Sharon Van Etten “It’s Not Like”

Take both my feet.

Tie them.

Throw me over.

Will I still float?

Will my heart sink?

Why have I held on so long?

I still don’t know.

And it’s not like I have anyone to show

Or do I want to?

These arms this heart these eyes

Have seen almost everything.

But not you. But not you.

But I want to.

Take both my hands.

Tie them behind my back

To keep me from holding from holding from holding.

But that’s so unlike myself.

And it’s not like I have anyone to hold

Or do I want to?

These eyes this heart these arms

Have held almost anything

But not you. But not you.

But I want to.

Why do I need to love someone?

It’s like I was born not out of legs

But I was born of arms.

And it’s not like I have anyone to love.

Should I want to?

These eyes these arms this heart

Has loved almost everything

But not you. But not you.

But I want to.

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Every Dog

I still remember that mole under his chin. Slightly raised and covered in fur.  The vet checked it and said it was fine. He was more worried about his age and weight and the health of his teeth. No one believed me when I told them that he was fourteen. But he was. He was old and I spent my last few months with him thinking about how I wouldn’t know what to do if something were to happen to him. I didn’t know that he still had a few good years left but they wouldn’t be spent with me. I know he was happy, but I missed him every day. There are still days that I wake up in the middle of the night wondering where he is. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone: looking for a dog that isn’t there and hasn’t been for almost five years.

When he passed it shouldn’t have hit me so hard. He hadn’t been a part of my life for so long anyway. But when I got that phone call from halfway across the state, I broke. I’ve never cried so hard. I still can’t come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t see him now even if I wanted to. There was at least some level of comfort knowing that when he was alive, I could have gone to see him. I could have seen him, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle it back then with the bonding and tearing and hellos and goodbyes. I couldn’t do that to myself over and over again. And I couldn’t do that to Charlie. And who knows if he would’ve cared. But it would’ve hurt me too much. The worst part is that now every time I pet or hold a dog, I go through the same bonding and tearing and hellos and goodbyes that I couldn’t bring myself to do with Charlie.

Every dog is Charlie to me and I love and miss them all.

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No Moment in Time Belongs to You

The first thing I always try to do is fly. Next time you’re dreaming, and realize you are dreaming, try to fly. Like, really fly. I can’t imagine how miserable it must be to dream but never fly. Dreaming is fine, but it’s not really dreaming unless you’re using your imagination. Dreams open up so many possibilities that are impossible in the real world. And dreams do it so well that sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the real world and a dream world. Dreams can imitate reality too well.

This time I was flying just fine, but I flew to close to some water and fell in. Remember, this is a dream. But when I fell in the water, I couldn’t fly out of the water. My wings were wet. I couldn’t believe it. I even said out loud, “I can fly, I can grow wings seemingly on command, but I can’t if I get wet? Come to think of it, I never even had wings.” Which was true, I was flying with my hands for the most part. Kind of like treading water in real life, but I was in air and in a dream. It makes sense if you’re a dreamer. Trust me, hands are as good as wings in a dream. Anyway, I couldn’t fly after getting wet. Dreams work in weird ways.

Then all of a sudden the dream shifted and I was having a conversation with this phantom thing. It was like having a conversation with a shadow in the corner. It talked in a female voice, I know that. But the body of the thing was just this puff of smoke.

“Wake up,” it said. “You want to breathe? You want to fly? You want to survive? Take your shoes off.”

I looked down at my feet and I wasn’t even wearing shoes in the first place. Who wears shoes in dreams?

“I put this moment here,” it said. “Can’t you see where memories are kept? Can’t you see why I put this moment here? Holding all the love that waits for you here. You will dance with me in the sunlit pools. We are of the going water and the gone.”

“What?” I asked. I knew it was my brain and thoughts creating the dream, it should be able to figure out why certain things were in there. But that’s rarely the case with dreams.

“You miss her don’t you?” the phantom asked.

“Miss who?”

“Your dog.”

“I don’t have a dog.”

“You used to, and she’s gone now,” it said.

He was great,” I said. “And I still miss him.”

“Not him,” the phantom said. “He wasn’t stolen from you. I’m talking about the girl. The one who was killed. You still miss her.”

“Of course I still miss her,” I said. “No one sees something like that and forgets it. It’s like losing a finger or something. You learn how to maneuver things just fine, but at the end of the day, you’re still missing a finger. And it was a truck that took her. The SUV took someone else.”

The phantom rocked back and forth and began forming emotionless, familiar facial structures. Some of them I knew and recognized, mostly relatives, but most were just random faces that I must have seen while I was awake only a few hours before sleeping.

“If I could change into anyone you miss, would you hold them again? Would it be the same?” it asked.

The phantom began spinning around in circles like the agitator inside a washing machine, starting and stopping in an irregular rhythm.

“No, they’re gone,” I said. “I’ve said all of my goodbyes. I don’t want to do that anymore. You know how many times I wake up and feel like someone is standing on my chest? I don’t want to hold them anymore. I’m still afraid to be here.”

“Never say goodbye to their part of your life. They have the same emotions as you, you know?” it said, still spinning. “No moment in time belongs to you. Remember that.”

 

Dreams stay with me when I wake up. Sometimes I don’t remember what they were even about, but what the dreams did to my body linger for hours. My eyes will still look like I spent the whole night wiping away tears, because I probably did. My throat will feel like I have an apple stuck in it. I’ll just be exhausted. I’ll be left pondering them for the entire day: I’ll wonder why there are recurring characters and symbols. Why do they show up so frequently? Why are they so confusing? Do dreams just pick neurons from random sections of the brain and decide to fire all of them at once? How much does what is going on around the dreamer affect the actual dream?

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I Would Have

Back then I had a lot of extra money. I’d taken quite a few grants and scholarships after the military and decided to use those and the GIBILL simultaneously. What would end up happening is that the grants and loans would pay my tuition and everything else, and the GIBILL would end up as a tuition refund. Usually I’d end up with about five or six thousand dollars every time I signed up for a new quarter at the university. Long story short, I didn’t work and got to travel a lot.

So one night after countless drinks in San Francisco, I attempted to walk back to my hotel room. Eventually I found the hotel room, but before I did I found a ridiculous flight of stairs that led me to the top of what I thought had to be the biggest hill in San Francisco. By the time I made it to the top, the sun was just about coming up. I must have been walking slow or blacked out a few times because the bars closed at two and the sun usually comes up at about five or six. There was a lot of missing time back then.

When I got to the last section of stairs I noted that there was a girl sitting at the top of them, facing me. Before I knew it, I was staring right into this girl’s skirt. I ended up making eye contact with her but she’d already seen me staring. She pushed her forearms between her legs, blocking my view.

“Can I get through here?” I asked. I figured I’d just leave her alone. Let her sit there by herself. A girl like her, there, at that time, probably didn’t want some drunken college student bugging her.

“Gonna watch the sunrise?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m guessing there’ll be a hell of a view from up here.”

“Not really,” she laughed. “The buildings are too big. And we’re too poor to live in one of them.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, unless you live in one of those buildings, you aren’t going to see the sunrise.”

“What would you suggest? This is the second time I’ve been here. Well, not here exactly, but in San Francisco, and I have no clue what I’m doing each time. I have this idea of what I want to do before I come, but every time I just end up wandering around and not doing much of anything.”

I noticed I was sweating as I leaned against the handrail. My shirt became unstuck from my back.

“You drunk?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I think these stairs burnt most of it out of me.”

“They’re called the Filbert Steps. Tourists walk up and down them all day.”

“Are you a tourist?” I asked.

She lifted her hands from between her legs and positioned her hair behind her ears.

“I’m not a tourist, no. This place steals hearts, man. You know that? Crushes hopes and dreams. Makes you learn things you didn’t want to learn.”

She sounded like me when I was depressed.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Me, or you, we’re never gonna live somewhere like this.”

“So you are a tourist?”

“No one in San Francisco is a tourist. We’re all at home here. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t out of place.”

I took a few more steps up the stairs.

“Mind if I sit next to you?”

“Sure,” she said. “I mean, no. I mean, ‘No, I don’t mind if you sit next to me.’ Words are weird sometimes. Like, they don’t always mean something.”

“You sure you aren’t drunk?” I asked.

“I stopped drinking around midnight I think. Now I’m just hung over and talking to a stranger. You know, it’s not safe to sit next to drunk strangers when you’re drunk in San Francisco, you know. You should be more careful.”

Looking down the steps made me a dizzy. Or at least I thought it was the steps making me dizzy. It could have been anything. It could have been the girl’s cheap perfume. It could have been the girl’s tequila breath. And I may have still been drunk. It felt good to sit down.

Sitting down, I got my first good look at her face. Everything about it was sharp. Her nose: sharp. Her chin: sharp. Her cheeks: sharp. Even her hair looked a little sharp, but I’d call it jagged. She had thick eyebrows. I could tell she didn’t pluck them.

“What brings you here at this time of night?” I asked, half-joking.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I thought I wanted to walk down these stairs. Everyone is always walking up stairs here. I thought that if I got here in time I’d be able to walk down them before all the runners started. They usually start running up these stairs at about five or six. I mean, I was out late anyway and I don’t really have anywhere to go.”

“What do you mean? Don’t you live here?”

“Kind of, but I’m a bit far from where I need to be. My friend goes to Berkeley, so I was staying with her. But I guess I had too much to drink and I lost her or something. Or she left. I don’t know. But, here I am.”

She flicked a cigarette out in front of her. I hadn’t noticed she was smoking.

“And you?” she asked

“Me, what?”

“What brings you out here this lovely morning?”

“I got really drunk by myself at some bar that I don’t even know the name of.”

“Wow, you are definitely a tourist,” she laughed. “You know what’s weird? I think it’s weird that tourists always look and act like perfect tourists wherever they go, but the people who actually live here look and act like they totally live here, because they do live here. And I bet they would look like they were from San Francisco even if they moved to, say, Texas. You know? They keep that about themselves. But when they are simply visiting another place, it’s like they transform into this subspecies of wherever they are from. And people come here expecting everything to be like the 60’s or something. Free love and flowers in their hair. That whole thing. All they are missing is the safari hat. Really it’s just a sad, lonely place. But they don’t see it that way because they are tourists from somewhere else with their own homes tucked into a fanny pack.”

“And where do you fall into all of this?”

“You tell me. Where do you think I fall?”

I looked her up and down as best I could. It was still a little dark. A light reflected off her leg, showcasing a nice groove along the outside of her calf. Her skirt ended just above her knees. Her hair was, what I think, her natural hair color.

“I think you’re trying to get as far away as you can from something. But that something has a long leash. You get far away from it, and you do this often, but eventually you turn around.”

“I meant something like, where do you think I’m from. But I like this game, keep going.”

She nodded and nearly lost her balance, even though she was already sitting down.

“I think you do small things that give you a lot of satisfaction. You take small inexpensive vacations. You buy random little things on the internet. But none of this ever fixes the real problem. You don’t get by on your looks, even though you could. That’s why you don’t pluck your eyebrows. You’re smart but never finished college. You probably read more than your friends and that’s why they are all so happy and you are sad. Even though you haven’t travelled very far in the physical, you’ve travelled far in your mind. You’ve essentially been everywhere a book can take you. You’ve been rich, poor. You’ve been in prison. You’ve lost your husband. Wife? You’ve lost families. You’ve survived the Civil War. All in books, of course. But you still compare your life to the lives of characters in books. Like the books you have stacked over there beside you. Your friends don’t know any better than to just be happy, because they don’t read as much as you.”

She just sat there and looked down between her thighs at the hundreds of stairs leading into the dark bushes below. She took her time before she lifted her head and looked right into my eyes the way women do when they know that are about to cut you deep with the next thing that comes out of their mouth.

“You know,” she started. “You are right about a lot of all that. But what about you, huh? What makes a grown man get sickly drunk until five or six in the morning—I have no clue what time it is because my phone is dead, by the way—and then you stop only when you happen to see a girl practically sobbing at the top of a ridiculously tall staircase that people drive miles around to climb? I would bet anything that if I were a three hundred pound man, eating late night fast food, you would not have stopped for two seconds. You wouldn’t have said anything to me. You know why you stopped? Because you decided within two seconds of seeing up my skirt and getting a grand view of my thighs that you would sleep with me if I let you. That’s the reality of your mind. You would sleep with a drunk stranger that you met in a drunken stupor in a city you don’t even know your way around in, simply because you happened to come across her.”

I didn’t know what she was getting at. And to be honest, I still don’t. But she was right regardless. I would have.

Slept with her, I mean.

“Say that’s true,” I said, “let’s pretend that that’s true. I simply asked you if I could get through, as in, move past you so that I could keep going up the stairs, and you immediately instigate a conversation about the sunrise. I could have been looking for a place to vomit. I could have been anyone looking for a place to do anything, and you ask me about the sunrise. Whatever expectations I had in my mind while walking up the stairs had nothing to do with you inviting a conversation. I may be willing to sleep with you at the drop of a hat, but you were willing to talk to me.”

We sat there, beside each other, for a long while after that. I was thinking about how right she was. I was also thinking about how right I was, and whether or not she knew that we were both right about these things.

Then she leaned forward and kissed me. My right hand cupped the back of her head; hers, my right cheek. There was something about the desperateness between the two of us, the primal. There was no reason for us to be doing it. Yet, we were. And when my hand moved from her head to her hip, then up her shirt, I could feel the intensity of what this was: Two strangers finding exactly what it was they were looking for.

We managed to pull away from each other and she asked, “You got a place to stay?”

I knew I did, but I didn’t know where it was.

“Yeah, I do. For a few days, anyway,” I said.

“Well, where is it?” she asked.

“Near the Regency,” I answered.

“So, Van Ness? Get up. Let’s go.”

 

I don’t remember much else after that. I don’t remember whether or not we walked down the hundreds of steps or up the two remaining steps we were previously occupying. But I do know that we woke up next to each other. Neither of us wearing any clothes.

I woke up to her bare shoulders and looked at her for a few minutes. I remember wondering what she was really like. I remember wondering if she really did like me, or if she had simply been drunk and I could have been anyone. Then I fell asleep again, the sun shining through the curtains.

I woke up again a few hours later. She was sitting at the small rounded table. The kind of tables that only seem to exist in hotel rooms. The steam from her coffee dissipating in front of her nose.

She caught me staring at her.

“We didn’t,” she said. “What kind of girl do you think I am?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Who are you?”

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Let’s Not Turn the Page

“Have you ever read a book that you wish would never end?” she asked me. “You get to the last few pages and you’re afraid to check exactly how many pages are left, but you know it’s going to be over soon. You start to reread a few sentences from where you really are in the book. It feels like your heart is breaking every paragraph closer to the end. Have you ever felt like that?”

“I can’t say I have,” I said.

I had. I felt the same way every time she talked to me. I could listen to her read the dictionary. But I never told her. I was too afraid of finding out exactly what I was or wasn’t to her.

“That’s sad,” she said. “Everyone should get to feel that at least once in their life. Sometimes I cry harder simply because I finished the book than I do if the ending is sad. Every end of a book is sad to me simply because I know it’s over. Then I repeat the cycle all over again, with another book. Battered Wife Syndrome, man.”

“Battered Wife Syndrome usually ends with the abused killing the abuser though. Not the other way around. And I’m pretty sure it’s Battered Person Syndrome.”

“Well, it’s definitely a cycle of abuse and reconciliation. And it is all my fault.”

She laughed.

“Like this one book, man,” she continued. “This one book, I swear I got to the end of it, but it was missing the last page or section or something. I read the whole book. It took me weeks, but the ending was torn out. Someone actually ripped out the page. Can you believe that? I cried to days. I couldn’t find the book anywhere either.”

“I’d have thought you’d like that,” I laughed. “You never have to finish the book. No ending, no tears. You can make up your own ending.”

“That’s not funny,” she said. She was serious now. “The whole book you’re waiting to find out whether or not this girl even remembers this guy she was once in love with. I mean, she hadn’t seen him in like a decade, right? But this guy, he loves her. He still loves her, I mean. They had to move away from each other though for some reason. It’s been a while since I read it, so cut me some slack on not remembering all the little details. But he still gets nostalgic if he sees her name anywhere. Like, if he’s driving and there’s some street sign that happens to have her name on it, like ‘Aurora Ave’ or something, he can’t stop thinking about her for days. That wasn’t her name though. So he finds out that she’s actually moved back to her hometown, which happens to be the same one he moved back to, and the same one they fell in love in of course. But he looks different and he’s scared about that. Cause in his mind she hasn’t changed at all, you know? In his mind, she still looks like eighteen or nineteen or however old they were when they fell in love. She’s still gorgeous is what I mean. So the guy stays up all night writing this letter to her about how he never should have left home when he did, how he wishes they’d never left each other to go off and do their own things, and how he wants to meet up and talk about what each other’s been up to, you know? Date-type stuff. This is all the last ten or twenty pages, need I remind you. I didn’t count the specific number. And of course, this moment has been hyped-up for the last few hundred pages, shifting from his point of view to hers and back again. So I get to what I think is the last page. I’m scared. I’m nearly crying simply because the book is about to be over. Before I know it, he’s walking down the street. The crosswalk shows that white walking guy thing. I’m hardly paying any attention to what page I’m on too. He sees her and she waves. She’s happy, he knows that. And then before I know it, I’m at the bottom of the last page. The sentence doesn’t even finish. It just says, ‘And then he heard a sound that ’”

Her face was wet. She was nearly crying just describing the book.

“Well, it kind of feels like—”

“Don’t even say it,” she interrupted. “I cried for weeks. I lied. Days. But I still just wish I knew what happened. Did she still love him the way he loved her? Cause the book, when it was told through her POV, was always ambiguous. She could have gone either way. But he loved her.”

“Did she really still look the same as he remembered though? Like, did it describe her?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah. She was still gorgeous. At least that’s what it said in the book.”

“Why don’t you just find out what book it was? You could find out in a matter of seconds.”

“Because I don’t want it to end,” she was crying now. Real tears. “I mean, I want to know what happens, but at the same time, I still have the story in my head. He’s permanently on his way to meet the person he loves. Isn’t that the best part of being in love? The anticipation? The fear that it may be unrequited?”

“It is,” I said. And I sat back and listened to her some more, hoping she’d never stop talking.

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The Long Con(versation)

“That’s the best part of writing though,” she said. “The best part is that no one has to see it. You don’t have to share it with anyone. It’s not like singing where someone can listen in on you. It’s something that exists totally on its own.”

“Then why do so many people write in public?” he asked. “Like the ones who sit in a Starbucks with their glowing laptops.”

“I think it’s because sometimes people really don’t care at all about what they write so long as the people around them know that they are writing something. I think that’s the wrong way to go about writing anything, if that is their attitude about it. If you’re just writing so that people know you are a writer, that’s not really writing. You know what I mean? But then again, some people pick up on the things around them while they are writing. Like, they eavesdrop on peoples’ conversations. They steal from the scenery. They start to describe random things around them. Everyone writes a different way. If they are really just doing it for the attention, it shows up in their writing. My point is, if you write for some type of egotistical reward, you aren’t really writing. Your best writing should be the things that you don’t want to share with anyone just yet.”

“But then how do you know whether or not it’s good?” he asked.

“You don’t! That’s the point. It’s good enough for you. It’s good enough for you to hold on to and keep tucked away. You don’t want to share it just yet. You just keep it and that’s it.”

“Then why write it at all?”

“Because thoughts come and go and are hard to keep organized. I think of writing kind of like tying a balloon to your finger. If you don’t write it down, no matter how hard you hold on to it, it can still fly away if you don’t keep holding it. So, make it easy on yourself and write it down so that you can do other things.” She was looking up at the ceiling while she explained this to him.

“I think I get what you’re saying, but I just think that if it’s worthy of writing down then it has to be worthy of showing to people. You follow me? I just think that’s a better way to go about things when it comes to writing.”

She thought for a brief moment.

“See, I don’t know,” she said. “The thing is people can be so judgmental. If it’s not good enough for them, somehow they think that makes it not good at all. Like there is some objective, definite, concrete definition of what good writing is. Everyone now is into this anti-sentimentalism and I just don’t buy into it. Everyone is trying to narrow down their writing so that nothing is being described, everything is conversational, or there is little to no actual plot and everything is just people talking or eating a sandwich or something, you know? Like, where is the plot?”

She paused before continuing, “Say I wanted to write what happened to me a few days ago. Last week, I was driving down the road and listening to the radio and it got so bad that I put in a CD. I haven’t listened to this CD in over two or three years so when the music came on it was kind of a shock, like I was listening to it for the first time all over again. Then I started remembering more and more of the CD and I got a bit nostalgic. Then this song came on that reminded me of something really sad. And I just started bawling. Like I was dripping tears all over the place. I’m surprised I didn’t crash the car. It was so weird. So, say I wanted to write about that. I’d be consciously trying to strip away the sentimentality that is what the story is actually about, you know? The story is about me hearing a song that was sentimental to me. It was about how nostalgia is actually defined as the pain of remembering. So if I were to take all of the sentiment out of it, it wouldn’t even be the story that I wanted to write! Write the story you want to write, not the story they want to read.”

“Well, there’s a lot to be said about that,” he added.

“Like what?” she asked.

“You could totally tell that story. But, yes, you would have to keep the sentiment out of it.”

“And why should I have to keep anything out of what I write?”

“Because you want other people to read it and appreciate it.”

“But the point is you should write what you want regardless of whether or not someone else is going to like it. You don’t have to limit yourself to what this imagined audience wants. The odds are that if you like it, other people are going to like it. So make it as best as possible, but according to your standards. Because, believe it or not, you are not some special snowflake that has some advanced and unique literary talent. People read what they want to read. There are plenty of people that would read what you wrote no matter how good you think it is. Just write and if there are enough people that appreciate the things you write, eventually they’ll read it and like it or not like it. The point is, what do you care if someone else likes your writing as long as you like it yourself? We’re all narcissists here. We all love to read what we create. No different than a painter staring at his or her own work. No different than a musician wanting to sing his or her own songs in front of people. You do it for yourself. Don’t pretend that your work is some masterpiece gifted to the common people. Once you admit that you are solely writing for your own personal satisfaction, and no one else’s, you’ll find you enjoy writing more than you ever did before. At least that’s how I see it.”

“I always start with the audience in mind. I always think, ‘who is my target audience?’ It’s just what I do.”

“So basically, you think of your work as an advertisement? You want to trick the reader into reading your work? How do you know that it’s even really your work if you are writing it with someone else in mind? That’s my problem with the way you write. You care way too much about what people think about your work. And to be honest, it shows in your writing.”

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Pessimism

“You know, you don’t have to be so negative all the time, you know?”

I knew she was right. She was correct. I didn’t have to be so negative. But I felt I had the right to be.
“I know I don’t, but there are plenty of reasons to be negative, or to at least acknowledge it,” I argued.

“Like what?” she asked.

“Like everything. For example, half the new churches that pop up look almost indistinguishable from any Taco Bell. Not to mention the church is within the same block as an actual Taco Bell.”

“But you don’t even believe in God,” she argued, “so what do you care if the churches that pop up look like Taco Bells?”

“I care about the principle of the matter! Like, if you are going to dedicate your life to something, shouldn’t where you dedicate all of these thoughts and beliefs be reflected in its architecture, or try to at least distinguish itself from the fast-food joint down the street? I mean, I go to concerts and stuff. I go to restaurants that look like they haven’t had guests in months. But, guess what? They all look nicer than any of the churches I’ve seen in the last ten years. Cause no one wants a restaurant, no matter how much they charge or don’t charge, to remind them of a mixture between a fast-food joint and a hospital. And it’s not just the Taco Bell Churches either. There are churches that I know, for a fact, used to be Jiffy Lubes. Not even joking. Like, they still have the little walkway you could use to walk under the cars and everything. Like, you could seriously still change your oil there if you wanted to. And then there are the rundown struggling movie theaters.”

She looked at me with a tired but interested face.

“What about the theaters?” she asked.

“Every theater I drive by doesn’t have any show times listed on their billboards. You know what they have instead? ‘Sermon @ 10am Worship @ 1I.’ And they seriously used a capitalized ‘i’ where they ran out of ‘1s.’ Random italics, underlines, and bold print letters everywhere. Terrible grammar aside, when did every movie theater become a church? Who let this happen?”

“Hollywood liberals probably teamed together with the Evangelical Christians to orchestrate a vast right and left-wing conspiracy to get people to think Bible movies are a good way to kill a Saturday night for the low cost of $20 a ticket and $8 for a small popcorn,” she laughed. “My point is, what do you really care? How does it affect you?”

“I have to see it every day. We have to know it exists, and it shouldn’t. Doesn’t it hurt you knowing that there are idiots that walk into these Taco Bell churches every Sunday? Doesn’t it hurt you to know that these same people vote? And not only do they vote, they only vote when they have the opportunity to vote against the progression of equal rights. Gays want to get married? You better believe that these Taco Bell Christians will be voting. Want more money for public schools? Not if the schools don’t teach the Intelligent Design alongside Darwinian evolution. These are the people that don’t shut the fuck up at PTA meetings. These are the people that don’t vaccinate their kids because they heard from some Playboy bunny, who is somehow more credible than the scientific consensus, that vaccines have mercury in them. Trace amounts of mercury that fall short of the average amount of mercury found in a can of tuna fish! I have to see my relatives indulge in the obvious bullshit. I have to bite my tongue while they let their tongue flap around and around until it comes full circle to agree with itself. It’s frustrating is all.”

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