Johnny’s Recurring Nightmares (Pt. 1)

I was friends with Johnny for three or so years before I found out how fucked in the head he was. And I know, fucked in the head sounds a bit harsh, but that’s his verbiage, not mine.


“I haven’t slept in two days,” Johnny said before inhaling a line of absurdly good coke. The type of shit that flooded highbrow clubs in the late seventies. The type of shit that shouldn’t be called shit, because the slang term shit came about when dealers started to cut their coke with laxatives…but not this coke. This coke was so pure Johnny called his Guatemalan drug dealer Freud, after Sigmund Freud, who advocated for medicinal cocaine use, until he got addicted to it…or so Johnny told me–I never touched the stuff.

“Dude,” I said with a giggle. “You can’t say shit like that after taking a line. Obviously you’re not gonna sleep.”

“Na bro, this is the first substance I’ve touched in weeks. No weed, no drink, not even coffee. I’ve been dangerously sober, but I can’t take it anymore.” Johnny fired out from pallid lips. “This is it. I’ve finally lost my shit.”

Johnny oscillated between all out addict and chaste straight edge, depending on the month, season and/or girlfriend. For a frantic fellow, he was unusually regimental when it came to drug use. Summer was filled with ecstasy and cocaine, drugs perfect for pool parties and beach bonfires. Autumn was his psychedelic season; he loved to take mushrooms, go on hikes and watch leaves fall from tired trees. In the winter, benzos, barbiturates and painkillers were mandatory to keep his SAD in check. And spring — which started a few weeks ago, on the day of his birthday, March 20th–was usually spent relatively sober; what he called his Spring Equinox Detox.

“What’s going on, man? Trouble with your lady?” I asked.

“Ah, fuck her. She went to the treasure island rave with her girls. It’s not about her, though. Well…it is…kind of. But not really. It’s more me. It’s always me. She’s just making it worse. I’m thinking about ending it. All she wants to do is party, and I can’t handle that shit right now,” Johnny said while chopping up more lines, not realizing the irony in complaining about partying while chopping up a bona fide party drug.

He met his current girlfriend, Luna, at EDC last May. What should’ve been a weekend fling, turned into a volatile, near-year whirlwind of love and lust and all types of fuckery.

“What is it then?”

“My fucking dreams…nightmares man. Every time I sleep. The same three over and over again. Nightmares from my childhood. Sometimes multiple in the same night. I can’t fucking sleep. And all fucking Luna does is complain that I keep waking her up.” he said, then inhaled a line so long he ran out of breath before reaching the end of it.

“Jesus Christ, man, you’re going to have a heart attack.”

“I have to. I feel like I’m in nightmare on fucking elm street. Gotta stay awake. Gotta stay awake.”

Johnny had never asked me for any type of support in the entire span of our friendship. He was my psychiatrist. I went to him when I had trouble with my girl or work or life in general. He was a manic madman, but he’d always seem to have this strange control over his life and emotions. He was a tempest in a snow globe that soothed friends and family with free verse lyrics of encouragement and hope while perpetually on the verge of a quiet nervous breakdown.

“Alright, calm down. Everything will be alright.”

“Everything will be alright?” he asked, perplexed at my trivial statement . “Everything will be all-fucking-right? Really!? Thank you for the pleasant platitudes, but I don’t need that shit right now!” he said in a decibel level I’d never witnessed. “Sorry man. Fuck. I’m sorry. I just–I just don’t know what to do. I don’t mean to take it out on you.”

I didn’t know what to say. All I had was platitudes. That’s what most people wanted to hear. It will be alright. We’ll get through this together. After the storm, the sun will shine. I realized there was absolutely nothing I could say to console my best friend. He’d prefer me to talk shit to him. Joke around. But even that might make things worse.

“I just need someone to talk to. Someone to keep me awake. Someone to just be there. Someone that doesn’t make everything about themselves, like Luna,” he said before I could eek out another platitude. “I don’t want to be psychoanalyzed. Don’t tell me what you think they mean. I already know. I don’t need you to be Sigmund fucking Freud. Just listen.”

“I’ll listen, bro, but only if you lay off the yay. I’m serious. I’ll smoke a J with you and listen, but I can’t pay attention if you’re bumping every ten minutes.” I softly commanded.

“Deal.”

I started breaking up some of Johnny’s top-shelf Buddha to roll up while he told me the first dream.

“This might be my oldest dream…or nightmare…or memory…or whatever the fuck it is. I’m in my childhood home picking up microscopic rocks off the floor of my room and putting them into a trashcan with a giant hole in the bottom of it. After picking up all the rocks in one spot, I pickup the trash can and move to another, oblivious to the rocks tumbling out of the hole onto the area I just spent an eternity cleaning. As I kneel down to recommence my Sisyphean task, my mother creeps in behind me with a terrifying smile. As I open my mouth to tell her I love her, or hate her, or something stupid, her mouth opens and rocks blast out like a high power pressure washer, quickly filling my room, crushing and suffocating me, until I wake up paralyzed, gasping for air as tears flow down my rolled back eyes.”

I stopped breaking up the weed, and awkwardly held a small nug for a few seconds, not knowing if Johnny wanted me to respond back.

As I opened my mouth to say something platitudinal, Johnny cut me off and began the second dream

“I started having this dream when I was around eight or nine—a few years after the other dream. I’m skipping down the sidewalk of some crowded city, likely SF, or hell, dodging lines of people coming at me like an old arcade game, while avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk. I can’t see myself smiling, but I know I am. I catch glimpses of the end of the sidewalk after dodging each line; something kind is at the end, but I don’t know what it is–I just know I have to get to it…”

Johnny stopped and looked at me struggling to roll the joint and laughed. “Ya wey, your first time rolling? Give me that shit, fool.” Johnny said, then took the notebook, his diary, I was using to break up and roll on.

“Fuck, where was I. Um, um…Oh yea…so there’s something warm and fuzzy at the end of the sidewalk; maybe it’s heaven, maybe it’s limbo, maybe it’s Oz, maybe it’s oblivion, maybe it doesn’t matter what it is. After dodging the last line, I see the end clearly. It’s beautiful…whatever it is, it’s glowing in way only possible if a million perfect rainbows converged on a perfect prismatic fractal….Hold up one sec.”

Johnny stopped speaking to apply the last coat of saliva to the joint he rolled in a dozen seconds, then resumed his dream.

“I begin to skip faster, making dangerously large strides while still trying to avoid the cracks. I feel the end pulling me. I know I’ll be safe there. I must get there. I must live there. I must die there…”

Johnny sparked up the J, took five or six micro-puffs then passed it to me.

…Right as I’m about to reach my heavenly unknown, a vantablack shadow appears, forcing me to recklessly skip off-course…the darkness lets loose a portentous cackle as my foot slams into the last crack in the sidewalk…the world shatters around me…the clouds fall like ethereal tear drops…I’m left standing on a single piece of freezing concrete, suspended in darkness.”

“Fuck,” I eek out with a puff a smoke.

“Yea,” Johnny said with a sigh. “That dream is the roughest. Every time I have it, I wake up sweating, patting at my body like I was just pickpocketed. Every time I feel like a part of my soul was stolen.”

End of Part 1



 

I’ll likely never finish this, but I wanted to post something.

 

 

 

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All City

My friends and I were drinking forties at a park by my house when we decided it was time for me to hit my first billboard burner. I’d been doing graffiti for about a year, busting tags across my city with racked markers from Michaels, spray cans from OSH, and custom made, multi-colored mean streaks my friends and I constructed while chain-smoking Kools we bought by the carton from a dude named Wino Juan. My other two boys had already broken their billboard cherries—now it was time for me to get down.

“I say you hit that plastic surgery board off Capitol, towards Milpitas. There’s little to no lighting, and cops patrol less on the edges of the city,” Blend told me and my boy, Giant. He was the seasoned graff artist in our crew, KILL THAT NOISE, or K-10 for short, so we usually followed his lead. He was also the most talented. His older brother went All City a decade ago, and he taught Blend everything about graff: how to 3d and shade, how to one-line and throwie, how to rack supplies and mix streaks. Blend was busting tags on the benches of our elementary school while I was still drawing Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers.

“Na man, Capitol is hot right now. That cat from tops, M4ker, got caught up there a few weeks ago. His first time needs to be in the cuts. Dude will get spooked every-time a car passes. He might fall off like Just-us did,” Giant laughed and nudged me.

“That shit’s not funny. That dude broke his tailbone” I said.

“Ah, fuck that fool. He crossed me out at Hellyer,” Giant said

“HAHA, that was hella long ago,” Blend said.

“I don’t give a fuck how long ago that shit was. He’s lucky I never ran into him. Dude would’ve gotten smashed. I’m glad that shit happened to him. Aaand he was crossing out another dude on that board. Karmas a bitch.” Giant responded half angry. He was always ready to funk. He liked to fight more than paint, but he was just that type of dude. His entire family banged, and despite him not clicking up with the gang, he still sometimes acted like he was a banger, instead of an artist.

“Calmate fool, you take shit too serious…but he kinda did get what he deserved. Could’ve been worse, though—he could’ve busted his ass, then get busted by rollers, then get his ass busted in county,” Blend said with a snicker, causing Giant and I to crack-up.

“That’s fucked up, yo,” I said, still laughing.

“You got a spot in mind, Abel?” Blend asked me. “Giant’s probably right. It should be a board in the cuts. How bout one in Morgan Hill or Gilroy? I know there’s some on Monterey, and Morgan hill don’t got shit for cops.”

“The fuck, how would we get there? I asked. “There’s no bus stop out that way, and we can’t trek out there. Three dudes wearing back-packs and hoodies walking down the shoulder of Monterey–the fuck outta-here with all that jazz. And I’m not trying to hit up some farmer’s board. You know the rules.”

The three of us created our own graffiti code of conduct. One of the rules was that we couldn’t hit up property which caused private businesses to lose money; except for ones we didn’t like: the plastic surgery board, for example, or advertisements for lawyers or fast-food or anything political—basically things we felt were detrimental to society. We also never tagged on playgrounds, or anything kids had direct contact with. Our crew used to have another dude in it, but we kicked his ass, then kicked him out of the crew for covering a slide at my park with ugly tags. The code made sense at the time, but we didn’t figure in the tax money spent on cleaning up graffiti, and the indirect impact that had on people we tried not to affect.

“I could hit up Lexus. She’d be down to drive us out there,” Giant said. “She’s been on my dick since Sum1’s party.”

“Ya wey, you and your groupies,” Blend said. “Sometimes I think you only paint for pussy and funk.”

There was an abundance of graff groupies, as we called them, that orbited around the scene. Girls who’d fuck you just because they could say they did with a cat that caught city fame. Blend and I didn’t fuck around with these girls–too many of them were shady and/or annoying–but Giant partook liberally. He had a Myspace account dedicated to girls he’d fucked, and dozens of half-naked pics with Giant tags covering their bodies.

“You guys are gay,” Giant laughed. “I can hit up Lexus, have her drive us out there, throw up, then we could go back to her pad and take turns fucking her.” he said, absolutely serious with the proposition.

“Fuck that,” I said. “That girl’s fucked half of San Jose. I’m not trying to catch herps.”

“Ditto,” Blend said. “But I’m down to have her drive us. Does she know about the crew?”

San Jose had recently changed its Graffiti Laws. Crews now caught gang charges if there were three or more cats in it, and recently a kid new to the scene got caught up with a black-book, and snitched out dozens of cats from a bunch of crews. Some of the artists caught charges that put them up in Elmwood for six months and thousands of dollars in restitution fees, just for graff, so the scene was real hush hush about crews, not talking about them in the vicinity of civilians. We were only known by our individual names to reduce the likelihood of catching heavy charges. Blend had already been caught up once, but with his old name, Jest, getting him two-hundred hours of community service and a five-thousand dollar fine that his grandma was still paying off.

“Na man, she doesn’t know shit. I think she still thinks I’m Mad1,” Giant snickered.

“Cool, hit her up,” Blend said.

While Giant called his beezy, Blend and I planned the bomb.

“What are trying to bust?” Blend asked. “It’s your first billie, so you should probably bust a throwie you’ve done before. That one you did at Hellyer earlier today was clean and simple. It would only take a few minutes to do the whole deed. Fifteen seconds to climb up, and a minute, tops, to bust your shit.”

“Na, I think I want to do something new. I’ve been doing that throwie for the last few months. It’s old and boring. I’ve been working on a nu-mark,” I said while breaking out my mini black-book.

“Yoooo, that’s fresh,” Blend said after grabbing my book and peeping my new piece. “Look at you all stylin and shit. No lie, this is the best I’ve seen from you. You’ve really come up, man.”

“Thanks bro. Not to ride my own jock, but I think it’s on point with your shit.”

Whoaaa tiger, calm down. It’s dope, but I’m grey death,” Blend responded with a phrase I think he just made up.

“Alright, it might not be on the level of ‘Blend‘,” I said with air quotations.

“HA HA,” Blend responded straight-faced.

“I play, I play,” I snickered. “Alright, what cans did you bring?”

“I got two white and two black Rustos, and one brand fucking new red Montana.”

“Ayeee I haven’t used a Montana before,” I said excitedly. “Let me see that shit.”

Rusto was a good graff spray can, but Montana was top shelf shit—aerosol created solely for graff. Regular cans you’d toss after using them up, but you always kept Montanas. They’re the graffiti equivalent to trophies. Blend had dozens lining every flat surface in his room.

“Cool, so white fill, black outline, with a Montana stamp?” Blend asked rhetorically. “You got the initial outline in white, I follow behind you with the white fill, you come back around with black outline, I clean up any light spots with white, then you finish with the dirty, Montana red stamp.”

“Fuck yea,” I responded as Giant got off the phone with Lexus.

“Yoooo, she’ll be here in twenty,” Giant said. “And she wanted me to tell you, Abel, that’s she’s already wet.”



End of part-one.

Somehow I woke up today, after sleeping ten hours, oddly refreshed, considering my three day drug and alcohol binge. I feel fantastic and inspired and creative, hopefully it continues. I plan on being happy for the next few days. My sister made a surprise trip out to see me, and she’s bringing my niece, so that should extend my good mood, at least until they leave. I’m going to go have sushi with them, maybe catch a flick, but I’m going to finish up this story tonight or tomorrow. The title’s tentative—I couldn’t think of another one, but something will come to my mind as I work on part two.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

A few years ago I decided to become a deaf person.

It was during the height of Tumbler, when people freely self identified as wolves and fairies and other erroneous things, sometimes inanimate, which made otherwise uninteresting people feel special. If someone could identify as a non-binary, cis-gender whale shark, why couldn’t I identify as a deaf person? I’m naturally oblivious, emotionally aloof and disconnected from the world in general–not saying those are the traits of a deaf person, they just make it easier for me to adjust to a hearing impaired life.

I’d always been a quiet, soft spoken person which was often interrupted as off. “She seems off,” people would tell my parents. So much so, they mistook my disinterest in conscious life for autism. I’m definitely not autistic. I’m the opposite of autistic. I’m hypersensitive and hyperemotional, I just keep it hidden behind a stoic smirk. Maybe I am autistic. But I thought autism was present at birth? Not the response to a shitty life, filled with shitty people, doing shitty things, for shitty reasons. Maybe I had the gene for autism, if there is one, and years of malicious sensory overload suddenly expressed the gene? I’m not sure if that’s possible. Though, I still am hyperemotional, but only when I’m by myself. So, I guess it’s not autism—at least in the traditional sense. Selective autism is more appropriate.

Despite my naturally, stolid demeanor, I needed a lot of practice before going full blown deaf. I practiced first at work, to the annoyance of my coworkers and bosses, by ignoring people on elevator rides up to my office spewing mundane Monday morning platitudes. “Mondays, am I right?” they’d ask, or say, or whatever the fuck that phrase is supposed to express, and I’d respond with a fake smile and nod. Yea, that’s kind of rude, I know, so once I got to my desk I’d ping the person I ignored and tell them I had bronchitis, or a migraine, or I lost my voice at a concert the previous night. Luckily, I was a graphic designer, so most of my conversations took place via email or instant messenger. The only “real” social interaction I had at work was on those elevator rides, at the espresso machine, and the occasional meeting I checked out of anyways.

I mastered not answering to my name when I was younger, so that was no problem. My father would scream at me, What are you, deaf!?, all the time, and I’d mostly ignore him, until he flicked the back of my head, or yelled long enough. I was somewhat worried that, in his senility, he would scream that at me again, despite my sister or brother telling him I’m deaf, and I’d gleefully respond with a smile, nod, and Yes Dad, I am deaf, exposing my ruse for the lolz.

The primary threat to my future life of deafness was exclamatory scenarios. Somebody screaming, fire! Someone letting loose a blood curdling scream. A family member surprising me in person with the news that a loved one had died, or was in a serious accident. This was a toughie. Buddha forbid, a loved one dies, and I’m surprised with the news. I wouldn’t be able shed a tear, though my tear ducts dried up years ago, or make the slightest facial cue, though my face was naturally fixed in a single semi-grimace for the majority of my waking hours.

I played out these types of scenarios for weeks, months, until my brain was permanently hardwired to not give a fuck, and look like I don’t give a fuck.

In hindsight, I probably spent too much time imagining scenes that would never manifest, but I didn’t want to be one of those dolts who adopt factitious disorders before fleshing out every goddamn scenario.

After nearly a year of preparation, I was finally ready to become a deaf person. A serious ear infection would be the cause. I had multiple ear infections in my youth which left me temporarily deaf in one ear, one time both, so it was in the protest-free realm of possibility, and easily digestible for family members who’d previously witnessed it. All I needed to do was get sick. I decided riding the train was the best place to acquire the cold or flu. It was Winter, and the train was filled with coughs and sneezes—a moving petri dish.

Unfortunately, in the months preceding my path to deafness, I’d been fired from my job. You can only ignore your bosses, and exude disinterest, so long before they become fed up. This made funds tight, and the train was expensive. I quickly ran through my meagre savings, spending the majority of my money on train rides that didn’t end in sickness, and the rest on rent and Costco boxes of cup-of-noodle.

One night, I came home from one of my nightly train rides to nowhere, and found my mother, two step-sisters and twin brother, Johnny, in my house crying. It was an intervention. Not the hard drug or alcohol type of intervention though, it was a collective plea for me to get back on drugs. My bipolar drugs. The drugs that kept me relatively level. The drugs I decided to stop taking shortly before I decided to become deaf.

For the past year, I’d been in a state of mixed-mania. I’d constructed an elaborate plan to become a deaf person because I thought it would relieve the anxiety social interactions produced. I wouldn’t have to talk. I would never mispronounce a word again, and fixate on it for weeks on end while maniacally cleaning my apartment. I’d never have to lie and say “I’m alright,” when someone asked me, “How I was doing.” I’d never have to feign interest, or have forced conversations when I really had nothing to say. I would be free from embarrassing social interactions and free from the guilt that acting like I cared created. I’d feel free in general. Or so I thought. Instead, my path to deafness left me locked away from friends and family for months on end. It made the people I love think I hated them.

I cried with my mother and step-sisters while Johnny convinced me to get back on my meds. He was the only person that truly understood how I felt, because he’d also gone through these self-destructive phases. Phases where I saved him from near madness. We were always there for each-other, but during this period of destructive mixed-mania, Johnny was in a deep depression. I knew this, but I selfishly isolated myself from him because I felt like I’d make it worse. Johnny felt the same. He thought his depression would make my issues worse. He decided to move in with me that night to help me out with my issues, while I helped his.

My mother and sisters left that night, and Johnny made some tea for us. From the kitchen I heard him say with a giggle, “You really took mom serious this time, yea?”

“Huh?” I responded.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”



 

I’m not sure why I created a twin sister for Johnny. She’s kind of mean :).

 

 

Master, Sir & Please (Warning: Extremely Sexual Content)

I don’t really write erotica, but a friend of mine, who’s taking a creative writing class, decided that she wanted to write a story, or series, on BDSM, degradation, and other sexual taboos. She was having a difficult time setting the scene so I did a quick ‘intro’ for her.

Again, sexual content.


“You speak only when spoken to, agreed?”

“Yes,” his pet whispered through quivering lips.

“You are allotted three words: master, sir and please. I strongly suggest you forget the rest of your vocabulary. If any of your moans or screams or cries of pain even resemble another word, in any language, you will suffer, until you learn the words I’ve granted you…or until you learn to shut your fucking mouth completely.”

“I don’t–” his pet attempted to say before catching a mild slap.

“I don’t? You don’t what? You are no longer ‘I’–you are mine. You are my plaything. I don’t love you. I don’t like you. I will do with you what I want. You might enjoy it. You might hate it. You might feel pleasure, or you might regret you ever read Fifty Shades of Grey and think you’d like BDSM.
Understand?”

“Yes mast–” she eeked out before catching another slap, slightly harder than the previous.

“Yes!? her master said, now slightly annoyed at her inability to follow simple directions. ” ‘Yes’ is not one of your words. Again, you may say: master, sir and please. You will not say ‘yes’. You will not say ‘no’. You may nod your head to acknowledge you understand what I’m saying–that’s it.
Understand?”

His pet nodded.

“Now take off your dress.”

His pet’s body was nearly perfect when they first met a few months ago, but nearly perfect wasn’t good enough for her master. He demanded that she get a tattoo of any type of flower on her thigh, side or lower back. He also gave her the option to pierce her right nipple or both. She opted for a string of roses down her side and both her nipples pierced. She thanked her master for the body modifications and for allowing her to pick them. The only other choice he’d given her since they started dating, was where they ate on their first date–the night she told him she yearned for a master.

“Now rip off your bra and panties.”

His pet reached around her back to unlatch the bra but was again met with a slap; this time though, he followed up with a hand around her throat. “I said rip them off.”

Earlier in the evening, at dinner to be precise, her master gave her the lingerie she was wearing. To show her appreciation, she sucked his cock on the ride back to his place–all forty five minutes, in stop-and-go traffic, eventually cumming on her face, where it slid and dripped down her lips and neck, and stayed, and was seen by pedestrians as they walked up to his condo on busy Santa Clara street in San Jose, until getting inside, where he allowed her to finger it into her mouth and swallow.

She reluctantly ripped off her new bra, nearly receiving another slap for not doing so fast enough.

“Now the panties.”

She attempted to rip off them off but didn’t possess the strength needed to rip the expensive, nano-silk panties, and after thirty seconds of pulling and stretching them out, her master got annoyed.

“You’re useless.” he said before yanking her panties three or four times, producing future bruises and abrasions on her hips, until finally ripping them off.

“Now, get on the bed.”

She walked backwards and tripped into bed.

“Arms up.” her master demanded as he unrolled his straps, already connected to the bed frame, and wrapped them around her wrists–tight enough to make her slightly wince.

“Now, spread your legs.”

He tied one leg, then started the other, but just as he was about to finish the final knot, he caught a glance of her pulsating pussy–her lips glistening with cum from an orgasm he hadn’t commissioned yet.

“Did you cum?”

She nodded.

“Bad girl,” he calmly told her before walking out of the room, leaving her tied up to think about what she’d done.

Suicide Notes from a Man Who Died of Old Age

I know there’s nothing I could possibly say to ameliorate the pain I’ve caused by doing this.

I know that many of you will blame yourselves.

I know that many of you won’t recover from this for years, maybe ever.

I know that this might seem selfish–believe me, I know this…I know all of this. But it has to be done. 

Please know that the combined pain all of you are feeling at this very moment doesn’t equal half the pain I’ve felt– half the pain I’m feeling at this very moment. Please know this.

Please, please, please don’t blame yourselves. For the last five years I’ve suffered in silence, occasionally crying in class, or on lonely walks home from school, or while eating dinner with you, saying it’s allergies. Horrible things happened to me that I tried to write out here, but my hand started to shake and tremble, and I started to cry, so I’ll leave that portion of my pain out of this, but it’s none of your fault. No one who’s reading this is responsible for my pain. The people that hurt me will probably not get what’s coming to them until they’re old and alone. They’ll remember the pain, and hopefully hear that I killed myself, partly due to them, and off themselves, or maybe they won’t remember, not realizing the pain they caused. But honestly, I think I would be in pain even if I’d lived a picturesque life–it’s just me.

I don’t believe in heaven, but if it did exist, and I got in, somehow, I would find a way to be miserable in it. My souls tainted and broken, and it needs to be destroyed.

I’m tired.

I want oblivion.

I’m sorry.

I love you all.

Goodbye.

Johnny wiped away the tears he just realized were flowing, and dropped the note back into the box his grandfather bequeathed him.

“Why would Grandpa leave me this?” he whispered to himself.

He anxiously shuffled through the rest of the box, finding note after note filled with sad words.

“Why would Grandpa leave me this?” he asked himself again, before closing the box, and reading the note written on the top of it in grandpa’s trademark calligraphy he tried to teach Johnny to no avail.

To you, Johnny, and only you. I hope this will help you through your struggles, son. I love you.

Johnny walked out of his room, down the hallway to the living room where his mom was with a glass of straight vodka, looking at a note, over a box similar to his, crying uncontrollably.

Johnny never could take the sight of his mother crying–it always resulted in him bawling harder and louder.

He walked over to hold her and cry together.

“Don’t cry, ma, please,” he said, despite knowing that nothing in existence could dam the deluge flowing down her cheeks.

“Why did gra–,” he started to ask before his mom interjected. “Grandpa left that for you, and only you. The same way he left this for me, and only me. And many others for people he loved. I don’t know why, but I’m sure there’s a reason.”

They held each other and cried for a few eternal minutes.

“I know this was a long and painful day, Johnny, but we’ll get over it together.” she whispered into his ear as her head rested on his shoulder. “You don’t have to go to school tomorrow, baby, but it’s late, and you should go to bed. Tomorrow will be a better day, I promise,”

He reluctantly let go of his mother and asked, “Are you going to bed?”

“Yes babe, in a little bit.”

Johnny walked down the hall, turning back before opening his bedroom door, and watched his mom pour another glass of vodka, down it, then poor another.

He started to cry again as he took off his clothes and got into bed, telling himself that he would never be able to sleep.

Staring up, wide awake, at his ceiling that he recently covered in glow in the dark planets and spiral galaxies and shooting stars, he remembered a trick his grandfather taught him for restless nights. He started to count the stars, then he multiplied them by ten, then divided by five, then multiplied again and again and again, calming his racing mind, until finally falling asleep.

His mom lied, but it wasn’t her fault. Tomorrow wouldn’t be a better day.



I don’t like the wording of this. There’s much to be done, but I needed to write it down. I’ll go through it and make it prettier, hopefully.

This is the first page of a short story I’m going to attempt to write about a grandfather who lived to 99, leaving his depressed grandson a box of suicide notes he wrote throughout his life. Each page, or most pages/post, will begin with one of the suicide notes, and end with moments/days his depressed grandson goes through, corresponding or running parallel to his pain in different ways, helping him realize that he’s not the only one that experiences despair.

I’m sleepy, so I’m going to go do math in my bed until I fall asleep. Hopefully I’ll wake up to some critiques.

Johnny’s First Love

Shortly after graduating high school, I fell in love for the first time with a girl I met at a party. We had both attended the same school, and actually, unbeknownst to me, met each other multiple times via mutual friends, but I was already an oblivious drunk who fixated on all the wrong girls and paid no attention to the sweet, nerdy types.

I was out getting into trouble with my boys when I received a message from an unknown number: It’s JB and “so and so” thinks you’re cute and wants to hang out. Come to this party tonight. 

At the time, my friends and I were graffiti artists. We had planned on busting a fat burner on this virgin wall overlooking the freeway later that night, but decided to hit the party first. It was being thrown at a huge house in a wealthy neighborhood deep in the east hills that was sure to have the cops called before midnight, so we had a few hours to catch a buzz, sober up, then paint the town.

We pulled up around ten, and it was already raging, and I was already annoyed. The party contained every high school archetype I hated–mostly the popular types who spent more time taking pictures of themselves and talking about how much fun they were having than actually having fun–but there were a few pockets of friendlies.

There was also a group of gangbangers who were obviously only there to slang; one of which I kind of knew and ambiguously nodded at me on our way in.

My friends and I weren’t squares, but we spent most of our time with each other, four or five of us doing art in parks, and the houses of other graff artists and scenesters–these types of parties weren’t our thing.

We brought our own handle of Sailor Jerry’s–a 92 proof spiced Navy rum–and passed it around amongst ourselves, quickly catching a silly buzz. JB, the friend that originally texted me, came up and said, “Fucking weirdos, what are you doing in the corner. Go out and dance and mingle.” She was technically a party girl, but she was also a geek. A geek I had a crush on until I found out her brother was a Crip, something you would never have guessed based off her innocence and general dorkiness.

“Johnny,” JB said, pulling me aside. “So and so is not having a very good night. Go talk to her.” (for the sake of not driving myself insane with so and so(s), I’ll refer to the girl as Bill, a name I would later affectionally call her, but that’s for another story)

Bill was sitting on the peripheries of the party, drinking a bottle of water, annoyed and alone. She was a petite Vietnamese girl with porcelain skin, wearing a midnight purple dress and classic adidas. Her style and physical beauty accented nicely with her annoyed grimace, instantly infatuating me. She was perfect.

As I walked over to my future lover, I heard a friend scream, “J! Get over here. Fuck. Fuck. Come one, we have to go,” in rapid succession.

I ran out of the party, following my friend, confused and anxious, expecting the worst.

My friend Mad1 was on the ground, blood gushing down his cheek from a gash over his left eye, onto his white shirt with a fresh aerosol tag stating: fuck tops.

“Fucking Funks jumped him,” my friend Abel1 exclaimed. “I already called the Tops.

Unfortunately, over the years, San Jose’s graffiti scene had turned ultra violent. Many of the city’s top graffiti crews had cliqued up with gangbangers–primarily because they had a steady stream of drugs that artists like to take–resulting in jumpings and drive-bys and other senseless violence on kids that just wanted to do art and catch some fame.

The Funk, as they were called, was one of the first graffiti crews to meld with gangbangers–in their case, Norteños. Every tag, sticker, piece or burner they did was stamped with X4, representing the number 14, pledging allegiance to Nuestra Familia. Most graff crews didn’t even consider The Funk to be artists anymore. The older cats, those outside of high school, moved on to selling drugs, mostly, and left the graffiti to school kids they recruited to put in work.

My friends and I weren’t gangbangers–we were artists–but the graff scene had warped and morphed into something we called spraybanging, where knowing somebody who knows somebody from the wrong crew was good enough to get you mollywhopped–slang for fucked up–and we knew exactly those somebodies.

The Tops, the crew Abel1 called, and would later join, hadn’t fully morphed into a gang, but they were on their way. One of the older cats had recently got out of prison, infecting the entire crew. He was a thirty something with a house on the south side, left to him after his mother died, along with a substantial amount of cash that allowed him to throw huge parties, inviting everybody, including my friends and I, and kids who were still in high school. He fed teenagers booze and coke and pills, then told them to go out and throw up the crew.

Abel1 received a text from one of the head Tops. A meeting was set at a park downtown, near a neighborhood where some of the core Funks stayed, and we had to go…after dropping my injured friend at the emergency room.

“We should stay with Mad1…at least one of us,” I told Abel1 who seemed to be eager to funk. “Actually, why should any of us go? It’s not our fight.”

“Fuck that,” Abel1 said. “You’re going to let your boy get jumped? Let him get sprayed on? Na, we’re going handle business. We all go. You want Tops to think you’re a bitch? To think you just let your boys get smashed on? You know what will happen if we don’t go.”

I lived in what would be considered a Tops neighborhood, So did two of my boys.

We partied with Tops.

We did drugs with Tops. 

If you’re not with us, you’re against us they would think.

“Fuck it,” I said–a ubiquitous phrase in every sad scene of my life.

Pulling into the park, I saw twenty or so Tops, some of which I knew. The ones I didn’t know chastised us for running late, despite it being due to us dropping our friend off at the hospital. “You should’ve brought him too,” one of the unfamiliars exclaimed.

Coke was passed around, followed by baseball bats, and a plan was made, while I tried to figure a way out for my friends and I.

“I know for a fact that Blast(one of the Funks) stays at that house over there. We fuck-up the car on the drive-way, and wait for him to come out. I know a few other those pinche putos live around here too.” another tattooed unfamiliar said.

Shit was getting real, but it felt like a bad dream.

“Fuck it,” I whispered to myself with false confidence.

We all started walking towards the target house, two dozen strong, with the biggest guys in front.

The first ferocious slam into the rear window of the car was accompanied by police sirens, dispersing our group like bugs freshly exposed from an overturned rock.

My friends and I ran down an alley..hopped a fence to the next street..hopped another and another, expertly traversing the city we habitually ran amok on until we were far enough away to faintly hear the sirens.

“Look, La Vic’s!” Abel1 whispered, pointing towards our go-to taqueria. “We’ll chill in there, get some tacos and wait for shit to settle down.”

La Vic’s was perpetually swamped due to their famous orange sauce and close proximity to clubs and bars. It was easy to get lost in the sea of drunks in food comas having obnoxious back ‘n’ forths.

“That was insane!” Abel1 said excitedly to me and my other two friends, who I just realized hadn’t said one thing since we left the party hours ago.

“No, that was stupid! What the fuck, man! We could’ve gotten killed or arrested! I’m not a gangbanger! We’re not gangbangers!” I screamed with the pent up fury I nearly unleashed upon some dude’s car or head or kneecap. “I’m out of here.” I said and walked away–with my other two friends following shortly thereafter.

Downtown looked the same, of course, despite what we just went through. Just another night. You could look in both directions and see some type of fuckery occurring–cops tackling down a drunk who accidentally threatened them after getting rowdy in a club over some dude innocuously bumping into his girl, or a dealer from Oakland being pat down and thrown in the back of a cop car, just to be replaced my another kid who’s sent down to slang to rich college kids.

“What a mess. Let’s go home,” I told my two boys.

The three of us walked silently to the light rail station. I bought a ticket for the first time ever after 6 or 7 years of illegally riding it, and running from the transit police when necessary, showing, to me, I think, that maybe that night’s events engrained in me a semblance of self-accountability. My friends followed suit.

“Is Mad1 alright? Did you text him?” I asked my boy as we boarded the light rail.

“Yea, his sister just picked him from the emergency room. He’s coo, just a few stitches.”

“Cool.”

We spent half the hour trip home staring outside our respective windows.

“You guys were mad scared,” I suddenly said with a laugh, still staring out the window.

Not a peep. I turned around, and they were asleep. I smiled and went back to looking out the window.

I woke them both up when we hit their stop–mine was a bit further down the line.

“See ya man,” they both said.

“Yea, see ya……Oh, and do me a favor, text me when y’all get home so I know you’re safe, yea?”

“Yea, man. You do the same,”

For the rest of the ride, twenty minutes or so, I messaged back and forth with Mad1.

He said he was alright.

I told him I was sorry about what happened.

He said it wasn’t my fault and that he loved me and missed me–obviously high on pain killers.

I shot him a few lols and hahahas, then told him to get some rest.

My stop finally came, but I still had a two mile walk to my house.

At least it’s a pretty, summer night I thought to myself, gazing up at the stars, quickly pinpointing my favorite constellation: the Little Dipper.

My phone buzzed–a text from one of my friends, Yo J, I’m home. Talk to ya later.

Cool, man. Just about home. I messaged back.

Another came shortly after from my other friend, I’m home, bro. 

Cool, cool. I’m about fifteen away from my house. I messaged back.

Tomorrow…down to have an art sesh at Hellyer Park? he asked.

Fuck yea. I’ll bring the Sangria, you bring the markers.

Closing the message, I remembered the text that started the night. The girl who thought I was cute and wanted to hang out. I felt so bad. I had to text my friend to relay a message to Bill.

I’m so sorry about tonight. Please tell your friend I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t lose the chance to take her out for tacos and a movie. She looked gorgeous in her dress and kicks.

She responded back immediately.

I did look pretty good tonight. I’ll take you up on the date if I get to choose the movie. I heard The Prestige is pretty good.

Wait..who is this? I asked utterly confused.

Sorry, it’s Bill…I had JB text you on my phone to ensure we connected whether or not you came to the party :).

Me: Hahaha…What a smooth move. I wish I would’ve thought of that–though I think it might look a little creepy if I pulled the same thing on you.

Bill: Yea, you’re probably right haha….If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

Me: If I had your number and wanted to non-creepily text you?

Bill: Yea.

Me: Hello Bill. I’ve been watching you. I like the way you wear your skin.

Bill: Ewwww….hahaha…That’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.

Me: hahaha…but it works, sometimes.

Bill: Lies! haha.

Me: Yup, but only on girls who read Edgar Allen Poe poems in cemeteries.

Bill: hahaha….you dork.

Me: So, what do you like to do…besides sit alone and annoyed at parties 🙂

Bill: Haha…I’m pretty dorky…probably too dorky for you. I like to read and listen to music and go for drives in the hills. I only went to the party because JB said you were coming 🙂

Me: Too dorky…never…not possible. And sorry about the party.

Bill: What happened? Somebody said your friend was jumped.

Me: Yea, some asshole banged him up, but he’s good now…took him to the hospital, got him stitched up…now he’s home, high on Vicodin…telling everyone how much he loves them haha.

Bill: Oh, I’m sorry. Why was he jumped? Somebody said that you guys were gangbangers.

Me: Hahaha…us? No, we’re graffiti artists that just happened to know the wrong people. People we’re done with….a scene we’re done with.

She didn’t text back for a few minutes–an eternity in text years.

Somebody told her about what happened downtown, I know it. About the people I associated with.

I scared her away.

Stupid fucking drama I never wanted to be a part of.

Stupid fucking people, and their stupid fucking desire to look fucking tough and live dead-end lives, eventually ending up in jail or dead or addicted to meth or coke.

Stupid gangs.

Stupid graffiti.

Stupid me. It was my fault. It was always my fault.

I should’ve stayed with Mad1, and told Abel1 to fuck off. He can live that life. We’ll paint pretty pictures while listening to pretty music in pretty parks. That’s what we were. Not gangbangers.

I wanted to tell her all about my secret nerdy pleasures that I kept hidden from people. I wanted to tell her that I was quiet and sensitive, and hated parties and loud places in general. That I liked to go for walks and skip and giggle about silly things most people wouldn’t get.

I wanted to tell…

Bill: Sorry, I had to use the bathroom. And I laughed when somebody told me you were a gangbanger haha.

Fuck.

Bill: To me, you look like an artist. You look out of place with most of the people I’ve seen you with..the same way I looked at the party. That’s why I like you. I thought you’d come to the party, and we’d sit in the corner and giggle at all the other people.

She really was perfect.

Bill: Am I right?

Me: That’s a good rough sketch

Bill: Well, let’s hang out tonight so I can get the details.

Me: Ohhh nice line :). Meet you at Camera 12 downtown around 7?

Bill: Sounds good to me 🙂

Me: Do you like La Vic’s?

Bill: Of course! Who from San Jose doesn’t?

Me: Cool, it’s a date…but you asked me out.

Bill: Haha. Yea, I guess I did. Lucky for you–you’re the first boy I’ve ever asked on a date……you better put out haha.

 

(End of part one)




This story wound up being much longer than I originally intended, so I’ll be doing a part two sometime next weekend, hopefully.

Johnny is a character I’m fleshing out, and he’s a bit all over the place haha.

As always, critical appraisals are much appreciated. And pardon the grammar and spelling errors–I’ve been writing drunk and editing drunk.

 

 

Johnny’s Charming

Johnny was weird but in a charming way.

My girl and I once went on a double date with him and a girl he was “in love with”. In love, though, to Johnny, basically equated to him being infatuated with a rando he met at a bar or flea market, or in this weekend’s case, the city’s rich people mall.

“She’s the one,” he excitedly told me over to the phone. “Please come out to dinner with us. I want you to meet her. Dinner’s on me.” He hung up before I could tell him no. Five minutes later he texted me that dinner was at 8…at some expensive restaurant…and they would meet us there.

I told my girl, thinking she would say no to another one of Johnny’s double dates, but she loved the restaurant, and I had been slacking on romance time, so I reluctantly agreed.

While my girl got dressed, I snuck in a few shooters to prepare for the night. As I walked in to get an ETD, I saw her slip on a new dress, over new laced panties. “Damn,” I said, startling her, causing the dress to float to the ground. She turned around, and stood in the doorway of the bathroom, legs slightly cocked open, and told me without words let’s have a romantic dinner so we can come home and fuck each other’s brains out.

We got to the restaurant before them so we hit the bar. I had a few whiskies and she had one lemon drop.

We flirted with each other like it was our first date, and made sex bets about the girl Johnny was going to bring.

“I bet you handcuffs she’ll be a short hipster girl with tattoos and a septum piercing,” my girl said.

“I’ll raise you head in the elevator up to our apartment floor she’s a curvy Latina with dimple piercings.

It was past eight, and we were pretty buzzed, staring at the front door, waiting for Johnny and his date to get there.

Right as I finished typing out a text asking him where the fuck are you, he walked in–or to be more accurate, he was dragged in. The girl leading him in was Asian, and she had big, fake tits, and she was covered in tattoos.

“Tattoos…I was partially right,” my girl whispered into my ear before catching a quick nibble. “What does that get me, daddy?”

In normal circumstances, this feisty act would rustle my pants, but I was transfixed on Johnny. His exuberance from a few hours ago had dissipated, leaving a dry husk of a man. He looked unhappily married instead of being on a first date.

“Sorry gu—-,” Johnny attempted to say before being cut off by his date. “My name is Amber,” she said with a high, bubbly voice.

We introduced ourselves, then got our table.

“Nice fit,” I jokingly told Johnny as we were sitting down. He wasn’t the type to get dressed up, not even for weddings, but tonight he was wearing fancy pants, with a fancy dress coat, over a fancy silk shirt.

“Yea,” he said with an obviously forced giggle. “Amb—-” “I picked it out for him,” she interrupted again.

“Yea, she picked it out.” he quickly spit out to prevent another interjection.

“I also picked out this dress and these shoes,” she said, then laid her head on his arm in a way she thought was cute. “John, the gentlemen he is, bought them for me before asking me out to dinner.” You could hear Johnny grind his teeth. He hated when people called him John.

She seemed oblivious to Johnny’s frustration and annoyance, indicating to me that she was a moron or used to uncomfortable dinners with men that only asked her out because she had big, fake tits that she happily busted out when a man bought her nice things and took her out to expensive dinners–or both. Turned out to be both.

She was an Instagram model–who would’ve thought–but she wanted to be a fashion designer–also, who would’ve thought?

We skipped appetizers, thank god, but we only did so because Johnny’s date said, “Appetizers are for fat people.”

My girl and I picked two different entrees that we would share with each other.

Johnny attempted to order the Prime Rib w/ Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus, but his date ordered the baked Chicken Breast w/ Couscous and Grilled Vegetables for him instead saying, “Red Meat is terrible for your pores.”

She ordered the Caesar Salad, that she basically had brought out deconstructed, because, according to her, it was never prepared right.

What the fuck? A salad not prepared right. What the fuck was Johnny doing with this bimbo? He’s had some bad dates: the go-go dancer from the reggaeton bar, the make-up artist who mirrored the worst mannerisms of the girls from Clueless, the girl who paid her way through college by going out to dinner with men–basically a hooker–but this girl was an atrocious amalgamation of all of them. I thought to myself so loudly I had to look at my girl to confirm none of it eeked out.

Dinner went by surprisingly quick–mainly because I had the waiter keep the whiskies coming…for Johnny and I both. My girl also drank an inordinate amount of lemon drops. And for the bimbo, the second most expensive bottle they had…but she only picked the second because she didn’t like the first.

We skipped dessert, again thank god, and again because “Dessert is for fat people.”

Johnny got the check, paid for it without looking, and almost left before getting his credit card back. He was clearly drunk, even more than me. I hadn’t realized he had hit the bar twice when he said he was going to the bathroom.

My girl and I walked out hand and hand.

Johnny was dragged out the same way he came in.

“What’s next, a club?” the girl asked, or more appropriately, commanded.

My girl and I nearly pulled a her and interjected before she could finish her repulsive request. 

“We’re beat,” I spoke for the both of us.

“Yea, I think I’m going to call it a night too,” Johnny said with a groan. “My stomach hurts, must’ve been the Couscous.”

“Booooo,” the bimbo whined. “I’m wide awake. Come dance with me. Please?”

“Next time,” Johnny said.

“I guess,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “Fine, take me home.”

“I’ll order the Uber,” Johnny said, pulling out his phone.

“Make sure it’s an XL,” the bimbo demanded.

“It’s cool, we’re going to get our own,” my girl said for the win.

“Still get the XL,” the bimbo said with a pshaw. “I don’t want to ride in a Civic again.”

“It was a Cadillac,” Johnny said, finally semi-lashing out.

“Geez,” she responded. “Fine, order the Cadillac or whatever the fuck it was, but it’s just for me. I don’t want to ride with you.”

Johnny being the consummate gentlemen and sweetheart told her, “Sorry, I’m just not feeling well. I’ll take you home”

The restaurant was in an alleyway so we all had to walk to a main street to catch our respective Ubers.

The bimbo was having a hard time walking because she was wearing heels–heels, another thing Johnny hated. The fact that it had rained earlier, and that she was drunk, made it even more difficult.

As we reached the main street, our Uber pulled up, and my girl and I prepared to say goodbye. As we turned around, Johnny jumped over a small puddle with a smile, showing the first happy emotion of the night–our impish, simple Johnny that liked to drunkenly skip and jump over puddles.

The bimbo looked at the puddle, then at him.

Johnny, being the gentlemen he is, took off his expensive new shirt and coat, and threw it into the puddle so the bimbo didn’t have to get the shoes he bought for her wet.

“Can I catch a ride with you,” he smiled and asked us topless.

“Of course,” my girl and I said in unison.

Whines and screams bellowed from the bimbo as we closed the door of our Civic Uber.

The three of us drunkenly laughed, along with the Uber driver, Phil, as Johnny recounted the nights events all the way to our house.

We asked Johnny to stay the night. We had coffee and talked about how we were never going double dating again. We talked about love and life and us…us three best friends.

It got late, Johnny passed out. My girl threw a blanket over him, and we headed to bed.

“What a night,” I said before kissing the top of my girl’s head as she laid on my chest.

“She had tattoos, right?” my girl said.

“Yes babe, she had tattoos,” I responded giggly.

“What does that get me, again?” she asked.

“I think that means you get to be the big spoon tonight,” I responded, looking down waiting for her to correct me.

“Yea, that sounds about right.” she said with a yawn….”And I get to be woken up tomorrow, handcuffed, to a lovely fucking.”

I laughed, and we both yawned.

“I love you,” she said.

I love you most,” I said.

“Johnny’s charming..in a weird way,” my girl said, before kissing me and falling to sleep.

“Yea, he is.”




Johnny is a character I created.

I’m looking to do a series on him.

As usual, critical appraisals are most appreciated :).