Archive for the ‘Hate’ Category
This is outright ridiculous. Yes, we’re being childish engaging this type of folk, but seriously? Leave lil’ ol’ unoffending us alone, you big meanies!
Subject Line: Say What?
(We would never give their address away, but we will say it had “Marcel Proust” in it)
You’re not looking for submissions. You’re looking for contributions. Charity. Freebees. For quality work from professional writers which work you don’t have to pay for. I mean, let’s at least get the vocabulary correct and what you’re really seeking accurate when you post such an ad on the paying gigs/jobs section of craigslist. I mean, don’t insult our intelligence totally!
Our (final) Retort:
Dear Marcel Proust,
Call it what you want, but bottom line, we’re trying to promote writing in the world. We figure the more, the better. We’re sorry you feel the need to attack such an innocuous website whose sole purpose is to support art. Have a great day!
Their Retort to Our Retort:
Don’t make excuses and quit whining and acting like a victim. Just do the right thing. That’s called morality. Morality precedes anyone’s notion of charity and art for art’s stake. Just change the word to contributor/contribution, etc. And don’t be misleading and callow about it. Then lots and lots of professional writers will have a great day!
There is a finality in the 1AM click of the TV turning off. The click is a reminder of the silence, of the empty room – of the need for entertainment. The sound of the empty room is like the morphine wearing off . He thinks this, of course, based solely on what he’d learned from the TV. He wouldn’t know morphine if it fell into his lap, or into his coffee, or probably even if it somehow made it into his circulatory system.
The bed sheets are cool, soothing in contrast to the hot air. He’s felt this even when the air conditioner was still working. Systematically, and almost unconsciously, he would move his legs from one spot to another, so as to maximize the cooling sensation without warming the whole bed up too quickly. It had been easier when he had the bed to himself; she didn’t really understand the concept anyway.
“I guess there’s nothing on. Well, I need to be up early.” She knew he knew it, but never found that a reason not to say anything. This was probably “good night” anyway. For the first few weeks they had lived together he would say “good night” every night, but she would have something else to say in just a few minutes. Then he’d say “good night” again, but still, that was no guarantee the conversation was over. Eventually he stopped saying it at all, because it seemed disingenuous to say “good night” if it wasn’t really going to be the last thing you say to someone.
The spaces between the pictures on the wall make it seem barer than if there were no pictures at all. This is the time of night where he will contemplate the tiny hole in the wall directly across from him. Every night he has thoughts about it – did the people before them leave it? Don’t landlords fix something like that? If he were to put a nail in it, could he hang another picture, or would it make everything seem off center? He could probably find an easy solution to most of these questions, but he won’t remember the hole again until 1AM tomorrow night. He thinks about how it’s strange to know you won’t remember something.
The room never is completely quiet – but you don’t notice it until you’re positively sure there is no sound at all. And that’s when you hear the fridge running in the kitchen, a tree creaking outside, alley cats having the equivalent of a very serious domestic dispute.
Why is it that the TV people seem more important than the real person in the bed? He’s not angry with her, nor her with him, but somehow the people on the TV are the people whose lives interest him. She’s not unimportant, but comparatively, she seems inconsequential. He shouldn’t think that. It would hurt her feelings tremendously. Even if it’s true. He dismisses the thought in the front of his mind, but the back of his mind latches on, filing it away for later. Everyone keeps a mental record of grievances, just in case there’s an argument, right? So everyone can know whose fault is whose.
He doesn’t feel done yet. It can’t be time to go to sleep yet; work has gone undone, words have gone unsaid. He can’t go to sleep yet, but here he is, watching the last of the day slip away. Watching it from the languid stasis of bed.
He used to have a recurring nightmare scenario. There would be some kind of trouble, maybe physical, maybe emotional. Whatever it was, it was overwhelming. He couldn’t handle it on his own. He needed someone to help. And when he opened his mouth to call for help, nothing would come out. And it didn’t make sense that nothing would come out, but try as he might, no one could hear. No one could help. He would remain trapped, screaming at the top of his lungs, without making a single sound. The dream probably isn’t specific to just him. The neurosis seems normal enough that other people have probably had the same one. Of course, he doesn’t really dream much at all these days.
He shifts his legs under the covers. She’s not moving. Her breathing patterns have changed. He can always tell when she finally falls asleep. But the r oom doesn’t feel any more or less empty. Almost by surprise, it strikes him that he once had an idea of what their life would be like.
“I don’t feel like I’m in control anymore.” This time, he knows she isn’t listening.
He desperately wants to turn the TV back on, but doesn’t, for fear he might wake her. So he stares at the nail-hole. Twenty feet away, on the other side of a mostly plaster wall, the fridge goes quiet. Outside somewhere, a car takes a turn just fast enough to squeal his tires.
He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. For several minutes, he isn’t sure whether he’s awake or asleep.
If you’re reading this it means I’m dead. Kidding! I hope you still have your sense of humor, Future Self, because I’m going to level with you — right now that’s kind of all you have going. I really hope this is my five to ten year Future Self, and not my one year, because I’m confident that my five to ten version will be able to laugh. Not so sure about my one year.
Things are bad now, man. You took some chances and they didn’t pan out. That’s Present Me for you, though – a risk taker! In an effort to “show them” you quit your job with nothing lined up. I bet in retrospect getting reprimanded for coming in two hours late and parking in the CEO’s spot seems reasonable. You weren’t there, though. Larry’s tone was condescending, and it was a big deal at the time.
Speaking of big deals, what were you thinking ending it with Chase? Now that I think of it, he was pretty fantastic. I look to you for answers, F.S., because you’re older, wiser, more mature. I’m just a silly old kid, and to me, wanting to spend time with your sick grandma seems boring, and I hate to say it, but kind of cliche.
You’re cracking up right now, aren’t you? I bet you’re sitting in your mansion, doubled over, trying to wrap your head around the notion of “bad times.” Good for you. You deserve a good laugh. With all the hard work you do, plus your daily five am yoga classes, you could use it.
And hey, I’m sorry about that scar on your forehead. That was just plain idiotic. But ’til the day I die, I will stand by the fact that if Mindy didn’t force-feed me that eighth cup of mulled wine I never would have leap-frogged Charlie. At least not handcuffed. Although I guess I could have just been acting out because I was getting arrested. Whatevs. The point is, I can admit when I’m wrong. There’s probably, like, really high-tech machinery to laser scars out now though, right? What, do you just go into a booth and zap, come out scar-free, Jetsons-style? I bet it’s something like that. Probably kind of pricey, though. But with your paychecks, that’s just a drop in the ol’ bucket! (Assuming modeling/acting/singing still pays well.) I wonder if you’ve become an aristocrat? Do you have a butler? Do you use cloth napkins? Hey – whatever you do, don’t forget the little people, sister.
All these shenanigans – or should I say lessons – made you/me stronger, didn’t it? I bet it helped define who you are. Thanks to Present Me’s devil-may-care ways, you’ve learned so much through trial and error. That’s why you’re so different now. Do you still like soy cherry chocolate ice cream from Trader Joe’s? Do they even make that in the future? (Note to Current Self – stock up.) I know you still like Led Zeppelin. That’s probably the only thing you and I have in common right now.
Anyway, back to the present. Well, the past for you. Charlie finally got WWE SmackDown vs. Raw for Wii, so Mindy and I are going to head over there to do some damage. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a great story out of it! Show me a really fancy dinner party you won’t kill at now, girlfriend! You’re welcome.
This piece was originally rejected from McSweeney’s.