Halloween

It must have been because it was Halloween.

Violet just didn’t do things like this. She was a nice girl. She was a disciplined girl. She had a good job and a lovely apartment. She visited her parents regularly. She fed her cat and went to the gym and sent thank you cards to people who gave her gifts.

It was Halloween, though, and sometimes when you put on a costume and gold diamond cut grillz it just changes you. It changes you enough to do something crazy, if only for one night.

Originally she really didn’t want to go to the party.… Read the rest

The Bet

If I learned one thing in life it’s this: never turn your back on someone who cheats at cards. There is a lotta things I can stomach, but all my life I’ve had a secret and overwhelming respect for playing cards. Maybe there is a mystery about them, like their ancestry to the Tarot, strange fingers of history and fiction tying them all the way to Egypt. Anyhow, where ever it came from I respected the game of poker and so when I saw Tommy Knuckles dealing from the bottom of the deck I knew it was going to be a long night.… Read the rest

Anthony Bourdain and the Naughty Chef de Partie

Nervous was not the word. More like shaking in my boots. It was cold at five a.m. in the alley as I waited for someone to let me into the restaurant. Surrounded by the stained brick walls and the dumpsters and the rats I wondered if I was really ready for this. This was the big time. This was it.

The three cleanup guys came down the alley together and spoke in that rapid fire Spanish I couldn’t keep up with. I must have looked ridiculous in my white coat and my pale face and my glasses. My hands balls in my pockets and my eyes wide and hopeful.… Read the rest

Mike

They met in the laundry room.

In the bowels of the big old apartment building where Jack lived was a laundry room which housed five washing machines and five dryers, all of which cost $1 to run but were far less efficient than taking your clothes to the laundromat across the street. But nonetheless there he was, folding his boxers.

Now, when you live in an apartment building you tend to “see” a lot of people but not to “meet” a lot of people. Jack lived in a place populated by familiar strangers, people he saw every day but didn’t know the name of.… Read the rest

The Strand

Let me describe the first time I met her.

I was in The Strand bookstore, the one on 12th street, one of the most amazing places in the world. The smell of old books is almost overpowering there. I was in the mystery section looking through war torn copies of Raymond Chandler novels. It was Sunday, just after seven pm.

Across the aisle, I saw her. She had just moved out of Science Fiction and down the aisle that contained Letters, Criticisms, and Literary Biographies. She was short and bookish and dressed like your average college girl, a knee length skirt of dull gray and a fitted black button up blouse with three buttons open to expose just enough to make me follow her with my eyes.… Read the rest

Barista

Jack was addicted. It was something he needed to admit to himself. It was something he needed help with. It was something that was part of him.

“Gimme a quad shot cappuccino, very dry, non-fat milk.”

He stood at the counter digging deep into the pockets of his jeans trying to get another fifty cents. It was a costly habit, four shots of espresso with a little steamed milk was five bucks.

Behind him a line of well dressed people tried to summon the psychic power needed to destroy him. He was holding up the line, therefor holding up their caffeine intake.… Read the rest