A Big Fish Never Goes Down Without A Fight

October 14, 2010

[The dad and his son sit at the kitchen table. Dad says:]

-Your mom wants me to teach you stuff. So I’m gonna teach you stuff. Look at me when I talk to you. Are you drunk right now?

-Lunchable.

-I’ll take that as a yes. Come on, man. You have to lay off the sauce. You’re only, what, eleven years old? You have your whole life to descend slowly into alcoholism. What’s the rush? And why are you drinking now anyway?

-Gin.

-I know, you like gin. You’re not chasing tail, that’s for sure. You don’t have any demons to suppress. You don’t have job-related stress. You’re drinking because you’re bored, and that’s the worst reason to drink. The first thing I’m gonna teach you is when and to drink.  Drink on a first date. Drink on a second date. Drink at a party that has girls. If you’re drinking alone, you better have an excuse: a lady left you or you got fired or a parent died. Now. No ladies have left you, your parents are still alive, well, your adoptive parents are, and you’ve never been fired from a job. You’re drinking alone because you’re lonely and bored, so you need stuff to do. Living a decent life is about having stuff to do. What do you like to do?

-Lunchables.

-You like to eat Lunchables, I know. And I hear ya. I used to eat those too. Because they’re great. But it makes Mom upset. They’re unhealthy, she says. She says that you should be eating organic hippie chow and fresh fruits and veggies and what not. I’ll be straight with you: I want you to eat Lunchables. Lunchables make your stool manageable. When you’re eating Lunchables you shit adorable little logs that are easy for me to clean up. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but after you eat apples and granola your shits are goopy and unruly. And the black as night, it’s weird, man. And then you touch your shitty asshole and spread it around the house. It’s a problem. Mom says the mess is the price we pay for you being a healthy boy. I say we’d all be better off if you ate Lunchables and shat adorable little logs and died younger. Do you have an opinion on this?

-Gin! Tonic! [he’s excited now]

-No gin. You’re not drinking right now. You’re learning stuff. How about this: if you sit tight for a few minutes and learn stuff then afterwards I’ll pour you a mini g and t. But only a mini. And you have to drink it before Mom gets home or we’ll both be in the shithouse and I won’t get laid for a week and it’ll be your fault. Do you copy?

-Gin. [he nods]

-Good boy. I think we’re getting somewhere. Back to shitting. It would make my life a whole lot easier if you could shit without me helping you. I want to get you out of diapers and onto the shitter. I’ve known cats that can shit on the shitter so it kills me that my eleven-year-old son can’t yet. How do you feel about that?

-Lunchable.

-Good. Let’s learn how to shit then. Do you have to shit right now?

[Little Ann shakes his head. He doesn’t have to shit.]

-Well you’re in luck. Because I have to. To the shitter! [they walk to the bathroom and dad takes off his pants and sits down on the toilet.] Step one is to take off your pants and underwear and sit down. This is important. If you don’t take off your pants, you’ll shit in your pants and you’ll have a huge mess on your hands. Well, it would be on my hands because I’d have to deal it. And cleaning up shitty pants is more of a hassle than cleaning a shitty diaper. So please remember step one. Step two: reading material. A man who is not reading while shitting should reconsider how he is living life. What you read while you shit isn’t too important. It can be the book you’re reading, a magazine, a newspaper, a book full of bad jokes that was made to sit next to toilets. It doesn’t matter what. What do you like to read?

-Animals.

-Of course. Your animal book. I’ll leave that next to the toilet for you. The animal book is a picture book. There aren’t a lot of words in it. But that’s OK for now. That’s a fine start for you. Step three: the release. This can be the easiest step or the hardest step.  It depends on the type of shit you’re about to have. If it’s loose and soupy, you won’t have much to worry about. Soupy shit will release seconds after you sit down. You won’t have much time to read, though, as it will almost immediately be time for wiping, step four. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you have a soupy shit, and you’d like to get some reading done, no problem. You can remain seated for as long as you please. You may want to flush the soupy shitty way, though, so you can read in pleasant air. I often read for five, ten minutes after quick soupy shits and it would make me proud if you did too. But let’s say your shit isn’t coming easily. It’s not soupy. It’s the opposite of soup. It’s like all the food you’ve eaten in the last three days has been condensed into a log with the consistency of a Nerf football. The release will be a process. Don’t rush it. It’s about give and take. A big fish never goes down without a fight. You will need to be patient with the solid shits. Focus on your book. Plan on reading a few pages without even thinking about the shit which is every so slowly making its way out. The more you think about it, the less pleasurable the shit will be. And after a few minutes, when you release – and, yes, my boy, it will come out eventually, they always do – you will feel great joy. Releasing a Nerf shit is always better than releasing a soupy shit because it’s an uphill battle and it’s always better to be faced with a great challenge and win than to be given an easy challenge and win.

-Gin. Tonic. Now.

-Not now. Not until I’m done with this lesson. Keep in mind that many shits won’t be soupy or Nerf-y. They will fall in the middle. Some logs will be sponge-y, or soft like a baked sweet potato. Some will be tiny pebbles as hard as a Nerf shit but different enough in size as to produce a unique sensation upon release. In the vernacular these are known as pellets. Pellets are a nice treat once and awhile but if you’re shitting pellets all the time you should let me know because that’s fucked up. If you feel great pressure in your stomach and butt as you’re sitting down, then you may be about to release a quick-and-heavy. A quick-and-heavy is a large amount of shit that’s released all at once. It doesn’t come out as shapely logs or pellets, and it’s not soupy either. Imagine that you left ten to twenty squares of shredded wheat in a bowl of milk for half an hour until they were puffy and then quickly dropped them in the toilet. That’s a quick-and-heavy.

-Gin.

-Soon. Step four: inspection. Look at what you’ve done. Be proud. Remember the types of shits I’ve told you about today and determine what yours is. Is it sponge-y, soupy or solid? Maybe it’s a hybrid. Or maybe it defies classification. If you don’t know what it is, ask me or your mother to check it out. We’ll be happy to classify your oddity. Step four: the paperwork. If you’re not careful, step four can be messy. Even as an adult I’ve had trouble making it through step four without smudging my hand with shit. It happens. And I guarantee that the first few times you try step four you too will get shit on your hand. It’s life, son. A little shit on the hand shouldn’t bring you down. If it does then you’re in for a lifetime of being down all the time because there’s a whole lot more shitty things out there than getting shit on your hand.

-You’re a shitty hand.

-Listen up. The first wipe is key. Take as much paper a you need. If you had a quick-and-heavy, you’ll need a lot of paper. Cover your hand in it, and don’t worry about wasting paper. Having a clean butt trumps saving a few pennies on toilet paper. If you released pellets, maybe a small amount of paper will do. Trust your gut. Generally the rule is: the harder the shit, the less mess you’ll have on the first wipe. BUT THIS ISN’T ALWAYS TRUE. Shit has a way of tricking you and making you think the cleanup will be cake when it’s actually going to be a difficult endeavor. While releasing a soupy shit the other day I was thinking, This is going to be a six-wipe shit, but when it came time to wipe, there was no mess to deal with whatsoever. So don’t go into the first wipe thinking you know for sure what it’ll be. Keep an open mind, and get as much shit on the paper as you can. You want to do as much damage as possible on the first wipe. Wipes two and three and four aren’t as important. Dig in there and get work done, but don’t sweat them too much. Now. Say on wipe five there was very little shit left. Just a thin black streak. You might think: All done. It’s time to flush and pull up the trousers and go about my business. WRONG. You need to do the insurance wipe. Always wipe one more time than you think you have to. Don’t live dangerously when wiping.

-Lunchable.

-In a minute. You’ll get your Lunchable and your g and t. We’re almost done here.  There are two optional substeps you should know about. One: While wiping you can hold the shitty paper up to your face and smell what you’ve done. This is only for when you’re a boy, so if you want to do shitty-paper smells, do it now and get it out of your system. And don’t smudge your nose with shit. Another optional substep: the courtesy flush. It’s a flush that comes before the first wipe. After a quick-and-heavy that rots the bathroom it’s a good idea to do a courtesy flush if you want to read for a while before wiping. If you’re shitting in public and there’s a dude shitting in a stall next to you and you’ve released an exceptionally rotten shit, it’s nice to do a courtesy flush. And if you’re shitting in an especially weak toilet and you fear that the combined mass of shit and paper will clog the machine, do a courtesy flush. Always do a courtesy flush or two while shitting on a friend’s boat. Clogging the shitter on a friend’s boat and causing it to overflow is one of more humiliating things you can do in your life. Alright. I’m done teaching you stuff. Let’s drink, but only mini g and t’s. You slice the lime, I’ll get the glasses.

NEXT: A Hang at Darryl’s Dad’s House

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Can You Make Pasta When You’re Drunk?

October 6, 2010

[The couple is lying in bed, in their apartment in Bushwick. She is gluing beer bottles onto a birdhouse, the one about his bacchanalian lifestyle. He is reading My Dad Rocks. He looks up from the book and says:]

-How’s the birdhouse coming along?

[She stays focused on the birdhouse.]

-You know I don’t like to talk about my work until it’s finished. But for you I’ll make an exception. It’s coming along OK. It’s shaping up to be my most expensive piece yet. I just hope it sells.

[He leans over to take a look at it.]

-Why am I so fat in it?

-Because you’re bloated with beer. And it takes place in the future. Your drinking has become out of control and you’re fat from years of heavy boozing. See those circles under my eyes? Those are from all the sleepless years of being tortured by your disease and lying to friends about where you are and having to look after Little Ann even though you said you would. And I’m weary from your infidelities.

-When have I been unfaithful to you?

-You haven’t yet. But you will be. I know it. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve known that any man I would be with would cheat on me. I know it’s coming, so I won’t be too surprised or hurt when it happens. In fact, you might as well get it over with. Get out there and get your dick on. And then tell me about it. And I’ll make a series of birdhouses about you picking up NYU girls at Hey Jealousy by promising them they can work at your hotel that will never exist. And then the birdhouses will get some good press and I’ll make enough money to move out with Little Ann. And we’ll move to grown-up Brooklyn. I’m thinking Boerum Hill, but we’ll see what we can find.

-So what you’re saying is, you want to me to cheat on you so can make birdhouses about it and then eventually leave me?

-Essentially, yes. Ask any young artsy person and they’ll tell you they’re begging for shitty things to happen to them so they can make shitty art about it to make themselves feel better. The art may get them some attention and possibly attract someone new to fuck and then things will go badly with that person and they’ll make more shitty art about it. It’s a cycle: bad life event –> shitty art –> attention –> new person to fuck –> bad life event –> more shitty art. Look at Fleetwood Mac. Not that they’re shitty, but still, all their songs are about the shitty things they would do to each other.

-Why do you get Little Ann when we split up? I found him.

-The boy needs his mother.

-The boy needs to be put down like a sick animal. I don’t think he’ll ever grow up to be a functioning person. And he’s been drinking. The other day when I came home he was watching 60 Minutes and yelling Lunchable at Andy Rooney. And he reeked of gin. I asked him if he’d been drinking, not that he could even understand me, and he burped a gin-y burp in my face and yelled Lunchable again. He’s a sick animal, and he may be better off in a home or something.

-We’re not putting Little Ann in a home, and we’re not putting him down. He’s my son. He may not be your son anymore, but he’s still my son. He’ll like Boerum Hill. There’s more space for him to do whatever kids do – fly kites and chase squirrels and whatever – and there are more children there for him to pal around with. The only kids around here are in gangs, and they call him Boo Radley.

-There are not gangs around here. We live in White Bushwick. And what gang member would ever call someone Boo Radley?

-All I know is that we were walking home from dinner at Roberta’s and a kid, a black kid, called Little Ann Boo Radley. And Little Ann said, Who is that? And I told him that Boo Radley is a famous guitar player and that it’s cool to be called Boo Radley. What else could I say? He was pretty excited about it and started calling me Boo Radley too. He’s a sweet boy. He just needs love. And if you’re not willing to love him, then maybe we’d be better off without you.

-I do love him, but I think he might be better off in a home than in a playpen in our apartment. At least a home would have other messed up kids for him to befriend. They can commiserate together about their shitty parents and have adventures and stuff. The only adventures he has here are when he walks in on us humping and starts cheering like he’s at a horse race. You need start locking the door, by the way.

-It’s my responsibility to lock the door?

-I turn off the lights, you lock the door. I thought we went over this. Couples need to be teams, you know, and if someone isn’t doing their part, the whole production falls apart.

-Having sex with you is like filing my taxes. It’s not fun or spontaneous. It’s a process, with rules and procedures. You say, I turn off the light; you lock the door. And then it’s: I remove your bra while you kiss my arm and I touch your hair while you say something stupid like, I am in love with you, Ann Gibbard, and then you move toward the bed and I start taking off your belt but it’s always too tricky for me so you take over and shimmy out of your pants and then look at your limp dick and back at me and back at your dick and then back at me as if to say, Are you going to do something about this or should I do it myself?

-What do you want, fireworks in bed? Should I pick up some sparklers for next time? Or food, maybe? Want to be one of those couple who fucks their leftovers? What can I say? It gets old after a while, fucking the same person. But it’s not like filling out taxes. It’s more like you’re a pasta chef. You have make the same exact pasta every day for your whole life. When you were a young apprentice, it was hard and fun and thrilling all at once. It was new. But after you’ve been making the same pasta for a few years, it becomes a bore. So you think about making other pastas, new and exciting pastas. But that will only get you in trouble with the owner because he doesn’t want new pasta. No one will eat it, and it would be a waste of ingredients. You would be fired, and your job is your life. You couldn’t imagine living without it. So you continue making the same old pasta, but you find ways to make it fun. You see how many pounds you can make in a day. You see if you can make it with only your left hand. You see if you can do it with your eyes closed. Can you make pasta when you’re drunk? Stoned? The nice part is, you don’t have to worry about anything else, only that one type of pasta you have to make for the rest of your life. And there’s no limit to the fun you can have with it. Maybe you can make into different shapes. Like stars. Or little dinosaurs.

[She enjoys this speech of his. She sets her birdhouse on the nightstand and says:]

-I wanna see what’s up with your little dinosaur.

[And she does. But he’s exhausted, so it’s a quick one. Afterwards, he continues reading and she continues working on the birdhouse. He says:]

-So you really want me to cheat on you for the sake of your shitty art?

-Yes. Honestly. But there have to be rules and procedures. I’m not setting you loose on all the sluts in the Northside. I know how you like sex rules, so let’s make cheating rules. 1. It can’t be anyone I know or anyone who is friends with one of my friends. That goes without saying. 2. She can’t be significantly more attractive than I am. She shouldn’t be gross, either. That would be embarrassing for our family. She should be in the middle. A girl who looks cute in a dark bar but when you sit next to her at brunch the afternoon after you wonder if she’s the same person you slept with. 3. This is the most important one. I need to be in the room. During.

-Wait. What?

-I don’t want you fucking behind my back. I want to be there. If you’re going to cheat, I’m going to be watching you. I’m not going to join in or anything. But I need to see it so I have an image burned into my brain for the shitty art I’m going to make about it. That’s the most important rule. If you break rule number 3., then Little Ann and I moving out.

-But you said you were moving out once I cheat on you anyway.

-We might move out, maybe we won’t, but we will for sure if you break rule number 3. Women can be fickle. If you haven’t learned to deal with that yet then I feel sorry for you.

-I don’t know if I could convince a girl to have sex with me while my girlfriend watches. She might be nervous. I might be nervous. It’s already nerve-racking enough to perform adequately with one person. Put another person in the mix and you’re asking for a panic attack.

-I could hide under the bed or in the closet so you wouldn’t see me. You wouldn’t even know I was there.

-This is getting too weird, even for me. How about this: I don’t cheat on you.

-Oh just think about it. It could be good for Us. It could make me want you more, seeing you with another woman.

-This is getting weird, man. Let’s just relax. Effing artists. Jesus H.

[He picks up My Dad Rocks and says:]

-OK, here’s an exceptionally awesome part. He’s talking about how his dad coins phrases. The chapter is called Shakespeare Dad. [he reads from the book] My dad is a wordsmith. He does the crossword every day and always corrects my mom when she uses incorrect grammar. He says this is one if the things she couldn’t stand about him when they were married. But he couldn’t help doing it because she would say the most idiotic things sometimes. He is such a wordsmith that he’s always coining new words and phrases. Ideas just come to him; he can’t help it. When he was in college he coined the acronym M.O.S.T. It’s something you can do with a girl. It stands for “make out, suck titties.” Here’s how you would use it: So you’re hanging out with your bros the morning after you had a wild night with a lady. One of them asks you, So, did you guys fuck last night or what? And you say, Nope, we just mosted for a while and called it a night. I was really tired. This means you made out with her and sucked her titties. Dad says it’s a great thing to do if you’re super-drunk. Or maybe the girl is kinda gnarly-looking. Say you see three girls at a bar and none of them are anything special, but one isn’t half bad. You’d say, If given the chance, I would most the shit out of that one. You can most in a bathroom. You can most a friend and it wouldn’t be as weird the next day if you had fucked her. Dad says mosting is the sex act of the ’90s: casual, fun and there’s little chance of spreading disease. Mosting: Get hip to it, Dad says.

[he sets the book down. She says:]

-I hate it when you read me that book.

-I hate to admit it, but I’m kinda into it now. And it’s fun to learn why Z is so fucked up. So. You wanna most or what?

-Fine. But we’re getting some sleep after we most.

-Fine.

[And they most. Little Ann quietly opens the door and watches them most.]

NEXT: She Says That Him Is Not Worth Talking About

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The Perfect G And T

September 20, 2010

[Little Ann is home alone. He’s locked in the playpen, but not for long. He knows what to do. He reaches over the rail and pulls the knob. Next he pulls the button and the door opens and he’s free. What to do? Where to go? To the liquor cabinet, of course. It's time to drink. This isn't the first time he’s done this. On Wednesdays Dad doesn’t get home until two hours after mom leaves for work so Wednesdays are when Little Ann gets his drinking done.

He opens the bottle of Seagram’s and pours three fingers in a tumbler. Next comes the ice; he likes two cubes. And now the tonic, up to the brim. In a shelf in the refrigerator door there’s a lime. He slices it in half and halves the half and drops a slice in the glass. He stirs it all with his pinky. He raises the g and t and toasts the air and drinks. BLEGH. Something is off. It’s bitter. It's undrinkable. Too much tonic? Has the tonic turned? Can tonic turn? Did he mistakenly use the wrong liquor? Vodka? He checks: no, it's definitely gin. Perhaps he had a disagreeable taste in his mouth, like from brushing his teeth, which affected the first swig. So he drinks again. And again. But it’s still nasty. He pouts about it but there's no one home to listen to him pout so it's a short pout session.

He determines that there’s too much tonic and dumps some of the drink into the sink. He opens the bottle of Seagram’s and fills it up to the brim and stirs it with his pinky. For good measure he squeezes the other lime slice into the glass and adds another cube. He tastes it. It’s still off. Too much gin, for sure. The drink is too tart, and too strong. In the past he’s settled for an overly gin-y or underly gin-y g and t, but today he wants to get it right.

He dumps half of it into the sink. He opens the bottle of tonic yet again and pours in a finger. It needs at least a finger of gin. He pours in the gin. No more lime; it’s lime-y enough. The first two cubes have melted into slivers so he adds another cube and stirs. He raises the drink to his nose and smells it. The drink smells chlorine-y. There are hints of freezer burn, too. Is something wrong with the water? Maybe that’s why the drink has been off all this whole time: the water they’re using for cubes is tainted.

He tastes it. The taste is better than attempts 1 and 2, but still not ideal. The perfect g and t has a certain equilibrium: the citrus and gin and tonic all tug at each other equally. A g and t is a power trio, and if the bass is too loud or the drummer lets the ride cymbal ride too long or the guitarist didn't tune properly then the band will sound terrible. Little Ann's drink is not even-keeled. It's lopsided, but it will have to do for now. Dad will be home in an hour and Little Ann will need to drink enough before then in order to pass out. If he's asleep then Dad won’t try to teach him stuff. Little Ann is tired of learning stuff. Stuff that Dad says is important. What does it matter that Toto IV won six Grammys in 1982? And who cares that Bob Odendkirk has a brother who is a Simpsons producer? Why does he need to know that News Radio will unfairly be forgotten by future generations of Americans? All he wants to know is how to make the perfect g and t.

There is a pen and a pad of paper on the counter. He writes: Dear mom and dad, The ice tastes bad. We need a water filter. Love, Little Ann.

They will think this is cute: Our baby's first note! What penmanship!

They will buy a water filter and then his g and t’s will be perfect.]

NEXT: Do We Need Cynar? 8

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This Is A Screwdriver. You Can Open Things With It

September 1, 2010

Brunch on Sunday is me and Z and a little girl Z tossed around the night before. Z burps his way though brunch and blames it on the 12 beers he drank and a late-night grilled cheese. He is wearing a Sorry Is A Word For The Unmindful shirt. The little girl asks him what it means.

Z:  It means that only people who aren’t aware of their actions would ever need to say sorry. People say they’re sorry all the time, but they don’t mean it. The word is thrown around like rock candy and it’s lost all meaning. The shirt is trying to put an end to that.

Little Girl: I say sorry all the time.

Z: Yeah, but you’re, what, twenty-one? You’ll learn. Live another year in the city and you’ll see what’s what. You’re either apologizing or going about your business here. I’m the kind of guy who goes about his business. Say you’re in the subway station running down the steps to catch a train and you run into a dude. What would you say? You’d say sorry, I’m sure. But does that do anything? Does it un-do you hitting him? No. But you think it does some good so you say it anyway, but you aren’t sorry. You don’t know him and you could care less about him.

Little Girl: Maybe you don’t, but I do. I would say sorry. Well, I wouldn’t be running in the station in the first place. I guess I just think the shirt is stupid.

Z: It’s not stupid. It’s necessary. But people don’t want to think about that stuff. People don’t want to change the way they think or talk because they get so stuck in their little ruts and petty lives that they forget that the words that come out of their mouths do matter. A man is what he says, right? And if you’re saying sorry for no reason all the time then you’re talking for no reason and you’re useless.

Little Girl: You think I’m useless?

Z: I’ll make an exception for you.

Me: He is so full of shit. Little girl, he’s putting you on. He doesn’t believe anything he’s talking about.

Z: You got me. Sorry. The shirt doesn’t mean anything. I say sorry all the time. I’ve said it twice just now.

Little Girl: You are such a dick.

Me: The line actually belongs to a certain moody child star who I babysat at work. I work at a hotel called the Hudson. I apologized to him about something and he said, Sorry is a word for the unmindful. I think he stole it from one of those books on harnessing your energy or whatever.

Little Girl: You are such a dick, Z. So, who’s the child star?

Me: [whisper his name in her ear]

Little Girl: He would say something like that.

Z: I wanted to attribute the quote to him on the shirt, but wet blanket over here wouldn’t let me.

Me: Because I could get fired, and getting fired so you could make your shitty shirt somewhat less shitty would not be worth it.

Little Girl: I thought people stopped wearing shirts with a phrases like that across the front. That seems kinda over.

Z: Call it a revival then.

Little Girl: Ugh. I can’t believe I slept with the guy who’s trying to bring back T-shirts with words on them.

Z: Well, you did. And you’re probably gonna do it again.

Little Girl: Nope. Not gonna happen.

Z: Fine. Now that that’s settled, we can talk about other business. So. I’ve been seeing Georgia. I hope you don’t mind.

Me: I don’t mind.

Z: Good. So I have a funny story about her. I helped her with the video.

Me: Oh shit I said I’d help but I forgot. Did she say anything about me not being there?

Z: No. So I show up to this dude’s apartment where we’re shooting it, and Georgia’s high. Really high. Even for her. She says she needs a shower and asks the dude if she can take one, and he’s like, yeah sure. I’m sitting the living room with my laptop, right? Forty minutes later, she’s still in the shower. The dude says that someone should check on her and he nominates me. After all, I’m her boyfriend kinda. I knock on the door. No answer. I’m like, Hey Georgia, you OK in there? Nothing. I try opening it but she’d locked it. She’d locked herself in the bathroom. I turn to the dude and say, It’s locked. He’s like, This is bullshit. This is the last time I do anyone a favor. He gets an old credit card from his room and tries to jimmy open the lock. No dice. He rams his shoulder into the door but it won’t open. We’re knocking on the door and screaming her name. We’re convinced she’s fallen and crack her head and passed out or died or something. The dude starts freaking out and he calls the super. A few minutes later this Puerto Rican dude shows up with tools, and he’s pissed. I found out later he had to fix the dude’s front door after someone had broken it during a party. The super takes out a Philips head and unscrews the door knob. While he’s doing he shows the dude the screwdriver and says, This is a screwdriver. You can open things with it. You should buy one at a hardware store. There is a hardware store around the corner. Real patronizing like that; it was hilarious. Finally he opens the door. The showers running, but Georgia isn’t in the shower. Instead, she’s slumped over on the shitter asleep with headphones on. She fell asleep while taking a shit.

Me: She listens to the Beach Boys while shitting. It relaxes her.

Z: But man, she was so embarrassed. The super liked it, though. He’ll be telling that story at block parties for years now. The legend of the gringo stoner girl who fell asleep while shitting.

Me: So did you still shoot the video?

Z: Yeah. Oh, I should tell you. The video’s all about you. Clearly. She found a Tisch kid on Craigslist to play you.

Me: Really? What happens in it?

Z: It’s pretty boring. Let’s see. Georgia plays her guitar on her bed and then you come in with White Castle hamburgers. You change her guitar string and she writes lyrics to the song. You write part of the verse and then you guys make out for a while on the floor. There’s a section that takes place at a carnival. You guys are on a dinky roller coaster and she flashes boys who are waiting in line to ride it. You guys split a funnel cake. At the very end you’re back at her apartment and you spill Diet Coke in her high heels and at first she’s really mad but then she’s all like, Aw, whatever, they’re just shoes. I’d rather not be mad at boyfriend. Pretty stupid I guess but I could see it getting linked around. She’s looking good.

Me: She has a tan now. From living in LA.

Z: She’s thinner now. Since she became a pescatarian. And she’s more into having sex than she was before, she told me.

Me: That was never a problem for us.

Z: That’s just what she told me. That’s she more into sex now.

Little Girl: Are you guys talking about Georgia from Hello Surf?

Me: Yeah.

Little Girl: You used to go out with her?

Me: Yeah.

Little Girl: That’s really cool.

Me: I guess so.

Little Girl: Are you single now?

Me: No. I have a girlfriend. We live together.

Z: And he has a kid.

Little Girl: You’re a dad?

Me: I kind of have a kid. He’s not mine. He’s feral but he’s getting better.

NEXT: They Go To Michigan

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I Wish Dexter Would Shit Like That

August 11, 2010

Little Ann’s poops have become a problem. It’s because Ann weaned him off Lunchables. She says all the artificial gunk they put in there was killing him. Now she’s feeding him apple sauce and bananas and tuna, and it’s giving him wretched poops. They’re big black clots. Neither runny nor solid; right in the middle in terms of consistency, like Nickelodeon Gak, only black. When I change him — and it seems like I’m ALWAYS the one who’s changing him – it gets under my fingernails and on my wrist. It gets on Little Ann’s hands and he spreads it around the apartment. I’ve found black on the coffee table and on the oven handle. Our Netflix movies are often returned with black on the corners. One time, an hour after I’d changed him, I was brushing my teeth and when I looked in the mirror I spotted a smear of black on my chin.

Before Ann changed his diet, his poops were compact turds the size of gherkins. These were beautiful turds. I miss them so much. The poops were so adorable that I took pictures of his dirty diaper once and posted them.  Friends I hadn’t spoken to in years praised them in the comments:

-show off!

-gorgeous poo!

-you must be so proud.

-i wish dexter would shit like that.

-That a boy. I’m coming to nyc in october. we should hang.

After biting into an apple with a black spot on it I was like, fuck it, and started keeping a stash of Lunchables under the bed. When Ann’s not around Little Ann will eat Lunchables. His stool will be hardened. It might break up his parents, but it will be hardened. And while I realize I’m putting my sanity before his health, the kid was tied up in a closet for ten years, so the way I see it, anything’s an improvement. And he loves Lunchables. When I unwrap one he says Lunchable! and takes over unwrapping duties and then eats the stack of ham in one bite. Next up: the cheese. He eats the cheese one slice at a time, sometimes on a cracker and sometimes not. Then he eats the rest of the crackers. Crumbs will go everywhere and he’ll say crumbs as if he were saying aw shucks. It’s pretty awesome. He’ll let me have a cracker or two if he’s feeling charitable.

It’s good for fathers and sons to have a thing to do together, and if our thing is eating contraband food, then so be it.

I changed him this morning and the poops were still black, and still clot-y, but less runny. Less like Gak and more like a gooey baked yam. (Yes, I am squishing his shit between my fingers to test it.) So, the Lunchables are working. His poops will never return to the praiseworthy turds of the past, but that’s OK. Being a parent means seeing your small victories as big victories, and if I can harden Little Ann’s poops only a little, then I will have won.

NEXT: She Took Her Time And Taught Me A Lot About Myself

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The Bill Murray Bourbon

June 28, 2010

He comes home drinking a flask. Ann and Little Ann are on the couch. Ann says:

-What have you been up to?

-Guess who gave me this bourbon.

-I don’t care. Z?

-Way better than Z.

-Who?

-Guess.

-I don’t care, it’s three o’clock in the morning. Where have you been?

-My friend Bill. Bill Murray. HEARD OF HIM?

-I’m going to bed. Tell me about in the morning.

-So me and Z are this dude’s place. Not sure if I’d call it a loft but it was loft-y. Super-high ceilings. And the dude had drums everywhere. Like, EVERYWHERE. Bongos, a few drum sets, fucking maracas, a gong. All sorts of drums. He must’ve been a drummer. And there so many chicks there, Ann. I recognized one of them from the Hudson. She always drinks alone at the bar, maybe she’s a hooker.

-Nice.

-What was I saying? Right. Bill Murray. So Z and get there around two, two thirty, and it’s super-crowded. I have to piss so I get in line for the bathroom, and it’s a long line, and everyone in line is drunk and kinda pissed off, and this old lady behind me, well, she wasn’t old old, but older, 60-something, this old lady says, I thought you young people pissed fast. She said to no one in particular. And then Z turns around and says, They’re not pissing, they’re being careful with their drugs. And she’s like, I see. So I’m in pain here because you kids need to get high in private. You know. Years ago, we always did it out in the open. Nobody cared. I don’t understand why everyone has to go in hiding nowadays. The kids today are so-anti-social. We all know what’s going on when three ladies hang out in the shitter for twenty minutes. They’re not comparing their turds. It’s not like: “Oh Tiffany, your pellets are so elegant. Just like you.” She said something like that, I don’t remember, but this lady was hilarious. She double-dared Z to piss in the sink. Oh! So she keeps talking about coke, right, and she says she hasn’t done drugs since 1990. She’s like, So I’m on a dig in Turkey and — oh, right, she said she teaches archeology or classics, or maybe both, at CUNY, I think. So she says she’s on a dig in Turkey, back in 1990, and all these students are driving her insane.

-Just tell me tomorrow.

-Real quick. She’s on this dig and the students won’t do any heavy lifting. All they want to do is sit around and drink. But she’s there to dig. At night they’re allowed get hammered, but they have to work during the day. But the kids never want to work. She said our generation is so fucked up because we never had to fight in a war. And you know what, she’s absolutely right. She is absolutely right about that.

-Good God, what are you talking about? I’m going to bed.

-Wait. It gets good. So the kids won’t dig and the professor is pissed. She says that it was easily the least productive dig she’s ever been on. But the silver lining was that she’d invited her friend Bill. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s an actor. Bill Murray. That’s what she said, for real. So ridiculous: he’s an actor, maybe you’ve heard of him. At night on these digs she and Bill would party with the students. Isn’t that awesome?

-Kinda.

-Can you imagine? You go on this dig to get a few credits or whatever and you’re digging shit, you’re digging shit, you’re digging shit, and it sucks, it’s hot, and then at night your teacher’s like, alright, kids, it’s time to get fucked up with Bill Murray. That would be crazy. So that one time, the time she was talking about, Bill Murray brought coke. And she said, Jesus, Bill, how’d you get that coke through customs? Bill Murray doesn’t say anything. He just points to his butt. He brought coke to Turkey in his asshole. She said, The man has timing. He’s bastard and a liar and a lousy fuck, but he has timing. Z’s losing it, I’m losing it, the professor lights a cigarette. No one else is smoking, mind you, but no one bothers her about it. The line’s not getting any shorter. She said one time in Turkey Bill Murray made out with a girl, a student. Outdoors. Like, on the ground, in the dirt, and all the kids were watching them. Isn’t that insane? Imagine that, you’re a chick, and you sign up for a dig, and you get there, and you’re digging, you’re digging, and then at night fucking Bill Murray starts hitting on you and the next thing you know you’re making out with him on the ground while your professor watches. Isn’t that insane?

-I guess so. I’m going to bed, for real. Come on, Little Ann.

-Wait. I didn’t even get to the best part, the part about Bill Murray giving me the bourbon. So we’re in line, and all of a sudden the front door opens and this dude bursts in carrying two huge garbage bags. Guess who it is. Guess.

-Obama.

-It’s Bill Murray, and he’s in sweat pants, like, sweatshirt-material sweatpants. He reaches in one of the garbage bags and pulls out a handle of Svedka. Fucking Svedka! He reaches in again and pulls out another bottle of Svekda. And then another one. He brought ten bottles of Svedka to this party, and he started walking around the loft filling people’s cups with Svedka. He’s saying, You can’t spell Bushwick loft party without S-V-E-D-K-A. And the professor’s like, Oh, there you are Bill. Get over here. He walks over and kisses her hard in front of all of us. Later on, Z and I decided that is was heaven must be like. You die and the next thing you know you’re in line to piss at a party and Bill Murray comes in with ten handles of Svedka in garbage bags and he Frenches the eccentric classics professor you were bullshitting with. Man oh man, what a night. So he gets in line with us and we start chatting about which girls at the party Bill wants to fuck. He only liked the short ones. So he could toss ‘em around. The professor plays along with it but we could tell she was getting jealous. I showed him a picture of you and he said he’d give you a poke. He said he’d even poke you sober.

-Great, thanks.

-So he’s coming over tomorrow. I’ll take Little Ann to the park for a hour and you will pleasure Bill Murray. Do whatever he wants.

-As long as he doesn’t have toilet paper on his dick it’ll be a step up from what I’m used to.

-Look at you, making jokes and shit. He’s not actually coming over later. But the professor did say that Z and I are invited to her book launch next weekend.

-What’s her book?

-Statues something something. Whatever. Open bar, right?

-Sounds fun. Goodnight.

-So. The bourbon. Bill sees that I don’t have drink and he’s like, Have some vodka. He starts pouring me a cup of Svedka. But I say that I don’t like vodka. So he pulls a flask of bourbon from his pocket and he says, No one goes thirsty around me. I won’t abide it. And he gives it to me. THIS WAS HIS PERSONAL BOURBON. The bourbon he was going to drink himself. He gave it to me. Crazy. So I’m not gonna finish it. I drank most of it at the party.

-I can see that.

-But I’m never going to finish it. Never. You can’t drink it either. It’ll be our special little thing, the bottle of Bill Murray bourbon we keep in the freezer. If we ever have a party we’ll have to hide it. I’m thinking years from now we’ll drink it together and remember the night I partied with Bill Murray and the professor.

-Good God, you’re an idiot sometimes.

-Why am I an idiot? Why is little Ann still awake? Where are his parents?

-Goodnight.

-Hey, Little Ann. If I catch you drinking this Bill Murray bourbon I’m going to kick the shit out of you.

NEXT: Typical Wildly Ambitious Ann, Putting People On The Moon

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Cool Dads

June 19, 2010

[The couple is in bed, about to get nasty.]

-So I’m out drinking with Z tonight and he tells me the funniest story.

-Here we go.

-What?

-Why does our pillow talk always have to be about Z?

-What does it matter what it’s about?

-It’s just. Nevermind, what’s the Z story?

-I’ll tell it real quick and then we’ll have sex.

-GREAT. I’m looking forward to it.

-So Z’s dad’s a TV producer slash writer. He wrote a few Cheers episodes and he’s done some other stuff and when Z was 2 he decided to write a parenting book. It’s kinda like a memoir but it’s written from the point of view of his son. So, Z’s point of view. And it’s all about how cool and alternative his dad is and how the other dads in LA are squares.

-Wow. That’s dumb.

-I know. It gets better. It’s called My Dad Rocks and it somehow sold tons of copies in the late ’80s. Look, Z gave me a copy. [he gets out of bed and grabs a copy of My Dad Rocks from backpack and gets back into bed] Growing up, Z was known as The Kid From That Cool Dad Book. He thinks it’s the dumbest thing in the world but it paid for his college so he can’t complain.

-OK, enough about Z, come here.

-Just let me read a bit first?

-Fine.

-OK, here we go: My dad listens to music a lot. In fact, music is his favorite thing in the world. Well, after me, of course. He plays me all his favorite records. One day he sat me down and said, “Son, are you ready to be enlightened? I hope so because today’s the day you join the proud ranks of Who fans. Behold: Quadrophenia.” He put on a record and turned the volume way up. And it was the most mind-blowing music I’d ever heard. Now I think of my life as being divided into two stages: before Quadrophenia and after Quadrophenia.

-So hacky!

-There’s more: My friends’ dads have played them Beatles and Rolling Stones records, I’m sure. What sort of dad wouldn’t? But my Dad plays me the weird stuff. In high school when my friends and I are talking about music during lunch, I’ll get to say that when I was 2 my dad played me Quadropehnia and it changed the way I heard sound. Man, my dad rocks.

-This may be the most narcissistic book on the planet.

-One more?

-Fine.

-On Thursday afternoons Dad takes me to me to the park. Thank God he doesn’t have a typical 9-to-5 job or else I’d be in day care. Or worse: at my mom’s house. At the park we see all types of dads. Most of them are wearing khakis and Polo shirts. They’re clean shaven. They’re ready for a business lunch. But not my dad. My dad wears sandals and only shaves once every two weeks or so. He never tucks in his shirt because he doesn’t have to. He says his style is surfer-entrepreneur.

-Oh God.

-A leetle more: My dad loves to eat sushi and when I’m older, I’ll eat sushi, too. We like to go to a sushi place in West Hollywood that only a few people know about. The chef there will make food for kids and I always get the PB&J (no crust, please!). My dads usually gets sea urchin and all sorts of other weird stuff because he’s weird and adventurous. The owners there know him as the Mr. Cool Dad.

-This is painful. Hey. How many times do I have to say fuck me before you fuck me?

[They start. And then stop. He says:]

-What’s wrong?

-What is that?

-What is what?

-On your tip? Is that paper?

-Oh. Maybe.

-Why do you have paper–is that tissue paper?

-Oh man, that’s embarrassing.

-Is that from? Did you jack off earlier today and forget to clean the semen-y tissue paper off your tip?

-Seems like it. I got most of it off. [he peels it off] There, it’s off now.

-I’m… disappointed? I don’t even know what to say. That is pathetic.

-Maybe a little pathetic.

-No. A lot pathetic.

-Is it THAT pathetic?

-Yes.

- Why? What does it matter if my girlfriend sees some–actually it was toilet paper–on my dick before we have sex?

-It matters.

-Is our relationship that fragile that a tiny square of t.p. could shatter everything?

-It’s not about our relationship, it’s about respect. Respect for me. [she's upset]

-Here we go. What. The. Fuck?

-How often do you jack off?

-Once and a while. Is there anything wrong with that?

-Not at all. Jack off until the cows come home. But don’t do it on days that you know we’re gonna have sex. And at least try to destroy the evidence.

-How can I predict when we’re gonna have sex? Are you gonna start texting me yes or no before I come home from work?

-I LOVE how you’re laughing about this.

-Maybe you should be laughing about it, it’s funny.

-It’s not funny. It’s not. You know what sort of message this sends to me? When I’m grabbing your dick and I’m about to put it in mouth, it’s like your penis is saying: Hi Anne, how’s it going? Earlier today while you at work dealing with assholes who complain about not getting fried chicken and daydreaming about coming home and making love to your man, he and I were getting it done without you. And it was great, we don’t need you. And yeah, we left the semen-encrusted toilet paper on there for you to find later because we don’t give a fuck. Now say aah.

-My penis isn’t that big of an asshole.

-Well YOU’RE that big of an asshole and it’s your penis so yeah, I’m pretty sure if your dick could talk, it would be that big an asshole.

-Well if your pussy could talk, this is what it would say to my dick: Hey buddy, long time, no see. But don’t blame me, the queen only likes to bone after a rough day at the pizza shop. If it were up to me, we’d get nasty every night. Also, don’t blame me for being so huge. I’ll have you know,  I wasn’t born this way. She’s fucked some pre-tty large things in her day. I never thought I’d be able to accommodate a softball bat but boy did she prove me wrong. I’ll never forget: it was the summer of ‘01 and the whole team was having a sleepover. We’re drinking in the basement and all of a sudden Sarah goes outside and gets a bat from the trunk of her Ford Focus and comes back and double-dares oh, stop crying. Stop. Anne.

-That is the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me.

-Anne.

-You’re such a retard. You seriously don’t know anything about anything. The whole “girls can get loose” thing is a myth.

-No it’s not.

-Yes it is. It’s genetics.  It can only permanently change after giving birth.

-I don’t think that’s true.

-That’s definitely true. Guys just think they can get stretched out to make themselves feel better if they’re dicks don’t fit snugly. And yes. I fucked a softball bat once. But it didn’t make my pussy loose, you dumbfuck.

-I’m not sure I believe you.

-Also. Honey. If I were you, I wouldn’t be… throwing stones… in a… genital-size glass house. If you know what I mean.

-Wow. And THAT is the lamest thing anyone has ever said to me.

[she gets out of bed.]

-Where are you going?

-To watch TV with Little Anne.

-Good.

NEXT: The Fourth Laundromat Hang

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ryanthomasgrim [AT] gmail
Published Work

Page 1: The Fox in the Garage

How I Started a Family

Do We Need Cynar?

Gary 1 and Gary 2

I Work at a Fashionable Hotel Called the Hudson

C.O.D.Y. the Robot Who Hangs Out

Ann and Her Birdhouses

Luke and His Bobber

The Fox in the Garage in 3-D

105 Stories About Ohio

Bits

The Slugman of Herbert Street

Harold and the Purple Women

Video

Dos Factotum

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