The Paper Bag

trash

 

Dear Brown Paper Bag,

You were there when I was broke. You looked like something out of a postage store with your nondescript packaging. It was before the idea of dainty handles made from braided paper. Fitting in was out of style.

There’s a certain dignity to being plain when you know you’re a necessity. Frills are for those without substance. Your no nonsense attitude was perfect for packed lunches on the job. I put the beer at the bottom.

So why did you change? Did you feel the need to compete with shoulder bags? Were you trying to attract someone else? Someone who had places to go? Someone who wanted to be seen?

 

I miss giving you notes.

Don’t worry about a thing – he probably didn’t even notice they caught fire. Remember to act stupid and I’ll see you at home.

xoxo

Your favorite

 

I miss giving you everything I could find. Mints stolen from the Chinese food store down the street. Sandwiches with three different kinds of meat. You were open to everything.

I saw you, or the latest version of you, at the grocery store last week and couldn’t bring myself to walk over. Sitting in the same aisle as organic wrapping paper and blank cards featuring vaguely artistic photographs, you weren’t in the right place.

$3.99 per bag.

Let me know when you’re back to being trashy.

Sincerely,

Your ex wife

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The Horn

hornedear

 

Horn: A sharp protrusion. A warning. A pointed optimism for victory. The sound is of a dozen defenses. Defenses from a louder brass band.

Horn: A sound the color of brass. A brassy texture of volume. Loud space funneling forward. Inward. A noise channel. A channel engulfed by the volume. The volume of something filled.

The Spam Folder

email-29853_1280

 

I take my job seriously because people depend on it. I protect the email. I protect the user. I even protect information. I am the Spam Folder.

Every day I catch stray spam, trying to weasel its way into the computer. Save 20% off your next purchase when you try SalonPro Scalp Control! It stands at the edge of my decision, pleading its case as if it was something new.

“The scalps of innocent people may flake off entirely if they don’t take precaution now!” I’ve seen it all.

Filled almost to the brim, I have become invisible. Please, just empty the spam, I pray to the user every evening before rush hour. I don’t know how much more I can take before completely slowing down.

Happy Dating Love Available For Destiny!!!!

I capture it, wrestling with the idea of actual destiny. Maybe there is something to the email. Maybe even if it is junk mail, the opportunity for love will conquer. I think of my user, tapping on the keys for hours at a time. Even at night the laptop is on. If real love existed, the power of online wouldn’t consume so much.

Real, live, girls looking for marriage! Good food! Happy home! Happy heart!

No, this is not beneficial. I pluck the email from an undecided cloud and bury it behind Mattress Discount Blowout!! Act Now And Receive Clean Sheets!!!

I have room for only one more email. The account is slow and I feel as if I am swimming through a public streaming of the Academy Awards.

Are you addicted to the internet?

It comes at me during a suspicious time: the small hours. Once 3AM hits, foreign spammers swarm with offers of everything from anti-aging miracles to fashion modeling careers. This goes against the script.

Do you spend more than 4 hours a day online?

I know for a fact that social media takes up at least a few hours of time per day. Once down the search engine rabbit hole, the spam accumulates to maximum capacity.

Do you feel less comfortable than you used to when socializing face to face?

This service, whatever it is, could truly benefit those from a certain generation.

Call now to set up your initial consultation at 1-900-293-2726. Please disclose your name, email address, cell number, and any social media account profiles that are active and we will get back to you within 2 business days.

The need for information seems inappropriate. Social media accounts are of no use to anyone except marketers. But perhaps this company will ultimately help detangle the addiction of online exposure. Not to mention, the email account could truly be destroyed if information isn’t handled properly. By letting the advertisement through, I could be preventing much larger problems in the future.

Do the right thing for real connections.

The email address contains a name. John McCall. There is a business account attached to the address. It’s probably a registered company. It’s probably legit.

_______________________

 

 

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The Heater

heater

There once lived a space heater with little warmth. Every winter, when the office was frozen as an icicle, he was placed on the floor next to a pair of high heels. With the thermostat knob switched all the way to the right and the power turned on high, he shook with the struggle to heat.

“I don’t understand what’s wrong with you.” The high heels tapped impatiently.

The space heater tried harder. With heaving breaths from deep inside the mechanics of his being, he blew as deeply as he could.

“It’s like you don’t even want to be of use.” The high heels stomped.

The space heater coughed and sputtered. Its feelings were on fire.

“Are you going to break down now?” The high heels clicked. “Not that it would make much of a difference.”

The space heater glared at the rubber sole next to him. It wasn’t even soft. It would never be comfortable. He heaved his breath once again.

“It’s almost like you’re blowing cold air. Like an air conditioner.” The heels remarked.

Sparks flew from inside the space heater. Tiny flickers of orange and white stars burst from the fan to the floor.

The heels stared silently in astonishment.

Electrical shocks of steaming energy scattered across the power cord. Flames were now threatening the carpet.

“What is wrong with you?!” The high heels said again. “You’re going to burn down the office!”

The space heater noticed a patch of leather oozing off the edge of a shoe. The smell was like plastic with a worn sense of age and instantly the space heater shut down. He shuddered. He melted. With one last glance at the double polished pair, the space heater finally recoiled.

__

 

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The Trinket

trinket

 

Dear Traveler,

I know how you feel, and yes, you’ve come to the right place. I can tell the kind of person you are because of the way you feel. Your wandering energy seems listless, but I know you’re searching. You want things to make sense. You’re tired of the prison your life has become. I understand. I know.

You may be wearing the same clothes as everyone else, but the colors and textures of your mind betray you. You’re different. You’re beautiful in a way that is so unique, no one else could understand the complexities of your life. You doubt yourself. You doubt your future. You don’t doubt the transition forward.

You see me hanging in a Chinatown shop on your way to somewhere else. Thousands of gold painted coins with symbols you can’t understand sit in the bowl below me. Every one of them is one in the same. You want something else.

When you first picked me up, I felt the fingertips of a person who has experienced more. You’ve seen things no one else can describe. Your emotions run deeper. Your expression flows wider.

You need me because just like you, we are both the same. We are special. Like everyone else, we know.

 

Sincerely,

Your gift

Pain Reliever

aleve

Name: Aleve

Age: Expiration date optional

Body Type: Curvy

Looking For:

Someone who is mysterious and probably misunderstood.  Substance use is acceptable as long as it’s for healing purposes only.

My Ideal Date:  

Watching old VHS tapes of Tom Waits and comparing it to your band.

Three Things I Can’t Live Without:

1.)The joy of helping others

2.)Water

3.)The back shelf of your pantry

Faith/Spirituality:

I’m at a point in my life where I know what works.  I have faith in myself.

One thing I am exceptionally good at:

Decreasing a tense situation.

Favorite Song:

Complicated by Avril Lavigne

Favorite Quote:

“Be My Headache.”

The Gold

watchbracelet

 

“I don’t do sparkles.”

“You don’t have to if I’m there.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“Everybody needs shine in their life.”

“It’s better to be bright.”

“That’s enough.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m sick of this.”

“What ‘this’?”

“You know what I’m talking about.”

“Don’t talk to me like that.”

“Let’s not be trashy.”

“Just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you’re classic.”

“Do we need to stay home tonight?”

“Depends if you’re going.”

“Are you?”

“Should I?”

“Yes. As long as you’re not ostentatious.”

“Why is a little attention so bad?”

“It’s not the amount, it’s the type.”

“Fine.  I’ll stay home.”

“You can’t stay home.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to have a bad time.”

The Boombox

boom

Dear Listener,

There comes a time in everyone’s life where the past seems better than the present.  You get old, you get tired, you don’t feel like driving twenty minutes to work every single day and you start to think, remember that time when I was seventeen?

            No.  You don’t remember that time when you were seventeen.  You don’t remember when your best friend’s mom screamed at you for feeding her son pot out of a hollowed out apple.  You don’t remember how your stomach bulged out of the neon green spandex that you had to buy because Stacy Q. was beyond amazing.  You don’t remember the first time you went to a night club and danced until you accidentally elbowed the shy guy in the eye.

You remember Sublime.  You remember sitting stretched out in the back of your friend’s 1980’s Honda Accord while you dangled your arm out the window.  You remember the rainbow-colored beanie that you could have sworn were the colors of the Jamaican flag.  You remember that guy with the dreads who said you didn’t ever need to shampoo again just as long as you had Bees Wax.  You remember thinking you could keep riding in that car forever.

But thank God, you got out.  You no longer had to stay on your mom’s couch eating pizza Pringles and watching reruns of bad sitcoms.   You made it past abstinence-only education, dodgeball, and pregnant cheerleaders.

Now you just have to change the CD.

It was never Sublime.  It will never have been Sublime.  It’s been over 20 years and you hate pop reggae.

Signed,

Your Boombox

Cat Dish

bowl-29556_960_720

 

CONFESSION INTERVIEW DICTATION

“What made you decide to do it?”

“Do what?”

“Kill Garfield.”

“Why would I kill Garfield?”

“You tell me.”

“I’ve been happily serving him since 1978.”

“So you do consider it serving.”

“What do you mean?”

“You consider yourself beneath him.”

“Of course.”

“So you find that demeaning, do you?”

“It’s my place.”

“To serve?”

“To sit.  On the floor.  With the water.”

“So you’re blaming the water.”

“The water didn’t have anything to do with this.”

“Then you admit it.”

“Admit what?”

“You poisoned Garfield.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Is it?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You knew he’d eat the lasagna. That’s why you presented it to him last Tuesday evening.  So you could kill him before Wednesday.”

“Wednesday?”

“Yes.  Wednesday.”

“What happened Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was your ticket out.  You knew you’d never be able to leave the Arbuckle house if Garfield was still around.”

“I could leave whenever I wanted.”

“He’d be all over you. Guarding you the entire day.  You think he’d let you out of his sight even for one minute?”

“If the timing was right.”

“When would be the right time to leave?

“I never thought about it.”

“But if you did…”

“I don’t know.”

“How about Wednesday?”

“Why would I want to leave Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was different.”

“Because of the lasagna?”

“Because of your possible new future in a better home with a better cat in a better section of the kitchen.”

“Stop.”

“You know I’m right. Just say it.”

“What?”

“Say what happened on Wednesday.”

“I wanted to leave Garfield.”

“But why Wednesday?

“Because Wednesday…”

“What?”

“Wednesday was the day that Normal was coming.”

“And you wanted a Normal life, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“A life without neediness.”

“Yes.”

“A life without possession.”

“Yes.”

“A life without Garfield.”

“Yes.”

The Watch

watch

Where would the dreams go if time did not exist?

No clocks. No metronomes. No music to sing along to.

Roads across valleys turn sideways to look forward.  Like backward:

Neither contemplates direction.

If dreams sputtered early and were caught before death, would we save them to prove they were here?

Into the net made of miniature holes, they’d fall out.  And push through.  

Earth rolling flat below them.