You do not want to go quietly into that good night. Sometimes when your back aches and your eyes lose focus or the ringing in your ears become conspicuous you think you are going whether you like it or not. So you open a Monster and guzzle, the caffeine, taurine and guarana working their unsavory magic on your nervous system. You take your vitamins and supplements, including creatine and glutamine, two substances that are banned in professional sports. You pack your gym bag and get in your black Jaguar XF Sport and race to the Bay Club. Fuck the chronic strain in your right shoulder. To hell with the tweaking in your lower back. You press. You pull. You push. You do an hour and twenty before heading to the sauna. You take a multi-bladed razor and shave your head bald. In the shower you marvel at the muscles in your body, how they bulge and pulse, engorged with blood, their veins visible under the skin. When you dry off you feel electric, radiant, and full of life. You feel good. You feel young. It won’t last but nothing good ever does. So, you keep coming back. You’ve never been this old before but right now you are as young as you will ever be again.


“The Lake”

April 28, 2020


From Lake Shore Drive, there was only one entrance to Montrose Harbor, a meandering one-lane road skirting the soccer fields and mostly empty grass leading to the parking lot, where you and the other “burn-outs” liked to party. From here was an excellent vantage point for spotting police should they make their sweep earlier than usual. This was the only way in. Everyone called it “the lake” even though few ever jumped into the lake from off the huge boulders rimming the shore. Unless the temperature was unusually hot or folks were tripping or both; the lake was mostly for smoking joints and drinking beer, cranking tunes and hanging out. Juice sometimes had Purple Microdot or Black Beauties. Then Pink Floyd rose from the car stereo like church music. Rex and his crew went the other way, preferring Quaaludes and Tuinal with their beer. They were more about the pussy. For them it was Van Halen and the backseat of Rex’s Trans Am or Red’s custom van. If the guy was lucky and the girl was the right combination of dazed and confused, she might grab his cock and pull on it until he came. This happened less than anyone imagined, as there were only so many girls, and too many guys. Lanky and muscled, leaning up against his gold Trans Am, Rex got his share. The wife beater, ripped jeans and dangling Marlboro cigarette created a character young females adored and he was able to bounce from one to another. He paid the price, too. Rex spent a lot of time dealing with drunk and crying girls. “You lied to me!” they’d scream after a stint in his car, punching his chest, making a scene. They were foolish as they were stoned.

To be Continued…


You are rounding a bend on a slope. The trail has become thin from lack of use, the rains having nearly washed it away. A vague impression persisted but it was enough. Beneath your feet, the decomposing leaves smelt of wetness and earth, pine needles and moss. Death was here but not death. No sadness to it. No fear… You detect a rustling. You pause, still as a deer. Something was out there. Escaping you? Stalking you? You had no way of knowing. But you are not frightened. You ached to see it. Wishing whatever it was would come out to face you.

Many years ago, you were driving in the woods at night. It was late and it was completely dark. You’d rented a cabin with ______. Coming home from a roadhouse, drunk, attempting to find it. Turning a bend your headlights met two eyes. A deer? You stopped the car. A giant white owl stood like a ghost, staring right at you. Only for a moment. Then it was gone, disappearing into the darkest night. Such creatures were rare, even as far north as you were. Sometimes you think it was a vision. In time ______ would forget all about it. But you never did. You’ve been looking for that sacred animal ever since.

To be continued…

The Locker (4)

April 8, 2020


On the right side were the holidays. Green and red tubs filled with Christmas ornaments. The orange crates held Halloween. Easter didn’t have a container, so you’d put the toy rabbits in a clear plastic bag along with three pink vinyl baskets, one for each daughter. You flash on the many mornings your girls ripped open packages under the tree or mad scrambled to collect candy-filled eggs. Sarah would put a ten-dollar bill into three golden eggs, hoping each child would find only one. The odds of that happening were not good and so you had to whisper clues to each daughter. The night before, after the children had gone to sleep, you and Sarah filled the eggs with candy then hid them. Your wife stayed up super late arranging baskets on the couch, creating a perfect still life overflowing with chocolate bunnies, American Girl accessories, iPods and so much more. You always thought she went too far, spent too much. Now a dead spider was stuck in its own web on the porcelain statue of the Easter Bunny.

To your left were neatly stacked opaque, plastic containers filled with Sarah’s green glass collection, still bubble-wrapped from the previous move, as well as other platters and vases and pottery that will never be opened by you or Sarah again. The hoarding and collecting phase of your marriage was a good one, when you were building a nest together. History now. In twenty or thirty years your daughters might open these tubs looking for treasure…for answers. More likely they won’t give a shit. Somewhere in the stacks is the wedding china; a frilly ornamental pattern neither of you would ever chose now. Picking it out had meant the world to Sarah; so much so she’d made you take off work and go to the department store to see it. She had been so excited it made you excited. Sadly, that phase of your marriage was over.

To be continued…


The Locker (3)

April 6, 2020


Another man struggles to unload an ugly dresser from the back of a brown van. Inside the vehicle, pushing the dresser, his wife. She swears at him. He yells back at her. Like a birth, you think. It’s a junk piece, better left to Goodwill, or the empty lot up the street. How many of these lockers were filled with shit like that? Surely, not yours! Thump. The dresser hit the asphalt. The van sighs, free from its burden.

The good news is you were able to secure a unit right by the door, so it’s almost like having a “drive-up,” which would have cost you much more. The small victory made you feel better about things, a silver lining. You unlock the roller door and lift. It heaves and rattles upward, releasing the dank smell of old wood into your nostrils. Upon checking in last week, the manager sold you a bucket of dehumidifying crystals for eight bucks. In the parking lot, a woman shook her head and clucked: “they sell the same ones at the dollar store. That one there is a rip off!” Good to know, you said.

To be continued…