Manifest Young Scion Chapter 6

Arguments almost never end with one person admitting that the other is right. You do take the sting out by saying that they aren’t trying to convince each other that the other is wrong (although many fights start this way). Arguing effectively is just trying to get your point of view out there so the other person will know how you see things and why you react the way you do. You don’t argue what you do, you present why you do it.
I also think you are somewhat right about anger. I don’t believe that it makes the parting any easier, but it does turn the argument around. Anger is one of our responses to danger and when you argue with someone who is angry you get the sense that, if you keep arguing with them, you are playing with fire.
I also think that anger is simply the result of frustration in an argument. Depending on who’s arguing it may be because they can’t get their point of view across or because the other person isn’t taking their side into account or, and very commonly, the other person has just proved them wrong. This is why arguments are very rarely won. People are stubborn, and even with all the facts right there saying they are wrong, they will continue to go at it. Good ol’ belief perseverance.
-Kurt

The van’s windows were manual. The heat was automatic. The New England Autumn danced a line between chill and sun that the caravan surrendered to the uncomfortable temperature swings.
The Blogger used the moving van to force the musicians to view his hard drive of photoshopped logos.

“Most of these don’t even mention the name, or even refer to it,” said the Cook, stretching his neck to see the condition of Donald, who drove the band into the wilds. Donald took the hint and pulled the van over and tagged out. Donald wasn’t weary from driving, but he hadn’t slept much since Jess left.

“I told you: Eloquent Elephant-Fuckers isn’t radio friendly,” said the Blogger.

“A pink elephant in a white circle isn’t radio friendly either. Besides, the rest of us think the acronym EEF works for web radio shows. When can you get us some college air time?”

“When you drop the ‘Fuckers,’” said the Blogger.

The Cook slipped a pill from Donald’s pocket and hopped into the pilot’s chair. Donald took shotgun.

“I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep off the bandits with my bare hands,” said Donald.

“When my mom handed me the keys back during Junior year, I got a sawed off that fit in the door compartment, you know just in case,” said the Cook.

“Why did you dump it?” Donald said as he gently felt for the handle of the gun and finding only air.

“What?”

“There isn’t a gun here,” said Donald and glanced back to see the blogger slinking down in his seat and pulling out his laptop.

The Cook nodded back towards the blogger, watching from the rear-view mirror, a scowl grew, “First you took the gun, now the “Fuckers”, what’s next you bastard?”

Donald gazed towards the unmoved dead hay that was the public parks of Allston. The best leaves fell around Thanksgiving, when parental beers were just around the bend. The dead woods of November held a charm for Donald. He wondered if his December birthday allowed the wet, decaying rot to bring such excitement. Donald envisioned the coming snow as they pulled in to their first stop. The Meatlocker, which was just a duplex that came with an awesome basement with a six-inch raised platform that served as a stage rented out from one of the Slumlord Inc. corps that owned the city.

His blood would be thinned tonight. The band had a cooler that provided the Nati Ice because you could only drink them if you got them. There was a joy in drinking from nostalgia. It was a hollow sadness that let it be fooled into believing it could be filled. It was dawn without closed eyes and churning stomach acid.

The Blogger assumed that arriving early would be of some benefit, but the locked doors proved the renters of The Meatlocker disagreed. Sitting in the driveway, Donald saw that it displayed a recent relayering of gravel. He wondered if the granite pebbles came from the quarry where his childhood neighbor worked.

It grew dark, and the crispness of the breeze seeped through Donald’s tattered jeans and reminded him of the days to come. The creeping chill warned of lost nights and shattered bottles. Donald lit a joint to ward off the spirits. The Meatlocker avoided outdoor lighting, as the parking lot was a driveway The patrons need to leave the house and The Meatlocker tolerated the illicit activities that went on in quiet cars.

Donald meandered to the Cook.

“Want to get stoned somewhere else?” asked Donald.

“Need to kill this time somehow,” said the Cook. “Heard from Jess?”

“Phone died a few days back; I haven’t been to the dorm room in a while.”

“Going to charge it?”

“No need.”

While family friends built shadowy CDOs, the Gunthersons kept the old ways. His great grandfather dined with Carnegie, his grandfather with Kennedy, and his father spent his free days among the Redwoods of Palo Alto. There would always be a placard for a Guntherson in the halls of America. Maybe beyond if Donald could get enough letters for Oxford.

It seemed both the Cook and Donald found their golden tickets. The Aristocrat and the Meritocrat, the word stood for Oligarch. Donald at least feigned responsibility stemming from his good social standing.

“Let’s go to the park down the street.”

Donald gave the Cook a joint as they walked up the hilled driveway.

They smoked in silence for a few deep inhales.

“What are you so hung up on Jess for?” asked the Cook.

“There’s more to me than material wealth,” said Donald

“That isn’t what I said, but, well, look. You could take any girl in the school, in the city, to a decent diner with a big tab and come winter here for the weekend by the fire — Fuck, I bet you have houses in Europe,” said the Cook.

“My grandparents do.”

“And they would let you borrow them or drop some cash for a hotel full of bed bugs from the European aristocracy.”

“Jess isn’t just a girl.”

“No, but she wasn’t enough to stop you from fucking Dagny.”

“I didn’t know or I don’t know. I just wasn’t sure about Jess. I thought no one wanted to date anymore.”

“Yea, next time you want to feed me shit,” said the Cook. “Just try telling me you’re middle class again. The Commander knew, but not me. Fuck.”

The Cook dashed off from the park over to Commonwealth. Donald looked at the park and questioned when was the last time he had a tetanus shot before heading to Commonwealth himself and headed to Kelton. There was a pizza sold by the slice in a corner of a brick storefront by the T stop. They served Greek pizza cheaper than any Italian slices in close walking distance which there wasn’t. They even gave you a soda with two for five. He ordered a second before he finished his first. He took his time getting to the show. The entrance crowded with beards and plastic framed glasses. Snake bites metallically afflicted a majority of the people standing and drinking about.

Donald stood friendless. The Cook walked out hours before and Donald hadn’t the drugs to fix the wound yet. She wore glasses that might have been real. The eyes behind them pierced the room with pale sapphire irises. Donald parked near her.

“Mind if I smoke?”

She shrugged.

“I’m Donald by the way, and take whatever you think is fair from the pack”, Donald offered the opened box.

“I’m Lindsay,” she took 5 from the pack, “Two for the road and one for now and two for the luck.” She put them in her wallet in a small black leather bag.

“You go to school here?”

“Yea just transferred a month ago. My dad got moved here for the solar panel operation the government wants to set up.”

“Where are you from then?”

“Probably California. Both my parents wanted to get some more letters to their names, my parents keep adding doctorates and Mass is like the headquarters for degrees,” said Lindsay. Donald lit her cigarette. “Do you go to college?”

“I’m at Brahmin University, but took a mental health break to see my friend’s band.”

“No fucking way, I really love Eloquent Elephant Fuckers. I’m actually going to buy the cd.”

“I don’t think Pirate Bay has it yet,” said Donald.

“Oh I don’t torrent. See, when your parents leave for most of the year, they invest in your hobbies and mine is sound recording. I usually just rerecord the track from MySpace or Youtube or Vimeo if I’m lucky,” said Lindsay.

“Impressive.”

“Sure, but I mean you’re at Brahmin and that’s one of my top schools. What’s your jam?”

“Creative writing and Media Epistemology,” said Donald.

“My dad worships McLuhan and I think Eco is pretty awesome. Why’d you double major?”

“Everyone does. The liberal arts requirements only take a third of the total, as do each major requirement. Some can people opt for 4 minors instead if they play their cards right.”

“Can we get stoned and discuss this later? We need to get back quick. I’m going to do a deadhead or like Guns and Roses style tape tonight. Could you pass them out in Boston for me, but don’t really mention it. Just like in the real estate ad boxes, I don’t want my name attached,” said Lindsay, “How old are you?”

“Seventeen.”

“Shit, I thought you were older. You can have your smokes back. It’s probably a pain to get more.”

“I have a fake.”

He passed it over.

“You don’t look 21.”

“I can grow a beard and it scans and that works here,” said Donald. “Want to smoke weed?”

“I got a gram” said Lindsay as she pulled out a dime bag the kind with poorly inked smiling faces.

Donald pulled out his stuffed grinder and a small spoon.

“Did you use that fake to buy that?” she said.

“No, had this friend of mine go into the headshop.”

“Getting high with Dougie Howser, Artiste,” said Lindsay, smoke curling to the ceiling.

Donald puffed.

“I’m 18 next week.”

“Still need a beard to get into a bar. Especially with that I.D.”

“I guess. I don’t get the appeal of bars. You could buy a six pack instead of each glass.”

“The social aspect. The bar is a cheap and reasonable place to meet people.”

“Facebook is going to kill the dive.”

“You can’t get laid on Facebook,” Lindsay said as she scooped the bowl from Donald.

They missed the sound check, but Donald had become captivated by Lindsay’s hand packing, she refused to take his weed, probably guilt from the cigarettes. Hand packing a bowl stood for a craft in Donald’s opinion. One could simply break apart a few buds, but the crystals would fall to the surfaces of the room rather than super-heated particles in the lungs. Many a heady eighth had fallen to drunken fools. Donald had assumed from her dimebag, her technique would be that of the weekend warrior.

“Good technique.”
“What?”

“Did you make your dress yourself?”

“Yea, how did you know?” said Lindsay.

“You don’t strike me as the person who puffs all day, but the way you pack the bowl shows skilled fingers. I might need to commission a wardrobe from you in the near future. Think of it as a good portfolio piece to add with the sound recording.”

“We should probably head in; the band might be coming on.”

“No rush, they won’t play til 11,” said Donald.

“Why?”

“They got to play til they get kicked off stage and they only have an album.”

“Folk singers got it easy,” said Lindsay

“Why?”

“They got a terabytes of history to play their cover of and it’s an homage. Can’t do that in rock.”

“Fair enough,” said Donald.

He lit two cigarettes for the walk back and passed one over to Lindsay. Donald felt the space open as his arm returned to his bubble. Some men just want to fill their existence and Donald joined their ranks in the chill evening.

The Eloquent Elephants were perhaps eloquent in their lyrical compositions, but the reverb blaring through the aging PA system made the claim hard to verify.
Donald swayed willow-like, unsure of the proper concert dance for low-fi. His body always went to Hell and the shadows of the rear called to Donald.

Donald wanted a McDouble, something to reaffirm his self-loathing. Instead, he exited his body and let the Cook have his parade. Sourness corrupted and tonight stood to exit otherwise.

Donald’s ears ceased functioning and he took his cues from the stage. Donald reacted to the Cook’s mouth and from the turns of the Cook’s hips.

After the show, Donald went to the van outside.

“You guys need more hands?” said Donald. Lindsay crept in the backdrop, awaiting a sign to proceed.

The Blogger sat on a stockpile of fast food; Donald eyed the goal and lit a smoke. He tossed the pack to the Blogger, who took two and passed it back. Donald called Lindsay over.

The crew smoked and judged and fretted. Donald lifted the amps and cords and once expensive equipment into the van.

The Cook and his bandmates entered from the back of the venue.

“Looks like you guys could use some Emergen-C.” said Donald, noting the sniffles going around the new arrivals.

The Cook grasped Donald’s shoulder.

“How’d you like the show?”

“You proved your acceptance to Brahimin’s music program.”

“Glad you thought so,” said the Cook. Lindsay shuffled towards the boys.

“You should meet Lindsay here,” said Donald sweeping his arm towards his former table companion.

“Pleasure. Most people call me the Cook these days.”

They all wiggled into the van giving space and reverence to the equipment while bruising against the frame.

“One can blame the Puritans for everything in these parts,” said the Cook as they watched the bright lights break the darkness for no reason other to send miners down to die. The blogger drove them back to the house.

“The first order of business on homecoming should be to rechristen shotgun with the shotgun,” said the Cook.

“Anyone still hungry, BK has a drive thru,” said the Blogger.

“We need the shotgun for that idiot,” said the Cook. “You’re a moron.”

“Alright, fuck you man. Truly fuck off.”

The Blogger drove past getting it his way straight to his rental where the Cook pissed in the sinks. The van scraped the vinyl sliding not damaging the toxic plastic nor the aluminum mirror but Donald noticed it on his walk to the front porch, about four or five plastic chairs long with a plastic glass table with some cheap metal frame. Sturdy enough to last the winter, Donald chilled a bottle of Vodka in the snow last winter, he forgot to grab it before he passed out. Kurt’s plastic handle of Mr. Boston survived, He remarked about resilience of poverty then apologized. He and Lindsey smoked a cigarette on the porch as the Drummer and Bassist unloaded the gear. The Blogger posted some photos and the Cook lit up a smoke as soon as he crossed the threshold.

“Do you have anything to drink?” said Lindsey.

Donald glanced at a half full gatorade vodka on the table. The temperature wasn’t quite low enough to be called FDA refrigeration.

“I think it might be a time to go buy some.”

“The liquor store down the street looked pretty big.”

“To fit all the fakes they catch, there are plenty of places around though.”

A pair of two skaters rolled down the sidewalk, picking up their boards.

“As I was saying I shoot black and white film because I haven’t mastered it yet.”

“Why can’t you shoot on digital?”

“I tried. Look at my blog. The digital photography. The color is too strong or too soft and bold even when faded. It’s vulgar compared to any shot of Wes Anderson.”

“What if all the celluloid was destroyed? What if only the black and white stock?”

“In either scenario, I would have to quit. My mother didn’t raise me to be vulgar.”

“You’re a skater.”

“That doesn’t make me a punk.”

One looked up at Donald.

“Could we bum a couple of smokes?”

“Aight.”

They came up the steps.

“Thanks.”

“Yea you saved us.”

“Need a light?”

“Nah, I got one.”

“Seeya man, thanks again.”

They hopped back on their boards. The Cook shouted upstairs.

“Want to come with?” said Donald as he left the porch.

“Probably, I need mixer too.”

“I saw a Superette at the Corner.”

“I don’t got the money for that kinda markup.”

“I got you,” said Donald.

Lindsey lead the way forward, Donald questioned if this was her first time on the Pratt/ Wadsworth corridor. He hoped one of them knew the way.

“Why do you like the elephant fuckers?” said Donald.

“That’s your question?” said Lindsey.

“How old are you?” said Donald.

“I think older than you.”

“You still live with your parents?”

“I’m still in high school.”

“Oh.”

“So you can’t buy beer,” said Donald later.

“No.”

“So then yea my question is why do you like those fuckers.”

“I’m not their friend.”

“Fair enough.”

They reached a shop without a sign and few lights. It had a rack of chips and a bulletproof barrier.

“Kid, you’re not 21 and I ain’t looking at your paper that says otherwise,” said the Cashier.

“Any trusty worthy guys out by McDonald’s I can bribe?”

“Definitely not the silence guy who offers you an one hitter. The cops pay him in value meals. He deserves an apartment for all the kids he snitches on. Look, the party you’re at will have something with a little higher price tag than mine, but you keep your ID.”

“It’s an afterparty for a band and I’m their assistant.”

“Can I buy their album?”

“Not yet. Maybe on iTunes.”

“Then they don’t have the money to cover their liability. It isn’t like finding forty dollars after you break a few bottles.”

“What about eighty?”

“What a day.”

“Well, I respect your business and I apologize.”

Donald left the store and waited for a few minutes before peering out in the small alley by the dumpster. There was a duffle bag out back. Donald took it and left a Franklin. The earlier Adderall binge had left Donald. He found Lindsey in the dark shadows of the block over.

“Man, I need some Adderall.”

“I get the same way, where’s your script?”

Donald looked at her.
“I left it back in my room. I can’t believe I forgot it.”

She popped a pill in his mouth.

“I get twenty mil extended release.”

“Thank you.”

They stopped by the Superette, the one with the cat hair limes.

“Can I give you forty to get stuff and maybe another twenty for two packs of American Spirits and a Dutch Masters?”

“Yea no problem. Worried he will take the booze?”

“Nah, I’m allergic to cats.”

“How will you ever get a girlfriend.”

“We all suffer.”

“I’ll be right back.”

She returned with plastic bags inside some gatorade, two two liters of Coke ,and the American Spirits.

“We might need to come back.”

“Then one of them can go, ain’t like they paid for it.”

“Fair enough.”

The yelling had quieted into joyous shouts when they reached the porch before going up the stairs to the apartment.

In the living room, the band and the Blogger sat about saying that the moshing at the Meatlocker paled to some other cement shithole, they played.

“Where the fuck did you guys go?” said the Cook.

“Got some booze and mixer.”

“Fuck mixer.”

“Fuck you, man. Where did you guys get drinks from?”

“I keep the closets full upstairs,” said the blogger.

“Oh.”

Lindsey sat next to the Cook and Donald found an open spot by the Blogger across the coffee table. He poured them both gatorhols into two solo cups from the bag on the coffee table.

“We should put some music on or something.”

Donald noticed the five tvs stacked on the far wall were all tuned to the same experimental video. If Donald and Lindsey counted as guests, it would be considered tacky or pretentious, but they weren’t guests, just Allston groupies, not the Almost Famous kind. The Cook stomped a bit and the drummer took out his iPod jacking it into the plastic stereo that once costed more than at least four of the television sets. The speakers dinged and their quality stable not blown but not exactly anything but loud. LCD Soundsystem filled the room as was current fashion, MGMT would have been sufficient as well.

They continued to sit and drink. The music prevented most conversation. The Blogger posted from the couch on his laptop.

“This blows,” said the Cook. “I need some weed.”

“Let me go grab a blunt,” said Donald, who found his backpack in the closet, he still had a few rolled from his adderall boost. He came back with three of them. They were tight and dense. He owed the Commander a fair amount for the weed probably, but he could wait.

“Shit dude, where were you hiding these.”

“So you can steal them.”

“Fuck you man.”

Donald lit the first one and passed it to Lindsey across from him. She puffed once before passing to The Cook, who puffed three times.

“Pass it man,” said the Bassist next to him.

“Ahhh you’ll get a puff,” said the Cook taking another one.

“Come on, man.”

“Alright, alright.”

He shared the blunt.

The night did not improve before Lindsey asked for cab fare while it was just him and her on the front porch. He walked her to Cambridge Street and they waited ten minutes for one to pass. As he returned to the apartment, he wondered if the Cook locked him out. The blogger went to bed about five cigarettes before and the others peeled away soon after. The door opened with the jiggling of the knob. He crashed on one of the sofas.

He dreamt.

ᴥᴥᴥᴥ

He didn’t care for the color of the throw rug in the hall, it was a woven thickly layered linen. Pretorn for premium cost by the artisan in the flea market in front of them like a shedding rug is what people want to bring home. He didn’t, but someone else made that choice. The sun warmed the back of his neck as it sprayed through the glass, the window would be cold to the touch according to the leaves in the maple out front.

He was with Brittney Cooper clutched Donald on the couch and they discussed a house on the Cape in June before the horse flies grew too terrible and the bay filled with seaweed.

ᴥᴥᴥᴥ

A light blinded Donald and he turned to see it was not an Arri, but the sun. He had fallen asleep, Donald guessed around the time Brittney Cooper and him cuddled.

He got up, unlocked the kitchen door and lit a cigarette on the porch. He checked his phone, which ran low on battery, no messages.

He stubbed out the butt. Inside, he plugged in his phone and grabbed one of his remaining blunts before looking for coffee. There was a Kirkland tub and a cheap plastic and glass coffee maker. He brewed a pot, smoking while waiting. He ate the leftover pizza from two nights ago that remained in the fridge. There band had another show in some basement. He believed in the Wadsworth Pratt Corridor, which would be the passage, he was on. The sun too high in the sky for the set to be anytime soon. He had no clothes and no bags, just some drugs in his jacket, which he figured would be safer on his person than within a house of the Cook’s. He wanted to shower, but instead stole a good long spray of Axe. Once he left for the day, he couldn’t get back. He closed all the windows. He secured the locks and went into the light. He thought of buying new clothes, but he would also need a bag for his old ones. He spent most of his dough and needed at least three or four more meals until going back to campus. If he ate them all at McDonalds or BK and maybe Wendy’s then he had about thirty four dollars left to get clothes and stuff. He would probably need more booze if he gets locked out. His shirt wasn’t stained, so he decided against going into the Buffalo Exchange instead regretting leaving the Blogger’s place when he saw the Blogger getting off the B Line. He waved and walked towards Donald.

“Hey man, how’s it going?” said the Blogger.

“Pretty good man, how bout yourself?”

“Not bad, just finished with class. What you up to?”

“Just killing time until tonight, I guess. What are you up to?”

The Blogger handed him a post office we missed you note. The Landlord sent some certified mail.

“Oh shit, what happened?” said Donald.

“We get one every month these days. Cook can’t make rent and won’t let us cover him. Calls the Landlord to make sure, we haven’t paid the rent.”

“Why?”

“The Cook doesn’t like that the slumlord only wants a single check a month.”

“Jeez, mind if I tag along?”

“Can we smoke after?” said the Blogger.

“Hell yea.”

“Alright, the P.O. is down this way.”

Part of what makes Allston between Packard’s Corner and Harvard Ave. so college student ready is that most of life’s necessities are within a quarter of a mile from your apartment. Rent and food paid for by others or borrowed from tomorrow’s paycheck created a world without failure, but children write their own order.

The Post Office itself was cost effective to the point of disservice, but affordable post is a priority. The building concrete and glass. The line at this time wasn’t out the door, but there were more citizens than postal workers. The radio played soft rock, the kind that people used to buy through Columbia House Records.

“How’s your classes going?” said Donald.

“Good, I can’t complain I usually slept on campus when I have morning classes.”

“Are you a freshmen?”

“Yea, but I took a year off after high school. So I could take some time to just focus on what I really was going to do after my academics.”

“That’s smart, I wish I did that. What’s your major?”

“Marketing and audio production focusing on studio recording.”

They moved to the front of the line by this point.

“Shit, I need to sign this. Do you have a pen?”

“Uum let me check. Do you have one in your pocket?”

“I use my laptop for notes.”

Donald dug through his pockets.

“I got one.”

Santanna came on, some track from Abraxas. The old postmaster behind the counter called for next.

“Hi, I got this in the mail,” said the Blogger handing over his certified mail certificate.

“ID,” said the Postmaster scanning the barcode on the faded pink card. “Pratt?”

“Yes,” said the Blogger handing over his license.

The Postmaster glanced at it before sauntering off to Santanna.

The saunter evolved into a steady shimmy as he poked through all the baskets keeping with the beat. Swinging his arms with his body. Donald thought he saw him pick up the letter, but the song still hadn’t soloed yet, so he figured the dance would continue which it did.

The postmaster swayed back to the desk and the Blogger signed a slip.

He opened it on the street.

“Yup, a notice to move to evict.”

“Shit, when are you going to pay it.”

“The Cook is probably back right now. Checking his guitar strings and maybe switching with a set on one of mine in the studio.”

“Is he even on the lease?”

“No, but he is officially subletting, said if he was going to sleep there he wasn’t going to threaten to void the lease. Did the other band members ask too?”

“They had to after the Cook called the landlord. I give them back their money though.”

“That’s kind.”

“Well it’s just fair to them for having to deal.”

They crossed the street and made their way on the side street to connect to Linden to make the slight left onto Pratt.

The Cook was drinking a Bud and smoking a cig on the front porch.

“Where’s the rent, man?” said the Blogger.

“I’ll get it,” said the Cook.

“They sent us another eviction letter, you’re killing me.”

“Those court proceedings take like six months, fucker. I’ll get the money.”

“Jesus Christ,” said the Blogger pushing past the Cook on his way upstairs. Donald followed.

“Just pay it and fuck him. Charge him interest,” said Donald. “Let’s just get high after.”

“You know it, fuck him. Want to stay or come with me? The Landlord’s office is near the Post Office.”

“I don’t need to be around him at the moment.”

They left through the door to the back porch in the kitchen.

“Fuckers.” said the Cook as they past.

“Whatever man,” said The Blogger.

The Landlord’s office looked like a small getup, but the CEO ran like some five hundred units. Students felt more at ease here than a bank or maybe he didn’t give a ratfuck. The parents cosigned so he never worried.

“Blogger, how are you, my friend?”

“Good, can I just sit you out for the rest of the term?”

“You leaving.”

“Nah, just tried of this play. You can block the Cook’s number for all I care.”

“He kick you out of the band.”

“I got this place for me and I care about my credit.”

The Blogger wrote out a check on the desk.

“I think this covers it.”

“It does. Thank you my friend. Anything else I can do for you”

“Thank you for your patience. I hope you have a good day.”

“You too. Does your friend need a place?”

“I’m good for the moment, but thanks,” said Donald.

He turned and left out the door, there wasn’t even a stairway. Back on Pratt, the Cook left for the moment. Donald lit a blunt.

“Where’s the show tonight?”

“Uum twenty two Wadworth. I forgot what they call it these days. Awesome space. Big basement and stage. Bigger than the Meatlocker.”

“Awesome, when is it?”

“Like six hours, gotta start prepping actually. The bassist and the drummer should be here any minute.”

He didn’t move until they finished the blunt and the first movement didn’t come until at least some tracks later as one of them had put on their iPod, but he didn’t own one so it must have been the Blogger.

He closed his eyes.

ᴥᴥᴥᴥ

Brittany Cooper and he drove to New York; they wanted drinks in the Village or in Bushwick. Just anywhere an endless tank of gas could get them. A trunk full of books to decorate a new apartment. He noticed the ring and ring tanline missing from his finger. The softness of his hands alerted him to his own youth, his hands still new soul lines. They would branch as he aged a shifting legacy to live.

ᴥᴥᴥᴥ

He woke in an empty house. The sun burned the cold red of winter, the telegram of the shifting seasons. He went down to the front porch after checking his pockets for his wallet, smokes, and a lighter.

He watched the few people drift by. No polite party began before ten, but in thirty minutes, the pregame crowd would be drifting in.

“Hey,” said Lindsay walking down Pratt.

“Want to hear the set again or bop about this place?” said Donald.

“I think I’m going to go meet up with the band, but give me your number so we can get fucked later,” said Lindsay handing Donald her Razr. Donald attempted to ditch the Razr after the fourth shattered from being left in the car in winter, but found it was the only free replacement he could choose. His current cell was that of the blue collared man and the blackout alcoholic designed to resist all damage and wear. With the contact saved, Lindsay fluttered towards the heart of the corridor.

He went upstairs.

Donald snorted his alertness into existence and jaunted towards the lights. His mind wandered to the BU library on Commonwealth, which now stood before him. Brahmin University had twenty four hour libraries as well, but the desperately gifted used them all hours of the year. They gabbed and collaborated throughout the stacks. He found a beat up copy of some 70’s translation of Greek Mythology released by Penguin Classics.

Donald fingered his pocket and felt lumps and a soft lump: drugs ,but held off using. He wanted to come up with the others, the band he would be seeing later. Donald believed that starting together was important to create a positive sphere around the adventure. Each wave thumping together, tunefully, blissfully, all aware at once.

He was too wired to find serious words in the bindings of the book. Donald put down myths awhile back, but felt it was the right moment for a refresher. Donald flipped through for any pictures, but this was supposedly high literature and had none to be found aside from the cover. Donald placed it down and went for a cigarette, and that turned into a joint.

“Hey!”

Donald turned to see a flashlight. Donald never ran track, he had reading to do. Donald’s parents did imprint daily runs into his psyche. Donald ran as a wolf, steady and enduring. Youtube streamed a collection of parkour and freerunning videos in high school, one can find most of them in Donald’s search history. The other fact on Donald’s mind was campus police don’t carry guns. Donald lurched forward. The Guard faster tripped him.

The grass covered in fresh dew met Donald’s forehead as he crumbled over a cement barrier. Donald mule kicked and scrambled to stand.

“Excuse me, I’m a citizen,” Donald said as he shook the earth from his shirt.

“You ran when I called,” said the Campus Cop, costumed in his Nazi Youth Outfit with a real taser.

“I was out jogging and took a smoke break.” Donald began walking towards his car in the distance.

A hand on the shoulder. A foot to the knee. Donald genuflected. A palm to the face.

“Hand over the contraband.”

“You’re not a cop. Do you even have a degree?”

“I don’t got to take shit from a kid. You look like a trustfund baby, and they come here to get laid or to get high and I don’t see any bitches around.”

“Then get a real cop to cuff me, G.K. Chesterton.”

Most knees go for the face; the knees of this man went for the solar plexus. Donald threw the baggie.

The Campus Cop took a sniff of it, packed it, and returned to his Gator.

Donald fell to his back and let his eyes wander the stars while his body convulsed itself out. He still had a cigarette pack worth of joints and when his lungs recovered, he took his medicine.

He had a week until he had the cash flow and the Cook could eat dirt for what Donald cared.

Donald and the Commander always paid when they went out on weekends. Besides, there were enough nerds with funds on this campus to squeeze at least a handful of pills with the twenties in his wallet.

“Hey, homeless was last season,” said Jess.

Jess. Donald noted to get a MRI in the near future.

The stars turned into Jess and Donald accepted his new crippled mind. He wondered if the visions would turn into sugarplums at Christmas.

“Hey,” said Donald.

“Still pissed, just so you know,” said Jess as she placed her arms around Donald and laid next to him. “Remember when you first took me to the sand pits after you took me to that terrible movie, I swore you were an idiot. Than you babbled as is your tendency and I just wanted to be quiet and I kissed you.”

“Yea.”

“It was a good kiss.”

Donald responded with a grin.

“Busy evening?” asked Jess.

“Always. Lost the drugs though, but probably didn’t need them anyway.”

“I saw, pious to the end. How are things on the homefront?”

“The Commander and me are on the outs.”

“Couldn’t do it?”

“I think I overdid it,” said Donald.

Donald shifted the spooning upright to avoid ash in the eye as he lit another joint then passed it to Jess.

“You need to accept the passage of time as the occasional requirement,” said Jess after a moment.

“I was trying. You said you dropped out of BU. Thought this would be safe territory.”

“Where did I say I was going?”

“I’d have to see if you texted it to me these days.”

Donald debriefed the week or two in passing. The real key to Donald’s narrative for him was the idea to begin a physical journal to record the days. A reference for later moments. Donald skipped the part where he missed class, but kept in Lindsay for full disclosure purposes in anticipation of the eventual blowback. Donald could only omit a narrow range of detail before he cracked, and partially dropping out in response to the breakup demanded more concealment than any modesty over his new companions and their plans. The story still left them with a bit of a walk to the car.

“I spent most of my time hoping about what I now know to be a pointless endeavor without crossing state lines,” said Jess slowing down.

She took the pack from Donald’s pocket and waited for the light. Donald flicked.

“Not my intention,” said Donald.

“Whatever, you know how we feel, and you can stop being a hatemonger on a dime, but you knew I could be here and needed space and you still fucking came.”

“I came to support the Cook and to give the Blond Commander space.”

“Could have given me a heads up. What are you up to now?”

“Going to see the Cook’s band.”

“Didn’t you see them yesterday?”

“I think I still got some stuff stashed at the Blogger’s. Anyway, I think I can get free beer there.”

She shrugged.

“Well, I should go give you back your space.”

“Alright, don’t get too drunk if you have a concussion or something.”
She walked off and he went to the Shaw’s to take the street behind it to Wadsworth.

He didn’t move quickly and sat on a cement barrier in the parking lot.

Lindsey texted him that the line outside was getting crowded.

The line was more of an extended line of conversation and Donald greeted various classmates and other new faces of a shared smoke break or in the dining hall.

He saw Lindsey smoking a cigarette.

“The penniless Dauphin has come a courting,” said Donald pantomiming a full bow and proceeding to panhandle with his cap.

Lindsay smiled and passed the cigarette.

Donald took a drag and mentally composed his message to Kurt.

Anger during a parting makes it easier to let another person go, especially if you love them. You don’t miss people; you’re mad because they seem like a threat. Once the anger wears off though, the feelings of sorrow will come into play with a hint of guilt. Example: If two people get into a fight and then leave each other’s lives. I don’t think I will touch death quite yet, the other will feel guilty that their last time together was a fight. Anger can lead to reunions. An apology can be a way to reach out years later. People respect people who can invoke strong emotions. That’s why people love politicians during the campaign. They make you feel pride. You always respect the people you love because love is the strongest emotion. Anger can be very passionate and thus, after a huge fight, the two warriors respect each other for pushing them into a rage. Some people will always hold grudges, but if the anger is caused by the parting then it will lead to a reunion most likely.
As to why anger comes out: when a person is put into a corner, anger is the reaction. One will want to flee or stand their ground when proven wrong; they get angry because anger might get them out of the situation. It often does; people will back off and end a conversation. Unless both people get angry then a vicious brawl begins, which continues until exhaustion sets in. Even after that resentment between the two will exist.

Day 1019: You Spin Me Right Round

The Deadspin revolt of 2019.

Last week, the owners of G/O media fka Gizmodo fka Gawker Media told the staff of the sports vertical Deadspin to stop publishing non sports stories on the sports site. The staff reacted by quitting.

The chattering class was outraged at the owners for telling the staff of a sports site to stick to sports. No killing of controversial sports stories just no more political clickbait.

This is insane. If the order was to say only write positive things on these teams who are paying us for the coverage then taking a stand for integrity is righteous. This was not that. To say that someone must pay you for content other than the content you were hired to write is not true. If the staffers wanted to write politics they could have made their own site on their own time.

In August, a former editor claimed in an article the political content got better views than the sports content. What does that matter? Should the ny times stop publishing journalism because op-eds get more traffic? The worse part of being an employee is you are the ship not the captain.

Was the staff wrong to quit Deadspin? I don’t think they were. They didn’t want to be sports writers. This was a story with no heroes no villains. The owners want a sports site, the staff wanted a name brand playground. What was slimy was for the former staff to act like martyrs. In a time where mass layoffs in media will only become more common, they threw away an union job because they wanted their anti trump rants to have the deadspin banner instead of their blogs. They will argue Deadspin died before they did this but it won’t be true.

I hope G/O media gets Deadspin restaffed asap with writers who are grateful for the rare gift of paid work. The media industry has become too small for tantrums and is only getting smaller.

-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 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

Day 174: The Government is not a Business

Trump and his family are self described business folks. While their legacy in business is debatable, that they come from the corporate world not political becomes more obvious everyday. We don’t know yet if Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia last year but the Trump family isn’t making it easy for innocence to be considered. 
This week Donald Trump Jr. became the center of the Russian storm. After days of having his ever changing story disproven by leaks, he released the emails in question. They did not vindicate him. When asked if he would like information on Clinton gathered by Russia to aid his father, he says he would love it. He brought Kushner and Manafort to the meeting, the Russian lawyer ended up not having anything on Clinton. Leaving us in a situation where we know that the Trump campaign would have colluded but not if they did. 
Ignore the discussion of impeachment for a moment. What other implications are there? One is a revelation behind the curtain. Political operators have long been portrayed as ruthless anything goes types in movies but the real political world always had norms and bounds. I’m not saying they are knights of the round table. Yet even the Gore campaign called the FBI when someone leaked Bush’s campaign bible to them. This event shows the business world core of the Trump universe one where damning emails end in a fine and mea culpas but in politics things end differently just ask Abramoff.
The anti-left media keeps yelling Ukraine like its Benghazi (as a waste of time). A low level former staffer is not the same as a high campaign advisor and candidate’s child. Manafort did in fact lobby for pro Russia candidates in Ukraine and was unable to hide it. Whether the decision to remove support for Ukraine in its war against Russian invasion from the GOP platform came from Manafort is unknown. In the end, evidence from a foreign public investigation is not close to the same as a foreign nation stealing documents from a political opponent to aid a candidate. As Watergate taught us having your own countrymen steal documents is damning without foreign involvement. 
The emails aren’t a smoking gun for criminal proceedings but they without a doubt bolster Mueller’s investigation. One can only wonder what subpeonas will uncover.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 151: Found Them

Day 145: Humans After Humanity

This New American Life
I write this in a booth waiting for my current delivery order to be prepared in an empty restaurant that ten years ago would have been crowded. The music is a soft bossa nova and the kitchen while busy is careful to avoid clangs. The decor is standard a medium brown stain colors the wood and the carpet is green and clean. A mother and her retired son are the only other customers. She is dancing while waiting for the spring rolls to arrive. The owner hands me a thai tea on the house while I wait. I can’t help but worry for the fate of America. I can’t help but wonder where do we go from here.
The internet has redefined what and why we eat. It’s less about what we like and having haunts we return to but posting from the current trends to be considered a cool kid. Even those who do not post on social media still Google and Yelp their choices based on the impression that the best rated by those apps have more value experience wise for their dollars. The hive mind that is social media causes attention inequality and narrows culture especially food culture.
Speaking of the Hive Mind. What do we talk about when we say we shouldn’t give someone a platform. As in the current uproar over Megyn Kelly interviewing Alex Jones, a man who has been paid to spew filth since my childhood. He long ago built his alternative media platform and give a place for wayward views. He helped Trump win without a doubt and his org Infowars will have white house press credentials. He doesn’t need an interview on NBC but NBC and those who oppose his views do need these kinds of interviews. Darkness cannot be allowed to fester. Pre-internet denying mainstream outlets was a good way to slow repulsive thought but now mainstream media is one if the last shared spaces in American life and is more effective as a means of exposing. 
The tendency of the internet to drive conformity from food and fashion trends to preventing public discourse is disconcerting to say the least. Humanity’s story is one driven by innovation through diversity not just the kind on a college application check box. How much have we lost? What will it take next?
-E.C. Fiori