quick dip ∞writes

He tells me my dear Gertrude

Aunt Gee is rare form today.  Alzheimer’s is a no-win son-of-a-bitch disease.  Most of the time she thinks I’m my dead brother which turns the visit into an emotional mine field for all concerned.  Even the day nurse cringes visibly at our stilted exchanges.  But the real challenge is when she recognizes me and tells me all the secrets my brother has recently shared with her, because apparently he visits more faithfully than I do.

“I don’t understand how a military haircut is considered fashionable.  Even for a lesbian.  My god you look like a cliché.”
“It’s not a crew cut Aunt Gee, it’s a faux hawk.”  She’s flapping her thick-veined, thin-skinned hand at me in dismissal.  I know not to agitate her further so I wait for her to make the next move.
“You know, when I die, you should use the inheritance and move to Paris.  It’s the place to be if you’re to be a true artist. It’d be good for your brother too.”

8 min on the F train, 6.10.14
prompt from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

fat free

My therapist said I had to make better choices. I chose to fire her.

And I chose to go back to gluten. I wasn’t depressed because of gluten, I was depressed because I was heartbroken.  Because I was heartbroken I ate too many bad pastries.  I like sugar.  Sugar makes me feel good. But then sometimes it makes me feel bad.  Now I know there’s good sugar and there’s bad sugar, like cholesterol or men.
Now I make choices based on the long-term. I want the good feelings to last longer.  The impulse danish or Dunkin’ Donut only feels food for a little while.  I timed it once:  twelve minutes and then I wanted another one. Twelve minutes later I just felt extra bad – and extra bloated.

I learned how to make my own bread and sugar-free muffins.  I bring them to the office on Mondays. Jennifer at work doesn’t believe me when I tell her how I lost the weight.  She thinks I’m being a bitch because Colin has fallen in love with my carrot cake muffins.  That’s her prerogative, I didn’t start baking to woo Colin.  We’re all making our own choices.

8 min on 6.3.14, in Queens
prompted from a cookie wrapper on the F train

Broadway’s best party

“What do you think of the shirt?”
“It’s a nice shirt. What jacket are you wearing with it?”
“I’m not wearing a jacket.”
“It’s a big deal party Guy, you gotta wear a jacket.”
“We’re musicians. We don’t have to do jackets.”
“Are you already high? We’re not rock stars. And we’re composers not musicians. We have to wear jackets.”
“No I don’t. I knew this model once and she -”
“Wait a minute how are you just casually dropping that you ‘knew this model once’? I’ve known you fifteen years. We’re forty-something divorced guys with daughters who tolerate our presence in exchange for shopping allowance. When the hell did your path ever cross with a model?”
“Screw you Buddy. Why is it so unfathomable? I did music for a tiny show once with a model turned actress in it, she gave me a style tip that has always stood me well -”
“So technically she wasn’t a model anymore.”

8 min on the F train 6/16/14
prompted from Rock of Ages transit ad

Bodega cat is the best pet

It started as a joke, like all great traditions.
Kenny gave me the pet rock the summer of my twelfth birthday. It’s not a real trademarked one like Shauna Brayer had. It’s better. Kenny made it himself from a rock he found at his parents’ cottage. The googly eyes came unglued when I unwrapped it so we magic markered on the eyes. Royal blue and black. Kenny vetoed lashes. Giddy from the fumes we solemnly set the ground rules for my pet ownership. Every night the rock was fed a secret, whispered from Bonnie Bell slathered lips. I outgrew my addiction to sticky lips but I’ve been a diligent mama bird, sustaining domesticated granite with my every hope, wish and desire since adolescence. This rock has travelled the world and lived in three world-class cities and has kept my secrets safe and my psyche sane.

8 min on the F train 6.17.14
Prompted from seamless/ grub hub transit ad

Where kids go to grow

Hi. My name is Fernando and I’m eight years old. I am called different things at school because of my teeth (they kind of stick out) and my ears (they stick out too). But it’s okay because my mom calls me mija and it’s the sweetest sound.
My baby sister doesn’t have any words yet but she calls me ‘dO’. Mom calls her mija too. She says it different though. Like, I dunno fuzzier, pinker. I’m not sure if it’s different because she’s a girl or because she’s different. I don’t remember when I got my words but I think I had them when I was doing the stuff she’s doing now. You know like running and walking and drawing like that. She tries to talk I think but it’s mostly just sounds like O and Eee. She screams a lot to get attention.
I think she’s going to get called worse names at school. Her eyes are so big and they kinda stick out too.

8 min on the F train, 6.4.14
prompted from transit ad

Because it’s easy

Motherhood is one big lifestyle reality show for Samantha. She looks like someone on TV with her oversized head and bleached smile.  Based on a score card of her invention she is an exceptional mother. Just because she can get my kids to eat cauliflower doesn’t mean she’s a better mother. Time will tell. Her seven year old already knows he’s gay but Samantha hasn’t looked him in the eye since he outgrew wearing Robeez slip-ons. Her daughter’s future food pyramid will have prescription meds as the base.
At her last effortless and perfect brunch she poisoned my kid with her gluten-free pancakes stuffed with ricotta. Apparently homemade and gluten-free nullifies Brianne’s lactose intolerance.
She claimed ricotta has minimal lactose and that Bri’s reaction was due to withdrawal from the toxins in her regular diet.  I kept the voicemail. My lawyer says it’s a solid case and we’ll clean up on damages.

8 min on the F train 8.29.14
Prompt from transit ad for food delivery

“Do you want my seat?”

‘Hey, I’m sorry about Chivalry.”
” I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“Sure, of course , I just wanted you to know – ”
“Yeah. Ok. I get it. Thanks.”
I wish I had a door to slam in his face but it’s a loft. I don’t want him here but the calendar hasn’t cooperated and this is his weekend with our dad. I’m with my dad every weekend because my mother is dead. Demian is a product of my father’s misguided grief.
I’ve asked Demiam to stop commenting on the “irony” of my dog’s death.
“I mean c’mon,” he starts, ” you knew the day would come you’d have to say..” I charge at him pushing him backwards out of the room. “Shut. Up!”
“Stop pushing me! It was just a dog.”
I stop pushing and I pull him in close,
“I will scoop your bastard eyes out with my thumbs if you do not shut the fuck up right now.”  The words shoot out my mouth like bullets and lodge in the soft flesh of Demian’s feelings. I don’t care.

8 min on the F train Tuesday night 5.27.14
prompted by a chivalrous young man during rush hour

Staring games

You think you can intimidate me but I can see the ugly inside you. You think your crisp shirt and pressed skirt hide the dark stain but it bleeds through your pores.
Your lower jaw juts forward ever so slightly daring me to maintain eye contact, challenging me to look past the small town freckles and peachy skin, challenging me to see your ugly truth. You think I’ll look away when I see your secret. You think I’ll look away before you see my secret. But I want you to see it.
On the periphery of my vision your clawed fingers clutch your purse. There is an ossified cruelty in your knuckles. Your crone’s hands have knit miles of cheap synthetic yarn, spreading your bitterness down through the generations you had no part in propagating. The longer we stare the more you share your story, your twisted desperate story. The end. You blinked.

8 min on the F train 5.22.14
prompted by the staring stranger across from me