Seth Green on dating

Seth Green’s Wife, Dating, Family And All The Facts. Those of you who know who Seth Green is (practically anyone) should also know a lot about Seth Green’s wife, the stunning beauty from Memphis, Tennessee, who obviously loves him. Well, if she’s a mystery to you, don’t ask anymore, because this article is only about her, if you want to ... Seth Green has been in a relationship with Candace Bailey (2006 – 2007). He has also had encounters with Robin Bain (2008), Kristin Chenoweth (2008) and Chad Morgan (1998 – 2002). We are currently in process of looking up more information on the previous dates and hookups. Seth Green and wife Clare Grant first bumped into each other in 2007 at their favorite comic book store named 'Golden Apple Comics'. When they met the second time at the comic-con, they found out how they were perfect for each other. Seth later decided to try something out with her and the rest is history. Seth surprised her in New Year's Eve in 2009 by getting down on one knee and expressing ... Relationships. Seth Green has been in a relationship with Candace Bailey (2006 - 2007).. Seth Green has had encounters with Kristin Chenoweth (2008), Robin Bain (2008) and Chad Morgan (1998 - 2002).. About. Seth Green is a 46 year old American Actor. Born Seth Benjamin Gesshel-Green on 8th February, 1974 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, he is famous for Emmy Award, Outstanding ... On 8-2-1974 Seth Green (nickname: Seth) was born in Overbrook Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. He made his 25 million dollar fortune with The Italian Job, The Identical, The Byrds of Paradise. The actor, director is married to Clare Grant, his starsign is Aquarius and he is now 46 years of age. — Seth Green (@SethGreen) June 5, 2018. They Fell In Love. We all know only enough about Seth Green’s spouse, it’s time to get the hot material; it had been the small things they bonded over their shared passion for comic books, tv and fast food, how adorable. Before they knew it, they had been about what Green conditions as a ‘play ‘.

POST GAME THREAD: The Mets fell to the Yankees by a score of 8-7 - Sun, Aug 30 @ 01:05 PM EDT

2020.08.30 22:33 NewYorkMetsBot POST GAME THREAD: The Mets fell to the Yankees by a score of 8-7 - Sun, Aug 30 @ 01:05 PM EDT

Mets @ Yankees - Sun, Aug 30

Game Status: Final - Score: 8-7 Yankees

Links & Info

Mets Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 Nimmo - LF 4 1 0 0 1 4 5 .236 .391 .464
2 Conforto - RF 5 0 2 2 0 0 2 .322 .429 .508
3 Davis, J - 3B 4 1 1 0 0 2 3 .274 .386 .415
Rosario, A - SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .216 .216 .351
4 Smith, Do - 1B 4 1 1 0 1 1 3 .318 .406 .706
5 Canó - DH 4 2 2 2 1 1 4 .370 .409 .617
6 Alonso, P - 1B 3 0 1 2 0 1 1 .226 .350 .409
Marisnick - CF 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .375 .375 .750
7 McNeil - 2B 4 0 1 0 0 1 5 .259 .333 .318
8 Ramos, W - C 3 1 2 1 1 1 0 .244 .320 .349
9 Gimenez - 3B 2 1 0 0 2 1 4 .246 .303 .328
Totals 35 7 10 7 6 14 30
Mets
BATTING: 2B: Smith, Do (12, King); Conforto (7, Heller). HR: Canó (5, 5th inning off Kriske, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Alonso, P; Canó 5; Conforto 3; Davis, J; McNeil; Ramos, W 2; Smith, Do 2. RBI: Alonso, P 2 (18); Canó 2 (16); Conforto 2 (16); Ramos, W (8). 2-out RBI: Alonso, P; Canó 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Nimmo 2; Marisnick; McNeil 3. Team RISP: 4-for-15. Team LOB: 12.
FIELDING: E: Gimenez (1, throw). DP: 2 (McNeil-Gimenez-Alonso, P; Gimenez-McNeil-Smith, Do).
Yankees Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 LeMahieu - 2B 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 .405 .453 .544
Estrada - 2B 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .208 .269 .333
2 Voit - DH 4 1 2 2 0 1 1 .316 .381 .726
3 Hicks, A - CF 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 .202 .350 .417
4 Tauchman - RF 3 2 0 1 1 1 2 .286 .366 .365
5 Sánchez, G - C 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .123 .245 .321
6 Ford - 1B 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 .180 .263 .380
7 Gardner - LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .179 .309 .358
8 Mercer - SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .235 .278 .235
a-Urshela - 3B 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .244 .323 .477
9 Wade - SS 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 .176 .275 .235
Totals 29 8 7 7 5 3 15
Yankees
a-Flied out for Mercer in the 5th.
BATTING: 2B: Voit (3, Porcello); Ford (4, Porcello). HR: Hicks, A (3, 7th inning off Díaz, E, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Ford 2; Hicks, A 4; LeMahieu; Urshela; Voit 3; Wade. RBI: Ford (11); Hicks, A 2 (10); Tauchman (8); Urshela (19); Voit 2 (24). 2-out RBI: Ford; Hicks, A 2; Urshela; Voit 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Sánchez, G; Gardner. GIDP: LeMahieu; Sánchez, G. Team RISP: 3-for-9. Team LOB: 5.
Mets Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Porcello 5.0 4 2 2 2 2 0 86-55 6.00
Wilson, J 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 10-6 5.91
Hughes 0.2 1 4 0 1 0 0 18-9 2.70
Díaz, E (L, 1-1)(BS, 4) 1.0 2 2 1 1 0 1 21-14 2.77
Totals 7.2 7 8 2 5 3 1
Yankees Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
King 3.2 6 2 2 1 3 0 68-43 6.23
Kriske 1.1 2 5 5 3 4 1 41-25 20.25
Heller 2.0 2 0 0 1 4 0 45-29 1.93
Green, C (W, 3-2) 1.0 0 0 0 1 3 0 13-9 3.45
Totals 8.0 10 7 7 6 14 1
Game Info
WP: Díaz, E; Kriske 2.
IBB: Canó (by Green, C).
HBP: Alonso, P (by Heller); Estrada (by Hughes).
Pitches-strikes: Porcello 86-55; Wilson, J 10-6; Hughes 18-9; Díaz, E 21-14; King 68-43; Kriske 41-25; Heller 45-29; Green, C 13-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Porcello 7-3; Wilson, J 1-0; Hughes 1-1; Díaz, E 0-2; King 4-3; Kriske 1-0; Heller 0-1; Green, C 0-0.
Batters faced: Porcello 20; Wilson, J 3; Hughes 6; Díaz, E 6; King 18; Kriske 10; Heller 10; Green, C 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Díaz, E 2-2; Kriske 3-0; Heller 3-3.
Umpires: HP: Chris Conroy. 1B: Lance Barksdale. 2B: David Rackley. 3B: Ryan Additon.
Weather: 75 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 15 mph, Out To CF.
First pitch: 1:09 PM.
T: 3:22.
Venue: Yankee Stadium.
August 30, 2020
Inning Scoring Play Score
Bottom 1 Mike Tauchman grounds out, shortstop Andres Gimenez to first baseman Pete Alonso. DJ LeMahieu scores. Luke Voit to 3rd. 1-0 NYY
Top 4 Pete Alonso singles on a line drive to center fielder Aaron Hicks. J.D. Davis scores. Robinson Cano to 2nd. 1-1
Top 4 Wilson Ramos singles on a ground ball to right fielder Mike Tauchman. Robinson Cano scores. Pete Alonso to 3rd. Jeff McNeil to 2nd. 2-1 NYM
Bottom 4 Mike Ford doubles (4) on a fly ball to left fielder Dominic Smith. Mike Tauchman scores. 2-2
Top 5 Robinson Cano homers (5) on a line drive to right center field. Dominic Smith scores. 4-2 NYM
Top 6 Michael Conforto doubles (7) on a line drive to left fielder Brett Gardner. Wilson Ramos scores. Andres Gimenez scores. Brandon Nimmo to 3rd. 6-2 NYM
Top 6 Pete Alonso hit by pitch. Brandon Nimmo scores. Michael Conforto to 3rd. Dominic Smith to 2nd. 7-2 NYM
Bottom 7 Luke Voit singles on a ground ball to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Ford scores. Tyler Wade scores. Thairo Estrada to 3rd. 7-4 NYM
Bottom 7 Aaron Hicks homers (3) on a line drive to right field. Luke Voit scores. 7-7
Bottom 8 Umpire reviewed (tag play), call on the field was upheld: Gio Urshela singles on a line drive to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Tauchman scores. Mike Ford to 2nd. 8-7 NYY
Team Highlight
NYY Mike Tauchman's RBI groundout (00:00:35)
NYM Pete Alonso's RBI single (00:00:42)
NYM Wilson Ramos' RBI single (00:00:34)
NYY Brooks Kriske escapes jam (00:00:16)
NYY Michael King's pitching tumble (00:00:32)
NYY Mike Ford's RBI double (00:00:42)
NYM Robinson Canó's two-run home run (00:00:47)
NYM Michael Conforto's two-run double (00:00:37)
NYM Pete Alonso gets hit by pitch (00:00:30)
NYM Rick Porcello's strikeouts (00:00:43)
NYM Robinson Canó's hard-hit homer (00:00:33)
NYY Luke Voit's two-run single (00:00:50)
NYY Aaron Hicks' game-tying homer (00:00:46)
NYM Mike Ford gets back safely (00:00:27)
NYY Gio Urshela's walk-off single (00:00:26)
NYY Estrada scores on wild pitch (00:00:34)
NYY Yankees comeback in Game 1 (00:01:26)
NYM [Mets vs. Yankees Recap
NYY CG: [email protected] - 8/30/20 (00:06:55)
NYM Seth Lugo's seven strikeouts (00:01:38)
NYY García/Sanchez on teams win (00:01:39)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
Mets 0 0 0 2 2 3 0 0 7 10 1 12
Yankees 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 8 7 0 5

Around the Division

NYY 5 @ NYM 2 - Final
TB 12 @ MIA 7 - Final
WSH 5 @ BOS 9 - Final
ATL 12 @ PHI 10 - Game Over
Next Mets Game: Mon, Aug 31, 01:10 PM EDT vs. Marlins
Last Updated: 08/30/2020 11:25:52 PM EDT
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2020.08.30 22:33 Yankeebot IT'S WHAT YOU WANT: The Yankees defeated the Mets by a score of 8-7 - August 30, 2020 @ 01:05 PM EDT

Mets @ Yankees - Sun, Aug 30

Game Status: Final - Score: 8-7 Yankees

Links & Info

Mets Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 Nimmo - LF 4 1 0 0 1 4 5 .236 .391 .464
2 Conforto - RF 5 0 2 2 0 0 2 .322 .429 .508
3 Davis, J - 3B 4 1 1 0 0 2 3 .274 .386 .415
Rosario, A - SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .216 .216 .351
4 Smith, Do - 1B 4 1 1 0 1 1 3 .318 .406 .706
5 Canó - DH 4 2 2 2 1 1 4 .370 .409 .617
6 Alonso, P - 1B 3 0 1 2 0 1 1 .226 .350 .409
Marisnick - CF 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .375 .375 .750
7 McNeil - 2B 4 0 1 0 0 1 5 .259 .333 .318
8 Ramos, W - C 3 1 2 1 1 1 0 .244 .320 .349
9 Gimenez - 3B 2 1 0 0 2 1 4 .246 .303 .328
Totals 35 7 10 7 6 14 30
Mets
BATTING: 2B: Smith, Do (12, King); Conforto (7, Heller). HR: Canó (5, 5th inning off Kriske, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Alonso, P; Canó 5; Conforto 3; Davis, J; McNeil; Ramos, W 2; Smith, Do 2. RBI: Alonso, P 2 (18); Canó 2 (16); Conforto 2 (16); Ramos, W (8). 2-out RBI: Alonso, P; Canó 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Nimmo 2; Marisnick; McNeil 3. Team RISP: 4-for-15. Team LOB: 12.
FIELDING: E: Gimenez (1, throw). DP: 2 (McNeil-Gimenez-Alonso, P; Gimenez-McNeil-Smith, Do).
Yankees Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 LeMahieu - 2B 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 .405 .453 .544
Estrada - 2B 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .208 .269 .333
2 Voit - DH 4 1 2 2 0 1 1 .316 .381 .726
3 Hicks, A - CF 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 .202 .350 .417
4 Tauchman - RF 3 2 0 1 1 1 2 .286 .366 .365
5 Sánchez, G - C 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .123 .245 .321
6 Ford - 1B 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 .180 .263 .380
7 Gardner - LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .179 .309 .358
8 Mercer - SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .235 .278 .235
a-Urshela - 3B 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .244 .323 .477
9 Wade - SS 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 .176 .275 .235
Totals 29 8 7 7 5 3 15
Yankees
a-Flied out for Mercer in the 5th.
BATTING: 2B: Voit (3, Porcello); Ford (4, Porcello). HR: Hicks, A (3, 7th inning off Díaz, E, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Ford 2; Hicks, A 4; LeMahieu; Urshela; Voit 3; Wade. RBI: Ford (11); Hicks, A 2 (10); Tauchman (8); Urshela (19); Voit 2 (24). 2-out RBI: Ford; Hicks, A 2; Urshela; Voit 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Sánchez, G; Gardner. GIDP: LeMahieu; Sánchez, G. Team RISP: 3-for-9. Team LOB: 5.
Mets Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Porcello 5.0 4 2 2 2 2 0 86-55 6.00
Wilson, J 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 10-6 5.91
Hughes 0.2 1 4 0 1 0 0 18-9 2.70
Díaz, E (L, 1-1)(BS, 4) 1.0 2 2 1 1 0 1 21-14 2.77
Totals 7.2 7 8 2 5 3 1
Yankees Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
King 3.2 6 2 2 1 3 0 68-43 6.23
Kriske 1.1 2 5 5 3 4 1 41-25 20.25
Heller 2.0 2 0 0 1 4 0 45-29 1.93
Green, C (W, 3-2) 1.0 0 0 0 1 3 0 13-9 3.45
Totals 8.0 10 7 7 6 14 1
Game Info
WP: Díaz, E; Kriske 2.
IBB: Canó (by Green, C).
HBP: Alonso, P (by Heller); Estrada (by Hughes).
Pitches-strikes: Porcello 86-55; Wilson, J 10-6; Hughes 18-9; Díaz, E 21-14; King 68-43; Kriske 41-25; Heller 45-29; Green, C 13-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Porcello 7-3; Wilson, J 1-0; Hughes 1-1; Díaz, E 0-2; King 4-3; Kriske 1-0; Heller 0-1; Green, C 0-0.
Batters faced: Porcello 20; Wilson, J 3; Hughes 6; Díaz, E 6; King 18; Kriske 10; Heller 10; Green, C 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Díaz, E 2-2; Kriske 3-0; Heller 3-3.
Umpires: HP: Chris Conroy. 1B: Lance Barksdale. 2B: David Rackley. 3B: Ryan Additon.
Weather: 75 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 15 mph, Out To CF.
First pitch: 1:09 PM.
T: 3:22.
Venue: Yankee Stadium.
August 30, 2020
Inning Scoring Play Score
Bottom 1 Mike Tauchman grounds out, shortstop Andres Gimenez to first baseman Pete Alonso. DJ LeMahieu scores. Luke Voit to 3rd. 1-0 NYY
Top 4 Pete Alonso singles on a line drive to center fielder Aaron Hicks. J.D. Davis scores. Robinson Cano to 2nd. 1-1
Top 4 Wilson Ramos singles on a ground ball to right fielder Mike Tauchman. Robinson Cano scores. Pete Alonso to 3rd. Jeff McNeil to 2nd. 2-1 NYM
Bottom 4 Mike Ford doubles (4) on a fly ball to left fielder Dominic Smith. Mike Tauchman scores. 2-2
Top 5 Robinson Cano homers (5) on a line drive to right center field. Dominic Smith scores. 4-2 NYM
Top 6 Michael Conforto doubles (7) on a line drive to left fielder Brett Gardner. Wilson Ramos scores. Andres Gimenez scores. Brandon Nimmo to 3rd. 6-2 NYM
Top 6 Pete Alonso hit by pitch. Brandon Nimmo scores. Michael Conforto to 3rd. Dominic Smith to 2nd. 7-2 NYM
Bottom 7 Luke Voit singles on a ground ball to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Ford scores. Tyler Wade scores. Thairo Estrada to 3rd. 7-4 NYM
Bottom 7 Aaron Hicks homers (3) on a line drive to right field. Luke Voit scores. 7-7
Bottom 8 Umpire reviewed (tag play), call on the field was upheld: Gio Urshela singles on a line drive to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Tauchman scores. Mike Ford to 2nd. 8-7 NYY
Team Highlight
NYY Mike Tauchman's RBI groundout (00:00:35)
NYM Pete Alonso's RBI single (00:00:42)
NYM Wilson Ramos' RBI single (00:00:34)
NYY Brooks Kriske escapes jam (00:00:16)
NYY Michael King's pitching tumble (00:00:32)
NYY Mike Ford's RBI double (00:00:42)
NYM Robinson Canó's two-run home run (00:00:47)
NYM Michael Conforto's two-run double (00:00:37)
NYM Pete Alonso gets hit by pitch (00:00:30)
NYM Rick Porcello's strikeouts (00:00:43)
NYM Robinson Canó's hard-hit homer (00:00:33)
NYY Luke Voit's two-run single (00:00:50)
NYY Aaron Hicks' game-tying homer (00:00:46)
NYM Mike Ford gets back safely (00:00:27)
NYY Gio Urshela's walk-off single (00:00:26)
NYY Estrada scores on wild pitch (00:00:34)
NYY Yankees comeback in Game 1 (00:01:26)
NYM [Mets vs. Yankees Recap
NYY CG: [email protected] - 8/30/20 (00:06:55)
NYM Seth Lugo's seven strikeouts (00:01:38)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
Mets 0 0 0 2 2 3 0 0 7 10 1 12
Yankees 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 8 7 0 5

Around the Division

NYY 5 @ NYM 2 - Game Over
TB 12 @ MIA 7 - Final
WSH 5 @ BOS 9 - Final
BAL 5 @ TOR 6 - Final
Next Yankees Game: Mon, Aug 31, 07:05 PM EDT vs. Rays
Last Updated: 08/30/2020 08:09:47 PM EDT
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2020.08.30 17:05 Yankeebot Game Thread: Mets (15-17) @ Yankees (17-13) - August 30, 2020 @ 01:05 PM EDT

Mets @ Yankees - Sun, Aug 30

Game Status: Final - Score: 8-7 Yankees

Links & Info

Mets Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 Nimmo - LF 4 1 0 0 1 4 5 .236 .391 .464
2 Conforto - RF 5 0 2 2 0 0 2 .322 .429 .508
3 Davis, J - 3B 4 1 1 0 0 2 3 .274 .386 .415
Rosario, A - SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .216 .216 .351
4 Smith, Do - 1B 4 1 1 0 1 1 3 .318 .406 .706
5 Canó - DH 4 2 2 2 1 1 4 .370 .409 .617
6 Alonso, P - 1B 3 0 1 2 0 1 1 .226 .350 .409
Marisnick - CF 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .375 .375 .750
7 McNeil - 2B 4 0 1 0 0 1 5 .259 .333 .318
8 Ramos, W - C 3 1 2 1 1 1 0 .244 .320 .349
9 Gimenez - 3B 2 1 0 0 2 1 4 .246 .303 .328
Totals 35 7 10 7 6 14 30
Mets
BATTING: 2B: Smith, Do (12, King); Conforto (7, Heller). HR: Canó (5, 5th inning off Kriske, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Alonso, P; Canó 5; Conforto 3; Davis, J; McNeil; Ramos, W 2; Smith, Do 2. RBI: Alonso, P 2 (18); Canó 2 (16); Conforto 2 (16); Ramos, W (8). 2-out RBI: Alonso, P; Canó 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Nimmo 2; Marisnick; McNeil 3. Team RISP: 4-for-15. Team LOB: 12.
FIELDING: E: Gimenez (1, throw). DP: 2 (McNeil-Gimenez-Alonso, P; Gimenez-McNeil-Smith, Do).
Yankees Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 LeMahieu - 2B 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 .405 .453 .544
Estrada - 2B 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .208 .269 .333
2 Voit - DH 4 1 2 2 0 1 1 .316 .381 .726
3 Hicks, A - CF 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 .202 .350 .417
4 Tauchman - RF 3 2 0 1 1 1 2 .286 .366 .365
5 Sánchez, G - C 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .123 .245 .321
6 Ford - 1B 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 .180 .263 .380
7 Gardner - LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .179 .309 .358
8 Mercer - SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .235 .278 .235
a-Urshela - 3B 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .244 .323 .477
9 Wade - SS 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 .176 .275 .235
Totals 29 8 7 7 5 3 15
Yankees
a-Flied out for Mercer in the 5th.
BATTING: 2B: Voit (3, Porcello); Ford (4, Porcello). HR: Hicks, A (3, 7th inning off Díaz, E, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Ford 2; Hicks, A 4; LeMahieu; Urshela; Voit 3; Wade. RBI: Ford (11); Hicks, A 2 (10); Tauchman (8); Urshela (19); Voit 2 (24). 2-out RBI: Ford; Hicks, A 2; Urshela; Voit 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Sánchez, G; Gardner. GIDP: LeMahieu; Sánchez, G. Team RISP: 3-for-9. Team LOB: 5.
Mets Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Porcello 5.0 4 2 2 2 2 0 86-55 6.00
Wilson, J 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 10-6 5.91
Hughes 0.2 1 4 0 1 0 0 18-9 2.70
Díaz, E (L, 1-1)(BS, 4) 1.0 2 2 1 1 0 1 21-14 2.77
Totals 7.2 7 8 2 5 3 1
Yankees Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
King 3.2 6 2 2 1 3 0 68-43 6.23
Kriske 1.1 2 5 5 3 4 1 41-25 20.25
Heller 2.0 2 0 0 1 4 0 45-29 1.93
Green, C (W, 3-2) 1.0 0 0 0 1 3 0 13-9 3.45
Totals 8.0 10 7 7 6 14 1
Game Info
WP: Díaz, E; Kriske 2.
IBB: Canó (by Green, C).
HBP: Alonso, P (by Heller); Estrada (by Hughes).
Pitches-strikes: Porcello 86-55; Wilson, J 10-6; Hughes 18-9; Díaz, E 21-14; King 68-43; Kriske 41-25; Heller 45-29; Green, C 13-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Porcello 7-3; Wilson, J 1-0; Hughes 1-1; Díaz, E 0-2; King 4-3; Kriske 1-0; Heller 0-1; Green, C 0-0.
Batters faced: Porcello 20; Wilson, J 3; Hughes 6; Díaz, E 6; King 18; Kriske 10; Heller 10; Green, C 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Díaz, E 2-2; Kriske 3-0; Heller 3-3.
Umpires: HP: Chris Conroy. 1B: Lance Barksdale. 2B: David Rackley. 3B: Ryan Additon.
Weather: 75 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 15 mph, Out To CF.
First pitch: 1:09 PM.
T: 3:22.
Venue: Yankee Stadium.
August 30, 2020
Inning Scoring Play Score
Bottom 1 Mike Tauchman grounds out, shortstop Andres Gimenez to first baseman Pete Alonso. DJ LeMahieu scores. Luke Voit to 3rd. 1-0 NYY
Top 4 Pete Alonso singles on a line drive to center fielder Aaron Hicks. J.D. Davis scores. Robinson Cano to 2nd. 1-1
Top 4 Wilson Ramos singles on a ground ball to right fielder Mike Tauchman. Robinson Cano scores. Pete Alonso to 3rd. Jeff McNeil to 2nd. 2-1 NYM
Bottom 4 Mike Ford doubles (4) on a fly ball to left fielder Dominic Smith. Mike Tauchman scores. 2-2
Top 5 Robinson Cano homers (5) on a line drive to right center field. Dominic Smith scores. 4-2 NYM
Top 6 Michael Conforto doubles (7) on a line drive to left fielder Brett Gardner. Wilson Ramos scores. Andres Gimenez scores. Brandon Nimmo to 3rd. 6-2 NYM
Top 6 Pete Alonso hit by pitch. Brandon Nimmo scores. Michael Conforto to 3rd. Dominic Smith to 2nd. 7-2 NYM
Bottom 7 Luke Voit singles on a ground ball to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Ford scores. Tyler Wade scores. Thairo Estrada to 3rd. 7-4 NYM
Bottom 7 Aaron Hicks homers (3) on a line drive to right field. Luke Voit scores. 7-7
Bottom 8 Umpire reviewed (tag play), call on the field was upheld: Gio Urshela singles on a line drive to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Tauchman scores. Mike Ford to 2nd. 8-7 NYY
Team Highlight
NYY Mike Tauchman's RBI groundout (00:00:35)
NYM Pete Alonso's RBI single (00:00:42)
NYM Wilson Ramos' RBI single (00:00:34)
NYY Brooks Kriske escapes jam (00:00:16)
NYY Michael King's pitching tumble (00:00:32)
NYY Mike Ford's RBI double (00:00:42)
NYM Robinson Canó's two-run home run (00:00:47)
NYM Michael Conforto's two-run double (00:00:37)
NYM Pete Alonso gets hit by pitch (00:00:30)
NYM Rick Porcello's strikeouts (00:00:43)
NYM Robinson Canó's hard-hit homer (00:00:33)
NYY Luke Voit's two-run single (00:00:50)
NYY Aaron Hicks' game-tying homer (00:00:46)
NYM Mike Ford gets back safely (00:00:27)
NYY Gio Urshela's walk-off single (00:00:26)
NYY Estrada scores on wild pitch (00:00:34)
NYY Yankees comeback in Game 1 (00:01:26)
NYM [Mets vs. Yankees Recap
NYY CG: [email protected] - 8/30/20 (00:06:55)
NYM Seth Lugo's seven strikeouts (00:01:38)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
Mets 0 0 0 2 2 3 0 0 7 10 1 12
Yankees 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 8 7 0 5

Around the Division

NYY 5 @ NYM 2 - Game Over
TB 12 @ MIA 7 - Final
WSH 5 @ BOS 9 - Final
BAL 5 @ TOR 6 - Final
Last Updated: 08/30/2020 08:08:19 PM EDT
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2020.08.30 17:05 NewYorkMetsBot GAME THREAD: Mets (15-17) @ Yankees (17-13) - Sun, Aug 30 @ 01:05 PM EDT

Mets @ Yankees - Sun, Aug 30

Game Status: Final - Score: 8-7 Yankees

Links & Info

Mets Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 Nimmo - LF 4 1 0 0 1 4 5 .236 .391 .464
2 Conforto - RF 5 0 2 2 0 0 2 .322 .429 .508
3 Davis, J - 3B 4 1 1 0 0 2 3 .274 .386 .415
Rosario, A - SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .216 .216 .351
4 Smith, Do - 1B 4 1 1 0 1 1 3 .318 .406 .706
5 Canó - DH 4 2 2 2 1 1 4 .370 .409 .617
6 Alonso, P - 1B 3 0 1 2 0 1 1 .226 .350 .409
Marisnick - CF 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .375 .375 .750
7 McNeil - 2B 4 0 1 0 0 1 5 .259 .333 .318
8 Ramos, W - C 3 1 2 1 1 1 0 .244 .320 .349
9 Gimenez - 3B 2 1 0 0 2 1 4 .246 .303 .328
Totals 35 7 10 7 6 14 30
Mets
BATTING: 2B: Smith, Do (12, King); Conforto (7, Heller). HR: Canó (5, 5th inning off Kriske, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Alonso, P; Canó 5; Conforto 3; Davis, J; McNeil; Ramos, W 2; Smith, Do 2. RBI: Alonso, P 2 (18); Canó 2 (16); Conforto 2 (16); Ramos, W (8). 2-out RBI: Alonso, P; Canó 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Nimmo 2; Marisnick; McNeil 3. Team RISP: 4-for-15. Team LOB: 12.
FIELDING: E: Gimenez (1, throw). DP: 2 (McNeil-Gimenez-Alonso, P; Gimenez-McNeil-Smith, Do).
Yankees Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 LeMahieu - 2B 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 .405 .453 .544
Estrada - 2B 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .208 .269 .333
2 Voit - DH 4 1 2 2 0 1 1 .316 .381 .726
3 Hicks, A - CF 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 .202 .350 .417
4 Tauchman - RF 3 2 0 1 1 1 2 .286 .366 .365
5 Sánchez, G - C 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .123 .245 .321
6 Ford - 1B 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 .180 .263 .380
7 Gardner - LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .179 .309 .358
8 Mercer - SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .235 .278 .235
a-Urshela - 3B 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .244 .323 .477
9 Wade - SS 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 .176 .275 .235
Totals 29 8 7 7 5 3 15
Yankees
a-Flied out for Mercer in the 5th.
BATTING: 2B: Voit (3, Porcello); Ford (4, Porcello). HR: Hicks, A (3, 7th inning off Díaz, E, 1 on, 2 out). TB: Ford 2; Hicks, A 4; LeMahieu; Urshela; Voit 3; Wade. RBI: Ford (11); Hicks, A 2 (10); Tauchman (8); Urshela (19); Voit 2 (24). 2-out RBI: Ford; Hicks, A 2; Urshela; Voit 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Sánchez, G; Gardner. GIDP: LeMahieu; Sánchez, G. Team RISP: 3-for-9. Team LOB: 5.
Mets Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Porcello 5.0 4 2 2 2 2 0 86-55 6.00
Wilson, J 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 10-6 5.91
Hughes 0.2 1 4 0 1 0 0 18-9 2.70
Díaz, E (L, 1-1)(BS, 4) 1.0 2 2 1 1 0 1 21-14 2.77
Totals 7.2 7 8 2 5 3 1
Yankees Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
King 3.2 6 2 2 1 3 0 68-43 6.23
Kriske 1.1 2 5 5 3 4 1 41-25 20.25
Heller 2.0 2 0 0 1 4 0 45-29 1.93
Green, C (W, 3-2) 1.0 0 0 0 1 3 0 13-9 3.45
Totals 8.0 10 7 7 6 14 1
Game Info
WP: Díaz, E; Kriske 2.
IBB: Canó (by Green, C).
HBP: Alonso, P (by Heller); Estrada (by Hughes).
Pitches-strikes: Porcello 86-55; Wilson, J 10-6; Hughes 18-9; Díaz, E 21-14; King 68-43; Kriske 41-25; Heller 45-29; Green, C 13-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Porcello 7-3; Wilson, J 1-0; Hughes 1-1; Díaz, E 0-2; King 4-3; Kriske 1-0; Heller 0-1; Green, C 0-0.
Batters faced: Porcello 20; Wilson, J 3; Hughes 6; Díaz, E 6; King 18; Kriske 10; Heller 10; Green, C 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Díaz, E 2-2; Kriske 3-0; Heller 3-3.
Umpires: HP: Chris Conroy. 1B: Lance Barksdale. 2B: David Rackley. 3B: Ryan Additon.
Weather: 75 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 15 mph, Out To CF.
First pitch: 1:09 PM.
T: 3:22.
Venue: Yankee Stadium.
August 30, 2020
Inning Scoring Play Score
Bottom 1 Mike Tauchman grounds out, shortstop Andres Gimenez to first baseman Pete Alonso. DJ LeMahieu scores. Luke Voit to 3rd. 1-0 NYY
Top 4 Pete Alonso singles on a line drive to center fielder Aaron Hicks. J.D. Davis scores. Robinson Cano to 2nd. 1-1
Top 4 Wilson Ramos singles on a ground ball to right fielder Mike Tauchman. Robinson Cano scores. Pete Alonso to 3rd. Jeff McNeil to 2nd. 2-1 NYM
Bottom 4 Mike Ford doubles (4) on a fly ball to left fielder Dominic Smith. Mike Tauchman scores. 2-2
Top 5 Robinson Cano homers (5) on a line drive to right center field. Dominic Smith scores. 4-2 NYM
Top 6 Michael Conforto doubles (7) on a line drive to left fielder Brett Gardner. Wilson Ramos scores. Andres Gimenez scores. Brandon Nimmo to 3rd. 6-2 NYM
Top 6 Pete Alonso hit by pitch. Brandon Nimmo scores. Michael Conforto to 3rd. Dominic Smith to 2nd. 7-2 NYM
Bottom 7 Luke Voit singles on a ground ball to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Ford scores. Tyler Wade scores. Thairo Estrada to 3rd. 7-4 NYM
Bottom 7 Aaron Hicks homers (3) on a line drive to right field. Luke Voit scores. 7-7
Bottom 8 Umpire reviewed (tag play), call on the field was upheld: Gio Urshela singles on a line drive to right fielder Michael Conforto. Mike Tauchman scores. Mike Ford to 2nd. 8-7 NYY
Team Highlight
NYY Mike Tauchman's RBI groundout (00:00:35)
NYM Pete Alonso's RBI single (00:00:42)
NYM Wilson Ramos' RBI single (00:00:34)
NYY Brooks Kriske escapes jam (00:00:16)
NYY Michael King's pitching tumble (00:00:32)
NYY Mike Ford's RBI double (00:00:42)
NYM Robinson Canó's two-run home run (00:00:47)
NYM Michael Conforto's two-run double (00:00:37)
NYM Pete Alonso gets hit by pitch (00:00:30)
NYM Rick Porcello's strikeouts (00:00:43)
NYM Robinson Canó's hard-hit homer (00:00:33)
NYY Luke Voit's two-run single (00:00:50)
NYY Aaron Hicks' game-tying homer (00:00:46)
NYM Mike Ford gets back safely (00:00:27)
NYY Gio Urshela's walk-off single (00:00:26)
NYY Estrada scores on wild pitch (00:00:34)
NYY Yankees comeback in Game 1 (00:01:26)
NYM [Mets vs. Yankees Recap
NYY CG: [email protected] - 8/30/20 (00:06:55)
NYM Seth Lugo's seven strikeouts (00:01:38)
NYY García/Sanchez on teams win (00:01:39)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
Mets 0 0 0 2 2 3 0 0 7 10 1 12
Yankees 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 8 7 0 5

Around the Division

NYY 5 @ NYM 2 - Final
TB 12 @ MIA 7 - Final
WSH 5 @ BOS 9 - Final
ATL 12 @ PHI 10 - Game Over
Last Updated: 08/30/2020 11:23:46 PM EDT
submitted by NewYorkMetsBot to NewYorkMets [link] [comments]


2020.08.30 11:00 Yankeebot Yankees Game Day Thread - August 30, 2020 @ 12:00 AM

Mets @ Yankees - 01:05 PM EDT

Game Status: Final

Links & Info

Probable Pitcher (Season Stats) Report
Mets Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.00 ERA, 33.0 IP) Porcello has lost three straight decisions, though he's actually lowered his ERA in the process. He's been at his best when his changeup is generating ground balls, but that hasn't always been the case.
Yankees Michael King (1-1, 6.23 ERA, 17.1 IP) King is set to make his second big league start on Sunday. His last outing came in relief on Aug. 17, when he picked up his first win with three sharp innings vs. the Red Sox. He started on Aug. 8 at Tampa Bay, allowing three runs over 3 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss.
Mets Lineup vs. King AVG OPS AB HR RBI K
1 Nimmo - LF .000 .000 2 0 0 2
2 Conforto - RF .000 .000 2 0 0 0
3 Davis, J - 3B .500 1.000 2 0 0 0
4 Rosario, A - SS - - - - - -
5 Smith, Do - 1B .500 1.500 2 0 0 0
6 Canó - DH .500 1.000 2 0 0 0
7 Alonso, P - 1B .500 1.000 2 0 1 0
8 Marisnick - CF - - - - - -
9 McNeil - 2B .500 1.000 2 0 0 0
10 Ramos, W - C .500 1.000 2 0 1 1
11 Gimenez - 3B .000 .500 1 0 0 0
12 Porcello - P - - - - - -
13 Wilson, J - P - - - - - -
14 Hughes - P - - - - - -
15 Díaz, E - P - - - - - -
Yankees Lineup vs. Porcello AVG OPS AB HR RBI K
1 LeMahieu - 2B .364 .825 11 0 3 1
2 Estrada - 2B - - - - - -
3 Voit - DH .500 1.214 14 0 1 5
4 Hicks, A - CF .122 .554 41 3 6 9
5 Tauchman - RF .600 2.067 5 1 3 1
6 Sánchez, G - C .150 .550 20 1 5 4
7 Ford - 1B .500 1.500 2 0 1 0
8 Gardner - LF .274 .780 62 2 2 10
9 Mercer - SS .000 .000 3 0 0 1
10 Urshela - 3B .500 1.000 6 0 2 0
11 Wade - SS .250 .500 4 0 0 1
12 King - P - - - - - -
13 Kriske - P - - - - - -
14 Heller - P - - - - - -
15 Green, C - P - - - - - -

Yankees @ Mets - Sun, Aug 30 - Doubleheader Game 2

Game Status: Game Over

Links & Info

Probable Pitcher (Season Stats) Report
Yankees Deivi Garcia (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.0 IP) García is set to make his Major League debut in Sunday's doubleheader. The Yankees' No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, García has featured one of the best breaking balls in the Minors, a high-spin curveball with depth. He will be the youngest Yankee to debut since Phil Hughes in 2007.
Mets Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.12 ERA, 17.0 IP) Although Lugo was dominant in his first start of the season, the Mets limited him to three perfect innings on 39 pitches. He isn't likely to stretch out to much more than four innings and 65 pitches in this one.
Yankees Lineup vs. Lugo, S AVG OPS AB HR RBI K
1 LeMahieu - DH .500 .929 6 0 2 0
2 Voit - 1B .250 1.400 4 1 1 1
3 Hicks, A - CF .000 .400 3 0 0 2
4 Gardner - CF .000 .000 4 0 0 1
5 Frazier, C - RF - - - - - -
6 Urshela - 3B .000 .000 1 0 0 1
7 Tauchman - LF - - - - - -
8 Kratz - C - - - - - -
9 Sánchez, G - C .200 .400 5 0 0 1
10 Wade - 2B - - - - - -
11 Estrada - 2B - - - - - -
12 Ford - PH - - - - - -
13 Mercer - SS .000 .000 2 0 0 1
14 García, Dei - P - - - - - -
15 Holder, J - P - - - - - -
16 Cessa - P - - - - - -
Mets Lineup vs. García, Dei AVG OPS AB HR RBI K
1 McNeil - LF - - - - - -
2 Conforto - RF - - - - - -
3 Smith, Do - 1B - - - - - -
4 Davis, J - 3B - - - - - -
5 Gimenez - 3B - - - - - -
6 Ramos, W - PH - - - - - -
7 Canó - 2B - - - - - -
8 Alonso, P - DH - - - - - -
9 Rosario, A - SS - - - - - -
10 Marisnick - CF - - - - - -
11 Sánchez, A - C - - - - - -
12 Guillorme - PH - - - - - -
13 Lugo, S - P - - - - - -
14 Shreve - P - - - - - -
15 Familia - P - - - - - -
16 Smith, Dr - P - - - - - -
ALE Rank Team W L GB (E#) WC Rank WC GB (E#)
1 Tampa Bay Rays 24 11 - (-) - - (-)
2 New York Yankees 19 13 3.5 (24) 3 - (-)
3 Toronto Blue Jays 18 14 4.5 (23) 6 1.0 (28)
4 Baltimore Orioles 14 19 9.0 (18) 8 5.5 (23)
5 Boston Red Sox 12 22 11.5 (15) 12 8.0 (20)

Around the Division

TB 12 @ MIA 7 - Final
WSH 5 @ BOS 9 - Final
BAL 5 @ TOR 6 - Final
Last Updated: 08/30/2020 08:11:17 PM EDT, Update Interval: 5 Minutes
submitted by Yankeebot to NYYankees [link] [comments]


2020.08.24 13:06 Megan_Dawn R/FANTASY'S 2020 TOP LGBTQA+ BOOKS VOTING RESULTS

The 2020 top LGBTQA+ voting results post is never late, nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it means to. Which is now, apparently. I do appreciate the patience everyone, and next year I promise not to hold the voting at the height of a pandemic and the same week I get a copy of animal crossing (hit me up if you wanna visit my island!).
The voting post can be found here, and the database of collated votes is here. Please note that I can only vouch for the books that actually made it into this post; there could be books in the database that don't fit at all.
So here we have it! Our sub's favourite books featuring a main POV character who lands somewhere on the LGBTQA+ spectrum. Like any good mother I couldn't possibly play favourites (The Tarot Sequence. The Tarot Sequence is my favourite), I'm just so pleased to see so many fantastic books in one place, and even more excited to dive into the ones that are new to me! Weep for our TBRs, friends. Weep for them.
29 votes
This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone Lesbian
When two elite warriors— standing on opposing sides of a war stretching across space and time— become penpals, the rivalry between them starts to shift into something else.
27 votes
Wayfarers by Becky Chambers Lesbian
A young woman hiding one or two secrets takes a job on an old spaceship, and discovers that sometimes families aren’t made; they’re found.
25 votes
The Locked Tomb by Tamsyn Muir Lesbian
The Emperor needs a necromancer, and Harrowhark , Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, would super like to be that necromancer. But without Gideon, she’ll fail. And Gideon... is currently packing up her dirty magazines and planning an escape…
21 votes
The Masquerade by Seth Dickinson Lesbian
When you’re as crazy smart as Baru Cormorant the issue is not will you be able to rise to the top of the society that colonised your people and take them down from the inside, it’s will you be able to do without becoming a monster yourself? (No. The answer is no).
20 votes
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Gay
A retelling Achilles’ ill-fated destiny with Troy, told from Patroclus’ pov. Very beautiful. Much heartbreak.
17 votes
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon Lesbian
An absolute honking chonker of a book full of wonderfully detailed worldbuilding, if that’s your thing. And also an unwed queen beset on all sides by assassins, and the forbidden-magic wielding lady-in-waiting who’s keeping her alive. You know. If that’s your thing.
Machineries of Empire by Yoon Ha Lee Gay, Lesbian & Trans
Look, I know it’s not great that one of your space fortresses is rebelling, I’m just saying that taking a promising soldier and forcing her to share her body with the resurrected spirit of the brilliant and genocidal general you’ve had locked away for a few centuries is maybe - maybe - not your best plan.
16 votes
The Tarot Sequence by KD Edwards Gay
Where is Addam, missing scion of the Judgement Court? This is a mystery Rune St. John, last scion of Sun Court, has been paid to solve. Other mysteries are too big for money; like who killed Rune’s father and destroyed Sun Court all those years ago? And also, why is Addam so handsome? How did he become so charming? Mysteries, mysteries.
14 votes
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine Lesbian
An ambassador to a sprawling empire must solve the murder of her predecessor before she meets the same fate. Thankfully a version of the murdered man has been reconstructed from his memories and implanted in her mind. Helpful! Unfortunately the memories used were very outdated. Less helpful!
Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey Bi
A courtesan-spy cursed/blessed by her god to find pleasure in pain and a prudish warrior-priest go through all kinds of hell to save their homeland from traitors, but the real battle is the one against their feelings for each other. (And also the persistent idea that this trilogy is all sex when really it’s mostly politics with a little sex, and even then it’s still mostly politics).
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Gay
Did somebody say… heist?? Kaz Brekker is putting together a team for a job that could set them all up for life, if all the tragic backstories and shocking betrayals and sexual tensions could maybe stop getting in the way for just five minutes.
The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone Lesbian & Trans
This is the series with necromancer attorneys. I mean, I don’t know what else you want from me here. Necromancer. Attorneys.
13 votes
The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler Lesbian
We have Marcus, an experienced but tired Captain of a foreign outpost. We have Winter, a green but gifted soldier with some field promotions in his ( well, hers, but shhhh, that’s a secret) future. And last comes Janus, the brilliant but maybe a little mad Colonel who is above sharing his true agenda, but not above maybe getting all them killed in the name of it.
Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire Asexual and trans
This one goes out to all you kids that were transported to fantasy words, and then spat back out on earth once the adventuring was done.
12 votes
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie Trans
There’s a rock, and there’s the God of that rock, and the endless time that stretches behind and before them, and the tangled feuds the other Gods are constantly mired in that they stay clear of. Or at least, that’s what they’ve always done. Until now.
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater Gay and Bi
Four teens in rural Virginia search for a buried Welsh king, but maybe the real Welsh king is the friends we make along the way.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune Gay
A Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth must travel to an island orphanage and determine if the handful of misfit children there (gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist) are likely to bring about the end of days or not. He must also determine what it is he feels for their charming caretaker.
11 votes
Arcane Ascension by Andrew Rowe Asexual
If you can reach the top of the colossal Serpent Spire— which is to say, if you can survive all the traps and monsters and shifting rooms — you get magical powers and the boon of a Goddess and all sorts of neat shit. Five years ago Corin’s brother entered the tower and didn’t come out again. Now Corin is heading inside to bring him back.
Tensorate by JY Yang Gay, trans and non-binary
A prophet stands on one side of a rebellion and on the other; her brother, who maybe can’t know the future like she does, but who knows that what matters more is changing the right now.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin Non-binary
A human emissary travels to an alien world — where the inhabitants can choose and change their gender at will— in order to convince them to join an intergalactic civilisation.
10 votes
The Kingston Cycle by CL Polk Gay and Lesbian
One good thing about war is that it’s easy enough to fake your own death and start a new life back home where your powerful family can’t use you for your magic. Of course in order for this to be a successful endeavour it helps to keep your head down and not start investigating a murder. If you absolutely must investigate a murder for the love of god don’t do with a mysterious and charming and attention-drawing man by your side. But ok I get it he really is very good looking. Just no high-speed bicycle chases, ok? …Ok?!
The Riverside Books by Ellen Kushner Bi
The nobles of Riverside are so witty and polite, but manners can only take one so far. If you find your tongue just isn’t cutting enough it might be time to head into the slums and find yourself a swordsman to dual on your behalf. Richard St. Vier is the very best of them, but it’s not his swordfighting prowess that has young nobleman Alec attached to his side…
9 votes
A Charm of Magpies by KJ Charles Gay
It takes the deaths of his father and brother to bring Lucien back to England after twenty years, and imagine his disquiet to learn he’s not just inherited his father’s wealth, but his enemies too. He requires magical protection, and it’s just bad luck really that the man he hires has more reason than anyone else to hate Lucien’s family.
The Books of Raksura by Martha Wells Bi
Moon grows up believing he is the last of his kind, until he stumbles upon others and finds out he’s basically royalty. He also finds out his people are super matriarchal, and he’s expected to be a bit more wilting flower and a bit less… feral loner who’s well-used to gutting monsters with his bare claws? Still, If he can let go of his bone-deep abandonment issues for even just one second he might realise he’s found the family he always wanted.
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan Bi
Eliot is only a child when he is recruited to a magical military academy. One problem though — well, ok, more than one problem. For example, a quill and ink is hideously impractical and there’s only so many pens one carry back from summer break, especially when you’re also trying to smuggle a coffee machine… But aside from all that, there’s the fact that this is an military academy and Eliot is a pacifist. And unfortunately for the war effort he’s also a stubborn little shit.
8 votes
The Deeds of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon Asexual
Paks is eighteen and headstrong when she flees a marriage arranged by her father and joins a mercenary company, and in the amidst all the obstacles and hardships she must overcome she discovers she is also a paladin.
Starless by Jacqueline Carey Non-binary
During a moon-on-moon eclipse two babies are born. One is a princess of the Sun-blessed, and the other her “shadow;” her god-chosen protector. Khai’s whole life is spent training for the moment where he will meet the princess and take on this role, but of course when that time comes he realises that shit’s just barely getting started.
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson Bi
Prose gorgeous enough to make you weep and a story that— Actually, best to go into this one blind. You won’t regret it.
The Montague Siblings by Mackenzi Lee Bi and asexual/aromantic
Don’t you hate it when your European holiday turns into a manhunt, and also your sister is along for the ride so you can’t even hit on your best friend in peace? Smh.
Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell Maybe gay, maybe bi (protagonist still figuring shit out)
Who needs Harry Potter when you can have Carry On. All the no artificial colour or flavourings magical school deliciousness you love paired with an artisanal magic system and a truly decadent enemies-to-lovers romance.
7 votes
To be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers Pan
A space explorer and her crew sleep for decades between planets. Earth dramatically changes each time they wake, but they don’t let it get in the way of sending their findings home.
Captive Prince by CS Pacat Bi
Following a violent coup a Prince is disguised as a slave and delivered into the court of his enemies, and the only way save his homeland lies in aiding the worst of them. (A note from me, your friendly OP: A lot of things in the first book of this trilogy will seem very problematic on first read, so this is me promising you that the rest of the trilogy does address it all. Things are not what they seem!)
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh Gay
Grumpy woods hermit is repeatedly bothered by wide-eyed scholar.
Bel Dame Apocrypha by Kameron Hurley Bi
Nyx used to be part of an elite bounty-hunter sect, tasked with collecting the heads of boys foolish enough to desert a never-ending war. But now she’s been cast out and all that matters is making money with her motley mercenary crew, no matter how dangerous the job.
The Amberlough Dossier by Lara Elena Donnelly Gay
This is a book about the insidious encroach of fascism, and about two not exactly good men who are not elevated by the love they feel for one another but rather drag it down into their selfish, self-preserving, ruthless world. Also cabaret.
The Last Herald Mage by Mercedes Lackey Gay
Vanyal just really wants to be a bard, but his dad is all ‘like fuck you will, go learn to be a warier.’ Of course then then it turns out he’ll be neither because he is a super powerful mage. I believe there are also psychic horses involved.
Inda by Sherwood Smith Gay and bi
Young Inda is something of a prodigy when it comes to strategy and tactics, so it’s especially awkward when he’s expelled from military academy and turns to a life of piracy.
6 votes
The Band by Nicholas Eames Lesbian
Clay thought his mercenary days were well behind him, but then an old band-mate shows up needing help to rescue his daughter and it looks like there’s one more tour left in him after all. (Note: this blurb applies to book one of The Band, but it's book two,The Bloody Rose, with the lesbian protagonist).
The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar Lesbian
Four woman, a rebellion, and some stunningly poetic prose.
5 votes
In The Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard Lesbian
Beauty and the beast but one hundred percent more dragon.
Nemisis by April Daniels Trans
Hiding the fact she’s trans gets a lot harder for Danny when the superhero Dreadnought dies right in front her. Now she’s got his powers, powers which magically transform her body to the shape she’s always known it should be. And now she’s also got a dad desperate to change her back, a best friend who wants to date her, and a whole cabal of superheroes who think she doesn’t belong.
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear Lesbian
Prostitutes in an alternate wild-west face of against a bad buy with a streampunk mind control machine.
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey Lesbian
Loup Garron’s father was a genetically engineered soldier on the run from the government, and from him she inherited some cool skills like super strength, speed, and an inability to feel fear. Naturally she uses these skills to become a vigilante superhero and win boxing matches.
Nightrunner by Lynn Flewelling Bi
Painfully sweet young Alec is plucked from a dungeon by the mysterious and dashing elf, Seragol. He’s basically a spy for the queen and he’s all, ‘hey you’re cute wanna come be my spy apprentice?’ Adventures ensue.
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F Mchugh Gay
It’s the twenty-second century and following an economic collapse and socialist revolution in America, China has become the dominate world-power. We are following Zhang through a decade of his life; sometimes focusing directly on him and sometimes not. Sometimes we are on mars, and sometimes we are not.
Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer Lesbian
Living a life constantly on the run from her abusive father really sucks for Steph, but it sucks slightly less with her group of close internet friends on the cat-pic sharing social media site, CatNet. And when he father does finally find her it’s the CatNet, and the sentient AI behind it, who might be her only hope.
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon Intersex
The HSS Matilda has been carrying tens of thousands of people across space for generations; from a ruined Earth to a supposed promised land. The populace of the ship are separated across highly-segregated racial lines, but when a link is found between the deaths of the ship’s Monarch and Aster’s own mother she won’t let them stand in the way of uncovering the truth.
The Founders trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett Lesbian
The trouble with being an excellent thief is eventually someone’s gonna pay you to steal the kind of thing that people would kill for. In Sancia’s case it’s a powerful artifact that some bad guys want to use to re-write the world.
Dr. Greta Helsing by Vivian Shaw Gay
Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, must stop of a group of murderous monks before they kill all of her clients.
4 votes
The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan Lesbian
A masterclass in what a skilled author can do with an unreliable narrator, The Drowning Call follows India Morgan Phelps (Imp to her friends) as she attempts to write a ghost story. Or, well. A “ghost story.”
The Winnowing Flame by Jen Williams Lesbian
There’s nothing more depressing than spending your days in a city in decline, watching your life slowly pass you by. So who can blame Tormalin the Oathless for instead taking up with an eccentric explorer and a fugitive witch, for leaving the city behind and heading off to fight monsters and unearth artifacts.
Elemental Logic by Laurie J Marks Lesbian (at least? I get the impression this is an everyone is queer kind of book. You love to see it).
The Earth Witch is dead and heirless, the elements are out of balance, and the land of Shaftal is slowly, painfully, dying. Its fate now lies in the hands of a scholar turned reluctant warrior; the sole survivor of a slaughtered tribe, and a drug-addicted half-blood giant.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley Gay
When Thaniel finds a gold pocket watch on his pillow he’s like, hey cool. Free watch. It’s not until it saves his life that he figures he should maybe find where it came from. A journey that leads him to Japanese immigrant Keita Mori, from Victorian London to civil war Japan, and even further beyond.
Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes Lesbian
Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare.
Los Nefilim by T Frohock Gay
There’s a war between angels and demons being fought in 1930s Spain, but Diago Alvarez is staying out of it. He’s half-angel, half-demon, wholly not giving a fuck. But when Diago’s lover Miquel and his son are threatened Diago realises he does have some fucks to give after all.
Shades of Magic by VE Schwab Bisexual, Gay
Antari are magicians with the ability to travel between alternate Londonds, and Kell is one of the last of them. Officially he’s a diplomat for the royal family that adopted him; carrying letters to the different Londons on behalf of his royal parents. Less officially he’s a smuggler. Guess which of those is about to get him into a whole mess of trouble?
Tales from Verania by TJ Klune Gay
This book is ridiculous and fun and will make your face hurt from all the grinning and then when you least suspect it BAM it punches you in the heart. So sneaky. When Prince Justin becomes King, Sam will be his wizard. Even though Justin is a jerk and is dating Knight Commander Ryan, who is a dreamboat and anyone can see should be with Sam. When Justin gets kidnapped by a dragon, Sam and Ryan (and Gary the sassy unicorn) have to go save him.
Did you think I was kidding when I said pour one out for the TBRs?
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2020.08.22 13:53 finnagains Comcast and NBC Universal’s Peacock: A strange bird - 31 July 2020

Do we need yet another television network/movie studio/cable station conglomerate turned into a streaming service whose perhaps major contribution is to put its back catalogue online?
This question is prompted by the conservative cable network Comcast’s launching of Peacock, its entry into a crowded field. The name summons up the NBC logo and is designed to invoke fond memories of that network which Comcast bought to combine with the Universal film studio to challenge the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, AppleTV+ and HBO Max in what is becoming an increasingly polluted field.
These “hyperconglomerates,” media giants combining telecommunications, satellite systems, and digital delivery and transmissions, are often reactionary in nature. AT&T, the parent company of HBO Max, called “the most Republican of any publicly traded company” has long pushed for increased business deregulation and deeper tax cuts. Comcast, now spreading its tentacles across the world with its acquisition from Rupert Murdoch of the main European satellite service Sky, only recently withdrew from the think tank ALEC which promoted the murderous and racist stand-your-ground laws and is involved in a voter ID campaign to disqualify Black voters.
The answer to the question of Peacock’s relevance, given what has been proposed to anchor the channel so far, is a resounding no. The streaming service flagship series is Brave New World, based on the Aldous Huxley dystopian novel. Peacock is using the old cable model of trying to make a splashy debut with a high-powered series which will conceal the fact that most of the content, as is always true on cable channels, is not new but simply cable-ready reruns of old shows and movies. A major draw here is The Office whose, at times, brutally honest look at corporate culture has made it one of the most watched shows in the world. The show ran on NBC but at this moment is still lodged in Netflix and won’t premiere on the streaming service until January 2021.
There will supposedly be an Office reunion episode which is designed to make viewers remember the magic of the highly satirical and often hilarious series. However, if the 30 Rock reunion is any indication, what it will do instead is evoke anger as viewers of the 30 Rock “reunion” thought they were tuning into an hour-long, double-the-length, episode of the series and instead got what was predominantly an extended infomercial for Peacock with some bits from the series sprinkled around the promos.
Instead of fond memories, the show might have made viewers question how hard-hitting or edgy 30 Rock, whose title celebrates NBC’s corporate headquarters, ever was to begin with. The series was always made up more of slight jibes rather than actual pokes at the industry. It didn’t bite the hand that fed it in the way that actual satires of the industry such as The Larry Sanders Show or Episodes did. Instead it sprinkled magical fairy dust over a network that had been largely out of touch since The Office ended, perennially caught between the aging conservative heartland audience of CBS and the hipper, female, urban and sometimes progressive audience of ABC. For the better part of a decade it has not been able to make up its mind what it was, while frequently blandly floating between the two poles.
The stellar program on the network at the moment is Seth Meyer’s Late Night. His segment “A Closer Look” (available on YouTube) has become, in the COVID lockdown, much harder hitting at it pounds away at Trump, Senate Republicans and police and paramilitary strong-arm tactics in the streets. Increasingly grabbing the spotlight, though, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protest, has been one of its writers, Amber Ruffin, whose recounting as a Black woman of her daily humiliating and intimidating experiences with the police was a series highlight.
Brave New World or Cowardly Old One?
The funniest and baldest satirical moment on network TV this season was Seth and Amber’s faux “trailer” for White Savior, a sendup of trash like The Green Book where Meyer’s white guy constantly appears to take the credit and get the attention for the hard work Ruffin’s characters carry out. At the end of the bit it’s Meyer’s liberal sitting on the bus who invites Ruffin’s Rosa Parks to “take a seat” next to him, hogging the limelight in her challenging of racial inequality. Amber Ruffin’s show on Peacock is being rushed into production and, given the lack of quality material on the service so far, it can’t come fast enough.
Getting Huxley completely wrong
Which brings us to Brave New World (soon available on Sky in the UK), a soft-focus gauzy mess of a show that gets Huxley completely wrong, turning his criticism of the way technology in the wrong hands is capable of promoting conformity into instead an Ayn Rand-, Trump-like paean to narcissistic and suicidal individualism. There is indeed a way the novel could be effectively updated in the digital age to talk about how all experience is being flattened by monopolistic entities like Amazon and by streaming services like Peacock. But that might be hitting too close to home.
Instead the series has the ultra-rich mainly worried that they can’t have multiple dates with the same lover as monogamy is outlawed, replaced by titillating soft-focus orgies. Outside this Valley of the Dolls shtick are the poor who live in the Savage Lands in a kind of Mad Max broken-down world. But here, too, their major concern is not that they have no food, shelter or employment, but that they have “lost their individuality,” whatever that means. The satire and description of a devastated world with a rich urban center and an utterly left-for-dead periphery, one where our world is heading, is much sharper and accurate in the teen dystopia movie series The Hunger Games. Compared to it, this version of Huxley doesn’t even have the heft and weight of Netflix’s version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Far more effective and affecting is Peacock’s other revival, the second film of the long-running USA series Psych, titled Lassie Come Home (available on Prime Video in the UK). USA is owned by NBC, as the major network’s owned many of the prime cable channels, but did not own up to that fact, making it appear that cable was a land of plenty divorced from network television when in fact it was dominated by it.
The heart of Psych, a series about a fake psychic detective, was always the repartee between the bumbling would-be Sherlock Holmes Shawn Spencer (James Roday, who co-wrote the film) and his number two, sidekick Gus (the African-American actor Dulé Hill). There is certainly an uncomfortable element to the unequalness of the bantering, with Shawn always coming up with his own names for Gus, barely addressed in the follow-up film as Gus now gets to choose which name Shawn comes up with for him he can tolerate. But their playfulness and knowledge and reveling in the more obscure and degraded back alleys of pop culture can be infectious.
The second film follow-up to the series is built around affectionately honoring a member of the cast, Timothy Omundson, who played Lassiter, the hard-edged official police foil to Shawn and Gus’s lackadaisical but ultimately always more effective sleuths. Timothy Omundson in Lassie Come Home
Omundson had a stroke and was unable to be a part of the first film. This second film is written around him with the stroke, explained in the film as the result of a gun battle, resulting in his actual inability to speak in the former stern voice of the character and his physical paralysis, incorporated into the film. The last sequence has him overcoming both in a way that is touching and heartfelt, a tribute to working with the disabled, who themselves are beginning to demand a place on network television and at the center of modern life.
The sincere, warm sentiment of the cast and writers for the actor and his condition comes through strongly in the series and makes it, in a moment of authenticity, everything the promo hucksterism of the 30 Rock reunion and the misguided banality of Brave New World are not. There is a long way to go before Peacock spreads its wings and displays its colorful plumage—or for that matter even justifies its existence.
Leftwinger
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2020.08.18 04:22 welcometosouthapp Welcome to South App #4: "Outside 101"

Monday, August 17th, 2020
Winston Beavers was having a very bad day.
It all began at 5 AM when his phone alarm vibrated. He rolled over on his belly and silenced it before it could wake Tai. It was the first day of class, but Winston wasn’t rising early to drink coffee and read the student newspaper. Instead, he grabbed his trusty silk tie and used it to hang his tablet from the sprinkler head. He slipped his headphones on, booted up some porn, and got straight down to business with both hands.
Now his contraption was holding on by faith and faith alone. But Winston paid no mind. He listened to Irish redheads moaning in his ear while he arched his back and curled his toes. And with each passing second, the weight of the tablet began to wear on the old, rusty sprinkler head.
So, when Winston exploded, so did that sprinkler head.
“Fuck!” Winston yelled, choking on a mouthful of rusty water. He tumbled off the top bunk, landing square on his ass. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed a binder from his desk, and rushed out the room - slipping on the puddle on his way out. Tai was already in the hallway, naked and wrapped in a wet blanket.
“What the hell, asshole?!” Tai blurted out, shivering with his laptop and backpack in each hand. “I told you not to jerk off like that!”
“Save your breath, partner,” Winston reassured him. “This here binder is the only important thing in that goddamn room.”
As water seeped into the hallway, Winston reckoned his luck had finally run out. Earlier this week, the Asheville PD had informed him that his prized Single Action Army was nowhere to be found in evidence. But he still had his precious binder, with the letters BDE inscribed on the spine. And when the water was finally shut off, Winston stuffed the binder back in his desk and made Tai pinky swear to keep it a secret.
***
A few hours later, Tai sat on the sofa in a local Asheville coffee shop with a drink and a bible in front of him.
As your wing-woman, I shall provide some friendly reminders!” Gigi cheerfully told Tai over the phone. “Make sure you’re facing the door so you can see when he comes in. Oh, and remember the order of operations: turn a page, sip your drink, make eye contact. Turn, sip, eyes!
“Uh, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Tai whispered, as sleepy, hungover students filed in.
“I’m setting you up on an impromptu date on a Monday morning, am I not?”
“And have you run this strategy by amateur wingman extraordinaire Winston Beavers?”
Gigi paused. “Winston and I are...no longer on speaking terms. Sorry! I do not consent to any conversation about the aforementioned obnoxious brute whatsoever. Good luck!”
Gigi hung up. So Tai, who had never touched a bible, flipped to Ephesians like Gigi had coached him before. In fact, she’d planned out everything down to the last detail: the NIV version of the bible, the iced caramel macchiato, and the red and white checkerboard Vans he wore.
But Tai’s mind wandered to a more interesting book that he also had not yet read. He wanted to know what the hell was in Winston’s binder.
Suddenly, Jacky California walked into the cafe. Showtime. His 7:30 coffee break was expected. (Gigi found Jacky’s schedule on Facebook, and a quick visit to this cafe before 8 AM Intermediate Spanish just made sense.) Check. Turn, sip, eyes. Jacky waited in line, wearing a slim-fit red Abercrombie polo, bleached holy jeans, and his prized red and white checkerboard Vans. And his shoe decision, yet again, was also expected. (Gigi discovered that Jacky had only two classes on Monday, influencing his choice in that comfy pair of shoes that he wore in his profile pic). Check. Turn, sip, eyes. When Jacky stepped up to the counter, he ordered an iced caramel macchiato. And, once again, Gigi predicted this move. (Whatever the weather, Jacky’s SoCal roots virtually guaranteed an icy, watered-down coffee approach. Not to mention, nobody drinks hot coffee after sitting in the tanning bed for 30 minutes. Which, according to Gigi’s sleuthing, Jacky partook in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.) Check. Turn, sip, eyes. Finally, while waiting for his order, Jacky pulled out his NIV study bible and flipped to the Book of Acts. (This time, Gigi was only partially off-base. His Facebook modeling photos were actually captioned with Ephesians bible verses. Nothing a quick fix couldn’t remedy). So Tai flipped straight to Acts, took a long sip of his macchiato, and made direct eye contact with Jacky as he walked over.
“Bro, this is freakin’ gnarly!” Jacky said in disbelief, pointing out their matching shoes, bible, and drink. “This is some righteous Revelation-level prophecy if I’ve ever seen it. Hey, my name’s Jacky. Is this seat ocupado?”
***
“Oh no!” Claire exclaimed, stroking Winston's fuzzy beard. “I’m, like, totally sorry about my stud’s mishap this morning!”
“Thank ya, peach pie,” Winston said, shaking his head. “I reckon they’ll move my ass to the broom closet and hang me out to dry.”
Claire and Winston were sitting in the Rec Center courtyard in athletic gear, along with several other hungover students. This was the Outdoors Adventures Seminar, AKA “Outside 101.” For many, it was a breezy way to snag the required Health and Fitness credit hour. And that's exactly why Gigi and Frank were also in this class. They sat on the opposite side of the courtyard, quietly gossipping and shooting the occasional glance their way.
“Your friends over there are, like, totally ignoring us!” Claire piped up, tugging Winston’s sleeve. “That’s, like, so rude.”
“Don’t trouble yourself, puddin’ muffin. They just ain’t ready for us yet.”
“And, like, oh my God! Ryan flat-out told me those are, like, the two people who broke into the frat house and blew up his daddy’s ashes! They are, like, total thugs. Ew!”
“Ah, my sister explained to me that it was a big misunderstanding, bundt cake,” Winston replied, feigning interest.
“Well, you should totally talk some sense to that Asian friend of yours, or else this class is gonna be, like, hella awkward,” Claire suggested. “She has, like, a salt and vinegar chip on her shoulder! It’s, like, totally not my fault that I can pull off a sports bra while she’s wearing those baggy clothes!”
True enough, Gigi and Frank had been giving them the cold shoulder ever since the frat house raid. For Frank, this was because of Winston’s affiliation with Claire Dansby and the notorious fraternity she represented. As for Gigi, it was more simple and personal: the lap dance.
“Ahoy, ladies and germs!” greeted the rugged Australian instructor, decked out in bushman’s gear. “My name is Angus, and I want to welcome ya to Outside 101. While you shop different classes, I indeed hope you’ll choose to spend your semester with us. Today is the Gauntlet Challenge, where we’ll break off into groups and compete for a mighty fine prize!”
With that, Angus hurled an ax at a target behind the students. Bullseye. Everyone stood up to clap and cheer. “Now, everybody come up front and grab yourselves a fine ole’ nametag so we know who you are!”
Winston sprung up and headed for the front of the line. Gigi stood with her back to him, her long black hair draping over her Under Armor tank top. He cleared his throat. “Howdy. Looks like we’re gonna be getting a workout in today. So hey, can I have a word with ya in private?”
She spun around, showing him a forced smile. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t consent to this conversation.”
With that, she grabbed a nametag and wrote “Gigi.” Winston cocked his head. “So, I seem to recall Sarah telling me that you’ve got a South Korean name that only your father calls you.”
“Ah, but what’s in a name anywho?” pondered Frank, stepping forward. “Sir Winston, I wish to extend a sincere congratulations to your acceptance into the Beta Delta Epsilon Sausage Club. And to that brazen bull of a woman under your thumb. Alas, a braver man than me are you!”
Gigi narrowed her eyes at Winston. “You don’t know my real name?” she stated matter-of-factly. “Do you even know me at all?”
Frank and Gigi walked back to their seat. The hair stood up on the back of Winston’s neck. But before he could retort, two late students entered the courtyard.
“Hey, what’s up dudes and dudettes?” Jacky greeted casually. “Sorry we’re late. We couldn’t find the-"
“Hellooo everyone!” Tai greeted the class flamboyantly. “Jacky-boy, I hope you’re ready for a totally fabulous time! Ready to sweat? Oh, will you look at the sports bra on that blonde gal over here! Looks like Victoria can’t keep her secret for long. Am I right, Tai? Hey, boo-boo! Yes, you in the sports bra. You are killing it!”
Claire giggled, thanking Tai. But he and Jacky wound up sitting next to Gigi and Frank instead, introducing each other. Winston watched from afar, shaking his head. So this is how my roommate acts when he’s no longer single, he thought. Then, when no one was watching, Winston reached into his pocket and pulled out a 20-dollar bill.
“Oi, Steve Irwin,” Winston whispered to Angus, slipping him the money. “I need ya to put me and my friends together in a group.”
Winston pointed out his four friends, scribbled “BAMF” on a nametag, and walked confidently back to his seat. Then, when Gigi was watching, he gave Claire a sloppy, wet kiss.
***
“First elimination challenge is ax throwing!” Angus announced, behind the wheel of a Volkswagen VW bus. “The world’s second-oldest profession.”
Per request, Angus had formed a group out of Winston, Claire, Frank, Gigi, Tai, and Jacky. Now, he was driving them to a deserted field at the base of Mount Pisgah in the Asheville wilderness. Once they arrived, he set up a huge wooden target, then tossed Winston an ax.
“Now you look like a bloke who’s done this before!” Angus remarked.
“Hell, my daddy had to put a lock on the shed,” Winston bragged.
“Winston is, like, totally a wild man when it comes to the outdoors!” Claire chimed in. “I’m, like, super-stoked for him to totally man-handle me in the bedroom.”
The other four cringed at each other. Then, Winston reared back and hurled the ax with two hands, hitting a large ring.
“Three points!” Angus called out. “Claire, think you can conquer this beast?”
Claire stepped forward and grabbed an ax. As a former high school cheerleader, she hid some muscles under her small frame. But what surprised everybody was how she tossed hers one-handed. She hit an inner ring: a five-pointer.
“This, like, ain’t my first rodeo, cowboy!” Claire teased. She brazenly grabbed another ax and under-handed it to Gigi. She yelped, but Frank stepped in and caught it.
“My stars!” he said to Claire. “A woman so supple, yet so brazen around the edges. A fine mistress you doth make!”
Winston walked over to Gigi and gave her a puzzled look. “In the words of Richard III,” he began. “It looks Frank would trade his kingdom for a whore.”
“Um...since when have you started dabbling in Old English plays?” Gigi asked, a bit uneasy.
“Looks like you don’t know me much at all yourself.”
Gigi blushed, either enraged or embarrassed. She left him to stand next to her boyfriend. Then, Frank performed a one-handed throw, landing an inner ring.
“Five points for Shakespeare!” Angus cheered. “Let’s see if Miss Hathaway can cut the mustard.”
Before Frank handed Gigi the ax, she was already tense. He helped her hold it with two hands in a beginner’s stance. “But soft!” he said, as Gigi took aim. “Plant it straight in the heart! Just like I shall soon plant my seed in your womb.”
Flustered and distracted, she heaved the ax for an outer ring.
“Oi, only one point,” Angus declared. “Better hope our last two competitors think off target!”
Jacky grabbed an ax and faced Gigi. “Bro, your boyfriend’s a perv. And so is that chick.”
Jacky pointed straight at Claire. She giggled obnoxiously, flicking her long blonde hair. Jacky rolled his eyes. “God, please bring this lost sheep home,” he quietly prayed. He flung it from over the shoulder, missing the target completely.
“Ah, I can tell you’re fancy a boomerang by the way you throw that bugger!” Angus chuckled. “Our first elimination. Last one, come on down!”
Before Tai could grab his ax, Gigi pulled him aside. “Um, as your fellow wing-woman,” she started, “I suggest you launch the caveman hunting apparatus into the margins for the express purpose of aborting and creating a more intimate scenario with your beloved wave rider.”
Now Tai had grown a little closer with Gigi ever since she matched him up with Jacky. But all he could muster was a blank stare. Gigi leaned in closer. “Lose on purpose so you can be alone with him!” she hissed.
“Oh, got it,” Tai whispered back. “Hey, Gigi? Do ya think I can borrow your room for a bit? There’s no way Jacky can find out I live in a flooded swamp.”
Suddenly, Jacky’s ax boomerang came twirling back around, heading straight for Tai. He jumped to the side with a shriek, watching the ax fly into a tree. “Righteous!” Jacky cheered, running back to fetch it. So with that in mind, Tai took aim and tossed his ax boomerang-style. As intended, it went flying far and wide past the target.
“And Tai and Jacky have been eliminated!” Angus declared. “That means the rest of ya advance to our next challenge. And an impressive performance from the blonde bombshell and Italian stallion, I might add.”
Claire walked up to Frank and slapped his ass. “Looks like we pervs, like, totally got it going on!”
Winston and Gigi stared at each other in shock. But before they knew it, Tai’s ax boomerang came soaring back, nailing the side of Angus’ Volkswagen.
***
“FIX THE FUCKING AC,” growled Evelyn the RA in a low, demonic voice. “I WILL BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKER TO THE GROUND.”
In Sarah and Gigi’s room, Tai and Jacky had taken shelter from this emo demon, who was now stomping up and down the hallway. Sure enough, the AC was broken again. And after Tai had escorted Jacky up seven flights of stairs to “his” room, they’d found it virtually impossible to stop sweating.
“So let’s dive into Genesis 5 where we left off,” Jacky suggested, as they sat together on the futon. “It’s a little gnarly since it’s all genealogy. We’ll have to quiz each other when we’re done so we make sure we got it down pat!”
Jacky cracked open the bible, just as Evelyn screamed from the hallway. They rushed to the door and peeked out. Evelyn had let down her jet-black hair and had smeared mascara on her, sweating pale face. She locked eyes with the two young men. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?” the demon within her tremored.
They quickly shut the door and got back to their bible study. “Well...anyway, this is the written account of Adam’s family line,” Jacky read. “Basically, this is gonna be a righteous heck-ton of funky names to remember. My youth pastor showed me an easy way to memorize them, where-”
Death metal blared in the hallway. Over the heavy muted guitar and the rapid-fire double bass, Evelyn released a primal roar.
“So yeah, an easy way to memorize the names is word association!” the sweating Jacky yelled over the screeching guitar solo. “For example, take Adam and Seth, who-”
“EVERYBODY BREAK SHIT,” Evelyn screamed, as the deafening breakdown began. Tai rushed to the door and peeked out again. This time, she was breaking off a long fluorescent light tube from the ceiling. Several of her female hallmates observed like visitors at a zoo. Evelyn reared back and smashed the wall, shattering the light into pieces.
“All right, bro,” Jacky finally sighed, shutting the bible and standing up. “Look, let’s just go to your actual room.”
“W-what?” Tai stuttered, closing the door.
“Come on brochacho,” Jacky said, slicking back his long blonde hair. “You think I didn’t catch on? There are the female girls in the hallway with the female devil incarnate. Not to mention the…dreadful taste in bedroom decor in whoever’s room this is. Come on, man. I wanna see the real you.”
They stared into each other's' cool grey eyes. Finally, Tai nodded and reached out to shake on it. Instead, Jacky held his hand and interlocked his fingers. They sneaked out into the hallway, and Jacky led the way to Tai’s room.
“H-how do you know where we’re going?” Tai asked.
“I’m your mailman,” Jacky answered, giving his hand a squeeze. “I know a lot more about you than you think. Heck, don’t even get me started on your roommate’s male enhancement subscription.”
As they descended the stairs, a herd of female students tried to restrain the spawn of Satan in the hall.
***
“Next up is the zip-line races!” Angus announced.
He drove the four competitors deep into the Pisgah National Forest with the ax still lodged in the van. He slowed to a stop in a green, tranquil meadow where sunlight peeked through the treetops. There, two huge zip-lines ran from the tops of starting platforms, all the way to a platform on the far side of the clearing.
Angus passed out a few safety harnesses, and everyone suited up. “Mine’s, like, a little too big!” Claire whined. “Gigi, you should totally trade with me since you have a tad more cushion for the pushin’! Hey, at least your boobs are smaller than mine! That, like, must be so convenient.”
Gigi ignored her, hooking herself to the lane behind Winston. Claire attached herself to the lane behind Frank. And Angus began the long walk toward the finish line platform. Now out of earshot, both groups began climbing the long rope ladders up to their platforms. Winston purposefully took his time. Halfway up the ladder, Winston stopped and looked down at Gigi.
“Hey, I know I’m being stubborn,” Winston said. “But I really wanna talk to you, if you’ll have me. Just give me a chance to explain-"
“She’s a total bitch!” Gigi hissed, surprising even herself. “If you’re dating her, we’re no longer friends.”
Frustrated and torn, Winston sighed. “Right. I reckon actions speak louder than words anyway.” He reached into his shorts pocket and pulled out a mini can of WD-40. Then, he proceeded to spray the shit out of both of their zip-line hooks.
“W-what the hell is wrong with you?” Gigi exclaimed, choking on the fumes.
“WD-40 is God’s lubricant,” Winston explained. “Now we’ll have a little speed boost when we race ‘em. Sorry, buddy, but I need us both to win so we have some alone time to sort things out.”
“You’re being absolutely ridiculous!” Gigi said, flabbergasted.
“I realize that. So I reckon I’ll make you an offer. When it’s me versus you at the finals, I’ll let you win so you get the Lazy Basil gift card. Deal?”
Suddenly, Gigi’s big, brown eyes shot open and her countenance sang a different tune. Lazy Basil was the finest Italian restaurant in all of Asheville - maybe all of North Carolina. And Frank would not be cooking her an Italian dinner until this Friday. After tasting a little bit of chocolate every day to prepare her body for cheese, she could not wait a day longer.
“Pray tell!” Frank suddenly yelled, looking down from his platform at the stragglers. “Art thou stuck on the ladder, Sir Winston? Mayhaps we require usage of a construction crane to haul up your portly frame.”
Winston grunted, then spat on the ground. “So what was that you were saying about my girlfriend being a bitch?” Winston asked Gigi.
Reaching the top of the ladder, Winston and Gigi stepped onto the platform. A perfect view of the bright green hemlock trees of the Pisgah National Forest. From the finish line platform, Angus pumped his fist. “Let’s get these wagon wheels a’rollin’!” his voice echoed across the forest. “Fellas up first!”
Winston made the mistake of looking down at the endless ocean of treetops. Stomach lurching, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Then, hands trembling, he moved his greased-up zip-line hook to the starting position.
Gigi tapped his shoulder. “Are you...afraid of heights?” she asked, more like a mother than a caring friend.
A sudden breeze caused their platform to sway ever-so-slightly. Winston hunched over and vomited his morning screwdriver into a nest of endangered birds. He wiped his mouth and looked up at Frank’s shit-eating grin. Winston simultaneously flicked him off while giving Angus a thumbs up.
“Ah, we’ve got ourselves a fighter!” Angus called out. “Ready. Set. Go!”
Winston and Frank kicked off their platforms, soaring over the forest. Sure enough, his WD-40 hack gave him the extra acceleration he needed. He held a clear lead over Frank as Angus’ platform grew closer and closer. Not even Frank’s Italian expletives could stop him.
“Wiiinston wins!” Angus cheered, as Winston whizzed up to the platform. And only a split-second later, Frank came in hot, landing gracefully.
“I underestimated thy aerodynamic stature!” Frank admitted. “Mayhaps I too require an uptick in fine American cuisine, say steak and potatoes?”
Back at the starting line, Gigi grabbed her hook and slid it into a starting position. She looked up at her hands, now slick with grease.
“I’m, like, totally sorry about being so rude earlier,” Claire said, making a pouting face. “Look, if you let me win, you get to leave class early with Frank, and I can have the gift card! And not to be totally awkward, but I think you could, like, have a super-hot figure without that Italian food in your diet.”
Two minutes later.
“Gigi wins!” Angus cheered, as she came careening to the finish line. A split second later, Claire came flying by - seething.
“Like, it’s totally not fair!” Claire cried, stomping her feet. “Gigi, like, totally called me a hashtag raging thundercunt! It, like-like-like-like-like, totally distracted me from the race!” Again, more crocodile tears while Claire buried her face in Winston’s shoulder.
“Woe is me!” Frank cried out, grabbing her shoulders. “Oh, the humanity! Alas, say you did no such thing!”
“There, there,” Winston said nonchalantly, patting Claire’s head like a dog. “I’m sure it ain’t that serious.”
Angus covered his mouth. “Oi, Miss Gigi: did you in fact call Lady Claire a raging thundercunt?”
Gigi politely crossed her hands in front of her waist, her messy black hair cascading over her pale face. And then: a tell-all smile.
“Well, you know we handle potty-mouths in Australia, right?” Angus asked. “We fuckin’ celebrate ‘em! And as for sore losers? We make ‘em walk the plank!”
Angus shoved Claire and Frank off the platform. They screamed until the cable pulled taut, leaving them dangling in midair.
“Congratulations, ya raging thundercunts!” Angus said to Winston and Gigi. “Now off to the finals we go. And doncha’ worry, ya blimey losers. My teaching assistant will come get ya down and give ya a comfy ride straight back to campus!”
Winston and Gigi climbed down the ladder and followed Angus out of the woods, leaving Frank and Claire as dinner for vultures. When the two were alone, Claire kicked off her tennis shoes and stretched out, showing off her flat stomach.
“I, like, always thought I had sex in every possible position!” Claire reflected. “Well, except for the Amazon position, since my fraternity forbids it. Awwwkward! But I’ve, like, totally never had sex in midair. Should we try it, Frank?”
***
It was a manic scene in the 700 Hall of Firewater. Hesitant to get the police involved, Evelyn’s roommates were in the process of summoning a Catholic priest to perform an exorcism. But she was no longer Tai and Jacky’s concern. The muffled screams, crashes, and bangs faded in the distance as the two guys entered the 300 Hall.
“We’re actually...not supposed to be here,” Tai cautioned, placing his hand on the doorknob to his room.
“How come, brotherman?” Jacky asked.
“It’s my roommate: Winston. There’s something in there that he doesn’t want me to know about. And he made me promise to not even let any visitors in our room.”
“So did he get it in writing, with a notary standing by?” Jacky joked.
“Pinky swear,” Tai corrected.
“Far out,” Jacky marveled. “That’s some next-level serious business.” Jacky chuckled, slicking his hair back. “So let me ask this about your roommate: would he rather us be in your room, or his sister’s room?”
Tai froze. Finally, he unlocked the door. “Touché.”
The mildew hit them like a freight train. The mattresses, rug, and futon cushion were all gone. Besides that, Jacky was standing in a typical college dorm. A football schedule and Megan Fox poster on Winston’s side. Video game and anime posters on Tai’s side. A dirty microwave and a mini-fridge, probably filled with light beer and leftover Chinese takeout.
Tai sat on the metal futon frame and patted the spot next to him. “So, what if we used flashcards to memorize some of those biblical names? It’s important for me to - WHAAA-!”
Jacky was frantically searching through Winston’s drawers. “Bingo, my man!” He held up the binder and read the spine. “What’s BDE anyway? Does it stand for big...uh, big-penis energy? Sounds like your roomie has some gnarly ego issues.”
Distracting himself, Tai opened the bible in his trembling hands. “So...uh...there’s Shem...Ham...and Japeth, the three sons of-”
Jacky plopped down next to Tai and opened the binder. “Dude! Do you know what this is?”
Tai looked down at pages upon pages of driver’s licenses in card sleeves. Every race, creed, and gender under the sun. And all featured photos that could pass for any young-looking 21-year-old.
Tai and Jacky had just uncovered Beta Delta Epsilon’s secret fake ID operation. Jacky searched through a few pages, and finally pulled out an ID that could pass for Tai. He removed it from the sleeve and placed it in Tai’s shaking hand. Then, he sat on his lap and held up an ID of a tan white guy with blonde hair. “I don’t wanna talk about Shem and Ham, my dude,” Jacky declared. “I wanna talk about our new legal names: Caleb and Demitri.”
“Ah, now I have an actual black guy’s name,” Tai chuckled, forcing a smirk. Suddenly, he slipped his hand up Jacky’s shirt, feeling his rock-hard abs. “I, uh...so do you want to roleplay...Caleb?”
“Not just roleplay, my dude,” Jacky whispered into Tai’s ear, nuzzling his cheek. “I want to help other people roleplay. Dude! What if we stole these fake ID’s and sold them to every underage student on campus? Think of how freaking righteous that money would be!” Tai’s heart raced as Jacky swung his legs over Tai’s waist, straddling him. Jacky ran his lips from his collarbone to his ear.
“That’s...illegal,” Tai moaned softly. “Not to mention a little ungodly.”
“Maybe so,” Jacky said, nibbling his ear. “But I follow God, not the world. Some people don’t know the difference.
“Caleb” and “Dimitri” rolled off the futon, kissing, biting, and scratching each other until the clothes flew off. And little did they know Evelyn was scouring the 300 Hall with a chef’s knife in her hand, searching for them.
***
“The grand finale!” Angus announced. “The rock climbing wall!”
Angus led Winston and Gigi to a huge rock wall on the face of the Pisgah Mountains. This time, there was no cheat code in the world that would work in Winston’s favor. While his upper-body strength toppled that of Gigi, he was simply hauling a much larger load.
“The rumors are true!” Angus chuckled. “There is a 50-dollar Lazy Basil gift card up for grabs for the first one to reach the top.”
He strapped Winston and Gigi to the climbing cables, then took a step back. The trembling Winston glanced over at the cool, confident Gigi. “It looks like it’s just me and you, buddy,” he said. “So, do ya reckon you can tell me what I can do to make things right?”
“Go, go, go!” Angus suddenly shouted.
Gigi, quick and nimble, jumped straight up and grabbed her first hold. With ease, she began traversing the wall like an orangutan. Winston chugged along, contorting his body in awkward positions just to keep from falling.
“Look, Gigi!” Winston called out. “I hate that it’s like this between us. Man, I just wanna know what I can do. Hell, you can have my purple V-neck shirt that you accidentally stole.”
No response still. She worked swiftly and calmly as she approached the halfway point. Winston caught a lucky break, catching some easy holds as he covered a few feet. But there was no way in hell he could match Gigi’s steady pace. Plus, the higher he got, the higher the screwdriver rose in his throat.
Desperate, Winston reached around with one hand and unstrapped his vest.
“Oi, what the fuck are ya doing, mate?” Angus spat from far down below. Winston slipped out of the vest and pushed it to the side. Now, he was climbing freely. Fear coursed through his veins, but so did adrenaline. He used that stress to heave himself up much faster than before. Gigi, now past the halfway point, looked down to see Winston’s pleading eyes looking up at her.
“Gigi, I’m sorry!” Winston yelled. “Look, I...I can’t honestly tell you that I’m sorry for meeting up with Claire at the house. Because I’m not. But fuck, I’m sorry you had to walk in and see it! And...I’m plum-fuckin’ sorry I didn’t consider your feelings for me at the time. I reckon that ship has sailed. But fuck, I don’t wanna lose our friendship over it, Gigi!”
Gigi smiled at Winston for the first time that day. She shut her eyes tightly, fighting to block the tears. When she opened them again, Winston’s white knuckles curled around a tough hold.
“I’m not sure how long I can hold on, partner,” Winston groaned, smiling weakly. Slowly, piss began running down his leg, trickling a long way down to the ground below. Gigi began quickly backtracking, holding her breath.
“Winston,” Gigi consoled him calmly, now by his side. “I need you...I need you to reach out and hold me. Don’t let me go.”
He took a deep breath, then wrapped his arms around Gigi’s slim waist. His legs dangled free, supported only by her. Breathing heavily, Gigi kicked off the rock facing. Slowly, they began to descend.
“My real name is Ji-hye,” she said, as they approached solid ground.
“Ji-hye,” Winston repeated, his heart pounding as he held her in a death grip. “So, uh...why did you wanna tell me that?”
“Um...because we’re friends again!” she cheered, as they reached the bottom.
But before he could release her, Angus yanked his collar and held a hunting knife to his throat. His hair and face were drenched in Winston’s piss. “Oi, I oughta gut you like a fuckin’ fish, ya blimey bastard!”
“Wait, it’s not his fault!” Gigi interjected. “Um...a yellowjacket got caught between his shirt and vest and stung him pretty bad. He’s allergic, so he had no choice but to take it off!”
Angus cocked his head, letting her words marinate like the piss in his hair. Then, a proper belly laugh. He gave Winston a shove and put the knife away. “Yellowjackets?! Why, you Americans and bonafide pussies, that’s what ya are! Oi, you wouldn’t last a second down unda!”
Angus reached in his pocket and pulled out two 50-dollar Lazy Basil gift cards. “Fuck it, take ‘em both. After all, that was a mighty impressive showing of teamwork up there!”
Winston cleared his throat and held his hand up. “Thanks for the offer, Angus. But I’m a proud conservative. And I don’t need no goddamn participation trophies.”
Gigi socked him in the stomach. “Accept the gift card or we’re no longer friends!” she hissed, salivating over her imminent cheese dream.
***
“YOU HAVE SOMETHING I WANT,” the demon growled in the hallway.
Evelyn slowly dragged her chef’s knife across the door of Room 309 - a knife much larger than Angus’. Tai stared out the peephole, then rushed to the futon to grab his bible.
“We need to perform an exorcism ourselves!” Tai suggested, wearing nothing but bright blue boxers with coconut patterns.
“RIghteous idea, my man!” Jacky replied, donning yellow pineapple briefs. “The word of God is an indispensable weapon during the end times that we live in!”
Tai stared out the peephole again. Now, a senile Evelyn gently tapped the door with the tip of her knife. “Hey, uh, Evelyn,” Tai called out softly. “Why don’t we comb through Genesis together? I sure could use your help in memorizing the lineage of Adam!”
“NO BIBLE. I WILL STRANGLE YOU WITH YOUR INTESTINES!”
Jacky gave a thumbs up from the frame of the futon. “See, it’s working! That’s the devil in her trying to resist. But no man, woman, or spawn of Satan could possibly resist the righteous infallible word of God!”
Tai chuckled, half-nervous and half-relieved. Then, he opened the door halfway. “Welcome to our bible study, Evelyn! So if you would have a seat on our super comfy futon, we can-"
Suddenly, Tai lept behind the door as Evelyn charged through the room with her knife held high. “DIE! DIE! DIE!” she shrieked, heading straight for Jacky. He swiftly rolled under the futon frame, as Evelyn began stabbing through it, aiming for the head.
“Fuck!” Tai screamed, frantically flipping to Genesis 5. “Um, um...let the power of Christ compel you with His holy word! Enoch begat Methuselah, and Methuselah begat Lamech, and Lamech begat Noah!”
“WHY CAN’T I HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE?” Evelyn screamed. While Jacky cowered in a fetal position, she reared back and stabbed a hole in the wall.
“Oh, Evelyyyn?” Sarah Beavers called out, stepping into the room.
Evelyn spun around to face her, tears and mascara running down her face. She dropped the knife. Then, she swiveled her head around the room, dazed and confused.
“Oh...no,” Evelyn whispered in her normal voice. “Sarah, I did something bad, didn’t I?”
“Shush, it’s all gravy,” Sarah assured her, while Tai and Jacky looked at each other in shock. “Boys, let this be a lesson to you. Envy possessed Evelyn today. Not only was she envious of your AC, but also of your totally-rad same-sex relationship.”
Tai and Jacky realized they were still half-naked, and that it was too late to hide it. Evelyn, moaning softly, crawled over to Sarah and lay her head on her lap. Then, she began playing with Sarah’s dangling dreadlocks. “Now, now - no touchy-feely of the genitals,” Sarah politely warned her. “An asexual chick like myself ain’t no lamp in a corner, ya dig?”
Then, Sarah spotted the BDE binder on Tai’s desk. Cocking her head to the side, she slowly stood up to take a closer look.
“Shit,” Tai whispered to Jacky. “What do we do?”
“We can’t let her know about our operation,” Jacky whispered back.
“So, if my inner chi serves me well,” Sarah began, flipping through the pages. “You two plan on stealing Beta Delta Epsilon's fake ID collection from Winston, in a grand scheme to sell them to underage students?”
“What in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks?” Jacky whispered to Tai. “A psychic hippie? What kind of friends are you rolling with, bro?”
“I can hear you,” Sarah advised. She sat down next to Evelyn and slipped out an ID of a brunette hipster girl with straight hair. “It’s a crying shame that Winston didn’t think to include any white girls with dreadlocks. Simple-minded if you ask me. Oh! Evelyn, I found an ID just for you. See, she looks just like the chick from The Ring.”
“I will eat your soul,” Evelyn said in her normal voice. Suddenly, she pinned Sarah down and started tickling the hell out of her.
“Wait, so you’re not mad?” Tai asked Sarah, watching Evelyn win the completely non-sexual “game.”
Sarah caught her breath from her massive tickle-fit. Then, she snapped the binder shut. “Mad? Are you high? I’m a broke college student too. As a matter of fact, if you’re going to be making crazy money, I want in on it too. Evelyn and I both want in. And nobody, I mean nobody, breathes a word of this to my brother.”
***
Nine outgoing calls. Zero incoming calls.
Gigi slipped her phone back into her purse, fighting the urge to make it 10. On that windy night, she stood in downtown Asheville in front of Lazy Basil, waiting for Frank to fall from the sky. She was dressed up in a black polka-dot maxi dress with a white bow in her hair, knowing that she would be turned away for so much as thinking about blue jeans.
She grabbed a menu and read through the appetizers. Tempura Fried Calamari? Maybe. Chunky Spinach and Artichoke Dip? Eh. And then, her big brown eyes widened when she saw it. Caprese salad: fresh buffalo mozzarella topped with local organic tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil leaves from our herb garden.
“So he stood ya up, huh?”
Winston leaned against the streetlight in a black suit and tie. He took a final puff on his cigar, tossed it, then walked over to Gigi to read her menu. And like always, the smell of tobacco was masked by Winston’s signature sandalwood cologne.
“I can’t decide if I want the loaded macaroni and cheese,” Winston pondered, “or the fried cheese logs with marinara. Hey, ya reckon we could order one of each and share?”
Gigi wiped drool from the side of her mouth and came to her senses. “Um...wait, you’re not here for a date with Claire?”
Winston took out his phone and showed her the screen. Sixty-eight outgoing calls. Zero incoming calls. “Reckon I should try to call her one last time?” he asked with a grin. “I mean, I don’t wanna come off like a simp or nothin’.”
Fifteen minutes later, they were seated at a candlelit table for two. While they sipped on large glasses of red Moscato, Gigi explained her lactose intolerance and Frank’s plans to introduce her to cheese for the first time.
“So let me get this straight,” Winston said, leaning in. “You consider this cheating on your boyfriend, don’t you?”
“Um...well, it has nothing to do with you!” Gigi laughed nervously. “It’s...well, it’s cheating if I eat that.”
The waiter came over with a platter of Caprese salad and a refill of red wine. Winston picked up a soft, fluffy cheese disc and tore it in half. “I’m not a betting man. But I wager if your boyfriend wanted to have dinner with you, he’d be the one sitting across from ya.”
Gigi stared into Winston’s pale blue eyes, then at the mozzarella. Slowly, she reached out and placed it on her tongue. Then, she closed her eyes as the creamy, silky flavor graced her palate. She swallowed, then grabbed another, shoving the whole disc in her mouth. Satisfied, Winston pushed the plate toward her. Then, he took out his phone and turned on the camera.
“Here’s to Gigi’s first dairy experience,” he announced, taking a photo. “And, I reckon, the moment before one of her many trips to the bathroom.”
She gasped, tossing her dinner napkin at him. They laughed, garnering the attention of a couple of older, quieter patrons. But Winston and Gigi lived in their own world, sipping refill after refill of wine as she alone cleaned that plate. Before long, the waiter returned with fried mozzarella logs for Winston and loaded macaroni and cheese for Gigi.
“So, all jokes aside,” Gigi started. She leaned forward, the candlelight casting a golden glow on her grinning, pale face. “In your old YouTube days...how long would it take you to eat everything on this table?”
“Son of a bitch!” Winston laughed, dunking a log into his marinara. “I knew my sister told ya about my eating channel! How much of it did you get around to watching?”
“Oh, you don’t want to know!” Gigi giggled, taking her first-ever bite of mac and cheese.
And while the two loyal friends shared stories and cheese dishes, their other friends betrayed loyalty that night. Sarah, Tai, Evelyn, and Jacky used Winston’s fake IDs to bar crawl all over downtown Asheville. And Claire sneaked Frank into the Beta Delta Epsilon frat house, where they rolled in the sheets all night long.
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2020.08.17 04:40 don_h_kowalski This is part 1 of an already published 2-part story but I think it's too long and dragging and the more I think about it.... it's just a mess. There's also something like a riddle in the text maybe someone can tell me how to improve it and if the bizarreness is just silly or worth something? Please?

You ever sit around all day don’t know what to do? So bored of yourself that you just look at anything until you feel the rot creep up on you trying to drag you down. Well if you’re reading this, you must have some time on your hands. The name is Don Kowalski by the way.
My uncle used to say ,Gotta get out boy’ he said, ,You’re in a dark spot some time and when you’re in it keep going. Take it all, breath it in. Keep going. Always keep going.’ – ironic since he killed himself in a hunting accident out somewhere in woodland. I suppose he didn’t want to miss his prey and kept going after it. Kept going.
It started to work. For a few days you fight, and you struggle as sailors in a dry ditch or on a dry glass and you keep going, push forward and nothing comes from it until you know nothing will come from it. Such was time for me at the outbreak of our lovely new friend Covid. My one-part-off-part girlfriend Alessandra was with her family in Florida and so I shared the sunriddled apartment only with booze and screens.
Time was the enemy although it hadn’t been so from on early. It didn’t have to be this way. In the beginning, I was thrilled staying put, living only at home, downing a bottle here a bottle there took me months to realize that getting drunk wasn’t much exciting when you could do it every day. Lifting was no fun at home without the showoff.
The thrill wasn’t there without the mirrors and the others and I would not give empty testament. So I was stuck, down deep in my black chair with my greying hair clinging greasy to my head and the stubble on my face growing thicker and thicker like hedges and forests of dry metallic wires drilling themselves deep in my naked skin.
I sat on the chair, blue light penetrated me and I watched into it like someone getting lost in the sun to see caleidoscopic patterns afterwards for minutes and some stare in the dark ponds in gardens and across them and I stared into the unknown abbeys of the internet until I found something that hooked me. Interest was reborn, the cherubim and thrones sang, and I was again digging for knowledge on the riddle.
It was the case of Nathan, not Lessing’s I mind you. You got to know I’m, and I know this sounds like the start of a bad pulpy novel, I’m a PI or what the cool cats call it now. Private Investigation, looking at lives for a fuck of money but better than to slither up buttholes at the ordinary stational sedentary life I once had and was led in. I was called up, by a Mrs. Anderson, whose voice sounded like a whisky drowned chimney.
Carry Ann Anderson had called about a friend who was now dead meat. The case was solved she said but somehow it was not, not for her. There was rot on the inside of fresh timber. A fair warning here – there won’t be no solution, cause certainly me didn’t solve it. I told her so, when she called again. I hadn’t been to LA and going there was a waste, I knew as much already. For her sake I called the department over there and talked to the detective. She wasn’t going to be happy with my findings.
Gluing a mask of false politeness to my voice I asked, “So what’s the matter hm?”
“They say it’s all real simple: kid snapped and did it. But something ain’t right. You see I knew her back from the day, from Sacramento. I can tell you, this boy was no of these Columbines or Sandy Hooks, he would never hurt them.”
“That’s what the parents of those kids said too,” I said, uncomfortable silence on the other end.
“Something’s just off about this. You saw the files already?”
“Mhm. Didn’t do much good.”
“Tell you this: the officers said the same. Said it’s all there orderly and not like some coverup or some shit they tell you like the conspiracy theories on TV you know? Like they had to dig for it you know? Not too difficult and not too easy but also not in between not your textbook stuff either. Not odd he said. But said that it all around made it odd. Made it seem odd, still, somehow. Seems like not the type to do it. You know he said type? He spat them words out on me,” she said.
There I was. I made some calls asked about the kid that chopped down his family, sat his flat up like a Christmas tree and coaled it down to the ground, all in a cozy night. One day to the other and a bunch of people gone.
I find a pal of his, named Erica Cremonte. She was willing to talk. Told me when it happened and went down and all the other stuff. Other guys didn’t talk or told me how shitty they feel about it all. I dug a bit deeper inside Erica since she was the only source of water in the land of dry lands, she told me a bit more, opened up like an old lady to the cashier or waiter or the poor sod at the bus. Told me about Nathan and his family and his brother and his girlfriend her few idle feel-good weeks in Africa and the funeral. And that it didn’t make sense to her either.
And the days go by and I start to forget about the whole thing since there’s no leads and none won’t talk and I give up. Call Mrs. Anderson and tell her there is nothing and she doesn’t understand the whys in my words but she knows them and we agree to part ways and wish each other a nice day and she’s gone.
Days and weeks and months go by and I forget. Then I am locked here in front of the monitor and it all comes back and something in me stirs and after hours I stare at the profile of one Margaret Suarez and see the condolences on her Facebook profile.
I write to her and days pass me by, drinking lifting reading and boredom, the old familiar gent from around the corner walks up again until there’s a response. Asks me how I found her, what I wanted. Calls me and tells me all about the disfigured creep that slashed her mother in the office. Digs deeper and finds all the glory all the madness in the last mail, sent from her mother’s account.
He left something for us and I will share it with you. Keep in mind it’s all ludicrous but it will help pass some hours. So, the following is the written word of Nathan Cohen, brought to paper after he killed his therapist while locked up in the cuckoo’s nest.
##########################################################################
Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
Playful on weekends I built forts and donjons between California sycamores and gray pine and hunted and ran with classmates and friends and neighbor's kids that grew grizzled worker’s brown over their small shapes.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
Beverly Palm Plaza was soon my second living room. Later, in the foul age of 16, I used all chances to leave the house into the mass of the 30.000 inhabitants living there, crossing the invisible line south of the tracks, where Pacific Electric had once worked streetcars on the Red Line. Eons ago in another world.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. It was well worth the laughter from the beauties in blonde and black, and the cute Valley Girl that lived across from me. Life was good.
Robert tried to be a father, but in the end we formed a bond. He was there for me when I wanted and offered counsel and paid for my life while I enrolled in college, even helped my shallow dream to join in true Hollywood. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Isn’t that kinda creepy?”
“Most women like a bit of creeps, ” Jules howled up at his own joke, his hat nearly falling from the back of his head as he raised it up and slapped his left knee.
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Vae victis,” announced Jules, as he saw my hollow eyes. I never had a poker face until now. With half your face in mashed up molten scartissue it’s difficult to show emotion and I wonder, so far from home will the sun ever show herself again, will it fill anyone out her, raise itself, Raising Arizona?
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
Time flew like night owls and bats and the days were filled with wet noises. I visited some of her Yoga classes, though it didn’t suit me. She visited me on my work. I showed her around the crappy little rooms we sat in and all awed at her body and face.
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body.
Mother had insisted to cook and so we all chowed away on something resembling orange Lasagna, chowing away with the Time to Kill until it was all over. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes. Wine spilled on the tablecloth like the face of Christ.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house. He was a good child and I tried to be as much a brother as I was. We were out in the water and then dried in the sun, palyed volleyball and disturbed elder people with it, when the sun tingled away.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me? From one second to the other things made sense and didn’t seem as bad, or bad in a different way. I pulled over a stoic mask on my mad face and cheered him up as I felt his angst. I called Mum and told her everything was fine, just a misunderstanding, and she accepted my explanation with weary ease.
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep. I was scared and turned around to see my Amy standing in front of me, trying to plug in her dead phone. We embraced and sat down in the bedroom far off from troubling my brother with my disturbing tale. Amy didn’t doubt me but seemed more skeptic crafting mighty fine tales of pranksters and jokers wandering around town scaring people to practice their grotesqueries.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
The pillow was hot and cooked my ear and brought back memories of a headache as to command to turn over my headrest to the cooling side of the equator, to hopefully fall fast back asleep but as I lifted up there in the split of the halfclosed door to the dark of the halls behind I saw the blazing eyes. Red glowing in the dark for a lifetime and a second, staring and blinking and a soft tickle of laughter. I crouched myself at Amy’s side and shook her softly, she mumbling as her eyes opened awake.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
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2020.08.16 18:13 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me?
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
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2020.08.16 17:30 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me?
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
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2020.08.15 20:34 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me?
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
submitted by don_h_kowalski to stayawake [link] [comments]


2020.08.15 20:20 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me?
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
submitted by don_h_kowalski to Odd_directions [link] [comments]


2020.08.15 18:44 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me?
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
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2020.08.15 18:21 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

You ever sit around all day don’t know what to do? So bored of yourself that you just look at anything until you feel the rot creep up on you trying to drag you down. Well if you’re reading this, you must have some time on your hands. The name is Don Kowalski by the way.
My uncle used to say ,Gotta get out boy’ he said, ,You’re in a dark spot some time and when you’re in it keep going. Take it all, breath it in. Keep going. Always keep going.’ – ironic since he killed himself in a hunting accident out somewhere in woodland. I suppose he didn’t want to miss his prey and kept going after it. Kept going.
It started to work. For a few days you fight, and you struggle as sailors in a dry ditch or on a dry glass and you keep going, push forward and nothing comes from it until you know nothing will come from it. Such was time for me at the outbreak of our lovely new friend Covid. My one-part-off-part girlfriend Alessandra was with her family in Florida and so I shared the sunriddled apartment only with booze and screens.
Time was the enemy although it hadn’t been so from on early. It didn’t have to be this way. In the beginning, I was thrilled staying put, living only at home, downing a bottle here a bottle there took me months to realize that getting drunk wasn’t much exciting when you could do it every day. Lifting was no fun at home without the showoff.
The thrill wasn’t there without the mirrors and the others and I would not give empty testament. So I was stuck, down deep in my black chair with my greying hair clinging greasy to my head and the stubble on my face growing thicker and thicker like hedges and forests of dry metallic wires drilling themselves deep in my naked skin.
I sat on the chair, blue light penetrated me and I watched into it like someone getting lost in the sun to see caleidoscopic patterns afterwards for minutes and some stare in the dark ponds in gardens and across them and I stared into the unknown abbeys of the internet until I found something that hooked me. Interest was reborn, the cherubim and thrones sang, and I was again digging for knowledge on the riddle.
It was the case of Nathan, not Lessing’s I mind you. You got to know I’m, and I know this sounds like the start of a bad pulpy novel, I’m a PI or what the cool cats call it now. Private Investigation, looking at lives for a fuck of money but better than to slither up buttholes at the ordinary stational sedentary life I once had and was led in. I was called up, by a Mrs. Anderson, whose voice sounded like a whisky drowned chimney.
Carry Ann Anderson had called about a friend who was now dead meat. The case was solved she said but somehow it was not, not for her. There was rot on the inside of fresh timber. A fair warning here – there won’t be no solution, cause certainly me didn’t solve it. I told her so, when she called again. I hadn’t been to LA and going there was a waste, I knew as much already. For her sake I called the department over there and talked to the detective. She wasn’t going to be happy with my findings.
Gluing a mask of false politeness to my voice I asked, “So what’s the matter hm?”
“They say it’s all real simple: kid snapped and did it. But something ain’t right. You see I knew her back from the day, from Sacramento. I can tell you, this boy was no of these Columbines or Sandy Hooks, he would never hurt them.”
“That’s what the parents of those kids said too,” I said, uncomfortable silence on the other end.
“Something’s just off about this. You saw the files already?”
“Mhm. Didn’t do much good.”
“Tell you this: the officers said the same. Said it’s all there orderly and not like some coverup or some shit they tell you like the conspiracy theories on TV you know? Like they had to dig for it you know? Not too difficult and not too easy but also not in between not your textbook stuff either. Not odd he said. But said that it all around made it odd. Made it seem odd, still, somehow. Seems like not the type to do it. You know he said type? He spat them words out on me,” she said.
There I was. I made some calls asked about the kid that chopped down his family, sat his flat up like a Christmas tree and coaled it down to the ground, all in a cozy night. One day to the other and a bunch of people gone.
I find a pal of his, named Erica Cremonte. She was willing to talk. Told me when it happened and went down and all the other stuff. Other guys didn’t talk or told me how shitty they feel about it all. I dug a bit deeper inside Erica since she was the only source of water in the land of dry lands, she told me a bit more, opened up like an old lady to the cashier or waiter or the poor sod at the bus. Told me about Nathan and his family and his brother and his girlfriend her few idle feel-good weeks in Africa and the funeral. And that it didn’t make sense to her either.
And the days go by and I start to forget about the whole thing since there’s no leads and none won’t talk and I give up. Call Mrs. Anderson and tell her there is nothing and she doesn’t understand the whys in my words but she knows them and we agree to part ways and wish each other a nice day and she’s gone.
Days and weeks and months go by and I forget. Then I am locked here in front of the monitor and it all comes back and something in me stirs and after hours I stare at the profile of one Margaret Suarez and see the condolences on her Facebook profile.
I write to her and days pass me by, drinking lifting reading and boredom, the old familiar gent from around the corner walks up again until there’s a response. Asks me how I found her, what I wanted. Calls me and tells me all about the disfigured creep that slashed her mother in the office. Digs deeper and finds all the glory all the madness in the last mail, sent from her mother’s account.
He left something for us and I will share it with you. Keep in mind it’s all ludicrous but it will help pass some hours. So, the following is the written word of Nathan Cohen, brought to paper after he killed his therapist while locked up in the cuckoo’s nest.
##########################################################################
Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
Playful on weekends I built forts and donjons between California sycamores and gray pine and hunted and ran with classmates and friends and neighbor's kids that grew grizzled worker’s brown over their small shapes.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
Beverly Palm Plaza was soon my second living room. Later, in the foul age of 16, I used all chances to leave the house into the mass of the 30.000 inhabitants living there, crossing the invisible line south of the tracks, where Pacific Electric had once worked streetcars on the Red Line. Eons ago in another world.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. It was well worth the laughter from the beauties in blonde and black, and the cute Valley Girl that lived across from me. Life was good.
Robert tried to be a father, but in the end we formed a bond. He was there for me when I wanted and offered counsel and paid for my life while I enrolled in college, even helped my shallow dream to join in true Hollywood. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Isn’t that kinda creepy?”
“Most women like a bit of creeps, ” Jules howled up at his own joke, his hat nearly falling from the back of his head as he raised it up and slapped his left knee.
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Vae victis,” announced Jules, as he saw my hollow eyes. I never had a poker face until now. With half your face in mashed up molten scartissue it’s difficult to show emotion and I wonder, so far from home will the sun ever show herself again, will it fill anyone out her, raise itself, Raising Arizona?
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
Time flew like night owls and bats and the days were filled with wet noises. I visited some of her Yoga classes, though it didn’t suit me. She visited me on my work. I showed her around the crappy little rooms we sat in and all awed at her body and face.
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body.
Mother had insisted to cook and so we all chowed away on something resembling orange Lasagna, chowing away with the Time to Kill until it was all over. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes. Wine spilled on the tablecloth like the face of Christ.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house. He was a good child and I tried to be as much a brother as I was. We were out in the water and then dried in the sun, palyed volleyball and disturbed elder people with it, when the sun tingled away.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me? From one second to the other things made sense and didn’t seem as bad, or bad in a different way. I pulled over a stoic mask on my mad face and cheered him up as I felt his angst. I called Mum and told her everything was fine, just a misunderstanding, and she accepted my explanation with weary ease.
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep. I was scared and turned around to see my Amy standing in front of me, trying to plug in her dead phone. We embraced and sat down in the bedroom far off from troubling my brother with my disturbing tale. Amy didn’t doubt me but seemed more skeptic crafting mighty fine tales of pranksters and jokers wandering around town scaring people to practice their grotesqueries.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
The pillow was hot and cooked my ear and brought back memories of a headache as to command to turn over my headrest to the cooling side of the equator, to hopefully fall fast back asleep but as I lifted up there in the split of the halfclosed door to the dark of the halls behind I saw the blazing eyes. Red glowing in the dark for a lifetime and a second, staring and blinking and a soft tickle of laughter. I crouched myself at Amy’s side and shook her softly, she mumbling as her eyes opened awake.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
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2020.08.15 17:10 don_h_kowalski And I am in a Cage. Part 1 of 2.

Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me?
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
submitted by don_h_kowalski to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.08.15 15:55 MattressCrane The Christmas Banquet (Norman, Part 26)

Click here for part 25!
Click here to go the beginning!
Norman showed up to the ballroom party in his best green bow-tie and brown corduroy blazer, and Ernestine wore a dark blue dress, one that looks like it had some wear and tear forty years before. The hotel was quite large with an extravagant foyer, a dome ceiling and a very nice desk for the concierge.
"Hello," said Norman to the man behind the counter, "I'm Norman Crumb? I'm here with Easy Path Accounting."
"Of course. It's just down the hall over there. You and your mom have a good evening!"
After nodding politely, they headed down the hall to the ballroom, Ernestine leaving a middle finger trailing behind her back.
There was assigned seating in main room, pairing off couples with a few others at scattered round tables. Norman and Ernestine found their seats at a table with Frank and Frank's sister, Dannie, Seth with his beautiful date, Hannah, and Lisa the secretary, with her date, Rob. Rob looks a little bit like Norman.
Norman introduced Ernestine to the table, with a confused look from Seth, trying to decide if anyone would join with him if he burst out into laughter.
"Sorry I'm late," said Norman, "did I miss anything?"
Lisa shook her head. "Frank was just telling us his political beliefs. Right Frank?"
"Just a collective quilt of assholes." said Frank, slightly drunk.
Later on with all the guests and tables settled, the small army of waiters and waitresses dispersed into the hall, distributing the many plates of deservedly four star platters of food. Generously cut steaks, heaping glasses of wine, and golden mashed potatoes that tasted better than butter. The table bonded unanimously over how delicious it all was- every bite, followed by several more glasses of wine. Chatting was going strong, and for the first time perhaps in his life, alcohol was making a confident one out of Norman, who decided to tell the whole table a story- of how Ernestine and him met, and the little details of what it felt like to fake a coughing fit and run out of a restaurant.
"Oh my god! I never could've imagined you breaking the law, Norman." commented Lisa, admirably.
"It was all his idea," added Ernestine. "You have a dark side, Norman."
"Hah! Maybe! Well no, it wasn't my idea, actually, Ernestine stole my wallet-"
"-That reminds me of the time I did something similar," interjected Seth, "I dined and dashed outta this fancy restaurant, back when I was in college, hanging with a couple buddies. We were dead broke, but we were really craving lobster."
Ernestine glared at Seth. Norman looked to Lisa and Rob, busy and laughing now in their own conversation.
Hannah very much appreciated his story. "Hahah, oh my God Seth, you're so bad!"
"When's the waiter going to come and refill our drinks?" asked Frank.
"Frank!" Dannie said, stomping on his toe.
"I'm just asking!"
Lisa finished her glass and remembered something. "Oh, sorry Norman! We interrupted your story!"
"Oh no, it's fine. There wasn't too much left of it anyway."
"Did they catch you?"
"Well when I started running outside, I think they came chasing-"
"-Oh God Frank, have you seen Rich here?" added Seth onto Norman's story. Frank shook his head.
"He went all out. He's in a fucking Tuxedo!"
"Hah, Jesus."
The conversation hit the road bump again, conversation rippling and shifting among the group.
Lisa's date turned to Ernestine, asking what she used to do for a living. She brought up her work as a professor for a college history program, which surprised Norman, as that was something she never mentioned to him, aside from all the other jobs she's worked. She also mentioned her time in the army, and also retold the story of dating Frank Sinatra.
"You were stationed in Vietnam?" asked Frank.
"Yeah, for a little while. They couldn't fly the broken heli's all the way back to the states to be fixed."
"That's very cool," said Rob. "Are you retired now?"
"Do I look retired?"
"You look like your enjoying life, so I guess that's a clue that you don't have to work anymore."
"Hah, then yes, I retired back in the 90's-"
Seth cleared his throat again, ready to speak a little louder now that's he's talking to a senior. "You fought in Vietnam? You ever hear of anyone with the last name Fielder?"
Ernestine glared at Seth, refusing to answer.
"Well, that was my family name. My grandpa fought in the war too, though he wasn't in aviation."
"That's so cool," added Hannah.
"Yeah, he was a pretty cool man."
Yet another wall of silence. Ernestine took a long drink of wine, and then wiped her mouth with a napkin. She cleared her throat, and turned to Seth.
"How old are you, Seth?"
"Twenty three!"
"Ah! Twenty three. I remember when I was twenty three. That was the seventies. Now I'm in my seventies. You know, if I could go back and change one thing-"
"-I'm just living in the now, trying to-"
"-Let me finish. If I could go back to being your age, I wouldn't change a whole lot. I'm happy with who I've become, and though I have my regrets, who doesn't? Those little moments of character building and character failing is what makes us who we are. I have a hard time believing someone who makes no mistakes is not clinically sane. Now, I've made a lot of mistakes,"
"Me too, me too-"
"Shut it. Yeah, you've made mistakes, I can tell. I think what I've grown more sure of myself in the decades that I've been alive has not been judging my own character, but the character of others. Petty, I know. I've seen enough personalities shift and change over decades, that I feel I got a pretty good idea of knowing that people never change."
"... It's really hard to say, sometimes."
"No, it's not. If you can see through someone's shell, and take a look at their heart, that's how you can tell. Some people, though they may be in a rough spot at the time I meet them, I can feel good about knowing their heart is in the right place, and be happy for who they can become." Ernestine looked to Norman, and smiled.
"Thanks." said Seth, reflexively.
"I'm not talking about you, Seth. You are a type of person I've seen a dozen times before. You're the same kind of person as my ex-husband, and a boss I had when I worked at a grocery store. You're the alpha male."
Seth blushed, flattered.
"You think that's a good thing, but the alpha male is only as good as his word. Being a man is not about being BIG. Bravado and balls only gets you til your thirty, and when you stop going to the gym and gain weight, and when your hair falls out, you'll be faced with something you're not faced with all that often- dealing with inevitable shit. You can tell yourself all you want that you're better than that- better than the elderly, because you're not old. Or that you're better than the fat because you're not fat. But you'll get there eventually. Or maybe you won't, and leave a pretty corpse.
Either way, I'm not worried about you, because if I did, I would be dead before the time you realize to stop being such a pedantic asshole. So enjoy your closed off life, and try not to drag others into your orbit of being a selfish dipshit."
Ernestine finished off her glass of wine, taking the last sip of the drink before returning to her food. Not only did she leave the whole table speechless and unsure of what to say, but it grabbed and floored the tables around them too. Seth noticed that everyone heard, and with nothing clever left to say except some cruel words he could say to an old woman, he took Hannah's hand and left the hall to have a smoke.
An hour later, Norman and Ernestine walked down the sidewalk, laughing wildly.
"Ernestine! That was incredible!"
"Which part? The steak?"
"Oh come on, you know what I mean! Showing up Seth like that! It was so cool. He was really embarrassed."
"What a jerk off. Thought he was better than everyone."
"Not you."
"No- not anyone!"
Norman smiled, feeling a shared victory between them.
"Do you think it's true, that people can never change?"
"... No. I don't think that. People just make mistakes, some their whole lives. But I don't think anyone can't grow past a mistake. And I think me hurting Seth was a mistake, but one worth making at the time. I just wanted to take his ego down a notch; let him taste his own medicine."
They reached Ernestine's bus stop, Norman giving her a hug before they parted ways.
"Thanks for the steaks!" she said, showing Norman the three steaks in ziplock bags, hidden in her purse. Norman laughed, waving goodbye as she boarded the bus.
On his way home, Norman found an old can to kick, struggling to keep himself walking in a straight line home. He had a smile he couldn't hold back, happily strolling home.

Part 27: Slightly After Groundhog Day

submitted by MattressCrane to lifeofnorman [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 05:24 OrangeForeign Booking the COVID era if COVID didn't exist (part 9)

Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/hucz07/booking_the_covid_era_if_covid_didnt_exist/
Part 8: https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/i3x3sl/booking_the_covid_era_if_covid_didnt_exist_part_8/
Survivor Series fallout
Queen of the Ring
Round 1
Side A
Side B
Side C
Side D
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Set for TLC:
King of the Ring Same format as QOTR and this is the bracket:
Side A:
Side B:
Side C:
Side D:
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Set for TLC

TLC

Date: 12/13/20
Location: Toronto, Canada
Theme Song: Watch Me by The Phantoms
Finals for the Tournaments (at New Years Revolution)
Anyways that was part 9, hope you enjoyed and leave your thoughts in the comments!
submitted by OrangeForeign to fantasybooking [link] [comments]


2020.08.05 04:30 OrangeForeign Booking the COVID era if COVID didn't exist (part 8)

Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/hucz07/booking_the_covid_era_if_covid_didnt_exist/
Part 7: https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/i20mxo/booking_the_covid_era_if_covid_didnt_exist_part_7/
Hell in a Cell Fallout

Meanwhile on NXT
NXT Breakout Tournament Finals

NXT Takeover War Games

Date: 11/21/20
Location: Dallas, TX
Theme song: This is War by No Resolve
The match is absolutely Brutal but in the end it's Team Kai that takes the win after Dakota hits a Kick to Sleep (A rename I gave the GTK) on Shotzi to secure the win as the Captain of Team Kick celebrates to close the show


Survivor Series

Date: 11/22/20
Location: Dallas, TX
Theme Song: White Flag by Bishop Briggs
RAW: 0 SD: 0 NXT: 1
RAW: 0 SD 1 NXT: 1

RAW: 1 SD: 1 NXT 1
RAW: 2 SD: 1 NXT: 1
RAW: 2 SD: 1 NXT: 2
RAW: 2 SD: 2 NXT: 2
RAW: 3: SD: 2 NXT: 2
RAW: 4 SD: 2 NXT: 2

Seth is lying in the middle of the ring in exhaustion when his music stops, and Opposite Ends of the World hits! BUDDY MURPHY IS BACK AND HE'S CASHING IN HIS MITB CONTRACT

That was part 8, hope you liked it and give me your thoughts on the comments!
submitted by OrangeForeign to fantasybooking [link] [comments]


2020.08.03 07:07 tiny_doughnut AFLW Sign and Trade: Master Post

Hi everyone!
Going to keep an eye on incoming signings and list changes as we go along, don’t hesitate to post any articles that you see and give me a poke if I haven’t updated!
Hope you’re all staying safe and well, and we’ll be back at Ikon Park for season 2021 soon 🍩❤️
Points worth remembering for this trade period:
Day 1 Wrap Day 2 Wrap Day 3 Wrap Day 4 Wrap Day 5 Wrap Day 6 Wrap Day 7 Wrap Day 8 Wrap

Adelaide Crows:

Signed: ✅ - Najwa Allen, 1yr - Sarah Allen, until 2021 - Chelsea Biddell, 1yr - Hannah Button, 1yr - Ailish Considine, 1yr - Dayna Cox, 1yr - Angela Foley, until 2021 - Renee Forth, 1yr - Nikki Gore, 1yr - Caitlin Gould, 1yr - Anne Hatchard, until 2021 - Eloise Jones, until 2021 - Ebony Marinoff, until 2021 - Montana McKinnon, 1yr - Rhiannon Metcalfe, 1yr - Justine Mules, 1yr - Hannah Munyard, 1yr? - Maddi Newman, 1yr - Erin Phillips, 1yr - Danielle Ponter, 1yr - Marijana Rajcic, until 2021 - Chelsea Randall, until 2021 - Chloe Scheer, until 2021 - Jess Sedunary, 1yr? - Stevie-Lee Thompson, until 2021 - Deni Varnhagen, until 2021 - Lisa Whiteley, 1yr?
Movements: 🔄
Delisted: ✴️ - Nicole Campbell (delisted) - Courtney Cramey (retired) - Jess Foley (retired) - Courtney Gum (retired) - Sophie Li (retired) - Maisie Nankivell, (step away/Suncorp Super Netball) - Jaimi Tabb (delisted) - Ruth Wallace (step away)

Brisbane Lions:

Signed: ✅ - Ally Anderson, until 2022 - Lauren Arnell, 1yr - Emily Bates, until 2022 - Greta Bodey, 2yrs - Shannon Campbell, 2yrs - Gabby Collingwood, 1yr - Sophie Conway, until 2021 - Dakota Davidson, 2yrs - Belle Dawes, 2yrs - Jade Ellenger, 1yr - Nat Grider, 2yrs - Tahlia Hickie, 2yrs - Courtney Hodder, 1yr (Rookie) - Jesse Keeffe, 1yr - Breanna Koenen, 2yrs - Rheanne Lugg, 2yrs - Kate Lutkins, until 2022 - Maria Moloney, 2yrs - Orla O’Dwyer, 1yr (Rookie) - Lily Postlethwaite, 2yrs - Selina Priest, 1yr - Taylor Smith, 1yr - Cathy Svarc, 2yrs - Jesse Wardlaw, 2yrs - Sharni Webb, 1yr - Jess Wuetschner, until 2022 - Jordan Zanchetta, 1yr - Emma Zielke, 1yr
Movements: 🔄
Delisted: ✴️ - Arianna Clarke (released/stepping away) - Hannah Hillman (delisted) - Brianna McFarlane (delisted)

Carlton Blues:

Signed: ✅ - Lauren Brazzale, 1yr - Alison Downie, 1yr - Jess Edwards, 1yr - Grace Egan, until 2022 - Georgia Gee, until 2022 - Serena Gibbs, 2yrs - Maddy Guerin, 2yrs - Charlotte Hammans, 1yr - Kerryn Harrington, until 2022 - Courtney Jones, 1yr - Mua Laloifi, 2yrs - Katie Loynes, 1yr - Lucy McEvoy, until 2022 - Breann Moody, 2yrs - Elise O’Dea, 2yrs - Natalie Plane, 2yrs - Maddy Prespakis, until 2022 - Brooke Vernon, 2yrs - Brooke Walker, 1yr - Charlotte Wilson, 2yrs
Movements: 🔄 - Sarah Hosking to Richmond - Jayde Van Dyk to St Kilda - Chloe Dalton to Inactive List for 2021, has signed with the club for 2022
Delistings: ✴️ - Joanne Doonan (delisted) - Emerson Woods (delisted) - Katie Harrison (delisted) - Sharnie Whiting (delisted)

Collingwood Magpies:

Signed: ✅ - Sophie Alexander, 1yr - Jordyn Allen, until 2021 - Britt Bonnici, 1yr - Ash Brazill, until 2021 - Lauren Butler, 1yr? - Mikala Cann, 1yr? - Sophie Casey, 1yr - Steph Chiocci, 1yr? - Bri Davey, 1yr - Abbey Green, 1yr - Jaimee Lambert, 1yr - Sharni Layton, 1yr - Stacey Livingstone, 1yr - Jordan Membrey, 1yr - Chloe Molloy, until 2021 - Aliesha Newman, 1yr - Ebony O’Dea, 1yr - Alana Porter, 1yr? - Imogen Purcell, 1yr, Category B Rookie - Sarah Rowe, 1yr - Ruby Schleicher, until 2021 - Aishling Sheridan, 1yr - Maddie Shevlin, until 2021 - Kristy Stratton, 1yr
Movements: 🔄 - Sarah Dargan to Richmond - Sarah D’Arcy to Richmond - Katie Lynch to Western Bulldogs
Delistings: ✴️ - Kaila Bentvelzen (step away) - Georgia Gourlay (delisted) - Emma Grant (retired) - Eliza Hynes (retired) - Machaelia Roberts (retirement)

Fremantle Dockers:

Signed: ✅ - Ebony Antonio, until 2022 - Kara Antonio, until 2022 - Kiara Bowers, until 2022 - Tayla Brealand, until 2021 - Steph Cain, until 2021 - Janelle Cuthbertson, 1yr - Sabreena Duffy, until 2021 - Evie Gooch, 1yr - Katie Jayne Grieve, 1yr - Gemma Houghton, until 2021 - Leah Mascall, 1yr - Ann McMahon, 1yr - Hayley Miller, 2yrs - Emma O’Driscoll, 1yr - Gabby O’Sullivan, until 2022 - Laura Pugh, 1yr - Roxy Roux, 2yrs - Matilda Sergeant, until 2021 - Philipa Seth, until 2021 - Ashley Sharp, until 2021 - Ange Stannett, until 2021 - Jasmine Stewart, 1yr - Mim Strom, 2yrs - Tarnee Tester, 1yr, free agent signing - Aine Tighe, 1yr - Jess Trend, 1yr - Bianca Webb, 1yr - Alex Williams, 1yr
Movements: 🔄 - Tayla Bresland to West Coast Eagles
Delisted: ✴️ - Mia-Rae Clifford (delisted) - Sarah Garstone (delisted) - Lindal Rhode (delisted - Kate Flood (personal reasons)

Geelong Cats:

Signed: ✅ - Maddie Boyd, 1yr - Millie Brown, 2yrs - Rene Caris, 1yr - Georgia Clarke, 1yr - Rocky Cranston, 1yr - Julia Crockett-Gills, 2yrs - Kate Darby, 1yr - Renee Garing, 1yr - Nicole Garner, 1yr - Rebecca Goring, 1yr - Danielle Higgins, 2yrs - Jordan Ivey, 1yr - Maddy Keryk, 2yrs - Madisen Maguire, 1yr - Amy McDonald, 2yrs - Meghan McDonald, 2yrs - Maddy McMahon, 1yr - Phoebe McWilliams, 1yr - Nina Morrison, 2yrs - Aasta O’Connor, 1yr - Olivia Purcell, 1yr - Georgie Rankin, 1yr - Mia Skinner, 1yr - Denby Taylor, 1yr - Sophie Van De Heuvel, 2yrs - Rebecca Webster, 2yrs
Movements: 🔄
Delisted: ✴️ - Cassie Blakeway (delisted) - Melissa Hickey (retired) - Anna Teague (retired) - Gemma Wright (delisted)

Gold Coast Suns:

Signed: ✅ - Lauren Ahrens, 1yr? - Alison Drennan, 1yr - Hannah Dunn, 1yr? - Tiarna Ernst, 1yr? - Cheyenne Hammond, 1yr? - Ellie Hampson, 1yr? - Dee Heslop, 1yr? - Kalinda Howarth, 1yr? - Paige Parker, until 2021 - Brittany Perry, 1yr? - Jade Pregelj, 1yr? - Molly Ritson, 1yr? - Jamie Stanton, 1yr? - Kate Surman, 1yr? - Serene Watson, 1yr? - Jacqui Yorston, 1yr?
Movements: 🔄 - Charlotte Hammans to Carlton - Taylor Smith to Brisbane
Delisted: ✴️ - Georgia Breward, (delisted) - Lexi Hamilton, (delisted) - Maddy Roberts, (delisted) - Tayla Thorn, (delisted) - Kitara Whap-Farrar, (delisted)

GWS Giants:

Signed: ✅ - Jessica Allan, 1yr - Nicola Barr, 1yr - Rebecca Beeson, 2yr - Elle Bennetts, 1yr - Yvonne Bonner, 1yr - Jess Dal Pos, 1yr - Taylah Davies, 1yr - Alicia Eva, 2yr - Georgia Garnett, 1yr - Emily Goodsir, 1yr - Sarah Halvorsen, 1yr - Tanya Hetherington, 1yr - Jodie Hicks, 1yr - Annalyse Lister, 1yr - Tait Mackrill, 2yr - Erin McKinnon, 1yr - Alyce Parker, 2yr - Rebecca Privitelli, 2yr - Pepa Randall, 2yr - Aimee Schmidt, 1yr - Katherine Smith, 2yrs - Cora Staunton, 1yr - Lisa Steane, 1yr - Louise Stephenson, 2yr - Britt Tully, 1yr - Haneen Zreika, 1yr
Movements: 🔄 - Lisa Whiteley to Adelaide Crows
Delisted: ✴️ - Ellie Brush (retired to focus on Matildas/Olympic opportunity - Ingrid Nielsen (retired) - Maggie Gorham (retired)

Melbourne Demons:

Signed: ✅ - Libby Birch, 2yrs - Gabby Colvin, 1yr - Tegan Cunningham, until 2021 - Meg Downie, until 2021 - Chantel Emonson, 2yrs - Maddi Gay, 2yrs - Sinead Goldrick, 1yr - Tyla Hanks, 2yrs - Shelley Heath, 2yrs - Kate Hore, 2yrs - Sarah Lampard, until 2021 - Lauren Magee, 1yr - Niamh McEvoy, 1yr - Lily Mithen, 2yrs - Jackie Parry, 1yr - Karen Paxman, 1yr - Daisy Pearce, 1yr - Lauren Pearce, until 2021 - Krstel Petrevski, 1yr - Shelley Scott, 1yr - Casey Sherriff, 2yrs - Shae Sloane, 1yr - Breanna Tarrant, 1yr - Eden Zanker, 2yrs
Movements: 🔄 - Harriet Cordner to Richmond - Maddy Guerin to Carlton - Bianca Jakobsson to St Kilda - Aliesha Newman to Collingwood - Elise O’Dea fo Carlton - Katherine Smith to GWS
Delisted: ✴️ - Ainslie Kemp (delisted)

North Melbourne Kangaroos:

Signed: ✅ - Grace Campbell, 1yr? - Mia King, 2yrs
Movements: 🔄 - Abbey Green to (Collingwood) - Jess Trend to Fremantle Dockers
Delistings: ✴️ - Chloe Haines (delisted) - Libby Haines (delisted) - Emma Humphries (delisted) - Taylor Mesiti (step away) - Mairead Seoighe (delisted)

Richmond Tigers:

Signed: ✅ - Christina Bernardi, until 2021 - Maddy Brancatisano, 1yr - Katie Brennan, until 2021 - Hannah Buchell, 1yr - Akec Makur Chuot, 1yr - Monique Conti, until 2021 - Harriet Cordner, 1yr - Sarah D’Arcy, 1yr - Sarah Dargan, 1yr - Kate Dempsey, 1yr - Alice Edmonds, 1yr - Sabrina Frederick, until 2021 - Emily Harley, 1yr - Sarah Hosking, 2yrs - Kodi Jacques, 1yr - Laura McClelland, 1yr - Sarah Molan, 1yr - Phoebe Monahan, 1yr - Rebecca Miller, 1yr - Ilish Ross, 1yr - Sarah Sansonetti, 1yr - Cleo Saxon-Jones, 1yr - Gabby Seymour, 1yr - Tayla Stahl, 1yr - Courtney Wakefield, 1yr - Holly Whitford, 1yr - Alana Woodward, 1yr
Movements: 🔄 - Grace Campbell to North Melbourne
Delistings: ✴️ - Laura Bailey (retired) - Nakaela Butler (delisted - Ciara Fitzgerald (delisted - Emma Horne (delisted) - Lauren Tesoriero (retired) - Ella Wood (retired)

St Kilda Saints:

Signed: ✅ - Nadia von Bertouch, until 2022 - Ali Brown, until 2022 - Rosie Dillon, 2yrs - Jayde Van Dyk, 1yr? - Nat Exon, 1yr - Clara Fitzpatrick, until 2022 - Caitlin Greiser, until 2022 - Darcy Guttridge, 1yr - Bianca Jakobsson, 1yr? - Selena Karlson, until 2021 - Poppy Kelly, until 2022 - Tilly Lucas-Rodd, 2yrs - Tamara Luke, until 2022 - Kate McCarthy, until 2022 - Molly McDonald, 2yrs - Georgia Patrikios, until 2022 - Cat Phillips, 1yr - Hannah Priest, 2yrs - Isabella Shannon, 2yrs - Kate Shierlaw, until 2022 - Olivia Vesely, 2yrs - Rhiannon Watt, 2yrs - Tarni White, 2yrs - Claudia Whitfort, 1yr - Nicola Xenos, 2yrs
Movements: 🔄 - Jess Sedunary to Adelaide Crows - Alison Drennan to GC Suns
Delistings: ✴️ - Sammie Johnson (delisted) - Mel Kuys (delisted) - Emma Mackie (retired) - Courteney Munn (retire) - Kelly O’Neill (delisted)

West Coast Eagles:

Signed: ✅ - Ashlee Atkins, until 2021 - Mikayla Bowen, 2yrs? - Tayla Bresland, 1yr - Hayley Bullas, 2yrs? - Imahra Cameron, 2yrs? - Mhicca Carter, Rookie - Melissa Caulfield, until 2021 - Maddy Collier, until 2021 - Beatrice Devlyn, 1yr - McKenzie Dowrick, until 2021 - Kellie Gibson, until 2021 - Brianna Green, until 2021 - Courtney Guard, until 2021 - Ashton Hill, 1yr - Dana Hooker, until 2023 - Alicia Janz, until 2021 - Parris Laurie, until 2022 - Grace Kelly, 2yrs - Niamh Kelly, 2yrs - Aisling McCarthy, 1yr - Sophie McDonald, 1yr - Kate Orme, 1yr - Chantella Perera, 1yr - Belinda Smith, until 2022 - Emma Swanson, until 2021
Movements: 🔄
Delisted: ✴️ - Talia Radan (retired) - Kate Bartlett (delisted) - Emily Bonser (retired) - Cassie Davidson (delisted) - Emily McGuire (delisted) - Daniela Pisconeri (delisted) - Tarnee Tester (delisted)

Western Bulldogs:

The Doggies didn’t specify contract lengths per player, so take ‘1yr’ with a grain of salt
Signed: ✅ - Deanna Berry, 1yr - Ellie Blackburn, 1yr - Eleanor Brown, 1yr - Naomi Ferres, 1yr - Ellyse Gamble, 1yr - Elisabeth Georgeostathis, 1yr - Angelica Gogos, 1yr - Isabella Grant, 1yr - Ashleigh Guest, 1yr - Britney Gutknecht, 1yr - Katy Herron, 1yr - Bailey Hunt, 1yr - Isabel Huntington, 1yr - Gemma Lagioia, 1yr - Kirsty Lamb, 1yr - Brooke Lochland, 1yr - Katie Lynch, 1yr - Dani Marshall, 1yr - Kirsten McLeod, 1yr - Celine Moody, 1yr - Nell Morris-Dalton, 1yr - Gabby Newton, 1yr - Kim Rennie, 1yr - Hannah Scott, 1yr - Lauren Spark, 1yr - Bonnie Toogood, 1yr - Amelia Van Oosterwijck, 1yr
Movements: 🔄 - Aisling McCarthy to West Coast Eagles - Hannah Munyard to Adelaide Crows
Delisted: ✴️ - Nicole Callinan (retired)
submitted by tiny_doughnut to AFL [link] [comments]


2020.08.01 23:55 OrangeForeign Booking the COVID era if COVID didn't exist (part 7)

Meant to post this yesterday, but technical shenanigans ensued, enjoy!
Part 1:
https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/hucz07/booking_the_covid_era_if_covid_didnt_exist/
Part 6:
https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/i012z2/booking_the_covid_era_if_covid_didnt_exist_part_6/
Draft Fallout

Night of Champions

Date: 9/27/20
Location: Detroit, MI
Theme song: Champion by Bishop Briggs
​ ​
Meanwhile on NXT
Trent Seven shows up and British Strong Style reforms in full force, dethroning IMPERIUM for the Tag Titles the first NXT of October. WALTER drops the NXT UK Championship to Ilja Dragunov at Takeover Dublin and finally arrives to America for good.

NXT Breakout Tournament
The week after NOC, Regal announces the return of the Breakout Tournament, only this time we will have TWO of them. A men's and a women's tournament. The format works as a G1 classic, with 4 groups of 4 men and 4 of 4 women, and the winners of each group advance to the semifinals. The winners of each tournament will get a shot at a title of their choosing
Men's Tournament
Group A:

Group B

Group C

Group D


Women's Tournament
Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Over the next month the Round Robin takes place and the semifinals are:
Men
Women
Finals
Set for 10/28/20

Hell in a Cell

Date: 10/25/20
Location: Chicago, IL
Theme: Can't go to hell by Sin Shake Sin

That was part 7, hope you liked it and leave your thoughts in the comments!
submitted by OrangeForeign to fantasybooking [link] [comments]


2020.07.31 12:43 tombstoneshadows28 Full Turner Classic Movies (North American) Schedule for the Month of August, 2020. (All airtimes E.S.T.)

Saturday, August 01, 2020 (BARBARA STANWYCK day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (suspense) Gambling Lady (1934/66 m/Archie Mayo)
  2. (7:15 AM) (western) Annie Oakley (1935/90 m/George Stevens)
  3. (9:00 AM) (romance) B.F.'s Daughter (1948/108 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  4. (11:00 AM) (suspense) Crime Of Passion (1957/86 m/Gerd Oswald)
  5. (12:30 PM) (western) The Moonlighter (1953/78 m/Roy Rowland)
  6. (2:00 PM) (drama) East Side, West Side (1949/108 m/Mervyn LeRoy)
  7. (4:00 PM) (suspense) The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947/99 m/Peter Godfrey)
  8. (6:00 PM) (romance) Clash by Night (1952/105 m/Fritz Lang)
  9. (8:00 PM) (comedy) Ball of Fire (1941/112 m/Howard Hawks)
  10. (10:00 PM) (crime)Double Indemnity (1944/108 m/Billy Wilder)
  11. (12:00 AM) (drama) Meet John Doe (1941/123 m/Frank Capra)
  12. (2:15 AM) (suspense) The Mad Miss Manton (1938/80 m/Leigh Jason)
  13. (4:00 AM) (suspense) Lady of Burlesque (1943/90 m/William A. Wellman)
Sunday, August 02, 2020 (ROCK HUDSON day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (western) Winchester '73 (1950/92 m/Anthony Mann)
  2. (8:00 AM) (drama) Something Of Value (1957/113 m/Richard Brooks)
  3. (10:00 AM) (comedy) A Fine Pair (1969/89 m/Francesco Maselli)
  4. (12:00 PM) (drama) All That Heaven Allows (1955/89 m/Douglas Sirk)
  5. (1:45 PM) (premiere) The Golden Blade (1953/81 m/Nathan Juran)
  6. (3:15 PM) (drama) Written on the Wind (1957/99 m/Douglas Sirk)
  7. (5:15 PM) (adventure) Ice Station Zebra (1968/149 m/John Sturges)
  8. (8:00 PM) (comedy) Pillow Talk (1959/102 m/Michael Gordon)
  9. (10:00 PM) (drama) Magnificent Obsession (1954/108 m/Douglas Sirk)
  10. (12:00 AM) (drama) Giant (1956/201 m/George Stevens)
  11. (3:45 AM) (comedy) Pretty Maids All In A Row (1971/91 m/Roger Vadim)
Monday, August 03, 2020 (RITA HAYWORTH day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (western) Renegade Ranger (1938/59 m/David Howard)
  2. (7:15 AM) (comedy) Susan And God (1940/117 m/George Cukor)
  3. (9:15 AM) (comedy) Affectionately Yours (1941/88 m/Lloyd Bacon)
  4. (10:45 AM) (comedy) The Strawberry Blonde (1941/99 m/Raoul Walsh)
  5. (12:30 PM) (adventure) The Happy Thieves (1962/89 m/George Marshall)
  6. (2:15 PM) (musical) My Gal Sal (1942/104 m/Irving Cummings)
  7. (4:00 PM) (musical) Down to Earth (1947/101 m/Alexander Hall)
  8. (6:00 PM) (musical) Cover Girl (1944/107 m/Charles Vidor)
  9. (8:00 PM) (crime) The Lady From Shanghai (1948/87 m/Orson Welles)
  10. (10:00 PM) (suspense) Gilda (1946/110 m/Charles Vidor)
  11. (12:00 AM) (musical) Pal Joey (1957109 m/George Sidney)
  12. (2:00 AM) (musical) You Were Never Lovelier (1942/97 m/William A. Seiter)
  13. (4:00 AM) (western) The Wrath of God (1972/111 m/Ralph Nelson)
Tuesday, August 04, 2020 (S.Z. SAKALL day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (musical) It's A Date (1940/103 m/William A. Seiter)
  2. (7:45 AM) (musical) Cynthia (1947/98 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  3. (9:30 AM) (western)San Antonio (1945/109 m/David Butler)
  4. (11:30 AM) (musical) Romance on the High Seas (1948/99 m/Michael Curtiz)
  5. (1:15 PM) (musical) Tea for Two (1950/98 m/David Butler)
  6. (3:00 PM) (musical) The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (1950/105 m/David Butler)
  7. (4:45 PM) (drama) Embraceable You (1948/80 m/Felix Jacoves)
  8. (6:15 PM) (comedy) Never Say Goodbye (1946/94 m/James V. Kern)
  9. (8:00 PM) (musical) In the Good Old Summertime (1949/103 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  10. (10:00 PM) (comedy) Christmas in Connecticut (1945/101 m/Peter Godfrey)
  11. (12:00 AM) (musical) Seven Sweethearts (1942/98 m/Frank Borzage)
  12. (2:00 AM) (musical) Lullaby of Broadway (1951/92 m/David Butler)
  13. (4:00 AM) (musical) The Student Prince (1954/107 m/Richard Thorpe)
Wednesday, August 05, 2020 (ANN MILLER day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) Room Service (1938/79 m/William A. Seiter)
  2. (7:45 AM) (comedy) You Can't Take It With You (1938/126 m/Frank Capra)
  3. (10:00 AM) (drama) Tarnished Angel (1938/67 m/Leslie Goodwins)
  4. (11:30 AM) (musical) Too Many Girls (1940/85 m/George Abbott)
  5. (1:15 PM) (premiere) Reveille with Beverly (1943/78 m/Charles Barton)
  6. (2:45 PM) (comedy) Watch the Birdie (1951/71 m/Jack Donohue)
  7. (4:15 PM) (comedy) The Great American Pastime (1957/89 m/Herman Hoffman)
  8. (5:45 PM) (musical) The Opposite Sex (1956/116 m/David Miller)
  9. (8:00 PM) (musical) Hit the Deck (1955/112 m/Roy Rowland)
  10. (10:00 PM) (musical) On the Town (1949/98 m//Gene Kelly)
  11. (12:00 AM) (musical) Kiss Me Kate (1953/110 m/George Sidney)
  12. (2:00 AM) (musical) Easter Parade (1948/103 m/Charles Walters)
  13. (4:00 AM) (musical) Small Town Girl (1953/93 m/Leslie Kardos)
Thursday, August 06, 2020 (BURT LANCASTER day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (western) Vengeance Valley (1951/83 m/Richard Thorpe)
  2. (7:30 AM) (drama) Jim Thorpe--All American (1951/105 m/Michael Curtiz)
  3. (9:30 AM) (adventure) The Flame and the Arrow (1950/88 m/Jacques Tourneur)
  4. (11:15 AM) (adventure) The Crimson Pirate (1952/104 m/Robert Siodmak)
  5. (1:15 PM) (crime) Brute Force (1947/98 m/Jules Dassin)
  6. (3:15 PM) (drama) Seven Days in May (1964/118 m/John Frankenheimer)
  7. (5:30 PM) (war) The Train (1964/133 m/John Frankenheimer)
  8. (8:00 PM) (drama) Elmer Gantry (1960/147 m/Richard Brooks)
  9. (10:45 PM) (drama) Birdman of Alcatraz (1962/149 m/John Frankenheimer)
  10. (1:30 AM) (drama) From Here to Eternity (1953/118 m/Fred Zinnemann)
  11. (3:45 AM) (drama) Atlantic City (1980/104 m/Louis Malle)
Friday, August 07, 2020 (SYLVIA SIDNEY day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (drama) One Third of a Nation (1939/76 m/Dudley Murphy)
  2. (7:30 AM) (drama) An American Tragedy (1931/95 m/Josef von Sternberg)
  3. (9:15 AM) (crime) City Streets (1931/83 m/Rouben Mamoulian)
  4. (11:15 AM) (drama) Street Scene (1931/79 m/King Vidor)
  5. (1:00 PM) (premiere) Mary Burns, Fugitive (1935/84 m/William K. Howard)
  6. (2:30 PM) (crime) You Only Live Once (1937/85 m/Fritz Lang)
  7. (4:15 PM) (crime) Dead End (1937/92 m/William Wyler)
  8. (6:00 PM) (drama) Fury (1936/92 m/Fritz Lang)
  9. (8:00 PM) (premiere) You And Me (1938/90 m/Fritz Lang)
  10. (9:45 PM) (premiere) Thirty Day Princess (1934/75 m/Marion Gering)
  11. (11:15 PM) (suspense) Sabotage (1936/77 m/Alfred Hitchcock)
  12. (12:45 AM) (drama) Les Misérables (1952/106 m/Lewis Milestone)
  13. (2:45 AM) (drama) Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973/88 m/Gilbert Cates)
  14. (4:30 AM) (drama) The Wagons Roll At Night (1941/84 m/Ray Enright)
Saturday, August 08, 2020 (CHARLIE CHAPLIN day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (silent) The Rounders (1914/11 m/Charles Chaplin)
  2. (6:15 AM) (silent) The Knockout (1914/27 m/Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle)
  3. (7:00 AM) (silent) The Pilgrim (1923/41 m/Charles Chaplin)
  4. (7:45 AM) (silent) A Dog's Life (1918/34 m/Charles Chaplin)
  5. (8:30 AM) (silent) The Kid (1921/53 m/Charles Chaplin)
  6. (9:30 AM) (silent) The Gold Rush (1925/89 m/Charlie Chaplin)
  7. (11:15 AM) (silent)The Circus (1928/72 m/Charles Chaplin)
  8. (12:45 PM) (comedy) Monsieur Verdoux (1947/124 m/Charles Chaplin)
  9. (3:00 PM) (romance) Limelight (1952/138 m/Charles Chaplin)
  10. (5:30 PM) (comedy) The Great Dictator (1940/125 m/Charles Chaplin)
  11. (8:00 PM) (silent) City Lights (1931/87 m/Charles Chaplin)
  12. (9:45 PM) (silent) Modern Times (1936/87 m/Charlie Chaplin)
  13. (11:30 PM) (comedy) A King in New York (1957/105 m/Charles Chaplin)
  14. (2:15 AM) (silent) Pay Day (1922/22 m/Charles Chaplin)
  15. (2:45 AM) (silent)Sunnyside (1919/30 m/Charles Chaplin)
  16. (3:30 AM) (silent) The Idle Class (1921/33 m/Charles Chaplin)
  17. (4:15 AM) (silent) Shoulder Arms (1918/38 m/Charles Chaplin)
  18. (5:00 AM) (silent) A Day's Pleasure (1919/18 m/Charles Chaplin)
  19. (5:30 AM) (comedy) Mabel's Married Life (1914/12 m/Mack Sennett)
Sunday, August 09, 2020 (GOLDIE HAWN day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) Protocol (1984/95 m/Herbert Ross)
  2. (8:00 AM) (romance) Swing Shift (1984/100 m/Jonathan Demme)
  3. (10:00 AM) (comedy) Best Friends (1982/109 m/Norman Jewison)
  4. (12:00 PM) (comedy) There's a Girl in My Soup (1970/96 m/Roy Boulting)
  5. (2:00 PM) (comedy) Cactus Flower (1969/104 m/Gene Saks)
  6. (4:00 PM) (drama) Butterflies Are Free (1972/109 m/Milton Katselas)
  7. (6:00 PM) (comedy) Seems Like Old Times (1980/102 m/Jay Sandrich)
  8. (8:00 PM) (crime) Foul Play (1978/116 m/Colin Higgins)
  9. (10:00 PM) (premiere) The First Wives Club (1996/105 m/Hugh Wilson)
  10. (12:00 AM) (comedy) Shampoo (1975/110 m/Hal Ashby)
  11. (2:00 AM) (crime) $ (Dollars) (1971/121 m/Richard Brooks)
  12. (4:15 AM) (premiere) Crisscross (1992/101 m/Chris Menges)
Monday, August 10, 2020 (NORMA SHEARER Day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (silent) The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927/106 m/Ernst Lubitsch)
  2. (8:00 AM) (romance) The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929/94 m/Sidney Franklin)
  3. (10:00 AM) (drama) A Free Soul (1931/94 m/Clarence Brown)
  4. (11:45 AM) (drama) The Divorcee (1930/82 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  5. (1:15 PM) (epic) Marie Antoinette (1938/157 m/W. S. Van Dyke II)
  6. (4:00 PM) (romance) Romeo and Juliet (1937/125 m/George Cukor)
  7. (6:15 PM) (romance) Her Cardboard Lover (1942/93 m/George Cukor)
  8. (8:00 PM) (comedy) The Women (1939/133 m/George Cukor)
  9. (10:30 PM) (romance) Smilin' Through (1932/98 m/Sidney Franklin)
  10. (12:30 AM) (romance) The Barretts Of Wimpole Street (1934/110 m/Sidney Franklin)
  11. (2:30 AM) (comedy) Private Lives (1931/84 m/Sidney Franklin)
  12. (4:15 AM) (romance) We Were Dancing (1942/95 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 (SAMMY DAVIS, JR. day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) Pepe (1960/158 m/George Sidney)
  2. (9:00 AM) (crime) Johnny Cool (1963/102 m/William Asher)
  3. (11:00 AM) Rufus Jones For President (1933/21 m/Roy Mack)
  4. (11:30 AM) (comedy) One More Time (1970/93 m/Jerry Lewis)
  5. (1:30 PM) (drama) Convicts 4 (1962/106 m/Millard Kaufman)
  6. (3:30 PM) (musical) Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964/123 m/Gordon Douglas)
  7. (5:45 PM) (comedy) Ocean's 11 (1960/127 m/Lewis Milestone)
  8. (8:00 PM) (drama)Anna Lucasta (1958/97 m/Arnold Laven)
  9. (9:45 PM) (drama) A Man Called Adam (1966/104 m/Leo Penn)
  10. (11:30 PM) (musical) Sweet Charity (1969/148 m/Bob Fosse)
  11. (2:15 AM) (premiere) Tap (1989/110 m/Nick Castle Jr.)
  12. (4:15 AM) (comedy) Smorgasbord (1983/90 m/Jerry Lewis)
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 (LANA TURNER day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938/91 m/George B. Seitz)
  2. (8:00 AM) (drama) Cass Timberlane (1947/119 m/George Sidney)
  3. (10:00 AM) (drama) A Life of Her Own (1950/108 m/George Cukor)
  4. (12:00 PM) (musical) The Merry Widow (1952/105 m/Curtis Bernhardt)
  5. (2:00 PM) (drama) Betrayed (1954/109 m/Gottfried Reinhardt)
  6. (4:00 PM) (drama) The Bad and the Beautiful (1952/118 m/Vincente Minnelli)
  7. (6:00 PM) (comedy) Bachelor in Paradise (1961/109 m/Jack Arnold)
  8. (8:00 PM) (drama) Peyton Place (1957/157 m/Mark Robson)
  9. (11:00 PM) (drama) Madame X (1966/100 m/David Lowell Rich)
  10. (1:00 AM) (crime) The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946/113 m/Tay Garnett)
  11. (3:00 AM) (romance) Latin Lovers (1953/104 m/Mervyn LeRoy)
  12. (4:45 AM) (romance) Two Girls On Broadway (1940/73 m/S. Sylvan Simon)
Thursday, August 13, 2020 (JOHN BARRYMORE day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (silent) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920/68 m/John S. Robertson)
  2. (7:15 AM) (silent) Don Juan (1926/112 m/Alan Crosland)
  3. (9:15 AM) (silent) When A Man Loves (1927/112 m/Alan Crosland)
  4. (11:15 AM) (drama) State's Attorney (1932/79 m/George Archainbaud)
  5. (12:45 PM) (drama) Rasputin and the Empress (1932/121 m/Richard Boleslavsky)
  6. (3:00 PM) (drama) Night Flight (1933/85 m/Clarence Brown)
  7. (4:30 PM) (suspense) Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (1937/59 m/Louis King)
  8. (5:45 PM) (musical) Maytime (1937/132 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  9. (8:00 PM) (drama) Grand Hotel (1932/113 m/Edmund Goulding)
  10. (10:00 PM) (comedy) Dinner at Eight (1933/111 m/George Cukor)
  11. (12:00 AM) (premiere) Night Club Scandal (1937/70 m/Ralph Murphy)
  12. (1:30 AM) (comedy) Arsene Lupin (1932/84 m/Jack Conway)
  13. (3:00 AM) (horror) Svengali (1931/81 m/Archie Mayo)
  14. (4:30 AM) (comedy) The Great Man Votes (1939/72 m/Garson Kanin)
Friday, August 14, 2020 (STEVE McQUEEN day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) The Honeymoon Machine (1961/87 m/Richard Thorpe)
  2. (7:30 AM) (comedy) Soldier in the Rain (1963/87 m/Ralph Nelson)
  3. (9:00 AM) (drama) An Enemy of the People (1978/107 m/George Schaefer)
  4. (11:00 AM) (war) The Sand Pebbles (1966/179 m/Robert Wise)
  5. (2:00 PM) (crime) The Getaway (1972/123 m/Sam Peckinpah)
  6. (4:15 PM) (crime) Bullitt (1968/114 m/Peter Yates)
  7. (6:15 PM) (drama) The Cincinnati Kid (1965/103 m/Norman Jewison)
  8. (8:00 PM) (romance) The Thomas Crown Affair (1968/102 m/Norman Jewison)
  9. (10:00 PM) (war) The Great Escape (1963/172 m/John Sturges)
  10. (1:00 AM) (adventure) Papillon (1973/151 m/Franklin J. Schaffner)
  11. (3:45 AM) (war) Never So Few(1959/124 m/John Sturges)
Saturday, August 15, 2020 (NINA FOCH day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (musical) Fast Company (1953/68 m/John Sturges)
  2. (7:15 AM) (crime) Escape in the Fog (1945/63 m/Oscar Boetticher Jr.)
  3. (8:45 AM) (musical) Sombrero (1953/103 m/Norman Foster)
  4. (10:30 AM) (horror) Cry of the Werewolf (1944/63 m/Henry Levin)
  5. (12:00 PM) (crime) The Dark Past (1948/74 m/Rudolph Maté)
  6. (1:45 PM) (adventure) Scaramouche (1952/115 m/George Sidney)
  7. (4:00 PM) (romance) Cash McCall (1960/102 m//Joseph Pevney)
  8. (6:00 PM) (drama) Executive Suite (1954/105 m/Robert Wise)
  9. (8:00 PM) (musical) An American in Paris (1951/113 m/Vincente Minnelli)
  10. (10:15 PM) (suspense) My Name Is Julia Ross (1945/65 m/Joseph H. Lewis)
  11. (11:30 PM) (crime) Illegal (1955/88 m/Lewis Allen)
  12. (1:15 AM) (crime) The Undercover Man (1949/84 m/Joseph H. Lewis)
  13. (3:00 AM) (suspense) I Love A Mystery (1945/69 m/Henry Levin)
  14. (4:30 AM) (comedy) Young Man With Ideas (1952/85 m/Mitchell Leisen)
Sunday, August 16, 2020 (CARY GRANT day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (romance) Sylvia Scarlett (1935/95 m/George Cukor)
  2. (8:00 AM) (romance) Topper (1937/97 m/Norman Z. McLeod)
  3. (10:00 AM) (comedy) Bringing Up Baby (1938/102 m/Howard Hawks)
  4. (11:45 AM) (comedy) His Girl Friday (1940/92 m/Howard Hawks)
  5. (1:30 PM) (comedy) The Talk Of The Town (1942/117 m/George Stevens)
  6. (3:45 PM) (comedy) Arsenic and Old Lace (1944/118 m/Frank Capra)
  7. (6:00 PM) (comedy) Room For One More (1952/95 m/Norman Taurog)
  8. (8:00 PM) (suspense) To Catch A Thief (1955/106 m/Alfred Hitchcock)
  9. (10:00 PM) (suspense) Charade (1963/113 m/Stanley Donen)
  10. (12:15 AM) (comedy) Dream Wife (1953/99 m/Sidney Sheldon)
  11. (2:15 AM) (drama) Crisis (1950/96 m/Richard Brooks)
  12. (4:00 AM) (comedy) Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942/115 m/Leo McCarey)
Monday, August 17, 2020 (MAUREEN O'HARA day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (suspense) Jamaica Inn (1939/99 m/Alfred Hitchcock)
  2. (8:00 AM) (drama) A Woman's Secret (1949/85 m/Nicholas Ray)
  3. (10:00 AM) (suspense) The Fallen Sparrow (1943/94 m/Richard Wallace)
  4. (12:00 PM) (western) The Rare Breed (1966/97 m/Andrew V. McLaglen)
  5. (2:00 PM) (adventure) At Sword's Point (1951/81 m/Lewis Allen)
  6. (3:45 PM) (adventure) Sinbad the Sailor (1947/117 m/Richard Wallace)
  7. (6:00 PM) (adventure) The Wings of Eagles (1957/110 m/John Ford)
  8. (8:00 PM) (horror) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939/117 m/William Dieterle)
  9. (10:15 PM) (comedy) Miracle on 34th Street (1947/96 m/George Seaton)
  10. (12:00 AM) (drama) This Land Is Mine (1943/103 m/Jean Renoir)
  11. (2:00 AM) (comedy) Sitting Pretty (1948/84 m/Walter Lang)
  12. (3:45 AM) (drama) Spencer's Mountain (1963/118 m/Delmer Daves)
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 (WARREN BEATTY day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) Promise Her Anything (1966/97 m/Arthur Hiller)
  2. (8:00 AM) (comedy) Kaleidoscope (1966/103 m/Jack Smight)
  3. (10:00 AM) (crime) Mickey One (1965/93 m/Arthur Penn)
  4. (12:00 PM) (drama) Lilith (1964/114 m/Robert Rossen)
  5. (2:00 PM) (drama) The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961/104 m/José Quintero)
  6. (3:45 PM) (drama) Splendor in the Grass (1961/124 m/Elia Kazan)
  7. (6:00 PM) (crime) Bonnie and Clyde (1967/111 m/Arthur Penn)
  8. (8:00 PM) (epic) Reds (1981/195 m/Warren Beatty)
  9. (11:30 PM) (crime) Bugsy (1991/136 m/Barry Levinson)
  10. (2:00 AM) (western) McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971/121 m/Robert Altman)
  11. (4:15 AM) (comedy) The Fortune (1975/88 m/Mike Nichols)
Wednesday, August 19, 2020 (DOLORES DEL RIO day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (silent) The Trail of '98 (1928/88 m/Clarence Brown)
  2. (7:45 AM) (suspense) What Price Glory (1926/121 m/Raoul Walsh)
  3. (10:00 AM) (musical) I Live For Love (1935/64 m/Busby Berkeley)
  4. (11:30 AM) (premiere) Devil's Playground (1937/73 m/Erle C. Kenton)
  5. (1:00 PM) (adventure) The Man From Dakota (1940/75 m/Leslie Fenton)
  6. (2:30 PM) (drama) Journey Into Fear (1942/68 m/Norman Foster)
  7. (4:00 PM) (drama) The Fugitive (1947/100 m/John Ford)
  8. (6:00 PM) (romance) More Than a Miracle (1967/103 m/Francesco Rosi)
  9. (8:00 PM) (adventure) Bird of Paradise (1932/82 m/King Vidor)
  10. (9:45 PM) (musical) In Caliente (1935/84 m/Lloyd Bacon)
  11. (11:30 PM) (musical) Flying Down To Rio (1933/89 m/Thornton Freeland)
  12. (1:15 AM) (drama) Madame Du Barry (1934/79 m/William Dieterle)
  13. (3:00 AM) (western) Cheyenne Autumn (1964/155 m/John Ford)
Thursday, August 20, 2020 (WILLIAM POWELL day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (romance) The Key (1934/71 m/Michael Curtiz)
  2. (7:30 AM) (suspense) The Kennel Murder Case (1933/73 m/Michael Curtiz)
  3. (9:00 AM) (musical) The Great Ziegfeld (1936/176 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  4. (12:00 PM) (suspense) The Thin Man (1934/91 m/W. S. Van Dyke II)
  5. (2:00 PM) (suspense) Another Thin Man (1939/103 m/W. S. Van Dyke II)
  6. (4:00 PM) (comedy) I Love You Again (1940/99 m/W. S. Van Dyke II)
  7. (6:00 PM) (comedy) Libeled Lady (1936/98 m/Jack Conway)
  8. (8:00 PM) (premiere) The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947/81 m/George S. Kaufman)
  9. (9:45 PM) (comedy) Life with Father (1947/118 m/Michael Curtiz)
  10. (12:00 AM) (drama) One Way Passage (1932/67 m/Tay Garnett)
  11. (1:30 AM) (romance) Jewel Robbery (1932/68 m /William Dieterle)
  12. (3:00 AM) (romance) Reckless (1935/97 m/Victor Fleming)
  13. (4:45 AM) (comedy) High Pressure (1932/73 m/Mervyn LeRoy)
Friday, August 21, 2020 (DIANA DORS day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (crime) Good Time Girl (1948/91 m/David MacDonald)
  2. (7:45 AM) (drama) Oliver Twist (1948/116 m/David Lean)
  3. (9:45 AM) (comedy) Here Come the Huggetts (1948/93 m/Ken Annakin)
  4. (11:30 AM) (crime) Man Bait (1952/78 m/Terence Fisher)
  5. (1:00 PM) (comedy) An Alligator Named Daisy (1957/88 m/J. Lee Thompson)
  6. (2:30 PM) (comedy) I Married a Woman (1958/84 m/Hal Kanter)
  7. (4:15 PM) (crime) King of the Roaring 20s: The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961/106 m/Joseph M. Newman)
  8. (6:15 PM) (premiere) Danger Route (1967/89 m/Seth Holt)
  9. (8:00 PM) (crime) The Long Haul (1957/88 m/Ken Hughes)
  10. (10:00 PM) (premiere) The Weak and the Wicked (1954/81 m/J. Lee-Thompson)
  11. (12:00 AM) (crime) The Unholy Wife (1957/94 m/John Farrow)
  12. (2:00 AM) (horror) From Beyond the Grave (1973/98 m/Kevin Connor)
  13. (4:00 AM) (comedy) As Long As They're Happy (1957/87 m/J. Lee Thompson)
Saturday, August 22, 2020 (JOHN WAYNE day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (western) The Big Stampede (1932/54 m/Tenny Wright)
  2. (7:00 AM) (western) The Telegraph Trail (1933/54 m/Tenny Wright)
  3. (8:00 AM) (war) Flying Leathernecks (1951/102 m/Nicholas Ray)
  4. (10:00 AM) (comedy) Trouble Along the Way (1953/110 m/Michael Curtiz)
  5. (12:00 PM) (western) Angel And The Badman (1947/100 m/James Ed(war)d Grant)
  6. (2:00 PM) (western) 3 Godfathers (1949/106 m/John Ford)
  7. (4:00 PM) (western) Stagecoach (1939/96 m/John Ford)
  8. (5:45 PM) (western) Fort Apache (1948/128 m/John Ford)
  9. (8:00 PM) (western) The Searchers (1956/119 m/John Ford)
  10. (10:15 PM) (war) Operation Pacific (1951/109 m//George Waggner)
  11. (12:15 AM) (war) Back to Bataan (1945/95 m/Edward Dmytryk)
  12. (2:00 AM) (adventure) The Comancheros (1961/107 m/Michael Curtiz)
  13. (4:00 AM) (suspense) Big Jim McLain (1952/90 m/Edward Ludwig)
Sunday, August 23, 2020 (OLIVIA de HAVILLAND day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (comedy) The Male Animal (1942/101 m/Elliott Nugent)
  2. (8:00 AM) (comedy) Princess O'Rourke (1943/94 m/Norman Krasna)
  3. (10:00 AM) (drama) Light in the Piazza (drama/1962/102 m/Guy Green)
  4. (12:00 AM) (drama) In This Our Life (1942/97 m/John Huston)
  5. (1:45 PM) (adventure) Captain Blood (1935/119 m/Michael Curtiz)
  6. (4:00 PM) (western) Dodge City (1939/104 m/Michael Curtiz)
  7. (6:00 PM) (adventure) The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938/102 m/Michael Curtiz)
  8. (8:00 PM) (epic) Gone With the Wind (1939/238 m/Victor Fleming)
  9. (12:00 AM) (drama) The Heiress (1949/115 m/William Wyler)
  10. (2:15 AM) (drama) To Each His Own (1946/122 m/Mitchell Leisen)
  11. (4:30 AM) (comedy) Hard to Get (1938/82 m/Ray Enright)
Monday, August 24, 2020 (GEORGE RAFT day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (drama) Manpower (1941/103 m/Raoul Walsh)
  2. (8:00 AM) (suspense) Background To Danger (1943/80 m/Raoul Walsh)
  3. (9:30 AM) (suspense) Johnny Angel (1946/79 m/Edwin L. Marin)
  4. (11:00 AM) (crime) Race Street (1948/79 m//Edwin L. Marin)
  5. (12:30 PM) (adventure) Outpost in Morocco (1949/91 m/Robert Florey)
  6. (2:30 PM) (crime) Red Light (1949/83 m//Roy Del Ruth)
  7. (4:15 PM) (crime) A Dangerous Profession (1950/79 m/Ted Tetzlaff)
  8. (5:45 PM) (comedy) Some Like It Hot (1959/122 m/Billy Wilder)
  9. (8:00 PM) (drama) They Drive by Night (1940/95 m/Raoul Walsh)
  10. (10:00 PM) (crime) Each Dawn I Die (1939/92 m/William Keighley)
  11. (11:45 PM) (suspense) Nocturne (1946/87 m/Edwin L. Marin)
  12. (1:30 AM) (premiere) Loan Shark (1952/79 m/Seymour Friedman)
  13. (3:00 AM) (premiere) I'll Get You (1953/78 m/Seymour Friedman)
  14. (4:30 AM) (adventure) Invisible Stripes (1940/81 m/Lloyd Bacon)
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 (ANNE SHIRLEY day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (drama) Chasing Yesterday (1935/77 m/George Nicholls Jr.)
  2. (7:30 AM) (drama) A Man to Remember (1938/78 m/Garson Kanin)
  3. (9:00 AM) (comedy) Chatterbox (1936/68 m/George Nicholls Jr.)
  4. (10:15 AM) (romance) M'liss (1936/66 m/George Nicholls Jr.)
  5. (11:30 AM) (comedy) Make Way for a Lady (1936/65 m/David Burton)
  6. (1:00 PM) (comedy) Too Many Wives (1937/61 m/Ben Holmes)
  7. (2:15 PM) (drama) Mother Carey's Chickens (1938/82 m/Rowland V. Lee)
  8. (3:45 PM) (drama) Sorority House (1939/64 m/John Farrow)
  9. (5:00 PM) (drama) Unexpected Uncle (1941/67 m/Peter Godfrey)
  10. (6:15 PM) (adventure) Bombardier (1943/99 m/Richard Wallace)
  11. (8:00 PM) (drama) Anne of Green Gables (1934/78 m/George Nicholls Jr.)
  12. (9:30 PM) (premiere) Steamboat Round the Bend (1935/96 m/John Ford)
  13. (11:00 PM) (drama) Stella Dallas (1937/106 m/King Vidor)
  14. (1:00 AM) (suspense) Murder, My Sweet (1944/95 m/Edward Dmytryk)
  15. (2:45 AM) (drama) Saturday's Children (1940/102 m/Vincent Sherman)
  16. (4:30 AM) (musical) Music in Manhattan (1944/81 m/John H. Auer)
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 (LAURENCE OLIVIER day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (romance) Westward Passage (1932/73 m/Robert Milton)
  2. (7:15 AM) (comedy) The Divorce Of Lady X (1938/91 m/Tim Whelan)
  3. (9:00 AM) (romance) 21 Days (1940/75 m/Basil Dean)
  4. (10:30 AM) (romance) That Hamilton Woman (1941/125 m/Alexander Korda)
  5. (12:45 PM) (romance) Pride and Prejudice (1940/118 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  6. (2:45 PM) (epic) Henry V (1944/137 m/Laurence Olivier)
  7. (5:15 PM) (drama) Hamlet (1948/154 m/Laurence Olivier)
  8. (8:00 PM) (romance) Wuthering Heights (1939/104 m/William Wyler)
  9. (10:00 PM) (romance) A Little Romance (1979/110 m/George Roy Hill)
  10. (12:00 AM) (drama) The Entertainer (1960/104 m/Tony Richardson)
  11. (2:00 AM) (comedy) The Prince and the Showgirl (1957/117 m/Laurence Olivier)
  12. (4:00 AM) (musical) The Beggar's Opera (1953/94 m/Peter Brook)
Thursday, August 27, 2020 (CLAUDETTE COLBERT day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (romance) Parrish (1961/138 m/Delmer Daves)
  2. (8:30 AM) (drama) The Secret Heart (1946/97 m/Robert Z. Leonard)
  3. (10:30 AM) (suspense) The Secret Fury (1950/86 m/Mel Ferrer)
  4. (12:15 PM) (comedy) It's a Wonderful World (1939/86 m/W. S. Van Dyke II)
  5. (2:00 PM) (comedy) Without Reservations (1946/101 m/Mervyn LeRoy)
  6. (4:00 PM) (war) Three Came Home (1950/105 m/Jean Negulesco)
  7. (6:00 PM) (drama) Tomorrow Is Forever (1946/104 m/Irving Pichel)
  8. (8:00 PM) (comedy) It Happened One Night (1934/105 m/Frank Capra)
  9. (10:00 PM) (comedy) The Egg And I (1947/108 m/Chester Erskine)
  10. (12:00 AM) (comedy) The Palm Beach Story (1942/88 m/Preston Sturges)
  11. (1:45 AM) (adventure) Drums Along the Mohawk (1939/104 m//John Ford)
  12. (3:45 AM) (adventure) Boom Town (1940/119 m/Jack Conway)
Friday, August 28, 2020 (PAUL HENREID day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (war) Joan of Paris (1942/91 m/Robert Stevenson)
  2. (8:00 AM) (drama) Deception (1946/112 m/Irving Rapper)
  3. (10:00 AM) (western) Song of Love (1947/118 m/Clarence Brown)
  4. (12:15 PM) (crime) Hollow Triumph (1948/82 m/Steve Sekely)
  5. (2:00 PM) (drama) In Our Time (1944/111 m/Vincent Sherman)
  6. (4:00 PM) (drama) Between Two Worlds (1944/112 m/Edward A. Blatt)
  7. (6:00 PM) (drama) Of Human Bondage (1946/106 m/Edmund Goulding)
  8. (8:00 PM) (romance) Now, Voyager (1942/117 m/Irving Rapper)
  9. (10:15 PM) (premiere) For Men Only (1951/93 m/Paul Henreid)
  10. (12:00 AM) (romance) Casablanca (1942/103 m/Michael Curtiz)
  11. (2:00 AM) (adventure) The Spanish Main (1945/101 m/Frank Borzage)
  12. (4:00 AM) (adventure) The Conspirators (1944/101 m/Jean Negulesco)
Saturday, August 29, 2020 (EVA MARIE SAINT day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (romance) The Sandpiper (1965/117 m/Vincente Minnelli)
  2. (8:00 AM) (documentary) Eva Marie Saint: Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival (2014/59 m/?)
  3. (9:00 AM) (war) 36 Hours (1964/115 m/George Seaton)
  4. (11:00 AM) (adventure) Grand Prix (1966/176 m/John Frankenheimer)
  5. (2:00 PM) (drama) All Fall Down (1962/110 m/John Frankenheimer)
  6. (4:00 PM) (western) The Stalking Moon (1968/109 m/Robert Mulligan)
  7. (6:00 PM) (drama) On the Waterfront (1954/108 m//Elia Kazan)
  8. (8:00 PM) (suspense) North by Northwest (1959/136 m/Alfred Hitchcock)
  9. (10:30 PM) (drama) A Hatful of Rain (1957/108 m/Fred Zinnemann)
  10. (12:30 AM) (drama) Raintree County (1957/166 m/Edward Dmytryk)
  11. (3:45 AM) (drama) Loving (1970/89 m/Irvin Kershner)
Sunday, August 30, 2020 (CHARLTON HESTON day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (suspense) Skyjacked (1972/101 m/John Guillermin)
  2. (7:45 AM) (adventure) The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959/105 m/Michael Anderson)
  3. (9:30 AM) (horror) The Omega Man (1971/98 m/Boris Sagal)
  4. (11:15 AM) (adventure) The Three Musketeers (1973/107 m/Richard Lester)
  5. (1:15 PM) (epic) 55 Days at Peking (1963/154 m/Nicholas Ray)
  6. (4:00 PM) (epic) Ben-Hur (1959/222 m/William Wyler)
  7. (8:00 PM) (crime) Touch of Evil (1958/111 m/Orson Welles)
  8. (10:00 PM) (epic) Khartoum (1966/136 m/Basil Dearden)
  9. (12:15 AM) (adventure) Planet of the Apes (1968/112 m/Franklin J. Schaffner)
  10. (2:15 AM) (horror) Soylent Green (1973/97 m/Richard O. Fleischer)
  11. (4:00 AM) (drama) Number One (1969/105 m/Tom Gries)
Monday, August 31, 2020 (ALAIN DELON day)
  1. (6:00 AM) (romance) The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964/123 m/Anthony Asquith)
  2. (8:05 AM) (suspense) Scorpio (1973/114 m/Michael Winner)
  3. (10:00 AM) (horror) Spirits of the Dead (1968/121 m/Roger Vadim)
  4. (12:15 PM) (drama) Once A Thief (1965/106 m/Ralph Nelson)
  5. (2:15 PM) (western) Red Sun (1971/115 m/Terence Young)
  6. (4:15 PM) (drama) Have I the Right to Kill (1963/102 m/Alain Cavalier)
  7. (6:00 PM) (crime) Purple Noon (1961/117 m/René Clément)
  8. (8:00 PM) (drama) Rocco and His Brothers (1960/179 m/Luchino Visconti)
  9. (11:15 PM) (premiere) Le Samourai (1967/105 m/Jean-Pierre Melville)
  10. (1:15 AM) (drama) L'Eclisse (1962/126 m/Michelangelo Antonioni)
  11. (3:30 AM) (western) Lost Command (1966/130 m//Mark Robson)
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Seth Green talks to Larry King about Star Wars, elections ... ISAAC KAPPY outs SETH GREEN and CLARE GRANT in PEDOGATE ... m.youtube.com Macaulay Culkin Visits Voodoo Donuts (both are SATANIC ... Seth MacFarlane Does Impressions - YouTube Seth MacFarlane and Friends - How Seth Green & Alex ... Seth Green, John Cena & Triple H vs. The Legacy: Raw, July ... WORST DATING SITES EVER MADE! - Weird Wide Web - YouTube Primetime Emmy 61 Red Carpet Interview - Seth Green Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch are officially dating: WWE Now ...

Who is Seth Green dating? Seth Green girlfriend, wife

  1. Seth Green talks to Larry King about Star Wars, elections ...
  2. ISAAC KAPPY outs SETH GREEN and CLARE GRANT in PEDOGATE ...
  3. m.youtube.com
  4. Macaulay Culkin Visits Voodoo Donuts (both are SATANIC ...
  5. Seth MacFarlane Does Impressions - YouTube
  6. Seth MacFarlane and Friends - How Seth Green & Alex ...
  7. Seth Green, John Cena & Triple H vs. The Legacy: Raw, July ...
  8. WORST DATING SITES EVER MADE! - Weird Wide Web - YouTube
  9. Primetime Emmy 61 Red Carpet Interview - Seth Green
  10. Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch are officially dating: WWE Now ...

Is ISAAC KAPPY LEGIT?? The Fakenews MSM responded to the 'Seth Green is a Pedophile' accusation by releasing 6 stories in 3 hours about his past involvement ... Join the Club today http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/raygun New members get their 1st month of the Dollar Shave Club Starter Set including the Executive Razo... After reaching my 10 thousand subscriber goal. I figured. Why not reach for 20 Thousand. If you like my content. Go. Jimmy and Seth take turns doing random c... Full reaction to the news that Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch are officially an item. GET YOUR 1st MONTH ... Macaulay Culkin recently visited VooDoo Doughnuts, shocker! Seth Green on social lockdown after being outed as a pedophile. Robot Chicken anyone?? Hollywood star Seth Green teams up with John Cena and Triple H to battle The Legacy. Get your first month of WWE Network for FREE: http://wwenetwork.com Subs... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. On the red carpet at The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards with Seth Green of 'Robot Chicken' and 'Family Guy' (Published 9/6/12) Seth Green, the actor and writer, sits down with Larry to talk about his new projects, 'Robot Chicken', and nerd culture. SUBSCRIBE to Lar... Voice actors Seth Green (Chris Griffin) and Alex Borstein (Lois Griffin) remember meeting Seth MacFarlane and auditioning for their roles. Executive Producer...