Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Past Newark and Already Drunk

It's too late now pal.
I already feel like I'm made of glass and I'm just waiting for the inflated sense of self confidence to kick in.
No point in making this trip if I just came here to see sights.
The same old songs blasting in my ears.
Trying to stay interested in a book while the guy sitting across from me with the small kids flashes me a dirty look every time I lift the can shielded in a paper bag to my lips.
LIke somehow his kids are going to watch me sipping a beer and remember that "really cool guy on the train" and raid the liquor cabinet.
Fuck him, I put the book away and go back to the window.
I pick out a song: Fairytale of New York
There's still some Christmas lights out on some of the apartments and stores so it almost feels appropriate.
Like the end of a movie or something.
Or maybe the down turn before the happy ending.
I guess that's kind of what I hope it is.
Nah, this is too dramatic.
Something else.
Eh, just shuffle.
Any Dylan, Tom Waits or Nick Cave murder ballad about scary women and roaming will do at this point.
And I'll just keep watching the lights streak by and hope I don't get too tired before the night even gets started.
And just when everything feels right.
"Hey buddy, last stop you got to get off" the ticket ripper says slowly and deliberate just in case I don't speak English.
Oh well.
Maybe I'll get it right on the way back.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Agent Crowley and the Mailman

I knew something was wrong because I couldn't stop calling everyone "Agent Crowley" and I had no idea why. The mail man, Gene or Pat or something, I can never remember his name was the biggest victim of this curse. He'd hand me the mail and I'd say "thanks there Agent Crowley" and shoot him with my forefinger like pals do. I don't think he found it amusing but I couldn't really help myself. I also started referring to my cats as Agent Crowley: "Wattsamatta Agent Crowley? You hungry?" stuff like that, I figured I'd just picked it up from some television show or movie that I fell asleep to and didn't really think about it.

About a week later I went out to get the mail, and I should probably explain that I hate the mail because it's usually bills or some kind of bad news. Maybe, occasionally, like when Netflix comes, I'm looking forward to it, but usually it's just a credit card or a phone or car insurance or the town or the hospital looking for money from me. However, today I wasn't really thinking about it. Somehow my trip to the mailbox perfectly coincided with Agent Crowley arriving in his mail truck.

"Hey there pal" he greeted me sunnily, "you know that Harry Potter book and Richie Tennenbaum sunglasses you ordered are sitting by the doorstep over there," he motioned with his head, "they've been there for like two days surprised you didn't notice 'em since you've been waiting for them for two weeks."

"Oh yeah" I said casually noticing the small box drenched with melting snow, "huh," I turned back to Gene or Pat or whatever, "what you got for me?"

He handed me a heavy stack of envelopes, no junk mail in here, just envelopes that said things like 'Geico' 'Meridian Health' 'At&t' and 'Chase'. I rolled my eyes: "That it?" I asked.

"No, actually" he leaned out of his truck a little to get a look behind him and then cautiously whispered: "just to let you know, there's a monster roaming around down the street."

I looked at him for a moment waiting for the punchline: "A monster?" I finally asked.

"Yeah, keep your voice down, just so you know, be careful Agent Crowley" he shot his finger at me and drove off.

I thought little of this, too distracted by the bills and that sinking feeling of impending poverty that leads to other sunny thoughts like "Where did I go wrong?" and "How come my friends seem to be able to get on in this life so easily?" so I sat around and sulked until noon happened, and then I made myself a sandwich and read yesterday's sports page. The winter is a bleak time for sports. Writers ringing out every boring story from the last week of football like a slimy dishrag and trying to drudge up any possible stories from spring training. I didn't' even bother finishing any stories, I just chewed my sandwich and glanced over some story about job creation.

It started snowing. Again.

Everything was already covered in white, and it was the kind of grey-day that looked like it might start raining or snowing again, but this was a heavy snow, one that the trusted weather center at told me not expect until Saturday. "Well, they're just lucky I don't have anywhere to go today or they'd be getting a slice of my mind in their inbox" I thought.

I dropped the paper and gazed outside, there's something peaceful about heavy snow as long as you're not driving in it or walking in it, or outside in general I guess. Through the windows of the warm confines in a house you didn't pay for with a nice heat floating through the air though it's quite lovely.

Then I saw something. A giant black figure pass by the window on the street. It made my stomach sink because as soon as I saw it I knew there was something unnatural going on. I sprung from my seat and tried get a better view from another window but I saw nothing. So I sat back down and assumed it must have been a car or anything else. Then I saw a shadow float on the floor from the window behind me. I turned around to see a giant, and I mean like 12 feet high giant, hooded figure looking in the window. Well I'm assuming it was looking, I couldn't make out a face.

I sprang from my chair and out the back door, bathrobe wildly flailing in the wind, work boots ready to fall off my feet. The heavy snow dusting the ground the made it slippery and I fell and banged my knee on the cold ground. I thought about the cats I'd left behind in the house, but they were on their own, they were cunning enough to get out of sight for hours on end when the vacuum came out so I would assume they could fall into their emergency hiding spots now that an honest to God monster had presented itself in the middle of the day.

I made it to the woods behind the house and stopped behind a tree to evaluate if the monster was still coming after me.
"Agent Crowley?" a low voice droned behind me.
"Oh God" I turned around slowly, too panicked to take off again, "Yes?"
"hello," he pulled his hood back slowly to reveal a balding head with a shock of white hair towards the back of his skull, it was Gene or Pat or whatever, the mailman.
"How did you get 12 feet tall?"
"Nevermind that now, I'm here for a reason," he smiled, but in a way that told me he had regrettable news.
"what? What is it?"
"I'm here to take you to see AVATAR," he said somberly.
"But, but I don't' really want to see AVATAR" I answered nervously.
"I know that, but you really should see it on the big screen or else you'll never be able to properly judge it," he reached out his hand, "now c'mon let's go I'll buy."
"But, can't we, I don't' know, can't I just wait for cable? I'll make sure I watch it on an HDTV, I may even have one by then ya know?"
"I'm afraid that won't do, and besides we both know you'll still have that little shit box you're watching now until it breaks. No you have to see it in the theater I'm afraid, though, don't worry you may like it, you see it's about a primitive culture, you know like Native Americans."
We started walking off, the snow stopped falling but everything was painted white by it.
"Can't we just go to something else? Even that Mel Gibson movie that looks like shit? Just until after the Oscar buzz has died down at least?"
"Nope.Sorry Agent Crowley."