Category: "k stories"
01/06/12 12:52- ID#55855
K Story: Jersey
â€œOh,â€ K said, â€œIâ€™ve lived there.â€ (We were on the phone. Iâ€™d just figured out how to use the Bluetooth thing in the new car.)
â€œYou have to live there a little while to understand the aesthetic,â€ I said.
â€œI was there ten months,â€ he said. â€œGranted, I was only six at the time. Hackensack. But I remember it really well.â€
â€œDo you,â€ I said. â€œReally? Six?â€
â€œItâ€™s pretty goddamn vivid,â€ he said. â€œMy dad shot an intruder in our house. Twice, in the face. Bam-bam. Killed him instantly.â€
â€œOh,â€ I said. A lot of K stories leave you not quite knowing what to say.
â€œThey arrested my dad,â€ he said. â€œBecause of a lot of things, some of which I only found out a lot later. But partly because most scared homeowners donâ€™t shoot people like that. A neat double-tap, precision-aimed? The cops figured he hadda be Somebody. And then, we were straight from Georgia, and the intruder was black. A Southern guy shoots a black dude? Like that?â€
â€œHm,â€ I said, still trying to figure out what one says.
â€œWhat it really came down to, though, I only found out way later, was that the guy downstairs was a soldier for the Gotti family, and they figured my dad was probably involved too. They had to let him go, as of course there wasnâ€™t any proof of anything. But I only found out really recentlyâ€¦ he was.â€
K laughs. â€œSo yeah, I remember Jersey really well.â€
Last Modified: 01/06/12 12:52
01/06/12 12:50- ID#55854
it's almost Christmas!
My family celebrated Christmas without me, on Thanksgiving, in Georgia, where my sister and her children live. I Skyped with them, briefly. That was toward the beginning of my Unmitigated Hell season, and I knew from the moment my sister announced it that I would be unable to attend. So I didn't stress, but I did cry a little, alone in bed late at night, knowing that my entire family was together without me. (And we had just lost my uncle to unexpected, fast-progressing cancer, so it was kind of hard to be on my own then while they were all having so much togetherness etc.)
But this weekend my parents are visiting me, and I'm going to have a proper-ish Christmas of my own, with my mother's special cooking and so on. I've saved all the presents my sisters sent me to open when my parents are here, and I sent all my presents out to my sisters late and am going to try to Skype with them that day. We're going to celebrate on Sunday, after the upcoming roller derby bout.
Oh yeah, there's one of those coming up. I'm playing. It'll be fun. Come see. Front row is sold out but the rest of the place isn't.
So yeah. I'm excited about Christmas. I haven't seen my folks since October.
Last Modified: 01/06/12 12:50
Category: "k stories"
01/04/12 05:18- ID#55849
K Story: Left to the Face, Right to the Body
Kâ€™s voice is indistinct, but his diction is clear; itâ€™s the phone reception, and the fact that heâ€™s probably holding it between his face and shoulder as heâ€™s cooking. â€œDamn right,â€ he says. â€œWell, to be fair, he hit her first, and thatâ€™s what started it.â€
â€œWait, whoa, he hit the girl? Iâ€™m amazed you let him live.â€ Iâ€™d had a few scanty details secondhand via text and his slurred voice in the background the night before, but nothing detailed.
â€œThere were probably four people in the place,â€ he says. â€œMe, the barmaid, the guy, and one other customer. Damn it this spatula isnâ€™t big enough.â€ He trails off into muttering, then comes back clearer as he evidently shifts the phone closer to his mouth. â€œI was just there toâ€¦ I wasnâ€™t really there to get drunk, I just wanted to get outâ€¦ get out of the house, really. I just needed a little space. So I had just got my drink. And the bartender was arguing with this guy, her ex-boyfriend. She was telling him he had to get out. So he backhands her, right across the face. Hang on.â€ He fades out, and something scuffles, and thumps.
â€œThere.â€ Heâ€™s much clearer now.
â€œHe really hit her,â€ I say.
â€œYeah.â€ His voice rises, in remembered incredulity. â€œSo I stood up and went over and said Youâ€™re gonna have to leave now, and he got up in my face and said Itâ€™s none of yours, and I said, again, clearer, Youâ€™re going to have to leave. So he says, You wanna fight about it? And calm as anything, I looked him up and down and said, Actually? Yeah.â€
â€œOh, perfect,â€ I say.
â€œSo he hauls off and hits me. It was kind of a nothinâ€™ hit, a drunk swing, though actually my jaw hurt pretty bad after. And I woke up this morning with a bloody nose but I think that was just the dry air, I donâ€™t think he got me that good. So everything went into slow motion, like it doesâ€” he hits me, and then I see him looking at my right hand, ready for me to swing back. So I hit him with my left. Left to the face, then a right to the body. And he just dropped into a little heap. I kicked him, pretty hard, in the gut, cuz you know, I had kind of a lot of anger to work through. Itâ€™s been a while. Then I scooped him up and put him out the door.â€
â€œNice,â€ I say, and he laughs.
â€œI know I didnâ€™t break his jaw because he mumbled something about calling the police. I said Sure, go ahead. He hit me first, and there were witnesses that saw it, so I wasnâ€™t worried. I shut the door, came back inside, went back to my chair, sat down, took a breath, and time went back from slow motion to normal. And the bartender comes over, and says, calm and quiet, just like that, Thanks. Want a drink?â€
â€œAnd you did,â€ I say.
â€œFuck yes,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™d already started in on a triple of Jamesonâ€” one of those rocks glasses, about three quarters fullâ€” and a tall Guinness, and she brought me another of each, and then I had another Jameson after that, and then we went down the street and I had another triple Jameson and a tall Guinness. And I felt better.â€
â€œYou sounded pretty damn cheerful on the phone last night,â€ I point out.
â€œOh hell yes,â€ he says. â€œThereâ€™s nothing as satisfying as a good bar fight, you know?â€
â€œIâ€™m kind of surprised youâ€™re this OK this morning,â€ I say. â€œLast night you took Sâ€™s phone and were telling me something involved about finishing your drink because of St. Patrick and your ancestors, but you pronounced it ansheshtors.â€
â€œI donâ€™t remember that,â€ he said. â€œBut Iâ€™m guessing the giant glass of water I had, and then the tactical decision to go make myself throw up, between the last Jameson and the last Guinness, are probably why I woke up bright-eyed and ready to go, if a little bloody, at 7 am. Iâ€™ve been cookinâ€™ ever since. Hey I gotta go, Iâ€™ll call you once the foodâ€™s been served.â€
Last Modified: 01/04/12 05:18
Category: "k stories"
01/03/12 11:13- ID#55845
K Story: Knees
â€œI bruised the hell out of the good one,â€ I moan, â€œand the scar tissue in the tendon on the other one is just aching like crazy.â€
â€œMineâ€™s bad too, lately,â€ he says. â€œJust the bad one, though.â€
â€œYou have a bad knee?â€ In my (derby-heavy) social group Iâ€™m used to always knowing who has chronic injuries where, out of courtesy and habit. So Iâ€™m shocked not to already know.
â€œThe right one,â€ he says. â€œIt dislocates. Ever since the thing with the helicopter. Didâ€” Wait, have you not heard this story? With the dead Rangers?â€
â€œWhat? No!â€ I would remember that, my dad was almost a Ranger.
He laughs. â€œI guess I gotta save at least one story for when weâ€™re old and gray.â€
I snort. Iâ€™d been less-than-gently needling him that his current woes were his mid-life crisis. â€œShut up,â€ he says, but heâ€™s laughing.
â€œWhen was this?â€ I ask, more politely.
â€œAbout 1995?â€ he says. I decide not to mention that I was in high school then. â€œIt was one of those war games exercises. And the thing we had to do, for my team anyway, was that we had to jump out of a helicopter into this river. And the fucking pilot didnâ€™t slow down like he was supposed to. My team chief was so mad itâ€™s lucky he didnâ€™t shoot the guy. I wasnâ€™t the only one who got hurt.â€
â€œWhat, just jump out? No parachute?â€
â€œPah, of course,â€ he says. â€œWe just jumped out with about 100 pounds of gear on. He was supposed to slow down, see? I hit that water so hardâ€” and now I know, it is possible to scream underwater. I wouldâ€™ve drowned if my friend hadnâ€™t hauled me upâ€” big Samoan guy, he saved me a couple times.â€
I remember Big Samoan Guy from the story about the scars on Kâ€™s shoulder, the scars his tattoos cover, the one he wonâ€™t let me tell yet. Saved his life then too. â€œYeah,â€ I say, wishing I remembered the manâ€™s name but not wanting to interrupt.
â€œIt was kinda fucked-up,â€ he says. â€œThe corpsman we had, he wasnâ€™t very good. Guys would come to me instead. So they hauled me out and half-carried me back to the beachhead, and this useless fucker has no idea what to do with a dislocated knee. He wonâ€™t give me anything but ibuprofen. And Iâ€™m lying in this, basically a foxhole, and you know how I am, Iâ€™m pretty fuckinâ€™ grouchy. And they say they canâ€™t medevac me to a real doctor for another two days. And Iâ€™m just watching this thing swell up and it hurts bad and Iâ€™m so mad at the stupid chopper pilot.â€
â€œI donâ€™t blame you,â€ I comment.
â€œBut then they say oh, thereâ€™s an Army helicopter coming in. Theyâ€™ll drop their guys and come by for you.â€
â€œOh,â€ I say, â€œthere you go.â€
â€œYeah,â€ he says dryly. â€œSo this Blackhawk helicopter comes in. I donâ€™t know Blackhawks. It comes in over the beach, then suddenly the pitch of the engine changes. Like I said, I donâ€™t know Blackhawks. But this thing suddenly went careening past the next line of trees, disappeared behind it, and then there was just this huge fireball.â€
â€œFuck!â€ Itâ€™s an awful image. â€œDid anyone get out?â€
â€œOf course not,â€ he answers. â€œKilled the whole crew, plus the entire team of Army Rangers waiting to jump out.â€
â€œFuck,â€ I say again.
â€œYeah,â€ he says. â€œSo like, after that nobody cared about my knee. I couldnâ€™t blame them. But I lay in that hole for three days with my knee dislocated.â€
â€œShitty,â€ I say.
â€œShittier for those Rangers,â€ he says. Weâ€™re both silent, thinking on that. Finally he says, â€œItâ€™s not a very good story. I think thatâ€™s why I never told it to you before.â€
â€œNot a good story?!â€
â€œNo,â€ he says. â€œAll I do is lie in a hole and feel sorry for myself.â€
Last Modified: 01/03/12 11:13
Category: "k stories"
01/03/12 08:29- ID#55844
K Story: Microdot
â€œMarshmallows,â€ I say cheerfully. â€œI made homemade marshmallows! Theyâ€™re stale now but they were really good.â€
â€œBrr,â€ he says, recoiling slightly. â€œUgh.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s not to like about marshmallows?â€ I demand, astonished.
â€œUgh,â€ he says. â€œI canâ€™t handle marshmallows. I had a bad experience with a dose of acid on a marshmallow once.â€
â€œAcid?â€ Iâ€™m utterly taken aback. â€œYou did acid?â€
He laughs. â€œYeah,â€ he says. â€œI used to. I probably shouldnâ€™t tell this story but one of my favorite times was during a hurricane, onboard ship.â€
I stare at him. â€œIsnâ€™t that a terrible idea?â€
â€œWe ran to sea to ride out the storm,â€ he said. â€œStandard kind of procedure. Itâ€™s unpleasant, but you have a better chance out there than near the shore. So during a storm like that, almost no one is allowed to be up and about. The guy steering the ship is strapped into his chair, the guy watching the instruments is strapped in, and just about everyone else is belowdecks, literally strapped into their bunks.â€
â€œWhat if you have to get up to pee?â€ I ask.
â€œYou donâ€™t,â€ he says. â€œYou canâ€™t get out, the bunks are four deep. Thereâ€™s a big webbing thing that comes across to hold you in. Some guys would try to bring in a bottle or a can or something so ifâ€” not if, whenâ€” you had to pee it didnâ€™t get everywhereâ€” I usually didâ€” but there wasnâ€™t really much you could do. After a long storm the whole place just stank of piss and shit and sweat. It wasnâ€™t fun.â€
â€œAnd you decided to do acid to get through this,â€ I say, thinking perhaps I understand.
â€œOh no,â€ he says. â€œBecause my damage control team wasnâ€™t in our bunks. We were supposed to go around and make sure the ship wasnâ€™t sinking. We were emergency response.â€
â€œâ€¦ And you did this on acid,â€ I say.
â€œOnly a half-dose,â€ he said. â€œAnd I should mention, there wouldnâ€™tâ€™ve been much we could really do, even if it were. We were wearing enormous Mae West life vests, huge oversize coveralls, old-school combat helmets, and we had all our limbs wrapped in towels under the coveralls. Because the ship is making forty-degree drops at random intervals; you just get beat to hell if youâ€™re not strapped down. It sucks, and itâ€™s boring, and dangerous, and hard. So we just all got high and ran around like idiots. Hell, there was no one to see us.â€
â€œI suppose thatâ€™s opportune,â€ I say, still skeptical.
â€œThe best part was when we all decided to go rolling,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s just this one huge space, a corridor, belowdecks, that goes almost the whole length of the ship. It ends at the mess hall on one end. Itâ€™s huge; we were a repair ship so weâ€™d use it to put big ship engines we were working on, and stuff. But at that point it was empty. So we made ourselves into human cannonballs and just rolled down it while the ship tossed and heeled.â€
I consider that a moment. â€œIs this the same team that had the kite incident?â€
He laughs. â€œYup.â€
Last Modified: 01/03/12 08:29
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