should sleep. cant sleep.
They weren’t my words, but I felt them all the same, in every single part of me, and I wanted like Hell to have my own, so that I could give them to you.
I found what seems to be some kind of episode that never got shot for Issue(s) almost 3 years ago, or at least that’s what the file says. So, welp. Here you go…
Here we are again, Patty boy. My sweet, sweet mountain lion. Yet again, another year, another day, another quiet, lonesome night. My good friend, it is the time, oh how sweet it is the time. What’s that, you say? Am I eating pizza and drinking at (looks at clock) flashing 12:00 – what the hell kind of time is that. Pat. Pat, guess what? My clock is drunk. I may have to give it a ride home.
int. bedroom. webcam. night
BODDY’s face appears on a webcam. It’s another classic, drunken rant from him. He’s sipping a drink and eating pizza as he talks.
It’s a new year, amigo! New year…new cheer new…(looks at drink) beer! But, but! No new reindeer. Ha, get it! Because it’s not Christmas.
jump cut to:
a few moments later
Seriously! It’s like, how hard can it be?! Oh, uh, I’m gonna give you the power of flight, or I’m gonna kill off every male, or, you know, I’m gonna, you know…uh, I mean it’s no that hard, right? Right! So let’s just-
jump cut to:Read more
Three years had passed before Joel had heard from Callie again. It was close to midnight and was sitting at his computer when a sound like a bell came through his speakers. It was an email from Callie:
How are you? Been a while, huh? I’m in town for a week or so. We should get coffee. What do you think?
Joel sat staring at the screen for several minutes. They hadn’t spoken for so long and yet his brain was already working toward finding its hidden meaning. The ice in his whiskey cracked under the light of his desk lamp, stringing Joel out of his focus. His palms were damp and his heartbeat quick. He put his hands to the keys and started to type.
Wow. Hey. Kind of surprised to hear from you. Yeah, coffee sounds good. Let’s do that. I’m free the next couple days. Just let me know what’s good for you. Talk to you soon.
He clicked “send” before he could change his mind, approving his decision by finishing off his drink with a wince. He thought about Callie, about their relationship and what, or lack thereof. They had known each other for a year before they stopped talking. He always had a thing for her, a sort of unrequited affection, though in her case it was more of a situational, unpermitted compassion. She shared similar feelings, sure, but she was, at the time, spoken for and he a man that can only take denial for so long.
Joel sat there for a moment and let his thoughts take over. There was a knock on his door followed by another bell sound. He looked toward the computer screen. It was another message from Callie. That was fast, he thought. There was a second knock and then a voice. “Joel. You awake?”
“Come on in, Deb.”
Deb opened the door. She was his roommate. She had short hair and brown eyes, kind of Italian but not really. She was pretty. They had known each other for a few years, met in college and hit it off well enough that they now share a place. She walked into his room and sat on the bed. “Still awake, huh?” she asked.
“Yeah. Cal emailed me.”
“Who?” She sat there cross-legged.
“Oh. Wow. Why?”
“I don’t know, but I think we’re getting coffee.”
“Alright. That seems like a good idea.” He could tolerate her sarcasm.
“I think so. It’s been a while now anyway.” Joel spun back around to face his computer. He clicked the new message on the screen and it opened.
“That from her?” Deb asked.
“Yeah. We’re going tomorrow apparently.”
“Perfect. And, just so we’re clear, you’re meeting because…?”
“Because she asked. I don’t know. It should be fine.”
“Let’s hope so.”
“I’m sorry but did you need something?” he asked, spinning back toward her.
“Are you going to Dan’s thing tomorrow night?”
“His party. For his birthday.”
“Oh, shit. That is tomorrow, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. Are you going to go?”
“I planned on it. It’s just at his apartment, right?” He was back to facing the computer again. “I don’t know when I’ll be there if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“Because of Callie now?”
“Well, yeah. I don’t know how long we’re going to be getting coffee.”
“Oh, geez,” Deb stood up and moved toward the door. “Hey, don’t -” she paused for a moment and leaned on the wall. “Just keep your head about you. Don’t get your hopes up, huh?”
Joel took a slight offense to this. Did she think he couldn’t handle his shit? As if the past three years of practicing a complete emotional detachment from Cal would come unraveled at the first sight? She has no faith in me, he thought. But he knew better. He knew it wouldn’t be a problem. It was just coffee after all. Fixed to the screen he said, “I’ll let you know about Dan’s.”
“Okay. Sleep sweet.” Deb walked out, closing the door behind her.
Joel sat there for a moment more, staring at the screen, at the words on the screen. They seemed to bleed together. Small characters of black mixing with the others, forming large pools of electronic ink on the screen. He imagined immersing himself in them, in the black, these words that, even now, already, were taking their hold on him. Deb said keep your head about you, man. He saw himself swimming in the hopes, the possibilities tomorrow was going to bring. But he was cautious. He had to be. Joel snapped out of his daze and shook the glass that once held a drink. It was a little more than small cubes of ice now. He thought about refilling it, if only to help him fall asleep. This night, however, he decided against it.
Clicking the desk light off, Joel shut down his computer and went into the bathroom. One of the light bulbs was out above his mirror and had been dead for some time. He brushed his teeth and washed his face, avoiding the chore taking a shower brought on. It was two in the morning now, the typical time that Joel would usually pass out. He got into bed. He thought about Callie again, about what might happen once they met. Was she going to call him? Was he supposed to call her? Details they hadn’t decided. It would be fine, he thought. Someone will call someone. We’ll talk tomorrow, have coffee, and have a fine time. As he fell into a dream he could hear the sound of a siren fading in the distance. A dog barked and then there was a bang and then there was Joel, unmoving, locked in a reverie.
As is the typical narrative of the past eight years of your ever-increasing, spirally life, a girl approaches the rock where you’ve taken respite and asks if you mind to sit down and again, as the aforementioned history has dictated, you almost instantly say yes but, of course, not before gingerly scanning her appearance, quickly deeming the girl as “most adequate”. She is quite pretty and you mentally note her characteristics in the following manner: Hair – long, dirty blonde (if she were to put it into a bun you would notice the way her collar bones remind you something else, a different time, a different risk. Appeal with a tinge of regret). Frame – skinny and with legs of good length. Smile – striking, all that matters as far as you are concerned. Eyes – to be determined, although you most certainly can assume that behind the sunglasses, of which they are considerably larger than normal sunglasses but that is the fashion of the time and of most girls you seem to find yourself taken to, they are of equally striking beauty. You will wonder, hopefully not for long.
She sits down and tells you her name is Em and you ask if that is short for Emily and she tells you that actually it is short for Emilia. You tell her your name, pointing a thumb towards your chest, and she says, that’s interesting because I have a friend with the same name back home, you don’t really hear it very often. You assure her, however, that though it may seem like a rare name, you yourself, in fact, are not that unique. It is interesting to note that although this woman, this stranger you have never met before this exact point, knows next to nothing about you save for your physical appearance and seemingly polite manner she is quick to tell you that surely that can’t be the case because everyone is unique in their own way. You say, you know, my mother used to tell me that but I always just thought, as a kid, that was something mothers were supposed to say.
Well, she says, my mother never really said that to me. You are quick to, of course, take this comment as an opening to offer her a compliment, vaguely bathed with hints of flirtation, by telling her, you seem like a nice person and I’m sure people tell you that all the time. (This method of flirtation his gleaned from years of watching too many “coming of age” teenage television shows and movies and is coupled with your semi-ineptitude of casual human interaction which, oddly enough, blends into a quasi-endearing attribute reminiscent of a Ethan Embry or Cory Matthews. It has worked for you in the past and you hope that maybe it will pan out for you this time as well.)
Thank you, she says, regarding your remark with a thin, untelling smile and you are unsure as to whether or not your attempt will have the potential to bear any fruit. But she does not stand. She does not get up and walk away. Although she has found herself in this position several times and has had countless, random men take a stab and winning her affection in one capacity or another, she remains in the same spot, on the same rock next to you and you will come to find, in time, that Emilia is not an ordinary woman, that she is kind, more kind than your previous entanglement – an affair that, despite instances too many to count and far more whiskey than should be rightly tolerated, has yet to callus over – and she is honest and good. It is something of a foreign notion to you but you will come to appreciate it and, in fact, yearn for it regardless of how hard you fight the idea of being completely vulnerable to another person.
It goes like this for some time, the two of you quietly there, silence between strangers amidst natural wonder. As you sit there looking down upon the vast expanse of millions of years of erosion revealing nearly two billion years geological history (as a note: this fact was procured from information provided at the Grand Canyon Visitors Center found at the South Rim of the National Park. Feel free to consult your tour guide or any Park Ranger for further information) your thoughts starts to wander from one idea to another, passing through a state of mind that can only be described as “a calm tumultuousness,” which ultimately settle on Space and, more specifically, Mars. You are reminded of the distant planet, rust colored like the massive walls of this canyon, and how you once learned back in first grade about the celestial body and its own massive chasm, the Valles Marineris, dwarfing the Earthy divide by hundreds of miles. You were inspired at an early age by stars and planets and the immensity of the cosmos, of places existing beyond the technological reach of man, places that exist only in fading starlight, long dead suns and newborn nebulas and the unimaginable potential of the unknown.
I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here. And, really, I think that saying this here, it has to, assumingly, fall on deaf ears - in that it is read by people that, maybe, don’t know the real situation of it all - but I suppose we, I, should be real with it. It’s very heavy, at least it is for me. But it is what it is, right? (The fuck, I hate that saying so much, just to say…) Those that are close to the notion, deep in the know, which, really, are nobody here. I don’t think I’ve ever explained the situation to anyone outside of my close knit friends. [I think even cams is probably my closest friend on here but even he, maybe, doesn’t even know (although I’m sure he could assume it or, at the very least, not be surprised by it, if he talked to Patrick - but that’s a whole other story) so] let’s get back to being real…
Trapped up by a thing that scuffs the ankle. I will never bear hair in the lower left nook, where the curve and shin meet. It is shilled and cuffed and dead to the rest of the world and I am made to wear pants for the next three months in the hot, summer heat, until August falls and September makes us feel like something should change. Nothing will change. But I am here, still, to live in the shadow of my family that dares to make my life seem worthwhile when I can’t, yet it all goes down, to live a life with my fiends.
And then it falls on deaf ears and everyone talks about the things that will happen…
"He’s talking of going away."
"Austin, he says."
"Like that guy could fucking live alone."
"That he could live, period."
"He wants to get out. That or Portland. The fuck I know."
"He drags the line."
"He’s not that bad."
"Fuck him, No, I take it back. I’m just disappointed."
"Join the club."
"Aren’t we all."
"I’m done with him."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I’m done."
"Good on him for going, I guess."
"Yeah, we’ll see."
"You ever talk to him?"
"Why would I talk to him?"
"Don’t think anyone does."
"He did something the other day."
"The video? I saw that. Fucking weird-o."
"Sent me the link. Hadn’t talked to him for weeks before that."
"I don’t get it."
"He’s not going camping, I don’t think."
"It’s better that way."
"Think he’ll bounce, like, for real?"
"I think he will. Not that it really matters."
"I guess we’ll see."
"The fuck we still talking about it for?"
So, you’re joking at the other place and hiding certain things because it’s better that way, and Matt calls you up that next day after you imagine what you tend to imagine and he’s asking you if you saw the picture he put up and you tell him “No” because you swore away the social media game weeks prior - it was spinning you about, and it is something that you should have done months ago because who really wants to see what the other is up to, who really wants to see others and their smiles (fuck you for thinking that) - but you look anyway and it’s a nice photo of you and Matt and Stef under pale luminescence in the desert house, that last time before you found a reason to stay, but you keep going instead of just the one page, and you keep digging because sometimes the brain is a bastard. But sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
And so maybe you can imagine the events that take place following the breaking of your resolve, the long-held (as least for you) bravery and steadiness that cracked at the sight of a message and a thought. And you’re thinking this should/could/would be edited down into a singular line: Concerning The Night Before, or, How I Imagine Those To Speak Of Me When I’m Not Around, but that won’t be the case, and the case that is winding this way and that, with tenses and points-of-view that are sprawling and ambling and all over the unfinished walls.
"We should call him."
"Yeah, I’m with him."
"Let’s get a burrito."