Friday, October 14, 2011

a sentence from the news

About a half-dozen therapy dogs, wearing green vests embroidered with names like Anise and Riley, moved through the crowd providing comfort to mourners.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Will this work?

30 September 2011

Financial Times
Customer Service

Dear Sir/Madam:

I received the enclosed renewal offer from The Financial Times, but was dismayed to see that the going rate is $199, a 100% increase from my original subscription rate of $99. I understand that the lower price was a special offer, yet to double the price strikes me as excessive and, I’m afraid, financially untenable. Because I very much value the FT, I would be happy to see my subscription increase by a certain percentage annually, not unlike my rent, or the gray hairs on my head. A number around 35%, nearer my age and within my means, seems eminently reasonable. How does $135 sound? If acceptable, please bill me for that amount and I’ll gladly pay.

If this letter should be directed somewhere else, please do so.

Yours sincerely,

Sunday, October 02, 2011

an excerpt from my forthcoming college novel, about loneliness, friendship, and the vagaries of the seasons in upstate New York

'I feel like people don’t talk enough about how fucked up black squirrels are.'

We’re standing under the expanse of a large tree neither of us knows the name of. It’s late August in upstate New York, freshman year of college. I’m waiting with my roommate for another student from our floor to go to the dining hall.

'I guess. I don’t know. Are there no black squirrels where you’re from?'

'Denver? No. Look at it. It doesn’t look like a squirrel at all. It’s like a little bear. A little black bear.'

His emphasis on the word black is just enough to make me uncomfortable. An inconstant wind, already feeling like fall, sends leaves from their branches in swirling twos and threes. He goes on.

'I don’t know dude. Is it racist to say that? Who knows? But I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen more black squirrels here than black students. I’m used to black students but not black squirrels.' He pauses to kick a stick. 'I wonder what black students think of black squirrels?'

'I think we might going in a racist direction,' I say wishing more than anything else my roommate didn’t talk so loud, or so freely, or was my roommate.

'Have you ever been with a black chick?'

I check my phone. I can feel him looking at me.

'Yeah me neither. Hey, a monarch butterfly!'

The black and orange flutters erratically past us.

'You know what they call people who study butterflies? Lepidopterists. It’s Latin. Actually the more obscure word to me is butterfly. I’m not sure where that came from. Butter fly. Did you ever take Latin?'

'No. I did French in high school. Actually, I think I’m going to start French again next semester. I didn’t sign up this semester.'

Another distinctly fall breeze. I think I see our third making his way toward us for our early dinner, the continuation of our friendship trial.

'Have you ever been with a Latin chick? Latina I guess is how you say it.'

'Hey, here comes Paul. Paul!' I shout. 'Over here!' I shout, louder.

Dialogue from a deleted scene from The Wire, where Omar goes to a suburban Baltimore Supercuts for a trim

Hairdresser [combing out Omar's braids]: You know, your scalp is awfully dry. Do you drink enough water?

Omar [scowling]: It's always been like that, ya feel me?

Hairdresser: What about special dandruff shampoo - have you ever tried that?

Omar [nodding]: Oh indeed.