The Runner

Fists unclenching, he swallowed back his pride and disgust.

“Right away,” he said, meaning “Fuck you.”

Someday, he’d quit. Today, he’d make coffee. They’ll see.

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Leonardo Beethoven.

“Come on, dude. It’s not Beethoven, and you’re not like, writing the Sistene Chapel, you know? Just get out there and do what you do,” he said, as if he were a cheerleader, punctuating his gooutandgetemituitiveness with a solid, straight right to the my shoulder and a double nod.

“What are you talking about?” I said, unblinking.

“You know. You gotta like remember that you’re this big awesome guy at what you’re doing, you know? Just like that other guy. Albert DaVinci. You know him: Invented the toothbrush and the radio. He didn’t just give up. He went out, got into his truck, and just did it. Okay? That’s what you’ve gotta do, man. Just do it. Isn’t that some cereal motto? Rice Krispies, I think. Yeah.”

I stood incredulously as he hit my shoulder again and gave me a push away. I walked as though I were Atlas, and for a few hours, I was burdened with someone else’s stupidity. I would be lying if I didn’t say that for a split second I thought he might be right and I might be wrong. That all I had learned about Beethoven was wrong and that DaVinci’s name may be Albert.

But, only for a split second. I’m not that stupid. That’s Keith O’Keefe for you. He can be so convincing and confident in his own stupidity that he could make you doubt your own intelligence. Despite Keef Keef’s (his childhood nickname) shortcomings, and they are indeed many, he does have one thing in his favor: No matter who I meet, no matter what stories I hear, I know that I know the World’s Biggest Idiot.

Writing Exercise Pt. I

Courtesy of a random word generator, I’m going to do what’s called a Mad Libs exercise. Simply, I get a random noun, verb and adjective, and make them into a story. I’ll likely keep it at less than 500 words, but, I certainly won’t limit myself. I guess I could make this Monday Mad Libs, but, fuck that noise. I’m not an opera singer, so, meme don’t interest me.

Today’s words are: Far (n.), Detected (adj.), Collect (v.) Continue reading Writing Exercise Pt. I

Open Letter to A Broken Dreamer

And so, another dream dies and you plummet to earth, down from the euphoria and glee that thoughts and aspirations took you to. You reached the stratosphere with the wings of insects, holding promise that one day they would spread into those of a mighty albatross. Your heart soared with joy as you passed through the clouds, looking down on all who you may tower over someday.

The clouds come and go, but with your nose firmly planted at the grindstone, you’ll never know it. In time, you’ll forget that there’s more to life outside the never changing view of consistency, that the anchor of familiarity keeps you grounded and that freedom is a sucker’s bet. Up there, where only dreams and hopes keep you afloat, it’s a long, long way down.

No, dreams are not safe things in the slightest. They are frivolous and pointless endeavors, undertaken by the weak willed. Stay here. It’s safe here. Here, when a dream crashes down, you only need step left or right to avoid the catastrophe.

Heed our words: We’ve learned the hard way. We are the dreamers who’ve moved on; bitter, empty shells of what we were, what we could have been. It may be said that we simply gave up on ourselves, and took the safe way, and no words could be truer. That is exactly what we did, and what we will say until our deaths. We scream to the highest highs, so that the most distant dreamer can hear our cries: “Give up, O’ Dreamer, Oh future casualty of the crushing weight of self-awareness and responsibility! Give no passing thought to what could be, what may be! Stay grounded to what is; what needs to be!”

You will be better off for it, we promise you.
-The Dreamers of Long Ago.

The Obvious Solution.

“I wish I could lose weight like you are,” she sighed. “What’s your secret?”

I looked at the ham sandwich in her hand, the fifth she’d eaten on her lunch hour, each impossibly filled with ham, tomatoes and cheese. Hiding somewhere in the mess had to be mayo and pickles; I could smell each hanging in the air. I shrugged.

“I dunno.”

She squinted her already squinty eyes sunken into her apple sized cheeks and frowned. “Fine. Keep your secrets. I’ll get there one day.” As she bit down, a tomato fell out of her sandwich. She barely noticed.

Untitled 20 Dec 2010

“It’s all your fault,” she said, voice quivering, tears streaming from her tiny eyes. There at her feet lay a vanilla ice cream cone, melting in the July sun.

He postured, instinctively defiant. Had she been older than four, he’d have chastized her about being more careful, about carrying things with two hands when they’re heavy. He’d have told her that it wasn’t his fault, it was never his fault; it was her fault, always her fault. And then he’d laugh as she cried harder.

But, he just couldn’t bring himself to make her cry. Her eyes — big, brown and shiny pools with a starburst of hazel from the pupil — always had this effect on him. He melted to her whim, and before he knew it, his hand extended; the hand holding his ice cream cone, bigger than her original one. His double scoop vanilla, double dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. His special, his favorite. She wiped her eyes and smiled through her tears, her face lit up with anticipation as she took hold of the cone.

“I’ll be extra careful next time.”

Fleeting.

He wasn’t looking for her and yet, In the moment their eyes met, they’d had their first date, their second date. They met and loved family, were married, had children and grown old together, he dying before her, she unable to live without him deteriorated quickly and passed soon after. He knew he had to say hello, he knew he’d never have another chance, and through the crowded room, he moved toward her.

He never found her, though he found other fleeting glances all the same. None matched that moment again.