Defeated Part II

Best if read after Part I

I’m not certain at what exact time the car decided to break as the clock in the dashboard had been reset nine months ago when the alternator had gone out and my aunt and uncle paid for the costly repairs. After the alternator had been replaced, I never bothered to set the clock to the correct time. This was mainly due to the combination that I never have a watch on me and that I rarely drive unless I have an appointment for the vet or something equally as pressing and far away. By the time I usually jump in the car, I only have so many minutes to avoid the decelerating rush-hour roads, not to mention make it to my destination at the designated time. I have become quite adept at looking at my awkwardly placed alarm clock before dashing out the door and then calculating that when my car says “9:45” it really means “3:16”.

According to my car, it was about 4:32 when- without warning- it decided to ruin an otherwise good day. Granted, I had to sit idle for over an hour while I waited in line for emissions testing, but the car had passed with flying colors and I found my excursion a good excuse to stop by Home Depot and find a solution for keeping crows out of my tomatoes. Armed with my giant roll of “BirdBlock”, I found myself to be so happy that I didn’t mind the sluggish late morning Saturday traffic. As I came to a busy intersection and braked for a light, the car gave a split-second shiver and was then silent. Trying to restart the engine while in the drive gear only resulted in the “service engine” light blinking. “Thanks you little bitch,” I said to the car. “It’s not like you couldn’t have given me a warning before you die, is it?” I set the gears into park and turned the key, rejoicing as the engine jumped to life, only to return to my former state of annoyance when the engine died as soon as I shifted the gears into drive. I tried this over an over again with different gears. Every gear but drive worked. I had no way of powering the car to the side of the road as I was on a slight incline and far from the curb. I momentarily considered attempting to push the car myself as I had done once before when my friend’s shoes were too slippery to grip the black top of Home Depot’s parking lot when my alternator had first given out. However, I soon realized that it would be too dangerous to push the car as everyone around me seemed manically bent on zooming past as they honked and shouted curses out their open windows.

Once traffic stopped around me to wait for the light, I jumped out of the car and ran to the gas station I was in front of. After trying a number of different towing companies that wouldn’t be able to move me for two hours, I finally found one nearby my scene of misfortune who assured me they would be by in a couple of minutes. The small old Asian woman who worked as the gas station attendant asked me where my car was a couple of times. I kept pointing to the street, surprised she couldn’t make out the static white car that everyone cursed and honked at as they drove around it. She squinted her eyes and said nothing, probably still not able to make it out but taking my word that it was out there. In a terribly thick accent that I had a hard time deciphering, she told me that “no ficking tow companany will come for forty-fie minute.” Even if I had known she was right, there was nothing else I could do but wait for them.

As I was assured someone would tow me in a matter of minutes, I stood outside the gas station waiting with relief. When it became clear that they weren’t coming in two minutes and that a surprising majority of drivers couldn’t figure out there was a reason why I had my flashers on, I ran to the car and opened the hood to signify it as broken. Perching myself on the small plastic space in front of the hood, I then continued to wait for the tardy towing company while doing my best to ignore the honks and screams of angry and impatient drivers.

Twenty minutes later, a cop came around to the front of my car where I was perched and peered at me from the side of the open hood. “Waiting for someone?” he asked me in a tone that noted him as sarcastic and disenchanted with the world. He was a relatively tall man with a buzz cut of short, stubbly gray hairs. His skin was a deep red from the Seattle elements and he looked at me with brightly hardened blue eyes. He stood inside what I consider the space bubble that only my boyfriend and good friends are allowed in. I figured as he was a cop I should refrain from giving him a hard time.

“Hi!” I said, happy that someone finally stopped by to see how I was faring rather than screaming a curse at me. “Yeah, I called a towing company. They said they’d be here about twenty minutes ago.”

“Hmmm…” was his reply, as he thought for a moment about something that he was no doubt trained to think over. “Well, I’ll wait here with you for a little bit and if they still don’t show up I’ll help you push your car into that gas station lot as you’re blocking traffic.”

“Thanks a lot,” was all I knew to say. Then, trying to make small talk, I asked, “Did someone report me?”

“Yup. So nice of them to stop by and help you out, wasn’t it?” he said, clearly not excited about North Seattle’s lack of eagerness to be good citizens.

We waited for a minute longer and the cop began to grow increasingly antsy and started to dance around from one foot to the other. If my mind hadn’t been concentrating on how awkward it was to be waiting in the middle of the street with a cop next to me, I might have laughed at how this serious older man was hopping about. “Okay, I’m going to push you in that lot. Just put your car in neutral and let it slid back into mine. I’ll hook you up with that black thing in the front and push you,” he told me after a minute or so of more hopping.

I did as instructed, riding my breaks and letting the car slowly slid towards his. He stood off to the side, red and blue lights painting his face and hands with changing and unnatural colors. His raised hands were held clearly in my view as he coaxed me backwards. He gave me the signal to stop and I felt the car reverberate from impact. Traffic stopped instantly at a wave from his hand, and he jumped effortlessly into his car and started it up. It was only a matter of a minute before he had pushed me completely out of the road and into a niche in the gas station lot that seemed to be made specifically for a broken car. Jumping out to thank him, I noticed how my car seemed like a child that had been yelled and was forced to face the wall for its offence of high mileage.

I must admit, I felt a pang of regret that I was now out of everyone’s hair. The drivers had been so upset with me and my car being in their way, I was disappointed that I wasn’t making their lives miserable any longer. It seemed fitting that I should take the yuppie populated traffic down with me if I was to suffer and not a single cell-phone owning bastard would jump out of their car and help me push mine out of their way or even offer to call a towing company. But at the same time, I was relieved not to have a constant string of curses and honks thrown in my direction. I knew I should have dressed sexy that morning, but little did I know it was for a reason other than so the emissions guys would let me through if I barely passed.

Defeated Part I

High noon found me making my way across a barren landscape of concrete and freeway overpasses, trying my hardest to ignore the fatigued ache that crept into both my back and left knee. Shambling slowly south with a three foot tall roll of “BirdBlock” tucked under my arm, I’m sure I came across as a comical figure. I had no form of music to listen to and the heat was too bothersome to try and jot any notes of my situation down on the crumpled receipts stuffed in my purse, so for entertainment I did what I know best. I thought.

I thought about the events leading up to my situation, and I thought about money. I also thought about how bad my weekend has been so far and that this surely must be the worst part of it. But most of all, I thought about how thirsty I was and tried not to concentrate on the sore dryness of my throat. Too late I realized my mistake in not going into the convenience store and buying something cold to drink. While there, I could have also gotten some money off my debit card and then had them make change so I could catch the bus home. I had known the area to be safe, and I had known where the bus was. But in the end, an uncharacteristic cheapness set in thanks to the large quantity of money I will soon have to spend, so I began walking south towards the U-District and my home. After 1.5 miles of walking, I was about halfway home and began to calculate when I’d soon hit 65th. After a short while, all I could concentrate on was the street and its lovely collection of shops, restaurants and places that will surely have something cold to drink. I then tried to keep myself entertained by thinking about where I was going to get that icy cold blessing only money can buy when away from home. Fortunately for my wallet, I had another half a mile to walk before I reached 65th, by which time I had decided that if I stopped for any reason before I made it to my destination then I’d probably collapse into a chair and not be able to move for an extended amount of time. When I reached 65th, my movements became mechanical and I took to an ant-like method of plodding along. My excessive thinking soon slowed down to a dull silence that was occasionally interrupted by a passing interest in what cold beverages each shop carried.

Though only temporary, I completely stopped thinking about how my car had died in the middle of a busy road just before another very busy road intersected the one I was on. My memories of how I had instantly switched on the flashers and sat in the car vainly attempting to restart it were erased. My thirst, fatigue, and need to be home outweighed what happened by so much that I no longer felt stress or the need to recall crisp images of the recent events. Of course, the crisp images were still there. They were just hiding.

About A Mysterious Organization

It’s amazing what random things get sent to my PO Box. I understand all of the strange vegan/raw food/organic stuff sent by organizations that can’t afford a decent color publication; those are because I have subscribed to various vegetarian magazines in the past and make annual donations to environmental charities. However, this one takes the wheat-free, dairy-free and egg-free cake. Who are these people anyway, and why do they think that I am a part of the “Student Letter Exchange Pen Pal Program”? The last Pen Pal program I had signed up for was over five years ago and it was through some ad in the back of Sassy. Does anyone else remember that now defunct magazine that merged into Teen?

Postcard sent to my PO Box


As a special thank you for participating in our Student Letter Exchange Pen Pal Program, we have arranged for you to receive a FREE one-year subscription to Elle Girl.

Elle Girl is a magazine that offers up a glittering international ambiance and fashion sense to help you become the true fabulous you. Elle Girl is filled with lots of do-it-yourself ideas and other fun stuff for girls searching for a witty, smart alternative to the traditional teen magazine.

We hope you enjoy the magazine.

Student Letter Exchange”

May I Have Your Attention?

Dear People Who Read This:

For the past couple of days I have been under some housing related stress and have experienced a general dissatisfaction with things I’m not really clear about. However, the good news is that in a couple of weeks I will be moving out of the hellhole I currently reside in and into a wonderful and much tinier apartment. When in my new apartment, I will have high speed internet and will no longer need to compete with my boyfriend for the phone line. That means I will have no excuses to not update my website. That also means that during my moving period, I probably won’t be updating my website regularly. Please bear with me in the next couple of weeks.


The Person Who Owns This Site


Well, I lied. I didn’t finish “Hellspeare”, but instead was inspired to write the post below. Not that I really have to apologize since I have one undemanding reader at this point- my boyfriend.

I’ve noticed that lately, everything creative I write is a divergence from my typical style. I’m currently obsessed with experimenting with styles and forms and haven’t written anything using my “typical” form for awhile now. It’s important to continue to test boundaries and then push beyond them as a writer- that’s a big part of how all great things were written. The below style was a sort of chatty, over drawn style that was my attempt to emulate a crowded street. I personally feel that it got its job done, but I also don’t think I like it. It’s not me. Let me know what you think.

P.S. Don’t forget: Message Machine plays today.

Up The Ave

You. I know you. I know your walk, your clothes, your face. I know that you lived a floor below and some thought you were the most perfect person possible. You had a four-point-oh in every class because you studied all day- sometimes you studied too much. You hated your roommate, and so did we all because he lacked social skills and he was Mormon and would walk in peoples’ rooms when they were having sex- or were close to sex. But you weren’t there that year when he invaded three different moments of utmost privacy, moments when his neighbors were twisted into and around their loved ones with faces even more twisted in the blue-tinged darkness of ecstasy. He would stand in the doorway, dumbstruck, awkward as both his Mormon eyes, and those of the lovers, would explode from uncomfortable silences and mutterings stifled only by the darkness of the room. But you weren’t there. Now you are here, smoking your cigarette and walking towards me. You look through my translucently white Seattle skin and take a long drag at the death between your lips as you continue to saunter closer in your khaki pants and button-down shirt. You can’t smoke because some say you’re the most perfect person possible and you were accepted into a school better than ours after one year because you never had a grade under the highest possible. Looking through you in return, I know you’re not you because you would be in Oregon with your family right now, during the summer months, and not here in Washington. Looking through you, I know you don’t smoke. As you walk closer to me, and closer to death, your face transforms slowly, and you are less you and more someone else. I was mistaken, you are not you.

But, you I know. Yes you, in your brightly yellow shirt with the words “Jews for Jesus” stamped across them like some Hitlerian banner. I do know you, because you went to my work one still summer day and harassed me and my manager. You harassed us even though we’re not Jews and she’s for Jesus and I’m for something else that’s not Jesus, but is spiritual like Jesus and Buddha and Zeus. You harassed us because we work for an organization for Jewish college students. All of the Jews were gone so you annoyed us instead. You wouldn’t leave, so we threatened to call the police. Then you left. Instead of through you, I look at you, with the hatred I try to reserve for bad cookie recipes and other not-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-life things. You do not deserve to be looked through, but at. Sadly, you don’t notice because you’re too intent on the old Christian woman who believes what you do is good. I know you, and you are not a Jew for Jesus because such a thing can’t be.

You I don’t know- but I want to. You’re crazy and funny and you don’t like Bush. I am your kindred spirit, flying in a sea of muck and media. But you wave your sign on a college street- a street where fat white men with boats don’t spit on you and yell that you are a rapist because you don’t want innocent people being killed. Maybe you went to the big protests downtown where so many people filling the streets- filling the streets like a custard donut- made it safe for you. But you weren’t there with the small and brave assemblage of aging Hippies rolling a black coffin through the media-inspired hatred and hostility. You weren’t there when they rolled along without anger. I was with those Hippies, but I was not one of them because I yelled back at that man who forced his angry opinions on us like that of a rapist forcing his angry body on a victim. I was so enraged because I knew what being close to rape is like, and he only knew what raping was like. I give you one thumb up. But I do not look through you, or at you, but past you. I have decided I don’t want to know you any longer.

But I’m not sure about you. It’s unnerving having you walk so close behind me while I’m carrying my newly printed copy of The Stranger which protects my two preciously new David Sedaris books from the fresh droplets of gray. It’s even more unnerving having you mutter “Have a happy Friday” with a voice that sounds as nervous as you walk over and over again. How can nervousness spread from every inch of you to me? How can it make you convulse and contract in the manner of a caterpillar? You suddenly walk jarringly quick past me with twitches and jerks and yell to the man getting in his car about a “’68 for sale”. The college boy walking towards us is confused. The man getting in his car is confused. I am concerned. But I’m also not concerned. I’m something else as I secretly watch you, intrigued by how much your body and your voice twitch to the same rhythm. Then you dash across the street towards the beautiful shining Frat bar with its antique brown mirror windows and I think I want to know you.

Nightmare Inducing Fiction

Sorry, there’s nothing creative for you today. I’m working on finishing up the Hellspeare story which has a link (but no page) on my Other Writings section. I hope to get that link up tonight or tomorrow morning, so check back tomorrow to read it.

Two days ago, I mentioned my Beginning Short Story class and how my TA, Ian, made us read some really messed up stories. Some of these stories were so messed up that the majority of the class had nightmares. Here’s my list of these strange pieces of creative short fiction- the end of the scale closest to number one being the strangest/most disturbing of them all for me. If you decide to pursue these stories and read them, have fun and email me your thoughts about them when you’re done.

7. “Initiation” by Viktor Pelevin
6. “Arthur Bond” by William Goyen
5. “House Taken Over” by Julio Cortàzar
4. “Letter to a Young Lady in Paris” by Julio Cortàzar
3. “Blood” by Shelley Jackson
2. “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” by Denis Johnson
1. “A Distant Episode” by Paul Bowles

The best thing of all, is that I accidentally signed up for another class with Ian this fall. I absolutely adored him as an instructor, but I also have this philosophy where I want only one instructor once so I can pick up a variety of ideas about writing. Hopefully, he didn’t tone down his reading selection for this next class- I’m looking forward to reading even stranger works in two months!

P.S. Message Machine is playing a gig near my pad tomorrow. Here’s the details:

Saturday August 23rd 7PM
Earth River Records
4744 University Way, Seattle, WA
FREE, All Ages

Sundrenched Elsewhere

Sunlight. Blinding sunlight. Sunlight so vivid, I cannot distinguish the stop light colors. Is it the red of immobility or the green of motion? So brilliant is this sunlight, that there are no colors, only washed out forms which necessitate squinting in order to understand. The sheen of windshield dirt awakens and dances in a vibrant blaze of white so white it’s black with blindness. The red interior of the car glows with warmth. It grows warmer and warmer, suffocating us- the driver and the passenger.

The sunlight blinds us. It forces us to rely not on our eyes, but our memories. We must recall at exactly where what obstacle falls on our path homeward. A mistake in memory, and we risk smashing to a halt. A correct memory and we continue into the sundrenched path.

I can smell you sunlight. You smell of a hot car, of brown dill, of fresh basil, of Nature’s Gate Shampoo. Underneath, you smell of exhaust, of fast food, of yuppie flowerbeds. Your smells are those of everyday life, but heightened by your heat. You diminish sight, and leave smell times two in its place.

You blind us, but we find our way. You attempt to trick us, but memories tell us you lie about your sundrenched elsewhere.

Bug Winged Animals

This morning I had a dream where my dog and I were kidnapped and two young, rich guys tried to trick me into giving her blue pills. They gave her the first one and it made her really sick. I didn’t want her to swallow the pills, so I instead shoved them down her throat, knowing that the second no one was looking at her, she’d spit them out. The rich guys fell for the act and left us alone until they wanted me to give her another pill. Eventually, I was able to find the bottle where the pills came from which had all natural ingredients labeled on it, the most present being acorn. This relieved me a little bit. However, I still didn’t want my dog taking pills that made her sick, so I continued the façade. Then, a skunk with huge bug-like wings sticking out of its back appeared in the dream and tried to bite me. I soon discovered that the rich guys were doing experiments on animals to get useless bug wings to stick out of their backs. Thankfully, my dog hadn’t swallowed any of the pills so she remained normal. But that still won’t keep me from never wanting to eat another acorn as long as I remember this dream.

Most of my dreams are stranger, and often more frightening, than this one. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I rarely seem to have what I call “normal dreams.” Perhaps there isn’t such a thing, but it sure seems like it to me when I hear others talk about what they dreamed.

One observation that Neil Gaiman made on his website is that it’s hard to take a dream and turn it into a good story because the logic differs from the logic of everyday life- which I also think of as “dream incoherency”. I tend to agree with him in this aspect, especially since you can see that the above dream paragraph didn’t flow as well as it should have. I also have troubles transcribing my dreams because of my habit of “rewriting” them. Often, I’ll start over somewhere in the dream and have a completely different sequence happen afterwards. Once that happens enough times, I’ll easily lose track of what events happened by the time I wake up. Yet, despite the troubles of forming a dream into a coherent piece of writing, I think it would be an interesting experiment for a writer. To be able to take an incoherent story from when your mind was in a lucid state and then turn it into a readable work of fiction would help with fleshing out descriptions and the plot setup, as well as with putting fragmented ideas into story format. Besides, after the Beginning Short Story class I had a year ago, I’ve come to the opinion that many writers do turn dreams- or drug-induced hallucinations- into stories. I’d be scared if the writers my TA had us read wrote their stories while wide awake and sober.

Perhaps I’m Easily Amused

I saw this Saturday evening when walking back home from a satisfying meal at A Taste of India with Tyler, Jeff and Shiori (my former language exchange partner).  I thought it was hilarious and had to take a picture.  I think I’ll call it the “SUVousine” for lack of a better name.