Oct 31, 2011

Story Time pt. 6

[What you need to know... First. Second. Third. Fourth. Fifth.] 

My head really hurts. The pills have long since stopped working but I'm afraid to go to the doctor because of what he might say to me. This whole week is going poorly but today it took a turn for the worst. I came back to my dorm room after turning in a paper to find a message on the answering machine. Nothing odd about that except that the message was from the Dean of Students and it was telling me that I needed to come in to her office at nine in the morning tomorrow to discuss something of importance. She ended the message by saying the meeting superseded everything else including a final. Now, I've never had to go see the Dean of Students before so getting a message of this nature was a bit shocking. I listened to the message three times on the pretense that one of my friends had called and was playing a really sick joke on me, but that was not the case.

My roommate came in about an hour later and would hardly look at me, much less speak to me. He definitely seems scared of me. I asked him what was up but he only gave me monosyllabic answers and avoided me as much as possible. I told him about the phone message and that seemed to make him happy. He said, " really?" It was the longest response I got out of him all night. Around six he got up and left the room. He didn't say anything about coming back or where he was going. I thought that was odd but I didn't really care. I turned on the TV to distract me from the meeting tomorrow but it didn't help. As I flipped through the channels, I caught a news update in the middle of a breaking story about my school. Apparently a female student had been attacked recently and some people were concerned about the welfare of the students. The student was an attractive black girl named Victoria who lived on campus.

They showed a picture of her in a slinky black dress, and then the news did a live segment with Victoria from her hospital bed. They talked to her about the attack. Victoria was the girl from my dream. In the live segment, Victoria sat up in her hospital bed with two black eyes and a bandage patched over the bridge of her nose. She still had bruises on her cheeks and chin and mouth was a mess of gauze but she spoke about being attacked in her dorm room and how she tried to fend him off by scratching his neck and shoulders. At the end of the piece, the reporter talked about how Victoria was a close friend of the victim who was found in the main dining hall. Then they showed a police sketch of the person they were looking for in connection with the crimes. It looked a lot like me. That's when my head started to hurt.

I turned off the TV and went to get some Advil, but felt paralyzed. I slouched into the couch, thinking about all the hallucinations and how they all seemed so odd. I thought back to the night in the dining hall. I remembered seeing a girl in a "Hello Kitty" t-shirt. I had hit on her but she had blown me off. I had seen her later that night with that black girl, Victoria, Victoria had gone into the convenience store in the building while the girl waited outside. I had grabbed her and dragged her up the back stairway to the track level. She had tried to crawl away but I caught her and started to push her over the railing. I touched my shoulders where she had dug her fingers into me. She was small so I had no trouble pushing her over the railing until she fell. I watched her hit her head on the table then I walked away, locked all the doors and when back to my office.

I shook my head. I killed that girl. I kept thinking back. Fifteen minutes later, Victoria, had come by my office and asked if I'd seen her friend in the "Hello Kitty" t-shirt. I told her that I hadn't. Victoria didn't believe me. "She was just in here, she had to leave through this door, you must have seen her." She argued. She had asked me to let her up to the track area so she could look around. I had lied and told her I didn't have keys to that area. "Well call someone who does, I'll wait." Victoria responded. She was being obstinate and I was getting frustrated. I had asked her where she lived so that if I did see her friend I could contact her. She told me which dorm, the one with bay windows.

A week later, when I saw the article in the newspaper, I knew I had to speak to Victoria. The student who wrote story had talked to Victoria about her deceased friend. I went to visit Victoria  in case she thought I had killed her friend. I had intended to kill her too, but someone stopped me. Her roommate had come home so I had put Victoria in her bed and left. The roommate must have seen me leaving and then found Victoria all beat up. They go to the hospital, get a sketch drawn, now the Dean of Students wants to see me and the police are looking for me.

I didn't mean to kill that girl, I just wanted to scare her, but she fell. With Victoria, I had to cover my tracks. they found my skin under the nails of Victoria's friend. Things are starting to make sense now, why my roommate has been avoiding me and all these hallucinations. I'm scared and I don't know what to do. I'm sorry for what I did but there is no way to back and undo it. I should have never gone into the elevator room when I heard those odd noises the first time, but feels like it happened so long ago.

On my way up to my room, I noticed the roof access door was open. Maybe I'll take a trip up there. It's a long way down.

Oct 30, 2011

Story Time pt. 5

[Get caught up: pt. 1, pt. 2, pt. 3, and pt. 4]

The pills aren't working. I'm still seeing things that I don't want to see. The doctor gave me some medicine to help calm me. I'm not sure what it is exactly, Haldol, I think. I wasn't paying close attention when he was talking about it. All I know is that I take two a day, one around lunch and one before I go to bed. It sucks because the pills aren't working. Last night I had a strange dream. It started with me waking up in the middle of the night because I wasn't along in my bed. The girl next to me was lying on her side turned away from me. I called out to her but she didn't move. I tapped her but she still didn't move. I began to get frustrated so I shook and pushed her. After that, she rolled over and looked at me.

She had two black eyes, the result of a broken nose that was still bloody. She also had bruises on her cheeks and chin. Both areas were red and raw and looked puffy. Her lip was swollen and split where someone had hit her. Her neck was by far the worst. It was heavily red and showed serious bruising as if someone tried to strangle her to death but did not finish. She opened her mouth to talk and I saw that her teeth were bloody and missing. She spoke to me as well. She kept repeating, "stop. Please! No!" Just like the other girl. I jumped up out of bed and backed away from the girl. She turned fully towards me and then began to crawl out of the bed. She fell from the bed to the floor and stopped moving for a second, but then suddenly she was on her feet and in my face. I backed away but there was a wall behind me. Looking around, I realized that I was no longer in my dorm room, but a much smaller cramped room of another dorm on campus. I looked out the bay window on my left over the darkened field behind the gym facilities. That's when the first blow struck me on the cheek.

My head bounced off the wall I was leaning against, causing my vision to double. I felt myself sagging towards the floor so I put my hand against the wall to brace myself. Before I could recover my senses, the second blow caught my chin making me slump fully against the wall. In a daze, I looked up at the ceiling of the room and wondered what all the glowing green dots on it were. Then I couldn't breathe. Someone was choking me, and pulling me off the wall by my neck. The shot to my nose came next. Upon impact, I could feel my nose change shape under the assailant's fist. My eyes began to water so I closed them. The next two hits came to my mouth, causing my teeth to move. The coppery scent and salty taste of my blood filled my mouth. As if hitting wasn't enough, my assailant kept choking me.

I struggled, clawing at my assailant's neck and shoulders but they were too strong and without air to breathe, my muscles were quickly losing strength. I opened my eyes but the edges of my vision were becoming fuzzy and dark. As I looked up, all I could see was that whoever was choking me was bleeding from their shoulder and neck where I had scratched them. Then something happened. Just as everything was going black there was a pounding at the door to the room. The choking didn't stop but for a second it relaxed. When the pounding at the door was followed by a key being inserted into the lock, the choking stopped completely and I fell to the floor.

My roommate helped me up and asked me if I was alright. All I could mutter was that someone was choking me. He said I must have been dreaming because no one was in the bedroom except me. I looked around to see that I was back in my dorm room and, besides my roommate, i was alone. I told him that I was cool and just needed to relax. I gave him some nonsense about being stressed out over finals and then went into the bathroom and closed the door. I opened the mirror above the sink to find my pills, and then decided not to take one. I turned the faucet and bent down to splash cold water on my face. As I was wiping my face, I noticed new scratched on my neck and places where it looked like the older scratches on my shoulders had been reopened.

My roommate has been looking at me funny ever since then. I think he's scared of me or knows something but is afraid to tell me. Whatever, finals are almost over and then I'm going home. I think all I need is to be away from this school and I'll be fine. Until then, I really don't care what people think.

Oct 29, 2011

Random Thoughts pt. 5

Here's another one for those of us who always have an eye on the job market. Have you ever found that "perfect" job through an online job post? It's that gig that not only requires the amount of education you have but also allows you to further your knowledge base through on the job functions. It's that job that asks for the exact amount of work experience you have and offers challenges that will make you more desirable for that next good job. These jobs are rare, trust me. So what do you do? What's the next move?

Well, first you obsess about ho awesome the job is and how perfect a fit you are for it. This involves telling your friends and family about it or maybe, if you're like me, sitting in silent despair because you know how this goes. Next, you apply for said job.

This requires looking at your resume and making sure it highlights all the work experience and education you have so that your potential employers know that you are perfect for the job. You'll probably meticulously, edit your already well-edited resume to make absolutely sure that it is perfect and paints the best picture of you. Don't forget to pick out your best sample writing. Those clips that were on the front page or that essay that received an "A," you know the one.

Now, it's time for the cover letter. At this point, you take the time and effort to write an original cover letter that acts not only as a brief description of your recent academic history, but also as a more in depth (than your resume) explanation of your key work history so your potential employer knows that you have the right experience and attitude for the job.

That's just the first draft. There will be at least two more. But when you get to that final draft, what do you do? Nothing, you sit on it and obsess. Is it good enough? Does it say enough? Does it say too little? Too much? The usual questions. Then you ask a friend to read it, for an outside opinion. 

They read it and give you some decent critiques. You know they are decent critiques, you wouldn't ask your friend to look at the cover letter if you didn't trust them. But you decide to wait a little longer, just to give it some space. You're obsessing and you know it. Finally, you pluck up enough courage to send off the cover letter (you didn't make any changes your friend suggested because, let's be honest, it was fine the way it was), resume, and your best writing samples.

Off they go and then you wait. And wait. And wait... Well, we all know how this ends, right?

Just a random thought...  

Oct 28, 2011

Story Time pt.4

[What the what? Start here. Then read this! Now, click here.]

I went to the doctor. These hallucinations have become an issue. That is what the doctor called them, these dreams or visions or whatever I'm experiencing. He called them hallucinations. He asked me if I experimented with drugs and other stuff. I told him I didn't but he wanted a urine sample anyway. I can tell he doesn't believe me. He also thought it was strange that I seem to be present at places that later turn into accident scenes. I asked him what he meant and he asked me if I read the newspaper. I said I was joking and knew what he meant but was trying to forget about it. He seemed to buy that.

After the appointment, I picked up a local newspaper and skimmed the headlines. Nothing major but there was one story that caught my eye. The morning after I worked in the dining hall one of the morning workers came in and found the body of a young girl. Apparently she had fallen, (though there was speculation she had been thrown), from the track level of the dining hall. She hit her head on a table during the fall and the impact killed her. Sources for the story mentioned that the victim had skin under her nails, indicating a struggle. This worried me. The bruises on my shoulders still hurt, and that morning I noticed that there were small scrapes on the top of the bruises as well. I just don't want to think about it.

Oct 27, 2011

Story Time pt. 3

[Confused? Read this first! Then read this second!]

Some strange stuff happened again. It wasn't like last time when I saw a creature, which I think might have been a gremlin. I know this sounds weird but I put the description of what I saw into Google and it came up with a bunch of lizards like Kimono Dragons and Godzilla. But, it also came up with gremlins, fictitious creatures that like to damage and destroy mechanical objects. It also said that they enjoy causing mischief among humans. The sad reality is that the explanation of gremlins that I found online accounted for everything that I saw that night. I also learned that gremlins are harbingers of psychosis, going crazy. I'm not sure how that makes me feel, especially in light of the elevator accident that happened two days later in the student center.

I heard some of the building staff was moving some equipment from the third floor to the basement. They loaded the equipment on to the elevator and then got on themselves to ride it down. When they pushed the button for the basement, all the lights in the elevator flickered and the emergency bell went off. Then the elevator dropped to the basement as if the cable and winch system had given out. Apparently, it crashed down pretty loud and scared a bunch of people who have offices in the basement or were walking around at the time. Luckily, no one was injured in the accident but when the maintenance crew went into the elevator room they found the elevator control panel a mess of wires and fried circuitry. The cables had been almost fully cut. They also found a wrench...

But that has nothing to do with what I saw last night. Last night I was working in the main dining hall. Around ten at night we are supposed to lock all the doors except for the one that opens near the building manager office. It's one of those safety precautions that let us see who is coming and going from the building. I was locking the doors when I heard some noise upstairs near the dining hall entrance. Usually this means that someone has taken the elevator up to the third level of the building and is hanging out on the "track" above the food service area.The dining hall used to be a gym. Technically, the whole dining hall space belongs to the company that supplies food for the campus so we building managers only have keys to back stairway for emergencies. The rest of the area is locked. But, the elevator goes through all levels so they're still accessible. What was odd, though, was that the noise sounded like a door opening and closing which didn't make any sense because anyone who would have keys to that area had left around six that evening.

I went upstairs to the track level and found the door ajar. Moving onto the track, I did a quick sweep of it to see if someone was sitting on one of the many couches that are up there. No one. I even walked around the entire track once to make sure no one was hiding from me. Still nothing. As I was leaving the way I entered, the door to the back stairway clicked and swung open. The dining hall has those halogen lights that never go off, you know the emergency lights or whatever they're called. Some corners of the space are dark, but most of it is well lit from these "always on" lights. When the door to the back stairway opened, the emergency lights flickered and dimmed, making the already dimly lit track area even darker. The lighting from the stairway was the only source of light on the track level and even that seemed dimmer than usual. Then she appeared in the doorway.

She was young, no more than nineteen or twenty and she was wearing a pair of jeans and a "Hello Kitty" t-shirt. I couldn't see her face because her long black hair covered it. She took two steps toward me and fell; she began to crawl towards me, pulling her legs as if they didn't work. I took a step back unsure of what to do. I could hear her mumbling something as she crawled towards me. This was a little much for me so I pulled out my walkie-talkie and called for the police officer who is on duty at night. I got nothing but static. I radioed again and got more static. The girl kept crawling closer, until she was close enough for me to hear what she was saying.

"Stop... please! No!" She kept repeating. I backed up some more until I felt the crash bar of the main door in the small of my back. She looked up at me and through her hair I could see one of her eyes, all white with a small black pupil. That was enough for me. I turned and pushed the main door open and moved forward to exit the track area. But then I felt pressure on my shoulders.

I turned and was face to face with the girl who, just seconds before, had been crawling. She dug her fingernails in. As she leaned toward me, the one eye I could see looked directly at me. I watched in terror as the pupil widened to take up the entire space of the eye. I screamed and screamed and staggered backwards with the girl still clutching me. We twisted in an awkward dance and I struggled against her weight, but I couldn't shake her off despite being bigger than her.  She forced me back to the railing that ran around the track. I felt myself slipping over the railing but I couldn't get from underneath her. Her strength was overpowering and I felt my lower back reach the edge of the railing and I knew I was going to be forced over it. Our combined weight was too much. She leaned in and we both toppled over the edge.

I hit the floor of the building manager office pretty hard. My head snapped back and the world swam in and out of focus. It took me a few seconds to realized that I had fallen out of my chair. I sat up but there was no sign of the girl I'd seen and when I went back up to the track level all the doors were locked. There was no sign that anything had taken place. At the end of the night, I locked up the rest of the building in a daze. I guess I could have fallen asleep and dreamed the whole thing but that doesn't explain why I have bruises on my shoulders. Something is going on here and I'm not sure what it is. But it's affecting me and I need to do something about it before it get more out of hand than it is now. I'm not crazy. I know what I saw, but...

Oct 26, 2011

Older Works pt. 2

                             The Things I Carry
My bag isn't heavy, in fact, it's really light. Not much in there aside from the usual and necessary. Two notebooks for class, a few pens, the syllabus and the required reading material. Recently, I've been carrying an extra T-shirt for those hot days when a collared shirt is more an act of self-torture than dress wear. I also carry a handkerchief to wipe away the sweat that inevitably comes from wearing a collared shirt all day.

I have my cell phone too. I hate it. Not in the sense that I feel the need to get rid of it, but more like a sense of caution about something I don't fully understand and am afraid to use for fear of hurting myself or others. A friend of mine recently called me to complain that her mother had changed her cell phone plan and now she "barely had enough minutes to hold a decent conversation." She was angry and shocked that her mother, claiming she was too dependent on her cell phone, would lessen her minutes. I "uh-huh-ed" in agreement, but silently I laughed that nervous laughter of someone who is happy it's not happening to them. That kind of dependence on something freaks me out. That's why I hate my phone, I'm afraid I'll become addicted like my friend... I don't want that.

I carry keys to my house, doesn't seem important except when you forget them, but I guess that goes without saying. I also carry a small piece of a blanket I'm told I had when I was a baby. It's pink and blue, faded, but still soft. It's like a rabbit's foot to me though, it's not for good luck. I think it reminds me of times past when I was more optimistic, and not so jaded. Hopefully, I'll get back to that outlook.

I carry other stuff too. I carry crazy thoughts and fantasies that span from being a knight-in-shining armor to playing quidditch and then on to some flight of fancy involving big guns and cool matrix-like slow motion and kung fu. I carry thoughts of girls, that I have loved and the ones that loved me. There is a difference that I am dimly aware of only in retrospect. It seems this difference is quite subtle and easy to miss, something I've done more times than I can count. I carry a smile; well, to be honest, it's more of a grin. Quite disarming and charming if i do say so myself. I've got it perfected so that it throws just enough slyness to keep people guessing about what I may be thinking. It walks the fine line that separates mischievous and devious, always staying on the mischievous side, but pushing the boundary just a bit.

I carry a fair amount of pressure. That would a generalization because this pressure comes in so many forms it's hard to tell them apart. They mix and become a haze of urgency. It's never tangible, but it's always there, poking and prodding me. It keeps that feeling of unease in me, a small knot in my stomach. It rarely surfaces, but when it does, it's like a blanket that engulfs me, weighing me down to the point where I feel I can't move, nor do I want to. Everything seems so hopeless at these junctures I wonder why I bother. The only way to get our of that is to do something, get something done. You feel loads better and the blanket lifts a little, allowing you to move. Mind you, this isn't depression, it's just pressure. As far as I know, depression doesn't give up so easily.

As I said before, the pressure only feels concentrated because there is so much of it. It comes from different places. Academic pressure is probably the biggest. Must have good grades, we've all heard the speeches about good grades opening doors. It's true, I know, that doesn't mean the pressure isn't still there. Parental pressure is also among the larger ones. I always thought that as I got older it would be easier to deal with parental pressure. It's not true, but I handle it, it hasn't broken me yet, I'm strong. Societal pressure, being a black male is one of the toughest jobs I've ever been given. The worst part about it is that there is no way to mark your progress unless you're doing horribly or really well. Currently, I'm doing neither. Where does that leave me? I try not to think about it because that leads to depression, which we all know doesn't give up so easily.

Cultural pressure goes hand in hand with societal pressure. I find myself wondering if my success has alienated me from other black people who aren't as successful as me. When I hang out with my friends do I "keep it real" by wearing the latest styles and speaking in slang? My father would have a conniption if I did this, yet I don't feel comfortable in his word of polo shirts and khaki pants. I've reached a happy medium for myself of jeans and T-shirt; sometimes I wear nice dress shoes with the ensemble. Sort of a tip of the hat towards my father and his boat shoes. He'll laugh at me and say that someday I'll find my own style. He views the way I dress now as a transition to something else that he will ultimately approve of. I like how I dress. I've found my style.

I carry a lot. And, despite the load, I don't strain or struggle. I just hump it and keep going. I guess you get used to it after awhile. raging over what you carry doesn't solve anything because other people are carrying just as much. If you see me, I'll give you my smile and say that everything is cool because it is. After all, my bag is really light.

Oct 25, 2011

Story Time pt.2

[Lost? Start here.]

I was going down in the elevator to my office, it's in the basement, when the elevator began to make strange squealing noises as if it was straining to move. This didn't bother me at first because the elevator is old and is always making some kind of odd noise. However, this squealing was new and different and my gut told me that it should be checked out. So, I went back into the mechanical area and let myself in to do a quick check, expecting nothing to be out of order. I was walking back through the mechanical area and as I suspected, everything was fine. I got to the elevator room and just as I was about to turn and leave I heard the same squealing noise that I heard before when I was in the elevator. I turned and unlocked the elevator room door and opened it.

For some reason, it is always really hot in the elevator room. The heat hit me immediately and I began to perspire. It's also really dark. I could just make out the two steel cages that take up most of the small room. they separate the electrical and mechanical stuff from the path that leads through the room to the other side. There is also a smaller path that cuts between the cages so that a person can reach the circuit breakers and elevator controls, which are on the wall between the two cages. I stepped into the room and looked around for the noise. The further I went into the room, the hotter it got. At first, I couldn't hear anything except the hum of machinery so I turned to leave but then I heard it again, just a little way in front of me, the squealing, but this time followed by a clicking sound. I moved closer to the noises, which I could tell were coming from between the cages, but I couldn't see who or what was causing the racket.

"Hello? Is someone in here?" I called out. The squealing and the clicking stopped, but no one answered me. It was at this point that I realized I had stopped perspiring and was now sweating full out. I was also breathing hard. I stopped and took a few deep breaths to calm myself and then proceeded forward to the gap between the cages. I took out my cell phone and used the screen as a makeshift flashlight so I could see down the path. Looking down the path, I saw circuit breaker on the wall and the elevator controls beneath it. I couldn't see the entire set of elevator controls because something was blocking it. I thought it was a stepladder but then it moved and began tinkering with the elevator controls; it appeared to be hitting the elevator controls with a wrench. It hit the controls again and some sparks flew out of the control panel, lighting the area up. I screamed. I couldn't believe what I'd seen. I staggered back and tripped on the edge of one of the steel cages and fell. It reached out and pulled at the exposed elevator wiring, causing a stream of sparks to fly out, creating a flickering light that made the shadows dance in crazy patterns. It turned around and looked at me and I screamed again.

In front of me, standing no more than two and a half feet high, was a dark green scaly creature. It's eyes were a blazing red without pupils. It had no lips and many jagged teeth jutted out of its mouth in different directions. It's head was shaped like a cross between a human and a lizard, with broad flat features and two holes above its mouth where a nose would be. It tilted its head and looked at me almost intelligently and took a step forward, dropping the wrench it was holding. I tried to back away but the wall opposite the steel cages stopped me. It took a step towards me and opened its mouth to reveal rows of jagged, sharp teeth. Then it squealed and ran towards me. I freaked out and covered my face only to feel the creature jump on my chest and then over me and scurry towards the door.

In a daze, I scrambled to my feet and followed it but when I got to the door and opened it, there was no sign of the creature in the hallway. I checked all the exits from the mechanical area and there was nothing, no sign of passage, no footprints in the dust, nothing...

I locked up like usual that night and went home. Nothing else weird happened that night or the next day at work so I'm not sure what to think. I know what I saw, and I'm certain it was there, I mean, it jumped on my chest. I felt its weight. I drink occasionally, but never at work and I don't do any drugs. I'm not sure what to make of what happened so I'm writing it down. I doubt anyone would believe me if I told someone. I'd probably just end up in the psych ward. I'm not crazy.

Oct 24, 2011

Story Time

I don't believe in ghosts or monsters, and I'm not afraid of the dark. When I was younger, some of my friends told me about the boogeyman in their closets or under their beds and I remember thinking that it was stupid of them to be afraid of something they couldn't see. I do enjoy scary movies. But not because they scare me but because of the way they scare other people. It is quite interesting to me to see how some people can let themselves get so involved in something that is obviously fake that they jump and quiver whenever something scary comes on the screen.

I'm not very religious, though I do believe that our actions in life will have some consequences after we die. Some people say that I lack faith. I don't think that's it. I do have faith, but I don't have time to believe in things that go bump in the night. It just seems pointless and trivial. That's why I'm writing this down now, because recently I've seen something that has made me question my sanity. Let me explain.

I'm a college student and my school is a bastion of intelligence and rational thought. All things considered, I feel the school has done well by me. I'm a majoring in psychology and I'm looking to go into counseling as a profession. I think, and I've been told that I am fairly normal when compared to other students at my school. I enjoy hanging out with friends and partying, but I also know when to sit down and study. After three and a half years at my school, I've finally figured out the perfect balance of studying and partying. Of course, partying costs money so I have a student job on campus. In fact, I'm told it's one of the best student jobs available. I'm a building manager for the student center and the the main dining hall on campus.

It's a good job with good hours and pay. I like it because I can set up how many hours I want to work in a week so if I need money for something I can schedule a heavy work week or if I need to study I can take fewer shifts and not worry about my boss thinking I'm slacking off. One of the few drawbacks is that it requires me to work late. The closing shifts don't end until two in the morning and on a weeknight that can be difficult, especially with morning classes. I wish I could schedule so that I could get as many hours as I want without having to work closing shifts, but to make it fair to all building managers, we all have to take closing shifts. The issue with the closing shift is that after a certain hour the building empties out and hardly anyone comes in. I've always wondered why we need to keep the building open so late when hardly anyone is in it.

I'm digressing. My job makes me work late and the place gets empty. Now, a part of the building manager job is to walk around the building and make sure that everything is in its proper place. This basically means that if the various student groups use a room in the building we have to make sure they straighten up the room and leave it looking decent. We also have to walk around in the mechanical areas of the building to make sure that no one unauthorized has been or is back there. Normally, this only takes a few minutes because these areas are locked and only a few people have keys to them. Last night, when I was working a closing shift, something strange happened.

Oct 22, 2011

The Mashup

From time to time, interesting things happen that I want to talk about but due to their nature they are not enough to make a complete blog post. I do my best to not short-change you, dear reader, so instead of a bunch of small, underdeveloped posts, I present "The Mashup." Here are a few things I've seen and done recently that seem kinda cool, interesting or funny...

Rick vs. The Car Accident
This morning I was witness to a car accident as I drove home from picking up my dry cleaning. I was cruising down the "feeder" road that runs along next to the Dallas Tollway when it happened. At this particular intersection, the road consists of three lanes, the left lane, closest to the highway, is a left turn only lane, the middle lane allows for left turns or to continue straight. The right lane is for right turns or continuing straight. I was in the right lane, intending to continue straight. Next to me in the middle lane was a red two-door car, some pseudo sporty model that was at least seven or eight years old. In the left  there was a third car. It was also red, a four-door model that looked no older than three years. I approached the intersection at the same time as the two-door in the middle lane. the four-door came through the intersection a few feet behind us, probably far enough to be in the blind spot of the two-door. 

Then things got wonky.

The aftermath looks worse than it really was.
The two-door began to make a left turn from its lane to cross under the highway. The four-door attempted to continue straight and merge into the middle lane as it crossed through the intersection. Physics informed both cars that they couldn't occupy the same space at the same time and a collision ensued. Mirrors and side panels clipped and the two-door skidded off to the right, while the driver of the four-door over-corrected and swerved into one of the support columns of the highway, smashing the front end of the car and involuntarily releasing the hood catch.

As I saw the accident developing I slowed to a crawl, watched it happen out of my driver side window, and slowly drove past it and pulled into the gas station at the corner of the intersection.Once it was established that everyone was OK, I drove home. Pretty crazy!

Rick vs. The Pansexual
While working a gig this past week I met a person who described themselves as a "pansexual." Click on the word for a definition, I know you're curious... Generally, those who refer to themselves as pansexuals do so because they "hate to be labeled," or some such other semantic BS. But, this one explained to me that physical attraction had little to do with her partners. That, she found someone's intellect, regardless of their sexual orientation, to be the largest factor in attractiveness. Later in the day when I mentioned that my conversation with her had been fantastic all day she agreed. I'm not sure where that leaves me...

Potpourri for $1000, Alex

This guy was close to 8ft tall!
Yesterday evening, I worked a gig at the Fort Worth Zoo. It was a party for the Texas Rangers baseball team. They are currently playing in the World Series and the event was to celebrate their win in the American League Championship Series over the Detroit Tigers. The guests had an entire section of the zoo cordoned off just for them. There was a was a concert, as well as live animals and people dressed up like this guy walking around posing for photos. I even saw Nolan Ryan, president of the Rangers, walk by. Due to over-scheduling, I almost had to go home but I was able to get in as a barback and spent most of the evening running alcohol, ice and mixers between the two bars in my section. Tough work, but at least I didn't waste a 45 minute drive out to Ft. Worth, like some of the people who were sent home.
It's getting close to All Hallows Eve around here, and folks have been putting out carved pumpkins in my neighborhood. My friend, Eric, has a few outside his door, all pretty cool, but one in particular caught my attention. He carved a partial Flying Elvis into one of the pumpkins to show his team spirit in the midst of Cowboy country. He told me he intended to do the full logo but lacked the tools for the intricacy of the detail. I thought it was great so I took a picture.

Oct 21, 2011

Older Works

I was cleaning up the various paperwork and documents I've accumulated over the years and found some old writing I did for a class several years ago. Naturally, I re-read it to see if it was any good. Most wasn't but some was. What I like, I'll post here. I might even add notes in the comment space. Enjoy!

Wrap up the garbage on Tuesday night, and put it out Wednesday morning; look both ways before crossing the street; wait for your sister at the bus stop and walk her home; finish your homework before I get home at six o'clock; don't run with scissors; if you're going to be out late, make sure you call when you're on your way home; if you go out of town by yourself, call home when you get in; call home at least once a week when you're away at school; visit your grandmother at least once a week so she doesn't worry; call your other grandmother once a week for the same reason; this is how you fold your pants to keep the crease; this how you tie a tie; this how you spread your bed in the morning after you've slept in it; this how you change your sheets after you've slept in them for a week; comb and brush your hair so you look neat and not like the thug you're trying to become; if you're sitting, stand up whenever a lady enters the room; check all your mirrors before you pull away from the curb; always use your turn signal; but sometimes you forget to use your turn signal

Sit still in church; is it true that you sneak our of church to buy snacks at the store nearby? This is how you iron a shirt; this is how you iron pants to maintain the crease; don't take candy from strangers, you don't know where it's been; be home before the lights come on; shave your face so you look neat and not like the thug you're trying to become; if you want long hair, take care of it; lose thirty pounds; clean your room; keep your eye on the ball and swing through it; this how you tie your shoes; this is how you set a table for dinner; this how you make eggs for breakfast; this is how you make spaghetti, you will impress girls if you can cook for them; save your money, don't live paycheck to paycheck; mow the lawn; did you do the hedges too?

Don't eat with your elbows on the table, only thugs do that; stay away from fast women; but how will I know if they are fast? Are you saying that you're going to be the kind of man who won't be able to tell when a woman is fast?

Oct 20, 2011

Random Thoughts pt. 4

Have you ever noticed how many social pitfalls surround gum and mints? For example, if you use an item to freshen your breath and your're in mixed company, people watch and, unless they know you well, won't say anything (i.e. ask for a piece for themselves).

Etiquette generally dictates that you offer a piece to the company but there is the rub. you can't offer to share without people presuming an insult. How often do you hear, "What? Does my breath stink?" Then they cover their mouth with their hand.

Yes it does, But that's not why I'm offering. I'm trying to be polite.

On the other side, if you see someone with gum or mints you are reminded that your breath may be stale. However, asking for said item presumes the person is willing to share. Assuming you're not asking for the last piece, think about the dilemma you've created. The person with the breath freshener has a decision to make: Do they give you a piece or do they refuse and leave you to offend others with your halitosis?

On top of that, now the person with the gum or mints has to apologize for not offering to share in the first place and feels like a jerk because you didn't think ahead and bring your own piece of breath freshening goodness.

Just a random thought...

Oct 10, 2011

How to Spend a Long Weekend

 Long weekend holidays are a bit of an oddity for me. Due to school and work, in the past three years of my life, I haven't had a day off from work on an official government holiday. Today is one of those official holidays. I know this because my bank is closed on a day it should be open. Realizing this, I figured it would be a good time to recount my activities this holiday weekend, it might be my last for a while...

Looks like folks are trying to do more than  just occupy Wall Street.
On Friday, I spent several hours in downtown Dallas. A majority of the time was spent setting up and bartending a Texas-Oklahoma University party. I'll get to that in a second. I was also able to hang out at a rally that was taking place at the JFK memorial. I believe it was a part of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that has recently gotten some media coverage. The demonstration at the JFK memorial looked more like a sit-in chock-full of hippies (modern and old-school) as well as various on-lookers and tourists who were just there to see the memorial. As far as protests and demonstrations go, this one was kind of tame. People had the requisite signs and chants, but they weren't very loud and the police presence was minimal. I stayed for about forty-five minutes waiting to see if a speaker would step up but nothing happened.
These guys were my favorite customers. They drank for the cycle!
 Later that evening and into the next morning, I bartended a Texas-OU party held at the famous Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse. It was insane. By 9:30 p.m., the line in front the bar was ten deep and growing. The DJ was cranking out the hits and both Texas and OU fans were dancing and enjoying themselves. Several times, the rivals would start school chants to taunt each other. There were five fights in the bar, but I'm told that was on par considering the rivalry.
Three TVs is a bit much, but so worth it!
On Saturday, I ran errands and met with one of my students in the afternoon. However, the real fun happened in the evening when I brought my TV over to my friend's place and he and I and his brother system linked three Xbox360s and played Borderlands until the wee hours of the morning. It took us a while to figure out/remember how to system link and setup our gaming profiles. But, once we got it done, the action was nonstop.I haven't done that since college and it was a pleasant throwback to days gone by.

On Sunday, I watched football. Nothing new there. All in all, a good weekend, long or otherwise.

Oct 6, 2011

On Support

Yesterday, when I realized I would not be able to produce a full entry, I sent a brief apology to those who read my "scribblings" on this blog. I like to think of my blog as an open forum where I post interesting things that I see or that happen to me and then other people respond to it. I'm not so arrogant to assume that everyone hangs on the words I type, but I'm happy to know that there are people out there who stop by and read what I have to say from time to time.

A few hours after I posted my "mea culpa," a friend of mine left a note on my Facebook wall saying that she enjoyed my entries and would miss them. Her note made me realize a few things:

1) While I was working on creating a habit of writing for myself, I was also creating a habit of people expecting a new post from me daily. It's one thing to write for yourself with no idea or care that what you write will be read by others, but now that I have an audience (minor though it may be) I feel like I have an obligation to to my readership to produce in a timely fashion. Thank you for that reminder.

2) If I want my blog to be a true forum, I need to reciprocate. I'm not the only writer out here. I know many people who are sharing their ideas and experiences on their own blogs. None of us get paid to blog (though Fienberg gets paid to write poetry), it's something we do because we feel a desire to express ourselves creatively.They listen and support me, it seems only fair that I do the same.

Let me take this moment to "press up" a great blog about food and cooking. It's called Salt to Taste and honestly, I can't read it without getting hungry. It's that good. Check it out, the writer is a close friend and she does awesome work, both on the blog and in the kitchen.

I'm not sure if I forgot or just took for granted the amount of support I get from my friends and those who read my blog. They may not be the most vocal of supporters, in terms of leaving comments (feel free to do so!) but I appreciate you all the same. Thank you for everything, seriously.

Oct 5, 2011

As I adjust to this new schedule, I'll get back into a more regular routine. Thanks for hanging with me.
I like all of this because it equals more chances for me to make some quick cash. However, it also cuts into my blogging time. Thus, the lack of posts recently.
On top of that, it's also college application and testing time. This means that I've seen an uptick in people requesting me as a tutor for them or their kids.
I've been picking up a lot of gig work recently. Apparently, this time of year is huge for catering and with that comes opportunities to find quick work.

Oct 1, 2011

The woman walks past me to the counter and picks up her drink. She thanks the barrista and walks out. Silly me!
Then she stands up and walks towards me. Her male friend stands as well and follows her. "Grande mocha frappuccino with skim milk," the barrista calls out.
Looks away and then looks back again. Her male friend keeps talking. She nods at him but looks at me. I smile politely.
A large black male sits down next to her and they begin chatting. They obviously came in together. As they talk she casually looks my way. I catch her eye.
She's fairly attractive, slightly taller than average, thick, with light brown framing a round face. Glasses. She sits across from me and my student waiting.
I'm currently sitting in a Starbucks working with a student on writing an essay. As I'm sitting here, a black woman enters the cafe and orders some fancy drink.