Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Just Under The Wire...

...well, I banged out my self-imposed piece of ficiton just like every other school assignment; shabbily and at the very last minute. This was more of a typing exercise than anything else, but this is the first piece of fiction I've written since high school. Base on the quality of content and razor sharp focus of the writing, I'd say it's as if no time has passed at all.

the wrong pants

“Maybe I left it in my other pants. Shit.”

Standing in a Trailways terminal in downtown Columbus is no place to be having a Missing Items crisis. My immediate future had become reliant upon a scrap of paper with a city and bus number written on it which had apparently walked off sometime between its inception and my current need for it. Sticking with the only investigation strategy I had, my hands took another desperate lap through the pockets of my pants in case it had been missed during the previous four searches.

“Sir, can I help you?”
“Yeah. Uh…I’m sorry, what?”
“Can I help you? Where would you like to go?”

There is no official diagnosis, but I’m pretty sure that alcohol greatly affects my short-term memory. The fact that I was on the wrong end of a daylong bender couldn’t even remember what city I was supposed to be going to had to be related. Generally aware of this affliction I’ve sort of taken to behaving like Guy Pearce in Memento and write down everything on Post It Notes when drinking. A popular point of application for this stenograph technique is my refrigerator which only ever contains beer, yellow Gatorade, hot sauce, and leftover containers -- mostly Tupperware containers pilfered form my parents’ house and Thai food boxes. The labels read either “EAT” or “DO NOT EAT.”

Scenario: I come home from a long night of drinking and need food before passing out; leftovers are in the fridge. I reach for the nearest container and dig straight in. If delicious, I label the container “EAT” and return it to the fridge. If however my first bite of beef panang causes me to throw up in my mouth, I label the container “DO NOT EAT” and return it to the fridge. I know it’s ridiculous that I don’t just throw away the spoiled food items, but that’s not the real flaw in the system. The greater issue is that anything I label as “EAT” will assuredly be mislabeled by the time I come around to it again. Therefore just about everything in my fridge is inedible when I need it. I spend a lot of time vomiting in my kitchen and it’s not the wasted food (or the stomach sickness) that bothers me but rather the process inefficiencies. The current solution theory is that I need to get rid of my fridge.

This is how I ended up trying to buy a bus ticket to nowhere; booze and bad bookkeeping. At some point in the last 24 hours I had drunkenly worked out that a) my job sucked and b) my talents were of better use elsewhere. I work as an invoice clerk, which involves using an old computer with an even older operating system (read: no transferable skills). My only real talent is my aptitude for the guitar and that assessment is based strictly upon the platitudes of family and well-meaning friends. But so be it, so given those two factors I somehow worked out that I could make more money in two days busking on the streets of ____________ than I could in a week at my shitty job. And that was pretty much it. Drunk and encouraged by my drinking buddies I whipped out a Post It and wrote down my plan to catch the next bus to ____________ where I would spend the waking hours playing songs on the street and surely pocketing several hundred dollars from entertained passersby. I knew the best place to do this was, as I recall, either Memphis or Nashville. One of these cities had a long and successful tradition of busking and I made up my mind to go there. So I wrote the my destination down, convinced it was one or the other, and four hours later was at the Trailways station with only my guitar, $132, and a missing piece Post It Note. Where the hell was I was going?

“Hang on.”

I’m not kidding about that short-term memory thing. For the life of me I can’t recall which city I decided was the one I was to be heading off to. I know that I had told myself I should visit Graceland while I was there, but again, is Graceland in Nashville or Memphis? That I definitely did not write down. There’s an irony to living your life according to rash decisions that you cannot recall only hours later.

“Uh, Nashville. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.”
“Excuse me?”
“You want a ticket to Nashville, Tennessee?”
“Um, yeah. Yes. That’s where Graceland is, right?”
“Oh, I love Paul Simon.”
“Me too. One ticket to Nashville please.”


At 11/08/2006 6:32 PM, Blogger Dara said...

I've been trying to write mine, too, but I'm stuck at around 600 words. It's the most fiction I've written in eons, though.

Sadly, the more I try to write, the more things I find to distract myself. I haven't posted this much to my blog for quite a while.


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