Swamp Kittens Hide in the Rectangular Flora of a Forgotten Island

A: If I could speak to you in riddles, know that I would because there is nothing more warming to my heart than confusing the ones I love.

B: It’s like there’s an aura around you. A blackness that fades in and out. Not shadowy, no, more glowing, yet dark.

C: The cause and effect of happiness is that right around the corner there is going to be something to rip you apart. Both feelings are temporary, yet one’s effect causes more damage upon your soul.

A: We know it happens yet do nothing to stop it’s…it’s…

C: Contradiction of presence.

B: The aura has changed from a dark to a blue. The shade of a hazy winter morning.

C: Auspicious precognition.

A: A merriment that no one holds dear for waiting for the outcomes we know will strike a fear into a civil man.

C: Application of distance to a forgone conclusion.

B: It changes color with the light of your smile. Your lips seem to call to it. The more disagreeable you seem the darker your spirit.

C: A time once past when everything was something and records were a tale of pretentiousness to the belief that everyone has a story to tell and there are ears to accept it.

A: We fear the outcomes that could lead us not to search any longer.

C: A fear held short by our nomadic insightfulness.

B: What were you thinking there? You changed from a blue to an orange, an orange that brought about summer in the eyes of virginal youth.

A: Love neither here nor there.

C: Of another plane in time that won’t work in this alignment of the cosmos.

A: A love to make dreamers forget to sleep.

B: This love brings about a green of renewal on a scorched landscape.

C: Product of a time stolen.

A: Happiness for once and for all.

B: A lush flora.

C: Complacency in a fiction you once believed.

A: The effect of it’s cause; heartbreak.

B: The blackness returns.

C: It starts anew.



A: Why is it so easy for women to just let relationships go?

B: They are heartless creatures, my friend.

A: Is that really what you think?

B: I think maybe that each month a little piece of their compassion slips out with the rest of that junk.

A: So why do you date?

B: I don’t. To put it plainly I fuck around.

A: That’s not what I want.

B: Do whatever is good for you. I choose not to extend a relationship over a week’s time. Here’s the truth they don’t want you to know. No matter the person, you are going to grow tired of each other eventually. Then you are stuck in that position where you have to make it work. That’s not something I look forward to.

A: That just cannot be true.

B: Like I said, do whatever you want to do. Just don’t come crying to me every time you get your heart broken.

A: There has to be that one person out there for each of us.

B: And if you meet that person, good on you. I’m just not going to put forth the effort.

A; Why am I even friends with you?

B: Because you are a sad sack that thinks love will fix all your problems.

A: …

I Just Met You, I Know This is Crazy, Have a Seat, Talk to Me Maybe

A: I’m sorry…do I know you?

B: Ugh, why does everyone think that they know someone?

A: Didn’t mean to offend you, you just look very familiar.

B: You are right. We had sex at the gay bar, gay bar…

A: What?

B: No, we didn’t do that.

A: Are you mentally stable?

B: What kind of question is that?

A: Right now? A pretty logical one.

B: I really don’t know. Have a seat.

A: I think I should be going.

B: You started this.

A: I’m sure you have things to do. Besides, you moved your head to the right a little and from this light I can tell that you are correct, I don’t know you. Have a good day.

B: Why not sit and kill a couple of minutes?

A: Why?

B: You are kind of cute.

A: I have a boyfriend.

B: Who said anything about boyfriends? I just thought it’d be nice to have a chat with an attractive woman. Who says I’m trying to get in your pants.

A: Just the usual expectation.

B: Very confident of yourself.

A: I’m not going to sit here to be verbally abused.

B: Confidence is a good thing. It kept you suspicious of me until I made you feel at ease.

A: Wouldn’t say I feel at ease. Just curious where this is going.

B: Doesn’t have to go anywhere. We can have a glorious chat. Stand up. Go our separate ways. Only have the memory of this as a reminder that it happened. That one day you had one of those what if moments and took it.

A: So what do you want to talk about?

B: How’s your mother these days?

A: You don’t know…she’s fine. Little neurotic but at sixty-two who isn’t.

B: Spend enough time in one body and you have those moments of neuroses.

A: You’ve been in more than one body?

B: No.

A: If you want me to talk to you you have to speak like a human being.

B: How am I speaking?

A: Like someone you saw his family butchered as a child.

B: That’s a very bizarre statement.

A: Just keeping with the times.

B: Not that this has anything to do with how my development into the adult that I am now but, as a child I did see a dead body.

A: Really, like “Stand by Me”.

B: Not at all. I lived in apartments and the man that lived downstairs from me took a trip into the woods that held ground behind us. Took a gun and shot himself. I saw a gathering, thought maybe it was an ice cream social. I was wrong.

A: What did you do?

B: What could I do? Just accepted it and moved on. Didn’t really know the guy so I couldn’t sympathize, I mean yeah, sucked he did that. When the next day came about I just lived my life as if he were still downstairs.

A: So you are the friend of a friend of a friend that knows someone that heard about a boy that saw a dead body.

B: You have it backwards. I’d be the boy that saw the dead body that told someone who told the friend of a friend of your friend.

A: Right. Nothing like that ever happened to me. Had a friend that said she saw an angel.

B: Wings and all.

A: Actually no. Just an old lady on an electric scooter at a grocery store.

B: Like angels do.

A: Exactly. Said she knew it was an angel because she looked away for a second and when she turned back the lady was gone.

B: Could’ve been a ghost.

A: Or an old lady on an electric scooter who forgot she needed her goiter medication and scooted off to get it.

B: Or…it could’ve been an angel.

A: You believe that?

B: Never know. Can’t be proven one way or the other unless you can find the old lady.

A: Probably dead and gone by now.

B: Or, saving souls and picking up a bag of frozen peas all in one stop.

A: Do angels save souls?

B: I thought faith saved your soul. It’s all kind of confusing. I know there is a lot of water involved.

A: I nearly drowned when I got baptized.

B: As a baby?

A: No, found God as a teenager. Thought it would change my life. Put me on the straight and narrow.

B: Did it?

A: It felt good to have the illusion of being loved. But when it really came down to it, when I needed Him most He was never there.

B: Maybe you almost drowning at your baptism was a sign you were going down the wrong path. I put a lot of faith in things happen for a reason.

A: Do you think that things happening are a plan from a spectral being?

B: I think that the decisions that we make lead us to the life we are supposed to live. I don’t believe there are coincidences. Say I didn’t look to the left when you were walking towards me. You can say that all you want because no matter what I would have. Why? Because this is happening. I wouldn’t be explaining why this wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t happening and since it has happened there is no way to make it un-happen? I was supposed to look to the left and you were supposed to ask me if you knew me because that is what we were supposed to do. Just like if you build a time machine to go back in time to save your wife from dying, you can’t because if she doesn’t die you never build the time machine. It’s what you were supposed to do so you can’t change anything that led up to it.

B: You are saying that we were destined to meet.

A: Not saying that at all. I’m saying that we met because we were supposed to. I don’t know why we met or what this is even all about. Could just be a chance encounter to have a conversation with another person. Happens all the time.

A: You are leaving out the one part you are scared to say.

B: I’m not scared to say anything. I’m not going to try and say that we were destined to meet because you are my soul mate or such. Just met you. Don’t know you. One thing I do know is that you have a boyfriend.

A: What if I didn’t?

B: What if the the moon was a pimple on a witches teat? We could what if all night.

A: What if I am your soul mate?

B: What if my anus turns into a microwave?

A: You can’t know for sure.

B: If we did where would the mysteries of life lie? Here’s the thing. I’ve spent too much of my life assuming. I’m trying to live my life day by day and just seeing where it takes me. If I meet someone and fall in love them then I will let it take its course to see if that one is my soul mate. I don’t believe you can know a soul mate from a chance encounter. You have to experience each other first. In all spectrums.

A: Mentally.

B: Sexually. The usual roundabouts.

A: I do believe the saying that if you stop looking for something that is when you will find it.

B: I’m going to stop you here because it seems like you are trying to sell me on the fact that we could be soul mates.

A: I’m doing no such thing. I’m just asking questions to further inquire about your beliefs. Just using us as an example because we are sitting right here. Would you prefer it if I made up…hold up, didn’t you just tell me you are trying to stop assuming things and here you go assuming that I want to pressure you into the asinine belief that we could be soul mates. That’s only punishing yourself. Because you are wrong. Now you feel shitty.

B: Not really.

A: What time is it?

B: Half past something I assume.

A: Really?

B: I don’t know.

A: Well, I have to go pick up my mother from the salon. What do you want to do here?

B: Let’s do this. You want to test our soul mate compatibility. Let’s do nothing. We’ll leave it to the whomever in the cosmos makes these decisions. We see each other again. It could very well be that there’s something here.

A: That sounds good.

B: I guess this is goodbye, maybe.

A: I guess so.

Bored to Tears

A: Productivity was ceased for the day.

B: Copious amounts of electricity were administered to the corpse.

A: There seemed to be a resurrection of life. It was a misconstrued perception.

B: Two of the men were put at ease once the removal process had sally forthed.

A: I assume that the man’s children will miss him come Christmas time.

B: No presents under the tree this year.

A: An irregularity for such a wanton family.

B: His wife being a harlot.

A: Loose lips…

B: Raised many a sailors eyebrow.

A: When she passes her genitalia will receive a twenty one gun salute.

B: Boosted the boys spirits. Participated in winning a war or two.

A: I’ll be working for the ghost until I’m dead.

B: It’s a statistical fact that brotherhood only amounts to five percent of male on male friendships.

A: I don’t see myself acquiring the happiness that we are promised through the glorification of outright blasphametic portrayals of men and women that smile too much.

B: I’ve seen too many cavities to fully respect sugar.

A: You never fully love a mythical creature until it becomes a foreshadowing of unbeknownst promiscuity.

B: How many times have I looked at photographs of blades of grass?

A: I once rode an effeminate donkey towards the beginning of its life.

B: I never portrayed myself as one who accepted the carnal notion of a man’s comb.

A: It appears as though lunch time has ceased.

B: Until tomorrow.

Devil May Care (Part 1)

When the call came in, I did not expect there to be so much brutality. My best inkling to the nature of the crime was a chemical reaction gone wrong, a monkey attacking its punishing captor for years of tests and torment. However, neither of those guesses were even close to the truth.

The smell of death was rich in the air. The coppery, pungent scent of blood captured my nostrils for a night of romance as I entered the laboratory. Placing my newly bought tie over my nose and mouth I ventured further and the smell stung even through the expensive cloth.

After climbing two flights of stairs I reach room 324, open the door leading into the lab and immediately gag (not just from the smell but from the gruesome sight laid before me) as I step through. There are officers already crowding the room, moving back and forth collecting evidence, trying not to lose their lunch. I see my partner, Detective Richard Ames, at the other end of the room talking to a man in a white lab coat; I approach cautiously.

I see you made it,” Richard says. “It’s a fucking mess in here.”

I don’t know how you can be in here without some type of breathing apparatus.” He has his oral and nasal passages open to the repugnance that fills the room. Me on the other hand, I am sticking to the tie over my mouth not caring if anyone has trouble understanding my muffled speech.

I guess, as strange as it seems, that I’ve gotten used to the wretched smell.”

So what happened here?”

Follow me.”

He takes me to a secluded room leaving the man in the lab coat to await further instruction. Richard closes the door and turns to me.

You might want to sit for this, there was some fucked up shit going on in this lab. Some of it I’m not even sure I can explain to you and truly believe it myself.”

Nobody’s saying you have to believe it, just tell me what the hell went on here.”

Richard sits at the same table that I have found a home at, takes a deep breath and begins to speak.

There was a survivor. He was one of the lab technicians; we have him in custody at the station. Him being alive is one but not the main reason that it is hard for me to believe what happened right through that door, and I wouldn’t believe a word of it if it wasn’t for the video I was shown. It’s gruesome shit, horror movie type.”

Can we cut it with the cliché cop beating around the bush shtick and get to point? Just please, tell me what killed those people out there,” I say growing impatient with every passing moment.

A five year old child.”

I sit trying to digest what he said. That’s not right; it was more as if I was waiting for the punch line.

A five year old child did this? You’re sure.”

I believe what my eyes tell me; there are papers galore, files documenting everyday the child was locked in his cage.”

Richard takes a deep breath, stands, and moves to the corner of the room.

From what I gather there were two of them, a Dr. Ansom Carter and Dr. Elizabeth Hart, they interviewed and interviewed pregnant women from around the city trying to find one that would give up her child immediately after birth and then forget she had ever had it. They paid the woman an exorbitant amount of money, an eighteen year old named Jessica Albom who was more than willing to be rid of her seed.”

What were they going to do with a child?”

In their report it says that they were trying to prove that God does not exist. That by taking a child who had never been told the word of God, which had never been told of religion, of the church, that if there was a God he would know of Him even if never being told. Am I making sense?”

Not really.”

You need to talk with Dr. Carter, he was the only survivor, and he’d be able to explain it to you a hell of a lot better than I would ever be able to.”

Once inside the station I immediately head towards my office. I sit, trying to prepare myself for the conversation I am about to have. I open a drawer and pull a half-smoked cigar that I have been working on for about a week. I light it and take a big drag, filling the room with its pungent aroma. I take two more puffs, stub it out and pop a mint into my mouth. I exit my office and head down the hallway that leads to the interrogation room. There is an armed guard standing outside the door. I greet him with a nod; he returns it and opens the door. I see Dr. Carter sitting at the table; he is holding a cigarette in his hand with his head pointed down towards the floor. If he notices me, he doesn’t show it. I enter the room, closing the door with a slam; he remains looking at the linoleum.

Hello Doctor Carter, my name is Aaron Hollows; I’m a detective working on the murders at your laboratory. I just have a few questions for you.”

I’ve already been poked and prodded.”

Not by me.”

I have a seat across from him at the table. He looks up at me; his eyes are dark red. A smile crosses his hesitant face; he speaks:

It’s funny; you can go your whole life, in my case thirty six years, and never pick one of these up. In the past two days I have smoked ten cartons, that’s what, two thousand cigarettes? The thing is; I don’t feel any better. I was always told that smoking was a great stress reliever. You ask your friends why they started smoking, they always answer, ‘To relieve stress’. So after two thousand of the little fuckers; why the fuck am I stressed out?”

Maybe because you brutally butchered two of your colleagues,” I say to him.

It’s easy for you to say that because you have no point of reference. You have no fucking clue what happened.”

I have a clue; but I don’t believe a word of it.”

That’s what is great with the way of life we have. You can believe whatever you like. Whatever it is, as long as it’s true to you than that’s the way it shall be. However, say those beliefs were proven false. Everything you’ve lived your life by has been a fabrication. Where do you go from there? You want to believe that I caused the carnage that you stumbled upon; you have every right to do so. But what’s going to happen when what you believe is taken from you? You’ll be left with a book of blank pages and a room full of empty stares. What I’m going to tell you, what you’re going to see, and every word of it is true, there’s film and logs of every action that took place in that lab. You’re going to walk away from this not knowing the next step to make. Be it in your daily life or in this case…”

You really think you disproved the existence of God?”

Oh no, God most definitely exists. He just doesn’t give a shit about us.”

Is that so?”

That’s so.”

And what led to that conclusion?”

The fact that God in no way, shape, or form showed himself to that child. He doesn’t care whether we live or die. We are his little playthings. He probably enjoyed watching that child grow up with no knowledge of who He is. He was probably watching in anticipation, waiting to see what would happen next, I just hope He’s happy with the results of his little game.”

Which would be…?”

Think about it, you’re a smart man as far as I can tell, if the soul is never introduced to good then what is left?”


Exactly. Evil presented itself to that child. It was all he knew for five years. When he was two years old I asked about his dreams, for instance what he dreamt the night before, he replied and I quote, “Your head on a stick.”


Diabolical Scheming of Penile Dislocation

-There’s not an intellectual bone in my body. That’s what he told me. The son of a bitch.

-You could just smite him. (Pause) In the penis.

-You’ve got problems.

-No, I just don’t take shit from insecure men.

-Oh, no, you cause mayhem upon their genitalia.

-Can’t reason with them, dislocate a testicle.

-Yeah, because that solves everything.

-Who is talking about solving anything? Kick him in the balls. Feel better. You don’t. You go home crying about blah blah blah he don’t like me and shit. Think about you. Get some joy out of life.

-Wow, that is horrible advice.

-To each their own…I guess.

The Meteoric Rise of a Broken Heart

I thought to myself what if I just leave. Just leave and not tell anybody and maybe hope they’d forget about me and I could move on with my life not having to think about those mistakes that led me to this point. It didn’t work of course. Everyone has a phone these days. A way to find you or try to find you. As soon as I was one day into my self exile my phone began to blow up with calls and texts wondering where I was, am I okay, friends telling me it’s not the end of the world that things will get better. It just takes time they say. Well, maybe I don’t want time. Maybe I wanted the life I had laid out for me and when that gets stolen from you it doesn’t matter about time or healing. You are in too shitty of a place to comprehend those meanderings. I ignored all pleas for my voice to be heard. To be told of my whereabouts. It didn’t matter right now. I had to do something for myself. What better than to spend two weeks in a house full of strangers and try to write that great novel I had always planned. A writer’s retreat. Made me laugh when I first thought about it. As soon as I began my drive there it felt like the best idea I have ever had.

As I pulled into the driveway of the two story house in which I would spend my next two weeks I felt a sort of relief. The source of all my problems was hundreds of miles away. I was at this strange house where I would have to spend many nights far from everyone I knew. For the first time in three months I didn’t feel tense. The elephant that sat on my chest seemed to shrink in size or maybe become a cheetah. I was alone and it didn’t feel so bad. At the end of the driveway was a gravel square lined with railroad ties that I assumed was for parking; for which I did. Gathered everything that I packed and headed towards the front door which was open so I stepped inside and met Mary. An older lady of about sixty that looked just like a lady who would run a writer’s retreat would look like. Small, gray hair, and oddly stunning green eyes. Had that southern hospitality that which was strange for her being in the north.

“Hello, ” I said as Mary came walking towards me. “I’m Adam. Think I’m the first to arrive.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m Mary. I’ll be your host and light housekeeper for the next fourteen days. Though just because I say housekeeper doesn’t mean I’m going to go behind you and pick up your dirty undies off the floor. Treat this as you would your own home. I’ll be making breakfast every morning at seven. Lunch and dinner are up to you and the other guests. Now, grab your stuff and I’ll show you to your room,” she continued to talk as she led me. ” You will be sharing the room with one maybe two others just depends on the luck of the draw. They will be co-ed so be respectful. No smoking inside. If you feel that you have to do it there is a gazeebo out back that is away from the house you can feel free to use. Here is your room. There is much more to cover but I will go over that when the rest of the guests arrive. So, stay close by.”

“I will. Thanks.” I walked into the room and Mary made her way back downstairs. I walked to the first bed that I saw and fell on to it. Closed my eyes and let sleep overtake me.


No matter how many miles I put between me and the life I was trying to escape if just for a little while, there was no putting distance between my subconscious and what had happened. As I slept I had a dream. I dreamt about a girl with brown eyes. Eyes you could get lost in if you weren’t careful. Eyes that embarked all the clichés that could be told. She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. In this dream she stood beside me. I felt movement down at my side. I slowly cocked my head down to see what it was. She was taking my hand in hers. Lacing her fingers through mine. I looked at her. A smile that expelled happiness shone back at me. I felt her hand tighten in mine. It all felt so right. A perfect fit. We stood there for what seemed like forever. Looking at each other her lips opened and the three words that ruined my life whispered out; I love you. Her hand then slipped from mine and she began to move away, as if she were being pulled with an invisible rope while wearing roller skates. A sort of floating away while never trying to reach out for me to stop it. As if what were happening was okay. Then she was gone. I stood in that place and watched myself step out of myself. Leaving only a shell of the man I had become. I awoke crying. Something that had never happened to me before. Something that I never even knew was possible.


As I laid in bed staring at the ceiling wondering why I had to take that insidious nap, I heard voices coming from elsewhere in the house. I sat up and made my way downstairs to find six people gathered around Mary. They were holding mugs filled with some sort of hot liquid.

“There’s our early bird,” Mary said. “Thought you might have skipped town. Everyone is here. Go to the kitchen, grab yourself a coffee or tea, whatever suits your fancy. We will move to the living room and begin orientation.”

I did as she said and made my way to the kitchen. Picked up a blue mug, filled it with piping hot brown liquid; added sugar and milk. I turned to join the others in the living room to find a twenty-something blonde standing behind me.

“Refill,” she said lifting her cup in a cutesy way.

“Go right ahead.”

“I’m Kristy.”


“Ready to write your ass off?”

“Don’t know. Been blocked for a while. Figured a change of scenery might help.”

“Can’t hurt.”

“What about you?”

“My mother paid for this. Got it as a present for my twenty-seventh birthday. Told me I need to meet new people. Get my work out there for all to see. I just went along and now I’m here. Drinking coffee.”

I was about to speak when Mary poked her head in. “We will have a meet and great after the orientation. Now come join us. We have a lot to go over.”

Kristy and I looked at each other and smiled like we were children caught disobeying a parent. I grabbed my coffee and walked to the living room for an orientation that lasted over an hour and bored us to tears. It was practically the same speech that I got when I arrived just stretched to last way longer than need be. When Mary had finally finished she excused herself and left us to our own devices.

“Sometimes I wonder why I do these things,” said a male of about thirty. “This is my third time. Never accomplished anything. Most I wrote was a ten page short story that I ended up tossing for being pretentious bullshit,” he looked at the rest of us and replied to our questioning expressions. “So why do I still do it? We’ll say the friendly atmosphere. Or the fact it gets me away from the wife and kids for two weeks out of the year.”

“Thanks for that inspirational speech,” said Kristy. “Really giving me the boost of confidence that I may actually get something done.”

“It’s not my problem if you don’t reach the goals you set for yourself. I’m here for myself. Not to babysit a writer with low self confidence.”

“So you’re going to be it then?” said a brown haired lady of about fifty years old. “Always an asshole in the group. Glad you showed yourself right from the bat.”

The “asshole”, who turned out to be a failed high school English teacher named Peter, made a grunt and left the room.

The fifty year old lady spoke. “I’m Celeste. Nice to meet you all.”



Then there was Andy, an eighteen year old who was trying to write the next great science fiction novel. Said it would be in the vein of Robert Heinlein with a little Stephen King thrown in just for kicks. The last was Forrest. A male of about seventy who just told us his name then excused himself to bed. Andy followed saying he needed to get an early start. Which left Celeste, Kristy and I.

“So what do you write, Adam?”

“Short fiction mostly. No specific genre. Had a few stories published in magazines but nothing big. You?”

“Poetry. Wrote a lot as a teen. Mostly angry why won’t that boy talk to me bullshit. Never submitted anything. Never had that urge.”

“Some writers go their whole lives without the intention of ever sharing their work. There’s no law that says you have to share what you write. I mainly write cookbooks which there’s no point in writing if you don’t send them out to the public. But I have also written a multitude of short stories and poetry that I’d never share with the public. They were written for myself. A way to remember those times that passed that meant a lot to me. The loves lost. That one man that broke my heart and I never recovered. Personal things that only matter to me,” said Celeste.

“You should talk to my mom. She believes I should share everything.”

“She’s just looking out for your best interests. As a mother I know where she’s coming from.”

I sat in silence, not sure if I should ask what came out of my mouth.

“The guy that broke your heart, how’d you cope?”

“You just have to. You take your time and you deal. People will tell you that it takes time and you will get over it but you never do. If the love was real you feel it forever and there are those days, years down the road there will be that one little thing that will send all those memories coursing through your brain. You will love again. The sad thing is, it may never live up to that love you had. But that is life, as they say. Any specific reason you ask?”

“Just asking.”

“Apparently we have a big day tomorrow, so I’m going to hit the sack. Goodnight guys,” Kristy said as she stood and headed towards her room.

“Guess we should do the same,” said Celeste.

I climbed the stairs and entered my room to find Peter asleep in the bed I took my nap in. I gathered my stuff from around his sleeping quarters and set myself up in the empty bed across the room. Climbed in and closed my eyes.


That night I had another dream. I was sitting at the bottom of a pool. My eyes closed and the clear blue water surrounding me. A splash erupted behind me. The one responsible moved towards me as if in slow motion. The figure swam down from above me. Reached out with both hands caressing my face. I opened my eyes and saw that it was my love. The girl with the brown eyes. She moved her lips close to the top of my head and kissed me above my left eye. My eyes closed and the dream ended.


I woke the next morning to find Andy and Peter in my room playing chess. I stood, not saying anything to them and entered the bathroom to relieve myself and brush my teeth. Back in the room I sat on the edge of my bed and watched the game in progress.

“Was that a legal move?” asked Peter.

“Not sure. Not really hundred percent on the rules. Heard a while ago that playing chess will open the mind to other possibilities. Just a thing I do before I write.”

“Have you actually noticed a difference?”

“Not really. But if you don’t play how will you ever know?”

“Seems like a procrastination tactic to me.”

“We all have our quirks.”

Andy turns to me. “How’d you sleep?”

“Same as always.”

“Is that good or bad?”

“Could go either way. Leaning more towards bad.”

“You going to do any writing today?”

“Haven’t thought about it. If I can get my mind right, then maybe.”

“Want to play the winner?”

“I’ll have to pass. Chess was never my thing. Halfway through I get frustrated and stop giving a shit.”

“I can see that.”

“Think I’ll go for a walk. Clear my head.”

As I walked out of the bedroom door Peter called out to me, ” You missed breakfast.” I ignored him and continued down the stairs and out the back door. I walked past the gazebo that was designated for smokers and find it empty. I walked through the backyard and stumbled upon a clearing that led into the a wooded area and followed it in. About ten minutes in I heard the stomping of footsteps as if someone were running. They were coming closer and soon I saw Kristy running slowly towards me. She slowed to a walk and followed beside me.

” Morning Adam. You missed breakfast.”

“So I heard.”

“It was really good. Waffles, eggs.”

“The usual.”


We walk in silence for a while.

“What was that about last night with Celeste?”

“What do you mean?”

“Asking about the guy that broke her heart.”

“Just asking a question.”

“You sure? Seemed more than that.”

“You’ve never had your heart broken?”

“Well sure. But nothing as serious as what you two were getting at. I’ve fallen in love, it didn’t work. I got over it. Nothing that I’ll be thinking about years from now.”

“Just consider yourself lucky.”

“Oh, I wish I had someone that gave a fuck. I wish there had been someone that loved me unconditionally. I would trade all the relationships I’ve had just for that one. I wish I had someone that years from now I would look back and just be like, fuck that was good. What ever happened to that?”

“When you get that, and you will, don’t let it go. It may happen once maybe twice. But just don’t let it go. If there’s anything you take from what I say, let it be this. Don’t ever just play along with the guy. If you aren’t feeling what he feels let him know. Don’t play with his heart. Don’t string him along because you are scared. Because you don’t want to upset him. Trust me. It will be better for the both of you if you just tell him the truth before it gets out of hand.”

“What happened?”

“I’m not ready to talk about it. Hell, my friends keep calling wanting to know where I am and if I’m okay. I can’t bring myself to tell them how I really feel. I’m sure as hell not ready to tell someone I don’t even know.”

“Is that why you really came here? To get away from her?”


“I have to admit. Women are fucked up sometimes.”

“That’s not an excuse.”

“I think there are just things that screw us up. Lead us to make decisions that aren’t the best.”

“How is that fair?”

“It’s not about fair. It’s just life. Shit happens. Sometimes things don’t work out like we want.”

“Then why say it is want you want? Only to turn around out of the blue and say fuck it, I want something else?”

“It’s just life. People are fucked. You have to put a lot of faith that what someone is telling you is the truth. That’s what love is, right? Wholeheartedly putting your faith in that person. Trusting that they will be there for you through thick and thin. Love isn’t about if they can fuck good or how good they look on your arm. If you can’t put all your faith in that person you should never tell them you love them. You are just asking for the shit to hit the fan.”

We walk a few more feet in silence.

“I can see what you are doing. I told you I don’t want to talk about it. You’ve already gotten more out of me than even my best friends.”

“I don’t have an agenda. Just trying to help someone that looks on the verge of doing something he’ll regret.”

“It’s too late for that.”