I only gave myself one parameter to measure my status of keeping shit together: making it to the gym. It has been a solid week since I’ve stepped foot in there and I can easily say that I have failed to meet that simple parameter. Going to the gym requires being of sound body and I have not been nurturing myself as I should be. Cooking just hasn’t been something I have been able to bring myself to do so I have just been eating bread and hummus, which has left me feeling drained and weak. That could also be the result of going to the bar every single night and closing the place down each time. The past few days have been the same: napping all day while watching The Simpsons and then going out drinking and talking to strangers all night. I have met more people in the past week than I did in the year that we were together. We’ll see where this goes, but I rate spiraling into self destruction: 93%
As this is my first entry, I feel as though I should let you know what I intend to do with my entries. My therapist said writing would be a great way for me to help boost my sense of self worth and gather together my thoughts on day to day experience. Journaling sucks because I feel like some things just need to be shared. So I decided to talk about the random things I come across in my daily life, whether they be restaurants, new recipes, or life experiences in the hopes that these entries might bring you some additional knowledge of the world around you and maybe every now and then make you laugh.
For example, I recently separated from my partner. I received my invitation to contribute to this website coincidentally on the first day I’ve been sober since things ended. The last two weeks have been a blur of anxiety and depression about what is going to happen to the apartment we share. Sub review: I give living with a partner .316 stars out of 5 and would only recommend it if your only other option is being homeless.
For a few days, I thought I was going to get stuck paying the rent, which I can’t afford on my own. So that lead to thoughts of self harm and disappearing off the face of the Earth. In all fairness, it doesn’t take much for those thoughts to surface rather quickly. Out of desperation, we agreed to continue living together for now and I hope a magical fairy will agree to sublease the place before I throw myself off the balcony. We fight nearly every day and having to look at the face of the person who broke my heart is the gasoline on the fire of my alcoholism.
That being said, I was surprisingly pleased with the powdered peanut butter. I added it to a protein smoothie with frozen bananas, frozen peaches, and almond milk. The couple of bits of peanut butter that didn’t get totally blended up had a surprisingly pleasant peanut butter-like texture and it didn’t leave an impossible-to-clean mess inside my blender. Rating: 74%
When you eat a slice of pizza before it’s cool, you’ll burn the roof of your mouth. You’ll probably want some orange juice to cool it down, so you’ll drink a nice tall glass. The acid will make the pain worse. Your gums will get real torn up and your teeth will fall out.
You’ll gather your teeth and put them in a jar. You’ll walk outside. You’ll ask the first person you see for help. She’s a woman wearing a nylon jacket. She has soft brown hair and she’s holding the hand of a child. She will turn around and look at you, mouth covered in blood, and then at the jar of teeth. She will be so frightened that her teeth will fall out, and her child will be so frightened from the screams that his teeth will fall out too. They will put their teeth in jars and ask other people for help, and those people will become so frightened that their teeth will fall out and they will put them in jars too.
Within three days, most people on the globe will have lost their teeth. The terror will transcend species. Cows, horses and wolves will wear their teeth in jars around their necks like amulets and they won’t know why. They will be unable to graze or hunt or chew and they will begin to starve. Within four days, there will be no creature with even one tooth left in its mouth. Some of the animals will not mind because they never had teeth. Some of the animals will be happy because their predator used to have teeth. Most will not understand the gravity of what happened and will simply experience the effects, because their brains are not predisposed to understanding the cause.
The tooth fairy will have to deal with an unprecedented financial burden. She will withdraw all her assets at once. She will sell her company to elves. The stock market in the Fairy Kingdom will crash. Millions of fairies will be left homeless on the streets and most of them will starve, not unlike the animals of the Earth.
The mass death of the fairies will cause a shortage in supernatural labor, specifically for the gods who are in charge of maintaining the laws of physics but are too lazy to actually do the work. It will have been so long since they did their job that they will no longer remember how to do it. The task of keeping matter together will not be attended to. The fabric of time will get real torn up and the space will fall out.
You’ll gather up the space and put it into a jar. You’ll walk outside. You’ll ask the first person you see for help.
This public service announcement brought to you by Ann’s Pizza on Bethel Road. We book birthday parties–CALL TODAY!
Adventures In Monotonous Dining Part Deux
Well the Chipotle rewards thing is over. I’m almost back to normal, but because my diet largely consisted of nothing but burritos and wheat beer I think I may have caused irreparable damage to my colon. Was it worth it? No. Let’s start where we left off!
Meal 14: There’s been an interesting wrinkle in my Chipotle visiting experience. The young lady preparing my chorizo bowl started flirting with me so I engaged in some banter in return. Upon checkout she told the cashier that this one was on her and I wasn’t charged. This also meant my Chiptopia Rewards card wasn’t scanned. I have to visit this awful place again. I’m complaining about free food.
Meal 15: Once again I was given free food, but this time I managed to get my card swiped. I’m not trying to formulate a non-creepy way of asking this woman out for a dinner on me.
Meal 16: Someone ordered a bowl with everything on the side save for the rice. Beans, meat, salsa, lettuce, cheese, and everything all had to go into individual containers. I put this person on my list.
Meal 17: Another earned free entree. I go with double carnitas and guac in a bowl. The staff very clearly knows me at this point and my order has been streamlined. I’m a the point where I know if I see a certain person working the line that my food will be awful. I try to avoid them. I usually fail.
Meal 18: I get another free meal from this woman that is clearly in to me. She comments that I look oddly professional today and I mention that I had a job downtown that day. She asks what I do for a living and I tell her that I work in numbers. She is confused. I make sure my card is swiped.
I start getting hot sauce on the side. I live almost two miles from this Chipotle and I usually walk the food home cause the cheese is perfectly melted when I get it home. Unfortunately the sauce cup opened and it went everywhere. I curse the gods.
Meal 19: Maybe I don’t like chorizo so much. There is no God.
Meal 20: When I was a young man, I once saw a man fall down an up escalator. I thought to myself at the time that (no pun intended) it was all downhill from here. I’d never have a better experience. I was right.
Meal 21: Last free entree of the month so I double up on barbacoa and guac. I get an actual burrito this time instead of a bowl. I take a demented pleasure in watching the staff struggle to roll it up. I guess I was the bad guy all along. I put myself on the list of undesirables I’ve been maintaining since this experiment began.
Meal 22: I’m mad because this should have been my last meal, but I had that debacle with the woman giving me free food. I get carnitas. An old lady behind me mentions that she’s never been to Chee-Poe-Lee-Tay before and doesn’t understand how to order. I tell her how to pronounce Chipotle. She scowled at me and then asked what the difference was between brown rice and white rice.
Meal 23: They were out of carnitas so I got the chicken. The chicken is awful. This month is over though.
I’m at a friend’s place and he asks if I want to get food. I say we have to go to Chipotle. When he asks why I tell him it’s because I have a problem. He understands.
Meal 25: I had a two week gap between meals cause I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I got another free meal from the woman that’s been flirting with me. I’ve decided that there’s no reasonable way to exchange personal information. Love at Chipotle isn’t meant to be.
Meal 26: At this point it’s impossible for me to actually get the full rewards so all the pressure is off of me. Someone ordered a quesadilla. I didn’t know they had quesadillas.
Meal 27: My final meal. There are four people in line in front of me, but the first person has requested that they make a full sized quesadilla in the tortilla warmer and then use that to make a burrito. It causes everything else to stop because the staff can’t work around that.
Eventually that abomination is finished and one of the people in front of me has two orders, both of which are being read from a phone. This person is reading item requests out of order and confusing the staff. I am about to cry.
Once I finally order, I am sure to make it quick so that the line behind me doesn’t revolt. The cashier refuses to put the lid on my bowl and demands the sole person preparing food stop with the next customer and out the lid on. Someone in line yells “Fucking hell.”
I leave and write Chipotle an angry letter. They send me coupons for two free entrees. Fuck Chipotle.
Appearance: Perfectly clear, effervescent for far longer than it had any business being, and topped with a creamy head that sticks around to really slide down the sides of the glass when you go to take a drink.
Smell: Toasted bread and sugar.
Taste: As soon as this hit my tongue I went to spit it out. This tastes like eating charcoal and the mouthfeel was incredibly unpleasant. The aftertaste is like bad scotch.
Overall: This may very well be the worst beer I’ve tasted, but it looked alright so it gets points for that. 23/100
Up Next: Something nice.
Adventures in Monotonous Dining!
On July 1st, 2016 fast-food restaurant Chipotle began its Summer rewards program “Chiptopia.” This promotion allows customers to earn free food and potentially even get over $200 in free catering.
I’ve never cared for Chipotle. I do crave free things though so I jumped on it. I’ve been thirteen times since the promotion began. Here I will detail my experience with each trip.
Meal #1: I went on July 1st and the place was packed. Fortunately they were moving people through the line pretty quickly. I got a carnitas bowl. It was shockingly good.
Meal #2: This was probably only a couple days later. I ordered the same thing because the steak and chicken looked dry and the barbacoa was an extra dollar and I’m cheap. I noticed that most of the people visiting this restaurant are not capable of placing an order in an orderly fashion. I begin to wonder if that’s where the word “orderly: comes from.
Meal #3: Same order: White rice, pinto beans, fajita veggies, carnitas, pico de gallo, salsa verde, corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce.
I get stuck behind an old woman that has two orders. She can’t remember what belongs to which entree. She doesn’t know what a burrito is. She doesn’t know what guacamole is. She has caused the line to go almost out the door. She is the one person in the world I truly despise.
Meal #4: Same meal. The restaurant was disturbingly empty. I think the woman making my bowl gave me extra meat so I give her a smile and nod in a way that says “thanks.” It may have come off more like “You have something I crave.” I stop smiling that day.
Meal #5: My first free meal. I decide to get the barbacoa. Eating something new was such a relief. The barbacoa tastes mostly like pot roast though; it wasn’t seasoned very aggressively.
A child keeps running around the store while his mother tries to order for him. He will not pay attention as his mother asks what he wants. I add him to my enemies list.
Meal #6: Back to the Carnitas bowl. I think the employees are starting to recognize me. I’ve picked up on the most efficient ways to order. It seems like that’s appreciated.
Meal #7: At this point I pretty much hate the food at Chipotle, but I can get two meals out of seven dollars so I keep going. I decide to mix things up and get steak. I now regret doing that.
When I got this bowl, the man in line in front of me ordered a quesadilla. I didn’t even see quesadillas on the menu. They can’t use that tortilla warming device for anyone else while this is happening. I add him to my enemies list.
Meal #8: AAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAA AAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AA AAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Meal #9: My second free entree. I learned that the free entree can effectively be anything so I go for double barbacoa and guac on top of my regular bowl ingredients. It is far too much food, but for the first time in a long time I feel a sense of accomplishment. This bowl would have cost twice as much as my usual order.
Someone in line behind me was asked if they wanted black or pinto beans. They asked which beans were the black beans. I put them on the list.
Meal #10: I discover that I could have been getting chorizo this whole time. All is right with the world.
Meal #11: My last meal of July.
I think it was Nietzsche that said “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.” Chipotle has taken away most of my humanity. I go through the line like a robot and order a chorizo bowl.
This chorizo might bring me back. God bless you chorizo. Wait, maybe the chorizo is god? I must consume it so that I might become god.
Meal #12: It’s now August. I have another free entree so I go back to the double barbacoa and guac bowl; tortilla on the side. I’ve been making my own burrito with the side tortilla and then eating the rest of the bowl later. I’m pretty much on a Chipotle diet at this point because I typically eat once a day so that bowl is tomorrows dinner.
I held the door open for a family of five. I did this against my better judgement. Fortunately the mother didn’t give her three kids any choice in what they were getting. I wanted to kiss her. She knew my struggle.
Meal #13: Yesterday I got another chorizo bowl. The woman making my burrito was incredibly upbeat. The chorizo has given me it’s power and now I am in complete control of this restaurant. That is the only explanation for this turnaround. I can feel it’s power filling my heart.
I will use this power for good. That means demanding answers from all of the horrible people on my list. They must answer for disrespecting a god.
Remember to like and share everything you see so that I don’t use my new sausage powers on your mom. Like the Facebook page and follow us on twitter. There’s e-mail too, but I honestly just don’t care to link it today. Literally anything will get through as long as you add @boozeandothernonsense.com to it. Here’s the beer review.
Appearance: Very cloudy with a golden color and decently thick, white head. Fairly bubbly and the head dies down fairly quickly.
Smell: Lemons. Pretty much nothing but sweetness and lemons. It is overpowering.
Taste: It feels shockingly nice on the tongue. The body is on the line between medium and thin and it’s fairly crisp. This all lends for a nice effect on a hot, sunny day.
The actual taste, however, is far too sweet to even begin to try to find any other flavor. It’s just lemons and far too much sugar. It almost hurts my teeth.
Overall: There’s really not a lot going on here, but I can understand why someone would drink a few of these out of a bucket of ice on a nice day. If you have a tolerance for sweet things this would be a dream. I can only give it a 55/100. It should actually be much lower, but the mouthfeel was nice and it didn’t look terrible.
Up Next: Something cheap from the gas station.
The light of Sunday morning, divided into a dozen slits of pain by blinds, hits his noggin. Last night at Skully’s was a rager: he feels this in his head, coming to on his floor. Chunks of food lead from his open, drool-crusted mouth, out the door, into the hallway, and, probably, to the toilet. Bulletproof, his cat, is licking hungrily at partially digested White Castle meat at the edge of his mattress.
Water. That’s what he needs right now. Slowly, he rises from his resting spot, stumbles to his feet, and falls flat on his face. No good to walk, he’s that hungover. So, he slides, inch by inch and careful to avoid vomit, from his bedroom floor, through the door, past his roommate’s girlfriend eating a bowl of Apple Jacks in the kitchen, and, using the little power in his arms, lifts his body up to the counter’s level. With both hands closed together, forming a fleshy makeshift cup, he laps, like a kitty, water from the faucet. Tierra, the girlfriend, watches.
“Whoa man,” he says, driblets of water and saliva cruising over his chin, down his chest, “Had a friggin’ rager at Skully’s last night.”
“I know,” Tierra, bitterly, “I woke up with Slider meat on my feet.”
He reaches into the cupboard for the Folgers tin.
“Where’s the Folgers, babe?”
“We’re out, and don’t call me babe.”
“Whoa, like, we’re out?”
“No Tommy. Not only ‘we,’ but there is no more coffee in the world. All of the world’s coffee is out, gone.”
“Yes, we’re out.”
“Ah, well, like, that’s outrageous.”
“Go buy some more?”
“I thought you said the- oh, yeah, you were yankin’ me bro, okay, I’ll go buy more.”
And so, our man runs for the ja, stopping once to puke in an alley behind Fifth-Third Bank. On the corner of High and 10th, there is a GrabNGo Fuel Station. He dips inside, and looks for the grocery aisle. Ah, here it is! Folgers, bro. He grips one tin of the Black Silk blend and moves for the check-out line.
Today, Steven is working the register. Steven here is a Level 99 Dark Knight in Final Fantasy XI. He lives on his own, works full-time, here, at the GrabNGo. Unfortunately, Steven’s day is not today, because behind our dude, a feller walks in all conspicuous-like, wearing a Michelle Obama mask and keeping his right hand in his pants. Michelle, behind our protagonist, screams, “Stop what you are fucking doing. Give me all the money in the fucking register.
“Like, whoa man, you didn’t have the best part of your morning, did ya bro?” asks our Protagonist.
“ … And the fuck is that?”
The criminal, turning back to the cashier.
“Fuckin’ whoa, no pennies, Shaggy”
“Folgers, bro, in your cup. Every day holds, like, new possibilities. Look in the Good Stuff aisle bro, you’ll see.”
“But I don’t have a fuckin’ Keurig!”
“Ah, no bro, it’s cool, look, you can buy the classic grounds, or, pick up a thing of Instant Coffee Crystal Powder.”
“Aye, bro, I know. And, like, get this?”
“They sponsor Team USA in the Olympics.”
We have a saying, where I am from:
If you ever see a stray
cross the road on a Friday the 13 th ,
you’ve seen a stray
make it farther in life than any person from Indian’s Mound, Ohio.
On the (Nearly Lethal) Thrills of a Parade in Cleveland
On Sunday, June 19th 2016 I probably couldn’t have been more happy. A curse had been lifted: A Cleveland sports franchise had won a championship for the first time in 52 years.
Here in my native Columbus the city was full of celebrants all discussing LeBron’s huge block, Kyrie’s clutch three, Kevin Love’s tight defense, and what the reaction must be like up in the city of Cleveland. I hadn’t been that happy in some time and I wanted to keep that feeling going for as long as I could. I agreed to drive up to the parade with my friend Trevor, a native of northeast Ohio, so that we could see the city at it’s best.
That would be my first of several horrible decisions.
We left Columbus early Wednesday, the day of the parade, and made it into Avon Lake, where his mother lived, around three in the morning. She was excited for us. We talked about the city’s estimate of 800,000 attendees being too low. We talked about the last minute efforts to bring in toilets. We talked about not being able to bring a cooler on such a hot day.
We talked about heading out early to get a good spot so Trevor and I hopped back into his car, drove to a nearby RTA train station, and at 4:39 a.m. we had a couple of day passes and huge smiles on our faces. The train was full of smiling faces and you could feel a special kind of electricity in the air. This was going to be a memorable day. How I wish it hadn’t been.
Downtown Cleveland was cool that morning. Trevor and I walked around and found a nice spot on the curb right at the final turn of the parade. There were only a few dozen people around and we were all glad knowing that we’d be right up front. So far the only weird thing we’d seen all day was a possibly drunk person sprinting down the sidewalk, smacking balloons, and face-planting when he caught his wrist in one. We had a backpack with four bottles of water and some jerky. All was good in the world.
Around seven a.m. a police cruiser came by and told us not to sit on the curb as the streets needed to be clear. This was the last real effort that the police would make to keep the parade route open.
Around eight the sidewalks were getting packed. Also, car traffic on the streets still hadn’t been blocked off. I noted how alarming this was as the parade was set to begin at eleven. Compounding problems, more and more people were still showing up and there was nowhere left to go but the streets so not there are cars and people filling up every inch of space.
The first people to stand in front of me and Trevor were an older woman and a young couple. They arrived around nine. We informed them that they couldn’t be in the streets, but they assured us they were just waiting for someone and would be on their way.
After half an hour it was clear they weren’t moving so we again raised some objections, noting that we’d been here since five specifically to get a good, unobstructed spot. Our pleas went unanswered and because we didn’t want to resort to violence we did the next best thing we could think of to make the uncomfortable.
I began loudly telling Trevor crude stories about my sexual exploits, killing my grandmother just to claim an inheritance, and any horrible thing I can think of. Trevor replied with horrible insults about these three rude people with the full intention that they’d overhear. When I asked “Who do you think would win in a fight between this old broad’s dry ovaries and polycystic ovarian syndrome,” we got rude looks, but no movement.
I started to notice that it was getting hot. The entire crowd began to seem frustrated.
Around ten the streets still didn’t seem free of cars and the parade was in an hour. bodies were beginning to fill in all the gaps between traffic. A woman pulled up to the traffic signal with the intent to make a turn, but it was impossible. Her solution was to just stay parked until she got her way.
This began a huge backlog of traffic. Other people were getting out of their cars to scream and threaten this entitled woman. I noted that there had been a strange lack of any police presence since being asked not to sit on the curb four hours ago.
After about fifteen minutes an officer arrived and forced her to go straight. They asked the crowd to clear the road. There was no way for the crowd to clear the road. Those people weren’t going anywhere and even if the wanted to there was nowhere to go at this point.
I was asking Trevor for a time check after what I thought was every half hour, but I’d learn that only ten minutes had passed. It was getting hotter. We couldn’t move. We were surrounded by bodies. Once eleven came around I was ready for this to be over. We got excited for the first float.
Someone announced they heard drumming and the crowed cheered. Unfortunately is was a single slow moving motorcycle cop cutting through the middle of the crowd that had completely filled the street. He begged for them to clear the road, but as he passed the wall of people just closed up behind him.
The next supposed sound of drumming, which came half an hour later, was the same thing. Things got mixed up around noon when a wall of police mounted on horses managed to actually push through a decent sized path for the parade.
Trevor noted that if we’d gotten here at noon we’d have had the best spots. Also, that it was very hot. I said that I was beginning to feel nausea and a tingling in my hands and feet. Finally, around 12:30 the parade seemed to be starting.
The first thing we saw was, I think, a truck full of unidentifiable people. about ten minutes later the Ohio State University marching band came through, only able to march two by two, and not playing any music. This string of ten minute gaps followed by something disappointing was a running theme.
Maybe around 1:30, Cavaliers coach Ty Lue came through. That was nice.
After a bunch more filler we saw owner Dan Gilbert.
More filler and half an hour later we saw JR Smith.
Filler, time, Kyrie Irving.
People around us were asking if I was okay. I was clearly suffering from heat exhaustion. Fortunately we timed our trip to a medical tent with the arrival of Lebron James so at least this trip was all for nothing.
Finally out of the crowd my breathing became normal, but I could barely walk. We asked a group of five or six police that were standing around doing nothing where the nearest medical professionals were. They pointed to a fire truck and ambulance with flashing lights. When we got there there wasn’t a single fireman or EMT present. We decided to just walk away from the parade to find somewhere to sit down and get water.
After a walk that was longer than normal because I had to stop frequently to keep myself from vomiting we found a bar that was shockingly not packed and I collapsed down on the floor and chugged ice water. Trevor had a couple drinks and we decided to leave this hell hole.We walked back to the train station we’d come from, Tower City. It was five in the afternoon. The day went from bad to worse to outright terrifying.
The main open area of Tower City contained a line of people that spiraled around a large, oval-shaped fountain in such a way that there seemed to be three or four lines of people all facing opposite directions. Eventually finding what we guessed was the end of a line, we jumped in and asked what the line was for. A kind gentleman told us that he didn’t know. We hoped this would work out.
The line was grueling. It would speed up, move at a snails pace, or just stop for ten minutes. Everyone’s phones were dead. I began to feel the symptoms of heat exhaustion again so I sat down and just scooted along. After a seeming eternity we made it down to the platform for the redline and saw more bodies packed into one place than should be allowed by any fire marshal. Then our wait began.
The first train didn’t come for half an hour. People were getting antsy. Someone tried to start a “Let’s Go Cavs” chant but was met with the entire crowd chanting back “Let’s go Home!” Then we noticed that everyone on the platform across from us was springing away from the stairs that led to the platform, some jumping onto the tracks and fleeing the station. Panic set in all around. I was ready to die in what I thought was the inevitable terrorist attack.
A klaxon sounded and some people began to cry. The was a muffled message delivered over an intercom. We were all trapped and had no idea what was coming for us.
Nothing ever happened. More people walked down to our platform seemingly oblivious to everything. Finally trains seemed to appear with a regular frequency. Trevor and I managed to actually find seats on one of the packed cars after watching four other trains leave without us.
On the train, a visibly shaken woman told us about seeing shattered glass everywhere upstairs. She told us a man tried to pull her under a table for her safety and that police asked if anyone had seen a shooter. She talked about putting her hands up when police came back through with raised guns to clear out the place. Trevor and I were happy we missed that. We’d later learn that the garbled announcement was “Active shooter. Please remain where you are.”
Eventually, after dealing with a train conductor that thought this was a time to joke around on the intercom, we made it back to his mom’s place and shared our horror story. I drank nearly an entire bottle of the coldest possible gin I could create. We had a nice late dinner and I passed out as a horrible storm swept through.
I realize now that with a few key changes we could have had a nice time. We thought bags would be checked, you know what with the recent shootings and attacks in crowded places, but there was never any police presence. We should have brought a could of full coolers and threw in some booze to boot.
Because the police didn’t keep the streets clear there was no point in arriving before noon. That would have saved a lot of grief.
We very easily could have driven in instead of taking a train. Being stuck in an air conditioned car with a radio would have been fine. Though I now recall when we first put on the radio as we were driving back to Trevor’s mother’s house the first thing we heard was someone mentioning all the bad things that happened that day, but insisting that the parade was a success.
I fully blame the police for not having any sort of plan for the parade. The roads should have been clear of traffic by eight. They should have come through every fifteen minutes to clear the road, not once at six in the morning then again at eleven.
The actual planned needed the route to be three times longer. There should have been water and more restrooms for the public. There should have been a quarter as many “floats” as most were just a trolley full of uninteresting people, or a kid dancing on a car, or Cleveland’s arena football team.
About four times a fire crew carrying equipment walked by us asking if we knew where the fire hydrant was. I don’t think they ever found it.
Someone brought an old man in a wheelchair and just left him baking in the sun, unattended, for about six hours.
Lots of people openly smoking pot.
A man was asking around for a bottle opener. I always have one. He let me have a sip of his beer for letting him use it.
I now hate Cleveland.
The RNC is going to be a total shit show. There are already reports of the police not properly planning for it.
Polish people are nice.
Fuck parades. (But if the Tribe or Browns win it all I’ll probably be back.)
Ghost Log #1: New Realities (Part One)
The night was black. Central Ohio Undead and Ghost Hunting (COUGH) was having its first monthly meeting of the new year when we heard our phone sound for the first time since we’d been forcing ourselves to come to these meetings three years ago.
The three of us sat silent for the first couple rings when Nick decided that he was the only one of us not completely shaken by nerves. Nick wasn’t the bravest, or the most talkative, but he loved doing this more than the rest of us and had been waiting for this day more than anything else.
I could only hear one side of the call, but from the way Nick’s face dropped I knew this was big. He hung up the receiver, turned to us, and asked me to cancel the pizza delivery for that night; we were going out.
The client was Shelly Globke, an 81-year-old widower living in German Village. He invited us into his home and sat us down in a room lined with heavily worn books and dull light provided by a single antique lamp on the verge of death. There were four fresh glasses of tea waiting for us on the coffee table.
Suddenly remembering my position as leader of the group, I asked Shelly why he called.
“Well,” he rasped, “you should first know that my dear Evelyn passed just last week. She was all I ever cared about. She… I think she’s back.”
Now I understood why Nick had been so solemn on the phone. This was just a sad, lonely man that lost his only companion. He’d entertain any fantasy to have her back. We’d humor him.
“I’m so sorry for your loss Mr. Globke. Would you mind if we have a look around before you tell us how the spirit manifests itself? It’s best we do this before you go into detail so that we aren’t influenced.”
“Of course. Do whatever you need. I’ll be waiting here.”
As we left the room to grab our gear Mr. Globke began to thumb through an old photo album and tear up. We weren’t built for this.
“We can’t actually do this,” yelled Dan. “I sympathize with the man, but I can tell what you two are up to and I won’t support an old man’s delusions. He needs to move on. No one wants to find a ghost more than me, but this is ridiculous.”
“Let’s just give it a chance. This is the first time we’ve ever been called out. Besides, I’m in charge here so it’s my call. Let’s look around.”
We swept though the house and took every reading that we could. Whenever I passed the doorway leading to Shelly’s study I gave him a nod and a smile, but I knew this was helpless.
I could hear Nick running upstairs.
Shelly started crying.
Appearance: Otherworldly pale and super fizzy. A flash of a white head is gone before you can get your god damn camera out of your god damn drawer. Clear. Like distractingly clear.
Smell: A flooded basement one week after cleanup.
Taste: Water and a tiny bit of corn syrup.
Overall: Fuck this beer. 2/100
Up Next: Something nice.
“I just don’t understand why he doesn’t like me,” sighed Mary Magdelene. “We have so much in common, and I’m pretty damn godly as far as humans go…”
“Who, Jesus?”, asked the other Mary. “Trust me, Maggie, it’s not you.”
“What do you mean? Of course it’s me. There’s nothing wrong with Jesus–he has no faults, so it has to be my fault.”
“That’s not what I meant. I don’t think he’s into the fairer sex if you know what I mean. You’ve seen him and his dad… it’s fucking weird. And him and Peter? Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”
“Now that you mention it… maybe. The disciples are unusually glamorous.”
Meanwhile, in the far from luscious desert landscape, Peter and Jesus sat under a tree, looking fine as hell.
“So, what about that John, eh Jesus?”
“Uh… erm… John? What?” stammered Jesus, who was suddenly overwhelmed by embarrassment.
“Haha! I knew it!” said Peter. “You should go for it. I think he’s feeling the same way. I saw you two splashing around in the Jordan.” Peter flashed an irresistible wink.
“That was a baptism,” hissed Jesus.
Peter rolled his magnificently sparkling chocolate eyes. “Oh, but it was much more than that, wasn’t it?” he said with a smirk that had lusciousness the desert had never known.
“I thought I was the only one who felt it. Besides, I can’t do it,” said Jesus. “You know I love you, Peter. I would never betray you.”
“Well, I would betray you if it came down to it, and honestly, I want this for you. You’ve always accepted that I have a girlfriend, and I would accept it too if you went out with John. I’m going to love you no matter what–even if you get nailed by John, or even by Romans.”
“Oh, Peter!” said Jesus, falling into Peter’s strong arms. At this moment, the least sinful of lusts took over them underneath the fig tree, and during this time, many Samaritans cheered them on. Samaritans. Those sluts.
Later, in the dusty and romantic sunset of the desert, Jesus knocked on John’s door tentatively.
“Oh, hello, Jesus. What are you doing around here? I thought you usually told off the idiots of town with elaborate parables at this time of night,” said John, smoothly and casually. John had already taken off his robe and slipped into something more comfortable for the night, which was both exhilarating and terrifying for Jesus, who was planning on asking John to platonic coffee to test the waters.
“I, um.. I was going to ask you… coffee? Or something…” stammered Jesus. Jesus was always stammering. It was kind of annoying, but his hair made up for it.
“I know what you’re going to say. Come inside, Jesus.”
And from the window of John’s humble shack, Mary wept.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Will Mary ever find true love? Will John and Jesus’s night together lead to something more? Will Jesus die and then come back to life three days later as a straight man, breaking the hearts of John and Peter, and fall madly in love with Mary, but too late? Find out in our next book, The Betrayal, for just $7.99, or for much, much, more at your nearest Barnes and Noble bookstore.