Two buildings, almost touching, stand next to each other on a skinny side street. They are stained with the shadow of phone lines, but the connection is lost. From the alley crack smooshed between them, a paved road separates one from the other.
For Sale: Like New Couch $150
Purchased this couch from an antique dealer last month for $800. Couch sports a rounded back with real wooden frame. Complete with claw feet and down padding, this gem would make a fine addition to any home.
The couch has a slight vintage scent to the cushions, possibly from incense or cigarettes, but goes unnoticed fairly soon. The stripes are lined with gold thread, all hand stitched. While precise in design, there are some tiny holes toward the back frame. Fingernails are easily removable.
Couch has plenty of character and adds an ambiance you and your company will never forget.
Immediate offers only. I can deliver for an extra $50.
Seeking Professional: Need My Couch Fixed
I need my couch fixed. I don’t want to pay much money, but willing to trade. Couch is rough, but solid. Friend gave it to me last year and it smells a little like citrusy bubble gum. There’s some feathers coming out of the back, but I patched it with garbage bags. Still needs help.
I’m willing to trade VHS tape collection, stack of Tom Clancey’s or non-working Vespa.
All four legs work. Two legs missing.
$20 COUCH: corner of 8th and Springfield/PICK-UP ONLY
I’m moving next month, but I had to get the couch out. It’s a nice couch – pretty stable all things considered. Couch has been in the living room for a couple of years, kept meaning to replace it, but never did. It’s comfortable and there are no springs. Smells a little spicy.
There are a few minor details: The thread on one of the stripes is unraveling. Two of the legs are a little wobbly too. On the top right shoulder there are 3 stab marks, but the down is still intact. All down has not been removed from when I bought it. Original down is vintage and does not smell.
Will not deliver anywhere. Must pick up immediately.
Missed Connection: Striped couch by 7/11
I thought I saw you. First I thought, no way, it can’t be the same couch. But then I saw the garbage bag patch-up you taped to the back. I tried to move it off the street, but the legs kept breaking off. First the front one went and I thought, eh- that one was always crap anyway. But then the second one flew off and I couldn’t grab it fast enough. I threw most of the couch into a cab and tied the remaining half to the door. The driver said it was in violation, but we almost made it home. I don’t know what happened to the other half. I’m guessing it’s by the chicken place. If you find it, let me know. I’ll pick it up for free.
I know you think this is the place to be. You see the pre-packaged meals with their wrinkled vegetables, cubed meat, and watery potatoes and conclude: that’s the machine that makes them coveted.
I understand the transformation is tempting. I open the door for non-desirable and inedible food. Everyone wants bagel bites. Everyone likes diet dinners. My magic overwhelms those of a lazy disposition no matter their financial situation. In three minutes, I can make anything attractive.
Except I can’t. I can make certain things irresistible, but when it comes to a hideous stuffed animal that’s not actually squishy, there’s just nothing I can do. I have explained this multiple times.
Nevertheless, one of your friends will settle itself against my warm light, waiting for the inevitable transition. Time after time it insists this experience will be different. It isn’t. It never is.
Sure, for the first ten or fifteen seconds there is a certain glow to the future of belonging. Furr sticks together, forming a thick quality that wasn’t there before. But then, just one minute later, all hope melts.
Insides slope downward. Claws turn to paws. Feet fuse to a plastic floor.
Then comes the electricity. It starts with just one spark, but before two minutes, shiny metallic stars erupt from both ears.
This can’t last, but so long, furbys think. It can.
Flames, fleeing from the sides of both arms explode from somewhere within. The heat becomes unbearable. There is nothing I can do to stop it.
I told you it wouldn’t work, I say, but by then it doesn’t matter. Tears of melted eyelashes and plastic eyeballs droop to the floor.
They will never be attractive.
You will never be attractive.
Although I understand the hope for metamorphosis, please don’t use me for your idea of beauty.
It’s not worth the time.
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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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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.
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.
Their laughter once darted in and out of spaces just big enough to get syllables stuck. Words like ‘pre-teen’ and ‘puberty’ barely made it through. Glitter framed snap shots of pig tails and thick gums were slowly surrendered to a box under the bed. Their smiles were embarrassing secrets. Mouths that moved over smooth lined sentences clashed with childhood lisps. They were suddenly clamped shut, shuffled into a straight line. Their laughter is no longer the same.
I have published something on Skirt Collective. It’s not an object piece, but I thought I’d post it here anyway just in case you’re interested in reading. If you’d like to leave a comment I’d love to read it – but please, if you could leave it on the Skirt Collective site, that would be great. Thanks guys!