Playdate Chicken

The time was exactly 4:56 and 43 seconds on Friday July 22. Mrs. Kleinfeld had one hand on the stem of her glass, the other on the neck of a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She willed the hands of the clock to move faster. After the week she had, she needed sweet oblivion at any cost.

It was at that time that Little Ignatia skipped into the kitchen. “What are we doing this weekend?” Ignatia asked. Mrs. Kleinfeld looked into her daughter’s big blue eyes and somehow knew she was not going to take “Sleeping as late as possible and recovering from a hangover” as an answer. “We’ll see baby,” she said. Ignatia seemed to accept this answer as she skipped away.

This exchange caused Mrs. Kleinfeld to seriously consider her original plan and it was then that she came up with a great idea. If she could arrange a playdate for Ignatia perhaps she could sleep on the couch while Ignatia and her friend played. She texted Mrs. Cornheiser.

Hi Mrs. Cornheser! Is Annabelle available tomorrow? I was thinking that maybe we could get the girls together for a playdate.

That sounds terrific! Do you think that they would like to go to the zoo? I have year round passes.

Yes, I’m sure Ignatia would love that!

Mrs. Kleinfeld could not believe it. She had hit the golden ticket of playdates! Mrs. Cornheiser was going to take Ignatia to the zoo while leaving Mrs. Kleinfeld to throw up into the toilet to her heart’s content. Then the next text came.

Why don’t you come meet us at 10AM by the front gate?

Mrs. Kleinfeld’s heart sunk. Was she expected to accompany them to the zoo? She could think of no more hideous of a way to spend her Saturday afternoon. But what could she do? She couldn’t very well say that she would only accept the invitation for Ignatia on the condition that she be able to stay home and nurse her sure to be aching head. She had to think fast.

Sure, but you know, with the lines and all…maybe we should meet at 9.

Oh yes, didn’t even think of the lines, maybe 8 is even better!

Was this woman crazy? Was she actually thinking of getting there at 8AM? Maybe, maybe not, but that was a chance Mrs. Kleinfeld wasn’t willing to take. She decided to switch tactics.

Sounds good. Maybe we should also invite Little Bertie Kaminsky!

Ha! Take that Mrs. Cornheiser! Nobody liked that little glue eater.

Oh, that would be great! Maybe we should also invite the Rodriguez triplets?

How about we just invite their entire 3rd grade class?

Sure, and how about their teacher Mrs. Lipshitz as well?

Great!I love Mrs. Lipshitz.

Mrs. Kleinfeld could hardly believe what she had just written. She didn’t even think Mrs. Lipshitz’s mother loved Mrs. Lipshitz. But she was seriously getting in over her head now. She was 2 zip in the bottom of the ninth, whatever that meant, and she needed another tactic. Back to her phone she went.

I think we should pack a picnic too!

Okay, I’ll bring along some sushi in my cold and hot super duper cooler heater thingamabob!

Oh no, I’ll just whip up some filet mignon and serve it in mini sandwiches with the crusts cut off!

Okay, see you then.

Now Mrs. Kleinfeld really needed a glass of wine. She gulped the first one down and then poured herself another. She went to sit and think about how she was going to get herself out of this one. She could not show up…but then she considered all the times she would have to hide in the bushes to avoid awkward conversations in the schoolyard. Would it be worth it? Perhaps…

It was then that Ignatia skipped back into the room. The sight of her carrying on her own dialogue between two of her Barbie dolls caused Mrs. Kleinfeld’s heart to sink. She knew it was time to put on her big girl boots. She took to her phone once again.

Hi Mrs. Cornheiser! It’s me again. Something’s come up for tomorrow morning. Do you think you can just bring Annabelle by at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon?

Better make it 2.

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Motivational Speaking For the Unmotivated

Megan sat there watching the expression in Wanda’s eyes run the gamut from awe to disappointment to disgust. But even worse than that was the cold steely eye of the iPhone in Wanda’s hands, taking it all in with no way for Megan to stop it. It was then that Megan started to regret snorting that line of coke off the Korean executive’s cock at 3 o clock that morning. But, if she really thought about it, this was just an inevitable end to something that had been put into motion way before she even took her first shot of tequila last night.

The truth was, Megan really didn’t ever want to do anything. She was perfectly content sitting at home in her sweat pants lazing around in her unmade bed, eating Twinkies, browsing social media and waiting for unemployment checks to roll in…which is exactly what she would have been doing had it not been for the slight inconvenience of the fact that there were no unemployment checks coming in and hadn’t been for the past three months. That is what brought on the depression which was slightly alleviated by the appearance of little numbers in the notifications box in whatever social media platform she happened to be on.

It was around this time that J. Lo came to Megan in a dream (although it may have been a video on Facebook, no one is really quite sure). J.Lo went on to tell her how even someone as talentless as herself, could make it in the world if she just believed. Megan thought about the dream a long time before coming to the conclusion that the blonde hair J. Lo was sporting really didn’t suit her at all. But later on in the day, J Lo’s words started to resonate with her and so she started posting inane messages on social media platforms like “your mind is your best friend and your worst enemy”, “you are so much more than what you see in the mirror” and “sexy is a state of mind”. Pretty soon, Megan found that she had much more than numbers in her notifications box. She had thousands and thousands of followers.

The time had come. She needed to take action. She didn’t even have to pick up the phone to book the first Megan Landry Motivational Speaking for The Unmotivated Conference. The wheels were in motion.

At Megan’s first conference, she didn’t bother to prepare a speech. She scoured her brain for clever internet memes. She quoted a couple of Bon Jovi songs. The conference ended with everyone in attendance joining her on stage for a rousing rendition of ‘I Will Survive’. She was a huge success.

The money started rolling in. So much so, in fact, that her accountant started advising her to give some away to charity. Which is why, when Megan got a phone call from The Plight Of The Injured Iguanas Foundation, asking if she would donate an in home consultation to the highest bidder, (tax deductible mind you) she readily agreed.

The receptionist at The Injured Iguana did a great job of reminding Megan about her upcoming appointment with Wanda who had bid a whopping $1000 to meet Megan at her apartment at 9:00 on Friday morning for the consult. Unfortunately, it was Megan who dropped the ball. Every time she was about to enter the date down in her computer calendar, she was immediately sidetracked by the window that came up which automatically defaulted to Kim Kardashian’s Twitter page.

When Megan’s alarm started going off at 9 AM on Friday, she wished for death as she hit it repeatedly. When it didn’t stop it’s incessant buzzing, she realized it was the doorbell. She crawled out of bed in hopes that whoever it was would go the hell away, if only so that she could return to her desired state of unconsciousness. But when she saw Wanda, it all came flooding back to her.

As the two sat in Megan’s kitchen, Megan struggled to decipher Wanda’s words but she just continued to sound more and more to her like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Megan, meanwhile, battled what could have easily have been the worst hangover of all time, if it wasn’t for the fact that she was still a bit drunk. She struggled to think of something prophetic to say but she was rendered stupid from the lasting effects of the alcohol not to mention the sickening feeling in her stomach.

The Youtube video shows her saying something unintelligible. Some think it was “yolo” while others claim it was “oh no”. That is a debate that raged on for many months until it was eclipsed by the great internet controversy of whether the dress was blue or white. No matter in any case, as with the words came up rivers of vomit most of which ended up on Wanda’s new pencil skirt which she had purchased just for the occasion. I hear Megan is now gainfully employed at a McDonald’s in Pasadena.

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The Fennelly’s Diner

Some couples take vacations. Some have children. My parents opened up a restaurant. Well, I don’t know if that was what they thought would be THEEE THING to save their failing marriage but, in any case, here were these two people who seemingly hated each other, working together every day and going home every night, and now they had something else to fight about.

And fight they did…much to the delight of the many patrons who would line up around the block for our meh manicotti and processed penne. But it wasn’t the food they were coming for, it was the entertainment. And they got their money’s worth. Every night.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d come out of the kitchen, my parents’ hurled obscenities echoing through the dining room. I’d see the dirty looks diners gave each other if clanging silverware disturbed the hush, lest they miss a muffled word and go home without getting the juicy details of the altercation du jour. Other patrons tried to look nonchalant as they crept away from the wall, discreetly putting down the water glass they were holding up to their ear. Then, my parents would emerge, as if on cue, my mother’s tear stained face, my father with mashed potatoes in his hair.

Of course there was no respite to be had at school. Few made any effort to conceal the ever present vicious gossip. My parents’ diner was soon dubbed THEE place to go if you were going to break up with someone. It was said that seeing what a relationship could become made the dumpee feel relieved. One of our dishes was even lovingly nicknamed the It’s Not You It’s Me-atloaf.

Other kids said that my parents’ fighting made their moms and dads feel better about their own imperfect relationships. Chicken blessed. Still others said that the fighting sparked lively debates in their homes about who was right and who was wrong. Devil’s Food Advo-cake.

Well, finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I went home and I told my mother and father how much their fighting was bothering me; how it was ruining my life; how I just couldn’t take it any more. The next day they went out and found a marriage counselor.

Mrs. Stuart taught my parents how to get along better. She taught them yoga poses that would help open up the channels of communication between them. She taught them how to express their feelings in a loving, tactful manner.

My parent’s marriage improved over the next few months but it wasn’t strong enough to survive the closing of the restaurant. Six weeks after the doors locked for the last time, the divorce was finalized. I don’t think they ever completely forgave me either.

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Photobombed In Brooklyn

Archie hated people. He didn’t want to talk to them, he didn’t want to live with them, and he certainly didn’t want to work with them. As a result, he shunned society by living in a cardboard box under the L on 86th St. in Brooklyn, and that suited him just fine.

One day, when Archie was out scavenging for food, he caught sight of Alice. He wasn’t sure what it was about Alice…perhaps the disproportionate amount of doughy flesh on the backsides of her arms, but she reminded him of his dear mama who he’d last seen when she told him he was birthed in a dumpster in the back of the Coney Island AppleBees. That was right before she ran off with Mario from Mario’s Pizza and Doughnuts on the M75 to fulfill her dreams of becoming the Donut Queen of Long Island. But in any case, his heart, which he hertofore had dismissed as no longer capable of doing much more than keeping him alive, albeit in the flimsiest of manners, skipped a beat. He felt an undeniable urge to bond with this human Alice of the Fleshy Arms and he began running towards her.

It just so happened that Alice was just in the middle of snapping a picture with her cousin Mavis who she hadn’t seen in a dog’s age (her words not mine). Archie came close but never did quite make it to Alice, who he was hoping to embrace, by the time the picture was taken.

Now, unbeknownst to Archie, Alice was on the the tail end of a 15 minute bout of fame spurred when a Youtube video of her laughing maniacally at a wind up parakeet that shouted out swear words in Chinese somehow went viral.

Also unbeknownst to Archie, the photo of her and Mavis would end up on Alice’s Facebook page bearing the caption #photobombedinbrooklyn.

So while this picture of Archie photobombing Alice was getting shared, tweeted and retweeted, Archie’s heart strings were still acting up. He hence ended up photobombing many, including a man who’s balding pate recalled memories of his favorite uncle, Heroin Harry and a particularly photogenic chihuahua who reminded him of the feral cat who used to claw through his dumpsters til old ma threw a shoe at it.

So Archie’s fame rose in social media circles by fans who called him Photobombing Phil, (because they didn’t know his name was Archie) and all sorts started to line up on 86th St. outside Archie’s cardboard box, taking photos that they hoped Archie would photobomb. The masses included washed up actresses wishing to revamp their careers, hipsters who found Phil delightfully ironic and debutantes who decided being Photobombed by Archie would be the height of slumming it. There were even some who brought their sick relatives believing Archie had strange and magical healing powers. Bootleggers sold shirts that said things like I Got Photobombed in Brooklyn and I Took A Still With Phil!

But all efforts were in vain as Archie soon decided that his misadventures were due to telepathic messages coming to his brain through iPhone batteries as well as a bad case of acid reflux from the subway fumes. So Archie decided to relocate to an abandoned industrial warehouse in Williamsburg were he was killed in an unfortunate accident involving a button holing machine he wrongly assumed was inoperative. His body was never found.

This is a picture of me and my cousin with my kids in Brooklyn getting photobombed. It inspired the blog which is otherwise fictionalized and, no, my cousin does not have disproportionately fleshy arms.

This is a picture of me and my cousin with my kids in Brooklyn getting photobombed. It inspired the blog which is otherwise fictionalized and, no, my cousin does not have disproportionately fleshy arms.

A Pack of Smokes

Mr. Butcher did not know where his cigarettes were but he did know one thing…they definitely were not on his person. And they definitely were not on the park bench at Tompkins Square Park where he had just been sitting. Oh well. He supposed this was just another step on his path to Eternal Damnation which started long ago. But sitting in the middle of a playground, puffing away, while parents looked on disdainfully, probably advanced him quite a bit.

But to hell with them. He remembered this park when a kid wouldn’t step foot in it for fear it would be scurried over by a rat. Those were the days when he and Skeeter ruled the streets…or so they would have liked to have thought. Those two…they always had some kind of scam going. They lived on the streets and worked them for all they could get…cigarettes, drugs, sex… Butcher thought he had made it for sure the first day he could even afford his own pack of smokes.

And Skeeter…what happened to him? Butcher heard that he was now filed under Married with Children, headed for a life of yuppiedom with a woman who was seriously looking into converting to Krishna, if she hadn’t already.

In the meantime, somewhere blocks across The East Village, Skeeter hadn’t completely lost his edge. Behind his wife’s back, he was meeting with a group of conspiracy theorists who believed that one day, when everybody realized that you didn’t have to pay $22 for a sandwich, the punks would take back the Lower East Side…and they were getting the next generation ready.

Every Saturday at 2, when Skeeter’s wife Emily was getting ready for her knitting circle, she’d send Skeeter and their son Mason off to yoga…only that’s not where they ended up. Once well out of her sight, Skeeter would take off his son’s yoga pants and headband, and replace it with (authentically) ripped jeans and a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt. Then Skeeter would take Mason to Juvenile Delinquent’s Class where he learned the finer points of looting, pickpocketing and becoming a successful drug lord.

No one could quite believe it when they saw Mason running around Tompkins Square Park with an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth so they all just assumed it was candy. “Nice job son” Skeeter said, as he extracted one from the pack and lit up.

 

I’m kind of excited at my foray into short story writing and am looking forward to your comments and criticisms. The story was inspired by my trip to New York and partially based on truth.

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