Things in Jars

              Things In Jars   ​I never got married. I’ve been thinking about getting a pup, for some time now. But they seemed like a lot of responsibility. The vet, the food, they would need plenty of exercise. Which I didn’t mind, I liked walks as much as any dog out there, I could promise you that. But I wasn’t always around… No kids.

     ​My shanty house was jam packed with all sorts of experiments. You couldn’t go two feet without happening upon a jar filled with some sort of vegetation or what have you. In the cupboards, all along the counter, lining window sills. The fridge, forget about it, you’d be hard pressed to find something that hadn’t been jarred. My bedroom was where I kept all the red cabbage, red onion, watermelon radishes, or anything else that gave off a pretty vibrant tint. Most nights I didn’t light any candles or turn on any lights. I just let the moon reflect off of those colors.

     ​Some heard this and assumed me to be a recluse, not the case. I understood though, being in the jar world for as long as I had, I’d met recluse a plenty. But I was originally from a bigger city, and although considered myself somewhat of a homebody by bigger city standards, I liked quite a bit going out and about in this little artsy town and mingling with folks. And even though I’d only had those jars to speak of, I’d done fairly well with the women here. Most of them younger, some from bigger cities themselves, they liked my peculiar ways, they were typically earth people. And since I consumed mostly things from jars, I kept my shape and health. And since I wasn’t a recluse, I could still clean up a bit. So it didn’t look all that strange when a lovely young twenty something and myself were strolling about town arm in arm.

     ​I began putting things in jars a while a back, when I was still a twenty something myself, living in a bigger city. I read an article about sourdough bread. They explained the fermenting process, how if one were to just leave water and flour in a jar (or bowl) after some time, yeast in the air would start to eat away at it. And if one periodically replaced some of that mixture with fresh flour and water, after some more time, one would have a base for bread. And that this bread was actually quite good for one’s digestive system, unlike the store-bought varieties. I read this article just as I was getting over a nasty intestinal infection and was looking to make a drastic change in my diet. The next day I found an empty pickle jar and mixed in equal parts of flour and water.

     ​The very thought of a house filled with funky food things in jars might send a shiver down one’s spine, they might think there would be a putrid odor and clutter, bugs all about. Not to pat myself on the back, but I kept a fairly tidy home, all things considered. Yes, there were bugs, but not nearly as much as there could be, it wasn’t as though they were crawling all over the place. I’ve heard one was never out of arm’s reach of a spider, no matter where one might be, spiders were simply masters of hiding in creases and under furniture and such. So, all the jars did was bring out the insects into plain view more than your typical household. A small price to pay, plus jars could make for wonderful home décor when arranged by the proper pair of hands and eyes.

     ​One of the young women I spent time with studied at the nearby college for a time, in the arts. She never finished school but stayed in town, became an earth person. She possessed a real eye for beauty, before I met her, my jars were all over the place, scattered about. During one of her stays, she began to reorganize my jars, without asking. I was skeptical at first; after all, these were my jars. But I knew she was in the arts, and an earth person, so I gave her some leeway. By the day’s end I was astonished; it was as if I was living in a whole different space, all together. The lining of window sills and mantels, designs and placements that had I’d never considered, color and size arrangements that gave my entire house symmetry I didn’t believe to be possible. Even my fridge was organized and beautiful. It was her idea to replace candles and lightbulbs in my room with the most vibrant of the bunch. I would fill more jars and she would find new homes for them amongst the others.

    ​Why wouldn’t one put things in jars? The amount of food that was just thrown away struck me as completely ridiculous. If one didn’t think they were going to consume something in the near future or something was going to rot soon, salt it and put it in a jar, it was so easy. Salt it and submerge it, they’d be astonished as how much longer these things would last, and how delicious they would be! Sure, some things took more time and attention, one would have to carve out some time to make yogurt or kimchi… or mead or miso or beer or cured meats or cheeses or… I’m getting ahead of myself, those things would need more than jars. What I was trying to illustrate is that jars were amazing things to behold, they were alive, they were like family.

    ​Twenty something’s and earth people often times went back to bigger cities. I understood, making it in the arts wasn’t the easiest route. Things in jars get old.

     It was silly really, getting a pup wouldn’t interfere with my lifestyle that much. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t just bring the pup in the car with me, when I was to go on a trip somewhere. A lot of pups liked car rides. I’m sure a pup would have plenty of curiosity over the jars, I would have to mentally prepare myself for a jar or two shattering. That was a little worrisome, since I loved all my jars. Plus, the glass could hurt them. I would certainly have to do some research first, but I didn’t see why they couldn’t consume things from jars, that stuff was good for you… Well, just because it was good for me didn’t necessarily mean it would be good for a pup. The more I weighed the pros and cons, the more a pup seemed like a good deal of trouble. After all, there were only twenty-four hours in a day, and the jars kept me plenty busy.

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Tom Waits Goes Organic

Tom Waits Goes Organic 
The goin is slow and sticky as molasses.                                  Chinamen and Mexicans,               who play soccer with Moroccans, flood the trees and shake the branches.                                         While Americans are elsewhere,    drowning in fructose;                            a competition in whose heart can explode the fastest.

 

The ones that got some give to ‘em.   have already been claimed by the varmints,                                                if you don’t display some patience It’ll taste like cobblestones in your cobbler,                                              with cue balls instead of peaches.

 

Park on grass instead of gravel,       the aisles are all green,                    and while you shop,                        taste while you stock,                          so at least a few are free.                    It’s not convenient truckin’.             and coupons are a waste,          against the breeze, put your mind at ease,                                                      but don’t tell nobody ‘bout this place.

Don’t You Listen?

Don’t You Listen?

 

“I can’t turn my back on him again,” Sal says.

​“Sure you can,” I says, I says “it takes almost no effort.”

Sal gets a little dramatic when he’s drinking, and gets to thinking too much. We’ve been at it for a little while now, so this doesn’t really surprise me all that much. I just pop open another bottle using the bottom of Sal’s lighter and hope to drink past this feelings stage.

​“It’s not a joke, man, all right?” Sal says, he goes, “quit just brushing this off, like he isn’t in need of some help.”

Sal’s a tall skinny guy with glasses and piercings, pencil like in stature, but right now he’s sitting all bent over, like his torso is hanging off of his spine, his hands hanging off his wrists as he holds a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

​“Oh, he’s in need of some help,” I says, I go, “but I’m not helping that fuck, fuck him, guy wants to come here? Piss in my garage? Rip coke in my bathroom with my parents home? He’s a fuckin low life, I’m done with him.”

​“Come on, how long ago was that? How long we’ve known him? Come on,” Sal says.

​“What do you think we’re gonna do? Show him god? Make him quit, he’s not quittin, not anytime soon, probably not never” I go.

​“It’s not like he’s 45 years old, we’re still kids, practically, he’s not a lost cause,” Sal says.

​“Look,” I tell him, I says “take us, for example, yea we like to have a good time,” I scan the room with my hands, “like right now, we can relax, have a good time, but we can control ourselves, him, his thing is a whole other thing, there’s no control there.”

Sal starts to say something, but I cut him off, I says,

​“nobody controls him neither, take that into account. We tried to control him last night, did we not? Guy tries to fight us for trying to take his keys. No controlling that guy, no talking to that guy.”

I point at Sal with that last remark as if saying “I got you there with that one Sallie boy,” and I finish my drink and grab for another, and grab another for Sal, the Sun breaks out from behind the rain clouds for the first time today, momentarily blinding Sal, he reassembles his pencil like stature and goes folding into another seat away from the light.

​“Yea there’s no talking to him when he’s like that, that why we gotta talk to him when he’s sober, you know?” Sal says, he goes, “You should tell him to come over, have a beer and talk things over, get it out in the open.”

​“Sallie, listen to yourself,” I says, I point to the floor with my palms facing outwards towards Sal, “I’m here tellin you the guy has no control, you’re tellin him to come over for a drink, don’t you listen? Don’t you hear me?”

​“Oh Christ, I said just one or two,” Sal says.

Sal finishes his beer and lights up a cigarette, he tosses me his lighter as I do the same, and open two more and pass Sal’s to him. I look out the window for a moment and consider that it might be nice out now, maybe we’ll go out and see in a little bit.

​“One or two,” I says, I go, “guy probably can’t count to one or two anymore, can’t count to six, he fast forwards to twenty, guy’s a loser Sallie, guys not like you or me, can’t have just one or two like us, relax like us, have a few, guys a fuckin loser, I’m done with him.”

We sit in silence for a while, and drink our drinks. I consider what was said, and wonder if I have any more to add, I could go on but I think he gets the point, but I could go on, but I won’t. I finish my drink and pack the empties back into the discarded pack. After I take a leak, I go to retrieve another twelve pack from the fridge in the garage. I smirk as I look at the wall where I found the piss stain from that guy, the stains faded away now, like it was never the there, it disappeared into thin air.

This Is Not A Joke

This is not a joke

   A German and an American are sharing a bunk at a hostel in Southeast Asia. German guy says “wow, Harper Lee died, To Kill a Mockingbird, 89.” The American goes “woah, creepy, she just put out her second book, right?” German guy goes ” yes, 89, To Kill a Mockingbird 61 years ago, 1956.” The American goes “crazy.” The German guy says “she died unexpectedly in her sleep.” The American yawns deeply and goes “oh yea?” The German guy says “Harper Lee was fulle of life right up to her passing, many are saddund by deese neause.” The American is snoring. German guy pulls out an original 1956 copy of To Kill a Mockingbird from his back pocket and says “‘When he was nearly thirteen, my broether Jem got his arm badly broken at de elbow. When it healt and Jem’s fears of never being able…” The American wakes up sweating in the morning after a series of vivid dreams, where he was being tried in a Thai court of law for brushing a lady-boy’s hair with too much gusto and passion for a foreigner. German guy says with tears streaming down his face “He woult be there all night, and he woult be there when Jem waked up in the morning.'” The American goes “phew, so how bout some breakfast?”

 ​ A South Korean, a Russian, and an Englishman are sitting around a sidewalk table at a Mexican restaurant in Southeast Asia. Russian guy says “do they have the oil in North Korea?” English guy goes “don’t know, but we got drinks here, don’t we.” They all burst out laughing and clink their glasses together. A Thai lady selling flowers walks up to their table and holds out a bundle of flowers, English guy says “whas that? Flowers?” Russian guy simply says “no.” The South Korean guy is giddy with anticipation. English guy goes “tell ya wha, maybe come back leightuh when we’re good and drunk, and maybe we’ll buy some flowers.” They all burst out laughing and clink their glasses together. The Thai lady walks away as the laughter dies down. The South Korean guy smiles and says “alcohol,” and they all burst out laughing and clink their glasses together.

 ​ A group of young backpackers from Europe, Australia, and America lounge out in the common area of a hip hostel in Southeast Asia. The European says “have any of you been to the elephant sanctuary? A little expensive, but really worth it, such beautiful animals, this such a beautiful country.” The American says “yea, we have, so cool, so beautiful. Have you taken a cooking class yet? They’re a little expensive, but sooo worth it, I love the food here, so good.” The Australian says “have you been to the night markets yet? The food is so cheap there and soupah delicious.” The American says “oh yea, of course, everything’s sooooo cheap here, it’s sooooo great, not like back home. How long have y’all been traveling for?” The Australian says “8 months so far, but we’re gonna do another 23 months between here, and India, and South America.” The American says “oh wow cool, that’s amazing, we’re only doing a year in Southeast Asia.” The European says “we’ve actually been here for 25 years, yea, we were born and just started hopping about Laos, and Cambodia, and Myanmar and such. We figured it’s so cheap we could just stay for our entire lives, yea.” The Australian says “fair play” or something like that. The American says “wow, amaaaazing.” The European says “yea, it’s been cool… I hope you all have been haggling with tuk-tuk drivers and the like, because they will rip you off if you don’t.” The Australian goes “yea, o’course.” The American says “yea we heard they do that with tourists.” The European says “as soon as they see you’re a foreigner they want to rip you off, be careful, they’ll try and get an extra 5 Euros or more off of you, they don’t care.” The Australian goes “fucked up mate,” or something like that. The American says “yea, really.” The Thai person who works at the hostel walks by, and they all get excited and yell out different, mispronounced versions of “sawatdee.” The soft spoken Thai worker brings his hands close to his face in prayer and says “sawatdee kaaa, hello.” They all cheer and applaud wildly. They take tons of pictures with the Thai worker and post the pictures to social media. “Making new friends in Thailand,” the captions say. “Just chillin with some locals,” the captions say.

​ An old rich white man and a young beautiful Thai woman are having drinks together at a wooden beachside bar in Southeast Asia. The old rich white man makes joke after joke, and laughs loudly after each punchline. The young beautiful Thai woman has yet to understand a word the old rich white man has said. She laughs uncomfortably every time she sees him keel over in amusement. The old rich white man buys her drinks and tells jokes for the remainder of the day and the rest of his vacation, and they get married. The old rich white man opens up an “Authentic Thai and Western Restaurant” in his new wife’s hometown, and tells her to be the Authentic Thai portion of his restaurant. The restaurant does well with tourists, and the old rich white man crushes all of his Thai competitors. He now drinks for free while making joke after joke. 

Next Caller

Next Caller

“Alright next caller, we got Terry from Brooklyn, Terry you’re on.”

“I’ll tell you why I don’t like you Jakey boy.”

“Why’s that?” Jake took a big gulp from his ½ lemonade ½ iced tea Snapple.

“You’re a real LIAR.”

Jake wiped his mouth, “how’s that?”

“Ohhhh! Cause you come on here, on your little show here, and you come on here, and you LIE.”

“What about?”

“Talking about this game, defending your boyfriend LeBron there, guy’s a bum.”

“So you saw the game?”

Before Jake finished saying ‘game’ “I didn’t have to see the game, guy’s a bum. I don’t watch that garbage, I watch a real man’s sport, hockey, a real man’s sport, guy’s a bum.”

“But you didn’t see the game?”

“I didn’t have to Jake, I saw Jordan, seen Bird, this guy’s a bum, can’t even play.”

“I hear ya, I hear ya. But the guy’s spectacular, you gotta watch him before making such uh, such uh, bold, you know, bold kinda statements.”

“I don’t Jake, you know what? I don’t. And you know why? Cause I see the headlines, watch the highlights, guy’s a bum, don’t play hurt, don’t do nothin’! These hockey guy’s, they get their leg chopped off widda skate and they’re back out there the next play.”

“Well I don’t know about that.”

“Next play Jake, guy’s gettin knocked around on one leg.”

“I think you’re being a little harsh. I mean I never seen it, never saw a guy skating on one leg.”

“Ok not literally Jake, obeeusly I didn’t mean it literal like, but these guys play banged up, not like your boyfriend over there, that bum!”

“I don’t know, I don’t see how you can call him a bum. Guy’s spectacular, a terrific, terrific ball player.”

“That might be so, but he got no heart, I seen Jordan, guy ain’t Jordan, Jake.”

“Hey I hear ya, I hear ya.”

“Guy’s a bum, anyways thanks for taking my call there Jake, big fan, love the show.”

“Alright buddy thanks,” and the call ended. “He should really watch the games, LeBron is a, a spectacular, really terrific kinda talent, but you know, can’t be for everyone. We’re gonna take more calls after the break, you’re listening to Jake’s Take, call in at 1-800-987-9879, back after this.”

 

“Alright you’re on the line… Tim from Setauket, you’re on.”

The phone was cutting in and out, “Jake!”

“Hey bud, you there Tim?”

There was dead air for a few seconds, “Heyyyyy Jakester, what’s goin on, big fan.”

“What’s up buddy, how are ya.”

“Good man, good, big fan, love the show.”

“Thank you bud, thanks, what’s up?”

“Longgg time listener, firrrst time caller.”

“Yep, alright thanks there Tim, so what’s up?”

“Me and my old man listen all the time, great stuff, just the other day…”

Jake cut him off, “thanks bud, you got a question there Tim?”

“Oh right, yea, so Jake I was watching the finals, game 1, you know, yesterday.”

“Yea.”

“Yea, you know between Cleveland and The Golden State, and you know, not a big hoops guy, but you know, figured I’d watch, supposed to be a good match up, so figured I’d watch…”

Jake cut him off again, “yea great match up, got a question or something there Tim?”

“Oh, yea sorry. I’m a little nervous, big fan of the show.”

“It’s alright, go ahead.”

“But anyways, like I said, don’t watch alotta hoop and I had a question for you, my dad had the same question. He doesn’t watch much either, more football, hockey kinda guys. So anyways my question is, if I’m The Golden State, if I’m the Warriors, I’m tryin to stop LeBron, you know? Doesn’t seem like they got much else, if I’m them, I’m tryin to stop LeBron, right?

Again there was dead are for a few seconds before Jake responded, “stop LeBron? That’s the question?”

“Well no, you know, just like, try to get the ball, force the ball somewhere else, make someone else beat you. I mean, let’s face it, they don’t have much else, from what I gathered, they don’t have much. If I’m The Golden State I’m focusing on LeBron, you know?”

“Ok… I hear ya, I hear ya Tim, thing is, thing is… LeBron’s a spectacular, really terrific, just uh, uh, a unique kinda talent.” They began talking over each other

Tim chimed in halfway through Jakes rebuttal, “yea I get that, but maybe try to stop him, make someone else, maybe.”

“He’s uh, a uh spectacular facilitator, as well as uh, a dominant, a dominant kinda scorer. So it’s easier said than done, when it comes to uh, to uh LeBron there, but I hear ya, thanks for calling in.”

“Yea just try to stop him, you know, thanks for taking my call Jake, big fan.”

“Thanks buddy, back after this.”

 

    ​It was 7:30 on Friday, an hour before tip-off of game 2 of the NBA Finals. Jake was in his Manhattan penthouse apartment sipping on some Snapple and whiskey on ice. It was going to be a big weekend in sports with the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup finals, and a much anticipated UFC bout. Big weekends meant big Moday’s for Jake. Jake sat on his couch and stared horrified at the pregame show on his 90 inch screen. Jake had long ago stopped going to the games live, and more recently stopped watching them with other people all together. He instead would drink himself to sleep before halftime and have his assistant tell him the conclusions of the events in the morning. Jake began to take a long gulp of his concoction when he coughed and spilled his drink all over himself. Jake stared down at his stained shirt and pants in bewilderment and anger, he shot up from his seat and wildly threw the empty glass against the pregame show, nothing shattered. He furiously paced around his apartment like a caged animal. He starred back at the screen where they were now showing fans outside of the arena; holding up signs and furiously shaking there index fingers at the camera. He could make out one fan mouthing the words “GAME TIME BABY, LETS GO!!” That was the last straw, he had to get out. He stormed out of his apartment without closing the door and took the stairs 14 floors down to the lobby.

   ​Jake had been walking furiously up, down, and across the streets of Manhattan for an hour and a half. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but there had to be something for him. This was after all, allegedly, an amazing city with endless things to do and people to meet. He finally stumbled upon a bar that had the faint sound of music leaking out of the front doors, he gathered himself and entered through the doors which lead down to another pair of doors in what seemed to be the basement. He opened the doors and had to pay an entrance fee of fifteen dollars, he would’ve paid a million to enter the dim, dingy, compact area from where those smooth sounds were protruding from. He went to the bar and ordered a Snapple and whiskey, but they had no Snapple, so he took a hit of a joint that a well-dressed black man offered him instead. He entered another dimension and let the trumpet, sax, bass, and drums wash over and coddle him like a newborn baby. After what he assumed was about fifteen minutes he walked back upstairs and exited through the doors. It turned out to be closer to 9 hours than 15 minutes, the sun was coming up and there were already people out jogging and walking their dogs.

    ​Jake was about to grab a cab back to his apartment when he noticed a sign for a yoga studio a few building’s down. He had heard of yoga before but he wasn’t sure what it did. Was it like ballet? Was it like those Richard Simmons exercises? Was it one of those Buddha things? Maybe they play more of that uh, that Jazz stuff at the yoga, he thought to himself. He walked over to the studio and approached the woman sitting at the front desk.

“So this us uh, this is the yoga?” Jake asked.

“Yaasss,” responded the woman.

“Ok then, terrific, terrific… so I’ll sign up for one yoga then. So that’s what? Dancing or…?”

She responded, “not quite, Yo-Gah is a series of stretches and poses, as well as an exercise in breathing and becoming one with the mother earth. It can also be considered a form of meditation.” She brought a prayer to her head and nodded towards Jake.

“Meditation? Terrific, spectacular, sounds uh, sounds… stretching too? Sounds just uh, just terrific. I’m Jake Tyler” he extended his hand

“I’m Willow Tree,” she extended her hand back. “Wonderful, the next class begins in a half hour.”

“Spectacular.”

“It’ll be $37, have you been to a Yo-Gah class before?”

As Jake took out his wallet to pay, “uh no, no I have not. I hope that won’t be uh, a uh, an issue.”

“No not at all, all levels are welcome.” She brought another prayer to her heart. “You will have to rent a mat however, just another $15.” Jake forked over the money immediately; he would’ve paid a million to rent that yoga mat.

   Jake was extremely tight so he couldn’t go very deep into stretches, and he kept forgetting to breathe. The different names of all the poses baffled him and he was almost always in the wrong position, but he had a grin from ear to ear the entire time. On the rare occasions that he did something right Willow would say “great job Jake,” and he would respond “terrific!” At the end of the class they all sat cross legged and chanted “HHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM,” and Jake’s “HOM” was the loudest. As he passed Willow on the way out he brought a prayer to his heart and she did the same and said,

“Namaste, wonderful work Jake.”

He responded “HAH! Namaname, wonderful, terrific, really great. Thank you Willow.”

   Stress was melting off of Jake as he strolled further down 6th avenue until it turned into Church Street. He’d never felt looser in his entire life, he imagined everyone just saw a noodle with glasses strolling down the street when they looked at him. The thought of that made him burst out laughing, and then made him extremely hungry as he thought more about noodles. He gave a quit look around and noticed he was right across the street from a bakery, it wasn’t quite noodles but it was the next best thing as far as he was concerned. Everything was the next best thing, life was grand again. Jake walked into the bakery and gave a big “hellooo” to the women working there, and they gave a big “hellooo” back and offered him a free sample of a strawberry tart. Jake delightfully tried a piece and fell deeper into euphoria.

“HA! Whaddya call that? Tart? I never had a tart before, HA! That’s about the most spectacular, just uh, terrific little treat I ever had the pleasure of eating!” Jake’s glee was becoming infectious.

“Well thank you so much,” the woman responded, “we just got those strawberries in yesterday and wanted to make something fresh to try out today, so glad that you like them.”

“Like them? I’m uh, I’m obsessed! What’s the limit? How many of these incredible, just uh, fantastic tarts can I buy at once?! Strawberries did you say? Just uh… terrific! HA!”

The women were grinning and giggling along with Jake, “thank you so much, gosh, you sure aren’t lacking any enthusiasm. I tell you what, we have a baking class here every Saturday at closing, why don’t you come back and we can show you how to make these tarts.”

Jake looked around in astonishment, “excuse me? Did I uh, did I hear you correctly? Did you say make these uh, these uh, terrific little tarts?” She nodded back at Jake, he looked around again, “where do I uh, where do I uh, sign up for this terrific little tart class? Kiddin me? Sign me up!”

They all laughed and the woman said “no sign up, just come back at 6 and we can get to it. I’m Maryanne and that’s Kelly,” she extended her hand.

“6, uh fantastic! Jake, Jake Tyler, what uh, uh, a pleasure!” they shook hands. “Only one issue, I can’t wait until 6 to have some more of those uh, those tarts there. I’ll take half a dozen to go Maryanne, a real pleasure to meet you.” Jake took the tarts and left a hundred dollar bill on the counter and turned towards the door, as he walked out he shouted “6 O’clock!”

   Jake returned to the bakery at closing after taking an afternoon snooze in a nearby park. He felt well rested and ready for action. He made breakfast in bed for his mother a few times as a child, but that was the extent of his culinary experience. He felt his inexperience only gave him more areas in which he could improve, he knew nothing and life was grand again.

“Oh, so you cook the, the uh, the crust there, cook that all the way then add the fruit compote? If I had to guess so that the uh, the crust we have there can kinda, kinda stand up to all that fantastic, just spectacular uh… fruit compote we whipped up, is that the idea?”

Maryanne replied with a big smile, “yep, that’s it, the crust’ll stay nice and firm and crunchy that way. Mmhmm, very good.”

“Aha-HA, very good, that’s right, just uh, uh, terrific!” Jake smiled and looked around the room, “strawberry tart!”

 

​“Thanks buddy, back after this with more calls.” Jake’s Take cut to commercial and Jake was staring out into nothingness. In the blink of an eye he was back from commercials and another call was coming in, one of many more.

“Next caller, Mike from Staten Island, hey there bud, you’re on.”

“What’s goin on Jake, what’ up Jake, how’s everything, big fan.”

“Thanks bud, whaddya got.”

“Jake, so I’m watchin this UFC fight this weekend, right? You ever watch this stuff Jake? So I’m watchin… and the tall guy, Jones I think his name is, black guy, tall. So Jake, I’m watchin and this guy’s throwin elbows and kicks and all this stuff, and the other guy’s just takin it, not doin nothin. Jake, you ever see this stuff Jake? So, I’m sittin there… and I’m watchin, and the Jones guy is doin all this, and the guy’s takin it and I’m sayin ‘ tackle em!’ ya know? All that karate stuff? If that was me? If Jones was throwin all these elbows and karate kicks at me? I tell you what, first thing I’m doin, I’m gonna be grabbin his leg, BOOM! Leg sweep! I mean, my family’s from Brooklyn, so ya know…”

“I’m gonna have to cut you off for a second there Mike. I have to uh, gotta talk about this. You know this past weekend, I had uh, a real fun, just exciting kinda time. You know, I went down to one of those yogi yoga places, I don’t know if yogi is part of that, but when down to one of those, got real kinda stretched out, really just uh, uh, a relaxing kinda experience, you know. Willow Tree that is, helped me get stretched out. And then I found out about this baking class, so I went down there, she showed us, Maryanne that is, showed us how to make these little uh, little dynamite, just real delicious, almost vanilla tasting kinda tarts. I never did it before, but really good, uh crunchy kinda tart, with the fruit filling. It was uh, HAH, really a good tart, and before all that…”

“Tart? Jake what the hell are you tawkin about?”

“What am I talking about??” Jake gave a confused look to his producer, as if he couldn’t believe what the caller just asked him, “I’m talking about the finer things…unfuckinbelieva, what are YOU talking about?!”

 

Calendars

                    Calendars

​    They were sitting on the longest, least splintered log available. It wasn’t your typical beach wood, it looked more like a pillar or a beam, rectangular and slightly sunken into the sand so that they sat leaning towards the water. There were large rusted bolts on each end of the log and some tar patches scattered along one of the vertical sides. The tide seemed to have an endless rotation of logs and beams such as this one, along with hypodermic needles, tampon cartridges, and other assorted trash. James grew up here, Mikey had only been hanging out here for the short time that they’d been friends, but he found the filth and isolation of the beach quite charming.

“I don’t think that’s how it works man,” James said with a slight grin.

“Why not? The water’s cold, it can make them cold. That’s like basic shit,” Mikey responded.

“Yea…but it’ not like that cold, it would have to be super fuckin’ cold to make something else cold, like cold as a fridge. I doubt that the water’s cold as a fridge.”

“You guy’s went swimming in it last weekend and you said it was freezing.”

“Yea…cuz it was night time. It wasn’t the water that was freezing, it was freezing when I got out and I was all wet. I’m pretty sure that shit is like determined by what the temperature is outside.”

“Yea, maybe.”

“I don’t think the temperature of the water changes like that drastically.”

“Well pond’s freeze, people fish on frozen ponds.”

“Yea but this is the fuckin’ ocean,” James said chuckling at Mikey’s persistence, “and it’s only November.”

“Well what the fuck do we have to lose, you already said we can’t sneak them into your freezer, so let’s give it a shot.”

“Look, I’m all for giving it a shot, but like, don’t get your hopes up.”

“My hopes are up,” Mikey said laughing stubbornly, “I’ve never been so confident.”

    ​They ran over to the broken bucket that they found in the weeds and brought it down to the water to fill up. James continued, unwilling to let the debate die.

“Look, if they didn’t get cold overnight, how would the water be cold enough to suddenly act as a fridge?”

“Because it’s cold out…whatever let’s just fuckin try it.”

   ​They brought the bucket of ocean water back to the log, then ran over to the weeds to retrieve the half full 18 pack of assorted cheap beers they were hiding. They started dumping the beers into the bucket, James grabbed a submerged can, he began to laugh.

“This water is not cold at all.”

Mikey continued to dump the beers in, “I know…fuck.”

​They stood over the full bucket for a minute then looked up at each other and burst out laughing while shaking their heads in disappointment.

“This is fuckin stupid,” Mikey finally admitted.

“Yep… I guess we can just try and drink them warm?”

“Shit…they’re gonna be so gross.”

“Whatever, like, what the fuck else are we gonna do.”

“Aright, fuck it,” Mikey said shaking his head, “but leave the other ones, who knows, maybe they’ll get a little cold,” he said with a grin.

James laughed, “let it go.”

“They’re not gonna get warmer, let’s just leave them.”

    ​They grabbed a warm beer each from the bucket and sat back down on the log. They opened the beers, took a sip, grimaced, and then agreed that they weren’t so bad.

     They grimaced through their beers as the sun moved through the sky, away from the façade of Coney Island on the horizon. They finally admitted that beer was pretty awful, but drank on anyway.

“So, anything happen with that Liz girl?”

James slightly grinned, “nah, not really. The cops broke everything up before we could like do anything, ya know.”

“Man that sucks, damn pigs. It was pretty nuts, I just ran straight into the weeds.”

“Yea… we just like ran straight down the beach. Then her and her friends were like spooked, so they went up to the bus to go home. But whatever, that girl’s like retarded anyway.”

Mikey shrugged, “I don’t know, she’s pretty cute.”

James shrugged and turned his head towards the water, “whatever, probably not worth the head ache. She’s got like no tits.”

Mikey took a sip of a warm Milwaukee’s Best, “yea. When I was going out with Nicole for those few weeks, I was touching her tits at one point, and they were SO far apart, and squishy, like an old lady.” They burst out laughing.

“Yea… why’d you even bother with her? She’s a fuckin weirdo,” James said before cracking open a Busch Light.

Mikey shrugged, “I don’t know, she wore Misfits shirts and stuff, she seemed cool at first…plus I didn’t realize how far apart her tits were.” They burst out laughing again

“All it takes is like a Misfits shirt to make any tits look good to you, I guess.”

Mikey finished his Milwaukees best and nodded, “yea pretty much.”

    ​The beers began to suddenly taste better, and the conversation drifted towards asses, it would’ve eventually went towards vaginas if they had a clue, but they talked about piercings instead. Mikey found nose piercings to be hot, James went the classic tongue route.

   Mikey grabbed a Keystone from the bucket as the sun began to go down, “the water’s defnily makin them colder,” he slurred a bit.

“Keep tell’n yaself that.”

Mikey gave out a quick laugh, “it is! Oh! Did I tell you my calenner idea… Calen-DER idea?” He laughed again.

James shook his head, pretending the alcohol was having no such effect on him, “no, what’s this idea?”

“Oh it’s great. Ya know how they have like these calenners with like fuckin, fuckin a hot girl every month, or like a cute dog every month, or like the douchebag fuckin firefighter calendar?”

James laughed, “yes…I’ve seen a calendar before,” he rotated his hand clockwise out in front of him as if to say ‘get to the point.’

“Alright, fuck you man, anyway, so you have a calenner where every month is a different hot girl in a lil bikini or whatever, walkin’ a dog and pickin up it’s poop!” Mikey fell backwards in laughter.

James keeled over into his own lap and laughed so hard that he barely made any noise. This went on for a few minutes. James finally responded, “that’s fuckin genius, I would buy like 12.”

Mikey wiped tears from his eyes, “right? Pickin up the poop! In a bikini!” they both went down in laughter again.

    ​The laughter died down as the lights of the Verrazano Bridge went on. They traded sayings of “fuck, that’s good,” while drying their eyes. There was one Schaeffer and Bud left respectively at the bottom of the bucket. The water never made them colder but left grains of sand in the lip of the cans. They spat out grains as they grabbed the beers. “Last ones,” James solemnly said as he cracked his open. They took long swigs followed by spitting out more grains of sand. They stared at the half pipe like glow of the bridge and the moon peaking over the edge of Brooklyn. It was silent until James received a text message.

“Ohhh nice, Rich got some weed and he wants to know if we wanna throw 5 on it.”

“Fucccckkk yeaaa. Oh, shit, fuccckkkk no, shit. I spent my last 5 on a metrocard. Damn it!”

“Whatever, I got you, just pay my 5 for the beers next time.”

“What a guy, what a fella, thanks Jimmy boy.”

“No problemo Michael,” James received another text, “awesome, he’s headin down here now.”

    They couldn’t wait to tell him all about the calendars and warm beers. Suddenly, their night was just getting started.