Fiction

Fiction

You’re Killing Me Smalls


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That night I slept a dreamless sleep. I woke up feeling refreshed. Carla and I ate breakfast and neither one of us even mentioned my nightmares. Today was going to be a good day.
“I feel like getting out today. Would you like to take a walk with me love?”
“Yeah, a walk sounds nice.” Carla replied. She got up from the table and put her dishes in the sink. “I think I might need one more cup of coffee before we go. Would you like another?”
“No, thank you though, I’m going to drink some water. You should definitely do the same.”
“I drink coffee and only coffee. The coffee bean is my spirit animal.”
I broke out laughing. “Well dehydration is going to be your spirit animal if you don’t drink some water while we walk. It’s like 100 degrees out today.”
“They make iced coffee.”
“You’re killing me Smalls.”
She smiled and gave me a wink. That was a line from one of our favorite movies, “The Sandlot.” We had watched it together the first time she had spent the night at my old apartment. We had been dating for a few months when she suggested,
“Why don’t we just get some take-out and cuddle up under a blanket while we watch a movie tonight?”
“Yeah, that sounds great. What kind of movie do you want to watch.”
“Hmm, I don’t know. How about a classic?”
“Do you have a genre preference?”
“I trust you.” She said, looking directly into my eyes, letting me know she meant it, and for more than just my taste in movies.
When she arrived that evening, I had my place prepared for a perfect night in. I ordered Pizza from Regina’s; I laid out a medley of snacks, from chips to chocolates; I had beer, wine, and champagne on ice. I wanted it to go perfect. She walked into the candle lit room.
“Wow. It looks like the best sleep over ever in here! The only thing missing is the feetie pajamas.”
“I think I have a pair somewhere. I can put them on if you’d like.”
Carla giggled. “Do you really have a pair, or were you just being funny?”
“I was just being funny. Please, come in, make yourself comfortable.” I walked her over to my display. “I have pizza, booze, and snacks for every mood.”
“Are you rapping right now?”
“Word.” I said, squinting my eyes, slightly pouting my lips, and nodding, trying to make my best ‘cool guy’ face.
Carla sat down. “What movie are we watching.”
“The Sandlot.” I said, waiting for her to be excited.
“The Sandlot? What’s that?”
“You’ve never heard of the Sandlot?”
“No, is it good?”
“Umm, it is a classic!”
“Well, if I never heard of it, how can it be a classic?”
“You’re killing me Smalls.”
“Shut up, I’m not small, I’m vertically challenged.”I bursted out laughing. “It’s a line from the movie, you’ll see. I’ll be right back.”

I walked into the other room. I had lied before about not having feetie pajamas. I wanted to surprise her. Justin had given me a pair as a gag gift once after talking about how much we loved them as kids, and how it was too bad that adults can’t wear them.
When I came back into the living room, Carla was opening two beers for us.
“Beer over champagne? Is that because we’re eating pizza?”
She turned to see me standing there, hands on my hips, posing in my Batman pajamas. She started laughing while saying, “That’s a great observation Batman.”
“Well I am the world’s greatest detective.”
We watched the movie and laughed all night, and ever since, the quote, “You’re killing me Smalls” has become one of our many tag lines.

Fiction

Another Snippet From My Story


On my way to work, I sat in Boston’s notorious line of traffic. I usually listened to the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast to pass the time, but the newest episode wasn’t out yet since Joe was on a hunting trip. I was going to put on some music but the license plate in front of my caught my attention.
SAV 819
I see the number 819 everywhere. Some people believe that it is a sign when you see the same number, others believe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy because you think you see a number everywhere, so you are more likely to notice it. I don’t know which is true, but instead of putting music on, I sat with my thoughts, recalling the many other times that I’ve seen that number.
When I arrived at the University of Massachusetts, or Umass as we call it, I parked in the Bay Side lot and took the shuttle to the University Hall stop. My first class of the day was at 8:00 and I always tried to get to campus early enough to enjoy a second cup of coffee while staring at the ocean. Umass Boston is located on Columbia Point, an old landfill, that sits on a peninsula in Dorchester Bay.
After my coffee, I casually strolled over to my classroom, located in the McCormack building, and arrived with fifteen minutes to spare. As I was settling in, I heard a knock on the open door.
“Knock Knock”
“Good morning Justin, how goes it?”
“It goes. Do you want to eat lunch on campus or go somewhere else today?”
I tilted my head slightly upward, squinting as I stared into my thoughts.
“Hmm…that’s a good question. I have office hours this afternoon, so eating on campus would be smarter, but it is Friday and my students definitely aren’t going to stop by so…let’s push lunch a little later and take off a little early and we can grab a few drinks too. How’s that sound?”
Justin smiled and slapped his hand against the door.
“I like the way you think my man! I’ll swing by around 3?”
“Yeah, that sounds great.”
Justin was my best friend since middle school. He was half white and half Asian and we used to practice martial arts in his yard. By martial arts I mean the moves we’d learn from watching Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies. His was a kind man with a big heart. His mother had passed away while we were in high school and his father wasn’t around so it was a miracle that he turned out so great. We both still lived in Woburn and got jobs teaching at Umass Boston. He taught history and I taught English composition.
Shortly after Justin left, Stephanie arrived. She was always the first student in the classroom. We made small chit chat until the other students began to trickle in.
“Alright class, let’s begin. Today we’re going to have an in-class writing day since your papers are due on Monday. The more you get done in class, the more you get to enjoy your weekend, how’s that sound?”
“Thanks Professor!” Aamir said, “Can I wear my headphones while I work?”
“Sure, just make sure that you can hear me if I need to get your attention.”
As they wrote, I thought about my dream. Why was I having a reoccurring nightmare about being shot in the back of my head? The strange thing was, I kept getting shot in the same spot, where my birthmark is, which some called a “stork bite” because it was located on the back of the head, where the neck met the skull.
I realized that I had been day dreaming and wondered how long so I checked the clock. 8:19. I pretended like that didn’t bother me.
The rest of the day went by normally. When quitting time came, I went to see Justin in his office.
“You ready to break out of here?” I asked.
“Does the pope shit in the woods?”
“I don’t think so.”
“It’s an expression bro.”
“I know, but I don’t get why. I’m almost certain the pope would just shit in a toilet like the rest of us.”
“Yes. The answer is yes, I am ready to break out of here. Jesus.”
We met at The Brickyard, our usual spot. The downstairs was a bar with cool wall panels that change color. We ordered a few drinks and talked about work, our most difficult students, and our gripes with the education system. We had tons of ideas of how to make it better but never a single one about how to implement anything. It was nice just to vent sometimes. Eventually, the conversation led to my dreams. I told him about the gun shot, waking up in a panic, and how Carla was concerned. I mentioned the number that I kept seeing everywhere and how I thought I was going crazy.
“Have you tried looking it up in the bible?”
“What?”
“The bible. You know, that book your mother could recite verbatim.”
“Duh. I know what the bible is, but why look up a number in it?”
“When I was a kid, before my mother had passed, she used to tell me to look up numbers in the bible. She said that God communicated in all sorts of ways.”
“Did it ever work? Did you look up something and think that God was communicating with you?”
“When I was young, I thought that it worked, but as I got older, my faith faded and I realized that bible verses can be like fortune cookies. They all sort of apply to your life in a general manner, but it still feels good.”
“Hmm. Perhaps I’ll try that.”
I noticed that there was a man at the other side of the bar looking over at us from time to time. I assumed it was because he overheard our conversation and thought we were loons. After an hour or so, he got up and walked toward the stairs. He paused before leaving and looked over his shoulder and made eye contact with me. A nervous chill rushed down my spine. I felt his malicious intentions with just a look, and then he went upstairs.
“Michael, you okay?”
“That guy…”
“The guy over there?” Justin looked but the man was gone. “Oh, he must of left. What about him?”
“He just gave me the coldest look.”
“Are you sure he wasn’t just flirting?”
“No dude, he looked at me like he wanted to kill me.”
“What? Why would he want to kill you? Are you sure you’re not misreading this situation? Maybe he overheard us bad mouthing religion. You know how die hard Christians can get.”
“Yea, maybe.”

Fiction

My Fiction Project


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I didn’t expect to open my eyes. Not after I felt the barrel push slightly harder into the back of my skull as the gunman pulled the trigger. I sprung up in my bed, gasping while frantically reaching for the spot where the bullet entered. Nothing…again.
“It’s happening more often.” A muffled voice came from beside me. I looked, still rubbing my head, to see Carla, eyes closed, face half in her pillow. “You need to talk to someone.”
“You know how I feel about therapy.”
“And you know how I feel about sleep.”
“Alright, alright. If it happens again, I’ll consider it, but for now, let me figure it out.”
“Fine, but you go make us coffee.” She looked at me with the eye that wasn’t buried in her pillow. I chuckled.
“Ok, that’s fair.” I leaned over to kiss her head when I felt her hand slide up my inner thigh until she reached the top, where she gave me a gentle, playful squeeze. “Yeah?” I began kissing her neck, but she flinched and moved her hand off me, then said,
“If it happens again, I’ll consider it, but for now, coffee.”

I had just about finished my cup when Carla walked in.
“You know, a gal could starve waiting on you.”
I knew I messed up. I looked over, coffee mug still pressed to my lips, to see her leaning against the doorway, wearing her favorite of my dress shirts. It was my favorite too, and part of me wanted it back, but I have to admit it looks better on her. I swallowed the last sip.

“Hey babe, I was just about to brin-”
“Mmhm, save it, my mug is still in the cabinet.”
“Ok, you got me. I’m sorry love, I was caught up in my thoughts.”
“Yet you managed to get a cup for you. Egoista.”
I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out.
“That’s what I thought.” She said with a victorious grin. She walked over and wrapped her arms around me.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve you love.” I said, hugging her tight.
“It certainly wasn’t your barista skills.” She could always make me laugh.

Fiction

Writer’s Life (Sample)


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He always fancied himself a writer, despite never publishing a single word. He used it as a conversation piece, especially with the ladies. When they’d ask if they’ve ever read anything he might have written, his charming wit would reply, “Funny, you don’t strike me as the reading type.” They’d lightly push or punch him while laughing, clearly smitten, and he’d once again escape having to admit to himself, or anyone else, that he is in fact, a fraud.

It wasn’t always this way. His fear of rejection kept him from submitting anywhere, but the pen used to move quite fluidly, almost rhythmically on the page, like a fine tipped waltz. That was before, back when his choices were simple. Whiskey or beer tonight? He’d smile, knowing the answer was both. There was something about liquor and ink that felt like home. Time would pass, or stand still; he couldn’t tell the difference. It wasn’t love, oh no, it was much more intense. It was like cold blooded murder, but one where the victim was the killer. The pen would taunt the bottle, demanding a suicide pact, but refusing to go first. When the time came, they’d bleed out onto the paper, and what was left was new life. The man that woke up the next morning was not the same one who died the night before. The only proof of his existence was an empty bottle or two, some pens, and a new chapter of his latest work that he’d be excited to read, as if for the first time.

That all stopped the day he quit. Quit drinking and writing. One couldn’t without the other. The writing went first. The moment finally came when he knew that he’d have to get published or give up. He couldn’t bare writing for no one any longer. Tomorrow turned into tomorrow, again and again, and when the ink ran out that last time, he didn’t buy another pen. It wouldn’t be long before the paper became a place mat for TV dinners and stuff, eventually getting lost under a mound of unopened mail.

The drinking was a way to pass the time. The binging was to forget it altogether. When he finally realized that he was in a hole, it was too deep to climb out. Pride wouldn’t ask for help, so he did the only thing he could, and that is pretend that he likes it there. He turned that hole into quite the nest. He would go out and socialize, and those around him believed him to be truly happy. Some envied his freedom and wished that they could live the life of a writer.

“What I would give to be able to sip whiskey by the fire while working on my latest novel.”

“Yea, life is pretty grand.” He’d say, believing it to be true in the moment. The problem with moments is that they end. Eventually he’d go home and see that he didn’t even have a fire place. The novel was long gone, and the whiskey was some cheap knock off brand. “This” he quietly said aloud, “This is the life of a writer.”