This morning when I get to work, the keys are not in the box. I call my boss. He tells me to meet him at his house. It’s not far, about four blocks away. He gives me the address, which I put into my phone. Following the navigation instructions, I am taken to his front steps where he is sitting sleepy eyed in a white bathrobe, dangling the keys from his fingertips.

These are the last set, he says, giving them to me. Linda gave hers to someone the other day and she hasn’t gotten them back yet.circular-dribbble.gif

I ask him if he wants me to bring them back after I’ve gotten the shop open.

No, he says. Just leave them in the box next to the register.  

What’s your plan for the day? he asks.

I tell him that I am planning on working on the Aspire article that I’ve been working on for the last couple of days.

Does that sound good? I ask.

He tells me that it does.

Do you have anything else you want me to work on? I ask.

He tells me to look at the old articles and make them better or delete them.

Color Me Chaubert

The home smells like marinara from that time however many days ago that we made linguini or whatever. I wish it smelled like marijuana but nobody, literally nobody, donates to my Patreon account. It doesn’t feel like I’m living but rather surviving, when I can hardly fathom the idea of leftover spaghetti, the sauce being left out sitting on the counter, a ton of it, and half the noodles still in the box. The taste of leftover spaghetti smelling so good, missing it so much.

This scenery that I am in and a part of. Tilted church spires and blasted out windows. Present home still without knowing of the permanent. Yet to know though what it would be like with bombs and machine gun fare pressure in my babe, myself. Carlton, sweet little boy of a dog, not to mention the unborn child that may never be, from inside my bruised and bulging testicles. Well, does nightmare space trader mark my rooms as he exited the television shows we have streaming 24/7 through the Chromecast’s PlayStation 4 Destiny. It being something I can download for $40 (The Taken King) and have it delivered straight to me without my having to move my feet.

Musette is asleep. Pansexualpixie is not online. There is a massive ball of wadded up toilet paper in the pullout shelf of my desk from the time I found bootlegged videos of her on a site that doesn’t seem too sketchy.

Digital bootycalls only a click away, transcending time. But even when I can’t find something good to watch, images of one of my two ex-girlfriends come to mind everytime I start rubbing myself. It used to be that way when I was with the ex-girlfriends in question, but instead of images of them, at that time they were images of Penelope. #Originstories.  

Sometimes I am a hyena prowling through the night. Sometimes I am a skunk. The schmig tasting absolutely horrible as it burns my throat. This I say with farts leaking out of my less itchy asshole, preceding a shit. It feeling so good sometimes, sitting here the same as always, changing shape, looking for the best means of expression. What say you Sylvia Plath?

Finding my way through this maze, using as little power as possible to keep from alerting the landlord of our thievery. I can’t figure it all out, but there may be something to the constant narrative? I haven’t figured out the best way to go about everything, but one thought is to be a paperboy of myself. Working to exist a deeper version. More complete. Nourished and nourishing. Can’t we just say that I’m working? Is that really too much to ask?

I should probably try to eat because something feels wrong with me. The schmiggy tasting horrible and leaving a bad feeling in the back of my throat. The white spirits when bad taste like light beer. My breath smelling like Rice Puffins and my back and neck are in pain. I ain’t no happy Jim Gaffigan. I am in pain imagining the health I could have were there some functioning union for writers.

I almost forget that Musette wants me to meet her downtown at like fivish for some sort of girl’s night out that I’m invited to. She had thought that I worked today, being excited about that extra fifty dollars because she got less on her last paycheck than she was expecting.

She texted me earlier, telling me that she was having a bad day. I was asleep when the message came in and am too embarrassed now to write her because it is past two in the afternoon. So I end up talking to Piper instead.

Where does the time go?

Some sort of power beyond the grave manifesting. Chaubert. Just another day in life. Getting ready for the subway, I’ve got this zit on my face, at the corner of my lip, on the left side, and dirty dishes in the sink, marinara from however many nights ago, made of a packet and a can which I didn’t know how to utilize, submitting to the higher knowledge of a Michelin chef, my wife.

On my way 2 girls night out. Everything is very quiet at the Hoyt-Schmeggerhorn stop. It is New York Fashion Week and I’m going into in Manhattan. TJ Carney’s 57 between 8th and 7th Avenue. Horses carrying bound officers, one with the driver using his phone. Another after another, always moving, always keeping on moving. Such skinny legs beneath a trench coat. Woman stopped and painting her nails red on the sidewalk.

The Ghostbusters car drives by our dinner but I am too busy talking with her chefs about what goes on in the kitchen.

I am a chef myself, I tell them.

What else am I supposed to do? I ask, reaching for that utilization of the ship’s presence to become one in a sorts. It’s amazing the way things work out in this world, the way sandwiches drying out gets to me every time. The way the dog watches us as we watch TV. He is a good dog but will break the rules after so long even when I’m here, quicker when I’m not. Looking at the spots on your body like to the markings on a secret treasure map. We are detectives of some sort and don’t forget it. I’m not giving up on anything, nor am I giving up on anyone. At the moment, I’m hitting a full audience. I feel like I can hit you harder that way, with more umph, more rapidity. Just getting it out there, bang bang, turn your television on, you can’t miss me. I know then that the story continues. I know it. I see it. It’s happening. We are alive here, surviving. Didn’t I say that it was going to be as easy as writing a text message to a friend? I know I did. Eating at life like moments are niblets of corn or something more nutritious. Making myself quite edible in more than a snack food sort of way. With these blades. Some sort of surgical prayer rising up out of my subconscious.

Sometimes I want to use the PlayStation as little as possible, preferring to control our viewing experience with my phone. Suddenly receiving a flashback of Rainbow 6 on Nintendo 64 wherein I am storming through a garage entrance with a shotgun wielding Burke, towards floats or sets within an indoor theme park.

Green poo = Starvation poo

Me being quite possibly the worst person I’ve ever been around, I imagine her thinking.

My children being more technologically advanced than me. Me being unable to hide myself from them. I am bibles’ doomed walk towards success.

Do you think that I will ever get a grip on my sleep schedule though?

Remotes having always been magical devices, like wands of special purpose, the phone being more advanced than any I’ve ever seen before. Keystrokes monitored by Google creating writing machines of the future, combining the styles of us, the current greatest, with the efficiency of them, more than we can fathom.

I have a hard time sleeping until I am alone in our queen sized bed with our small to medium sized dog. You wriggle and squirm enough, and keep your eyes closed, and you might fall asleep at some point. In my dreams I’m looking for nutritious, delicious, juicy content.

Spill your deets, I say. About shy girls, Penelope, Subtransience, film school. The dog sitting on his pillow. Expansive lift operator. Janitorial service working on the building next door, taking trash out, sweeping the leaves. Look at us now though, wandering, floundering, struggling for existence.

No way am I sharing that with you! I mumble, turning. That’s my super secret public journal.

I release certain expectations which fall from me like overstuffed cutlery out the sleeves of some pilfering servant. These are incomplete, these chronicles. They don’t need to necessarily change with the times, but they are broken up here, shattered. How to heal myself the old fashion way, alone. Or better shall I say, on my own. It my shadow plus my form, how long the University fence line.

I refuse to feel guilty for utilizing any of the explorative techniques required when undertaking a mass work. Aren’t you more concerned with telling a great story? I ask myself, walking the dog down the street after having made him wait longer than any dog should and what, just cause I get tired after work?

It’s just like one thing after another, always having to be done. We have groups, people we sit with at school, during lunch, in the cafeteria, at recess, in class. I wonder if you still enjoy my company.

I find it generally better to be early rather than late. Though I am a grand procrastinator, tired of the percentage of them on all fronts walking to work in the black cloak of mind your own expectations of thunderstorms later, dude. Not running this time because I gave myself like almost an hour to get there. Down or up Flushing. Remember that time the toilet clogged? Remember that one kid in Seattle called Kurt Cobain?

Cookies, pretzels, gummy bears, and Project Runway. I hope my thyroid doesn’t blow up. TD Bank commercials are offensive. The volume levels are different for each commercial. New movie coming out called Amityville the Awakening. A house may be too big for us, being that all we ever do is lie in bed.

The dog goes back in his kennel. Look at how many more nights we’ve got to spend with him and all because we chose to rescue him on his voyage down the river Styx.

I take him out to the bathroom. There is a Marching Band parading up the other side of the street. He is so excited. His tail wagging ecstatically. He looks like he is smiling. His eyes are wide open.

Do you like that music? asks a woman passing us on the sidewalk.

I really think that he does. He’s had music with him his whole life. Playing over the Bluetooth, but it is rare for him to get a live performance like this.

First Day Off After So Many

I wake up hungry for the e-cigarette. It’s so hot again, the single air conditioner running. The dog asleep on the floor. Mr. Blue Sky playing. My back hurting, as always.

I’m looking today for a way of keeping peace. Checking Twitter again to remind myself that my idolized contemporaries consider killing themselves, life doling out despair regardless of reward.

I compile the laundry to take to the laundromat, my hair pulled back with a hair band.

It will be ready Thursday, says the woman at the counter, charging me an extra two fifty again not to dry certain things.

The streets are crazy with bulldozers and big trucks backing up onto the sidewalk.

A black man driving an Uber waves two Hassidic men away from trying to pass in front of him. Two white girls are in his back seat.

Returning to the apartment, I slip past my landlord, avoiding a conversation about our air conditioner.

I’m sweating profusely as I write this, one sentence forming the next. Call it the succession of thought. The success simply following an undertaking of the act, so long at least as my mind is properly tuned enough to be turning out the thoughts loudly and clearly enough to be considered while my fingers type constructed their containers, capturing and amplifying whatever it is my conscience or subconscious is whispering. You’ve got to be a real quick draw McGraw in this game. A gunslinger. Quick enough to allow contemplation because the brain is segmented into portions, making a person feel like two people, the one with the monologue and the one who is recording it. Don’t even get me started on dialogue. My little keyboard with me wherever I go. May I still call it a typewriter? Will you still follow me even if it is a phone? You can call it a word processor. A little thought collector, like that thing in Ghostbusters. An observation station.

Being so hungry, I clean out an old cereal bowl and pour Cinnamon Puffins Kix mix into it. I will paint you a painting on the back of one of the boxes for five dollars a month. Just put in the notes a special request for either the Kix or the Puffins box, and give me your address. I promise I won’t stalk you.

There’s me selling again… How is a person supposed to make of themselves good in a world where I find the goodness existing beneath the grime of dirty dishes, the laundry, the floor. I see these practical truths yet I still hold onto the big other. The music playing through Youtube on the television streaming into the room. I try so desperately to maintain the figment I swear the particle notes are clinging to.

How would Celine handle a situation like this? What does ‘S’ mean to you? I am allowed to ask that question and spend my whole life’s work trying to figure it out and how to best myself for the asking of it. Because I am a writer.


theleoisallinthemind: From California, Pennsylvania Ross Mantle

I buy a plunger from the Asian owned superstore. It is a little out of my way home from work, but it has to be done. There are two to choose from. One costs 3.50 and the other is 2.50. The 3.50 one is black and the 2.50 one is red. I try them both against the store’s stone floor and choose to go with the black one because it appears to have more suction.

I unclog the toilet when I get home. Musette had to poo too before she went to work. I am presented with another opportunity of viewing her poo. She has squirted toilet bowl cleaner over the entire puddle pile of mess. It is a strange smell, especially after I plunge it down, there being leftover brown particle stuff sticking to the toilet bowl.

Musette comes home and we watch ScreenRant movie easter eggs and mistakes. I give the dog a heartworm pill wrapped in Blueberry cream cheese. After the ScreenRant stuff, we start watching The X-Files. I had originally started playing The Fall, a Netflix original series starring Gillian Anderson, but Musette reminded me that we have to get through all of the X-Files episodes before the new ones come out.

It’s hot in here, so we turn on the air conditioner, subtitles being the greatest tool to increasing speed reading this world has ever seen.

We’re eating barbecue ridged chips and pepperoncini ones but they’re not filling us up, so I boil some linguine noodles and Musette makes spaghetti sauce out of a sauce packet and a can of tomato paste that I have no idea what to do with.

She’s pulling out her hair, looking up information on UTA Trax. I would just rather probably not think about the stresses of life, I think right now, as she’s turning on the shower for us to wash her hair.

I don’t want to go back to work. My nerves resurfacing, boiling in my blood. I don’t want to die either. I’d prefer to come more fully alive, with a greater handle on life.

I’m certainly not as content as I could be but things could be worse.

We return to the bedroom, X-Files still running in the background. I try reading Celine, having pretty much stopped reading Infinite Jest entirely now that I no longer am taking the train to work.

I’ve had such a difficult time reading while watching television recently. It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to be able to kill two birds with one stone. It doesn’t help that I have Musette lying next to me, naked, getting anxious that I’m not participating in her life experience with her.

She looks tortured by the situation. I tell myself that we don’t owe The X-Files anything. There is no law in place that states they have to own our entire night. It’s not a rule that we have to rush through these episodes before the new season comes out.

I want to live The X-Files. I want us to be Mulder and Scully, but I can’t imagine being a police officer. I’ve said this before. I could very well die or kill somebody in an improper fashion. I’m one of those types to die early and without much fanfare in a war, accidentally shooting a squad mate or stepping on a mine, knifed when the enemy storms in.

It’s probably best to stick to literature. I am blessed in that realm. I’ve got special agent status here. Always on the case. Working on a breakthrough in this Secret Special Notebook of mine, some way through these meaty barriers of thought I’ve got set up. Lightweight. Light as lace. Kerouacian Lightness. Aiming for lightness in all of my movements, even if that means putting my keys in my left pocket and my phone in my right. Letting go of the machine for moments until it feels as natural as sending text messages to friends. Distancing myself for hopes of a better connection.

The art of making an ello post without ello to lure then my possession into my obsession. A social network of myself, the truth being my weapon, reaching as many people as I can. Planning my next move by my successes.

These bigger pieces hit like Cadillacs, that’s what Ulric always says, it being one of his catchphrases.

The continuous act of writing, that’s why I don’t like the idea of selling individual stories to the presses. That idea of picking and choosing.

As if it’s possible that I could die tomorrow or the next moment from now. The act of continuing being good enough for me. Doing good work, working, and reworking.

I orgasm by rubbing my penis against my wife’s thigh, whom I can’t believe is my wife sometimes. Little Miss Obama shirt. My little Scully.

She places an order for Amazon Now. In the order are Clif Bars, macaroni, some soap, some Chips Ahoy, and some pretzel sticks.

The order is supposed to come between ten and twelve. I put my clothes on at 9:50, but the order doesn’t arrive until twelve thirty.

Musette is fast asleep by then.

I am upset at having my porn watching opportunities so seriously cut into, so I masturbate twice in a row to make up for the lost time.

This would have affected me a lot more back when I believed that the number of times a person masturbated in a day changed their physiognomy and personality, thinking it was like some sort of slot machine wheel, spinning, revolving around different character traits, like, one time was a refresher, two reverted you to who you were yesterday, and three turned you into some sort of tomorrow creature.

It got complicated after three, nine having been such an important number to me back then, me being so disappointed when my record stopped at seven.

I still don’t know what that means for me, seven. Maybe it’s why I’m so likely to die early in war. Maybe it’s why I’m still alive.



Musette wants me to take the bus. I tell her that I am more comfortable with the subway, having studied it for two days now. She is adamant though, so I end up complying.

Before leaving, I take a poop that clogs the toilet. There is one little niblet of corn floating in the stinky puddle. It passed right through me. Can one really say that is lightness? Sending something directly through your body without it even touching your guts. Taking nothing from it. Is that healthy living in God’s eyes? Is that perfection? Is there no such thing as graceful nourishment? Is this the righteous means of feeding my flock? Acting like some lifeless tube, cleaned out and dead as plastic. Would the lord not rather have of you to eat the meals of mine flesh, the meat of a higher level?

I tell Musette about the clog. She tries helping me. There is no way of avoiding her seeing my feces. I saw her poop the other day. It was green. A starvation poop.

We have no plunger. The more we flush, the more of the log becomes visible.

It doesn’t go down. We have to leave. She is coming with me to the bus stop. We bring the dog as well. He has to go out at some point. Two birds with one stone. My little flock of morning doves.

We watch the bus leave as the dog is pooping.

The bus is not on schedule. It is either early or late.

It gets stuck in traffic, still sitting there after the dog has finished.

You could probably make it, Musette says.

I give her the leash and start rushing towards the bus but it takes off as I’m approaching.

I didn’t give myself enough time for missed busses.

Musette asks if I want to run.

What choice do I have? I say, angrily, beginning, the course of which Google says is a forty-five minute walk, having twenty minutes to get there. It is more running than I can handle. I have to take frequent breaks to prevent my heart from exploding.

I do, however, arrive in time, sweating profusely, wiping my face with my cardigan, the sweat unstoppable.

I call Musette and tell her that I made it, my phone drenched against my face as I hold it against my head.

Musette apologizes for telling me to take the bus but tells me that I should have looked up the schedule on my phone before leaving the apartment.

The bus was not on time, I tell her.

You should never plan for the last bus, she says.

I ask her if she got the toilet to flush.

She tells me that she couldn’t.

I start the opening procedure for the shop. Linda is not here. I want to rinse my face off in the bathroom before she arrives.

Opening the door to the building, I find the keys missing from the lock box.

Linda told me this might happen. I have no choice but to call her.

I’m still sweating like crazy and my cardigan looks like a used gym towel.

Linda arrives, apologizing for the missing keys. She opens the store. I’m very embarrassed about my appearance and possible smell. My hair is very grimy and my eyes are red.

Linda says nothing to me about my smell and appearance, but while setting up the store she tells me that today is the first day of the 2 o’clock kids’ suspension school session. She also tells me that Ulric is going to a state government facility to renew his street vendor license, which is good to have, she says, in case the store fails.

He’s got to take a number, and he’ll probably be waiting hours in line.

She says it’s worse than the DMV.

This means that I probably won’t be seeing him today, which I am happy about because he intimidates me. I’m not going to lie. This store is one of his passion projects. I am involved in one of his pieces. The 2 o’clock kids want to damage me, throw paint at my face. The Demise of the Infallible.

childmagazine: Grey Hutton

Linda goes down to the shop’s basement and is there for most of the day. She can see me on camera and she comes up whenever the store has a customer in it. I am alone but my head is in a bad place. That poop in the toilet is really doing a ditty on me. I’ve got clogged plumbing. Nothing is being washed down. My qi is not flowing.

Somebody comes in looking for a grinder. He knocks over a box of thin glass pipes as he’s pointing to the one he wants.

They hit the ground and many of them shatter.

I tell him that it’s okay but as he’s getting ready to leave I tell him to hold on while I get Linda.

Linda comes up and asks if he can pay ten dollars.

He complies and she cleans up the mess.

She tells me that something like that has never happened.

It must be the clogged qi.

sakrogoat: Josef Mandl

Just around right before 2 o’clock a young black kid comes in wearing a backpack asking for Henessy. I tell him that we don’t have any Henessy. He looks around the store, confused, and leaves without saying anything.

There is a liquor store across the street. He must have gotten confused. I am concerned that I didn’t lock the door fast enough. I rush up and lock it.

Linda comes up. She tells me that she is going to try and find the school’s principal to talk to him/her about attaching a police escort to the kids.

I worry for her safety, but she’s the boss – sort of…

While she’s gone, I see no students.

She arrives back safely and tells me that the principal was not there.

That’s weird for the first day of school, I say.

She tells me that she watched the kids. They were being let out in segments.

It looks like they are being diverted away from the store, she says.

We unlock the door at two twenty.

It starts raining so I reel in the awning.

There is a broken neon sign on the store’s window which Linda is supposed to fix but she doesn’t want to because of the rain.

She goes to the bank instead.

Remember to pay yourself out, she says before leaving. It should be forty-five dollars. And give yourself a five dollar tip for all the work you put in the last couple of days.

I go through my closing procedure and realize that she was wrong in her math. I should be getting fifty four dollars plus the five dollar tip.

I call her and tell her this. She tells me that she will need to brush up on her multiplication.

Hank arrives. It makes me anxious. Counting the till, I find it to be twelve dollars off. I don’t understand how tills are always off.

Hurrying to get out, I almost forget my charger.

Walking home, I worry that I didn’t logout of Google. I worry about what Hank would do if he had access to my account. I can’t imagine everybody at the store reading what I’m writing about them.

Labor Night


Panzer IV en africa

Musette calls. She asks me what’s wrong. I tell her that nothing is wrong. All is well.

She asks me how work went.

I tell her that it went fine.

She goes underground.

I can hardly hear you, she says. Speak up!

Did you find out how much they pay!? she asks.

I tell her that it is nine dollars.

She is not pleased.

I tell her that it is all under the table.

She says that nine dollars untaxed is like ten dollars taxed.

So, I guess that’s okay, she says.  

Walking the dog to pick her up, the sound of morning doves makes me want to pull out my shotgun. But my shotgun is back in Utah, in the basement of my family house. I don’t remember what it looks like.

Musette is cranky when she gets off the train. She asks me if there are any donuts left at the house and if they are any good still. I tell her that we have one or two left but that they are no longer any good.

I tried eating them as fast as I could, but I couldn’t eat them all. I already ate all of our favorites.

She tells me that she will soften them in the microwave.

There is really only one left.

We watch a documentary of Saturday Night Live directed by James Franco. My asshole is itching and stinking on Jef, the cheap plastic Ikea seat. Musette is asleep to my right. The room is dark. Light is emanating brightly from the computer screen. I’m typing loudly but can’t hear it because I have Slavonic Dances playing through my earbuds.

Musette has to wake up in, like, five hours.

I look up images of Penelope, my wife, my true wife, and it seems she has fled, as deeply transformed into the internet, hiding, and transfiguring herself as much as I have. She may no longer care for me as much as I care for her. The person I care for may not even be her anymore. Her spirit may have left her form and taken residence in my mind.

I figure I can at least try going to sleep, my crookneck aching in concentration. At some point I have to deny my urge to write and stew in my thoughts, experiencing a loud, personal symphony of myself all to myself, never louder and more clearly concise then at these moments of course.