How much money he spent was nowhere near as embarrassing as how giddy he got. Oh and the way it snowballed. From a casual invitation to come over for drinks, to a $35 bouquet of lilies, a $40 bottle of vodka, $7 artichoke dip, ½ pound of smoked almonds at $8.45 a pound, a massive apartment cleaning, silver polishing, shaving his balls, 155 sit ups, 3 day abstinence from masturbation, and endless rounds of Swifter mopping. He stopped short of creating a play list – thankfully – had he done that he most certainly would have had to throw himself out a window.

Do you really need to know his name, what he looks like, how old he is? With simple reflection you’ll realize at one time or another it was you. Honestly, we’ve all been there. Still for the sake of your curiosity and plot we’ll call him Andre. A handsome enough white guy, mid 40’s, presentable shape, attractive face. Good job. Gay.

“Oh my God, it’s a date.” His secretary Yvette squealed from her cubicle. Even then it occurred to Andre that dating on the side was something people should keep to themselves. Not so much for discretion but for fear of failure. But the rush was something that had to be immediately perused; the superstar quality of chasing taboo gives a person such celebrity. Especially at the office.

“You go girl.” Yvette encouraged. “I need to take a page from your book. You know my Boo and all that.” A clear reference to her own domestic mess which she underscored with a classic sitcom eye roll. A woman of academic accomplishment, Yvette for some reason decided to settle for the role of office assistant. Far from subservient, she was a top, the Oprah of the office. And to prove it spent her days dispensing her brand of TV pseudo-psychology to the over indulged bosses who populated the halls around her cube. And come they did. For advice, wisdom and her straight up, tell it like it is, set the record straight, water cooler dish. Andre included. Yvette’s truth was similar to his a dead end relationship. The total dedication and devotion of an Italian momma’s boy who after one all too common down sizing, spent 1 and ½ years on the sofa wasting away his earning potential. On the line for her now, the same for anyone nearing their 40’s – is he the one, could I do better, should we, shouldn’t we, why are we still having the same stupid conversation?

In earlier confessions Andre had already spilled the beans to Yvette about his loveless relationship. Today’s session was about flirting with the idea of stepping out.

“No, I’m just testing my market value.” Andre giggled.
“And him?”
“My man? Beijing for the Olympics. It’s business. And even if I could go, I wouldn’t. It’s cleaner to watch China on TV. You can all but see the Avian Flu in the air.”
“Really?’ She wasn’t convinced.
“Really.” Andre affirmed.

Now, when you’re on with “Come Tell Yvette” you have to speak the truth. She looked over the frames of her Malcom X inspired tortoise shell glasses deep into his eyes. Andre held her stare. With that there was agreement and so they commiserated, greedy and eager to reconvene in the morning and share the justice of finding your worth, and giving your man double pay back.

Continue Reading »

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Last night I realized, you can’t out run shame. I was putting my girlfriend into a cab and that’s when I saw it. Lying there by the curb. Turning to kiss Gwen goodnight I tried to ignore it. But as her cab drove away my mind traveled in the opposite direction, back to when I was a boy.

I was the most anxious prepubescent on the face of the earth. The state of my sexuality was all consuming for me. I’d seen Gary Kligmann in the locker room during gym. At 13 he had the penis of a 33 year old – with a full bush and dangling shlong to match. As soon as my eyes detected it, I was traumatized. Me, I was a late bloomer, with the pea sized balls of a rabbit. As a result anything could make me feel inadequate.

Take for example, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. On one particular Sunday night I remember sitting with my mom and dad on the sofa watching nature’s drama unfold. Cameramen and biologists were exploring seal colonies off the coast of California. Horrific battles between half-ton males were taking place on the beaches. Fueled by testosterone and driven by the desire to mate, these bulls as the narrator referred to them, bloodied themselves for the chance to mount a prized female. There was not a coward among them. Except for the small group of young male outcasts that lacked the brawn to vie for a female and continue their bloodlines. Their failure struck deep into my heart. It was obvious to me that my future held the same fate. I was to live out my life as a useless male, weak and cowardly, doomed to spend my days on “Bachelor Rock” with the rest of the effeminate seals.

Things only got worse when I convinced myself that I was growing a cunt. Back then I’d spend countless hours locked in the bathroom soaking in the tub waiting to go through puberty. Beneath the suds and water my hands, with great anticipation, would explore the impending arrival of my genitalia. “When, when, when would I start to become a man?” It was within the moment of one of these deep dream states that my fingers slipped just due south of my scrotum to the area commonly referred to as the taint. T’ain’t your ass, t’ain’t your balls. And while I know this now – back then the mystery was far from being solved. It was there that I discovered a small patch of hair. And through closer inspection a slight ridge of skin, that ran from my asshole to my balls. Now I didn’t know much about female anatomy at this point but I was pretty sure this was where their business took place. Devastated I sprang from the water. Hair first, lips next. It was only a matter of time before it all developed into a full-blown vagina and I would begin to live my life as a freak

Soon enough everyone I knew had been asked by Mother Nature to join the young adults club. They got the inside joke about why elephants come in quarts, they became bored with Judy Bloom books, and they were jaded to the clinical diagrams of bisected genitalia in our science books. Alas I remained 13, boyish, and alone to draw my own conclusions about whether or not I was ever going to grow up to be a man. Or a woman. Then as a finally mockery even the year transformed.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Happy New Year!!!! 1978 became 1979. My parents were out celebrating. I’d been left at home, free to order the pizza of my choice, to stay up late for the first time ever without a sitter, and to watch Dick Clark’s Rock’in New Years Eve. Back in those days I’d entertain myself by snooping through my parent’s belongings. I’d go through their closets, shoeboxes, and desk drawers. I’d found a bag of pot in my dad’s nightstand. In my mother’s vanity I discovered a small, velvet, drawstring pouch that contained an extra set of false teeth she used to replace of the real ones she’d lost thanks to a field hockey accident in college.

It was while I was rummaging through her stuff and spraying her perfume into the air that I became curiously aroused. Staring down into her panty drawer I lifted a pair of stockings from the dresser. Without thinking I pulled off my pajamas and pulled on the stockings. I looked like a dancer from the New York City Ballet. Impressed by my package I began to finally believe in my own manhood. My erection seemed to agree and stretched out beneath the navy blue nylons. I turned around and stuck my ass out towards her vanity mirror. “Take that bitch.” I’d said aloud. What if I added pearls? I pulled a strand from her jewelry box and wrapped them around my neck. “Would you fuck me?” I thought to myself. “Who’s the woman now?” My penis grew rock hard and ached. I uncapped one of my mother’s lipsticks, smeared a gruesome shade of red across my lips and continued to talk into the mirror. “You know you want to do her.” I told my quasi-female reflection. “I need shoes.” I was being driven by some strange hormonal imbalance. The thoughts that racing through my mind seemed to come from nowhere. My heart was beating in my ears. I opened her closet door and spied a pair of metallic gold pumps and slipped them on. I began to strut around the house. Passing by the mirror in the front hallway I caught a glimpse of my dick pitching a tent beneath the nylons. That was all it took to drive me, at super sonic speed, headlong into my first orgasm. Within minutes of my hand touching my dick, it exploded. I shook. Jisum filled the inside of my mother’s stockings. My chest heaved up and down. Sweat beaded across my brow. My skin was flushed. Then the front door opened and my parents walked in happy to be back from their party.

I’m sure they looked at me and I looked at them. But to this day all I can remember is pushing past them and running out into the street. I lost one gold shoe as I hit the sidewalk and turned to run up the driveway and hide behind the garage. And that is how I – Andre Stephen Miller, became a man.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker.

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“Is anyone getting off at the next stop?” the request rang out.

I was daydreaming out the window of the 42nd street cross-town bus. Wow Lion King hasn’t closed and ugh there’s an Olive Garden…

“Is anyone getting off at the next stop?” The command comes again from a gentleman standing next to the bus driver. The impatience of it catches me off guard and I find myself answering from deep within the sanctuary of my New Yorker, “I could careless” detachment.

“Me. I am.” I holler back without shifting my dreamy gaze from the window that has mesmerized me its view of hot-dog carts, mounted policemen, theaters, commercialism and chaotic foot traffic.

“Good. You can take me to the bus stop.” I disengage from a gaggle of German tourists bumbling their way west. I meet the gentleman’s face as his head rotates to talk in my direction. I’m struck by two raw eggs floating in the sockets of where his eyeballs should be. One eye a milky white, the other uselessly twists towards the heavens.

With a flick of his wrist the 6” baton his holding unfolds to a 3’ cane. Each joint instantly extends from the next with a nasty clicketyclack. The bus hisses to a bumpy stop at the corner of 42nd and 8th the awkwardness of the motion propels me off my ass to stand at ready attention beside him. He threads his right arm through my left. It is a gesture I usually reserve for elderly and fragile aunts. Towering at 6’5” I loom above his stooped 5’7” frame. The bus doors reveal us as a couple to the passengers waiting to come aboard. Their perplexity is lost on me, as I’m preoccupied with thoughts of which bus stop my blind charge is trying to connect with so I can end this act of charity.

We seem to skip down the stairs quicker than I could anticipate. Immediately my own vision becomes impaired by responsibility, advancing New Yorkers, the need to rush and the vulnerability of this 66 year-old blind man neatly attired in a dress shirt, slacks and a Windbreaker. I roll left to claim a bit of personal space on the curb. Swept along like a bit of paper behind an 18-wheeler my charge blasts his head into the post of the bus stop. His body responds like a marionette that’s become tangled in its own strings.

“Hey you idiot, you’ve got to watch out for me.”

“I, I ugh. I ugh, I’ve never done this before.” I can’t focus. The demands for what I’ve volunteered compromise my judgments. Already the challenges of being blind are more full-time then I could have ever imagined. His arm comes to rest in the crook of mine again. I don’t dare look at him for fear of taking my eyes off of the anarchy beating, pulsing and bumping into us. I leave it to my nose to figure out who he is. The report is clean like a newly opened bar of soap. “So where are we going? Uptown on the M104 or the M27?”

“No, I said the bus stop.” he replies.
“Move over to the left we’re in front of a news stand. Those are the bus stops.”
“No. I said the bus station. Make sure no one bumps into me.”
“You know this is New York.”
“Yeah, and I need to get to the bus station.” His frustration was growing.
“Port Authority???” My voice quakes.
“Yeah, it’s right over there.” He points in the wrong direction.
“Are you kidding?”
“No, what’s to kid about?”
“It’s just I’ve never done this before. And Port Authority is a pretty tall order.” He was silent, stone faced, waiting for a verdict. “Okay then, here we go.” Arm in arm we stepped forward.

“We’re crossing 42nd.” I inform him “And you’ve got the curb coming up. So do you live in Jersey?” I ask.
“No. Upstate New York.” I watch his feet move forward. They’re tentative, as if he was testing the water of a hot bath. Making our way from one side of 42nd to the other is a high wire act. Taxis desperate to run us over are held at bay by the power of the stop lights. Pedestrians pass us like red blood cells in an artery. The road itself is like the surface of the moon. And the walk sign seems too eager to unleash holy hell.

“Okay you’ve got the curb coming up.” He takes a long step onto the safety of the curb that I’m sure strained his groin. 3, 2, 1 the sign switches to Don’t Walk. Traffic rushes over the path we’ve just taken. I’m reminded of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea.

“We made it.” I announce. “So where to in next in Port Authority?”
“It’s gate 307. Monroe.” He says.

Great I think to myself, nothing but land mines. We begin to navigate the station. I have new dread for everything. We’re greeted by the unpredictability of electronic doors that could easily snap us in half like a bear trap, escalators ready to entangle our shoelaces and render us footless, still more unsympathetic crowds, and banana peel on the floor. I kid you not.

An oblivious woman with her face buried in an ice cream cone veers toward us.

“Hey lady. Heads up.” She swings left to avoid us with an apologetic smile adorned with a chocolate ice cream mustache. Even though he can’t see her I know we share a common bond for what an idiot she is.

“You’re getting the hang of it.” His encouragement feels genuine and I take pride in it.
“Hey, for my first time as a guide this really is a tough one.” My blind companion is unimpressed by humor.
“Make a left at the top of the next escalator and you’ll see 307.”
“There it is.” I say.
“Drop me by the podium. It’s always there. That’s where I stand.”
I make my last step definitive and triumphantly whack the metal stand with my hand. It reverberates with a “thong.”
“We’re here.” I unthread my arm form his and turn to face him.
“Thank you.” He says and smiles.
“No problem.” Extending my hand I say. “Glad I could be of service.”

My hand remains alone in the air. Amazingly I have to remind myself that he’s blind. I slide my palm into his so he can return my handshake. “Safe travels” I say. And walk back to the escalator. I watch him as I descend to ground level. He is standing on his own. There’s a bench full of overweight commuters to his right but none offer him a seat. Well, maybe he wants to stand. It’s a long ride to Monroe. I’m sure he’ll be alright.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker.

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As she sat inside her 2004 pebble colored, soft interior, 4 cylinder, Toyota Corolla waiting for a spot to open up on this NYC street, Shelby-Lynne Gray’s mind was racing. “Got to feed and walk the dog. Stupid traffic, damn trip took forever. A viral count of 50,000 is acceptable. His was 367,000. Medically speaking – off the charts.”

She didn’t need this headache. What she needed was a new job. First thing tomorrow she’ll call her recruiter. “Asshole brought this all on himself. What should I make for dinner? Or should I go to the gym?”

If she could cover the rent on her own she’d throw the fucker out. It was decided then, as soon as she gets her new job that’s what she’ll do. “AZT. Protease inhibitors. Aids cocktails. What the fuck? Ooo, check it – white Chevy Impala 6 cars down pulling out.”

Now she could bring the curtain down on this shitty commute, get upstairs shed her suit, and treat herself to a Dr. Pepper & Jack Daniel’s with plenty of ice. “Got to schedule a blood test for myself too. See if I’m clean.” Lord there was just too much to think about. “Thank you mind for sharing. Now shut up.” It’d been like this all day. From the moment she got his call at work. At exactly 8:55 am.

A blue Ford Focus whizzed by only to break next to the departing Impala. “Oh, no you don’t bitch. I was here first. That’s my spot.” She brought all her frustrations down on the accelerator pedal to race forward and secure her space. Too bad she was in reverse. The fire hydrant never stood a chance. Sometimes a day just gets worse, and that’s how went for Shelby-Lynne Gray on April 22nd, 2008.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker.

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“We smoke the same brand,” Carla said with a wry smile. By now, Paul was quite deft at deflecting the not-so-subtle come-ons. “A buddy left it on the coffee table. Probably hammered,” he said as he grabbed a glance at her crow’s feet while her loneliness stared off into the distance. Paul dropped his still fiery butt into the flower pot; he decided to take one last jab: “You know how young people can be.” Far from the knockout punch he intended, Paul’s heavyweight contender was ready with a counterpunch. “I hang with plenty of boys your age,” Carla replied, bending over to snuff out her cherry in the dirt, a loose nightgown leaving little to the imagination on her way down. “You got one I can steal?” she continued. “You don’t really smoke that kind anyway, right?” Thankfully, Paul was out. “All out,” he said as he let his empty pack float to the soil of the flowerpot, out of place among the surrounding concrete. “I guess that makes two of us,” replied Carla, giving her box a slight crumple before unleashing it towards the dirt. Paul made for a quick exit. “Yup. Enjoy your morning,” he said pulling open the door to his building. Carla took one last glance at his bedhead and pajama pants before the large grate door slammed home with a “smack.” As the sound reverberated down the block towards the Sunday sunrise, she pulled out a fresh pack of Camels and packed them with three brisk smacks against her wrinkled palm.

By guest contributing writer, Michael Pomranz

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And now a special to Last Night’s Garbage:

Talking Trash with Nathan — A list of words and phrases that should be kicked to the curb.

Real time: Please explain? Is it ASAP, live, right now, presently? As opposed to later, a re-run, or when it’s more convenient? And most of all, how does it differ from regular time?

Personal Journey: Utter nonsense and an excuse for failure. Used by the fat, addicted, enabled and mostly likely self absorbed to point out they’ve still got a ways to go.

Laddering up: Hey Shakespeare, leave the job at the office. If you’re boss is an idiot call it like that.

Comfort Food: Toxic grub from the 50’s and 60’s, cooked with butter, by mothers to proud to kick their Valium habits or throw in their aprons to become working moms. Say it like it is.

Chipotle: A desperate food industry’s way to describe smoked pepper flavor. It’s in everything but cigarettes. And it doesn’t give you fire hoop half as bad as a dozen Buffalo chicken wings. It wasn’t too long ago people used to buzz like this for sun-dried tomatoes.

Global community: Does the Lexus driving, douche bag who lives in a Jersey cul-de-sac really expect me to believe they’re intent on sharing any kind of space with an Indian slum or Brazilian Favela?

May I help the next guest?: No you may not. I am a paying customer and I expect to be treated like that. Which means utter servitude from you check-out girl.

Flight Attendant: If airlines kept the sexier moniker Stewardess they wouldn’t have lost all the hot ladies to the stripper poles or had to replace them with the saggy breasted, fat assed women who look like they were just recently let go from their duties as Cub Scout den mothers. Maybe airline wouldn’t be in such a financial crisis

Eco friendly: A stupid term used by people who espouse a concern for the environment while they drink natural bottled water filling up our landfills with plastic that takes ages to degrade.

Artisanal: Tailored to hand-crafted to custom and now this. A silly pretentious word occasionally attached to something as predictable as lettuce. Be on the look out for bespoke next.

Child safe: An unachievable goal used as a scare tactic by the Today Show so that people tune into their lousy broadcast. There’s no way, it’s a losing battle. Let them eat lead.

For me at this time: It’s an out. A selfish preamble used by those with an over-developed sense of entitlement to passive aggressively decline your request.

at jointheconversation.com: Log on. There is no conversation. Just a ploy drummed up by marketers who want you to buy their shit but are to lazy to even make a pitch.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker.

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Of course there was alcohol involved. I stop to identify the remains. Crossing the street my heart sinks. Yes, that’s her on the right. Her sweet perfume fills my nose. The unmistakable scent of Christmas.

Yeah, she had that special something and she knew it. Unbelievable shape, height, killer proportions. It’s how she caught my eye. I’d paid a lot of money to get her to come home with me. And she was worth every penny. Come on – it was the holidays attracting attention was the name of the game. And she knew how to light up a room. Sure she might have looked a little tacky, cheap even, dripping in gold and sliver from top to bottom. But that doesn’t mean she deserved to end up like this. My holiday darling, sprawled out on the curb, stripped bare of tinsel, lights and ornaments, with nothing to wrap around her shoulders except a cold, gray, winter sun.

So let this be a warning to all the others who might follow the same dream. You’ll most likely end up like her, snatched from your home, forced into a truck, and driven under the cover of darkness to a strange land only to be sold on the streets like a young Estonian girl.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker

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All the ingredients of last night’s meal are on the curb now. Relics from a moment in time, discarded to the street. Oh, but it was a delicious evening and worth serving again if only to share with you before it turns into a forgotten memory.

Ellen had come over to our apartment to join Brad and me for dinner. We are boyfriends, and she is my old friend. We’re having corn chowder, tomato salad and a loaf of country bread. She speaks rapidly, breaking only to take quick little sips of air or short pecks at her dinner. She swallows hurriedly to continue on with the delivery of her news. Ellen’s friend Victoria has breast cancer.

“Gosh, Nicky it’s such a strange time. So many of my friends are going through such serious shit.”

The conversation unfolds like a game of tennis. Ellen serves. I return her gaze with a quick cross table glare of acknowledgement to Brad. Brad chokes. The conversation picks up again with Ellen.

“She’s had a breast removed and is starting chemo. God think of it. A husband and two kids. All her hair is falling out so she’s going to get fitted for one of those fancy wigs. She’s going to this guy who does all the famous Broadway stars and actresses. She’s paying an absolute fortune for it. And she’s got curly hair but the wig is straight, God knows why. Nicky this soup is delicious.”

“Thank you.”

“So the wig guy is like, ‘Start wearing your hair straight now so that when you wear the wig you won’t call attention to it. It’ll appear more natural. Because by that point everyone will expect to see you with straight hair anyway.’ You see Victoria doesn’t want anyone to know. And she’s living in Westport which is a real busy-body town.”

My eyes over to Brad. Brad glaring back at me. I look away score one for Brad.
Ellen continues the volley.

“She just wants her life like before. So she’s sort of decided she’ll just deal with the cancer on her own, keep it to herself, like she’d some how be better off without everyone asking how she’s doing, which is sympathetic but in the end only reminds her she’s got cancer. So tell me, it’s just corn right off the cob, a little bacon, onion, a can of chicken stock and light cream?”

“Yeah.”

“Could I use heavy cream or sour cream?”

“Yes you could. But only a little otherwise it’ll be too thick. But you were saying about Victoria.”

“Mmm, no-no you’re right.” She puts down the crust of bread she was using to mop up the last of her soup and return to the staccato pace of her story.

“So I see Victoria worrying and planning and trying to control this disease and I’m like, good luck. I mean Nicky, I saw my Dad go through this with his cancer and I can tell you one thing is for sure, people are going to know. It’s a disease. And no wig is going to change that. But I see what she’s really trying to do, get back to before. Those days when she used to worry if she looked too fat, or too tired, or if her kids were at the right schools. Anything. other than cancer. That other shit would be a blessing now, but those days are long gone.”

I look to Brad, Brad looks back to me. His eyes develop a meniscus of tears across them. Add out for Brad. Ellen serves again.

“I’m sorry, her whole life is going to change and no matter how hard she tries there’s nothing she can do to control it. And she can’t go back. And it won’t ever be the same.”

She had no idea Brad is HIV positive. But Brad and I do, and now you do too. I’ll spare you the details of how he took it up the ass without a condom from Brazilian hooker he picked up during a business trip. Suffice to say he is sorry and regrets his mistake. Although I don’t feel it was a mistake. A mistake is an outcome you couldn’t possibly have avoided. Brad chose to ignore the inevitable consequences of recklessness. That’s a death wish, not a mistake. And even though I tested negative, I live with it too. What remains of my relationship I’ll sort out later. For now here we are in our new apartment entertaining our first dinner guest, Ellen, who’s telling a story about cancer, which could just as easily be about HIV, while Brad and I watch the irony of it all play out on each other’s faces.

“Life will never be the same.” She repeated. “She should just take the wig as is and be done with it.”

Brad lowered his head like someone had punched him in the gut. And as the scorned lover, who’d been betrayed, cheated on and nearly infected with HIV, I felt vindicated. After all, I hadn’t really gotten angry yet. And maybe I wouldn’t have to. He has HIV, game, set, match. What else is there left to say?

“More soup?” I asked. Brad brought his chin down to rest on his chest, Ellen nodded in gastronomic delight and I rose to ladled out all I had left to offer.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker

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I see her every night because I have a dog. And she has a dog – named Cleo. A shepherd/beagle mix, pure mongrel. We met when I was reverse commuting to this shit hole town called Hauppauge out on Long Island, to spend 8 hours a day at a job I hated even more. I’d see her while I was waiting to find a space on the street that jived with the city’s alternate side of the street parking laws.

She’s in her late 40’s. Armenian or Jewish. Or Sicilian, I can’t tell. Could even be Palestinian, olive skin, deep brown eyes with dark circles under them. Pretty much what everyone thinks of when they call someone a New Yorker. At first I thought ugly but now I’ve decided she’s quite striking. You have to cut people a break when you see them walking their dogs compared to when you see them heading off to work. Generally they clean up nicely.

It wasn’t until later that I figured out she was married to a guy I considered to be the biggest jerk on the block. A real douche-bag who drove a huge green Chevy Yukon. Man that thing used to chap my ass. I’d spend an hour and a half battling the traffic on the LIE to make my way home to the city and when I pulled onto the block to bring the curtain down on the whole fiasco I’d see his giant SUV already parallel to the curb. He’d take up half the block with that thing. I took it personally. It drove me crazy. I’d circle the block waiting for something half the size to open up, the whole time thinking, “Why would anyone in NYC need a fucking SUV with a 18’ wheel base? Fucking asshole. What an idiot. I’d be up in my apartment by now if it wasn’t for him.”

I wasn’t the only one who irrationally developed a hate for the guy. But I was the only one to key his car. That’s how I figured out he was married to the lady who owned Cleo. I saw them later in the evening when I was walking my dog. Both so upset. She, with her arms folded across her chest and one hand raised to cover the sorrow running out from the corners of her mouth. He, pointing the vandalism out to every neighbor who’d pass by, punctuating the injustice of it all by flailing his arms against his sides. But it was their son who struck me most. First off I’d never anticipated a family but there he was to complete the scene, emerging from their building all of 12-years old, pushing an aluminum walker. Each step was the hurky-jerky motion of a body struggling to deal with the challenges of MS. Like a fish flopping on a dock his head and eyes would twist one way, his shoulders the other, while his hips struck forward first from the left, then the right, sending his legs and crooked feet forward.

The side of their van opened to dispatch an elevator/chair lift. It came out like an electronic tongue. It reminded me of a space ship in UFO movies, opening wide to collect it’s alien passengers and bring them home. Their son aligned himself so that he could be loaded in. His mom took the walker and loaded it into the back of the Yukon along with the rest of wheel chair apparatus her son needed to get through his day. Then she got in and her husband took his place behind the wheel and they drove off in their scratched up SUV together.

“Imagine that?” I thought. “They actually need a car that big.” I was holding a bag full of shit my dog had just dispensed. I considered eating it to atone for my mistake and literally complete the metaphoric punch line. So much for my vigilantly justice. But at least karma is still at work. Because 2-years later I’m still eating shit every night as I walk my dog and she emerges from her building to put the trash out, greets me with the warmest smile, and says, “Hello.”

By guest contributing writer, W. Stopford

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Edward Hevrin died today. On his website read a quote, “I would rather spend the rest of my life chasing a dream, then dreaming about a dream I never chased.” The quote is from no one in particular. Unless of course you were an Edward Hevrin fan and then you’d be impressed by the fact he attributed the quote to himself.

Singer, actor, model, dreamer, propelled by the compliments his grandmother paid him as a boy he’d set his sights on the fame and promise of NYC. Like so many others of amateur status he was out paced by the city he chose to call home. His desire burned far brighter than his talent. Smart enough to stay away from drugs and prostitution, still his lucky break never came. The body has not been recovered. Only the remnants of the dream have. A discarded head-shot in glossy black and white, lying in a box with other bric-a-brac from his shared apartment. The box gapes open to the day for all to see. In solidarity with Edward autumn leaves release their grasp to descend and gather inside the space he leaves behind. Listen closely, their brittle rustle will serve as the only applause for this final act.

Oh but there were moments, bit parts, and walk-on’s for shows like Law & Order, Guiding Light, and Fear Factor. But it seems the part he was born to play takes place behind the counter of a Cinnabon at $8.35 an hour.

Edward Hevrin died today. It’s Ed now, or Ed again, as he stands in line at Port Authority waiting to buy a return ticket on a Greyhound bus back to the Pennsylvania town he grew up in, probably somewhere close to York.

By guest contributing writer, Nathan Walker

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