Tongue Twister

It was the worst, most torturous tongue twister. They were selling it for $19.95 plus shipping and handling- but if I acted NOW!, I could double my order for the same low, low price. It was the latest device paraded at 3am before the drunk or the unemployed or the 3rd shifters with the night off. It was a steel spring clamp with the color of your choice vinyl handles for a non-slip grip. It could even withstand your saliva. They claimed that elongation exercises of the tongue improved ones appearance, health, ability to speak, bad breath, headaches, and of course made you irresistible to anyone who wanted to have sex with you. Of course, trying to get sex from those who want sex with you anyway is no real challenge but tongue elongation by way of this device, the ‘Tongue Twister’, apparently couldn’t hurt. Continue reading “Tongue Twister”

Glamorous

Friday morning started precisely at 7am for Abigail Rudd, as did every morning at Acme Chemical for the past six years. She parked her Volkswagen in the exact same spot and plodded to the front door to start her day managing the front office. Some of her co-workers sat on the loading dock with coffee and cigarettes before their shift. They would watch her pass and say “Good morning” to her. She would say “Good morning” back and there ended their conversation.

Abby was round, the shape and color of a dried gourd but with better skin. Although painfully shy, she wore fashionable patterned skirts as if someone had meticulously painted that gourd. They swung across her wide backside to the delight of some of the more lonely loading dock crew. She had a clumsy gate and kept her arms outstretched as if she were trying to maintain her balance. She had delicate hands and held them in a peculiar way- with her wrist bent, thumb and index finger pinched together, the rest of her fingers fanned outward in the shape of a bird’s wing scooping the air, trying to take flight. Continue reading “Glamorous”

Laundry Day

There was a laundromat on Damen, close to the house thank God because dragging your laundry out into the City of Chicago was never an easy task. The machines were kept clean enough and if you knew when to go, you could avoid the mothers with all of their children and 15 washers worth of dirty clothes.

It was a spring evening after work, still cold enough to wear my brown, fleece-lined, flight jacket unzipped. It was originally my father’s jacket, a gift he bought himself many years after he left the Navy. I inherited it after he died- well not right after. I first had to finish grade school, then high school, then flight training in college before I felt right about wearing it and before it would fit, frankly. It was one of the only things of his that I owned. Continue reading “Laundry Day”

Blood, tips, and Gore

“My band was banned, man,” said ‘Razor’ as he threw the dirty utensils into the sink. His real name was Francis but that was no name for the lead singer of the hottest new local rock band. “Your girlfriend works for the St. Mary’s radio station. It’s a Catholic college. What did you expect?” replied Steve-o. “Unsuitable for minors? Kiss my entire ass! How about my rights?”

Razor shouted as he scrubbed out the large kettles that boiled the sausages. They were both line cooks at the busiest restaurant in town, Porky’s, where they served up a large selection of meat on a bun. It was famous for good food and lines around the block to get a bite of it. The job paid Razor’s bills while he tried to make a real go of it as a musician. Steve-o just needed a way to buy beer. Continue reading “Blood, tips, and Gore”

The Wedding

Tyrone’s wedding day- a day we did not believe would ever happen. Tyrone was a six-foot four, 400-pound black man who looked like Buddha and though in fact a devout Buddhist, still managed to intimidate a lot of people by the sheer mass of his presence. But those of us who called him friend knew his gentle personality made him more suited to wear a pink tutu than a studded motorcycle jacket.

His ‘Best Man’ Jenny described his bride Mary as “a potato with red hair”. Mary was about five feet tall and white but only her family thought that should matter. Despite the fact that Tyrone treated them with respect and provided for Mary, he was black and in their mind that meant she could do better. In our mind, he was too good for her. Continue reading “The Wedding”