Sunday, September 25, 2011

Marsi White - Saturday Morning

Deserted on my couch, my kids have gone to feast on the type of cereal that makes a dentist squirm and will give them energy for only about a have a second. “Stay home day cereal,” as it is coined in my house, may only be consumed on the weekend.

“Maddie, you have to leave in an hour for gymnastics!” I hear myself shout. Routinely responding, my husband responds, “I know.” My daughter does not respond, wrapped up in what ever cartoon that she has been mesmerized by showing on the kitchen television. I think it is Sponge Bob. Having little patience for cartoons, I try to be somewhat aware of what they watch, as any responsible parent would claim.

Such is a typical Saturday morning in our house. I am up with the birds, making the coffee and routinely washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen from the night before. In this case, no one did dishes at all the day the pile in the sink was more like a mountain. My mom would shudder. Seemingly a cruel and unusual punishment, the coffee finished peculating way before the dishes were clean. My disciplined response was to finish the dishes before taking my first sip of coffee. My mom would be proud.

Finally, dishes done and coffee in hand, I ventured to our living room to complete my Saturday morning ritual through checking my Facebook page, Twitter and, of course, Words with Friends. My daughter came and joined me after a short period, followed a later by my son....and suddenly, I am a mom again. My lovely, personal quiet time has been replaced by a quiet time of another sort. The time that I considered so very precious...when my kids are just my kids. The fighting has not started; responsibilities have not started and the T.V. is not on. I am not yet the waitress or the nag. Just the mother of two gorgeous children. We may share a couple of laughs. We may barely talk at all. It does not matter. The comfort of the morning hours satisfies my soul, and I bask in its normalcy.

As the clock ticks forward, these fleeting moments are replaced by our hectic family schedule of soccer games, gymnastics and other responsibilities. Our day ensues. But, as I go to bed tonight, I know that my thoughts will turn to my Sunday morning coffee and I will look forward to the Sunday’s quiet moments, hoping that they will be enough to quench my thirst for time with my kids for the rest of the week.

Marsi lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two children and dog. A private foundation grants writer by trade, Marsi explores her creative side by contributing to Writing Writer Writest. She is a breast cancer survivor and keeps a blog of her journey, entitled Nip-It.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mike Gamms - Chapter Five: Even Winners Can Be Losers

We arrive to Vegas just around sunset.  Eager to continue the buzz we started in the car, me and Roger hit up the liquor store while the girls go get strippered up in the bathroom mirror. I promise Jacki a bottle of whiskey, a task I have to borrow money from Roger to complete.  
On the way back to the room we stop at the casino so Roger can play some black jack. I'm quickly reminded that I actually hate this city a lot more than I had remembered.  I'm not sure if last time I was here I was too drunk to notice or not unhappy enough to be bothered by it, but on this visit I'm already miserable. The people I hate are being celebrated as cool. Those cocky fucks in their designer suits just trying to show off how rich and pretty they are. I'm so poor I can't imagine what it's like to even want a 300 dollar suit, let alone actually own one. The money I make off unemployment and donating plasma barely leaves me enough for a bottle of cheap whiskey.  Seeing people bet even a 100 on a hand of black jack is enough to make me sick.   
10 minutes and a grand later, Roger is ready to go. When we get back to the room, I'm not sure if Jacki is more excited to see me, or the bottle of booze. I already feel like I'm striking out with her.  Whenever I'm around a pretty girl I get nervous.  And surprisingly all the drinking didn't help. I'm not sure if I fell in love with her already or just in love with the thought of a girl that hot even being remotely interested in me. Either way I look pathetic. I know I'm too much of a pussy to get with her sober so I start racing to get drunk as soon as possible.  I can tell by the way she's keeping up that she needs to be drunk to hook up with me too.  I try to pretend like it's because she's nervous but I'm not dumb. I'm too much of a self loathing little shit to not have seen it coming a mile away. I'm not sure why I'm so fucking miserable when we'll probably still fuck anyways.   
I decide it's best not to think about it, and crack open the Grey Goose bottle. Not that I would ever buy that over priced douchebag vodka, but Roger thinks it's cool to show off. Trying to impress his large breasted lady, he invites up a friend who claims to be a Vegas club promoter.  I'm unimpressed because I hate everyone, but to girls as sleazy as these two, club promoters are kings. Especially when they bring as much coke as this one.   
Him and the girls have already done a mirror full of lines and are feeling pretty hopped up.  This is clear when he pulls Jacki's panties aside and licks her vagina. She laughs and doesn't seem to mind. Neither does anyone else in the room, so I shouldn't either. I begin to wonder why I fall in love with girls who flirt and fuck like it means nothing, but I direct my attention to the coffee table lined with blow instead.  
After a few lines, I've forgotten about Jacki, I've forgotten about the bugs, and I've even forgotten about how much I hate myself. I have no concern for what I'm doing. My only worry is having as much fun as possible and feeling as good as possible. At least that's what I tell my self as I try to let the drug take over.  I've had enough of being in charge of my actions and drugs are a get out of jail free card for making bad decisions. I can be whoever I wanna be, do whatever I wanna do, and I have a perfect scapegoat for all of it.  
Roger is just as snow blown as me but on a different planet entirely. After doing a line off his girl's tits, he declares it's time to go. I grab a bottle of wine for the road. Whenever I do hard drugs I think it makes me Hunter S. Thompson. No one buys it, but it sure as hell gets me drunk quicker.   
I'm too lazy to fight for pussy so I just let Jacki have the club promoter if she wants him. She grabs my crotch in the elevator. Clearly ignoring her turns her on. When we finally get in the club my chances with Jacki continue to improve. The promoter is no longer a threat; he disappeared as soon as he brought us passed the line outside and into the club.  He stuck around long enough for what I can only assume was an expensive handshake with Roger.  
The coke high has shifted from extremely elated to arrogant and judgmental. Everyone in the club annoys me.  All the women have matching fake tits and fake personalities. They may pretend like they want to be models, but deep down they just want to a marry a rich foreign guy, and spend all his money drinking with her girlfriends by the pool. It wouldn't be so annoying if all the guys in this club weren't the exact guys who want nothing more than to land themselves a fake empty wife.  This club is a breeding ground for everyone I hate. These people think that being rich or attractive will compensate for being so damn uninteresting, but I don't buy it.  
Jacki makes the rounds through the club leaving me to entertain myself with a head full of coke and a liver full of vodka. We both know I'm her plan B as long as I'm able to keep quiet and not weird her out too much. I keep my distance and venture towards the dance floor.  
When you surround me with people I hate, I get bored easily and make trouble. I start repeatedly stomping on the feet of people around me while I pretend to be dancing. After they get pissed and realize it was no accident, I move onto to a different part of the floor. After I run out of toes to step on, I go find Jacki. I get a rush off the reckless danger and it gives me enough balls to ask her back to the room.  
A few minutes later we find ourselves in the elevator.  I'm not sure if it's out of nervous fear or incredible loneliness, but I try to hold Jacki's hand.  She playfully slaps it away and grabs my cock instead.  She tells me it's big but I know it's out of pity. It's more insulting that she thinks I'm the kind of guy who needs his ego stroked than it would have been if she had just said I had a small dick. I decide it's best to keep my shit together and ignore my issues long enough to get a load off.   
We burst through the door to find Roger and his girl already at it. He hammers her from behind, each hand full of her fake tits. He continues at it as he shouts across the room to us.  
"Hey man don't let us interrupt your fun. There's plenty of room in the bathroom for a good solid fuck!"  
I'm not confident in my abilities enough to fuck in front of a crowd, and she's horny enough to do it just about anywhere, so we take his advice.  
That much coke and booze is enough to slow down even the quickest semen, but I'm still ready to go after only a few minutes.  The only reason I hold it in is for the girl's benefit anyways. I could care less about getting her off at this point; it's not like she's getting much out of it.  I'm too awkward to make conversation and I'm sweating like a pig. But I can tell by the occasional moan she lets out between text messages that she doesn't mind it too much. She's about as into me as I'm into her, but at least she's not so tripped up on her own bullshit that she can't enjoy a simple fuck. Whether it's an ignorant denial of the situation, or a nihilist I don't give a fuck attitude, I'm jealous of her marginal contentment with life.   
I close my eyes and pretend like my dick isn't only hours behind the club promoters tongue for a few more pumps before letting it out. She kisses me on the forehead, says thanks and skips out of the room.  The fact that this girl has come to expect such unsatisfactory fucking only makes me feel more pathetic.  I pop a few sleeping pills I stole from her purse and curl up in the empty bathtub. I won't feel any less lonely than I would in bed with her, that's for sure. The pills kick in fast and I survive another day.
Mike Gamms is a 24-year-old unemployed writer living in Los Angeles. Originally from Upstate New York, he occasionally writes awful things at

Friday, September 16, 2011

Luke LaGraff - 200 words

Well there is really no reason to write about God, now is there? I don't think or believe it's a topic to write about. I just think God-writin' is a purely fictional undertaking, and therefore kind of ridiculous to write about.

At least if you're writing about the big G man in a serious tone.

And I'm not saying God is fictional. But writing about God would have to be considered fictional, of course. How the hell do you know what God is or isn't? If you do know, please find out why egg nog can't be around all year? I love that shit. God will know the answer and the remedy. Can you mention that at the next company picnic?

So, we've covered a lot of ground on this topic today. And good, no questions. Wow, I seemed to have affected everyone's mind on the futility of writing about God.

Again, just for good measure- It's illogical to write about God. Yet, it's logical to write about people who write about God.

So I've got a problem with conjecture.

I, too, do.

I, too, want to know the 'end'. Not as much as I used to. My story is right about... now.

Luke LaGraff is a lover of sandwiches, egg nog, and one of a kind days. He used to forget them, but now has realized he shouldn't; they have more meaning than ever at this point of his life. He enjoys the sun in LA and watches hockey and funny things whenever he can. He listens to people. He's from Tennessee.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Debra Crosslin - My One and Only Catfight

Back during the Vietnam War I knew John. One night we were making out in his car. He was a great kisser.

Suddenly, John says, “I’m going to Vietnam.”

Well I was just thinking, "Let’s kiss some more," and then John asked me if I would write to him in Vietnam.

"Sure", I said sure, thinking about his kisses.

I wrote him, mostly about friends in the neighborhood. After one year, he came back. Thank God! His sister Nina wanted her friend and me to fight over John. If you like to hang out at Burger Chef with your friends and smoke you would just have to fight.

We fought and I was winning. All of a sudden, John’s older, fat sister jumps into the ring and sits on me. The loser girl kicks me in the face. My friend jumps on Nina and yells, “No fair!”

She was bleeding, but that kick in the face cost me a black eye.

I can go to Burger Chef and smoke! I am in line and there is John. I said, “ Look at my shiner all because of you.” He left and I never got to kiss him again.

The Vietnam War sucked!

Katie McMahon - Words

I have learned that everyone else’s bed is more comfortable than my own. But you came here, choosing to sleep here with your fingers in my hair and mouth because your bed was too small. With your feet hanging off, you say you can’t sleep; you won’t sleep. I dream that parts of my hair are missing and I can see bumps on my scalp, but when I wake up, your eyes are closed and little sounds fall out of your nose. I see a bright, fiery circle in the darkness of my eyelids and it fades whenever I open and close again.

I try very hard to not say, “Please don’t leave me,” or “I am so sad when you are not here. Sometimes I wish we never met,” or “Tell me why you are here, but make it what I want to hear.”

I want to say, “I like you so much. You make me feel different than before.”

Sometimes, a lot of times, I think I’m saying the wrong thing. I’m using the wrong words and I’d like to just create new words that were easier for me to say, that made lots of sense to everybody.

Katie McMahon writes and works. And writes. And works.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Marsi White - Second Day of Middle School

The foreign, deserted hallways were foreboding. My second day of middle school, the halls did not have the eeriness about them, when my dad walked me to my classroom for the first time yesterday. Only dropping me at the curb today, I watch as my dad speeds off. With a gulp and a twitch, I turn and face the school once more. Would today be as boring as yesterday? Are my skinny jeans and graphic t-shirt cool? Who will be in my PE class that go to for the first time? Will I be able to open my combination lock again? My steps are slow and deliberate, giving someone else a chance to get to my homeroom before me. My thoughts continue to wander. I am baffled that so many 7th grade girls talked to me yesterday. I wonder where they might be this morning. Was it a fluke? Suddenly, I hear a car door shut behind me and my named called out by a familiar voice, “Rollie!” Comforted by nothing and yet relieved, I realize it is my best friend. My heart smiles and my nervousness subsides. My second day of sixth grade is off to a good start.

Marsi lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two children and dog. A private foundation grants writer by trade, Marsi explores her creative side by contributing to Writing Writer Writest. She is a breast cancer survivor and keeps a blog of her journey, entitled Nip-It.

Monday, September 12, 2011

James Littlejohn - 200 words

This kid shows up at my door. A six-week newspaper subscription will help him and his classmates go to Europe or something. “Why do you want to go to Europe?” I ask him. “I went, and it’s overrated.” The kid doesn’t have an answer, he hasn’t been out of the county, let alone the country, in over a year. He does his best to sell, but they stuck him with a bad product. I tell him I can read the news for free anytime I want. He doesn’t have an answer. He looks like he’ll be addicted to drugs in a few years. Maybe that’s stereotyping. Maybe that’s the truth. Maybe Europe’s what this kid needs to get his life turned around before it goes off the deep end, like it did with all my friends in High School. They didn’t go to Europe, and maybe that was the problem. “What am I talking about?” I tell myself. “This is nonsense, I can’t afford this, besides, I gave that guy on the freeway off-ramp some change last week.” I say no. He turns away. I change my mind. “Here’s five bucks,” I tell him, “but I don’t want the newspaper.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coco Higgins - Television is Real: The First-world Whinings of an Art Historian

This semester I am taking a Theory of Knowledge class in the philosophy department. I am an art history graduate student and am required to take two classes outside my field. I’ve never taken a philosophy class before, and have only been exposed to such topics tangentially through looking at art. So I thought, hey, why not beef up my elitist resume (nay, CV) by taking an actual, official philosophy course? The best of intentions, I swear.

Since this is an outside-department course, I am allowed to take it at the undergraduate level. You know, because art historians are in fact idiots who pretend that they are interdisciplinary but in fact know nothing else outside of the world of art objects. In any case, I am in a class full of undergrads who have all taken philosophy courses before. (That is a requirement that I weaseled my way out of by virtue of the fact that I have graduate standing, which should theoretically mean that I am an intelligent person.) These undergrads, however, are ten years younger than me and are much more well-versed in the mumbo jumbo that is philosophy.

Then you have the professor, who is habitually late to this god-awful 9:30AM class (did I mention that I am a nocturnal creature who abhors the thought of waking up before noon?). He barges into the classroom all in a tizzy, the residue of his morning coffee forming Frankenthaler stains on his pants, and a wrinkly unlaundered shirt. His hair is uncombed of course, because he has no time for such trivial niceties. He drones on and on in his velvety but low British voice, mumbling most of the time, and occasionally cracking lame philosophy jokes. Of course he’s disheveled and couldn’t care less if we understand him, because of course he’s probably been contemplating some serious philosophical problem all night that OF COURSE caused his brain to implode.

Meanwhile the smarter undergrads (this is such a degrading thing for me to have to admit) are all sitting there just listening, barely taking notes, because OF COURSE all they have to do is absorb this man’s jargon and contemplate it for the rest of the day and all is perfectly fine. Then they name-drop various dead philosophers, “Oh didn’t Martin “Card Carrying Member of the Nazi Party” Heidewhogivesafuck say that consciousness of blahblahI’mshowingoffblahblah?” Whereas, here I am writing feverishly about shit I don’t know and am now realizing I don’t care a lick about.

What is the nature of knowledge? Am I real? How do I know I am real? How do we know that we know something?

Okay, I don’t give a rat’s hairy ass. I know that “I’m not real. I’m theater. And You and I are just rehearsal.” Said Lady Gaga, the contemporary philosopher. Ever hear of HER? Right, didn’t think so, because you live in (Plato’s) cave and haven’t ventured out into society to decide that you probably don’t like her.

Okay, maybe this sounds like sour grapes from someone who can’t hang in a philosophy class. Maybe that’s true. But you know what, I don’t care. In the art history realm, I am probably more engrossed in theory than my peers (and have been criticized for it, but this is not the time or place to get into methodological politics). I’m not gonna talk about my thesis project here, because I’ll probably just be accused of being a pretentious, insufferable academic asshole. And that’s at least 70% true. Okay 90% true. Alright, let’s be real here, 100%.

But it’s absolutely jarring to me to be in a well-lit class with people just TALKING. Especially about bullshit questions in la-la land. I sometimes can’t even stand just sitting around with friends just TALKING. There needs to be something else going on, namely the (ab)use of one or all three of the following: cigarettes, booze, pot (in that order), perhaps in conjunction with a movie or at least music. Call me socially mal-developed, but I need some kind of distraction for my eyes, ears or hands. And art history classes provide that. The lights are turned down low, grainy images are projected on the screen, and we all start masturbating. Ok that last part isn’t true, but that’s where that sentence sounded like it was going.

Art historians look at and analyze images. I need to LOOK AT something. I can’t just talk about NOTHING. I’m not Seinfeld (thank god, he wore the ugliest pants). And I’m not interested in thinking of the origin of thought and knowledge. Who cares about the origin of anything? Logocentrism is soooo passé. (1 – pun intended. 2 – again with the pretentious asshole bit.) I am alive today, and I’d rather think about lived experience TODAY. (Wait, am I really alive today??? No, I must be in hell because I have to go to class at 9:30AM today.)

So anyway I am tired of the mumbo jumbo and it’s only one week into the class.

And I just wasted a bunch of time writing about it just so I can procrastinate on doing my reading. Who cares, I don’t care, a horse’s ass is better than Descartes’. “I think, therefore I am.” Well, monsieur, I THINK the class is boring, therefore I AM dropping it.

And I’d rather be watching television, because television is REAL. (Actually, no it isn’t, it perpetuates representation, which conceals that which is real. But the actual physical object of my television is real. It’s sitting there on a stand. I’m having a phenomenological experience with it now. Oh my god, one week of that dumb class and I’m already brainwashed into thinking like this. And that last sentence is a conscious realization of my own mode of thinking. Ugh. I hate myself. I hate philosophy. Holy shit, maybe I shouldn’t drop the class. No, drop the class. Join the world of the living.)

I also realize that this whole essay is pot-calling-the-kettle-black. But I have to draw the line somewhere in the sand of bullshit wackadoo pseudo-intellectualism. And I draw it at art history. I think that’s far enough.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Debra Crosslin - Mind Controlling Bullshit

Television, computers, electronics etc. are all owned and operated by the Corporate Elite. The enemy of the free. How much more money and damage can these Corporate assholes need? Somehow, someway they need to be stopped before it's too late. To stop them is to be positive and fearless. Power is not is money; money is just a way of forceful evil. Power is in using your own intelligence and intellect to question the Force of the evil elite. Do not ignore this or take it lightly. Try to make some sense of what you hear and see everyday. Ask to be released from this horrid, mind boggling bullshit. At first it maybe painful, but I promise you it gets better. Fear is what kills and fear is exactly what these monsters use everyday and every minute. What can they do? Kill everyone, take away our freedom, censorship, throw us a few tokens of Mac and Cheese, put us all behind bars, drug us, lower our pay, break unions, bail out banks and Wall Street, send off innocent poor kids to fight a meaningless war, close schools and fire teachers. This is only the beginning of what they have already accomplished.

Every newspaper, TV station, website, book, movie, and any other source of the information highway is corrupted. "How do I know?" you may ask. Practice, practice and more practice. Count how many times a cute newscaster uses the words fear, danger, or catastrophe in one half hour broadcast. Look at people who have lived and worked in the same city all their pathetic lives, especially the skilled, young robots of the technological generation, and ask them to spell a major street in the vicinity. Without thinking they get out their iPhones and look it up. They tell you and forget about it. Information in and information out. Try not to ask an open ended question or an individual opinion they can't find on Wikipedia, they will not know what to do. Panic will set in and they may explode right in front of you. What little ass pussies. They cannot or do not know how to think for themselves.

Simply listen to the commercials that big drug companies have on, continually telling us that we are depressed, even our pets are sad. It makes you want to kill yourself. Oh, that is one of the many scary side effects! Political campaigns are an endless drama of lies upon more lies. Please just throw me a little box of fruit roll-ups. Watch out for the fanatical religious zealots who scream that gays, dykes, transsexuals, blacks, Mexicans, Arabs, Asians, and Frosty the Snowman are all condemned in the Bible of the greatest prophet that ever lived, Jesus Christ. Was his last name Christ? I thought he was born a Jew. Whatever you do, do not get a High School Diploma online. Another Corporate money making idea. Charter Schools make even more money for the Elite Corporate Maniacs overtaking the young generation. I always wonder where they learned to read: From a teacher, a professor, or a giant mongoose in the sky?

It is just so very sad. It makes you want to vomit. What more can I write? Nobody is listening anyway. Run to your computer or television and listen to the propaganda of the day. Get fat, thin or turn blue. Use some cosmetic cream to get rid of the pollutant ugly mess on your body. Get a face-lift, liposuction, pimple cream and erase your memory and implode! See ya later alligator! Nice knowing you. Bye!

Debbie Crosslin RIP