Tuesday, October 20, 2015



Every morning after my breakfast, I take the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue just to visit you at the bank.

This daily routine permanently wedged itself into my life the day I shuffled into the Whitney Bank lobby and was greeted by a teller with a smile that reminded me of a 1950s toothpaste ad. I was there to put something in my safety deposit box and spent the previous evening agonizing over the event, but I felt the anxiety trickle away when you looked into my eyes and asked, “How can I help you today, sir?”

You are a sophomore at Tulane University — studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor in English. You grew up in Castor, Louisiana with your mother and three younger sisters. At Castor High, you were a decorated student athlete who carried his lacrosse team to three consecutive state championships. Outside of school, you were a devoted boyfriend to the most beautiful girl in Bienville Parish. And on the day you were accepted into Tulane, your mother cried inconsolably.

I know all of this because you told me so.

Over the past year, I’ve told you about myself, too. You know that I grew up on a pecan farm in Clanton, Alabama and that I received my draft card on my birthday. You know that I returned from the service and settled in New Orleans, where I founded the company that eventually made me a wealthy man. You know that I spent my first day of retirement at the New Orleans World’s Fair in 1984. You know that my wife passed away shorty after the storm and that I’ve been very lonely ever since. You know that I enjoy our visits and that’s why I return to the bank every morning after breakfast — just to spend a few minutes with you.

But there’s something you don’t know: I’ve only got a few months to live, and I’d love to share them with you.

This may come as a shock, but I’ve thought very carefully about this proposal and I believe it’s the one thing that would make my final days worth living.

What I’m asking is that you be with me. Quit your job, take some time off school, and move into my home for the duration of my life. Accompany me on a trip here or there and see wonderful parts of the world. Share my bed and allow me to pleasure you, if you’d be inclined. And in exchange, you will be named my sole beneficiary after my passing — collecting everything I’ve amassed in a lifetime. To me, this is a last-ditch effort to be with someone I care for before I succumb to brain cancer. To you, this is an opportunity to have whatever life you want after I’m gone. Take care of you family. Go anywhere. Buy anything. All I’m asking for is your time and your intimacy.

Right now, I’ve never been more nervous or embarrassed.

I can’t imagine what you think of me.

The truth is, I’ve spent my entire life being a partial version of myself. But I’ve come to love everything about you — even though you’re a straight boy from Castor — and I’m finally ready to be the person God intended me to be. I know this is a long shot, but I really want you think hard about my offer.

No one ever tells you what the end of your life feels like. But to me, every day feels like I’m bound and locked inside the trunk of a car, waiting to plunge into the river. But for a few moments every day, the trunk opens and I can see the sky.

You said you always wanted to visit Southern California, right? Well, we can leave tomorrow! On the plane, I want to hear more about that summer you worked as a 4H Camp counselor. Tell me everything. Let’s have drinks at the Del Coronado and talk about everything. We could watch the sunset and I’ll buy you sunglasses so you won’t have to squint. After I go to sleep, you can go wherever you want. But while we’re in bed, hold me and whisper, “I love you.” You don’t even have to mean it. Just say it into the air around my ear and maybe I’ll hear it before drifting off.

Whatever your answer, I want you to know that you are funny. And you are very, very kind. And you have the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. And on your off-days, my driver still takes me to the bank, even though I know I won’t find you. He lets the car idle while I gaze into the lobby — imagining you walking across the floor to fetch some coffee or deliver a message.

Right now, the trunk is closed and my hands are feet are bound. Very soon, the water will come rushing in and I’ll fight for air. And the water will win, like it always does.

But before that, let me see the sky one last time.

After that, I'll be ready.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

That’s Hysterical

Before every first date, I pick out an outfit, shave my face, and treat myself to compulsive, frantic, psychological episode.

I know that it’s coming, but I’m still surprised when it does. That’s because it manifests in different ways and in various phases of my pre-date routine. This micro-breakdown sometimes hits me while I’m in the shower — singing a loud and off-key rendition of a Ying Yang Twins song, which is an oxymoron. My Night At The Strip Club Spotify playlist is a traditional choice when preparing for a romantic night on the town, and the Ying Yang Twins are sprinkled throughout this curation for obvious reasons. Strip club anthems are the calling card of Atlanta’s most party-ready, rapping misogynists. I’m body-rolling my way through “The Whisper Song," when suddenly I think to myself, Oh God. I’m about to go on a date with someone for the first time! What am I doing?!

What follows is a series of questions directed at myself. Some are date-specific [Do I have money in my checking account?] and some are much more existential [How did I fuck up my life so dramatically?], but each one is accompanied by a palpable rush of panic and anger. This episode is amplified by the fact that I never give myself enough time to get ready. Since I’m prone to these freakouts, I avoid getting ready too early. This helps me avoid downtime to mull over new worries. This also backfires and I end up sprinting from room to room, trying to make my face and body appear fuckable while showtime inches nearer and nearer.

Date Dash comes to a screeching halt when I finally have to stand in front of the mirror. Here, I study my reflection and reflect on how I achieved this toneless, adolescent build. With the possibility of sex looming in the near future, I take this opportunity to yell at myself for everything I’ve eaten in the past 27 years. I blame my parents for shitty genetics and I wonder aloud how my siblings managed to look like Swedish TV anchors while I look like someone who’s perpetually recovering from last night — a balding, 20-something version of David Caruso on a bender. I am fat and skinny and look too young and too old. I am a physical paradox. And somehow I have a date.


No time for bathroom sobbing. Bathroom sobbing can wait ‘til later when I’m drunk and alone. This train of thought leads to a second round of questions about my impending date, mostly along the lines of my predisposition to drink like a monster. Like most of us, I’m a more affable person after a couple drinks. Unlike a vast majority of us, I will tear past the acceptable limit until I am a hurricane of insobriety. Knowing this, I will engage in a psychotic debate with myself about the pros and cons of anxiety drinking and its effect on my “game.” This debate is interrupted by a sudden compulsion to have a drink. Slipping on underwear and yanking up socks to the stretchable limit around my calves, I hustle to the kitchen where I shotgun a Michelob Ultra with the fridge wide open. That’s better, I think. I’m going to be fine.

I spend the next few minutes ironing my outfit in hurried brush strokes and nodding along to Genuine’s “Pony.” Night At The Strip Club is still going hard. I’m not calm, but I’m making it. I pass for fine until I fully dress and return to the mirror. This is where I come undone again.

Sometimes there’s discoloration on my sleeves or a stain on my collar, but most of the time, I just hate the outfit. I grit my teeth and I cover my face with my hands so I don’t have to see what’s in front of me. Here comes the meltdown.

Nothing fits.

Nothing’s new.

I wish I had nicer things.

I wish I made more money.

I wish this wasn't me.

*Bathroom sobbing*

Eventually, I run cold water and dab my eyes and cheeks. I throw yesterday’s office attire into the dryer with a Bounce Sheet and an ice cube. I open Spotify and change Night At The Strip Club to Angry Workout. I turn the music all the way up while I latch my Rolex and mist Spicebomb across my neck. Fuck this, I think. I didn’t spend two days trying to convince a guy on the Internet to like me by using charm and recycled jokes just to break down in overtime. This is happening.

I’m crippled with anxiety at any given point in the day, but there’s something about going on a job interview for sex that turns me into an erratic basket case. But once I’m on the couch, and 7PM is only a few minutes away, I cool down and somehow find the confidence to leave the house and go to dinner with someone I barely know.

Then, across the table from a perfect stranger, I will experience an entirely new dimension of horror as I agree with ideas I don’t believe and pretend to be someone I’m not.

Please enjoy Night At The Strip Club.


There’s something you stir in me, and it’s not appetizing like cake batter or tomato soup.

Inside my stomach, there’s a thick, black tar that bubbles when I look at pictures of you or hear your name.

The sad part: I look for it.

I’ll noticed that you’re tagged in a Mutual Friend’s Facebook post, and then I’ll investigate what you’ve been up to for the past few months. You look good. I can’t believe you finally went to Barcelona. It’s embarrassing, but at least it’s private. And it induces a toxic indigestion

The really hard part is not bringing you up around other people. Saying your name in conversation is a compulsive, embarrassing habit I can’t seem to break — or at least muffle. No matter the topic, I am masterfully skilled at working your into the discussion. Try me. The Pope’s visit to America? Modern Family? A YouTube video of a moose fucking a Jeep? I’ve got just the segue to a story about you and me. And while I’m telling my friends, I’m becoming ill with hot, dark magma.

Right now, I’m writing about you.

And I can feel the nauseating sludge groaning from deep in the pit of me.

But I like it.

It’s you, after all.