ODE TO THE MOSQUITO

How can such a little thing
Be so damn annoying?
Flying round my arms and legs
It’s bothersome and cloying.

Who would think that little guy
Could be such a bloody sucker?
When he sticks his fangs in me
I scream “You Motherf*#+er!”

Go away, you vile thing
I’ll swat you with a stick.
You’re not welcome in my home
You nasty little prick!

You get me every time I’m out;
My blood is extra sweet.
Come and get me, little twit!
Tonight I’m packing DEET!

The end. 🦟

NAR © 2022

TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE

This is one job I would suck at!

Worker bees are the laborers of the behive. They are all female (figures!) and do not breed (fuck that!).

Their jobs include collecting the pollen and nectar, defending the hive, feeding the queen, drones and larvae, and making the wax (is that all?).

Because they work so hard during the busy season, a summertime worker bee will live for only about six weeks. Six weeks!! Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise.

Worker bees have a stinger but they can only sting mammals once and then they die (oh, the humanity!). They can, however, sting other insects over and over again to protect the hive (hell, yeah!).

That’s the only fun part! Die, bitches!! 🐝 😎

NAR © 2021

OH, YE WHO CANNOT COMMIT

I’ve got little patience, I know that it’s true
For people who say “Sure, I’ll do it!
I’ve lots on my plate but this I can do!”
And they never do nothing but shit.

They sign up for that, they sign up for this
With the best of intentions behind it,
But the deadline they always just happen to miss
And they never do nothing but shit.

I talked with a woman a few months back
Who said she liked writing quit a bit.
I gave her the name of a person to contact.
She never wrote back; she was all full of shit.

Then there’s the school coach who wears many hats;
From one sport to the other he’ll flit.
He promised to buy all the baseballs and bats
But in the end he did nothing but shit.

A friend said he’d come over to move my piano;
I took off the front door so it would fit.
The hours went by and my friend was a no-show.
Turns out he was worthless as shit.

My cousin said she would do Christmas dinner;
A stressful undertaking, I freely admit.
We all did our share, Mom’s pie was a winner
But my cousin forgot; she did nothing but shit.

The kids in our school rehearsed for the play;
The secretary said she would schedule it.
A lot of other things seemed to get in her way
And you guessed it; she didn’t do shit.

‘Twas the big wedding day for my sister Doris;
The guests looking ’round for someplace to sit.
But something went terribly wrong at the florist;
There were no lovely flowers. The wedding was shit.

My daughter-in-law joined a poetry group;
Every week she wrote poems to submit.
Soon the size of the group started to droop
And after a while it all turned to shit.

We hired a fellow to paint our new house;
The bright yellow color didn’t suit it.
He bought the wrong paint; it’s called “Dead Grey Mouse”;
Now our house just looks like a pile of shit.

There’s always that loud sloppy drunk at the bar
Who promised his wife he would quit.
He’s done this too often; he’s gone way too far,
But he’s wasted and gives not a shit.

I have a good friend who is constantly late
And I really don’t know how she does it.
She’s never on time for a meeting or date.
We’re all waiting but it doesn’t mean shit.

The guy next door lost another great job
And he swears that he didn’t deserve it.
Well, everyone knows he’s a big lazy blob;
He’s a loser and he’s useless as shit.

Folks love to say when you’re part of a team
You must do your fair share and get with it.
So I work my ass off and it just makes me scream:
“I’m the only one who gives half a shit!”

We placed an advertisement in our local newspaper:
“Free Christmas tree. Brand new. We can’t use it.”
A woman called: “Put it aside and I’ll take her!”
We waited till midnight; she was just full of shit.

I drove my dear friend to the store for a gift.
Her car had a flat; she couldn’t drive it.
“I’ll pay for the parking as a thanks for the lift.”
But didn’t because she was all full of shit.

Why can’t some people just do what they say?
Why’s it always so hard to commit?
Well, you know what? At the end of the day
I guess they were all full of shit.

NAR © 2020

A LITTLE RAY OF LIGHT

It was a blazing hot day in August of 1971. Sweaty air conditioners were working overtime, filling the streets of Manhattan with an unrelenting drone. I was in the elevator of my apartment building having just returned from physical therapy. There were four other people in the elevator – an exterminator, a mid-twenties hippie chick I knew only as “Rain”, elderly and bitter Abe Samuelson and a very pregnant Asian woman I didn’t know. Abe made a point of moving away from the Asian woman, spitting out the words “savage gooks!” Abe usually wisecracked about my missing arm but today his vitriol was directed elsewhere. Ignorant man. 

The doors closed and we began our slow ascent. Old buildings, temperamental elevators and a heatwave – a bad combination. Somewhere between floors 3 and 4 the elevator jolted to a stop. Before Abe could utter a curse word the elevator churned back to life, coughed a bit and stopped again with an ominous screech. Except for a few groans no one said anything. I pushed the alarm button and reached for the elevator’s emergency phone. Halfway through my call the electricity went out, the AC shut off and my phone connection died. Blackness engulfed us and it started getting uncomfortably warm. 

Abe started cursing and banging the walls, all the while ranting “goddamn fucking dinks – I hate them!” The exterminator was praying in what sounded like Haitian Creole and Rain softly hummed “Let It Be”. I tried unsuccessfully to pry open the doors and reminded everyone that at least part of our emergency call went through so help had to be coming. It was then that I became aware of low guttural moans coming from the Asian woman and in Vietnamese she gasped that the baby was coming. 

I asked exterminator man if he had a flashlight, which he did. Turning it on he handed it to me and everyone calmed down a bit. Amazing what a little ray of light can do. The pregnant woman eased herself onto the floor; I told her I understood Vietnamese from my days as a medic in Nam. I said my name was Jack; her name was Thanh. We talked softly as Abe carried on about his son who died in Vietnam – “And for what?? This trash??” he screamed. The exterminator became more agitated and Rain sat by him holding his hand. 

Thanh told me she married an American soldier in early November 1970 and he brought her back to live in the U.S. with his parents. After two weeks he returned to Vietnam; he was killed November 21st in Operation Ivory Coast. Thanh soon learned she was pregnant. Relations with her in-laws became strained and she moved in here with her cousin. As we sat quietly I thought of that November day. I remembered a soldier flung himself on me as I worked in the MASH unit. He was blown to bits while I only lost my arm. Could that have been Thanh’s husband? 

Suddenly Abe stood up and screamed racial slurs at Thanh. The exterminator sobbed while Rain sang to calm him. I yelled for everyone to “shut up!” And that’s when we heard faint voices. 

“Anyone in there?” 

“Roger that! We’re down here!” I shouted and was rewarded with a resounding “HUA!” 

Haltingly the doors were pried open and a rescue ladder was lowered into the elevator.

“The pregnant lady first.”

Gingerly Thanh made her way up the ladder and was rushed to the hospital. The rest of us climbed to safety.

Call it crazy intuition but I had to get to Tranh

NAR © 2020

THE GRAND OPENING

“Looked only! Didn’t touch!” wailed Eddie, the dishwasher at the Q.E.D. Lounge. The waitstaff came running into the kitchen upon hearing a crash. Shattered crystal covered the kitchen floor – the new shipment of assorted glasses for the lounge’s grand opening. 

Eddie huddled in the corner wiping his runny nose on the sleeve of his sweatshirt, whimpering like a frightened boy. Due to that one decisive extra chromosome, Eddie was very much like a child – a 30 year old man with the mind of an eight year old. Just a little thing called Down Syndrome. Eddie’s brother Jay, the maitre d’, crouched down next to him while everyone stood in stunned silence. 

“Bud, accidents happen. It’s gonna be ok” Jay said calmly. “C’mon. We’ll help you clean up.” 

Without hesitation the crew grabbed brooms and dust pans – everyone except Lou, the belligerent bartender. 

“Don’t look at me. I ain’t helping!” snarled Lou. “It was that Goddamn retard’s fault. He shouldn’t even be around normal people, fucking mongoloid!” 

Jay clenched his fists, eyes glaring at Lou.” Shut your filthy mouth, you miserable son of a bitch! Don’t ever talk about my brother like that!” 

Martin Byrnes, manager of the Q.E.D., stormed into the kitchen. “What the hell’s going on?!” Slowly he looked around, taking in the whole scene.  Martin asked everyone to leave except Eddie, Jay and Lou. 

Martin spoke softly. “Eddie, I’m not mad. The way you help out here represents everything that’s good in this angry world of ours. Can you tell me what happened?” 

Eddie glanced over at Lou then shook his head ‘no’

“Mr. Byrnes is real good to us, Eddie. He deserves the truth” Jay added encouragingly. 

Eddie sniffled and rubbed is swollen eyes. “I saw all the boxes so I went to look at them but I didn’t touch them, cross my heart. Lou, he came in the back door and pushed me into the boxes and they fell.” 

“You lying freak!” yelled Lou. “I was out back chasing that tramp who’s always looking for a handout. Eddie’s mangy mutt was there and he tore a hole in my pants cuff!” 

“Yeah, after you kicked him, I’m sure” declared Jay.  

“Ok, Lou. What happened when you came back into the kitchen?” asked Martin. “Were you so ticked off at the dog that maybe you bumped into Eddie?” 

“Look, Mr. B. I’m telling you I didn’t do nothing” sneered Lou. “Who you gonna believe?” 

“Alright. What’s done is done” sighed Martin. “Jay, you and Eddie finish cleaning up in here. Lou, go down to the basement and bring up whatever glasses you can find. We’re opening tonight as planned.” 

Disgruntled, Lou headed for the basement. He remembered a prior shipment of glasses that Martin didn’t like. Rather than return them they were put in storage. And there they were, two towers of boxes at least six feet fall. 

“Why am I stuck doing this shit job? Where’s that lazy spic busboy?” Lou grumbled. He walked to the delivery entrance and shouted “Hey, Manuel! Get in here!”  

Manuel didn’t answer Lou’s command;  Eddie’s ‘mangy mutt’ did and he growled, hurt by the kick in his ribs from Lou’s patent leather shoe. The dog inched closer, baring his sharp canines.

Lou backed up as fast as he could but not fast enough. The dog sank his teeth into the bartender’s calf and wouldn’t let go. He meant business and was out for revenge … for himself and for Eddie. 

Lou was thrust into the stacks of boxes, splintered wood and jagged glass crashing down on him. As a final coup de grâce, Eddie’s dog lifted his hind leg, pissed on Lou and trotted out the door. 

NAR © 2020

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

“Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory” the robotic voice of the automated answering system at Titan Industries politely instructed me. 

Neville Carter” I replied. For some reason I always felt silly talking to robo machines. 

“Devil Carter. One moment please.” 

Before I could repeat the correct name I heard a click and the on-hold background music started – a dramatic instrumental arrangement of Climb Every Mountain. About two minutes later the music stopped. 

Click.

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Devil Carter. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

I cleared my throat. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get that. Say the same of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

NEVILLE CARTER” I annunciated as clearly as possible.

“One moment while I try that party.” 

Click. Classical music.

Ok” I said to myself. “Hopefully we’ll get it right this time.” 

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Neville Carver. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

CARTER. NOT CARVER” I said slowly and loudly. I was getting impatient. 

“One moment please. 

Click. Jazz music. 

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Carter Not Carver. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

“What the freaking hell! This is ridiculous!” I bellowed into the phone, all the while hearing the same monotonous speech in the background. In complete exasperation I hung up. Then I had an idea: if I call back and press “O” for operator I might actually get a real live person. 

Here goes nothing” I thought as I dialed the number. One ring, two rings. 

Upon connecting I immediately pushed “O” while gleefully shouting “Take that, you robotic bitch!” 

Then I heard the most beautiful words ever – “Titan Industries. How may I help you?”  

“Neville Carter, please” I requested. 

“Right away, sir.” 

One ring. Two. Three. I started feeling nervous. Finally my call was answered: “You have reached the office of Neville Carter. Your call is very important to us. We are experiencing extremely high caller volume. You are currently caller number 17. Your wait time is approximately 90 minutes. You may continue to wait or call back at a more convenient time.” 

Click. Country music. 

Damn insufferable machines! I decided to go to Titan Industries in person. I stowed my dog eared copy of How To Make Friends and Influence People into my backpack and headed for the train. 

Finding a seat, I took out my beloved book. The train started then stopped. The lights went out and a recorded message crackled through the speakers: 

“Attention passengers. Due to mechanical difficulties all service is indefinitely delayed. We apologize for this inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.” 

“WONDERFUL!! JUST FUCKING BLOODY WONDERFUL!!” I screamed into the darkness. 

NAR © 2020

THAT SUMMER’S DAY

The first summer vacation we had with our two small boys was a week at the Ocean Surf in Montauk NY – the perfect family place with a large swimming pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. A few rickety wooden steps led to the beach and the pool was right outside the rooms so the kids were always within sight.

Everyone was very friendly except for one Scandinavian-looking family. Their little boy played with the other kids but he would frequently glance over at his parents – loners who drank vodka by day and argued by night.

The week was fabulous and we returned the following summer. The Ocean Surf had not changed and many of the same people were there, even the Scandinavian family but this time the father was absent and the mother looked haggard.

One day the mother emerged from her room carrying a colorful inflatable raft. She told her son she was going for a float in the ocean and to stay with the other kids by the pool. We said we’d keep an eye on the boy and she murmured her thanks.

As the children played the boy would occasionally look toward the ocean where his mother floated, plainly visible in her raft. Some time later the boy jumped up yelling “Hvor er mamma?! Where’s my mom?!” She had disappeared. The boy became frantic and ran toward the beach. Families followed, scouring the ocean with binoculars. Life guards, police and the Coast Guard searched until dark when the quest was postponed until morning. Jeff and Nina Morgan, the hotel owners, consoled the boy and watched him overnight.

At dawn the search began again and the vibrant raft was found washed ashore.  Boaters were questioned and a helicopter surveyed the ocean with no luck. The mission was halted. When the police talked to the boy he tearfully explained that his dad was gone and his mom was very sad. We all had the same thought: suicide.

The boy told the police his name and address; a phone call resolved unanswered questions. The father abused his wife and son. Several  months ago the father beat the boy terribly. To save her son the mother bashed the father over the head with a fireplace poker, killing him. A quick verdict of innocent was delivered and all charges were dropped. The boy said his mother longed for the healing waters of Montauk. Family court discovered the boy had no living relatives and granted custody to the Morgans.

That was a dreadful experience for everyone yet most of us returned the next summer, I think in part to check on the boy. We were delighted to see he was physically thriving under the loving care of the Morgans but the psychological scars were still there. He played with the other kids but would often wander down to the water’s edge and stare off into the distance.

Over the next couple of years we returned to the Ocean Surf. We learned the boy’s name was Tobias but the Morgans called him Toby. He adjusted well to his new life although he still walked to the ocean every day to watch the sunrise.

Eventually our one small room at the Ocean Surf became too cramped for the four of us and we began staying at a larger place. Our sons are married now with kids of their own. The Morgans finally retired, Toby got married and he and his wife manage the hotel. Yet he still heeds the call to sit on the beach every morning and watch the sunrise over the ocean.

NAR © 2020

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW

“Grundy, you old son of a bitch! What the hell are you doing here?” exclaimed Ian Simms.

“Same as you, Ian, and your brother, Carter. Attending the reading of your father’s will. May he rest in peace. 

“Carter, look who’s here!” declared Ian to his twin. “It’s the one and only Grundy!”

It’s been a while, Grundy. I can’t even recall the last time I saw you” remarked Carter. 

“I believe it was your sixteenth birthday – the day before your mother deserted your father and shipped both of you off to military school.” 

“You know, Grundy, there was a time when you showed a bit more respect to me and my brother. You used to call me ‘Master Carter’ and my brother ‘Master Ian’ – back when you were my father’s lowly valet.” 

“Yes indeed – when you behaved like the spoiled crowned princes of Palm Springs. I’d say we’re on equal footing now, Carter.” 

“Watch your mouth, old man” snarled Carter. “Remember you were just a servant!” 

Were being the operative word. Here’s your father’s attorney now. Let’s get on with this, shall we?” 

“Good afternoon, everyone. Please be seated. I’m Lester Garrison, Mr. Simms’ attorney, and we’re gathered here today for the reading of his will. All right then, let’s begin.” Garrison cleared his throat: 

• “I, Franklin Theodore Simms, being of sound mind and body declare this to be my last will and testament.

• To my former wife, Gloria Morrow Simms, I leave a dildo so she can go fuck herself. I’m sure she didn’t have the decency to attend today but there was never anything decent about her. 

• To my sons Carter and Ian I leave both the amount of $19.79 which represents the year you were born. Perhaps if you had bothered to call or visit me just one time in the past 24 years the amount would be substantially higher; however that is not the case. You reap what you sow, boys. 

• To the San Diego Zoo I leave $2.5 million dollars because animals are infinitely nicer than humans. 

• The remainder of my estate, all my worldly possessions and $18.5 million dollars I leave to my one true friend – Samuel Grundy. Sam, you were never just my valet; you were my brother. You were the only one who remained when my family abandoned me. And when I became sick, you cared for me, refusing any income. We spent many hours in the garden by the weeping willow tree playing chess, sharing memories, baring our souls. 

• A note to my sons: if you hadn’t been so self-centered you would have known Mr. Grundy’s first name. Instead you treated him like chattel and called him simply ‘Grundy’. Shame on you both! 

• My lawyer already knows that I don’t want a funeral. I’m to be cremated and my ashes buried under the old willow tree where I spent my final days with Samuel Grundy.

• See you at the tree, Sam. The rest of you ingrates can go to hell.”

NAR © 2019

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC)of 24 September 2022, spite

THE BENCH

Grundy sat in his favorite spot: a dilapidated bench on the boardwalk at Coney Island overlooking Brighton Beach. He was celebrating the sixteenth anniversary of his divorce from Cathy, the “Crowned Cunt of Canarsie” as he called her. And he was getting drunk as he did every night. 

His routine never changed. After his shift at McDonald’s, he’d grab a Big Mac, walk across the street to the Liquor Loft, buy a $7.49 bottle of Old Crow Kentucky Bourbon and a pack of Camel cigarettes, then stroll over to his bench and settle in. 

Grundy’s Bench … his home away from home. Well, not literally. Thanks to his cousin Marcy and her husband Phil, he had an actual roof over his head. Grundy was real close to Marcy, growing up together and all, and Phil was as nice as they come, humble but with the bearing of a prince. Grundy lived with them and their three kids and all Marcy asked was for Grundy to cook Sunday dinner for the family. Hell, he’d cook dinner every night for those precious people if he wasn’t always shit-faced after work.   

“Pretty sweet deal” Grundy thought as he took a swig of his Old Crow. “I’m a freaking loser, an embarrassment, yet they treat me with a love I don’t deserve.” He had his own room, a TV and Marcy did his laundry. He mostly kept to himself, getting home late. He had the day shift, breakfast and lunch included. The pay was lousy and so was the food but it beat a blank. 

How the fuck did he end up here? Carl Grundy, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, working in some of the finest restaurants in the world … once one of the best chefs in New York … now a burger flipping drunk in Brooklyn. 

So what happened? Bourbon happened. He wasn’t much of a drinker – an occasional beer – but one night after a particularly ugly argument with Cathy, he surreptitiously chugged a shot of the restaurant’s finest bourbon. It was ambrosia and he had another. Before long it became a ritual, then a habit and finally an addiction. He got caught, fired and the cycle began. Land a new gig, drink their booze, get sacked. Eventually the only job he could get was at Mickey D’s and Old Crow was all he could afford. 

Out of nowhere he recalled the words of some televangelist his mother used to watch: “Your decisions cause your circumstances”. Damn straight! He didn’t even realize he was crying. Well, enough reminiscing for one night. 

Grundy gave his beloved bench a pat and stood up to begin his walk to Phil and Marcy’s. Suddenly he felt a searing pain in his chest and crumbled to the ground.

“Oh, Lord! I’ve made a fine mess of things” Grundy gasped. “I’m hurting and I want to go home. Mom and Dad are waiting for me.”

He died alone that night, his hands still clutching an empty bottle.

NAR © 2019

THE PEPPERMINT TWIST

I had been making eye contact all night with the ridiculously gorgeous bartender at my Christmas party so I was pleased to see her lingering behind after the last guest left. I was captivated by this amazing looking creature. Lustrous dark hair framed her perfect face and caressed her shoulders. Her skin was radiant with a glowing tan and her lips were full, revealing sparking teeth when she smiled. But the most striking feature was her eyes – piercing crystal blue.

She wore high heeled sandals and a short dress of gossamer silver lamé – spaghetti straps, low-scooped neckline and backless – leaving no doubt she was without bra or panties. She was innately arousing and bewitching.

This was my first Christmas party since my divorce. My ex got our Manhattan apartment and I got our Miami condo.

Truthfully, I much prefer Christmas in NY; Miami’s just too damn hot. I made sure everything was perfect – the food, the booze, the waitstaff and, of course, the bartender. She worked independently and was highly recommended by my friend. I could see why. I knew nothing but her first name – Alexandra.   

So now here it was around 2:00 AM; Alexandra and I were alone, the guests and hired help long gone. Sipping my drink, I  looked out the open window at the twinkling Christmas lights on the street below while Alexandra finished up at the bar. 

Join me for a nightcap?” I asked. 

She smiled, poured herself a Smirnoff peppermint vodka and joined me at the window. We stood in silence watching the lights in the distance, the seductive Miami air washing over us. Her hair smelled of gardenias and I impulsively reached out to caress the silken tresses. She leaned into me and I buried my face in her hair, inhaling the intoxicating aroma. 

She turned to me and I cupped her face in my hands, rubbing my thumb slowly across her parted lips. I kissed her deeply, delighting in the sweet taste of peppermint. We silently stared into each other’s eyes as she took a step backwards. Slowly she slid her fingers under the straps of her dress. I watched mesmerized as the shimmering fabric slid to the floor like a wounded butterfly. 

She stood motionless, the amber light from the bar casting provocative shadows across her body. She was exquisite. Stepping over her discarded dress, Alexandra slowly walked toward me. I scooped her up in my arms and carried her to the sofa. She was delicious, the sex incredible, like nothing I ever experienced. 

Afterwards, I reluctantly got up and went to the bar for drinks. Suddenly I felt a searing pain in my head and collapsed, catching a fleeting glimpse of silver lamé. When I finally came to, I had a blinding headache, there was a broken vodka bottle on the floor, my wallet and Rolex were gone and my wall safe was empty. 

That little sexy bitch had pulled off the perfect heist. Merry Fucking Christmas to me! 

NAR © 2018

JUDAS BLUE EYES

Life was good

It was fine

A bit mundane

from time

to time

but fine and dandy

dandy and fine

Never once entered

my contented mind

to look for someone

or

cross a fine line

Who

could be

out there?

I never once

had a care

for a

mesmerizing

intense

blue-eyed

devilish

stare

Smooth

suave

and

sure of himself

Getting caught up

in spite of myself

A

Charming

Sexy

Funny 

Clever 

person

I didn’t know

existed

Ever

Never

I’m savvy

Street-wise

Nobody’s fool

No blinders on

Lady Green Eyes

Always so cool

Drawn to him

Dream of him

Laugh with him

Fun times begin

Really good friends 

That’s it

Nothing more

Though the roar

in my head

and core

screams

“Maybe more!”

Than friends

Exciting

Inviting

Igniting

Skywriting

Delighting

Inciting

private jokes

and

teasing

flirting

What does it matter?

Who are we hurting?

Close friends

Familial blends

All so natural

All so casual

Days

Weeks

Months

Years

Lunches

Dinners

Laughs

No tears

Holidays

Relations

Weddings

Vacations

never foretold of the

inevitable cessation

When did it change?

When did it turn?

I was about

to learn

and

to feel

the burn

of

Lies

Aspersions

Deceptions

Distortions

Evasions

Contortions

Deceptions

Fabrications

Hyperbole

Inaccuracy

Mendacity

Dishonesty

Insincerity

Falsity

Hypocrisy

Duplicity

This ideal

once heaven friend 

Now

Svengali

Machiavellian

Reptilian

Cheater

User

Liar

Abuser

Selfish

Shallow

Manipulative

Hollow

I was a friend

I was a fool 

To the bitter end

an unwitting tool

Too kind

So blind

Edged out

Left behind

Lied to

Why?

Once bitten

Twice shy

One step too far

behind my back

A devious blow 

Did he think

I wouldn’t know?

No

Apology

did

Judas Blue Eyes

see

He didn’t

even care

he was

losing

me

Obtuse and dense

Now past tense

Amazing how

caring

and

sharing

can turn

into hate

Fuck you, my once friend!

Too little too late

NAR © 2018

A LIVING NIGHTMARE

Covered by what felt like a plastic tarp, Stanley Collins tried desperately to figure out where he was and what had happened. All he knew at this moment in time was that he felt colder than ever before. It was claustrophobic and there was something dangling from his toe. But, perhaps the most terrifying realization of all was the fact that he was completely paralyzed. Even his eyes and mouth refused to open but his mind raced on.

Gotta think, gotta think! Why am I here and how did I get here?” 

Suddenly he heard a voice. Was it real or in his head? Stanley’s brain strained to hear – “Ok, let’s see who we have here. A John Doe and Stanley Collins, both for tonight. Damn! Two autopsies. Looks like I’ll be getting home late again. Let’s start with our John Doe.”  

Stanley’s brain screamed frantically “Autopsy?? Wait, I’m alive, I’m alive!!” 

“Think, you fucking jerk!” Stanley’s brain admonished him. “Just calm down, count to ten and think.” Some thoughts starting wriggling around his brain. He remembered working for a used car dealership. What a laugh that was! The entire time he worked there, he never sold a single car and jokingly called himself “the non-commissioned salesman”. Of course, he was fired. 

After that he applied for a job at a casino. He had no experience so the only job he could get was sitting in a back room sorting poker chips by denomination. That turned into a fiasco, too, when he was caught pocketing a couple of $100 chips. “You asshole!” his brained screamed. Fired again AND he had to return the chips! 

Two jobs down the toilet. His wife Betty called him a loser and she was right. 

“But what happened  after that? How did I end up in a refrigerated morgue drawer awaiting an autopsy … and I’m not even dead?! Think, Stanley, think! “  Stanley’s brain raced inside his unmoving, unfeeling head. 

“Wait a second. I remember! Betty kicked me out. I couldn’t get a job. I had no money. I had nothing … nothing but my house key. So while Betty was out I went to the house. All the furniture gone, my clothes weren’t there and all Betty’s things were boxed up. There wasn’t even anything I could pawn! I walked into the kitchen, turned on the gas stove and knelt down, resting my head in the oven. And that’s how Betty found me … dead from gas inhalation. Only I wasn’t dead! The mother of all fuck ups, I couldn’t even do a good job killing myself!”  

Just then Stanley’s drawer was pulled open. He was wheeled to an ice cold metal table, all the while his brain screaming “Wait! Stop! I’m not dead! Can’t you hear me?? “ 

Suddenly the screeching sound of an electric saw jolted Stanley’s brain. He screamed in agony as the saw tore through his chest. Was it his brain screaming? Was he screaming? Could anyone hear him? 

The only sound was the piercing squeal of the saw.  

NAR © 2018

LONG STORY SHORT

Windsor Kelly entered the Washington Square brownstone and walked to the elevator. He tapped his toe impatiently, waiting for it to arrive. Finally the wooden doors opened and he entered, pushing the button for the fifth floor. 

Exiting the elevator, he slowly walked to the staircase, his footsteps echoing through the hall as his shoes made contact with the marble floor. He then climbed four flights of stairs until he reached the ninth floor. He walked to Suite 9D, glancing at the name on the bronze plaque on the door: Dr. Eugene Balthazar, Speech Therapist. He rang the bell before entering, as the sign on the wall indicated, and sat quietly in the waiting room. A few moments later the doctor opened the door to his office, inviting him to have a seat. 

“So tell me, Windsor. Have your been practicing the instructional syllables I demonstrated last week?” 

“Yes, I h-h-have, but i-i-it’s been s-s-six long w-w-weeks and I h-h-haven’t s-s-seen much of a d-d-decrease in the f-f-frequency of my f-f-frustrating s-s-stuttering; h-h-however the vulgarism is m-m-much b-b-better”, stammered Windsor. 

“Well, as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s a process. Keep practicing and I’ll see you next week.” 

Windsor did as instructed and returned the following week. His goulashes made squishy noises as he sloshed through the rain. Closing his umbrella, he entered the brownstone and took the elevator directly to the ninth floor. Again he sat in the waiting room until Dr. Balthazar called him in. 

“Windsor, before we begin I’d like to ask you a question. There are security cameras set up on every floor of this building. I can see everyone enter and use either the stairs or the elevator. I’ve noticed you usually take the elevator to the fifth floor, exit and climb the remaining four flights of stairs to my office .. except on rainy days when you take the elevator directly to the ninth floor. Why is that?” 

“Oh, you noticed that, did you, you little dickwad? Well, shithead, have you noticed that I’m a fucking dwarf .. all Goddamn three feet of me?!?  If you’d pull your noggin out of your ass, you’d realize I can only reach the fifth floor button. But with the tip of my umbrella, I can reach the ninth floor button. Get it, dipshit? Hey! Whatthefuckedness?! I didn’t stutter once! It’s a bloody miracle! I’m outta here, you pompous asshole! Process that!”

NAR © 2018

DOG DAY AFTERNOON

“Windsor, you son on a bitch, get your ass off my lawn! Go on .. get the hell outta here!” 

That was Old Man Jenkins. He and his wife Margaret live next door to us and the source of his rage was none other than our pet bulldog, Windsor. My husband Tom would run out of the house, apologizing profusely. 

“Sorry, Mr. Jenkins! Windsor’s a handful but he’s just playing. He’s really lovable once you get to know him.” 

“Get to know him!? Are you freaking nuts, Peterson? That bastard just crapped on my fruit trees!” 

“Fertilizer, Mr. Jenkins?” Tom suggested sheepishly and dragged Windsor away. 

“FERTILIZER!?! I think you mean shit! 

Hush now, Aaron!” chastised  Margaret. “Using such vulgarism .. why, there’s children next door!” 

“Don’t hush me, Margaret! That damn dog’s a menace! If you can’t control your frigging mutt, Peterson, I’m gonna call the cops. Or maybe I’ll just put a bullet between his beady little eyes.” 

And the kids started crying. 

“Now, Mr. Jenkins, please don’t say that. You’re scaring my kids.” 

“Well, that’s just too damn bad! You solve this problem or I will .. permanently.” 

Tom brought Windsor back inside, promising the kids everything was going to be ok, that Old Man Jenkins was just sputtering angry syllables that he didn’t really mean. 

The next few days we kept Windsor on a short leash. Old Man Jenkins seemed to calm down and busied himself with his fruit trees. 

On Saturday morning Margaret Jenkins approached me in the grocery store. “Thank you, Alice, for keeping Windsor out of our yard. Now Aaron can care for his beloved fruit trees in peace. In fact, he’s been so preoccupied he hasn’t noticed the family of critters living in our wood pile. They’re just so darling, I even named them – Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar!” 

And off she went, chuckling surreptitiously. 

Sitting down to dinner later that day, we suddenly heard Old Man Jenkins yelling at the top of his lungs. We never heard him scream like that before so we knew it had to be something awful. Please .. not Windsor! We raced outside, stopping dead in our tracks: there stood Old Man Jenkins, pricked by at least 100 porcupine quills.

“Excellent aim, Balthazar!” exclaimed Margaret. “Guess he knows you’re just a mean old ‘prick’, Aaron!”

Old Man Jenkins learned a lesson that day: don’t mess with Margaret; she’s one smart cookie!

NAR © 2018

MINDGAMES

Melt away the fears and anxieties in your mind. Feel them liquify and allow them to slowly trickle down your face. Relax as tiny rivulets flow down your neck, shoulders, back, thighs, legs and finally your feet where they silently fall away into the ‘Well of Anxiety and Panic’. Keeping your eyes closed, cover the well, lock it in place trapping your anxieties inside. Inhale. Exhale. Open your eyes and allow the calmness and peace to envelop you.”  

After six long months of listening to my therapist repeat the same litany in her soft, sing-song voice, one would think I was well on my way to living a life free of worry, what-if scenarios, anxiety, panic attacks and Xanax. 

Oh, I have my times of quiet lucidity … weeks of stress-free bliss when I can enjoy a lovely dinner with my husband or a carefree shopping trip in Manhattan. Nights when I fall asleep quickly and easily and wake up refreshed and at peace.  

Then just as I’m getting used to this ineffable comfort zone … WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM!! … the panic machine is back with a vengeance, coming out of nowhere with all the subtlety of an 18 wheeler, taking over my life for days upon weeks upon months only to suddenly, spontaneously run out of gas and coast away down the road leaving me in a safe haven until it reaches a rest stop where it can take a break and refill its gas tank for the next assault. 

It’s a cesspool of WHAT THE FUCKEDNESS, the grasping, squeezing dragging down quicksand of FUCKEDUPEDNESS! 

Some Einstein once said “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant.” 

Note to self: read it daily: 

MIND. Noun: a beautiful servant; a dangerous master

NAR © 2017