Manifest Young Scion Chapter 7

Actually, right after a vicious brawl is sometimes when people develop their closest friendships. They have met their adversaries at their best and they are both tired from exhaustion. As long as both of them are conscious of what has transpired, they develop at least some respect for the other. I don’t entirely know where I’m going with this, but I think there is a link between respect and anger that is very important.
But I don’t think anger leads to that many reunions in the long run. You have to take grudges into consideration. Because, for every happy reunion that happens when two people get into an argument, there are always more people who fight and hold grudges their entire lives for whatever reason. If someone dies, even if it was one of your worst enemies, you’re likely going to feel sad/bad. Humans aren’t supposed to get used to people dying. They aren’t accustomed to it. The sadness comes both ways. If there was a bit of respect for the person, then they will be missed. However, even if the other held nothing but bitter contempt and hated, then they will feel bad because they probably feel that they were involved in some way for their death, even, and especially, if they weren’t .- Kurt

Donald needed his remaining days on his extended “mono” induced absence to download and compute Kurt’s last message. The days were short and that signaled to Donald his birthday waxed before the next moon. Eighteen, the final high school milestone approached for Donald. It was the year he entered his inheritance, unsure of the validity of the concept. The money itself had been made back when a man could be an industry. For the moment, Donald accepted it as though he picked up a winning lottery ticket. Donald played Shakespeare’s Prince Hal in his own place within the American Royalty. His blood called to the times before one could pay their way through tests. No, Donald had no need to romanticize the failed meritocracy. He recognized his privileged position within the American oligarchy. He would be meeting his parents for dinner on Sunday and most likely would be joined by his grandparents for dessert after. It would be the official family recognition of the day and he worried they would go into dry legalities regarding the access to the trust or the payments, he wasn’t quite sure what happened in his case.

He needed to speak with the Blond Commander. There were words to be shared. It had been a week since they argued through the cobblestoned roads.

Donald took the T to Boylston and Tremont before he realized he overshot the Christian Castle. He went down the outbound entrance farther away from the Little Building


Cellphones can be ignored, but ID cards work at all Campus buildings. Donald covered the peephole before knocking. The Commander opened the door.

“I got a brownstone if you want a space to do some drugs,” said Donald.

“I thought you left with the Cook,” said the Blond Commander.

“Came back,” said Donald, “still have finals to go to.”

“Smart, the Cook just got a lotto ticket a little less stable than yours,” the Blond Commander grabbed a backpack and they headed for the street. “Where’s the townhouse?”

Donald recalled the old brownstone on Beacon St. that his family built and kept while they waited for the bus. Donald’s grandparents used it for hosting duties and as a private hotel after societal gatherings ran long. People visited Donald’s Grandfather, the aging head of the Guntherson tradition out in the country these evenings rather than the city and the brownstone became a charitable salary for the staff.

“I’m tired of the dorms,” said Donald.

“One usually must participate in something to tire of it. Did you at least empty the minifridge before you went roadie?” said the Blond Commander.

“Fuck,” Donald slunk and dialed a cleaning service and offered double the going rate. He charged it to his trust as an educational expense.

“That’s bold.”

“No, Tank Man was bold. That was shameless at best, and not even on an Ani DiFranco level, and nowhere close to her live at the River Music Hall rendition,” said Donald.

“Fine, you’re a real rich shit, you know.”

“Didn’t you say I should think bigger?”

“Speaking of art, what are you doing with your major?” said the Commander.

“I wanted to get your take on it as well. I had an idea for a short story that led to this book idea. ‘Through the Dark Forest’ was the short story, and it was about a man entering a fey forest in New England and dealing with his heartbreak. The book idea is called “Dream Girl Rei” and it’s two stories of two boys’ adventures into the fey forest. One, Ezra cannot return to reality and quests for non-existence and the other, Andrew discovers the entirety of what we consider love.”

“You need some Adderall in those veins,” said the Commander.

Donald lit a Spirit and passed the pack once they got off the bus.

“I may stick to short stories for a while, and collect them into a zine of some sort. I worry about the 35 line,” said Donald.

“Just Philip Roth it. Peak before during and after. Maybe a low hits, but each valley leads to a new summit. Besides the notion that most great works occur under forty only applies to real majors. Artists peak when the public tells them to, never sooner and without the ruse of reinvention. We all have expiration dates, but you’ll never find it until you’re six feet down and some twerp dissertates meaning from your wanders,” said the Blond Commander.

“What if I never wrote a novel?” said Donald after his cigarette unlocked the front door to the brownstone.

“Carver never did,” said the Blond Commander.

“Don’t put that on me. I might stick to reading for another decade.”

“That’ll make your portfolio review quite hard.”

The Commander followed Donald into the kitchen and began to unpack.

“Would people read collected vignettes?” said Donald.

“They always have and never will.”

The Commander handed over two beers, opened with his lighter.

“I saw a kid do that with his teeth once,” said Donald

“Good way to look like George Washington,” said the Commander.

He and the Commander spent a good portion of the night posted up on one of the dark green leather couches from when Clinton ruled the Earth. The pipe flowed when words became damned.

“I want to be a friend and I need your statements. God knows, I’m not sure where I stand when I use the term: God. It may simply be habit at this point,” said Donald cupping his clear vodka filled mug. Donald shifted to the stance of a perched bird.

The Blond Commander sighed and took a drink. He shifted and swayed.

“You can say that, we are friends and it’s okay, I’ve known how much time you spent at the Newman center and not just for the all-day breakfast,” said the Blond Commander.

“That’s true enough, but it comes down to this when I’m at Mass, I taste the flesh. When I sit down at the Longfellow, I question why such a God would exist. I’m either a Pope or a Dawkins; no Agnostic ideas for me. I can’t accept the notion there must be a ‘possibly’ because you can’t say or prove otherwise. By that token, any idea could be valid, including the Flying Spaghetti Monster as Lord Creator. Plus, why would he create a species in his own image and only care about 1%, or whatever small figure it was that made up the O.G. of the Judeo-Christian faith. Or if there was contact, it ended so badly that every other civilization erased it from their records. The Christian God and his church is the last bastion of white male privilege and, to a large extent, organized hate in the Western world. On the Longfellow, I feel the Sun and ask for nothing more. The idea to be always cowering in fear from a Lord is no way to go about. That’s a true American principle. But then I walk by an American Cathedral and am awed by those who came before. If I ever go to Europe, I damn well might be a Saint by the time I return, for when I think of the generations that went into those bricks. Their life’s work must stand for something if justice is to exist,” Donald stopped for his vision had blurred.

“I don’t worry about the why. As for my take, I think that humans created these ideas and codexed their orthodoxy long ago, but that doesn’t make their belief any more valid. I’m a fine artist, but I’m also a craftsmen. I build set and other sculptures, but maybe I’ll go into the architecture program. I’ve walked through Paris and the French countryside. But in the end, it is all the same. The legacy is the building itself. We, humankind, are something to marveled and wondered. The lengths we as a species go to achieve enlightenment shows how moral we can be. I’m no Dawkins Atheist. I don’t feel the need to shun those who carry religious beliefs. That also should not be inferred as a sign I wish to be a tolerated second class citizen within a religious society. I do not believe the Founding Fathers intended to create a theocracy across the sea,” said The Blond Commander beginning another cigarette. A Marlboro Smooth, which reminded Donald of thin mints. Not that the taste was the reason the Blond Commander smoked. He smoked to support one of America’s oldest industries.

Donald kicked the dusting of snow from the long strands of dormant grass.

“Did you go to church as a kid?” said Donald.

“3 times a year enough to satisfy my parent’s traditions, but I don’t think any of them think of church often. They aren’t anything but vanilla Protestants,” said the Commander.

“No table prayers?”

“Not even on Easter,” said the Commander.

Donald packed a bowl. The Earth was slowing down.

The Commander sucked down the bottle and hugged Donald.

Donald watched the people walking by. They worked the graveyard in the half run plastic factories, warehouses, and data entry. Others became washed into the one industry the web could not touch: Service. They pushed along consumer goods, they stocked your shipments, and they did it because they lived in the new Global desert. Life belonged to a selected few; Donald took another swig and went inside.

Donald and the Commander swayed into the empty kitchen. Only empty bottles and scattered wounded soldiers remained on the counters.

“We don’t live in the same space as them. They work for rest and we work from restlessness. They bet against the house every fucking time, crash in the penthouse, and then talk about it at the water cooler Monday morning at the ten o’clock break. We seek desire, but they know nothing but. They can’t love me or know me or recognize me as other than an object. I am a symbol of Americans past and why time has meaning beyond one’s lifespan. Future Yous that wander for meaning as survival is unquestionable,” said Donald.

“Go read Shakespeare.”


“Because you’re drunk and forgetting yourself. Look, I heard about Jess in Allston and going with,” the Commander trailed off and looked at the seat where the Cook probably would be sitting.

“No, I’m not just drunk. We want to, not need to, work. We don’t live on the only edge nature ever gave a shit about: Survival. In Dune, the Emperor raises CHOAM’s flag,” said Donald.

“Are you going to join them then?

“Not yet,” said Donald, “I don’t envy the need to survive, but that doesn’t demean my idea of a gap. I didn’t say I wanted it either. Even the wealth of Silicon Valley doesn’t earn a right to such a gap. The rich, we used to build institutions and gave security to our industrial families.”

“Different times” said the Commander.

“Only because our elders deemed it as such. Besides, it all goes in cycles since we dropped the bomb,” said Donald.

The Commander sat on the kitchen counter, shook his head and opened another bottle. It contained a brown liquid, which, when it hit the tongue, revealed itself to be Ambrosia. The taste of drunk Thursday nights when Donald made his own long weekends senior year. Kurt would drive until Donald freshened up. Sometimes they would sit in the car until they reached equal sobriety discussing the books their classmates avoided when the teacher passed them out.

“This should be our nightcap, let us go to bed. Tomorrow I can dress you as fits your station, but I cannot carry you.”

Donald downed the glass and silently went up to the master suite.


“I’m going for a cig, first. I wanted to see if you wanted to join?” said Donald.

Donald flinched in the sun. He gasped the nicotine in and snapped the butt away.

“Have you ever seen me write?” said Donald.

“What?” said the Commander.

“I go to school to write, but have you seen me do it?”

“It’s been like two days since we last chilled, dude.”

Another cig?” said the Commander scanning the aether.

“Sure,” Donald took the lucky and tossed the Commander the pack.

The chill awoke Donald’s nerves. Winter made one better. An agreeable temperature will make one dull. Heat will smooth the brain. Donald knew nothing, but he listened. He heard the click of flint and he struck a match against his zipper.

“I read once that the contemplative life required a life of leisure,” said Donald.

“I’m not your whore,” said the Commander from behind, “don’t throw verbal or physical shit at me.”

Donald rubbed his temple and puffed for a moment.

The Commander cracked open a Loko and the seesaw began.

“Oh anyway you’ve had to have written. You got into a top art slash communications university. They had to have seen some sample. I’m all fine motor skills, but they wanted to see some letters on a page and not for the handwriting.”

“I guess, but does 500 words make one a writer?” said Donald.

“You’ve already succeeded in your first career so they’ll give you a second and throw a few symbolic paydays your way even if you end up like Chelsea Clinton,” said the Commander.

“To what career are you referring to?” said Donald, plucking a cigarette from the Camel lights in the Commander’s pocket. Donald’s Smooths had run out hours before.

“Being a Guntherson– well, it’s like what John Adams said. He studied war and politics so his son could be a scientist, and the grand kids would be artists to make the house not a shambling mess. Which reminds me, your parents are going to cure cancer right?”

“I don’t know if the single cure theory ever was a valid theory in the community,” said Donald.
The Commander put down the can.

“I think you have a problem with women,” said the Commander.

“That was a jumpcut if I’d ever lived through one. I may have not done the Ex thing well, but forgive me and grant me the option of redemption. It was my first ride,” said Donald picking the bottle from the snow.

“No like you might as well sneer whenever people walk by holding hands. You abhor being intimate and view it as weakness. You half meet every girl you end up seeing. You don’t respect them enough to even know them. Why not just Google porn like a normal loser?” the Commander took back the bottle.

“Why change the subject?” said Donald.

“If we recall, you introduced yourself to Lindsey and didn’t not not choose to fuck her, which meant half seducing a girl with an illegal vagina,” said the Commander. “When did you last speak to Dagny?”

Donald paced around the empties.

“We’re getting coffee soon and I bet that will lead to a discussion,” said Donald.

“Oh yea, good luck with that,” said the Commander,” Anyway we need to get your brownstone set up to look lived in for if you bring home company on Saturday and get you something fit for your family Birthday dinner at the Oyster House. That’s tomorrow and it will be at least three before we hit Newbury. Sunday will be haggling for décor.”

“I’d prefer not to.”

“Come on Bartleby, you must just sign on the line when the time comes. I’m the one parting with all the great finds,” the Commander went inside.


They went to Newbury Street to shop.

“After last weekend or this weekend, or week, the current guest list has shrunk with both Jess and the Cook having gone to NYC,” said the Commander.

Donald stared at Johnny Cupcakes, which was not a punk rock bakery, as one might assume from the name, but an overpriced boutique for the lack of occasions suited to wear Jonny Cupcake branded gear.

“We do want to show our ability to gain new perspectives,” said the Commander.

“We must behave at least for an evening and a day.” said Donald, “Also, that store should be a bakery.”

“Shouldn’t they all.”

“You know I heard some people enjoy Olive Garden,” said Donald scratching his leg.

“People will say anything to be ironic,” said the Commander.

“It was sincere on an unironic personal Tumblr. They mentioned enjoying Red Lobster as well,” said Donald, “Why not just cook it at home?”

The Commander started closer to the Mass Ave intersection than the gardens. His work began.
Donald entered Armani, his fate locked into the Commander’s grip. His face was covered with small beads of sweat from the brisk walk down the street. Donald prayed for the Singularity and the end of clothing, “There must be a room for a valet in the budget.”

“It is easier to look well when another’s means of living depends on it,” said the Commander as he adjusted Donald’s collar.

“I mean, I don’t want to run a household. I just own a few,” Donald shuddered as the Commander’s fingers brushed against his neck, “let me buy you a pair of gloves.”

“A service fee?” said the Commander on his way to a display shelf.

“A token of appreciation. Saves me postage,” said Donald, donning a blazer. “Are we certain tweed with elbow patches can’t survive your veto?”

“Another weekend my friend. Let’s earn you credits other than from AP tests before you shift into Joe College.”

“I have a doctor’s note or will. I’m sure my professors will remind me for proof if needed on my return.”

“We are finished here, but don’t turn in yet, Donald. I know of a few shops open that we must browse, although I doubt we will find anything fitting,” said the Commander with a flick towards Donald’s wallet.

Donald handed over the card. “Then why would we go?”

“Because we can than endeavor to find occasions to wear anything worth buying,” said the Commander holding the door while Donald grabbed the bags.

“Can’t we host—”

“Never. That would be kitsch as a Koons’ Sculpture,” said the Commander, “and I hope you aren’t under the sway of Damien Hirst and the other buffoonery that passes for culture today. If so please, return all those items I just selected. I won’t aid such an inane soul.”

“I would prefer Evel Knievel be displayed at the Tate than another gaudy stunt. There are too many readers of Walter Benjamin in the world today as well. I mean sure he was a good philosopher, but academics are a bunch of Jesus Freaks sometimes, if you ask me,” said Donald.


“Did you know the founder of Ad Busters buys presents at Christmas, not just for family, but friends too,” said the Commander as they shared a cig in a brick alley.

“The Anti-Santa doesn’t exist after all. Can we get some ramen at the end of the alley? Cash only, but worth the walk to the A T M,” said Donald.

The Commander turned on to a side street to get to Boylston. Across the way stood the Pru and below existed a Gamestop, a Golden Wok, and a Dunkin, if Donald knew New England. The Barnes and Noble by the T entrance was known as inferior to the Borders down by Boylston. The Borders had a decent manga section and the store had sales during book buyback. The Prudential Building had some nice stores, but Donald had never been to them; he preferred his games in a timely manner and the walk to the Best Buy at the end of Newbury took an extra twenty minutes by foot. For movies Donald chose Newbury Comics, the only contender in the area. Newbury had an okay selection of American comics, too, but not as good as Comic Stop in Watertown across from the public library.

They took the green line to Brookline choosing the B line over the D.

The stores close at six, but the restaurants lingered til nine. Reuben’s Deli is a trap on the Allston border. Real deli, but suburb pricing. They parked and sauntered into the Upper Crust. The Coolidge Corner Theater has a worthwhile marquee, but Donald needed to wait a week to have the time.

They ate in silence.

Donald got up to use the restroom and the Commander had gone when he returned to the table. Donald left to get a cig and saw the Commander at the ticket counter. Donald ditched the smoke and went in for the show.

Donald could be sober for art.

December and November stood as the months when the artistic merit of celluloid became tested in the dark halls of the American Multiplex. Good books came out year round, but films only blossomed three months of the year. The festivals screen flickers of hope. The medium in recent years had been sogged down by the pomp of acceptance into the halls of True Art. Print had a few centuries head start to develop, Donald guessed as to why so fewer good films existed. As for the picture, he was about to watch the ache in Donald’s bones was evidence enough that the film would be good.

On the walk back to the T, Donald reflected not on the film, it would take longer to process rather he focused on his own body’s functions in the cold. Shivering stood as Donald’s least favorite, but reliable weight loss tools. The knowledge given to Donald at lunch with the wrestling team, but shivering wore on a body. He was glad when the T car finished warming him up later.

Donald put on WFNX back in his dorm and spent his post shopping time counting down the hours to Tums doses. The mediated discussions, once a week, by cell phone made the childhood boundaries between him and his parents lower as Donald relayed the events, he heard the sober kids whisper in the reference section at the BPL. Nervous from the approaching revelation of his fraud, Donald plotted a switch from the Oyster House, which could be filled with inquisitive Brahmins, to a more historic location, but most of those would be nixed by Donald’s mother, who cared little for old Bostonian notions of exclusivity. Donald’s father hadn’t watched the Masters in years because of Augusta’s traditions. Donald didn’t argue with her stance against sexism. Donald could feign illness.

Donald darted for the door. The Commander arranged for Donald’s dorm to be cleaned in case Donald’s mother wished to pierce the veil and no debris blocked his exit. He could make Park Street Station before his parents arrived, though he did want to meet with his grandparents at Mike’s pastries after dinner. The diets of the elderly left room only for the important treats. Donald paused at the knob and waited for the phone call.


Donald’s parents never owned a sedan. The lack of doors on their coups matched Donald’s view of siblings: who needed more? The ride up Tremont through Haymarket passed Donald in his Mother’s grip. A silent hug, a reprieve from the agony of spotty cell phone reception.

“Jess is over at BC yea? Have you guys met up?” said Donald’s Father in front.

“Shh Don. Donald, don’t mind your father,” Donald’s Mother’s grip tightened.

“What? She was nice? Donald liked her,” said Donald’s Father.

“Don’t scare off the new girlfriend. Who was at dinner with you a few weeks ago?”

“We’re not in a relationship, we were just hungry post discussion,” said Donald, wiggling out of his mother’s grip to the front seat to gain position like Sun Tzu taught.


Donald kept Dagny’s name from discussion throughout dinner, but after when Donald and his parents had walked to the North End and met his Grandparents who had waited in the weekend crowd at Mike’s for cannoli. They sat on the benches under the trestle in Columbus Park.
“Dagny,” Donald said as his grandfather passed him a brown paperbag.

Donald’s mother trained at a music conservatory until eighth grade when she ran off to Boston University Academy to be closer to the labs of Harvard. Her nimble fingers instructed Donald how to sip from the bottle as a gentlemen sips from a brown bag in Columbus Park.

Donald disliked the soft burn and sighed, which his grandfather mistook as a stutter and chuckled. Donald’s father placed his hand on his shoulder.

“Do you have enough snacks son?” said Donald’s Father in the car. He passed Donald a hundred and forty dollars.

“Thanks, Dad.”

“You do good kid,” Donald’s Father paused as his wife climbed out of the car to allow Donald to exit.

Donald thanked his father again as he exited the car. Donald’s Catholicism made each gift a burden that expression failed to convey proper gratitude only found in thought.

Donald’s Mother escorted him to the elevators and clutched him.

“My boy,” she whispered, a sound like the wind in autumn calling to the golden leaves ready to depart yet willing them to stay. She handed him another clipping of twenties.

Donald went up and prepped for the morning.

ᴥᴥᴥᴥ ᴥᴥᴥᴥ
Donald found a girl and a bag in his room when the sun hit his face again.

“I think I’m supposed to fix you,” said the girl.

“Might as well try.”

Donald pushed himself into the shower and found a small hair and makeup studio set up in place of his room when he returned. Donald made coffee on a hot plate and sat down in his chair ready to become the canvas.

“Any questions?” said the girl.

“You got a name?”

“Not for you.”

“What if we meet again?” said Donald.

She started with the hair. It ended with Donald getting dressed as chosen by the girl and a phone call.

“You did not inform me you failed to get permission to use the brownstone. You do have a wonderful apartment fully paid in a storage container. If you get me drunk enough, I’ll tell you where it is before they auction it. I did get you a suite in the Four Seasons for you to sleep in. I arranged for taxi vouchers in your name as party gifts because it is both safe and courteous. We need to go to my warehouse to finalize the setup for tonight,” said the Commander.

“Thanks, will you be here soon to approve of my wardrobe?” said Donald.

“The car is downstairs. She texted me a photo, anyway. Looks good. Could you hand over the phone?”

Donald handed the girl his phone and she accepted the Commander’s gratitude with grace. She handed the phone back.

“What’s her name?” said Donald.

“Just meet her again,” said a soon silent line.

Donald and the Girl left the dorms and took separate cars. Donald preferred to walk to the Four Seasons across the Gardens, but the Commander would not have his pageant ruined with mud.
There was a pair of satin pajamas waiting for Donald in his suite.

South Boston can swing from fabulous to traditional on a corner. Look at the battle over the St. Patrick’s parade: they all shared the neighborhood. Most of it being empty warehouses from when Americans imported from Europe. The warehouse is an asset especially for exhibition and social gatherings. The Commander bought it once he accepted the offer to attend the Academy. He needed studio space as a visual artist and as a craftsman. His pieces were on display, scattered across a floor studded with coach oases.

“Is that a fire pit?” said Donald with grin. He slithered into an Adirondack chair next to a two foot tall brick fire pit. A man with a Securitas jacket on stand nearby.

“We can afford the precaution since I own the company that owns the deed. A police inquiry into the events, I can’t afford to lose the deed due to underage drinking,” said the Commander, adjusting Donald’s collar as the Commander nodded towards the guard.

“This feels like an ending,” said Donald.

“Ah but you just became a man. Hit the bar.”

The Commander called all the important places to cater: New Golden Gate from Chinatown and Chopsticks from Leominster. In lieu of cake, mounds of cannoli chilled in coolers.

Donald poured two gin and tonics.

“Flax seed, my friend,” said the Commander.

“What?” Donald lit a cigarette.

“You’re impressed and that is the secret to this evening’s success. See me for treats. But take some Flax seed. Your ass will thank you.”

Donald stalked the caterers and “checked for under cooked items”, the waiters couldn’t deny the host large servings before they had finished set up. Donald chatted and feasted before more gin. The spicy, head-on shrimp invited Donald to find a couch for a few minutes with his eyes closed. Donald saw a guard, who handed him a key to the back office with private bathroom.
Donald kept to coffee and cigarettes until the floor became pockmarked with classmates.

There was an alarming trend in 21st century art school where the normal well-adjusted humans were allowed in. These folks have consumed great art, but made sensible decisions and abandoned all risk. They hovered around as future editors, teamsters, and critics. Creation eluded their souls. They were the kind that reblogged .gifs of Sitcoms as a form of self-expression. They were dangerous to the art world for they made pickled sharks and unable to make beauty, the false artist covers his shame with the notion of the piece containing a message. Their works forbade mystery and flouted its secrets as if art was one of the girls down Tremont. Donald floated until he saw the Commander with a blunt.

“What kind of operation do you operate through?” said Donald taking the blunt.

“This is an LLC, but I got other situations for other scenarios. Not that I really do much myself,” said the Commander.

“I’ll wait to discuss it with my lawyer,” said Donald passing the blunt.

“I could break them down.”

“No thanks, I feel stoned art school students in a warehouse don’t equate to an investment banker. I’ll just hire a MBA with a decent portfolio or CV or resume, the right format for his credentials,” said Donald.

“I’ve always preferred the CV. Seems more Victorian,” said the Commander, “Take this.”

The Commander slipped a ziploc of cocaine into Donald’s pocket.

“Happy Birthday.”

“Hey,” Jess grabbed the blunt from a traveler punk, who had yet to crust over. He had a buddy too. Both looked like they were missing pet dogs like the part of a wolf hound tribe from Allston. Donald glanced about, not making eye contact with Jess.

“I heard from the Cook. The tour wraps over break. He didn’t get any credits from a few weeks at Brahmin. Who knows if he’ll be back in the spring,” said the Commander.

“I’m going for some food,” Donald slipped behind some dreads and returned to the student wasteland.

Over by a cathedral of metal, wood, and stained glass that grew out of an earthen base as a tree, Donald spied Lindsey. Donald approached her before one of his classmates could. He questioned if that was to her benefit.

“Hey,” said Donald tapping her shoulder.

“This is so cool,” said Lindsay.

“College has its privileges.”

“This tree brings me to my childhood when I had to go to church,” said Lindsay.

“The Commander is a monument of talent,” said Donald.

“My friend ditched me and my mom drove me to Alewife. Can I crash somewhere?” Lindsay rotated around the sculpture.

“I’ll get you a room somewhere. Don’t worry,” said Donald.

Donald didn’t notice Jess who stood on the other side as he followed Lindsay to the other side of the sculpted tree.

“I think she should,” said Jess “Are you going to start helping out with a scholarship next fall for a few falls and then you know?”

“Fuck off,” said Donald peering at Jess through the stained glass inside the tree.

“Eat a bowl of dicks,” said Jess swinging around to Donald’s side. “She barely has pubic hair.”

“You didn’t have to show,” said Donald, waving the Commander to take Lindsay elsewhere.

“I wanted check in, I’m on my way to NYC for the time being and picked up some things from home,” said Jess, her head rested on Donald’s shoulder.

“You’re moving to New York?”

“Just until Martin Luther King day weekend than I’m off to live with my aunt in LA again. She thinks I’ll be able to go to UCLA after 6 months. So don’t worry about me joining the Evil Empire. I’ll miss Fenway.”

“Are you high?” said Donald.

“I thought we were cruising at the same altitude. I got some shit from Ted and Jim. What of it?”

“How’d you pay for it?”

Jess slapped Donald. Jim and Ted, the dogless Punks, left with her.

“Fuck this,” said Donald.

“I just want to give you my old phone for your birthday.”

Jess handed Donald her old phone open. The phone that maybe could text: the phone she’d had since before, during, and after their relationship.

Donald called Jess on his phone, his hand vibrated. Jess answered a different phone and joined the Punks as they exited. Donald hung up. His phone vibrated.

“Told my mom I was at Harper’s Ferry. She’s picking me up early. Need Taxi fare plz.” texted Lindsay.

“Okay,” Donald texted.

Donald grabbed the Commander.

“Relax. It’s art school. Let’s find some kid for Xanax,” said the Commander.

They went down the wall flowers til the Commander convinced one to sell them a bottle.
Donald found the mirrored coffee table to be tacky, but useful. The Z bar gave a new face to adulthood in the millennial crowd.

Donald went to the door and found himself in Southie, the industrial zone that most people get a glimpse of before they roll into the JFK T Stop.

Donald found Jess puking over a corvette. She removed her coat and lifted it as a rag. One of the punks stopped her coat from setting off the corvette’s alarm. The Policia would remain unaware of the warehouse.

“Let me clean it. Someone has too,” said Jess. She darted between the punks. She spotted Donald. Donald noticed her glaze and paused. He lit a cigarette and offered it in her direction. He took a swig from the Andre in his other hand. He had found it in the snow mounds near the entrance and assumed a guest left it. The liquid gave Donald a bit of heartburn and Donald figured herpes happened.

Jess took the cigarette and a swig. Her punks went off to find their car and started to warm up the engine.

“I found that in the snow,” said Donald.

“We’re all probably getting the herp at some point and then we’ll all be biking and mountain climbing,” said Jess.


Jess reached for Donald’s red cheek, but withdrew before contact.

“You wrote me a suicide note, you know,” said Jess, “before high school let out. I stayed.”

“It wasn’t like that. I wrote it to Kurt and you featured as a point of discussion. For most of it,” said Donald, “I told you not to read it, anyway”

“Yea, like you would beat me,” said Jess rubbing her forearm, a nervous tick of hers. “Kurt gave me the letter.”

“He told me.” Donald held out the baggie.

“Hey guys, I’ll take a late Fung Wah or something,” said Jess as she waved the punks off.

“What about your shit?” said one of the punks.

“Who needs it?” said Jess. The punks drove off.

“Felt weird saying that my mom would probably ship it. Those guys could be Travelers,” said Jess.

“You don’t know them?” said Donald.

“No, I do. I mean it was a long car ride from New York, but I meant they had the potential to become Travelers.”

“I hear North Dakota or something has a beet harvest that funds a lot of Travelers,” said Donald.

“Anyway, got somewhere else we can be?” said Jess.

Donald texted the Commander and took a cab with Jess back to the Four Seasons.

The late night cab drivers of Boston needed a living and defined gypsy cab. A puke splashed girl and well-dressed companion, Donald noted would be an easy fare to a dorm even with the concealed open bottle that would pop out at one moment. They’ll take anyone with cash, or anyone who looks like they have cash, at least. Donald told the driver to head to the Four Seasons. Donald tipped cabs based on the route they chose more than the actual end fare. Those turns had to cost something if Donald could believe in justice.

Donald wondered if Jess would notice if he caressed her puked splatted shoulder.

“Does the Four Seasons have a laundry service?” said Jess rolling down the window.

“I haven’t a clue,” said Donald, “If you wait until morning to take the bus, we could find something down at the Garment District.”

“They’ll want to pick me up tonight. Besides I’m dry and, for all I’m concerned, so are you,” said Jess.

“You’ve chosen quite a fate,” said Donald contemplating the foot of leather in the middle of the seat. Her body remained distant.

“From the look of tonight, I think we both have,” said Jess.

The driver made it short. Donald gave him a Benjamin for a twenty dollar fare.

“Can’t you take off the fucking coat,” said Donald in front of one of the gaudy cars parked next to the sideway. The brick driveway of the Four Seasons remained free of icicles and snow through the year.

“I don’t really want to go in. Let’s go to the docks,” said Jess.

“Which one?”

“The docks in the Garden. We can blow off a credit card or receipt.”

Donald led the way. The docks were an unofficial common room for Brahmin kids and tonight it seemed another crew claimed the zone. The leaves had fallen off Grandmother Willow and the placard bearing her scientific name was exposed. The original Brahmins had attached the names of all the trees in the Gardens. Until about when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, teachers forced marched the children through the Gardens until each child memorized the words of a dead language. Not wishing to join the already busy dock crowd, Donald and Jess headed toward the Esplanade, but were stopped when the current group on the docks noticed the pair and let them know they would be gone in twenty.

Donald sat on a bench while they waited. Jess shivered and used Donald’s hands as a glove.
“You’re always warm.”

“Why haven’t you seen a Doctor about your circulation?”

“Girls are just cold,” said Jess and gave Donald a stare.

“Do you have decent fake nails on?”

“Maybe, why?”

“Scoop and sniff?” said Donald as he slipped out the baggie.

Jess took a nailful and gave Donald a bit. They got up and let the group on the Docks know they wouldn’t need to leave so soon.

When one walks in Boston at night, the legs will not be still; one can go anywhere. The streets left bare of people and cars for the most part remain safe enough. Beacon Hill in some places is still cobbled. The soft diffused light of the lamps bounced on the snow and warmth ran through the roads. Donald lit two cigarettes as they walked.

“Our senior year when we stayed at Sarah’s house in the Blizzard,” said Jess.

“That was Kurt. Sarah’s mom drove me home. I wanted to ask you out that night.”

“I asked her to take you home, I think.”

“Why?” said Donald.

“I thought you might try something.”

“Was it that bad that you have to ‘Eternal Sunshine’ your life?”

“I’m keeping somethings, but you were a real asshole that night,” said Jess.

“I was upset you saw the letter,” said Donald taking another nailful of powder.

“We just wanted to be in the snow and you didn’t want to get your jeans wet and Sarah wasn’t poor either; she had like 2 dryers. Plus I wanted to see if I could sleep with Kurt. He kept selling you.”

“You introduced me to the Painter the next night, I think, and I got stoned for the first time,” said Donald.

“I keep flipping back to when we watched ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ in your basement, I think we had our final breakup over at your neighbor’s a few days before. Everyone else out at the Applebee’s or some shit for date night,” said Jess.

“They all wanted to go to the Friday’s at Solomon, the better mall.”

“You hated that place, always taking me to cumstained seating in Leominster.”

“It isn’t cum stained, maybe a little soda, but I don’t think it was the kind of place Pee Wee would get arrested at,” said Donald.

“Yea the midnight showing of ‘Surf’s Up.’ Totally was designed for children,” said Jess.

“I didn’t get why you wanted to go to that before Graduation.”

“Plus your grandparents were over. And I left a big gob on the row below.”

Donald smiled and lit another round of cigarettes.

“You know my grandmother totally saw us in the truck,” said Donald.

“You meant to say you know she totally saw you finger banging me in my truck and yea, I did,” said Jess.

They were in historic Boston now, next to the old city hall. The old city hall by the Borders and one of the Starbucks reminded Bostonians that they as a city once could design buildings. Donald believed the current push for a waterfront move stemmed from a universal rejection of the brutal style monstrosity built when acid made people think cement could be fashionable. Instead of land titles and wedding licenses, the building now housed a fairly serious steakhouse. Donald lamented Outback Steakhouse for, while serving a reasonable steak, it paled compared to the old room grills that feed the tycoons to an early grave. The place in the old city hall wasn’t quite that steakhouse either, but it carried itself with the air of one. If Donald ever learned the name without Google than maybe it too could bare the mantle of a power player’s club.
Better than the steakhouse was the donkey statue dedicated to the most beloved of Boston objects outside of Fenway and the Garden: The Democrats. Jess mounted the donkey and Donald took a picture with his phone.

“That camera sucks. You should get a 5D or something,” said Jess.

“I’d never use it, but I’d pay for a decent phone camera,” said Donald rubbing against the side of the horse.

“What about a Blackberry?” said Jess as she waved Donald up.

“Who’d I email? I never text as it is. I’ll pay a guy to blackberry for me,” Donald said as he slid in sidesaddle.

They rode into the sunset for a few silent minutes.

“What do you think of most?” said Jess.

“I think back to the fight to the “The Namesake” and sometimes I think to the blow job later while watching L.A. Ink, it was the last one before we came to Boston. Sometimes, I think that was our most intense togetherness. Our supernova before that we’d been drifting on desire for a while,” said Donald.

“I think back to the morning, I bolted from the cabin after awaking you up by slapping you upside the head because Kurt came over. We were going to have a nice skip date and you invited him over for the usual six hour “philosophy tea discussion” that began with Marx and ended with an analysis of The O.C.”

“You hadn’t quite read G.E. Moore yourself yet,” said Donald.

Jess pushed Donald off the donkey.

“It’s my memory. Anyway I really just felt bad, but you always had a third wheel or worse you’d add a couple and treat your friend to a gratifying evening. I just wanted to be alone with you, but doing public things. You always wanted to cook and fool around. So I left. You got and repotted a few tulips surrounded by pansies and left it by my truck. Then I drove off.”


“I drove off and met up with the usuals at the Painters. I thought you would come. I called you a few days later.”

The ziploc was thinning, but still thick, to the relief of Donald’s heart. Donald puked. It was more a dry heave.

“I had to work picking fucking vegetables in the summer and you just could read and smoke all day. You and Kurt skipped all the time that May,” said Jess.

“I puked when we talked at my neighbor’s house as well,” said Donald.

“The Painter had some shrooms and I thought we could just take them and puke all the negative energy out. You didn’t pick up your phone. So you made me go to the BBQ and guided me to the grill where you waited for your steak. As a sign of respect, you spent a full hour eating the steak. I half thought I would have come down by the time we got back to the crew in the car. So I force fed you the shrooms behind the shed.”

“You decided we should go on a sexual hiatus than I puked then I ate the shrooms.”

“That’s why I called; you just texted “meet me here.” Any who, you were only an hour behind, but you pouted as we all came up on the way back to the studio. Then next four hours, you hid in the bathroom because you thought your penis fell of,” said Jess.

“Why did ‘The Namesake’ happen?” said Donald.

“Because I enjoyed you, Donald. You loved going down and when you saw in the mirror you had a penis, we had a fun trip.”

Donald and Jess walked through Downtown Crossing to Chinatown and from there South Station. They sat fiddling waiting for the next bus to come, the only riders in front of Jess all had beaks as the bus line shipped chickens to make trips on the hour profitable, so the wood bench in the unheated bus terminal served as a playground as their minds burnt out, tracing the carved tags and other graffiti.

Jess grabbed Donald’s pack and they went outside for a cigarette.

They smoked them. Donald took one cigarette and gave Jess the pack along with a lighter.

“Still has the lucky,” said Donald.

“Thanks,” and Jess walked back inside.

“Can I see you again?” said Donald.

She paused, but rejoined her feathered companions in the waiting line.


Back in his dorm room, Donald grabbed an orange bottle from his jacket and picked up Jess’ high school graduation present to him: her noted and earmarked copy of “1984.” Donald took it to the Gardens and blew some more lines off his ID and rolled a blunt, most of which fell into the snow.

Donald wrote his response in a moleskin by the Japanese Lantern near the oldest suspension bridge in America.

I fear you are correct.
In friends and romantic lovers, respect and love must go hand in hand. You should both love and respect your friends; otherwise, they are not true friends. If you don’t respect your partner then true love cannot last and the relationship will never truly succeed.
George Orwell in 1984 explores the idea of the mutability of the past. This idea is very intriguing as I start a new life. Do I forget my past and start over anew? I don’t think that is entirely possible, because who I am today is based on who I was yesterday. Yet INGSOC was able to erase their bad experiences, or close enough that there isn’t a difference. Before I continue, I would like to answer a few basic questions.

What is the past?
It is the sum of your remembered existence.

Where does the past exist?
In your mind. All your emotions, experiences, thoughts are your past, though only your memories count. Forgotten experiences do not factor into existence as someone has to know them for them to exist.

Who controls the past?
Whoever controls the present. You are mostly in control of your personal past.

Why does the past matter?
Your past controls your future. You base future decisions based on past experiences. You avoid things associated with a bad memory, and pursue those connected with good ones.

Next we come to an ethical question: Is it right to change your past?
Why should you remember a bad time?
It could be a lesson, so you never return to the same situation again. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the saying goes.

So when you erase part of your past, you must dissociate the things you wish to keep in your future from anything that is being left in the sands of time.

As to if it is right to change your past as you start a new phase, the answer is different for everyone. It depends whether they can handle the pain, and if they want to carry such a heavy burden. A noble cause, but not for everyone. If such a burden would stunt the growth of a person, then the past must disappear for the sake of the future. It is not a light decision for anyone.
The forgetting of a period of one’s life is not against the people involved. It is a way for one to move on. In fact, one may wish to forget because the involved parties are thought of so highly, and that is what causes the pain. It is the weakness of the one changing their past that is the cause of this choice. The pain of friends growing apart, with one friend trying to save the friendship and the other accepting fate, May cause the one trying to remove the other friend from their world.
Is this a permanent situation?
I don’t think so. If the friend stops letting what will be will be and puts effort in, then the other friend will welcome back the other.

Donald woke in his hotel room, turned and looked through the massive window over the Gardens.

The past is something that no one can control. Those things are already done. To be able to control them would change the very nature of linear time, though one can always choose how to interpret the past.
However, interpretation is not the same as deletion. One should never forget. Every memory that occurs becomes a part of someone, and to try and forget that would make them a lesser person. Though it may seem hard at times to deal with those memories, they are as much a part of you as your arm or your leg. They define you and your personality and you will base future decisions off that memory. To forget is to repeat your mistakes.
As for stunting growth, sure there are bad memories, and they will cause pain and hardship. But, this world is not free of either, and so eventually one must experience both. Even if one forgets these, they will happen again, and it is unrealistic to forget each time life is painful. That will stunt them more than any memory.
True friends are some of the most valuable things in the world. They must be kept at any cost.

Manifest Young Scion Chapter 5

I agree with you there. I can’t dispute that, so here is a new topic.
People will do what they think is best, and not necessarily what they think is right, all the time. Two people who fight are only doing so because what either believes is best is different, or they are going about achieving what they think is best in different ways. For instance, when a police officer beats up a peaceful protester and sends him to jail, they both believe that they are trying to accomplish peace. The protester through his protests, and the officer for jailing the protester for disturbing the peace with said protests. -Kurt

Donald showered alone and tried to remember who was in his bed at that moment. Unsure, of who he wanted it to be, Donald pleased himself. His fantasies often blended his own form with that of Jess or Dagny. He focused on the entirety of penetration, an aspect his mind lost track of during the act. Alone, the thoughts of being pleased by him invigorated his cock.

The water turned cold and Donald knew he would have to try to finish later.

Donald pulled back the shower curtain to see Jess sitting on the toilet, pissing. Donald grew wary of a surprise morning visit from Dagny. She lived by the Commander, but Brahmin keycards worked on all buildings. Donald knew she came to Beacon for 8am Philosophy on TR, but he didn’t know if today was a TR or a MWF.

“Need help?” Jess said, swatting the toilet paper, “saw the water turned on you.”

“It’d be nice,” said Donald.

There was sucking cock and blowjobs and this fell deeply into the blowjob category.

“I think I’m good,” Donald said as he backed away and began to dress, “I need to get some food and run before class anyway. Hungry?”

“It’s too early for anything but bacon,” Jess said.

“That’s why they made it a buffet”

They left Donald’s room the usual way: a little drunk and a little stoned. After all, Donald only did two things without fail: confess, toke, and drink. Donald never cared much for numbers, but he’d catch a stray bullet for the oxford comma until the day he caught that bullet.

Jess leaned into Donald as they waited for the elevator. Donald clung to her body as he would a log on a river.

“What if I didn’t go for a run after we ate?” said Donald.

“You’d get fat?” said Jess.

“I don’t have class til later and it’s still warm out for coffee by the Charles”.

“I have a few skips left, but I still want bacon,” said Jess.

“It is the most important meat of the day,” said Donald, “let’s skip the buffet and have a picnic.”

In the Cook’s fridge, Donald stored a wheel of Gouda in case of emergency bacon picnics because man cannot live on bacon alone, or so the Lord would have said, had the Lord had access to the modern dining hall. He kept a manageable supply of blunts in the crew’s shed because he was a boy scout at one point until his parents found out. The paramilitary was no place for a young, affluent, globally minded intellectual that was to be young Donald. Donald had been confused by this back then. He just wanted to learn which leaves were tasty.

He shoved the supplies into an old newspaper bag from his father’s childhood. October is a fickle month in Boston, just like its spring time sister, March. The winds of winter howl through the dead leaves one day and the next the town fills with sundresses and happy boys. Donald judged from the amount of exposed skin on Jess that today fit in with the later.

Her chill fingers curled in his always burning paws. Donald wondered why women’s hands existed within refrigerated space. Donald concluded that it was the need to engorge the penis that made men’s blood circulate to extremities better, but he then concluded he didn’t go to real college. Like science, some things destined to haunt his thoughts until the final sleep.

On the land bridge from Beacon to the Esplanade by the corner of the garden, bikers obligated by an ignored law to walk their bicycles across and not mutter obscenities as they attempt to splatter tourist families.

The type of people who visit New England for the leaves are the same type of people who walk the Freedom Trail without a single tear in their hearts. They are devoid of the true love of the sacrifices made for the nation and the men who built the ideals that these tourists now claim to represent.

“Suck on my smoke,” Jess said as she lit up the first blunt.

The horizontal tree still stood and the knotted trunk provided ample cover from the voyeuristic travelers.

“So are you fucking the Blond Commander?” Jess exhaled enflamed with her smoke filled exhaust.

“No. Why would you think that?” said Donald.

“It’s just that you follow him like you follow me and I’m pretty sure that’s cause I took your maidenhood.”

“I don’t think that I could commit that mortal sin.”

“We do it all the time, you’re full of shit,” said Jess.

“Not Sodomy,” said Donald.

“Call it anal like a mature sexually active adult,” said Jess

“Fine, we’ve never done anal,” said Donald.

“Sure, but our list is still long.”

“That will change once we get married and sanctify our bedroom. I can only confess so many times before the priest will question my sincerity for redemption,” said Donald.

“I’m not getting married,” said Jess.

“Not now.”

“No, Donald, never. I refuse to submit to your archaic notions of the institution. I may have a husband one day, but I will never be married as you believe it. Also, don’t say that shit around the Blond Commander, he is in fact one of your feared sinners,” said Jess.

“How could you know that from seeing him a handful of times,” said Donald.

“He told me when you and Dagny went down to the bathroom together on the roof the other day. before we tripped. The fact that he’s gay doesn’t matter. The issue is for such an obviously intelligent man that you are bound within such small perimeters. Galileo, at least, discovered the stars. When was the last time you moved?” said Jess.

“The Catholic church is the closest thread to the true Lord,” said Donald.

“They told you that the bread became his flesh too. I went to CCD and remember all the glory of the Transubstantiation. Accepting such matters and their sincerity, I have more important points of discussion. You eat cheeseburgers like I breathe, we went for lobster three nights ago, your cheap ass would never budge for 100% cotton, you jerk off like a poorly written film, and the one rule you chose to follow involves a topic that in no manner should be taken as public,” said Jess.

Donald stared in silence.

“I have a few skips left because I took a leave of absence while I could still get a refund. I’ve been fucking you for the past three nights because my room has a new occupant already. I’m going to North Hampton to do something. I’d invite you, but who knows how many lesbians could convert you there,” said Jess.

Jess took the smoldering blunt from Donald’s lips and strolled towards the Longfellow Bridge.

Donald gnawed on the cold bacon. Donald pulled out his grinder and packed a bowl in his road pipe. The hit tasted funny. Salvia. Jess would do him like that. Shot down by his darling, Donald settled in for the shock.

A Man wearing a marine’s jacket sat down and served himself a helping of bacon and Gouda.

“I’m you if you weren’t such a chump,” said the Vet.


“Misogyny never was our style and time; you got the vocab to match.”

“I’m a marine?” said Donald.

“You served your duty and left your thoughts behind while you achieved your nation’s orders,” said the Vet.

“But the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are both needless. The Taliban offered to surrender Bin Laden on October 13th if America agreed to a neutral court for a just trial. Any jury would hang the sod,” said Donald.

“Besides the point, you wanted a purpose and to be a man of principle. If you as a voter couldn’t see the solution than maybe you needed a change of perspective. I’m not telling you to run off in a few months, just that I am a You. A Donald. One who chose his Country over his Lord,” said the Vet.

“Was it a better choice?”

“The Lord can’t be all that wise if he lets those buffoons act as his spokespersons.”

“There have been many speakers that carry Jesus’, The Father’s, and the Spirit’s true message,” said Donald.

“Most without ever uttering a reference or a link back to your desired source. Morality simply isn’t only the domain of the Holy. I would argue any book without the St. in front of the author’s name that gives deference to his Holiness and God did so in an environment of coercion,” said the Vet.

“I don’t need to hide behind the words of others to defend my faith and the Lord. The bounty that is modern life should stand as example enough to the power of the Lord. He created the base and we cherished that act by serving as grateful children do,” said Donald.

“A thought pattern instilled to enact societal control on both a macro and micro conception. Raised from birth to better others. The major difference between the modern minimum wage 9 to 5 and the second shift from our serf ancestors is at least they died young and were happier. I’m not trying to break your faith or PSA your ass with some comment about how you don’t need anything to be yourself. I’m just trying to tell you that she has indeed stormed off and maybe it was time you get honest with your friends. Who are you and who are they?” The Vet finished the bacon and went on his way. Donald was already weary of the day and the clock had only struck 8 AM.

Donald lit a second blunt and prepared to become a new branch on the tree. The ash grew long.

“Hey Syd,” said the Blond Commander.

Donald slashed the blunt in his fist and swung the burning grass towards the Blond Commander.

“I didn’t mean it as an insult, but you kinda looked like Syd Barrett with the long ash,” the Commander puffed on the blunt and the two met on an even playing field after about an hour.

“I feel like a sophomore,” said Donald.

“That’s a few credits off,” said the Blond Commander.

“No, as in the Greek ‘wise fool’.”

“Don’t be stupid. It doesn’t mean that to anyone these days besides high school principles.”

“Please don’t make me sing The Verve,” said Donald.

“You made a girl kill herself?” said the Blond Commander.

“I think I am the girl.”

“I think it’s this bud. Zombie’d you out hard. Blow this.”

Donald being Catholic remained true to his nature: obedient. A snort is a tingle and a jolt. The nasal drip down his throat made it clear the powder was researcher’s little helper: Adderall. The taste in the back of the throat, instant smile. His engine got some serious rust and even the Emperor’s finest coke couldn’t get his sloth ass up. The Commander embodied the Southern Mule and hawed Donald into Cambridge. Their trouble required brick and cobblestone.

“Jess is gone.”

“Figured as much.”

Donald cracked a pack of Marlboro Smooths, the three-pack-a-day cigarette. Donald followed the Commander. They walked and their feet discussed the texture of the traditional street surface and the character missing from asphalt. The small talk cemented Donald’s mind.

For Donald, the gravity of his new-found knowledge locked his jaw. He pulled his flask to de-Tinman his body. There was no oil to be had. Donald found buying booze outside of his ethnic homeland of Southie a task best written by Camus.

The Blond Commander swung inside a doorway and inside Donald’s ears discovered an unwavering cacophony of joyous music. An ocean of men lay between the door and the bar. Donald appreciated the work of Walt Whitman. The flesh of man turned unharnessed existence into history. Self-love is important and every man should love his reflection.

“I wasn’t sure if you would come inside.” the Blond Commander had returned with two glasses of scotch.

“Why not?” said Donald.

“Isn’t this something you have to tell the good Father?”

“There are many things I must tell Him,” said Donald.

“But you do them anyway,” said the Blond Commander.

“Without fail”.


“I may be His son, but I certainly am not of His blood,” said Donald.

“I’ve bet it’s the only liquid in your veins,” said the Blond Commander.

“Why can’t people leave Transubstantiation alone, it is a physical metaphor for the acceptance of belief.”

“You would reject a racist conviction despite facts, even if it was by all standards voted on by a jury of American citizens,” said the Blond Commander.

“People are fallible,” said Donald.

“Not the Pope,” said the Blond Commander.

“Most of the time, he is. He still shits,” said Donald.

“To me, it seems that’s all he does”.

“I’m not sure if I’m that comfortable with where our words seem destined”.

“They have to travel there at some point,” said the Blond Commander.

“Not today,” said Donald.

“You focus too much on tomorrow,” said the Blond Commander.

“My nose is empty”.

“I’ll accept that condition,” said the Blond Commander.

The words would wait as Donald’s nose wanted to sniff the abs of a very nice gentleman after it had been refilled. Questions and thoughts would need to wait. Donald walked out the door and lit a smoke. He lit another one for good measure and went looking for some rain. He wanted a new head. A new exposition. This one was becoming treacherous. He wanted to try to put his faith in the Lord, but Donald forgot who He was. There was the humbling God of might and fear that his Mother lived for. The Word invoked by his Father, but his pew was the couch on Sunday. The Father James (the man Donald called Father, not the “our Father who art in Heaven” Father) devoted his seed and youth for a seat by the Almighty’s side. Donald hadn’t met his Aspect yet or if he had, Donald desired a replacement.

Donald found his head at Park Street and wandered into the church, which was more of a shop front than a Cathedral. The days were hard for the Vatican if the state of the house of the Lord were to be believed.

He needed a pew to kneel on. God escaped his mind as he focused ever longer on the altar. The idea of a God powerful enough to create an existence made for such a small and silly people remained beyond Donald’s reality. The Blond Commander existed as Donald loved him because of his life, including who the Commander chose to love in all connotations of the term. For a God to entrap people for the stars of their birth would to be far from the kind vision presented in modern sermon.

Maybe Donald waited for a man to sit next to him, but he found a pamphlet in the missal in front of him instead. The sect that ran this place claimed to be a different kind of Vatican. Donald put the paper down; he didn’t care for the stars anyway.

Donald walked into the Commons and crossed to the Gardens. The Commander was sacrificing a blunt to the metal Japanese lantern sculpture, their patron protector for another day, letting the weed burn in the air. The metal lip of the sculpture acted as an incense holder. Donald sat down and lit two cigs and passed one over.

“You owe me a conversation,” said the Blond Commander

“My nose is empty,” said Donald.

“You’re lucky; I’ve seen your bank statements.” They refueled, “Why God?”

A ray pierced the evening and the two rambled to the Esplanade. Donald itched for clarity and an answer. By the time his feet hit the land bridge, Donald settled for truth instead of a revelation.

“God is the structure of my childhood. My intellectual development intertwined with my Catechism education. The conflicts arising from the knowledge taught in the American public education system and the willed ideology of millions and their ancestors,” said Donald.

“One can live in a style, but belong within another classification. One doesn’t choose one’s parents or childhood,” said the Blond Commander

“One still experiences that childhood. There are Gods that accept all their creations and followers who teach and live in such a manner,” said Donald.

“Thank you because it’s okay for me to be myself only if I act within your perceptions of morality. I can be gay if I am gay for God, but not for myself. I understand and am fully educated on the various religious sects that cater to LGBT community and their supporters. I chose not to believe because I know so much more than can be found in any holy text. Not that within said texts an absence of poetry or logical philosophy occurs,” said the Blond Commander.

“The acceptance of God’s love is a joyous occasion. It is liberation from the judgments of flawed mortals,” said Donald.

“Your fundamental Catholicism amazes me. Being alive equates not to sin, but to a short celebration founded within unknown potential for a billion conclusions. Life exists not to be ashamed of the act of existence itself.”

“I think that using the traditional media representation of the notion of “Catholic Guilt” is oversimplifying the complexities of temptation for any human from any period. Confession exists as a release,” said the Blond Commander.

“You abuse your own faith system, the confession is only valid and redeeming if you don’t intend to commit the same sin again, which is never concurrent with your situation. I’m not intending to attempt to shatter your faith or judge your beliefs. If you want to be an apostle of this new open Catholicism then I support your right, but, just as I am willing to make that commitment, I need you to grant me the same basic courtesy. I’m not expecting that tonight, but you got my number,” said the Blond Commander. The Commander shifted his seat.

“Can I get a bottle for the road?” said Donald.

The Commander tossed a bottle over.

“Don’t worry about the receipt,” said the Blond Commander.

Donald went to his room. Sleep wasn’t coming and the pills weren’t the root, but the relief. Being awake should be fun or productive and he was riding the rails of anything within arm’s reach, which meant some mutant lovechild of the two. Term papers asphyxiated with ecstasy and glee. Density meant more to be consumed and all consumption existed as pleasure. His hands trotted south for the occasional breaks and breaks turned to holiday.

A syllabus month waxed and waned before Donald scuttled his trove of Doritos and Diet Mountain Dew. He swung from the simple pull-up bar and escaped for a run lest his blood clot. His research into that subject ended in a comic length period of death to Donald’s libido. The run cured his web diagnosed condition.

He needed something other than stale starch and sugar to complete this quest, and, if the games were to be believed, love and friendship. The last two requirements sent quivers through his palms. Donald’s solution was corn beef hash as was the style of his countrymen.

Donald went to the dining hall too late. He missed the hash but found the Cook. Donald stopped him from disposing of the most important meal of the day. While Donald ate scraps by the dumpster, the Cook acted busy for his supervisor. The trays sold as scrap equated to bonuses for the Cook’s coworkers and cameras protected the Party members these days. Some corners went missing in the eye of the iron fist, hidden dining rooms for the hungry.

“Where have you been?” said the Cook.

“Just doing some things.”

“I figured from what the Blond Commander told me. I told Hopkins that you had mono and would be emailing him with the blood test results. I said it looked like you’d be gone for week or more,” said the Cook.

“It’s Tuesday isn’t it?” said Donald.

“Yea, but you should come on tour with me if you still got any left in that bottle,” said the Cook.

“I can’t fake a blood test,” said Donald.

“Then lie to a shrink and tell them you went to the woods after a nervous breakdown and get a note. Worst case, you agree to see them for a month, and therapy has never hurt a rich white boy,” said the Cook.

“Fine. Probably get me some space socially as well. Where are we going?” said Donald.

“Then you’re coming?”

“Fresh air never killed no rich white boy either,” said Donald.

“I’m in a band.”

The Cook’s role in said band constituted representing them as the frontman. The Cook stood as the Man with the Guitar in a smoky Allston living room that housed the band’s drumset. A wall of TVs lined one wall and a New England Jesus judged from the other. Donald liked the setup. The living room was called Chair City for the lack of couches.

The members consisted of the Cook, the Bassist, the Drummer, and, in the far corner, the Blogger with the equipment. In the driveway was the Van. Donald stood to be the Roadie of the Week. Readers liked consistency, ranted the Blogger. Donald posed for a photo and took a nap on the nest of rugs.


Donald stood married to Brittney Cooper, a girl from high school for fifteen years and they romped in their youth about his Amherst ranch house and lay on the deck into the evening as they observed the solace of Space.


The dawn cut Donald’s eyes. He looked at the boxes of Papa John’s; they were still steaming. Sunset. Brittney Cooper, Donald had asked her out back in ninth grade and she informed him that no girl in her right mind would ever go out with Donald. Their marriage could be a well boding omen for this journey.

Donald was still in the Allston apartment belonging to The Cook and his band.
The Cook passed a box over and the seven meats matched Donald’s style. Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Pepperoni, Beef, Chicken, Canadian Bacon, “Italian” Sausage, and all the cheese allowed by law. Donald had missed a few meals and his heart needed to prove its worth.

Donald pounded the pizza and a 2 liter of Mountain Dew. The life of a roadie fit Donald as he began packing the gear. Donald’s mother despised SUVs; Donald fought to pack his bags into the Camry for the family vacation. Boxed gear to be tied down came down to Tetris level 1 on Donald’s plane.

The only bag packed with care was Donald’s bag of drugs.

The van pulled on to Cambridge Street, left on to Memorial Drive, and cruised down Route 2.

Donald borrowed the Blogger’s wireless internet card to write his response to Kurt.

People rarely do the right thing in any situation, but always do the best thing they can currently think of. The pressure of a situation combined with the mental/physical state of the person can narrow one’s thought process. Often the right thing to do isn’t painfully obvious until the situation passes and one can review all the details.
A man who hates an activity may fake a phone call to politely relieve himself from the situation. This white lie isn’t the right thing to do. The right thing to do would be to sit it out, but the man doesn’t like looking like a fool and he feels the other people will try to pressure him into doing it. By sitting out he feels he would ruin another person’s evening. So he fakes a call and lets the people do their activity unhindered. In hindsight, the sitting out would have been better, but he was tired, hungry, or both.
Fighting is always about what is best. Sometimes a fight happens when two people reach a crossroads and, to make the parting easier, anger comes out. A sad thing really, but it can make taking the leap of faith into the future easier, and leaving loved ones behind not as heartbreaking.
Your cop/hippie example is great as it describes most conflicts. Two people have two ways to reach the same ends, but only one way can be put to use. Thus they try to show the other, how they perceive it. If two people can perceive something similarly then they will most likely have the same solution. An argument is won not by convincing the other of why they are wrong, but why one is right. -Donald

Manifest Young Scion Chapter 4

Novelty is very complex, because it all depends on how long you expect the novelty to last. If the novelty of their differences only lasts but a few minutes, then your theory might hold true. However, if it is enough for them to find their conflicts mutually interesting and to start spending more time with each other, then it is very possible for them to develop common ground just by that shared experience. -Kurt

Another Saturday on the dining hall roof.

One thing America did right in the 90’s was manufacturing the dark green leather couch, 3 cushions long. If they didn’t exist, Donald probably would never sleep in the slightest.

Donald awoke to bacon-wrapped burgers guarded by a melted shell of cheddar with a chicken patty in the center to hold the sandwich together. A real structural beauty, if one asked Donald. He checked his laptop and was grateful to see that, not only had he sent the message as intended, but that Kurt had responded in kind.

Their exchange of message was proof the date had inched forward. Donald hoped he made it to class. Sometimes, days went away. Donald decided DHW fleeced him and the Blond Commander, who would have none of it. He believed in the quality of character. The pork roll had been as promised.

Dagny lay next to him. He knew she’d been there since his last nap. He didn’t know her deal yet, but he liked the way their curves locked and their beats synched. They were a pair of new souls.
The Ex had a name and they’d synched heartbeats for a time. Not Jessica, but Jess. Her hair flowed when he saw her last, but when they met it was lice proof. The pricks when it rubbed against his curled chest hair. It felt much like a monk receiving the Eucharist if their philosophers were to be believed or like fresh cut grass against the soles of one’s feet. She had a shaved head, sun dresses and steel toes to charge through the beaches that were public high school.

By comparison, Dagny believed tights to be enough for service and, for her, stripes were a lifestyle. She mentioned visiting Donald’s barber for a regular boy’s cut. He thought the pixie would give her face more space for the smirk that appeared when Donald was wise and when he was foolish; Donald took it as inside joke between herself and the Lord. He didn’t mind being aware of his flopishness just as he didn’t mind the chill of her fingertips against his palm.
They spent their open daylight on the Esplanade. Less cops, more boats. Dagny was also a classical. Donald often read while Dagny sang. On occasion, she worked on her compositions which were the coursework of her other major. Donald dreamt he was Dracula and feasted on her talent instead of blood.

The Cook, aroused and dressed, sat next to the Blond Commander, who passed Donald the pipe. He took a small hit as to not offend, but to not waste the high before he ate his burger of instant sobriety.

The burger disappeared before Donald received the pipe twice. Eating was filthy and Donald hated cleaning. So he preferred to mess once and clean before others noticed. He failed the second part usually. The addition of barbeque sauce was the most humbling. He fled to the bathroom. Only the mystic power of animal fat could defuse the situation. Dagny followed after him, but Donald closed the door behind him.
Donald washed in the semi-private upstairs bathroom of the Dining Commons. Dagny knocked. Donald blushed and hoped this wasn’t a heathen lockless bathroom, the kind his CCD teacher warned him of.

He wanted Dagny to be a person, but couldn’t get his memory right. There was a fog that left Donald in the dark about who he was and who the people around him were. Donald floated through his day too often, it seemed. He was the moment, but couldn’t recall just which one he was in. He dried himself and left. Dagny entered the restroom.

Donald headed back towards the roof, not to get a little high but to get stoned, the languid state caused by brick weed. High was a proper term, a clear open liberation. He’d never been broke enough to suffer in the languid hell of shoddy Indica, but today he chose to make his body a prison.

Donald needed a drink more than he needed to get stoned because at the center was always another drink. A drink was why he paid the bills and said hello and never pulled the trigger and fopped and flopped and coughed and it would be a drink, not a country, he would die for as if there was a value in life to begin with. With a drink, he could sleep. With a drink maybe he could connect with Dagny and learn why he chose to keep breathing.

Donald paused in the staircase not quite ready to sit back down with his friends on the roof. He wished his parents arranged his marriage like a normal human experienced. Donald’s parents robbed him of a comfortable silence and decades of affairs. Real men don’t cheat; real men don’t marry or act in emotion. Born into a weakened society and birthed to bleeding moderates, who die for neutrality.
End tolerance and revive emotion, Donald cried. Never aloud. They’d put one in a padded room for that kind of statement.
One could be 18 and an adult and bills on the plate, but your parent could lock you up until one’s dying day. Freedom died with the towers, but not like Loose Change. No conspiracy, just the constant guarantee of fear. The commonality of simple minds made Donald wish there were enough drugs to normalize his vision.

Donald’s own need to be desired was troubling enough.
There was more than a blunt waiting for Donald when Dagny and he returned to the roof. Jess sat. She had been texting him and he hated being texted. 140 characters to hell, if someone made some website about that form of atrocity, Donald would join it and wish he hadn’t. Next to Jess was a pizza and he would need that to get to the next dawn. The Commander and the Cook sat on another couch chatting with Jess.
Donald could kick it with that mellow pizza and escape the universe around him. It could be to a worse reality, but he needed anything different.
There was no time for words as each explorer grabbed his ship and set sail. They would meet again on the high seas.

Donald looked at the Ledge, Border, Boundary, End, Edge, and Siren. Jess followed.
“Thoughts” said Donald, posed as a Gargoyle
“Very fake, but sincere” said Jess
He looked at Dagny across the roof
“Very Fake, but Sincere” means not a poser, but they plan to leave the lifestyle and go to suburbs and be normal and teach at their old high school and always talk about those few years, they weren’t Or maybe they don’t go back and marry a lawyer or doctor or become one and live miles from the city in the gated enclaves and commute hours each day to eat and sleep
He returned from the Border Jess returned to his body’s crook, Donald didn’t remove her They stood for as much time that could exist and mostly that which wouldn’t
There was a rightness in Donald’s mind. He would need that rightness in the times to come.
A marching order whispered down the lines, the people demand Esplanade and nothing less: A picnic needed ordering: A rackpack of wine and 3 jugs of orange juice
The only thing Donald knew was each day brought the next one closer and he had plenty of days ahead
Those days existed to the left and never to the right and those were lips
He left the lips, he hoped they weren’t his
A rumor of a trip to the river rained within his world.
He grabbed the blunt box and the wine jug and Jess and ran to the door. Shadows followed. More than he could see.
The river gave you chilled diseases. Birds went for throat
He had the wrong blunt
He suddenly felt like it was 11pm and all he had was a fistful of almonds and half a can of Pringles for supper
He took a swig, maybe of wine, maybe of orange juice, maybe it was both
It tasted of Fruit, but weren’t all origins the same in that they share a maker, designer, producer, CEO, chairman, all priest
A damn shame for those who hated and thought of others more than themselves in that those who were shamed say those who were hated as lesser
He wanted to swim in the river that poisoned the fish that breathed it
Not true, Donald said, we poisoned the river and the fish and the child and always the moment: We exist between the moment and the moment again
“Silly Boy”
Jess became Dagny or always was and that would be answered at a point to be decided
Or maybe it was Jess, Donald’s eyes were standing their ground for the protection of imagination and were not to be as much believed as reflected
Donald took a hit
He promised a friend once; he would make Mary Jane’s Bistro and serve traditional home meals and other monstrosities Donald took a Stone Soup approach to cooking He had his fair share of failures but people kept around so it sometimes worked
Dagny/Jess expected words but Donald had none
Donald cackled and hoped it solved the questionable dilemma of communication
Dagny/Jess became the Commander Donald found the result to lean toward success
They sat on the banks of the now blinding river as the sun burned towards the horizon A spot full of harmony that the tree that grew nearby chose to lay down and grow along the water’s edge towards the sea rather than reach for the unattainable freedom of true height The spot felt Donald He would be here now again and eventually in all true moments A spot to prove existence and the worth of having such the toxic river even shined here
The Commander painted but Donald did not intrude on other men’s prayers and let the mystery of what was and would and could sit. It was the last measure of strength in society to control the outflow of life
The taste on his lips was the unmistakable Somerville gem of Cossack It was the taste of home and nostalgia for new experiences that came before The taste of sleeping on dusty tile and dufflebag blankets The taste of youth The taste of flawed idols and parents The taste of sexual peak meeting sexual angst
The screams contained in each sip got him closer to something and that was what the moment required
When Donald was eight, his Grandmother gave him an index car with the words “Doing What’s Required” scribbled on it The line, paraphrased from Churchill, seemed to be the only piece of permanent wisdom to Donald
As the Commander and Donald sat, he knew there would be no Allston art gallery It would only be a chain against their flight towards achievement They needed unasked paintings and dirty dishes and dreams crafted over decades To achieve too soon would be to accomplish the least
Donald sat with the Cook by the Wolf Statue built by a woman in love with her dog or vice versa or possibly by the tribes that ran the swamp of Boston in honor of the canine the Harvard graduate of nature
A howl of words began and the students turned witch doctors became possessed by the damned spirits of the Baby Boomers who were banished for reneging on their victories of youth and need to boast of long loss wars against the machine that keeps them breathing
Vaders all
Donald yearned to apologize to Dagny and be with Jess than switch the roles
He chortled in angst and damned his maker
He didn’t want to be himself The guy who did what guys do at school at home at work at bedtime at the dawn He held himself to Darcy and understood the folly of the notion and the utter bourgeois nature of his primal desires Not even Dean Not even Dean
A life stolen from lyrics over half a century old about different times but the same battles raged into Donald’s twilight
The taste in his mouth burned the cuts from sleepless nights and bored teeth Donald arrived on the doorsteps of Orange Juice, the closest to hydration he imagined within his reach He deemed himself ambivalent on the substance throughout childhood
Too many inferior products in the same category Away from his Mother’s arms, the drink transformed into the absent feeling and once more Donald became whole
Donald walked to his room through the Garden and enjoyed a hookah offered by ghosts of his future

Donald’s sheets became entangled by Jess; Donald discovered when he woke chilled. Donald entered her cocoon and added his mass to the shell surrounding her. His donation came with personal access to the dorm fire escape, which gave him the chance to smoke without going downstairs and tempted Donald with thoughts of inhalation at all hours. Donald would need all the inhales he could get. Donald let the urge to smoke pass as he enjoyed Jess’ slow exhales on his neck and her arms slow stretch to encompass his form. Donald powered on his phone and cleared the memory. The accuracy of machines was the single largest threat to the collective power of the human imagination that Donald had encountered yet. The second, Donald cradled in his arms.

Donald knew his response to Kurt and saved it as a draft of a text.

True, but if they have common ground, they are no longer opposites. Thus they can now succeed, but if that common ground doesn’t develop, the attraction will fade quickly. How long can two opposing forces share the same table without breaking out into conflict? The common ground can be as simple as resolving the outstanding issues. Can the reaction against the opposite become the thin thread that holds the relationship together? For the moments when it works.

Manifest Young Scion Chapter 3

I guess I’m saying people relate to others through themselves. And that that is always the case. They will always see a bit of themselves in that person. And it isn’t how similar the stranger is to the judge; it’s how similar the stranger appears to the judge, because it all lies in how the judge sees them. Once again, this is all inside the judge’s own mind and he is using himself as a platform to relate to people. I suppose it’s slightly existential. -Kurt

Donald had an issue. He agreed with the entirety of Kurt’s response. He could pretend to play Devil’s Advocate, but then he would come off as cranky. Donald hit this wall on occasion. The mental corner of an argument run dry. A frustrated response wouldn’t be the solution. He knew he would need to sit on his thoughts for a moment, maybe propose a new theory.

Maybe, he would run into Dagny again. She had added Donald on Facebook about three major parties ago. He had hoped her circle would be in attendance to no avail. He desperately needed to speak to her. Was she her name’s sake? Was the ghost of Ayn Rand blocking Donald from calling her number?

Donald met Ayn Rand in junior year of high school — a copy of “Atlas Shrugged” in the back of a friend’s car while on a film shoot. The back posed the question, “Who is John Galt?”

Donald wanted to know. He wasted a week of reading to find that John Galt was no one he wanted to know. He read “The Fountainhead” and found it could possess a faded beauty. Rand, Donald decided, was a poet with the sense of a duck. Stalin had that effect on people.

Donald heard the rap on the door. It was time for him to head out with the Commander for food before a day of spliffs. The Cook was welcome to join, but you didn’t see him before Dusk on weekends and sometimes not until after midnight.

The Beacon Street dining commons have a patio conquered in the 90’s by the musical theatre majors. Freshmen rehearse midnight to dawn dreaming of the day they are awake enough to enjoy Sunday brunch. Their dorm is on the opposite end of the commons over on Tremont. The College of the Stage and the College of Letters are housed downtown and share the flagship location along with The Tower, which focused on communication theory. The College of Visual Arts and The Conservatory are down in Back Bay by the old symphony hall and the Castle. The Technical Institute was housed in South Boston by the warehouses and mafia-run gay bars.

Everyone was a double major. Donald worked with the College of Letters and The Tower (Literature and Media epistemology). The Blond Commander was a member of both the College of Visual Art and the Technical Institute (Fine Art and Installations). The Cook was of the College of Letters, the Conservatory and the Technical Institute (Playwriting, Music Theory, and Culinary Arts). The Cook never stopped like some Alaskan day.

Donald blushed as he thought of how he damned his chances to explore the city. A student could live at any of their majors’ Colleges. The Blond Commander lived by the Castle but trekked to the gardens all the same. The Cook lived downtown across the Gardens and Common on the corner of Boylston and Tremont. The family dinners he cooked for his friends made their alcohol poisoning survivable. The Cook’s bike got him to back alleys of Southie and whisking in the school dining hall where he worked by dawn. Playwrights haunted the halls as they scavenged evacuated stages to splinter their skin and gain their desired ethereal connection. The Cook’s people fought the sun and he marched onward for everything one marches for.

If Dagny was about brunches on the street level patio, Donald could aspire to mimosas and all the discarded yolks his heart could withstand. It was good to be a faceless author.

The Trio however did not dine inside the building or outside on the street level patio. Rather the dining hall staff permitted The Trio to dine on the roof and lent a blind eye to the strange juices camouflaged by fine China. The roof overlooked the Public Garden and had been empty when they first gained access to it, but now the surface looked like a well-furnished coffee shop. The tables had been gained on a truck ride to New Hampshire and the chairs made in North Adams. The sofas from Craigslist. It was a luxurious set up with personal loveseats, end tables, main tables, and lanterns.

A Midwesterner like the Commander had his uses. The Commander had also wrangled table side service into the bargain. The Cook worked the occasional shift and stored a minifridge for personal requests. They rigged a buzzer system to prevent any unwarranted visitors.

The leaves had begun to pile. Donald had purchased a set of rakes and shovels. They had attempted to turn a Pacific play tunnel into a garbage shoot as to avoid the long walk up and down the stairs.

The weather had begun to grey and the leaves began to murk. Their palace faced severe issues, it was built for summers.

“The snow is going to be an issue,” Donald said as they hauled down garbage bags of leaves. Tax deductible donations were Donald’s folks’ game and the Brahmins concurred with their opinion. The money must flow. Damn the building codes.

“I’d say the cold gets us first,” said the Blond Commander as they sat back down on the couches on the roof. His speech slowed from the climb up the stairs. He pulled out a blunt and lit it

“I thought you had rewired the heating lamps down stairs, the staff said we could use them if we fixed them”.

“That’s a ton of energy to blow; we can’t be sending miners down to die for that”.

“What if we built something like a sun porch?”

“You go on your sun porch in the winter?”

“What if we throw some ventilation into a greenhouse? Would the lamps would work then?”

“That’s some cash.”

“I can swing it in a few weeks”

They smoked for a moment in silence. Family wealth can be a sensitive subject in these times. Donald estimated the green house worth budgeting into his ten million a year investment based income. The dreaded moment of being responsible for his own wealth was approaching. He avoided the subject.

“What do you think I am?”

“Not sure. Outwardly you’re quite blank,” said the Commander.


“You still dress in the clothes your mother bought you”.

“What gave it away?”

“That’s Billy Joel, Donald.”

Donald had never shopped for himself or anyone else on any other occasion. He had no patience for it. Clothes were to cover your shame if his teachers were to be believed. God will provide for all; nuns don’t recycle. He just needed enough cover to get him service at most chains.

“What’s my style then?”

“You tell me.”

“Not sure.”

“We need some shrooms,” said the Commander.

There comes a time once or twice a year when man (in the Tolkien sense of the word) must break his mind in order to restore it. Donald turned off his screens and ventured into the wilds of New England. When the day had the dying warmth of August with the breeze of the coming fall, one could decide without the pressures of history, with the knowledge that clouds still moved and rivers would flow. The fear of self being ignored for Donald now lived past the age of Myspace when social media was a Wild West of Freedom and Expression. In the age of the minimalist Facebook and Twitter, only crafted responses need reply. Tumblr would kill Blogger and turn WordPress into a Land of Would and Might Be’s. Original expression was something to fear. Donald needed less sleep. Dreams killed.


Donald would never intern and he thought that must say something. Somehow the idea that a 30 million budget can’t find 8 dollars an hour to pay a servant struck Donald as un-American. A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s labor. It built the Pru and that was something to talk about. Instead, he volunteered in service to his community. Fahrenheit 451 was written in a library. No one wanted to build America anymore these days, except Donald and he had too many living relatives to fund anything. Too many John Galts.

“People relate to others through themselves.” Kurt’s words explained the appeal of Personal Objectivism, the core of every notion was the Self. Most people just got over it.

Donald buzzed for coffee.

“We should get a Mr. Coffee up here. I think there is an old one in the basement”, said Donald. The Commander and he still relaxing on their private rooftop patio on the dining commons.

“You don’t need to keep covering up with that frugal stuff. It’s okay to be rich. I’m not here on scholarship either.”


“Who said I wasn’t rich?”

“You certainly don’t dress it and you always try to hide your purchases, not that I don’t appreciate this setup.”

The Blond Commander pulled out a massive Sherlock pipe and his grinder. He dug into his messenger bag for a freezer bag. The Commander selected five long buds and brimmed the seasoned wood.

“I did buzz a few moments ago, maybe we should wait to get high until after the coffee is delivered. We wouldn’t want to be kicked out before midterms,” said Donald.

“Maybe the library needs a new wing to go with the restoration, we can get a little high and the school can get a little nicer to overcharge tuition”.

Maybe it did. Donald lit up to a smooth sensation. These were not the Midz he was looking for. White as snow to the average eye. Everyone comes from somewhere and some come from a long beginning.

“Does the Cook know?” asked Donald.

“Nah, and does he need to?”

“I guess not.”

The numbed throb of the past night’s alcohol poisoning held Donald in limbo. Existence tore at his bones and robbed his mind of speed and function. He’d hold on for the next 12 hours til the poison returned to his body.

The door opened and the dining hall worker, DHW, delivered two towering thermoses of relief. One of the chefs from Jersey had shipped in some good porkroll. According to the chef, it was apparently one of America’s national treasures and a secret that was in part guarded by Nick Cage, at least according to the DHW’s sources. Donald knew the follow up.

“Can we get that on the usual breakfast bagel pile with a mellow mushroom pizza?”

“Yea dude. That might take some time though,” said DHW.

“No problem, I can get you cash later or give you a half of Diesel now,” said the Blond Commander. He took over as head diplomat, it was his birthright. The Genteel Rancher, a man of action and elegance.

“Half an O?”

“Pound,” as the Commander passed over the bag.

“I can accept this as proper payment.” With that DHW disappeared from behind the girl, hopefully to arrange for the shrooms and more importantly a taste of what this porkroll was all about. Donald was a patriot at heart after all.

“You overpaid. It would be cheaper to cultivate them yourself,” said Donald

“Usually is and who says I don’t,” said the Commander.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to offend,” said Donald.

“Don’t worry; it can be a dangerous topic in certain circles. I could show you how it wasn’t that big of a loss, but let’s not discuss it here or now or for a while,” said the Commander

“I get my trust when I turn eighteen in a few weeks and wouldn’t mind making some lifestyle investments; I figure I got some cash for a foundation without hurting the core,” said Donald.

In the noon sun on the roof, they enjoyed their coffee and burned deeper into the mound of green. The clouds soared past. Donald enjoyed when one could easily notice the movement of clouds, across the sky – a billboard advertising the flow of the universe.

But it still moves…the statement that shifted Donald from his scientific pursuits for a life of beauty. As much as Donald confessed, he still couldn’t achieve anything more than cafeteria status with the catechism.

Their breakfast arrived. Donald’s brunch consisted of a bagel with cheddar, bacon, ham, porkroll, and 3 eggs. He usually ate it with a breakfast burrito on the side, as he preferred his sausage intake in tortilla format. His mother believed in Pepsi for hangovers and Donald believed in being dutiful.

Pancakes got involved shortly after. Donald hoped that the shrooms would arrive post midafternoon burgers and wings and the supper of barnyard burgers, a fusion of bacon, chicken, and beef which he had dreamed up. Donald hoped it would be a wicked midnight. A romp through the cobbled Northend and a splash or two in Columbus Park. Had the pollution in the harbor made the jellyfish glow? He could only hope. The Gypsy Bar had glowing jellyfish, but that bar was the insect zapper of the city. The jellyfish trapped the people within the dress code of the vacuous.

“We need to get a library up here and a projection screen,” said Donald.

“Mass expansion”.

“I’m looking to invest.”

“Decadent,” said the Blond Commander.

“Maybe, we should get a house in Allston out by Harvard Ave. They have some nice basements out that way. The top can be a gallery. And maybe get another house to have offices and studies. I want one for digital purposes and another for more serious matters. A shared study for discussions. A kitchen and offices for the Cook. Whatever studio space you require and same for study. Emergency bed space,” said Donald.

“Two Ten-bedroom houses should work with enough porch space and backyard space to have some outdoor events.”

“I will miss our breakfasts here”.

They sat silent for a moment

“The Cook awaking before dusk would be travesty, he sleeps too much. I only ever see him at night” said the Commander.

“He might be a vampire or maybe secret daylight friends who he isn’t embarrassed to be seen with. Should we expand the Trio?”

“I don’t think the Cook is embarrassed to be seen with us, I think he just runs out of booze and crashes. I would support inviting someone to join for the morning hours while the Cook sleeps or where ever he spends his daylight?”

“An addition to our circus of ideas with one day degreed clowns,” said Donald.

“It would be a pointless search, the Cook is irreplaceable. I just wish he wouldn’t sleep all day long. I thinking living with him could cure that,” said the Commander.

Donald lit a cigarette, an American Spirit Light. The yellow box matched his disposition and he preferred his smoking breaks to be marathons. 20 years ago, he could have smoked indoors and he would have no need to take breaks.

“Back to the place in Allston. Maybe we need a third house that is a library with a media playback room as well.”

“It would be an uninsurable tinderbox but it isn’t bad to support the arts”.

Donald smiled. He would have his books. He may still be tabula rasa in fashion, but he would not be alone. Donald stretched out on the sofa beneath the clear autumn sky and curled up so that couches arms blocked the breeze.

Sofa naps are a time honored tradition to be protected above all obligations on an autumn weekend.


“In every room.”

They would not be barbarians.

Donald closed his eyes, comforted by the knowledge that the Cook would be there with DHW’s surprise upon awaking.

Donald dreamed his eventual message in a form close to the final.

I believe I can agree with your statement of “people relate to others through themselves”. I think that might be a good conclusion to this topic for the moment possibly. If so, I have a theory for you:
Opposites can’t succeed as a couple. Sure opposite attract only until the novelty of the differences wears off. Then the pair is sure to fail due to the lack of common ground.


Manifest Young Scion Chapter 2

To a certain degree, I think people relate to each other as extensions of themselves. They see some of themselves in others and, depending on that, whether consciously or unconsciously, they decide who they like and who they don’t. Like the murder example. Maybe if the guy sympathizes with the murderer because he could see himself doing the same thing under slightly different circumstances. Maybe he believes that if he had turned out slightly different, he would’ve ended up that way. Your idea of the dark side is very interesting. Maybe it all depends on whether or not people can accept that part of themselves.– Kurt

Donald got the idea that Kurt didn’t really pity the murderers rotting in Walpole, but the kid could be too vague and oblique when he needed to get something off his chest. Donald just asked for help when those times hit him.

The scene was all right, as the kids said these days, or something like it. The Blond Commander passed Donald the blunt. They were the age when all comments alternative were worth stating frequently. Clinton was a brief memory, and their awareness came when Bush roamed the Earth. Everything was black, white, and grey. Weed was great, could be made into everything. The conspiracy was long and vast. Straight to the Top, all of them. Goddamn, this is 70 a slice shit. Donald killed his beer. Too weak. He needed Mr. Boston, the burn that thoughts are seared from. His gait was much too straight for his liking. The Cook had the correct bottle filled with red sugar and barely distilled grain liquor, the kind one couldn’t buy in this town. The three had fused their stashes, which seemed to be a milestone or bond of a kind. A co-op of the wasted sort.

Their dealer was having a shindig and the three thought it best to show face at that kind of event. A bazaar of illicit objects to be traded for gold, paper, or anything that could be fashioned into a value. The drugs are experiences to be shared; not products for market. A tip for the procurement of wonder was a simple gesture of gratitude.

“Shall we not dance?” spoke the Cook.

“To what?” said Donald.

“To drugs and the autumn wind.”

“Let’s kill this first” said the Blond Commander holding up the blunt. They had just crossed from Allston into Brookline at Harvard Ave.

They were at the border of Suburbia, where cops roam. In many ways, modern Boston was a sprawl similar to Los Angeles. The main urban center was Boston Proper with the various outlying liege urban centers: Allston, Cambridge, Somerville, Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Back Bay, and parts of Brookline (but not really). The T expanded into the suburbs of Watertown, Charlestown, Newton, Wellesley, Quincy, Malden, Everett. Real Green Day shit. Donald wished for Metropolis.

The Cook snuffed the roach and slid it into his cigarette case. He began to mimic a trumpet and snapped his fingers, swinging the music in his arms. The Blond Commander did his waltz. Donald hesitated. His main dance moves came from a wedding in 7th grade and his staple was the sprinkler. In the dark, he baltered in a desperate prayer for mystical release from the poetry of the ages. Donald’s companions nodded at Donald’s sincerity. The Men Without Hats never said one had to dance well as a requirement for friendship.

They straightened up as they passed into the burbs, their slouches gone and any sign of booze or drugs disappeared into their backpacks. No need to blow up the party host’s spot. The house was in its usual place. Inside there was a sea of beards and a haze of glitter. Donald regretted putting down the gasmask at the Surplus earlier. House parties never meet expectations, so the best escape from the Beirut table was the New Englander back porch. The smokers were the only people one needed to meet and the stillness of the street encouraged conversation. The Blond Commander and the Cook greeted the various tribes gathered before them. The Commander and Cook in turn were greeted as ambassadors of their wider circle, whose membership fluxed. The Blond Commander, the Cook, and Donald swerved their heads as their names were forced across the noise by drunken vocal chords rising to meet the challenge.

“Well isn’t it The Trio,” this greeting came from a sophomore whose original marijuana connection had the audacity to graduate the previous May and “The Trio” opened their contact lists on their cellphones as a sign of comradery.

During their short time at school, the Trio had become the anchors of a crew of nomads: The Lovers (Jan and Jim), the Metal Heads too stoned to find more of own their kind, a lost Sorority Sister, and a gallery of lazy artists. The Trio explored the wilds of Allston and Brookline for drugs to feed their motley flock. They were the public school kids. Outside The Trio their friends were private school kids who relied on second hand sources. They could afford the premium and the illusion of safety, drinking in dorms with dubstep blasting. Sure, Donald had that kind of cash too, but that wasn’t his kin’s way.

Donald preferred his Rackpack inside of which sat a 30 of Busch Light fresh from the cooler courtesy of his Irish brethren. Often they fled to the serene banks of the Charles to drink the evening away. Donald hated the feel of fluorescent light.

The Blond Commander huddled the crew.

“The Mentor is out back”

“Who?” said Donald repelling interlopers from breaking The Trio’s circle.

“Donald, she brought us to the lantern and showed us where the cops like to search at night,” said the Cook.

“She can introduce us to Peddlers,” said the Commander.

“Screw this song.”

“Fuck it, to the Porch”

The make shift dance floor in the living floor proved to be a difficult current to navigate; it was like moving through a spell, Black Tentacles flailing all around. Donald failed his social grace save as he moved through the crowd. He clutched the Rackpack as a buoy. The Cook shifted through the dancers and his phone was pickpocketed. The Cook shrugged.

Donald wondered how many new contacts would appear in the Cook’s phone. Donald doubted he’d have the same luck the girls took Donald’s Rugby shirt the wrong way.

A girl grabbed him from the depths of the dance floor. The call of Cthulhu.

She moved her mouth and Donald took the shapes of her lips to be her name, but the beats of Kanye West kept the words a mystery. The lightless living room kept her face a mystery.
Donald nodded and said “I’m Donald.” She nodded in return. Donald figured he could always extend his hey instead of calling her by her name if they had a second conversation.

“You play lacrosse, bro?” said the girl as she scanned Donald’s body, narrowing in on his rugby shirt and processing his being into the categories that built her world view.

“Haven’t touched a stick in years,” said Donald, the girl and he were not quite phreaking as their bodies attempted to groove, “I prefer to think of myself as The Boy who Lived, some people say I look like Harry Potter in this.”

Donald didn’t mention that the people, he spoke of, referred to his mother.

The girl pulled away for a moment.

Donald spun her around, so their eyes connected again.

“Don’t worry; I don’t think I’m a wizard. I just find clothes shopping painful,” said Donald.

“I find your fashion sense painful, perhaps we could help each other out,” said the Girl, she took Donald’s phone from his pocket.

While she clacked on his phone’s keypad, he eased his arm around her lower waist. She paused and nuzzled his neck and returned her focus to the phone.

The Cook waved Donald towards the backdoor, which Donald ignored.

“I think a friend of yours wants to talk to you,” the girl said as she exited the cave of a dance floor into the hallway where she joined a cluster of well-dressed girls.

Donald joined the Cook and padded his pocket, where he felt the bulk of his phone.

The Trio found the porch to be empty, but a trickle could be heard echoing in the dark.

“What do you guys do?” said Donald.

“Get high mostly” said the Blond Commander.

“Like Majorwise, I don’t think we’ve brought it up.”

“You might have blacked out that night. I roll the blunts, the Cook bakes, and you pack the bowls”

“I doubt we’ll read that on the diploma”

The Blond Commander shrugged.

“We’re all classicals,” said the Cook.


“Classicals references our majors reside in the classic mediums. I’m in the playwriting program”, the Cook spoke as he passed around red cups, “the Commander is something of a painter/ sculpture. You scribble as well.”

“I guess.”

“Ha, this isn’t the kind of place to guess,” the Mentor appeared from the dark recesses of the yard, where the sounds of urination created a gentle ambiance for those outside.

The Blond Commander unslouched and shook the Mentor’s hand and a full round
of shakes and pounds and rocket ships began. She was a sophomore at Brahmin.

“Do people care about being a Classical? I mean movies have been pretty big for a hundred years now and I’d bet there are a few photographs in the Louvre,” spoke Donald.

“We screenwriters are still in the New Media catalog even after we got shifted into the College of Letters, post ‘Dances with Wolves’,” spoke the Mentor.

A blunt was lit. It was only proper.

“100 years ago, screenwriting was similar to tweeting. Even today, I feel it would be a scandal to see the Dean of Letters at a picture show. What do you write Donald?” said the Mentor.

“Short fiction anthologies mostly and critique. The standard philosophical essay as well,” said Donald.

“One would be in New York otherwise” spoke the Cook.

“Are you still guessing?” said the Mentor.

“I couldn’t imagine a stable career, so I figured creative writing was a safe choice,” said Donald.

“Ah, an honest rugby shirt! True to the Ivy slacker. Let us drink to disenchantment,” said the Mentor.

They chugged a beer. Donald finished last. He went for a piss in a room with a lock. The one in the kitchen had a working one. The walls oozed with a mix of lust, joy, fear, and desperation. Donald pushed his way through. One could wait too long on occasion.

The kitchen of the party is a good spot to veg if one didn’t wish to get sweat on. It was the well, where everyone must go for free booze and to piss. Stay long enough and you can get your chair on. It was simplest play setting of being a college socialite.

Of all the movie lines in all the medium, Donald couldn’t think of a better cliché when he saw the Ex sitting in a flimsy Ikea chair at an undersized kitchen table that was debating collapse. There was a firm grip on his Ex’s waist. It belonged to a sea green Mohawk. Donald grew one of his own sophomore year of high school. He shaved it off when all his friend’s parents thought it made him a queer and banned him from sleep overs. Good Old Catholic homophobia. Mohawk had the studs to prove his willingness to torment middle aged white citizens. Probably vegan too.

Donald found the bathroom down a short hallway off the kitchen and fortunately, the hall was away from where the Ex sat. The bathroom line was long as people group puked, snorted, fucked, and occasionally pissed. At least the lighting undersold its own existence. The hall’s light source was the kitchen as Donald progressed to the door, the details around him shifted into shadow. Donald needed the Cook’s moonshine jar that was a drink for reactions.

A face pressed against him.

“Don’t be sad.”

“I’m not, I just need to piss,” said Donald.

“Use the yard like a civilized person.”

“I get shy.”

“Yea?” said the face.

An alien hand slipped down Donald’s pants. He sent out an exploratory force with his hands. He needed to get an image of what he was working with. Donald began at the waist and confirmed this was the girl from the dance floor. The face smelled out something from Macy’s, the scent was a frequent visitor to Donald’s nose. He liked the scent; it reminded him of fond kisses past. She felt human, which at this moment was good enough. Substance could be discovered later.

Donald heard his zipper and looked up, they were in the yard. Dark enough that he still couldn’t see her face.

“I won’t look,” said the Girl.

“It doesn’t really matter”

It was a solid stream. Donald wanted soap, he always wanted soap. It was important to clean. The Unknown Face didn’t share his scruples or at least Mr. Boston didn’t. It was a shitty hand job, but then the hand job is inherently flawed. Jacking off was a celebration of self and self-love. Other people just get lost. Donald removed the hand and pressed their faces together as he zipped up.

“You get stoned?”

“Yea, but not when drinking. Gives me the spins.”

“Ever had moonshine?”

“No, I only drink Absolut.”

Donald lit a Winston. The Cook had them shipped from a friend down South. Fuckin’ legit. The Unknown Face reached for a long gone bag. Donald lit a second one. He managed to catch her smile, the kind of teeth that cost a second mortgage. He bet she had a sweet name. Why did he lose it on the dance floor?

“I’m Donald Guntherson.”


“Yea, figured I should probably mention it again.”

She leaned into him.

“Dagny, again,” she smiled.

“Your dad a CEO?”

“How’d ya know”

“The Frats are a few streets over,” said the Mohawk.

“That isn’t a future MBA,” said Jess, the Ex.

The Ex was always civilized. The Mohawk turned to the side and pissed. His stream flurried and sputtered and raged.

“You might need to see someone about that,” said Donald

“I think I am.”

Donald figured there were about 20 decent paces between him and the porch. If he sprinted, he would just seem wasted trying to play red rover with the Mohawk and Jess.

“Guess we’ve been to the same Doctor.”

Donald knew that statement lead to sleepless nights and morning confessions.

“Fucker”, his Ex scratched Donald’s face, “Where’s your lacrosse stick?”

Donald glared through his cigarette and tossed the butt. He hated lacrosse; he hated the Ex for acting as if she didn’t know where his clothes came from and why he wore them.

The porch knew it was time to bounce and Dagny tagged along for safe measure.

Commonwealth Ave has great late night lighting and Dagny had a Rogue streak in her hair and looked like she probably didn’t dig her name right anyway. Who didn’t read Rand in high school anyway? If Donald asked for numbers, he’d probably ask for her’s.

In his room, the question wasn’t to add her on Facebook as Donald believed the number she added to his phone was real. He thought of his rugby shirt, the lack of image he had for himself. Was he a man without personality?

He dressed like a sportsman, danced like an amputee, drank like he was a writer even if he never made it to the keyboard.

Donald ran every morning after finishing the Globe and breakfast. Praise the 24 hour Catholic dining hall. Donald awoke sharply at 5 to begin and showered by 7:30. Daily eggs and bacon marred his reflection. A longer run would be needed. Catholicism, the religion where drunken confession was praised for its honesty on occasion. The New England October ranged from freezing rain to gentle winds. On the best days, there was the slight crisp that meant a light wool sweater to class. It was the crisp that foretold of the rich smoky haze of burning wood. The dew turned the grass slightly blue in the morning. His mother would be burning the beef covered in flour and chopping potatoes, carrots, and celery for stew. Who would accompany his family’s lab, Sol, in circling his mother making sweeps for morsels left behind or dropped? Was glutton the best descriptor of Donald? Was glutton even a social category?

He returned uncertain of where his opinions came from. From what source did he draw his “self”?

How could he discuss morality without an understanding of his own “I”?

He typed anyway.

Ok , I see the angle you’re looking at this from. So you’re saying that people relate to others through how they are connected to each other, rather than how they are separate. I agree with that statement, which is why people can get so passionate over a random stranger. It isn’t who the stranger is, but rather how the stranger is similar to the judge.


The End of an Era: Thoughts on “The Deuce”

HBO’s The Deuce is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. The final episode aired a few months ago and I am ready to speak my thoughts. Please stop here to avoid spoilers.

The Deuce was about the golden age of porn centered on Times Square. I know some feel it represents the end of an HBO era with the coming of HBO Max but I believe HBO will always have a home for art house television among the superheroes and fantasy warlords. A few years ago when The Deuce premiered it did seem like there was too much art house television with streamers flooding the market and it outdid them all. The Deuce was rawer than the others, less about Emmy moments. Instead each season examined a period in a slow built to a breathtaking conclusion. To me, the show told narratives about a period of freedom, we can never return to. Times Square was a playground for desire in all its forms. The dark and the light while it never romanticized any aspect of the brutal realities, it separated justice from judgement. I know that lack of judgement frustrated some viewers but freedom will always have a dark side. The Deuce never asked you to forgive anyone for their wrongdoing but it never let you forget their humanity either. Bobby wasn’t a good husband or man but refused to physically assault the sex workers who quit his parlor. Great moment in humanity, no. But it was an important one for Times Square where that was status quo. It was a show that didn’t give a fuck about next week. I will be honest, I watched seasons 2 and 3 after they had finished their initial airing because watching one a night for ten days straight gave me a preferable pace. Narratives were almost all seasonal arcs. It was a beautiful experience in television. More than traditional episodic and far from the decade long questions of Lost and Game of Thrones. In many ways, it reminds me of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City without the hippie grace of San Francisco.

The reason I started this was to discuss the closing scene of The Deuce. The final scene of a series is a hard feat to pull off. In particular, a series about how the cesspit of NYC became the main tourist drag. Vincent returns to NYC in 2019 and goes for a walk down the old way. In an elegant bar, we learn Candy has died (but important enough to get an obituary in a major New York daily). He then walks the hazy fake daylight of the LEDs that make up the neighborhood today. He sees the ghosts of all the dead characters. Most are in their 60’s rock bottom era costumes. At first I hated this scene but I grew to love it. One the final moment is Vincent meeting Frankie in front of an Olive Garden. There’s a wonderful joke in that shot. The two Italian American New Yorkers both forced out and the corporate vision of their culture which matches the corporate vision of Gotham around them. I know a lot of people who hate it, people whose 70’s New York was Manhattan which kept to the parts where polite company gathered. In Simulation and Simulacra, Baudrillard discusses Disneyland and particularly the emptiness that hits in the parking lot after. We see the illusions that we have created in our lives. Times Square is a similar space. In the 60-80’s, it was the illusion that you had to go there for your taboo desires. In 2019 it is the illusion that we no longer have those desires.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 1006: Binders Full of Nothing

Sometimes I feel my relationship with the Democratic Party is the Supremes’ classic “Where Did Our Love Go”. In a time where the status quo is up for grabs, the Party offers a greatest hits of past ideas that people like until they hear the details. I’m bewildered. Trump’s election was caused by many things but a key aspect I’ve come to accept was he offered new alternatives. Greenland, the space force, funding high tech manufacturing in America for national security reasons are all good ideas. It is the beginning of an actual vision of the future.

There will be a tomorrow and a next day whether we live to see it or not. The current “dark green” moment is unfounded. Climate change is real and no good but we do have tools to fight it without resorting to death cults. We can harness nuclear energy more and despite the idea of danger (thanks to Big Oil propaganda) it isn’t going to destroy the world as we know it like fossil fuels will. When France and Vermont shut down nuclear power plants for renewable alternatives, they increased their reliance on fossil fuels.

Why are we stuck in this nostalgia crusade? Why in a time when individual actors have more capabilities than the largest bureaucracies of history dems only offer more centralization? Didn’t the election of Trump show us the limits of the presidency and the administrative state?

Biden’s self defenestration is mind boggling. I nominally viewed him as a viable candidate based on his shoot from the hip style as VP. Yet his campaign continually shoots itself in the foot over legitimate past choices. Most recently over Trump’s lynching comments in relation to his impeachment inquiry. Based on the scandal, one could assume we are a nation of grammar nazis not one where 70% never picks up a book post schooling.

Its hard to see any of the democratic candidates defeating Trump in 2020. If primary continues to be about regaining the voters who deflected to the Green party in 2016 rather than the ones who deflected to Trump. Clinton amd Obama’s grand coalitions will have been a blimps in history.

Politics is the art of the possible. It requires imagination. There is one Democrat whose possesses that quality: Andrew Yang. Many decry his lack of government experience but no one on the democrat stage possesses any achievements in government outside Biden who distances himself from much of what he accomplished. Unless we now consider showing up to collect a paycheck, a legislative achievement. Yang actually lives in 2019 America. The Freedom Dividend (UBI) is hos flagship proposal. It is the only policy being proposed that will meaningfully benefit most Americans. But Medicare for all you will say. By all recent budget breakdowns, the cost of medicare for all will require a federal budget increase of 75%. You will pay the same for your care now and more covering the cost of others in taxes. Same with most of Warren or Sanders soak the rich for gov programs ideas. Unlike the oil that funds the nordic dream, the rich aren’t a natural resource. They are quite the opposite. It’s hard to see companies and their leaders remaining in America at a cost to their bottom line. Much as Russian and Chinese elite now buy American and European real estate that can’t be seized by their home countries. The American elite would explore wealth alternatives.

That isn’t to say wealth inequality isn’t an issue but it is. I don’t think taxes will save us alone. Because it isn’t just some have so much and others have so little but your wealth decides most factors in our lives. Once the boss and you went to church together and your spouses and kids were friends. We were integrated beyond the workday. In our fragmented society today, we lost that community. I doubt that we can go back. I doubt that I would want to go back. The America we live in today where people are more free to be themselves socially than ever isn’t a bad place. Sometimes, I feel we are superficial in our tolerance as shown by our building of echo chambers. We have to reach and let ourselves be reached out to across group barriers. There might not be much or anything in common at all to begin with but simply spending time together is a commonality. We can’t just pay the government to do this work for us.

JFK didn’t say he alone or even the government alone could solve the challenges the country faced. “What you can do for your country”. That’s a message missing from the debate stage. It’s certainly not a question Trump has ever asked himself. Maybe it’s time we sold the elite a future.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 222: No Charity for the Rich

Tax cuts for the already wealthy do not bring more or better jobs. Just handouts for the well off for being well off. 

The bottom 80% move the Earth to generate the riches. We don’t deserve less for the more taxes we pay each year. We don’t deserve stagnant wages for higher productivity since 90.

A 20 percent corporate tax cut isn’t draining the swamp but an expansion of it. 

-E.C. Fiori

Day 217: No Wall

Trump said it would be paid by Mexico and be like the Great Wall of China.

Trump said it would be funded by America and Mexico would get us back and it was a chain link fence.

Trump’s going to shut down America for a fence paid for by Mexico.

We elected Lear.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 191: Better Mousetrap

The state of modern drug testing in the workplace has barely improved since Reagan started the trend. I cannot understand why. Failed tests take a toll on the economy . At a least one plant, half of a failures are due to positive marijuana results. I’m pro-marijuana but safe work places especially when working with literal tons of metal are more important. The problem is current testing can’t tell if you are high now or were a month ago (just for thc, other chemicals fade faster). This means workers even in states where it is legal. Workers can’t enjoy the fruits of their labor without fear of being flagged. We can implant a microchip to operate as a credit card but we can’t tell when one last smoked is ridiculous. 
 Marijuana is safer than Alcohol and better for dealing with long term chronic pain than opiates. We can talk in circles all we want about mental addiction but you can be mentally addicted to any reinforced action and physical addiction that comes from alcohol, opiates, and other drugs has a far greater toll. I’m sure all physically addicted (to which there is no cure just the continuous work of recovery) would trade for a mental addiction (closer to a bad habit and can end). Studies have disproven the gateway theory. To deny the healthiest high on the grounds of tradition is bad policy. 
To those who preach sobriety, I would argue without the human desire to get high, we would not have society and civilization as we know it. The history of beer is the history of us. That being said there is virtue in moderation and a balance between states is needed. Theres no reason or need to be high in most jobs. There can be great danger. Your supervisor might be a son of a bitch but he’s the son of a bitch whose job it is to get you back to your wife and kids. He needs better tools. 
Perhaps it is a generational gap but we need 21st century solutions today because the century is going to pass us by.
-E.C. Fiori