i Wish i Could Be On Time!

27 March 2007

i am supposed to be turning in a poem via online for poetry workshop on tuhrsday. i look back at my "work" and suddenly want to vomit. i can't do this.

11 February 2007

London the crazypoet now has AIM!! :)
IM me @ crazypoet80

21 December 2006

I am so happy because...

this hellish semester is over &
I got 2 A's &
a B+ &
a freaking C in formal logic!

09 December 2006

This semester I have been taking a creative writing story workshop and I wanted to share my two stories--enjoy!

The Yin-Yang Twins

Claire met Motley at a bar in downtown Chicago. As did Stanley. And Barbara. And Sue. And Bradley. And if you got all these folks together into a group, they’d tell you the same tale. Motley, who was once a double, now stands merged, rather than one by one. Motley, who is around thirty years of age, is the color of coffee with extra cream. Taller than most, Motley has long gangly legs and long gangly arms. Claire fell in love with Motley, so much so that if you even mention the name Motley to her, she begins to cry uncontrollably. Stanley knew Motley from way back in the day when their dads were friends, while Sue and Motley know each other from even further back—way back, back to the days of the circus. Barbara was just one of those one night stands kind of gal, and the same can be said about Bradley—who lasted about 10 days. Motley, for sure, has had many more, too many to write about.

The tale of Motley is a wide-spread phenomenon, just ask Sam, who has never even had the chance to meet Motley—but knows the whole story. Claire knows Motley best as they spent many restless nights re-evaluating Motley’s earlier days. Claire, who met Motley at a bar in downtown Chicago, is a beautiful woman. Shorter than Motley, perhaps not as brilliant as Motley, but definitely more stunning than Motley—although it is Motley who is more exciting because of all the circus stories. Sam, who is obsessed with Motley, as a character for one of his upcoming novels, meets Claire for an interview on a cold and rainy September night. Sam, a well educated, creative genius, but not so good for listening, ran from the cab, out into the rain, and in the door of Easy’s—a bar of Claire’s choice. He secretly wondered if this was the very same bar that Claire met Motley, and made a mental note to ask her when the chance came up. Claire, already waiting for Sam at the bar, had ordered a rum and coke and by the time Sam arrived, she was nearly finished. Sam shook the rain from his jacket and took a seat next to Claire. To his surprise, Claire was extraordinarily beautiful. Claire lit a cigarette and puffed the smoke off to the side of her shoulder and said hello. Sam nodded and ordered a drink—vodka tonic.

The bartender, who seemed to know Claire by name, came over to talk about the shity night he was having, how the rain bothered his arthritic knees, and how he was robbed last week. Claire nodded and seemed unimpressed. Sam ordered another drink. So did Claire, she drank it, and ordered another one. Finally Sam interrupted the conversation, “Claire, I am writing a novel about the legends of Chicago—and obviously Motley is one of those. I’ve heard Motley’s story my entire life—beginning on the playground when I went to day care. I’m told you know Motley best.” Claire nodded and lit another cigarette. “Oh, and if you don’t mind, I’m going to tape this interview.” Sam added.

“I don’t mind.” Claire said as she blew a puff of smoke over her shoulder again. All of her shirts must be stained with yellow on the right shoulder, or maybe she switches shoulders every other night and Sam must have come on a right shoulder night. “What do you want to know?” Claire continued.
“Well, I guess, just start from the beginning.”

“The beginning?”

“Ok, the beginning as you know it.” Sam clicked his pen twice, set it down on the bar, and took a sip of his drink.

“Let’s see.” Claire tilted her head upwards, held it there for a second, and came back to center, looking directly into Sam’s eyes. Now, she was in character, Sam thought to himself as he glared into her eyes waiting for the story to begin. “I met Motley right here. At this very bar.”

“Yea? I was going to ask you about that.”

“It’s true. This very bar. I was sitting over there” Claire pointed to a few seats to the right with her cigarette, “and Motley was sitting over there” Claire pointed her cigarette to the left, almost burning Sam in the chin. “I had on my Chicago Cubs baseball cap, I had just come from a late day game,” she added, “and Motley sat and watched me for several minutes. After a while, I was intrigued, so I walked over and took a seat. I had never seen anyone, not in my entire life, the color of Motley. Motley smiled, called the bartender over and we both ordered fresh drinks. I was alone that night, my friends, having to work early the next day, had gone home, but I wanted a drink and some company. It seemed as though Motley was in the same boat as me.”

Silence, as Claire remembered that night so long ago. She recalled the details in her mind, Sam could tell this, as he did the same when telling a story and continued, “At first Motley was quiet, while I talked. Then after a while, Motley jumped in and told me a story about elephants. Elephants? Can you fucking believe that? I mean if you were to meet someone at a bar, strike up a conversation, would you talk about elephants?” Claire laughed and threw her head back. She had a nice neck—good for kissing, Sam thought, and she took a drag off her cigarette, put it out and looked into Sam’s eyes. “Oh Motley, you have no idea of the story of Motley.”

“I know. That’s why I’m here with you.” Sam said flirtatiously and put his hand on top of Claire’s. He patted it twice and said, “Please continue.”

But Claire was silent.

Suddenly, Claire jumped out of her seat and walked away. Sam watched her, part amazed, part annoyed. She disappeared into the fog of cigarette smoke and the dim light of the exit sign. Sam waited for nearly ten minutes, and when she didn’t return, paid the tab and walk outside. The rain had stopped by now, there was a slight drizzle in the air and Sam held his hand out to hail a cab.

mis•ce•ge•na•tion noun
irregular from Latin miscEre to mix + genus race
a mixture of races; especially : marriage, cohabitation, or sexual intercourse between a white person and a member of another race.

Motley, who was once a double, now stands merged, rather than one by one. Motley missed that other half. Once a twin, Motley, who was the one that was light as day, while the other was dark as night, now was the color of coffee with extra cream and had a long dirty laundry list. At the age of four, Motley and Motley’s used-to-be twin, acted in a circus. Their father, who was always anxious for a few extra bucks, pitched a tent right outside the elephant tent with a sign which read, “The Ying-Yang Twins. $5. One light as day, the other dark as night.” And people would be interested, pay the five dollars, and step inside the tent to see Motley and Motley’s identical twin. One being light as day, the other dark as night. Motley and Motley’s twin looked exactly alike. Same height, same weight, same long gangly legs, same long gangly arms, taller than most, they looked just alike…identical. Identical twins, to be exact. Now Motley was alone instead of one by one.

Nearly a week had passed since Sam had had the encounter with Claire. On a whim, Sam decided to go to Easy’s just to see if he could run into Claire again. Taking a seat at the bar, the same seat as before, Sam didn’t see Claire anywhere. He ordered a vodka tonic and decided to go over some notes while he waited. They had no arrangements made, but Sam was quite positive that day, so he waited. He watched an entire college basketball game, drank three vodka tonics, closed up his notes, and headed for home. Disappointed, Sam called his friend, who knew a friend, who knew Claire. No one had seen Claire in a few days, not since the day that Sam and Claire had met, and this worried Sam for this was Chicago, and the last thing he needed was to get in trouble, and even though he’d done nothing wrong, he still feared the worst. He flipped through the channels on the tv, looked at some porn on his laptop, masturbated to the 32 second free clip of a mixed girl with a ponytail, and headed for bed.

His answering machine woke him up the next morning. He could hear his friend’s voice mumbling something and the sound of the subway station behind him. Sam got out of bed and replayed the message. His friend had located Claire, who went into hiding, got fucked up on some coke and got herself into trouble with a hustler who left her tied to some bed post after a night full of fun. Claire was at the hospital again, the behavioral health unit, and would remain there until she went through detox, but was allowed to have visitors from 9am to 8pm. Sam laughed, although he didn’t mean to, but laughed at the fact and the very thought that Claire was tied to some bed post by a hustler. Lucky bastard, he thought, almost immediately wanting to smack himself on the face for thinking such a thing, he went into the bathroom and started the shower.

He stopped by the hospital gift shop, bought a lovely bouquet of daises, and headed up to see Claire. He felt somehow responsible for Claire’s downfall, as it were, and decided to at the very least deliver the flowers and wish her well. The nurse, flipping through
Claire’s chart said, “You’re not her husband are you? A family member? Only family is allowed up here.”

“I’m just a friend.” Sam commented, hoping to get out of the visit. “Can you just give her these flowers and tell her I stopped by? My name is Sam—she’ll know who I am.”

The nurse nodded, “Well, I’ll tell you—and I’m not really supposed to tell you this with all the new Hipaa Laws and such, but she hasn’t had any visitors and I think this might cheer her up a bit. She’s in room 24, bed B. And please don’t wake her roommate, she’s violent when she wakes up. God, I shouldn’t have told you that either, but I wanted to warn you.” The nurse pointed with her pen, just to the right, and smiled, hugging Claire’s chart to her chest.

Sam huffed, “Yea, thanks,” and walked over to room 24. He peered into the darkened room and looked at the first bed. A large lady lay sleeping, snoring loudly, occasionally snorting, all the while she waved her arms about. Sam crept over to Claire’s bed. She too, was sleeping, snoring lightly, feet peeping out of the covers. Sam put the flowers down on her nightstand, hoping not to wake her, and hoping to later using her sleeping as an excuse. But the sound of the vase touching the nightstand woke Claire up.

“Who’s there?”

“Hi Claire. It’s me, Sam.”

“Sam? I don’t know a Sam.”

“We met for drinks at Easy’s. You were telling me about Motley, remember. I’m sorry if I upset you.”

Claire shifted to her side and looked at Sam. “Oh, yea, Sam.” She smiled. “Sorry I left the bar; did you have to pay the tab? I’ll get you back. Sorry.”

“No worries. How are you feeling?”

“Ok. Did you hear about my kidnapping?”

Hum…Sam thought, is that what she’s calling it? A kidnapping? Sam shrugged and said, “Sort of. Listen, I’m going to let you get back to sleep. I just wanted to bring you these flowers—thought they might cheer you up a bit.”

“Whenever I talk about Motley, I get really fucked up, know what I mean?”

“It was a hard time for you.”

“Motley was the best lover. Just thinking about our time together makes me become over sexualized—ya know, horny. That ever happen to you when you’re talking about an ex?”
“I like porn on a lonely night, that’s the best comparison I can come up with.”

“Better than being kidnapped by a hustler.” Claire burst out laughing. “No, I wasn’t totally kidnapped by a hustler, he came onto me and I was vulnerable. Fuck Motley.”

The nurse came in the room, pulled back the curtain a bit, looking at her watch, and said, “I’m sorry to interrupt, just checking in.”

“Hey, thanks Gail.” Claire replied looking up at Sam, “Gail is my most favorite nurse.”

“Oh, stop.” Gail said, waving her hand. “You two have a good visit now, and Claire, don’t forget you have occupational therapy in an hour. As soon as the doc sees you getting up and around, the sooner you’ll get to get outta here.” Gail rushed out, but her cheap perfume lingered. Sam put his hand up to his mouth and coughed. “Excuse me” he mumbled.

“See that ceramic bunny over there?” Claire pointed to a tiny bunny, sitting up with a carrot, painted half white and half black, “I made that one yesterday.”

Sam looked over at the hideous bunny and shook his head, “It’s nice.”

“Motley would have gotten it. It’s a joke. You know since Motley is morphed.”


“Yea, Motley used to be a twin. You didn’t know that?”

“Well, yea, I knew. Just never heard anyone say that Motley was morphed.”

“Oh.” Claire began fiddling with her hair, which needed to be washed. The whole damn room needed to be washed and cleaned. Maybe the violent roommate wet the bed at night, because the whole room smelled like piss.

“Listen, I’m gonna go now.” Sam said as he stood up from the corner of Claire’s bed, which he had been sitting on while they were talking; “I’ll, ah, I’ll talk to you some other time.”

“Don’t you have a deadline?” Claire asked as Sam shifted from one foot to the other trying to wake his sleeping feet up.

“A deadline? I write novels, not a column for a newspaper. I don’t have deadlines.”


“Get well soon, Claire.”

Twin noun
Middle English, from twin twofold
either of two offspring produced at a birth
being one of a pair; identical

Motley, who was once a double, now stands merged, rather than one by one. Everyone around the neighborhood knows the story of Motley. Oh, yes, Motley who used to be in the circus. Motley who used to be a twin. Motley who was on Oprah. Somehow, Motley morphed, just like Claire had said, into one person. Everyone knows this because everyone knows the story of Motley in the neighborhood. Those who knew Motley from way back when cannot recall exactly how it happened. Sue, who knew Motley from way back in the day, way back to the days of the circus, explains it like this:

“One day, my pappy and Motley’s father were talking outside Motley’s tent. I was doing my bit in the circus, I was an acrobat—I walked on the tightrope. There was a scuffle inside the tent, the twins were fighting, as all young kids do, and the next thing I heard was that those twins rammed right into one another and morphed together! Now you see Motley—the perfect mix of half white and half black. After that day at the circus, I never saw Motley again. I know of her whereabouts because I hears about it through the neighbors—other than that, that’s all I can tell ya. Those twins were happy kids. We used to play for hours. We all grew up on cotton candy, we all had lives that most little kids dreamed about—we were part of a circus act for Christ’s sake, and we were all center stage because we made the money for our folks. I used to be angry at Motley, angry that I wasn’t asked to morph as well. I think they were just sick and tired of workin’ we’d all been workin’ for ten years. But I was just as tired. Better that Motley and me aren’t friends anyway. Better that way.”

Sam published his novel and included the little bit he knew of Motley through hearsay and the few conversations he had had with Claire. He had book signings, readings, and he was on top of the most-sold books at his favorite corner bookstore. Sam had waited for Claire to show up at least to one of the events—but she never did. He even waited for Motley to show up for one of the evens, but no Motley either. Instead, just his group of loyal followers, friends from college, past loves, his folks. No Motley. No Claire.

Months had gone by since Sam had published his novel, gone through the hoopla of readings and signings, and the initial shock of having something published again. He had met a woman at one of his book signings, and was planning to take her out for a drink on the night he ran into Claire and Motley. Amelia was running late. This began to bother Sam after a few dates, but he continued to date her because the sex was fairly decent, and in the end, it was much better than watching porn and masturbating. Amelia ran through the apartment door, yelling for Sam, “Hey, Sam! I have a cab downstairs!” Sam jumped off the couch, grabbed his coat and kissed Amelia on the cheek. “Hey babe.” He whispered and they ran down the stairs to catch the cab. Just as Sam opened the apartment building’s door, Amelia behind him, the cab sped off. “Damn it!” Sam screamed. “That asshole!” Amelia yelled, “I already paid him for the ride to the restaurant, too. Fuckin’ dickwad.”
“Come on, let’s just walk. It’s not so cold out.” Sam bundled up his coat and rubbed his hands together.

Sam and Amelia had walked maybe three blocks when a cab stopped about half a block in front of them—the same cab which had been in such a hurry earlier. “There’s that fucking cabbie!” Amelia pointed. Sam chuckled. The window rolled down and a strange face leaned out, “Sam! Hey Sam!”

Amelia looked up at Sam, “do you know that person?” she asked.

Sam looked closer at the person in the cab, turned to Amelia and said, “I do. Well, kinda. Can we catch up a little later, ya think?” Sam didn’t want to miss the opportunity in meeting the freakish-morphed Motley. For he knew it was Motley right away, and he could see Claire’s head staring out of the back window. Claire, over sexualized Claire, horny Claire, Claire and Motley together. Who and what was this Motley? Sam wondered to himself, circling his tongue around his cold lips, rubbing over the cracks and bumps of the chappedness he felt with his tongue.

Amelia laughed—she wasn’t stupid, she could take a hint. “Sure, Sam. Have fun.” She turned her back to him, as if to walk in the other direction, but instead stood still like a child in the time-out corner. Sam rolled his eyes and walked over to the cab. Leaning into the window, he could see Motley and Claire. He looked over his shoulder to check and see if Amelia was still in time out. She was. He waved, being a complete dick, he knew, and looked at Claire.

“Hey stranger,” Claire said. “I got the book. Nice job.”

“Yea, me too.” Motley added.

“Can I get in? I’m freezing out here.” Sam whimpered.

Motley through open the cab door, Claire slid over a few inches, and Sam jumped in the backseat. They rode in silence. Sam had no idea where they were taking him. Motley and Claire kept looking goo-goo eyed at each other, holding hands, Claire occasionally stroking Motley’s long gangly left leg, cupping her hand around Motley’s knee, and whispering something softly. Sam felt more uncomfortable than anything and wished he had just stayed with Amelia. He could taste the vodka tonic in his mouth. The cab stopped at a halt and Claire opened up her door, Motley slipped out and Sam opened his door and stepped out. They were in the middle of no where. The cab sped off, Sam watched the taillights grow smaller and smaller into the night. Sam turned around to find Motley and Claire gone. He yelled out for them several times, but no answer. It was completely dark outside. Sam couldn’t even see his own hands in front of his face. He walked a few steps in front of him, holding his arms straight out in front of him. To the right, Sam could hear Claire and Motley’s voices. “Claire!” “Motley!” Sam yelled loudly. “Where are you?”
“Over here,” Claire replied. “Come see the Ying-Yang Twins! $5! Come see the Ying-Yang Twins! One light as day, one dark as night!”

“What the fuck? Where are you? I can’t see a damn thing! Where are we?”
“Well, Sam, we’re at the circus.” Claire replied.

Sam took another couple of steps forward. Even in the pitch dark, he could see something before him. Something large and round. He stuck his hand out to touch it. It felt like a wind coat—he could feel a zipper, he could hear Motley and Claire giggling. Tracing his hand to the top, Sam felt a thin bar of some kind. It was a tent, he thought to himself. He was standing in front of a tent and Motley and Claire were inside. “Come in Sam,” Claire begged softly.

Sam stepped inside the tent. It was unusually warm inside. “Claire? Motley?” No answer. He called out again. Nothing. He was alone in the tent. Had they snuck out somehow? Was there a back door maybe? Sam felt all around the tent. The only zipper he could feel was the zipper to the front door which he came in through. Weird, Sam thought. Very weird. Sam reached in his pocket and pulled out his keys. On his keychain, he had a mini-flashlight. He turned it on. There was nothing in the tent. Sam stepped outside. Nothing around him. He was in the middle of no where. Sam reached back into his pocket and grabbed his cell. He called information and got the number to the cab company who brought him to wherever he was.

The cab pulled up, in what seemed like hours later. Sam jumped in. The cabbie turned around “How’d you get all the way out here?” The cabbie asked. “This used to be the grounds for the old circus when I was little.”

“I’m not so sure myself,” Sam replied.

The next day Sam woke up to find Amelia in bed next to him. “Amelia?”

Amelia rolled over, “good morning sleepy head.” She leaned over and kissed Sam on the nose.

“How the fuck did you get in here?”

Amelia laughed. And laughed. And laughed. “Oh Sam, you’re so funny. Don’t you remember? You took me to the circus last night?”

Twin noun
irregular from Latin miscEre to mix + genus race
a mixture of races; especially: marriage, cohabitation, or sexual intercourse between white person and a member of another race.

mis•ce•ge•na•tion noun
Middle English, from twin twofold
either of two offspring produced at a birth
being one of a pair; identical

The Deafness of Money

Dana Wilson was cleaning out her car before she had to go pick up her boss from the airport. A garbage bag sat on the ground by her feet. She would ruffle through piles of papers, stuff a few unneeded ones into the garbage bag and occasionally wipe the sweat from her forehead. It was a hot, muggy August afternoon and she could hear the neighborhood kid playing in his inflatable pool. Opening her console, she found an undeveloped roll of film. She could not remember the last time she had taken pictures. Examining the roll, she looked up at the sun trying to remember what images were hidden and not yet exposed. A party? Her last birthday? Christmas? She racked her brain—of course she knew that the one thing, or person rather, she was hoping was not on that roll of film would probably be there—smiling, laughing maybe, brought back to life through 27 exposures. It was a risk to get these developed. Having made that decision, she left her car and walked inside her house.

“Hey kiddo. What’s up?” Dana shoved her hands into her back pockets as she walked back toward the car.
“Hi, Dana!” Miles, a pudgy and very nosey 7 year old, looked up between his wet long blonde bangs. “Can I help you clean your car?”
“Better go ask your mom first. And change out of your suit.”
“’K!” Miles ran off, jumping over a small bush and disappeared into his house. A few minutes later, his mother appeared on the front lawn.
“Dana! Hey Dana!” She yelled, her hand up to her forehead, saluting, blocking the sun from her eyes. “Can you come here?”
Dana took her foot and closed the car door. “Sure, Peggy.” She walked toward Peggy and embraced her, giving a light peck on her cheek.
“We’re having a barbeque for Miles tomorrow night. He starts school again on Monday. Any interest?”
“Yea, I could do that. Need me to bring anything?”
“Nope. Just your fabulous self.” Peggy smiled. “You putting my kid to work, are you?”
“Hey, he offered.”
“If he starts to be a bother, just send him home.”
“He’s never a bother to me. I enjoy him.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Don’t take it the wrong way. People that don’t have kids sometimes find them annoying after too long, ya know?”
Dana nodded slowly, not wanting to have this conversation; she jumped in with a sarcastic tone, “I’ll be sure not to keep him too long. Don’t want to be annoyed or anything,” and laughed a little under her breath, not sure if Peggy could hear her or not.
Peggy laughed a little laugh also as she turned away. “’Bye, see you tomorrow.”
Miles came running out the door, yelled bye to his mom and threw his arms around Dana’s waist. “I’m ready! If I do a good job can I have some moneys for the ice cream truck?”
Dana looked down at Miles, “sure thing, kiddo.”

They worked together for nearly 20 minutes in silence. Miles windexing the inside, Dana the outside. He had found some lose change in between the seats and Dana let him keep it in exchange for his help. Dana tied up the garbage bag, looked at Miles, “Ok, better head home.”
“Thanks Dana!” and he ran off, arms waving, his pockets bulging full of pennies and dimes.

Dana shifted her weight in the chair at the airport. She glanced over at an older woman dozing off behind the USO counter. Her boss, Mr. List had missed his plane and called Dana, asking her if she could possibly wait, saying he’d sure appreciate it, so as a result, Dana found herself waiting for the next flight to arrive. Having several hours to spare, Dana began cleaning out her purse. Receipts from Mr. Joe’s, a local coffee house, the dry cleaners, grocery store, and then the roll of film. She must have tossed it in her purse without thinking. She examined the roll again, wondering what could be on there—a party, an office party maybe, no harm developing that, she could share them with Mr. List—giving them something to talk about during their ride home.

Nearly an hour had passed. Dana sat waiting in the souvenir shop chair, flipping through a recent issue of a gossip magazine. When the young man handed her the packaged envelope of her pictures, Dana jumped in her seat. “You startled me” she said, taking the envelope.
“Your pictures are ready, miss.”
“Thank you. How much do I owe you?”
“You can check out at the front register. Tell ‘em not to charge ya for the doubles. That’s on me.” The young man smiled, braces showing, arms folded.
“That’s very kind.”
“You have some interesting pictures on that roll of film,” he said, chuckling, clearing his throat. “I get off in an hour, do ya want to hang out and grab a beer? I mean, I’m not old enough for one, but I can give you money so you can get one—if, if you like that kind of thing. Maybe you like wine. I can buy you a nice glass of wine. My name’s Cody. What’s yours?”
Dana looked up at Cody, smiled graciously—it had been a long time since she was hit on, even if he was way too young, it still felt good. “My name is Dana and I’m waiting for someone. His flight will be arriving shortly. Thanks for the offer though, I really appreciate it—you made me feel—you made me feel…good.”
“I know you’re not my age—I just thought we could get to know each other for a while.”
“I don’t think so, but thanks.” Dana shook Cody’s hand, winked at him and walked to the front register.

Taking a seat at the bar, Dana ordered a glass of white wine and took the envelope in her hands. She was interested in what Cody, the young man, had said. Interesting pictures, she thought, laughed quietly and tore open the package. Holding the pictures in her hands and leaned forward, taking a sip of wine.

Sitting on the couch, seductively, wearing a light beige teddy and holding her breasts. Her hair was pinned up in a loose bun, lopsided on her head, lipstick too dark for her pale skin. Even her eyes were smiling.

Naked in their bedroom. His perfect heart-shaped ass, front and center. Looking over his shoulder. His profile showed a huge smile, his well-shaped running legs, his dried heels.

Dana and Logan
On their bed, the camera had obviously been staged—propped up by a book on the nightstand. A little out of focus—showing the outlines of their shoulders, arms tangled, lips kissing, his hand in her hair, her hand on his back. If you looked close enough you could see what they were really doing. Funny that they even developed this—as it’s illegal to develop these kinds of things at a public photo lab. No wonder Cody was interested, Dana thought to herself…

Caught by surprise in the shower. Bubbles trickling down the front of her body. A look of surprise is on her face. Her hands up, as if directing traffic.

Dana’s revenge, for sure. Logan sleeping on his back. Mouth open, hands on his stomach. His limp penis flopped to the side. The blanket covering only his lower legs and feet as if torn off him.

Dana and Logan
Results of early morning sex. Dana sitting in the bed covers at her waist, her breasts exposed. Logan, holding the camera out with his free hand, his other arm wrapped around Dana’s shoulders, his head resting on her, a sweet, innocent smile.

The house
The house on Lincoln Avenue. A small present house. White siding, dark red shutters, matching door. A wreath made of holly hanging slightly crooked. Fake Christmas candles in each window, lit even though it was daytime. Snow gathered at the door step, a shadow—probably Logan’s is seen in the snow taking a picture.

In the kitchen, wearing a red and green holiday apron, stirring a bowl of something—maybe cookie dough. A white refrigerator to the left, full of pictures of nieces and nephews, their dog, Coco. A butcher block stands in front of Dana; she is laughing, loudly, her whole mouth open, you can see her cavities in the back molars. Her hair is down around her neck. She is wearing her wedding ring and a charm bracelet with a flag of China dangling. Logan had probably just told a joke, he was very funny, always playing pranks on Dana. His parents were probably on their way over for dinner, maybe her folks were planning to come. Dana couldn’t remember this happy time as she stared at the picture for several minutes. She could barely even remember herself back then—being happy. Really happy. Genuinely happy.

The family.
Everyone. Dana, her parents (they had come after all) and Logan, his parents in matching Christmas sweaters. The fireplace holding a small fire behind them. A Christmas tree over in the corner. All white lights, tinsel, large bulbs of purple, orange, blue, red, green, silver, gold. Coco at their feet. Everyone is smiling.

Sitting by the tree on the floor with a big box on her lap—it’s unopened. Wrapped in green paper, a big red bow on top. Her hair is messy—tousled rather; she is wearing a white robe. Her legs out in front of her, bare feet. She has a big smile.

Sitting by the tree on the floor with a big box on her lap—it’s opened. She is holding up a fluffy brown teddy bear. It’s a big as her. She’s laughing, but her eyes are closed.

The nursery
Light pale yellow walls. A white crib by the window. A rocking chair that had been refurbished and painted white to match. A diaper changer cattycornered with diapers lined up on the shelves, the diaper genie to the left, baby wipes, powder and onesies of every color, folder neatly. The teddy bear sitting on the floor in the corner propped up against a toy box. The toy box is open, displaying baby Einstein toys, fluffy squares and plastic mirrors. Books spread in a semi-circle on the floor. A baby monitor is sitting on a dresser, it’s turned on, and you can see the little red light glowing. Probably for practice—just to be sure it worked. The drawers are slightly opened, the first one just a tad, the next a little more, the next a little bit more, and the last one opened about half way. Filled with baby clothes, and the closet opened all the way, little plastic baby hangers, little dresses, and outfits. A picture from Christmas on the shelf just above the diaper changer.

Next to their car, a Saturn. The door is opened. It is spring time, there are flowers just beginning to bloom on the tree next to the drive. His arm is resting on the car door, other hand in his pocket. He is smiling, but it’s rushed. He was ready to go somewhere. His legs are crisscrossed, like he’s got to pee. He’s wearing a white oxford button up, khakis, brown shoes of some kind. His sun glasses are tucked in his shirt pocket. In his hand he’s holding a piece of paper. Directions. Directions to the airport. Dana could remember taking this picture. They were running late, as they always tended to do, and she wanted to snap a quick picture of them on their way to the airport. She couldn’t find their new camera that morning, which was another reason they were running late. Logan had yelled at her, she yelled back. She ended up finding an older camera in the kitchen junk drawer. They had bought a new camera some weeks prior, just for this occasion, but Dana couldn’t remember where she had put it at that moment, she was too nervous, so she ended up taking the camera with film already in it—several pictures already taken. Logan had whined about that camera the whole way to the airport.
“How do we even know what’s on that?” He whined. “It may not even be good still.”
“Logan, film doesn’t go bad. I’m sure it’s fine.”
“What if there aren’t enough pictures on that roll? How many did you say were taken? Look at the number, how many?”
“We’ve taken 13.”
“What kind of film is it? 24 exposure, 26 exposure, what?”
“Logan, I’m not sure. We’ll have the rest of our lives to take pictures, calm down.”
“I am calm! I’m calm. I’m just so nervous, Dana. Really nervous. Excited, rather, excited. If there aren’t enough pictures left on that roll, we’ll just buy a disposable.”
“See? Good idea. Let’s listen to some music, nice calming music. We need to be calm and ready for this. Everything is fine. The camera is fine, the roll is fine. Everything is a-ok.”
Logan huffed, he grew nervous again, frustrated by Dana’s calmness. A few seconds of silence passed, and then Logan spoke up, “Oh, I can see you don’t care about this, but I do. It’s important to me you know. Do you know what we could’ve bought with this money? Think about it…we paid a lot of money for this.”
“You’re kidding me, right? You’ve got to be kidding me. Money? You’re going to bring up the amount of money we paid? It’s a child for christ’s sake. A child! You can’t put a price on a child! You can’t!” Dana could feel her face twitch with frustration. Her fists balled up, as if she was ready to punch something.
“I’m sorry. Shit! I can’t believe I said that, either. I shouldn’t have. That was shitty of me. God, Dana, I’m sorry. It—it just came out wrong. I want to capture this moment. I want to capture it forever.” Logan put his hand on Dana’s leg, and rubbed softly. “Damn, I’m sorry” he said.

Waiting in the airport. Anxiety is written all over her face. She is looking down at her hands, perhaps in a sort of prayer stance; all around her are people busy—some of them even blurred in the picture.

Sitting at a bar in the airport. Holding a glass of Merlot, as if toasting to the camera and a picture in a silver frame sits next to him on the bar. He is smiling. The baby in the picture is smiling, too. Her name was Sylvia, after Logan’s grandmother. She is wearing a white sweater and has a white matching cap. The bartender is in the background looking over at Logan and the picture frame, he too, has a half kind of smile, he’s wiping down a beer mug, his shirt tucked into a pair of black pants, an apron tied around his waist, a bar towel folded over his shoulder.
“Ma’m, would you like another glass of wine?”
Dana looked up at the bartender, “Oh, no thank you.” She suddenly realized that she knew him. She knew him from the picture. She smiled graciously, as if she had met someone who knew her story, who understood—an old friend of sorts. “Do you remember me?” She asked, hopefully.
The bartender cocked his head to the side, in wonderment. After a few moments of silence, he replied, “No, I’m sorry I don’t. Serve a lot of customers in this bar, ya know. Do you remember me?”
Dana nodded, and handed him the picture. “This was taken a few years back. The man in the picture is my husband, or my ex-husband, Logan. We were waiting for our baby to arrive. You served us for quite some time. Several hours perhaps. You were good to us.” Dana pointed to the picture, “see, look here, you’re there, behind the bar, looking over at us. We were so very excited. Loud even. You’re smiling though, look, you’re smiling—a little half smile. Do you remember?”
The bartender shook his head. “Wish I could help, lady. But I just don’t. Serve a lot of customers, like I said lots of people over the years.” He reached up and scratched the back of his neck. Looking back up, he said, “Hey Cody. Aren’t you too young to be in here?”
“I’ll have a virgin screwdriver.”
“Well, ok, that’ll be orange juice then.” The bartender laughed, shaking his head. Cody looked at Dana and said, “I see you at least took my advice. Got paid today, almost $200, let me buy you that wine there, ‘k?”
Dana laughed and picked up the picture that the bartender had put on the bar. “How’s about I buy you your virgin screwdriver instead?”
Cody gushed, cheeks turning red, “Ok, I’ll leave Howard a good tip then.”
“Who’s Howard?”
“The bartender.”
“Watcha lookin’ at?”
“Oh, those interesting pictures you developed for me.” Dana neatly gathered the pictures into a pile and put them back into the envelope. “You shouldn’t be looking at your customer’s pictures, you know. Nor should you be developing those first few that were on this role here. I can’t believe we took those. I can’t believe you developed them. Shit, I can’t believe you saw them! They were of me and my husband, or, um, my ex-husband, Logan. Totally legit, we were married…once.”
Howard came over to the bar with Cody’s drink, “Here ya go, partner. Got a ride home—need a lift? I’m off in 30 minutes if you do, let me know.”
“Thanks Howard. I’ve got my mom’s car.”
“Oh, yea, I forgot…you’re 16 now. Oh boy, to be 16 again. Do you remember being 16?” Howard glanced over at Dana, quizzically.
“Oh yes, 16. I remember. I drove my mom’s old beat up station wagon to work…used to work at a deli in town.” Dana replied, smiling, reminiscing.
“A deli?” Cody asked.
“Yup, a deli. My uncle’s deli to be exact. I made $3 an hour. I thought those were the days.” Dana slapped her hand softly on the bar, tossed her head up and giggled. A customer came up to the bar and ordered a rum and coke. Howard tended to the customer, got his change, and appeared back over to Dana and Cody.
“What’s your name by the way?” He asked.
“Dana. Her name is Dana.” Cody said, protectively.
Dana smiled and put out her hand for Howard to shake, “Nice to meet, or, nice to see you again, Howard.”
Howard smiled, a toothless grin, “likewise, Ms. Dana.”
“Can I see your pictures?” Cody asked, breaking up the handshake.
“But you already have,” Dana replied, clenching the envelope in her lap.
“Yea, but I didn’t know who anyone was.”
“I’d rather not. These are private, or they should be private anyway. Do you know the time, Howard?” Dana said, trying to shift the conversation.
“It’s near 11.”
“Well, his plane should be here soon I suppose. I better go have a look.”
“Whose plane?” Cody asked.
“Mr. List’s, my boss. His plane ought to be here soon. I need to go look. How much for the glass of wine, Howard?”
“I’ve got it,” Cody said reaching into his back pocket for his wallet.
“Cody, no. Thank you, but I have my own money. Why don’t you leave Howard a nice tip, as you suggested?”
“Ok.” Cody threw a five dollar bill on the counter. Howard laughed and took the bill over to a jar labeled ‘tips.’ “We share our tips around here,” he commented.

Taking a seat, Dana huffed softly and looked down at her bare ring finger. Sometimes she could still feel her wedding ring on her hand. Sometimes she felt as though she was missing something, like she was missing a part of her—a toe, an ear, something small, but substantial. She still had nearly thirty minutes to wait for Mr. List. She opened up her purse and checked her cell phone. No missed calls. She called home to check her messages, one from her mother, one from Peggy about the barbeque. Looking around, she watched a young couple struggle with a stroller. Putting her hand up to her mouth to cover a smile, Dana couldn’t image what her life would have been like if they, or if she, had kept the baby. She picked up a newspaper someone had left on the seat next to her, flipping through it, she saw that the Dodger’s had won another game and there was a big sale at Macy’s promoting back to school. A picture of President Bush with some kids on the White House lawn was on the front page, he was smiling as the kids were running circles around him. He was in focus, but the kids were all a blur. She put the paper down and looked in her purse for the envelope.

The airport
Busy, people rushing about with rolling suitcases and tickets in their hands. A father holding a small child on his hip, a mother holding the hand of a little girl. Three young girls holding hands, wearing pajamas, carrying matching backpacks, their mother and father trailing behind. An elderly man and his wife walking side by side. A flight attendant rolling a suitcase behind her, too much makeup, and the captain holding a clipboard not too far behind her. A man with a seeing eye dog, a chocolate lab wearing an orange doggie jacket, labeled seeing eye dog.

Dana and Logan
Dana sitting in a chair next to a plant, Logan standing behind her. Dana holding the silver picture frame Logan’s hands on her shoulders. They both have blank stares on their faces, as if not ready to take the picture. Or perhaps surprised by a flash. Behind them, a large window with a plane pulling in—maybe Sylvia’s plane. Its propellers are still twirling, they are blurry and the wheels of the plane are cockeyed.

People getting off the plane, passing through security.
Asians, both young and old. A few white people lingering behind. The flight attendants’ faces in the background. Security personnel with wands checking the pant legs of a young Asian woman holding a baby. The baby is sleeping soundly in her arms. She’s smiling, her teeth showing, looking directly at the camera.

Logan, Sylvia, and the social worker, Fang Yin.
Logan is standing next to Fang Yin, he is holding Sylvia in his arms, she’s sleeping soundly still, and wrapped in a soft yellow blanket, the one they had sent to her. Fang Yin is looking down at Sylvia, and Logan is looking at the camera, nervously.

Dana and Sylvia, Fang Yin in the background
Dana is holding Sylvia, who has woken up by now; her eyes open wide, looking up at the ceiling. Fang Yin is in the background yawning loudly, hands on her hips, leaning slightly backward as if to stretch her back. Dana is looking down at Sylvia, a small loving smile, a single tear rolling down her cheek.

Dana, Logan and Sylvia
Out of focus, probably taken by Fang Yin who wasn’t too familiar with the camera. It’s a little dark; she probably forgot to use the flash. Dana is looking up at the camera, her teeth shining brightly like a flash of white, Logan is looking down at the baby, he’s not smiling, and he looks concerned. Sylvia is looking up at the ceiling at the large fans twirling overhead.

#22 Sylvia
Sylvia’s face. Perfectly rounded, healthy. Her tiny lips tucked up slightly, as if smiling, her hair sticking out under her cap, hands tucked under her chin.

#23 Sylvia
Sylvia’s face again. Her hands covering her mouth, as if holding in a secret. Looking up at the ceiling, eyebrows arched upward, little wrinkles across her forehead. Tiny hands, tiny fingernails, perfect baby nose, rounded cheeks, and her earlobes peeking out of her cap. Little wrinkles all around her wrists.

Logan, Sylvia and Fang Yin
Logan is holding Sylvia, his expression concerned. Fang Yin is holding a squeaky toy in her hand, just above Sylvia, who is still looking up at the ceiling at the fans. Logan is staring at Fang Yin, who is smiling, her mouth in a perfect “o,” cooing at Sylvia.

Dana, Sylvia, and Fang Yin
Dana holding Sylvia, Fang Yin standing next to her, shaking the toy in Sylvia’s face. The toy is blurred in the picture; Sylvia is staring up at the ceiling fans. Dana is looking over her shoulder at the camera, a concerned look on her face—worried.
“Can she not hear us?” Logan asked.
“Of course she can, honey. She’s just distracted by all the excitement—that’s all.” Dana looked down at Sylvia. “Hi, little one. Hi Sylvia.” Sylvia continued to stare at the ceiling.
“She can’t hear us—that’s for sure.” Logan approached the baby with the squeaky toy. “Sylvia!” Squeak, squeak, “Sylvia! Can you hear mommy and daddy? Huh? Can you hear us?” Squeak, squeak. Sylvia stared at the ceiling. She cooed softly, blinking her eyes. “Fang Yin, what is wrong with this baby?”
“Nothing, sir. Nothing at all. She’s a good baby. Good baby, Sylvia. Just like you wanted.” Fang Yin replied, worried, concerned. She put her head down, almost looking guilty. “You will like her. Learn to love her. Good baby.” She said softly in broken English.
“Let’s go to somewhere quieter, I’m sure that will help, Logan” Dana walked over to an empty set of chairs next to the airport chapel. Holding Sylvia in her arms, she whispered softly, “you can hear me, right Sylvia? You can hear mommy’s voice.” Sylvia looked up at the ceiling. Her tiny lips began to quiver and tears welled up in her eyes. Dana rocked Sylvia gently in the seat, holding her up to her chest. Sylvia began to calm down. Dana brought Sylvia back to cradling position. Sylvia looked at Dana, and began to drift off to sleep. Logan approached, hands on his hips.
“Dana, she’s deaf.”
“No she’s not. She just looked right at me.” Dana looked up at Logan, childlike, as though he was going to take away her new toy. “She looked right at my face. She even cried a bit. Deaf babies don’t cry, Logan.”
“Yes they can. Some of them can make sounds.”
“So, we’ll help her. Learn sign language. How do you know she’s deaf? Huh?”
“For christ’s sake, Dana, look at her. Your voice is raised, she’s not even moving. She’s sound asleep.”
“So what? So what she’s sound asleep?! Maybe she’s just too damn tired to care.”
Fang Yin approached Logan and Dana. She had tears streaming down her chubby cheeks. “I’m sorry. Dana. Logan. Sorry I mistake. This baby needs a loving home.”
“You didn’t tell us she was deaf.” Logan replied, angry. “We can’t adopt a deaf baby. We just can’t.”
“What are we going to do, Logan? Huh? What? Send her back?”
Logan cupped his hand over his chin, “well, yes. We’ll send her back. We can’t take her.”
Fang Yin grabbed the camera out of Dana’s purse. “Come on, happy family. Smile, smile!” She waved her arms around and snapped a picture.

Logan, Dana, Sylvia
Logan’s head is cut off, he’s turned around. Dana’s mouth is open, arguing with Logan. Sylvia asleep in Dana’s arms, her tiny hands tucked up under her chin. The chapel doors are opened and a tall, skinny black man is coming out, holding an old bible. His eyes are weary, interrupted.

The man walked over to the drinking fountain, took a long sip and splashed water on his face.
“Logan, you just interrupted that man’s prayers with your loud voice.” Dana sighed.
“Too bad we didn’t interrupt our baby from her sleep. Our baby that we paid a fortune for, all the way from fucking China. Damn Christian adoption agency. Fuck!” Logan kicked a trash can over on its side, dumping out used tissues and crinkled papers. “Shit!” he mumbled, bending down to examine the contents of the trashcan. “Fang Yin, give us a minute, will you?”
“A minute, sir?”
“Yea, in fact, take the baby with you. Go for a walk.” Logan reached in his wallet and handed Fang Yin a few bucks, “here, go get a drink or something. Dana and I need to talk about this—figure out what we’re gonna do here.”
Fang Yin took the bills in her hands; Dana stood up and handed the baby to her. Fang Yin bowed, tucking her chin into her chest, and murmured, “thank you, sir.”
Logan rubbed his eyes and took a seat in an empty chair next to Dana. Dana looked at him and gently kissed his cheek. “Honey,” she said softly, “we really need to think about this. You know I can’t have a baby. We want to have a baby. If we turn this one away, we’ll look bad. Selfish. No adoption agency will even consider us again.”
“I don’t care.” Logan put his head in his hands, “damn, Dana, I really don’t care.”
“But I do. And this is my life too, you know. I want a baby. We’ve worked so hard for all of this. We can work with her. She’s beautiful, don’t you think?”
“Yea, she is.”
“She even looks like you a bit,” Dana smiled sheepishly.
Logan chuckled, “Naw, I see you in her more.”
“Come on, give her a chance. Let’s at least get her tested or something. It might end up being nothing…nothing at all.”
“Dana, Fang Yin admitted to me that the baby was deaf. She knew it all along. The adoption agency knew it all along. The placed us with a deaf baby. I don’t know why, but they did. That’s the facts.”
“And so what? Ya know? So what? We could’ve had a deaf baby, had I been able to reproduce myself. We couldn’t have sent that deaf baby back, now could we?”
“No, we sure couldn’t have. But you can’t reproduce. You can’t, we know that. So, we’ve decided to adopt. We went through a Christian adoption agency, Dana. A Christian adoption agency. They should’ve listened to what we wanted. That’s one of the privileges of adopting. You can order what you want. That baby should be perfect. We paid for a perfect baby.”
“Well, it’s true. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. Do you realize what we’ve gone through? Shit, Dana, you’ve been there. All the interviews, the home inspections, more interviews? Moving into that house? Decorating a nursery? That alone was a fortune. Damn it! We picked this agency for convenience—they brought the baby to us! No traveling to China. No worries of coming home empty handed. No long flights. She came to us. What a deal! You see what we got?”
“And what, you’re gonna throw that all away?”
Logan stood up, stretched his legs and his arms, turned around to face Dana, and got down on one knee, “yup, Dana. We are. At least I am. I can’t have a deaf baby, sorry. Maybe I’m a piece of shit, maybe I’ll go to hell or whatever. But I can’t accept this baby. I’ll never love her. I’ll hate her in fact, hate that she can’t hear me. Hate that she can’t listen to music, or listen to me reading her a story…”
“But this isn’t just about you, Logan. It’s about us. It was my money too, you know. My money. Our money. You’ll learn to love her, because she’ll be ours.”
“I’m sorry Dana, I don’t want her.” Logan stood up, looked around and motioned for Fang Yin, who was standing next to a pop machine, holding Sylvia, watching us. Fang Yin walked over, half smiling, half frowning.
“You ready to take baby home with you?” She asked, hopefully.
“Fang Yin—” Dana began.
“Fang Yin, we’ve decided not to adopt this baby. I’m sorry to have put you out. Dana will assist you with whatever plans that are needed to get you two home” Logan stuffed his hands in his pockets and walked away, out of sight.
Dana stood up and leaned in to kiss the baby. She looked into Fang Yin’s eyes, “Please forgive us. I…I couldn’t take care of a baby on my own. You understand, yes?”
Fang Yin stared into Dana’s eyes, as if she suddenly couldn’t comprehend English. “Come on, let’s call the adoption agency and see if we can’t get you home.” Dana tugged softly at Fang Yin’s elbow and they walked toward the payphones. Setting her purse down on the counter, Dana suddenly heard a snap, a click and a flash of light coming from her purse.

The contents of her purse outlining blackness. Lose change perhaps, a tube of lipstick. Keys to the house and car, a checkbook. And way down deep in her purse, a tiny silver spoon, bought from the airport souvenir shop, embroidered with the letters U.S.A.

21 November 2006

Happy {almost} Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is just two days away. I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. This semester has been incredibly busy for me and I've had a million things go wrong. Besides the whole laptop business (see last post), my car died. Well, the engine is going to die. So I got another one and that one died. Now I'm in another one and so far so good. (Knock on wood...) Nevertheless, it is a time of thanksgiving and I just wanted to write a few things I am very thankful for in my life.

I'm thankful for my family--my grandmother who has supported me through college, my big sister, Tiffany, who has supported by listening and giving me advice and helping me this semester with a new laptop. My little sister, who even though we don't talk as often as I'd like, I know she's just a phone call away. My mom, even though we have our ups and downs, will at least listen to my long, very detailed stories. My step dad, Jeff, for taking me on vacation this year even though I am 26 years old and for taking me to see Miss Saigon. My brother-in-law, who helped me as well with the whole laptop business, listens to me and has been giving me advice on grad schools. My little niece and nephew, who I believe are the two most precious children on the face of this earth. All my friends, Latasha who helped me go car shopping, picked me to be her maid of honor, even though I was totally broke and helped me pay for my dress so that I could be in her wedding. Elizabeth, who even though we only talk once in a while, listens to me and gives me advice and makes me laugh. My friend Tarah, who helps me remember the good old days. Latasha's hubby, Jonathan, who helped me go car shopping, and who is a fabulous partner for my bestest gal. All my school friends, too many to name, but have been around for me when I need them. My "ma" who has always been there for me in times of need. Trish, who helped me car shop the second time, helped me pay for the car and who has been a huge support. Dr Lee Sanders, who has tutored me through math and now formal logic and expects nothing in return--she is a true inspiration. Dr Kelli Johnson, who will always be my most favorite professor in the entire world, who has treated me to lunches and dinners, listened to me, believed in me, and is one of my biggest inspirations. Dr Whitney Womack-Smith, who has given me babysitting and cat sitting jobs along the way to help me financially, along with Dr Susan Haun who has done the same. All of my professors both past and present, (Dr Kathy Burton, RIP), who have educated me, guided me and given me the most precious thing in the world--a wonderful education. My boss, LaDonna, who has been beyond supportive and understanding and has taught me so much. Dr Michael Carrafiello and Dr Robert Meckley, who are my bosses as well and have given me the opportunity to learn and grow while working with them, my two kitties that provide me with laughter and lots of entertainment, My health, my mental well-being, (at times), my counselors, Laura and Mary who have listened to me cry and put up with my craziness. My poetry and writing. Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Flannery O'Conner, Sandra Cisneros, Dorothy Allison, Alix Olsen, all writers whom I greatly admire and give me inspiration. My eyesight. My hands so I can write. My mind. My heart and soul. My ability to be a free thinker in this world that is so crazy sometimes I'm scared to admit. My feminism. My yoga mat. Good food and excellent drinking water. Hot baths. Bubbles and minerals. Laundry mats so I can wash my clothes. The ability to vote. The ability to have an education. The ability to grow and love and think and dream.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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