Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Room - slow ride

He stood, looking forward.

The room was still.

The room then shifted into the restaurant. He had on his black apron, covering his waist and pelvis in pens, notepads, smudges of various dips and dressings, and paper straw wrappers. "Slow Ride" was playing over the dining floor, and no families sat in the maroon chairs. It was empty. Jill glided by, showing off her new tye-dye hoodie and cyst, laughing like an 80 year old man who had smoked all of his life, and bitching about the new servers. She looked at him demeaningly, then smirked. "Here's your money," she rasped, placing a five twenties in his hand. "Hope it was worth it." She glided away.

He looked at the money. He felt humiliated and self-conscious. It wasn't worth it.

The restaurant shifted. The room returned.

"What did you see?" I asked him.

"It's starting to become not worth it anymore. You should quit," he answered.

I would take it into consideration.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gravity - Entry #1

And the day he died it was a birthday, and I noticed it was mine.

My father, my sister, and I were fans of the song "Winchester Cathedral" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash. I vividly remember laying in the family room on the pull-out bed in the couch next to my sister and my father, listening to the song with no lights on while watching the fire in the fireplace and the shadows it cast on the ceiling. A line in the song is sung very quickly, and goes, "And the day he died it was a birthday, and I noticed it was mine." My father and I had the inside joke of singing the lyric to each other as fast as we could during unexpected moments. We would spring the lyric onto each other and then laugh at the fact the other didn't see it coming. It was a strange contest, yes, but I felt like my father and I had something no else did.

I think I was in third grade when my dad was Santa Claus at my school. Santa Claus would go around to each classroom giving out candy canes and bellowing laughter. I remember most everyone in my grade found out there wasn't a Santa Claus around second grade, me included. The thought of Santa Claus visiting us children in our third grade classroom seemed cheap and irrelevant. And as Santa Claus walked into Mr. Hapke's classroom, dread filled my being when I immediately recognized my father underneath the white beard and red hat. My only thought was, "Don't embarrass me." My father walked through the aisles of our desks, handing us candy and asking what we want for Christmas. Some kids, mostly the girls, just giggled and played along. Most of the boys, including me, thought it stupid and it showed in our faces. When my father got to my desk, he placed a candy cane on top of my open textbook, leaned down close to my face, pulled down his beard, and softly said, "And the day he died it was a birthday, and I noticed it was mine," as fast as he could.

The other children stared for a moment. My face flushed to a bright red. He continued across the room to the door wishing us all a merry Christmas before moving on to the next classroom. All the other kids kept asking what Santa Claus said to me and how I knew him, but I didn't bother explaining the joke. I just said, "It doesn't matter. It was stupid." Mostly, I was pissed he had gotten me so good.

On Christmas morning, my father had left a note in my stocking that read, "And the day he died it was a birthday, and I noticed it was mine," in tiny lettering and very close to each other, for the effect of the quickness of the message. In retaliation, I made him a Christmas card that had the words scribbled on the inside. He saw it coming before I even handed him the construction paper card.

I was so mad that he had gotten me twice and really well. After that Christmas, I never really tried to out-do him anymore. The game died after that.

When my father and I lived in South Carolina, we would listen to every cd in our collection because of all the driving. One night on the road, I put in a cd with "Winchester Cathedral" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash on it. He was surprised I remembered the song and liked it so much. When I recounted the memory of our game, he didn't remember it.