Thursday, September 29, 2011


Nicki is a new Outsider Girl, and the protagonist in my next novel, Swallow.

Nicki:   “Wake up in the morning, feeling like P Diddy…”

     That’s Ke$ha, blaring from my alarm clock, which is also a dock for my iPod.

     “Grab my glasses, I’m out the door…”

     If I don’t get my ass out of bed and turn off my alarm, it’s going to wake up my little brother, and my mother’s going to have a fit. She’s going to say something like, “It’s only six fifteen in the morning, and already you’ve ruined my day,” and then she’s going to rush downstairs to my brother’s room to pick him up, put him on her lap and rock him and tell him everything’s going to be all right, it’s just that Nicki is a teenager and she’s in her own world and she can’t think about the feelings of others right now.

     My mother’s going to tell Tommy that being a teenager is a tough time for a girl, and “we all have to learn to be patient with Nicki.”

     “Pedicure on our toes toes, tryin on all our clothes clothes…“

     My mother thinks she’s being all good and understanding.

     She would never think to ask me why I’m curled up in a ball under the fairy blanket grammy made for me last birthday as if I’m still just a little kid, although it is true I love this blanket, even if I was turning fifteen, and I am too old for flower fairies.

     “Tik tok on the clock…”

     I don’t even like this song, why did I pick it to wake me up—

     “Nikki! Turn your music down!” my mother yells from behind her closed door.

     “It’s my alarm!” I yell back.

     “Ain’t got a care in the world, but got plenty of beer…” Ke$ha sings.

      Tommy starts crying, Waa waa, big baby, Waa waa, the sound getting closer as he comes up the stairs—


     For like a second, I try to ignore it all, try to wrap my quilt closer around my head and drown it all out, but come on, that’s totally ridiculous, so I reach a hand out and slap the snooze button, shutting Ke$sha up. If only everyone else had a snooze button! I just wanna get a handle on the dream I was having. I just wanna stop crying. I cry all the time and its ridiculous.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Sax:  Got this ipod dock that’s an alarm clock.  Six AM, the Hamster Dance song blares from the speakers, waking me up happy.  I mean, I’m not happy to be up at six in the morning, but who can be a shithead when the Hamster Dance song is playing?  Weeehoo!
     Still, I’d rather get laid in the morning.  You know, wake up with a guy who doesn’t have to run out the door for a class or a job, or on the other hand, doesn’t pull my grandmother’s quilt up over his eyes and groan, roll over.  Ignore the Hamster Dance.  Say “Rumph!” in protest if I try to inspire him.
     You know, someone like me.  I want someone like me.  I’ll even take someone who likes me, me, Saxon, Hamster Dancer, smart, sexy, hair so short there’s no bed head.  Me!  Scrabble fiend, lover of mani-pedi’s, wearer of tees with words:  That was Zen, this is Tao. 
     Mother of –
     Naah, I don’t want to talk about that.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Kathryn:    Standing next to Andrew’s shitty white hatchback, outside CVS, waiting.

Heat rises off the blacktop in wavy lines, almost like a cartoon.

I’m in a cartoon.  You know the one, where Bugs Bunny waits for Elmer Fudd to bring him a balloon of meth.  While he waits, he melts in the heat.  Ears droop, and his voice is dry and scratchy as he whispers, “What the fuck is up Doc?”

Okay, now I’m getting delirious.  Lighting another cigarette, I watch a couple go into CVS holding hands.  She’s got those Suburban, chunky high and low lights in her shoulder length blonde hair, and she’s all thin but curvy.  He’s got gelled hair that’s just right, and tattoos on his arms, and because I’m delirious, he makes me think of one of the young guys on Top Chef, and I wonder what he’s doing here in Milford, Connecticut.

Then I wonder why Andrew didn’t come with me, or even meet with Fred himself.  Why did I have to come?  Why am I melting out here alone?  Why does everyone look at me as if they know I’m some kind of druggie.  Fuck them!

Fuck the fat mommy holding hands with her little boy, swinging arms.  Fuck the old guy with his walker who edges away from me, giving me wide berth as he passes.  Fuck the little girl who makes a show of smelling the smoke from my cigarette as she passes, and even has the nerve to say to her mother, “Yuck.”

“I know,” her mother responds, not even looking at me.

Fuck Andrew for sending me to pick up our drugs alone.

Fuck Fred for being late, and while I’m at it, for always putting the dope in a rubber balloon that he ties and wraps with some kind of weird meth head rubber origami so I can’t get at it, not even a taste, until I get back home.

Well, not home exactly.  Andrew’s apartment over his mother’s garage is what I mean.

I guess you could say I’m living there.  Not like I have my own key or anything, but I sleep there when Andrew and I do sleep, and aren’t up doing drugs and fucking.

He always wants to fuck for hours and hours when he’s high.  I always want to go draw all night, let the drug focus my hand.  I’m a really good artist, given the chance.

Andrew doesn’t usually give me time to draw, or else he laughs at me, trying to get a portfolio together to go to art school because he already has a job doing computer graphics and making lots of money, and I should be grateful he pays for the drugs.

Felix pulls up, and I feel sleazy passing money through a slit opening of his car window, and then taking the balloon.  My mouth waters when the drugs are in my hand, but I don’t feel grateful.

Soon it’ll be my turn to suck the pipe, and the white, bitter smoke will rush into my lungs and my body will tingle and my mind will light up, and then I won’t have to feel anything at all.