Category Archives: story time

Hypochondriac, But Only By Association

I had a physical done earlier this month. My doctor gave me the usual: took some blood, had my boys looked at, knocked them around a little (that’s part of the usual, right?). You know the deal. About two weeks passed and I received a voicemail:

Hey um, This is Dr.X-X-X-X. And I have your (pause), I have your blood results here. And, well (pause) give me a call, or I’ll call you back soon.

fuck. What’s with all the pauses? So I’ve developed this terrible habit of putting off  bad news, regardless of its inevitability. Didn’t do well spring semester? Wait ’til fall semester to check my grades. Think I might’ve overdrawn a few bucks in my bank account? Wait til I start receiving letters to find out.

And I also happen to be a Hypochondriac, but only by association. I was raised by my mother, my mother’s mother, and my sister. Three legit, hardcore Hypochondriacs. For the first decade+change of my life my mother used to sneak vitamin powder into my sandwiches (taking three bites of a ham and cheese, and then on the fourth tasting eat wax is so much fun) almost sure that I would contract some forgotten disease; the plague or yellow fever at school (which is ridiculous because asian girls have never tickled my fancy.) My sister, when she would visit from college would try to convince me that I could get AID’s from staring at some skanky looking bitch the wrong way. And whenever I would visit as a child, my grandmother would force me to chug fish oil, and chew on flax seeds. She was the alternative medicine Hypochondriac in the family. So, more or less I’m the direct product of my sickeningly paranoia inducing environment.

So because of my Once-Removed-Hypochondria I refrained from calling my doctor back, and all the possible ailments I may have had began to fester in my mind. I became more, and more distrought with fear, sickened by the idea that I was a walking, talking germ vessel. At one point I was sure I was dying. If I coughed too hard I thought my dick would fall off.  if I was feeling particularly jumpy I was sure I had MS. If I hadn’t pissed all day I’d start fingering my prostate (kidding?)

It eventually got so bad that I could no longer screen my doctors phone calls and decided one day that I had to pick up. Maybe it was time sensitive, perhaps there was an antidote! Turns out I have a “slight leaky heart.” which is “borderline standard, and completely normal.” Now I just feel like a bitch. I mean a leaky heart aint very manly.

Then again I’m just glad my dick didn’t fall off.

A Sit Down With War Torn Grandpaw

Who the fuck joins the Navy? says me, a deluded city kid who knows nothing but the smell of burnt pretzels and trash which has yet to be collected in the morning. well, that was the first thing that crossed my mind when my friend told me he was enlisting. To be honest, Im not really sure how to feel about it. I’m not the type of person who becomes an emotional wreck over other peoples shit, and I respect the decisions of others (or at least if I respect the person), but I do have my own opinions, as well as care about his well being. He’s talented as all hell but has that dangerous sense of adventure that makes you do things that most writers, like myself, only have wet dreams about, before deciding to write fiction. But I couldn’t help but think he was throwing a big part of his life away. You know, the part which keeps you not-dead.

I’ve asked around to a few people who I thought might be in the know regarding how safe the Navy actually is. My friend told me about a kid from highschool who joined the Navy. She said he got ripped, saw the world, made lifetime friends, then spent the rest of his Tour in Japan, where he met some flat Chested vixen who got off on serving him hot sake with a side of  hot sucky. it all sounded pretty appealing, to be honest.

But then I asked my grandfather. He’s a war vet, who served in some of America’s bigger skirmishes, and has the quiet, broodish personality to prove it as well. I visited him at the Vets home to ask him some questions. When I arrived he was sneaking a cigarette, sitting in the corner of the room by the window. Half in shadow, his face was divided by bars of shade, cast from the blinds. From what the nurses told me, he smoked very frequently. I didn’t ask, but wondered why they hadn’t stopped him. But when I really thought about it, it wasn’t all that odd that they gave him all the room he wanted. he was treated much the same by his family when he was living at home. It was the only way to live with Grandpa Joe. I started to speak, announce my presence as not to sneak up on him. He wouldn’t like that “Hey Gr-”

“Sit down” he called, cutting me off. He hadn’t known I was coming, but he had always had a keen awareness for when his space was being invaded. I wasn’t really sure what to say. Hello, good to see you didn’t really seem appropriate at all, even as a formailty. He would see right through that bullshit. So instead I meagerly raised a hand to wave, then let it drop to my side, and jumped right into my questioning. I asked about the Navy, and told him about my friend. He was quiet for a moment, and then he spit into a pill bottle, which he extinguished his cigarette in. He looked up at me, the illumination of his face shifting in the light that was allowed by the blinds. I could see his face clearly now. His left eye was slightly shut, almost winking. It had been done surgically, as he lacked the ability to fully open it because of nerve damage. His lips were chap, partially from constant chain smokin, but also because he rarely took in fluids . He appeared older, and grayer for someone his age, if that is possible. He pulled another cigarette from within a pocket in his wheelchair, lighting it with a zippo that I discovered, he kept tucked between his belt and the waistband of his pants. “I’ll tell you one thing” he said, his one good eye meeting eye. His contact took me off guard. You could say that I wasn’t expecting contact so purposeful, and direct.”They gunna set his shit straight” he dragged deeply. My memory lapsed for a moment, and I had forgotten what exactly he was answering. Right, my friend who enlisted.”He might be safer in the Navy, but I tell you what, a lot of us weren’t, and he might not be either. Theyre sending boys from the Navy over to Iraq. That Mick from down the hall, his nephew joined the Navy. they trained him, sent him over as an EOD. They sent him home in two plastic bags. Little prick didn’t see whuat was coming” my grandfather looked up and chuckled. “Well, actually he probably set the damn thing off.” I later learned EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Detonator. Grandpa Joe wheeled around towards me, and lifted up a towel which was laying next to him in his chair. He unrolled it, and there was a jar of pure china white cocaine. I looked at Grandpa Joe bewildered. He suddenly looked 20 years younger, and twice as festive. I took a twenty from my wallet, and he took a twenty from his money clip. Let’s just say we spent the rest of the night with a pair of escorts, dancin’ and getting blown.

well…. Okay, I don’t actually have a grandfather who lives in a a Vet’s Hospital. I pulled most of that INFORMATION(sure. let’s call it that) from google and yahoo answers.. and I happen to be reading a lot of Tim O’ Brien books right now. Excuse me for having an active imagination and a boring grandfather. well, no I take that back. My grandfather served in WWII, and was honorably discharged because of an injury ( he broke his arm playing ping pong… for real.)

I think there was a point in there somewhere, or perhaps I was just trying to avoid putting any thought into something that deserves some real consideration. Well,

good luck man.

The Chair Kicking Tranny

I went to see District 9 with my girlfriend Friday. We went to the theater on 68th and Broadway and decided to see a late show, so we could walk around Lincoln Center for a few hours. There happened to be a live performance going on outside of Damrosch park. I think it was World Music. but to be honestly, I’m not really sure what World Music is.

I think it has something to do with being latino and having long hair, while simultaneously wearing a robe and a pair of moccasins. There are usually pan-flutes, or tambourines involved. However, that could just be my clouded American intellect speaking for me. Who invented the term World Music anyway? Another characteristic of World Music, though not a qualifying factor is, it is usually accompanied by some sort of dancing, long haired, tye-dyed person. And this particular show wasn’t lacking. We sat on the benches by the bar, and took in our fair share of World Music, and eratic hippie dancing. At around 9ish we made our way over to the theater to watch the movie. We bought our soda pop and skittles, hid them in our bags (who the hell can afford food from the movie thearter these days? Not this intern), and took our seats, ready to enjoy the movie. I have to say, I wasn’t exactly excited to see the show. I thought the premise of District 9, as presented in the trailer, seemed pretty typical,  and the viral campaign looked really cartoony to me. I was happily surprised.

D-9 Poster/Ghetto Thing lookalike

Before the movie began, as the ‘Unscriptables’ and ‘Who Said It?’ questions were still being projected onto the screen, we heard some commotion coming from the row behind us.

“Is that seat taken? Hello!? No? Aright”-Ghetto Thing said, in her Bonquiqui accent.

One that I had become quite accustomed to by the neighborhoods where I buy my weed. A tall figure, with broad shoulders, tits, and an adams apple,  began shuffling towards a middle seat. When no one stood up to assist her by, Ghetto Thing retored with a loud teeth sucking, punctuated with a comical “RUDE.” She sat by herself. I was surprised, as she seemed like quite the prize.

The lights dimmed and the trailers began. We decided which movies looked good, and which looked fucking stupid. We decided which ones we would watch shitty copies of on the internet, and which ones we would wait for to come out on DVD. Then the movie began. We took our skittles and soda out of our bags and reclined further into our chairs for maximum movie enjoyment. A few minutes into the movie I start feeling a light kicking against the back of my seat. This is, honestly, one of my biggest pet peeves. One of those things that I knew. if I wasn’t careful, I’d end up blowing up over. So I tried to relax, teling myself it was totally un-intentional, and went back to the movie. Ten minutes later ::THUMP:: A hard kick. WHAT THE FUCK.. well , maybe the guys foot slipped. Calm down… it’s no big deal. ::THUMP THUMP:: At this point I’m not even paying attention to the movie. I’m just getting more and more upset. I turn to my girlfriend.

“Who the fuck is sitting behind me?”I whispered.

“It’s that ghetto chick from earlier.” she said, matter of factly, as if to say who else?

“Oh shit, you mean the tranny?”

“mhm, that’s the one.”

I turn back to the movie, suddenly realizing I was in a delicate situation. As a rule, I don’t pick fights with women. Some might call that sexist, but it was just the way I was brought up. It doesn’t make sense to me to pick on someone physically smaller than I am. Then again Ghetto Thing was at least a foot above my head, and had the shoulders of a linebacker. And was she really a woman? Should I take into consideration whether she was post-op or pre op? Maybe I should’ve asked.

Excuse me. yes, excuse me Miss. Did you have your dick cut off yet? I’m not certain as to whether I should scream at you or not.

All things considered, I told myself to not worry about it. Just to sit back and enjoy the rest of the movie... But then that  little voice in the back of my head had to get a word in. Yo. this dude thinks you’re a chump. I mean lookat’m.. Sitting there all smug by herself. Knows you’re just trying to have a good time with your girlfriend. Just tryna fuck your shit up. For some reason, that voice in the back of my head is from the Bronx, even though I was born in queens.

That little voice always gets the best of me. I felt a hard thud conncet with the back of my seat and I couldn’t hold back any longer. I shot around.

“HEY, could you please NOT kick my chair?” I said, leaning over the back of my chair with an angry frown.

“UMM. It’s not intentional” Ghetto Thing replied, cocking her head to the side, and sucking her teeth loud enough for the whole theater to hear.

“It’s not intentional??” I shout-whispered back, still mindful of the other people in the theater “You’ve been doing it the whole fucking movie. You’re ruining it for me and it’s starting to piss me off.”

I shot back around, a smug look on my face. I turned to my girlfriend who seemed mildly pleased, and reclined back into my seat. As the movie began to climax I started to feel a sense of impending guilt. Did I really need to do that? Said the more wholesome voice in my head. I couldn’t help but worry if I’d gone too far, screaming at Ghetto Thing. I mean, she was by herself at a movie, on a Friday night. On top of that, she was going through an extremely transitional position in her life, and didn’t need some asshole screaming at her because she happens to have long legs. As the credits began to roll I started to turn around to apologize when ::THUD:: her big fat Tranny Foot connected with the back of my chair. She quickly rose from her seat and exited the theater. Ghetto Thing: if I ever see you again I will beat you like a man.

-NYC, If You Are

The Absurdity of Living To See Yourself Die, Part 2: Two Breaths and A Balloon

incase you missed it: Part 1

Two firemen carried my limp body down a flight of stairs and layed me on the floor. Soot and mucus began leaking out of my mouth and nose. An EMT started preforming CPR. First my head was tilted back and a mask was placed over my lips. The EMT pinched my nose shut and began exhaling air down through my wind pipes and into my lungs. My chest rose, and then fell sharply, the weight of it sitting hard on my lungs. Again, air was forced into my lungs, my chest rising, and then falling sharply, like a balloon pinched shut between your forefinger and thumb suddenly being released. Another EMT began performing chest compressions to keep the blood pumping in and out of my heart. As the EMT tried applying a third rescue breath I shook to life violently, inhaling a deep, filling breath. I shot up, sitting upright, and vomited over my tshirt.

An old man going into cardiac arrest, a boy crying on the floor, a woman shouting, her voice hoarse, and scared “MI HERMANA, MI HERMANA, ARRIBA!” These are the things I saw when I opened my eyes. I searched the room, swooping my head back and forth looking for my girlfriend, half conscious of my surroundings and the situation. We met eyes. She was also covered in soot, a look of horror across her face, along with a fragile smile. Thankfully she had been pulled from the fire immediately. Before we could exchange words we were grabbed by fire fighters and brought downstairs where we were quickly

forgotten in a sea of people. Some which had injuries, others just standing around and staring. We walked out of the building, not knowing what else to do, and were approached by a short, portly cop who asked if we needed assistance. We really didn’t know, but he insisted that we did. We were walked over to an ambulance, passing a line of camera men and news media who began flashing away, taking pictures of my girlfriend whose face was covered in soot, only interrupted by two lines of flesh that had been washed away by her tears. I became enraged, threatening to break their equipment, pick a fight. I looked like a real asshole. Some lowered their cameras, others just continued flashing, quite accustomed to the situation.

It wasn’t until we were given oxygen masks that I realized how sick I actually was. I could feel the physical weight of the soot and chemicals which sat in my throat and lungs. My blood had also absorbed a fair amount of Carbon Dioxide, and Cyanide  as well(Yeah, fucking Cyanide) and unfortunately my body was doing a very poor job of absorbing oxygen.

So there we were. Two 20-somethings, kids

really, sitting in the back of an ambulance, with our hair matted to our  heads, and emergency blankets wrapped around our bodies. I became aware of my adrenaline level slowly returning to normal, as maintaining my breath became noticeably more difficult.

I wasn’t dead, it was a miracle. It was a fucking miracle, as a matter of fact. I began to think about the extent of my injuries, and contemplate how serious of an impact it might have on my life. I clutched my girlfriends hand, softly. I had very little strength actually left in my body, as the ambulance raced downtown to the hospital.

The Absurdity of Living to See Yourself Die, Part 1: Death and Chinese Food

I thought I’d try something new today.

So I tell this story about the time I died. However many times I’ve told it, I’m always fascinated by the way the details change, characters become more essential to the story; sometimes less. Sometimes the “accident” will become all my fault, and more often than not, it becomes someone else’s.

When the doors opened the oxygen was sucked out of the air. In the moment I was reminded of the big vacuum in the sky, and as the black smoke filled the elevator it resembled it as well.That is except for the screaming and the stars. When the elevator doors opened the smoke looked like someone had bricked up the entrance to the third floor, and painted it black. The smoke moved like a wave. Like a fucking Tsunami, I shit you not, and suddenly I was holding my breath. No, actually the air was sucked out of my lungs. I was trying not to breath, as the smoke waited at my lips.

Sitting on the couch watching t.v. She was taking way to long to get ready, as usual, but I guess that’s just part of the deal. I wanted to get to my place as fast as possible

so that we could order from the chinese food joint up the block before they closed. I was getting impatient, and her apartment was getting stuffier by the minute.

“baby let’s GO.” yeah, I’m one of those guys who calls their girlfriend baby.

“HOLD THE FUCK ON.” Her and I have a sharp tongue in common.

I knew I was about to die. I pulled her into my chest, and for just a second, I wasn’t scared. And then the second passed, and everyone rushed out of the elevator and she wasn’t in my arms anymore, and I was alone. I stepped in the direction of the elevator doors. The smoke was thick and hot on my arms. I know you’re supposed to get low in a fire, but I was disoriented, and wanted to find her. The fire was to my right, I could feel it. I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. I needed to fucking breath. It was hot, and I needed to breath, and I couldn’t find her, and I didn’t know which way I was going. I gasped for air, and the smoke filled me to the core. The smoke was heavy in my lungs. I could feel the weight of it, inside of my chest. There was nothing to breath. there wasn’t any oxygen. Any illusion I might’ve had that, just maybe, everything would be okay was shattered. I began having a coughing fit. My body needed oxygen and would use every last ounce of strength to drink in the smoke, and then force it out. Drink it in, force it out, drink it in, force it out. I have never coughed that hard before. My body shook violently, and I fell to the floor. I stopped breathing, and closed my eyes. It wasn’t terribly painful. It happened so fast that I wasn’t fully able to process how utterly terrifying it was either. I couldn’t help but think of how ridiculous the whole thing was. Death was a downright absurdity, almost funny.

“Holy shit. We have to get out of here. There’s a fucking fire in the building.” Christ. What was I thinking.