I'm also posting the old ones, because I went back and read them and they are waaaaaay better. Sea of Alcohol
You know what they call it, you’ve heard it before. Love at first sight. That’s what it was, straight and true.
They’d said it again and again.
Over and over.
The living room filled with the sounds of wild laughter, it was hard to tell who was who anymore.
But that didn’t matter. It was love, all of it. Every last little bit.Agent Red
He still has those nightmares. He told me about them, once.
You can see him there, same seat every time. Clockwork; I’d set my watch by it. While he’s there he watches people, everyone in the streets, in their cars, with their families, and he seems to ponder about things, and he sighs sometimes. He likes his light beer with a little water mixed in.
It’s been thirty years, and he’s lived here all that time. Maybe he’s lost, and all the cars are armored trucks. Who knows what he thinks of you.
There’s only one place where he really feels at home.
“Hey,” he tells me, “Wanna hear a story?”French Diplomacy
Weeks, it had taken her, months, to realize it. But she hated him. And she hated his money.
Her skin felt as cold as those diamonds he’d given her. It’s easier not to cry than she thought it would be. Half-marching, she hails a cab and is driven away from the rain and Paris, quietly hoping never to have to look back.
It will not be hard; she isn’t going to bemoan anything.
A few weeks later, she receives a letter. He misses her, in dry scripted ink. She laughs while she tears it in half. Nothing hurts her anymore, she’s moved on. Maybe she’ll find another man, like an actor, or a poet.
It’s in the papers all the time, that invisible glass ceiling.
In your usual seat you can see everything at this time of day; the cute older couple, that stray dog that the proprietress feeds, the paperboy in mittens and a knit cap. This is about the time when she passes by. Not everybody sees her, but this is just fine, you wouldn’t be able to stand it if they did. You want to speak to her, every day you muster yourself, but it’s never quite enough, and off she goes, walking heedless out of view and into who knows what.
But maybe today is different, you might say to yourself. Her clothes barely match, but her face is like polished China ivory. She brushes out her hair, like a furtive promise. Words might well up in your throat, and you shift your leg. You wonder where she goes, and you know that whatever it is she does, she could be doing something better. You know this, while she walks by. And you stay still, you drink your coffee, and you might pretend you were straightening the cuffs on your coat.
Because you’re so perfect, and she’s anything but. And you want her, more than everything.Joey
He’d just finished throwing up in the bathroom.
He could still taste…what was that, vodka? Scotch? Both?
Lying there, on the couch, upside down, hair hanging close to the floor, he held the gun for a few hesitant moments before swapping it for the cell phone.
“Maybe you should die,” his sometimes girlfriend told him over the line.
He had to think about it, “What?”
“Just do it without the dying part,” her voice was always sharply unconsoling. She was practical that way.
“Who dies without dying?” he asked her.
“Rich people. Smart people.”
And he smiled. He could be both of these, on a good day.
This is how it happened.
He’s an addict. Being an addict means lots of things. One thing that being an addict means is that you can love something and hate something at the same time.
You’ll be holding him, and you’ll being thinking he’s loving it. But you’ll wake up one morning and he’ll be gone. And you’ll never quite forget it. You’ll keep his picture—the only one you have—in your dresser drawer, you’ll say his name when you’re making love. Weeks it could take you, months, even years, and you’ll start to feel better, until you see him, in a crowd somewhere. But it isn’t really him, and you know it never will be, and it still breaks your heart anyways.
I can tell you, because I’ve been there.
They came in cars. Some of them came by boat. If you listened, sometimes you could hear heavy propellers like wings whirring on some metal eagle.
Painted posters, billboard signs, late night radio—his name is everywhere. He’s the star of the show. The one who really matters.
Everything is quiet when he walks on stage.
Whenever anybody asks him, he tells him or her that this is the only thing he has ever wanted. This is true. There is no reason to believe anything otherwise.
After it starts, it’s like some kind of trance. They watch, and they laugh, and they cry, and sometimes, they even scream. He asks for a volunteer. When the spotlight falls on a man in the audience, he is nervous and hesitant, but the cheers of everyone else push him along. The swords? The magic box? Fire? Or something new? They stare on the edge of their seats, choking on breaths. And the show goes on. It’s horrifying, but it’s all in good fun.
Somewhere, maybe in the black corners behind their minds, they wonder.
But they don’t mind it; they’re here to see something real, something that they can’t see anywhere else. Exclusivity is half of the bargain. Think about it whatever way you’re happiest. Try not to make yourself uncomfortable.
Whenever you find it, this is how you will recognize it.
It’s not what you expect. It’s never what you expect. You will find it in the least likely place—which of course should be the first place you check. Look at it long enough and it spins. This is not your imagination.
It’s smaller than you thought, and it’s larger. Sometimes you wonder whether you’re looking at one thing or two, but never any more, unless you really think about it. And you probably will, and you probably won’t like it.
It all makes sense.
But not now. It’s too early for this.
Have you heard? They can write things in the sky now.
There’s a kind of independence in the air, you see. We realized years ago that everything was tailored custom, just for us, but we had to outgrow it sooner or later. Put it away, like old toys in a box, trading it in for what’s bigger and better. Latch it with a padlock, tuck it in the closet, heck, recycle it. It had a good run, but we’ve moved on.
Some of us might miss it, but they’ll come around. It’s happened before, after all, remember the candle? And electric lights?
It’s not a loss, it’s a paradigm shift. Your lens is being refocused.
This one’s different. That was her first thought when she saw him in the office building that her father owned, which she seldom visited ever since she’d learned how to forge signatures on checks.
She asked him to dinner that weekend and she realized that she’d been right. Combing is tedious, his hair is that rock star kind of messy. They pay for the same brand of jeans. He knows every song on the radio, and he likes to sing along. He wears mascara and it suits him, like a gruff Billie Joe Armstrong. His phone rings during the salads and he spends ten minutes talking in sales figures.
They meet again the next weekend. And the next. And the next. She’s sure she’s never had so much fun. They go to bars, they listen to the music.
“I’m an outlaw,” he tells her, one dangerous night. “Just for you.”
She laughs, because it’s the silliest thing she’s ever heard.Hollywood (reprise)
“More!” they cried as one.
He was tired, and his throat was sore. And his shoes were killing him. He raised his eyebrows to the band. Somebody shrugged.
Bright, bright stagelights, he couldn’t see anything. They were cheering, maybe it was his name, but his earpiece blocked most all of it.
“We’re gonna play one more song,” he announced into the microphone.
And the music began to play, soft and slow.Las Vegas Nights
She’d been invisible for as long as she could remember.
That’s why she came here. Girls like her, they could get seen here.
That’s what she heard. But nobody here saw her either. They all looked at Susan. Susan was a beauty, and not just your plain pretty face, a real Hollywood type, no two ways about it.
She smiles at her, the woman Susan, when she walks by after the show. Underneath her face she hates her, but she will never admit this to anyone. Maybe not even to herself.