Saturday, March 28, 2009

Explanation and apology

I am working on a new chapter now

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chapter Six

I'm Awake and I'm Suicidal

I'm awake and I'm suicidal. I can't stand my apartment. It's on the fifth floor and I hate walking up so many stairs. I've been in this place way too long. It was supposed to be a place to stay for a few months, maybe a year, until things started to come together for me. Things never have, though.
I work at a convenience store on the midnight shift. I've been there for years now. It's a shit job, but at least it doesn't require much of me. I mostly stand behind the counter and hope that I don't get robbed.
I drag myself out of bed and shower. I want to start drinking soon so that I can have a good buzz going before I have to go to work.
I used to have a girlfriend, but I guess it didn't work out. I honestly can't remember what happened. Something bad, I guess.
There's a hooker living in the apartment next to mine. I keep wondering how much she charges. I couldn't afford it.
There's a giant lizard eating people in the park. It's been on the news the last few days. It apparently lives in one of the caves up at the north end. The newscaster says that it's the worst series of dino attacks in over twenty years.
I wish something would kill and eat me. After a few drinks I burn the back of my thigh with matches. The skin bubbles and pops. The smell is like salt cured pork being roasted and it makes my stomach growl. There’s nothing in the fridge but cold fish eyes.

Detroit and Beloit

This one time I got lost. This was a long time ago. It was before Detroit was fire bombed by the Coca Cola Company and before the outbreaks of Bubonic Plague in the mid-west, but after the war. That should give you some idea of the time period I'm talking about. I had gone hiking with Marla. It was her idea. That should be obvious. The thought of walking around in the woods freaks me out. Anyway, we went to this park that was hundreds of acres of nothing but woods and streams and animals that might eat you if they got the chance.
We stumbled around on paths that had been beaten down by deer or bison or something. Eventually we got off the path and into the trees. It was getting late and I had no idea how the fuck to get back to the car. Marla thought this was funny. I guess in her head it was one of those movie meet cute minutes that should have involved Woody Allen in some way.
I was terrified. I had pictures of my desiccated corpse being picked over by carrion birds and coyotes. I kept writing my obituary in my head. It was very short.
Eventually we found our way back to the highway.

A New Sort of Victim hood

I think maybe I killed her. I didn’t mean to. She wanted to play rough, she said so. She wanted me to strangle her while we fucked. I did. Maybe I did it too hard, or too long, because when I finished and rolled off of her I realized that she wasn’t moving. Now I’m lying here next to a dead girl. I guess the up side is that I don’t have to sneak out while she’s asleep. In fact, this place is much nicer than mine. Maybe I’ll stay here.
She has beer in the fridge and a bottle of vodka in the cabinet over the stove. I take two big gulps from the vodka bottle then open a beer. I’m going to have to deal with her body. I need more to drink first.
I down the beer, take another swig of vodka and open a second beer. By the fourth I’m ready to get to work. I wrap her body in the sheet and drag it to the tub. It isn’t easy. She was a tiny thing, but dead ninety-five pounds is a bitch to move. I get her in, finally. Then I go to the kitchen to take inventory. There’s a cleaver and a butcher knife, but that’s all.
I drive her car to a hardware store, one of those big chains that seem to be everywhere. I buy plastic sheeting, a hacksaw, a hatchet, a claw hammer and thirty jugs of the strongest industrial drain cleaner they stock. Then I go to Wal-Mart and buy scented candles, air freshener and bleach. For some reason I seem to know exactly what I’m doing.
Back at her apartment I start dismembering the body. I work at the joints until I have her separated into several good sized chunks. I rinse as much blood as I can down the drain. Then I put the stopper in place and pour all of the drain cleaner over her. I stretch the plastic sheeting across the top of the tub, light some candles and get ready to wait.
I finish the vodka and go to sleep.

During the night I douse myself with vodka and set myself on fire.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chapter Four

The Orgy

Chaz wakes me up pounding on the door. I’ve got a terrible headache and my leg hurts. When I pull back the blanket I see that there is a fresh gash on my thigh. I don’t remember doing it, but I must have. Who else would have done it. I’m supposed to meet Julie for lunch. I’m thinking that maybe I’ll blow her off and just drink instead. I get up and let Chaz in.
“Dude, you gotta hear about last night,” he says as he walks past me into the apartment. He has melting show in his hair. I hate that. Fucking snow. Chaz drops on the couch and says “Get me a drink and I’ll tell you about the crazy shit I saw last night.” He waves toward the kitchen and I go to find the booze.
I hand him a glass of bourbon and ask him to get on with it.
“Okay, so I’m at this club, Downward spiral you’ve heard of it.”
“On Pine, right?”
“Yeah. Down by the Battlefield. Anyway, I start dancing with this chick. She’s fucking smoking, right. Big tits, great ass, nice face. Anyway, she’s grinding up against me and I’m about to fucking pop. So I ask her if she wants to go back to my place. She say’s no.”
“Shit. That sucks.”
“Yeah. But then she says that there’s this party she wants to go to and will I take her. I say yeah cause I figure I really want to tap this chick and I’ve still got a chance. So I load her in my car. I almost have to carry her, she’s that fucked up. She already gave me the address, so I drive talking to her the whole way so she doesn’t doze off, right.”
“We get there. It’s this big house. Like mansion big. We go in and the place is packed with people. Not regular people, fucking beautiful people. I mean I am by far the ugliest person in the room, and I aint bad. So I find the booze and start doing the mingling thing but trying to keep this bitch next to me. I don’t want one of these other bastards to snag her if you know what I mean.
“So we drink and talk to people and dance and after a while I’ve got her ready, so we head up the stairs to find a bedroom. The place is like a mother fucking maze or something. There are hallways that just lead to hallways. We passed like eight bathrooms before we finally found a bedroom.
“Then I open the door and there’s an orgy going on.”
“No shit? “ I ask. I've heard about stuff like that, but I've never seen it. On TV they say that junior high kids are having orgies now.
“Yeah. Like in Rome or some shit. There’s this guy lying on the bed. One chick is riding his cock. Another is grinding her cunt into his face. There’s a chick being tag teamed on the other end of the bed. There are two hot bitches sixty-nine-ing each other on the floor. Some guy is watching and yanking his rod. Plus, get this, there’s this smoking hot red head naked sitting in a chair reading a book. No shit. All this fucking and she’s reading a fucking book.”
“So, what did you do?”
“What do you think? I pulled the chick in the room with me and joined in. It was fucking amazing.”
“Sounds like it, dude.”
“Man you shoulda been there.”
After I scoot him out I go to meet Julie and have some lunch at a little deli downtown. They’ve got pretty good sandwiches and cold beer. Then I go home and watch TV. In the bathroom I notice a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine. I don’t read that. I wonder who the hell would have left that in my apartment. Before bed I heat up a frozen dinner and drink myself to sleep. I wake up several times during the night. The sheets are wet with sweat and something that tastes like a scream is caught in my throat. I wish sometimes that I could afford to move to a better place.

If I had a Hammer

Julie and I go out after work. We have dinner at an Italian place, then go for drinks at a pub called the James Joyce. I drink black and tans and she has some brightly colored girl drink that smells like sun tan lotion. We talk about unimportant things until we’re both sick of the smell of the place. Then we drive to her apartment.
Her place is a lot nicer than mine. It’s clean and doesn’t smell like something dead is caught in the walls. She has a lot of flowered things with lace and frills and pictures on the walls of people she doesn’t know and places she hasn’t been. It’s all very pretty. It looks like someone’s home. No apartment I’ve ever lived in has had that distinction.
She puts on some music, The Cowboy Junkies I think, and we sit next to each other on the couch. At first we just sort of look ahead and don’t say anything. This seems like a terrible disconnect from the last time we were together. Then she took off her clothes almost as soon as I showed up. Then she was asking me to cut her. This time we make out gently, tentatively for a long time. Then, when I finally get the nerve to reach my hand under her shirt she says “Let’s go to the bedroom.” She takes me by the hand and leads me there.
This time is gentle, slow, and normal. No one bleeds. When it’s over I can’t wait to get out of there. I just want to get back to my place and crash. I lie there and wait for her to fall asleep. Then I extract myself from her arms and slip out the door.
At home I drink.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chapter Three

Chapter Three


Work. I fucking hate my job. When I started I thought that this was a temporary job. You know, just until I became a rich and famous novelist. I guess for that to happen I'd actually have to write a novel or something. Anyway, five years in and each day begins with me hating myself and ends with me wanting to shoot myself in my fucking ugly face.

Julie is off today. I've got to run the reels for some shitty soft comedy starring a guy who used to be on Saturday Night Live and wasn't funny. I'm thinking about going out after I get off work. There's this club I want to go to. Maybe I'll call Chaz and see if he wants to go with me.

I eat junior mints and wait for the shift to end.

Chaz has a bright green ‘69 Charger and he drives us to the spot. It takes about twenty minutes for Chaz to hook us up with two very drunk college girls. Then we’re in his car. It looks like a mongrel dog with its ass in the air and it’s nose pointed at the ground. When he stomps the accelerator the engine emits a low, guttural animal noise and the car’s entire body vibrates.

We end up at my apartment drinking gin and listening to Joni Mitchell. Chaz’s girl is pretty hot. Mine is okay. She’s too skinny and her teeth are a little crooked, but she isn’t ugly. Her name is Kathi. It’s spelled like that with just an I at the end. She tells me this as if it's something to be proud of. It isn’t as bad as it could be. I screw her on the floor next to my bed. She’s so drunk that I honestly feel kind of bad about it, but I’m not very good at self control.

After we finish I go in the living room to get another drink. Chaz has his girl, I don’t know her name, bent over the end of my couch. He motions to me and I walk over.

He pulls out, points to her ass and says “You wanna try some of this?”

I don’t think she’ll mind so I take his place. He walks to the bedroom and in a couple of minutes I hear Kathi moaning loudly. Between the liquor and what I already did with Kathi this is taking a while. After a while she pulls away and says something about it starting to hurt.

“Sit down,” she motions to the couch. I do as I’m told and she kneels in front of me. She takes me in her mouth and helps me finish. Then we curl up on the couch and go to sleep. I dream about walking in the woods. It's a big conifer forest with trees that stretch up past the sky. At first I think there is a light snow falling on me but after a while I realize that it's really ash. I have the feeling that this particular forest may be the only place in the world that isn't burned.

Drinking Blood

I could drink hot blood and do shit that would make the sun frightened. No joke. Chaz has already split with the girls and I’m having cornflakes and bourbon for breakfast just like Travis Bickle. The phone rings and I ignore it. I take a bath and then get dressed. I could do something before work, but sleep on the couch instead.

Irregular Verbs

I read about how we are losing our irregular verbs. It comes down to math. The half life of an irregular verb is equal to the square root of its usage frequency. That may sound like some heavy shit, but it just means that the more often we use a verb the less likely it is to be transformed from an irregular to a regular verb. The deal is: we memorize irregular verbs. Regular verbs we construct on the fly by applying a rule that we have learned (like adding 'ed' to the end to make a verb past tense). If we can't think of the irregular form then it is natural to attempt to apply the standard rule and thus construct a regular verb. Words that aren't used very often are easier to forget. I guess even the language is evolving. Maybe I'm evolving too.


"You fucking whore." I snarl this at her. I know that it will piss her off, but that is precisely what I need. She has to be mad enough to tell me to get out, to leave, to bounce. It is what I want, but I am too weak to go without permission. I need her to flip me like a quarter, then I'll see where I land.

I don't know when this happens.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Second Hole

The first time I cut her she jerks hard. The blood wells into a round puddle on the smooth skin of her belly. It grows until it is too large to be held in shape by mere surface tension, then the first small rivulet breaks free and starts the slow track to her navel where it will pool again. Lying there naked she looks good. Her hips don’t look so wide. Her breasts are actually quite large considering the size of her frame.

The slice on her stomach is actually quite small and she is starting to laugh. That’s a fairly common response to pain. Think about it. have you ever been overcome by the giggles after stubbing your toe? Well, that’s what’s going on with Julie right now. For some reason I think that I’ve done this before, but I can’t remember when.

The dinner she made is on the table untouched.

“So,” she says, “you wanna fuck or what?”

Honestly I’m not sure how to answer. I think I do, but I’d really rather keep doing what we’re doing now. This was her idea, believe it or not. I wouldn’t lie to you. Not on purpose.

“Yeah. Let’s do it.” I pull off my pants and climb on top of her. It seems to go well, I guess. I think that she is enjoying it. The whole thing really doesn't last all that long, then I feel like I need to sleep. I roll over and she rests her head against my chest. In no time I'm asleep.

I don't sneak out in the middle of the night.

My Name

I think my name used to be Griffin or Griffith or maybe Grant. These days I'm calling myself Cullin. I got that name off the cover of a book I saw one time. It was a book about tides or something. I don't know. Like I said, I didn't read it. Anyway, When I wake up Julie is in the shower. I still don't sneak out. Instead I climb in the shower with her. She seems happy to see me. We get clean. Then we get dirty again and have to hop back in the shower. After that she makes Pop Tarts and coffee and we watch TV.

Sometime in the afternoon I say that I have some stuff to do, kiss her at the door and go back to my apartment. On the way I buy a bottle of bourbon to ease me back into my coma.

I drop into my chair, watch Family Guy and drink directly from the bottle. Once I start to get good and numb I poke needles in my stomach for a while. It doesn't do it for me, so I make a small slice on my tongue with a steak knife. Then I drink half a bottle of hot sauce that was hidden in the back of the fridge. I down several shots of whisky and swallow a handful of sleeping pills. Then I go to sleep.


I could reside in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space were it not that I have bad dreams. I think that really says it all.

Chapter One

Chapter One


What is it? You don't know, I don't know, fuck man, even god don't know.
Is it the devil? What does that even mean? It's the thing that tears your flesh and eats the sweet pulp inside. It's the thing that chains you to the wall, that rips your sanity and rapes you while your kids watch. One thing I know for sure, if I get out on that highway,
then it's me.

I have to stop carving my face.

Small Cuttings

On Tuesday I stand over the sink and slice the palm of my hand with a butcher knife. The blood wells in the wound then begins to drip across the skin of my palm and into the sink. I tighten my hand into a fist and squeeze, forcing more blood to the surface. After a minute I start the faucet and place the wound under the cold water. When the red stops coming I pull off my t-shirt and wrap it around my hand. I light a cigarette and walk to the living room. There’s nothing on TV. There’s an open beer on the stand next to my chair, so I lift it to my mouth and drink it down. It may be snowing outside. I can’t be sure. My apartment doesn’t have any windows, being below ground level and all. There’s a terrible smell coming from somewhere and I’m not sure where.

I live alone here, but I don’t think I used to. It seems sometimes like there used to be someone else in this apartment, but for the life of me I can’t remember who. My beer is gone so I get up to get another. There’s no food in the fridge. I’ll have to do something about that. I think that maybe I should kill myself, but I don't know why. That’s Tuesday.

The Burn

On Wednesday I stub out a cigarette on my arm. The skin blisters and opens. I do it slowly. It hurts more that way. I start with hesitation moves. That's when you just tap the hot tip of the cigarette against your skin and pull it away fast. Then I hold it in place for a second. It hurts. That is a major understatement. It really hurts. I hold it in place longer. Then I press it in hard. The skin blisters, raising into an angry welt, then splits open. I press harder. The ash disintegrates into the wound until the lack of oxygen extinguishes the fire. Then I masturbate in front of the TV. When I’m done I clean myself with an old shirt and get ready for work. In the closet next to my uniforms there are several dresses and I wonder for the millionth time who they could belong to. I don’t have time to think about it, so I get dressed and drive down town.

In the lobby of the Chesterfield Theater I see Julie. She smiles at me and I lift my hand in a non-committal wave. She’s pretty enough, I guess. She has wide, dark eyes and long black hair that always looks shiny. Her hips are a little wide, but so what. I’m no prize, what with all the scars.

“Hi,” she says still smiling.

“Hey.” I pass her and head to the office to punch my time card. I’ve got to get to the booth and get ready before the seven o’clock show.

The movie is some low budget slasher flick. I really don’t care for that sort of thing. I just change the reels. It’s loud in the booth. Most people don’t realize just how loud. I wear ear plugs. Down below me men are masturbating in the dark while some girl gets her guts ripped out on screen. I have a little break between showings and I use it to go down to the lobby and get a soda. Julie is working the concession stand and gets my drink.

“What are you doing after work?” She asks.

“I’ve got a thing I have to do.”

“Oh,” She sounds almost embarrassed.

“I’m not doing anything tomorrow.”

“You wanna have dinner at my place?”

“Sure,” I say thinking that this is probably a mistake.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Point of This

An Ordinary Year shall be an on-line novel. It is a transgressive, ergodogic work. I will post the chapters here, unedited, as I write them. There should be at least one chapter a week, sometimes more. Be sure to check back often for new content.

The first chapter should appear on Saturday