2005 and there are no current plans to continue the cliffhanger. Lapham has since moved onto things like Deadpool for Marvel or his own Young Liars for Vertigo. Both are brilliant in their own way but neither comes close to Stray Bullets. Lapham will return to his baby someday, i’m sure. Even one issue would be enough to finish the whole series, Lapham is that good. Pleeeeeeeease.

So where can you find this modern crime masterpiece? It’s not so easy, no. Most issues are out of print, although if you had enough gusto, you could probably track them down on Ebay or Amazon but they’re pricey. How did i read all 40 issues and the Amy Racecar specials? Well i definitely didn’t download either a program called Comical or a program called CD Display and then download the entire series via a torrent program. That would be illegal and i’m not savvy enough to do that kind of thing, you know? I’m no criminal. SOPA for life!!

The Key to Writing Women (If You’re a Man)

01/24/2012

Get Rid Of Slimy girlS

It seems daunting, i know. To be a man and write from the perspective of a woman. But i can help. I, too, was afraid of writing a woman. Sure, there were some girls in a story or two but they weren’t really at the forefront. I remember i did an exercise in my creative writing class where i had to write as the opposite sex and i didn’t do so well. But after the class was done, i wrote 3 stories told from the point of view of a lovely lady. I think i may have the key to writing women, which i’ll share soon because it’s a simple little tweak that will change the way you write women.

So many of my peers do it wrong. They look at women from an outside perspective. They write women how they see them. The problem here is that many writers (especially the males) are the heartbroken type. They have what we call in the industry “issues”. They’ve had bad relationships and it’s given them an insidious, underlying misogyny.

It’s a little bit alarming and it’s everywhere, not just in writing. Men are so misguided when it comes to women and instead of dealing with their issues (like i did), men would rather just put it off onto women. It’s easier to just shift the blame onto someone else than to work through it yourself. Look, if you’ve had tons of shitty relationships and you hate women because of it, guess what? It’s time to look at yourself instead. Take some responsibility, you chose that “crazy ex-girlfriend”, you’re just as much to blame for the shitty relationship as she is. I don’t have any crazy exes and all of my relationships, though ended, were interesting and sublime to be in.

“But what about the key to Writing Women you spoke of earlier?”

Shutup, it’s coming. I’m not done preaching at you yet.

I’m pretty selective when it comes to women and it works. One girlfriend worked for Geek Squad and modeled on the side and she was absolutely beautiful. One was in a naval brig for 6 months. One taught Tae Kwon Do. One was a 6 foot tall escort. One could probably quote the movie Clerks word-for-word. Are you getting my point here? Choose wisely. I love and miss all of my exes.

If you think all girls are annoying, stop picking annoying girls. If you think all girls are bitches, stop picking mean girls with no redeeming qualities. If you think all girls are dumb, fuckin’ a, stop picking dumb girls. You should come at girls purely and with no judgments or projections because you’ll just end up sabotaging the whole thing and proving yourself “right” about your judgments.

I’m digressing more than i wanted to, sorry. But it’s relevant, i promise. Your view on women will drive how you write them.

Back to the misogyny in male writing. Most don’t even realize they’re doing it. But they’re projecting their hated ex onto the redhead in their story. She’s tied to a chair for a vague and underdeveloped revenge. The guy in the story punches her in the face over and over until teeth fall out and her face collapses. Pretty disgusting, i think. That’s an actual example, by the way. It’s one of the stories that inspired me to write this.

The only girls in my peers’ (i hate calling them that, actually) stories are strippers or teenage prostitutes or unrepentant bitches deserving of awful revenge. It’s immature and your work won’t be remembered for it. Find another way to get over an ex. Therapy works, there’s no shame in that. Or just do what i do and drink her away. It’s worked for me so far.

“So? The key?”

HA. Still not there yet, rude person. Keep reading. Always wanting more, aren’t you…

Although i thought The Average American Male was well written and funny, it suffered from a hidden misogyny. Unfortunately, it’s a wholly accurate example of the modern average American Male. And thank God i’m not average. The Delivery Man is another example. The women in that book are ruthless career women or tossed-aside conniving prostitutes.

Look instead at James Ellroy or really any good noir writer. You can’t have noir without a badass chick in it. I love Ellroy’s work. It has such a macho, brutal edge to it. But the women in his stories are brilliantly done. The women support the men and the men (secretly) rely on the women. Such is life. Or life amongst the more intelligent folk.

You’ll have to change your negative, shitty view of women if you want to write them effectively. I think women are wonderful, interesting creatures. They’re not a total mystery to me like that idiot Stephen Hawking. He hasn’t been with a woman in like 30 years, what does he know anyway?

It’s an energy, an unspoken knowledge between me and women. A secret garden, if you will. It’s not about getting laid or having affairs. It’s simply a connection. It’s shared experiences. I have this connection with married women, foreign women, ex girlfriends, girls i’ve never even spoken to. It’s a deeper understanding of things. Anyone can find it if they just looked for it. In fact, i’ll give you some resources when i’m done, which is soon.

All that said (and i’m sure i’m forgetting stuff i wanted to impart), what’s the key? I promised it’s very simple and it is. It works for me, i love the stories i wrote from the perspective of women. They always want more. That’s it, that’s the key. No matter how happy they are, how content they are, they always desire a little bit more. It’s a passion, a longing that most men lack.

Women always want a little more.

99 Problems...

If you can convey that one little point somehow in writing your women, it’ll work. It has worked. The other stuff should fall into place. It did for me. Now i love writing women, it’s a blast.

Think of it this way: You have this cool character, maybe he’s an assassin or a former secret agent or even just a badass bank robber. He uses knives, knows some shady people. He has a badass convertible he drives sometimes but most of the time he rides his badass motorcycle.

Now just imagine this character is a woman instead. See how much cooler that is?

Some resources, you misguided, misogynist asshole:

The Game by Neil Strauss
http://www.amazon.com/Game-Penetrating-Secret-Society-Artists/dp/0060554738/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1327434052&sr=8-3

Zan Perrion
http://www.zanperrion.com/

The Red Queen by Matt Ridley
http://www.amazon.com/Red-Queen-Evolution-Human-Nature/dp/0060556579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327434135&sr=8-1

James Ellroy
http://www.amazon.com/James-Ellroy/e/B000AQ50RC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1327434179&sr=1-1

Everyone Needs a Muse

12/29/2011

There  it is. I’m officially enrolled in Creative Writing and Publishing as well as Post-Civil War American Lit. I don’t like Brit Lit and Colonial Lit sounds like a total bore as well. I hate Shakespeare and i don’t know much about Dante. World Lit is probably a mess because most translated works i’ve read were bogged down with details and did not translate well. I’m looking at you, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

What’s that? TWO English classes in one semester?? And both are on separate days but in the same classroom?? I know what you’re thinking and yes, i will be leaving random objects in the classroom on Mondays to see if they’re still there on Thursdays. Or maybe i’m insidiously ingratiating and integrating myself into Montgomery College’s  prestigious English department. No not that. The first thing though, yes. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Perhaps you’re wondering how i will write all those papers. Because English classes correlate with writing papers. Well, genius, if you’ll let me finish. Christ i hate typing sometimes. The creative writing class only requires that i turn in 3 stories before the end of semester and i have more than twice that to turn in, maybe even thrice that. I’m not going to write any new stories either because i’m not doing stories right now, i’m working on the novel. It’s hovering at around 8,000 words. It’s not much but if i can do that 9 or 10 more times, i have a novel. So anyway, the English classes will be okay i think.

I’m also ready for my next week vacation to Reno. Plane ticket is purchased, window seats and all. I’m going to see someone very important to me. I don’t want to say much because she might be reading this and i don’t want her to know my true feelings just yet. But she’s really important to me and one of the biggest reasons i’m writing today. You could call her my muse, i guess. Everyone needs one of those. She’s asked me what i want to do but i don’t really care what we do. I’m mostly just excited to see her, i haven’t seen her in over 7 years. That’s a pretty long time. Anyway, i know we’re spending a day in San Francisco so i want to go to Rogue’s Brewery. Maybe throw a pissjug or two at the Oakland occupiers. Yes, that’s a Trailer Park Boys reference. If you’ve never seen Trailer Park Boys then why are you reading this?

So that’s that. Also my partner in crime at work is quitting so now i’ll be left alone with these fools. It is not good. Now i’m just trying to remember all the stuff we wanted to do when one of us quits. Maybe wreck the toilet or something? IDK IDK.

I wanted to use this line today but it never came up so i’ll just use it out of context.

What are you, as dense as the fog i drove through this morning? Shit was deep. It was zero visibility, couldn’t even see 10 feet in front of me. I was about to pull out onto the highway this morning because i couldn’t see any cars coming but i had my windows down (because i am so smart. SMRT. I mean SMART) so i heard a car coming. It was dangerous and creepy.

I’m sore this morning and hungry so i’m gonna go pretend to work now.

Pee Shy

04/01/2011

I came to a figuration over the week. Figuration is a word, it means the same thing as realization. It’s not even telling me it’s spelled wrong so that means i’m right. Anyway, i noticed a pattern in my life and with how i deal with women. I’m going to keep it vague for now because i don’t have all of the facts and it’s just a theory (are you listening, scientists?). I don’t know who the hell reads this and some of my friends would read it and not tell me they’re reading it so that’s another reason i’m being vague. But it has something to do with a cycle i put myself into with girls i’ve dated or slept with. It’s stupid and kind of petty but now that i’ve noticed it maybe it’ll change and i can find a decent girlfriend. Anyway, enough of that. Instead of telling about my whole weekend last week….end, i’m just gonna tell a funny story from it.

Me and my friend Shiloh went to this German festival in Tomball. If you don’t know what Tomball is, it’s a cowboy town. Like big time cowboy town. Not rednecks like where i live, old fashioned cowboys n shit. Anyway, we. got. drunk. The thing i noticed about Shiloh and i is that we’ve never hung out alone, it’s always been in groups. This was the first time she and i were by ourselves. We are no good for each other. She needs someone to keep her in line and that’s not me right now. I’m too much of an instigator. We’ll wreck each other if we’re not careful. Enough prefacing, SHIT.

We spent the festival talking to strangers and running around like crazy and messing with carnies and getting smashed. At one point, Shiloh had to use the restroom but we had no idea where we were or where the closest restroom was. So we walked down this dark alleyway thing and she decides to just go behind this car. I was to hold the toys we got at the festival, a teddy bear made of hundred dollar bills and a pink flamingo marionette puppet, and wait on the other side of the alley for her.

“Don’t listen to me pee,” and i wait for her to go.

But as soon as she starts (i wasn’t listening, don’t worry), a small group of people make their way down the alley. Shit. I tried to whisper to her without drawing attention to myself but she doesn’t notice. There’s no way she’ll finish in time and she’s mostly in plain view as soon as those people pass the car she’s next to. I panic and turn away from the alley and pretend to play with the pink flamingo puppet. Don’t mind me, i’m just a strange guy in an alley by himself playing with a pink puppet. Nothing strange going on here. Then i looked up as the group was passing and all of them were looking at me. I can see Shiloh next to the car behind them with a big smile on her face.

They continue on and Shiloh gets up and runs to me and tells me they were so distracted by me and the puppet, they didn’t see her being unlady-like next to the car a mere foot or two behind them. It was an accident too, i just panicked and got embarrassed, i wasn’t trying to distract the crowd from Shiloh at all. Well, maybe subconsciously i was.

It was a wild wild night and i barely survived it. We barely survived it. I don’t think Shiloh and i should hang out alone too much. We’ll end up in jail or hating each other.

From September

03/02/2011

I wrote this on a forum a few months back and it’s been one of my favorite writings ever since.

Hung out with the niece today, it was kind of a long day actually. I was supposed to grill with my brother but we went out for margaritas instead. Got shitty service until that one bartender arrived. She loves us, or maybe just me. Hopefully just me. Everyone tells me she’s just trying to get me drunk.
After that i took my niece to Plato’s Closet so she can sell some clothes. They bought everything except her shoes. But wait, i forgot. Before that, while we were in the car on the way over, hannah gets a phone call (that’s her name, hannah). All she says is “Yeah” then “Ok”. I thought it was my brother getting onto her, he’s pretty strict. Then she tells me it was her boyfriend and he dumped her. She’s distant, not too upset. At least not yet. We leave Plato’s Closet and i make a joke about finding Ed Hardy clothes elsewhere. Hannah doesn’t laugh, damnit.

We try this other place and it’s an Asian girl this time and i say “Herro” without realizing i said it. The Asian girl doesn’t seem to notice. Hannah doesn’t laugh. She has a great laugh, i need to hear it.

Then she wants to go to the used book store across the way. It doesn’t smell like old man like i thought it would and they have a decent selection. There’s a gay and a geek behind the counter and they’re talking about tv shows i don’t care about and the whole store can hear them. I find a really old James Ellroy book, a Dave Eggers book, All the Pretty Horses, and a short story collection. Hannah finds some pink book. I flip through He’s Just Not That Into You and then i hate myself for a full minute. I find hannah and tell her that i heard this old woman fart and it was pretty loud. Still no laugh. Damn these teenagers.

Nothing too interesting has happened all day, i didn’t get into any confrontations, didn’t do anything stupid. I’m worried hannah’s gonna think i’m a bore now.

We go get some smoothies but hannah can’t handle all the people so we left to this park where me and my brother and all our shithead friends used to hang out and get high at. Hannah wants to swing, she doesn’t want to go home because she’s just gonna end up crying. So we swing. Well….she swings, i mostly just drag my toes back and forth and watch the skater kids not skate.

“How do you deal with breakups?”

“I drink myself stupid.”

“Ok but what about after that?”

“I dunno, i just think about it a lot. Wait it out.”

“Breakups are always so bad.”

“Yeah i don’t like relationships because i know i’ll have to break up eventually.”

“People breakup and get back together all the time, right?”

“Sure. I still talk to this one girl and we broke up like 5 years ago. We’re really close.”

She seemed to accept that. Thank god, no crying. I’m bad at emotions. Except laughing, i’m good at that. Then we left to go home finally. But my brother wants a smoothie so i go to another smoothie place. It’s right by the margarita place, maybe the bartender will see me trying to cheer up my heartbroken niece. I told hannah how i was talking to my friend the other day who told me she’s been stealing stuff, like a lot of stuff. And she’s 26. That’s our thing, hannah and i. We tell each other stuff we don’t want anyone else to know. It’s an interesting bond. She tells me about stuff before she tells her mom sometimes. She’s 16 and she’s probably partied harder in her day than any of my friends.

On the ride home i told her to find someone she can actually see and that long distance relationships suck. Then we got on another subject and i reminded her of how when my brother first met her mom, there was this curse or something that caused everyone to fall down the stairs at least once. She asked me if i ever fell and i said yes. That dumb dog she used to have peed right at the top of the steps and i slipped on it and slid down the stairs on my back and i was sore for 2 weeks. Then there it was, the laugh. It’s a loud laugh, it almost hurts my ears. Maybe she was just really upset but she laughed the whole ride home from that one story about the time i slid down the stairs on a dog’s pee. You have to hear her laugh, i can’t really describe it. She makes a great audience, sometimes it’s embarrassing.

Anyway, it was a nice change from all the emotional bullshit i’ve been putting myself through lately and all the partying. That gets old sometimes. Hearing hannah laugh though, that never really gets old.