The Grand (and somewhat bland) Appearance

On the 9th of June, fellow writer Funky Mannequin and I left our home in La Grande, Oregon. The goal was to travel the length of the state and return to Portland (where we first met), and travel we did; through incredible heat, scrotal ticks, the corpses of decaying roadside house-cats, and the backs of vans owned by religious meth-head couples, we pressed onward. However, this story is about none of those things (though you can bet there will be more on such escapades later).

For now, let’s focus on The Grand (and somewhat bland) Appearance.

Upon reentering Portland, Funky and I were greeted by a typhoon of litter and profoundly retarded transit system. The destination was across town (the apartment of a dear friend Garrett), so we got change from a local barkeep and his transvestite girlfriend, seating ourselves at the nearest stop and checking the schedule. It read eight minutes – five minutes later, it read nine.

When the vehicle at last greeted us, it did so with an overweight woman screeching into a speaker-phone and a coughing man who would have shamed victims of the bubonic plague.

We were up to our taints in boozy broads and gutter condoms. We were home indeed.

Once freed of the public access vehicle, we promptly located Garrett’s building and illegally tailed a resident through the safety-locked doors. Instead of the stairs, we took a dangerous-looking elevator up a single story and reached the room in minutes, ushered in by a middle-eastern man bearing a plate of assorted fruits. “For you,” he spoke smoothly, presenting the organized dish of succulent offerings.

We took the juicy gift and rested upon a crimson sofa, breathing in the sheer emptiness of the apartment’s space. “Where’s Garrett?” we asked, slightly unnerved.

“He went to get you,” the man responded, producing a smoke and heading for the balcony.

“Of course.”

Eerie music filled the air. No, there is truly no joke or metaphor to be found here; there was suspenseful music quite literally flooding the room around us, echoing from somewhere within the walls (from which room we did not yet know).

On the coffee table before the couch, a sculpture of a pirate skull glowered at our knees (“I dug that out of the trash!” our friend would soon proclaim with an appropriately dramatic gesture).

When Garrett finally did arrive, he did so with a homeless companion named Jeremy (known to Garrett as “Gregory” for absolutely no reason at all). Jeremy talked about an ideal world on acid, grew offended when asked to play a love song, refused to shower, then gave everybody his filthy, filthy lice (they filled all of the hand towels, so cleaning oneself was deeply counter-productive). Levi cooked us delicious salmon to rectify these things.

That night, we watched a television of static. The channels wouldn’t change unless we were using the remote. When the remote eventually stopped working (no big deal, all of the channels were static anyway), Garrett opened the battery compartment and two small pieces of aluminum foil fell from the device. We were all dumbfounded.

On the television (or rather, within the static on the television), we saw intergalactic travel, spiraling serpents, parting seas, and a vigorously dancing man. The dancing man was so horrendously funny, we all laughed for a good five minutes (five minutes is an absurdly long and painful amount of time when you can only laugh). This television, like the pirate skull, was obtained from a dumpster.

The following day, Funky and Garrett made Jeremy the Louse King collect all of his shit and throw it into a sack, putting him on the bus and taking him to a tax-evading semi-cult otherwise known as The Boneyard (read: Road Trip Through PurgatoryMy Accidental Life As A Full-Time Meth Peddler: Part One, and Bags Of Flesh, Bottles Of Urine – all appropriately titled entries in the world of Boneyard lore).

“It’s a commune of artists,” they misinformed the Louse King.

He looked very worried, as he should have been. When they were traveling via the TriMet streetcar, he spent the ride face-down in his guitar. He knew they were stretching the truth.

When they reached the communal settlement of degenerate scum, the landowner was evicting a local junkie (Fini, Lord of Ice-Cold Milk). All of his greasy belongings had been tossed onto the lawn.

The Louse King was abandoned there, yet to be seen again.

So we made a safe return and lead normal lives, right?

Well, unbeknownst to my shitty little heart, this was but the beginning of a new breed of adventure – an adventure so lethargic, pasty, and unexciting that it would be a crime to shove it all into one post.

In stories to come: handguns, familial alienation, bloody intercourse, parolee sex-changes, cancer, long-lost siblings, and open relationships. Yeah, yeah, don’t get your hopes up.

Garrett, whose face is scribbled out because he doesn't want any photos on the internet because he's fucking insane.

Garrett, whose face is scribbled out because he doesn’t want any photos on the internet because he’s fucking insane.

Next Up: The Gland Incoherence
And Then: The Unplanned Interference
And Eventually Someday: Seven Sinks And The Bridge Of Despair
And Then Eventually Someday Somehow After All That: 260 Miles: The Borderline Homoerotic Tales Of Traveling Way Too Far On Foot And Getting Ticks On Your Nutsack

The Fragile Art Of Speaking Too Soon

When I first began writing this, the intention was to cover the second half of my meth-dealing journey into the Pacific Northwest. However, I’ve just experienced a momentary change of heart (you can thank my recently – and finally – diagnosed Bipolar disorder for this) and will be getting the narcotics-laced adventure to you on a later date.

See, a newfound surge of emotion has been approaching me over the past couple of weeks, no doubt in correlation with the imminent “New Year.” Now, this is odd because I usually write these things off as unimportant; it’s not that I don’t appreciate the holidays, but annually updated numbers usually do little more to stir me than the sorry sight of my own flaccid genitalia.

Of course, in these moments of anxiety, my mind begins to scatter in search of answers. Maybe it’s that I’ll be twenty-one, soon? Or perhaps something related to my current (and potentially permanent) withdrawal from college? No, neither of these seem right. And what about my insecurities regarding romance? Dying alone? Seeing old faces over the holidays that I’d rather not encounter? The sheer amount of booze that these holidays bring, and the social and mental pressure that my tiny Irish brain will confront in its wake? Eh, not really. At least not any more than usual.

No, this is something different (potentially new) that entering “adulthood” has awoken within me. And even as I pitifully shit these sentences into a pirated word-processor, I cannot grasp an adequate way to communicate them to you.

You see, whenever I attempt to convey these emotions to others, the situation ultimately devolves into one of two scenarios: me jerking off all over myself in attempts to appear sympathetic (And deep! Don’t forget about seeming deep!), or me clamming up and remaining awkwardly quiet for the remainder of the day (this can really kill a party). Either way, one singular conclusion is always reached – a grand finale of silence and proverbial shrugging – and I spite both myself and the uncomfortable companion for never reacting with enough extremity. There are no explosive tears, screams of love and/or terror, theatrics that make me feel more important than I truly am.

In my greatest  fantasies, I weep harder than Christ at a late funeral, my compatriot hurling their shaking frame to my feet in a fit of weeping, dragging me down to the floor and running quivering fingers through my greasy mess of hair (fuck it, maybe they give me a hand-job as well). My nasty little heart is massaged and the weird issues that I have with affection are soothed and mitigated (see: adoption).

But this obviously never happens and so I continue to flop around uselessly, coldly and unpleasantly wading in the fecal waters of self-directed remorse, soaking up every minute of life that passes un-seized and un-utilized.

Stress headaches leads to the couch – the couch leads to rest – rest leads to sleeping – sleeping leads to five o’clock in the afternoon (and but a single hour of consciousness spent in the earth’s natural daylight). And, at the end of this disgraceful chain of first-world misery and hopeless bitching, we arrive at the end of another day, another month, another year (in this case, 2015). One’s feelings swell up like an elderly prostate and the proverbial urethra of their mind closes up, the figurative piss-stream of their once rushing thoughts and passion stagnating inside the urethral canal of their right hemisphere (or left, if you’re a technical sort of fellow).

It’s sort of like making a mix-tape (mix-CD?) for a friend whom you haven’t encountered for a very long time, where every song ends up sounding like the end-credits track of a really terrible indie film. You can’t order them right, because they all sound like you’re about to walk off-stage, draw the curtain, announce it’s “the end.” But everything is happening always, and the show is never “over,” even if you kick the bucket. You get all whiny and confused and fucked-up and existential and write blog posts that span over a thousand words, filling them up with your uncomfortably personal bullshit that nobody else really wants to read.

Oftentimes, I blame my parents’ chaotic divorce for my inability to properly connect with other human beings (and while I’m at it, the rest of my life’s problems, as well). There was yelling, thing-breaking, and even a bit of law-enforcement intervention. But of course this is really just a scapegoat (and a crumby one, at that), whipped up so that I don’t have to address my own shortcomings as a human being.

And mostly, it works.

I get to be the trouble-child, the victim, the “poor baby.” I get to sleep on the sofa until mid-to-late afternoon, mentally wading through a delicate fog of memories and inventions as my brain composes and compartmentalizes, tenderly cradling and carrying me into the following year, before I even have the chance to scream.

Happy New Year.

A Requiem For Rock-Bottom Cigarette (A Loose Interpretation Of Potentially Factual Events)

The nights were becoming longer, as they often do when the winter draws in. Sunlight dwindles not long past noon and the people of the streets leave to seek refuge in warmer recesses, black clouds rolling out from the violet horizon, pregnant with rainwater or snow. The midnight hours arrive and depart all the same, unnoticed within the timeless dark.

Artificially-flavored vomit was churning in my belly, a trembling jack-in-the-box of sick, awaiting any opportunity to launch from my gullet with childlike glee. My hands were as cold and red as a native’s rigamortis, tucked into the tight pockets of a striped leather jacket, zipped up to my chin and heavy on my shoulders. A good friend walked beside me, turning a little matchbox in his palm, the sides creased and the strike-strips worn down. We had just crossed the midtown railroad tracks, lurching through the frigid December air with our voices booming across the empty streets.

It was like racing in slow-motion, fleeing the household of a generous friend and host, masking our worthlessness in drunken jokes and song. We had arrived to his home like many others, stepping into the living room with warm greetings and genuine smiles; nonetheless, we quickly succumbed to seemingly inescapable urges, consuming a majority of his alcohol before making an early departure. He let me borrow his coat as we said our goodbyes. We stole his matches.

Now we flopped about the roads in a barrage of shameful laughter, the town’s Laundromat nearing and the itch for a cigarette twisting at the fronts of our tongues. The entryway steps were perpetually littered in discarded stubs, as we understood well, the local bingers burning through packs whilst their clothes were cleansed inside. Approaching the entrance, we kept our heads down and scoured the earth, trying not to be spotted through the large windows (one young woman stared directly at us, but we kept going anyway). Picking around the shrubbery and soil, we pocketed all that we could and resumed our journey.

And yet, only two blocks later, all of our butts were smoked and the matchbox was more than half-empty, its contents either split mid-strike or extinguished by the wind. Tears on my shitty face, I knelt to the wet pavement and closed my eyes, filthy fingertips dragging across the ground. Within no time, my sniveling prayers were answered, hands birthing a two-inch rod of tobacco from the grime.

Small pebbles had punctured its sides, the tip hollowed and broken, paper wrinkled and deteriorating on all sides. From a glance, one would assume it contained more dirt than tobacco; from a glance, one would be correct. It appeared as though mites had been living inside of it, the perforated frame easily mistakable as some kind of gnarled root.

“Oh, that’s rock-bottom as fuck,” my companion informed me.

Igniting a match, I placed the filthy stump between my lips and held the flame beneath its crooked end, inhaling leftover menthol through a filter of rancid refuse. Tarry mud caught in my throat and I retched like a wounded animal. Smiling, I gave a thumbs-up.

“Dude, let me hit rock-bottom.”

For the rest of the walk home, we debated the value of mugging strangers for their second-hand nubs (or perhaps selling infants for a similar reward). This plan was referred to as “Bedrock-Bottom,” a sort of extension to our already overwhelming crisis. As we discussed it, we took drags of Rock-Bottom Cigarette.

It was okay, though; we could only go up from here.

Here, have another picture of me as a child. Maybe it will wash that shitty taste I just left in your mouth.

Here, have another picture of me as a child. Maybe it will wash that shitty taste I just left in your mouth.

Floor-Sleepin’: Ep. 2 – The Perfect Pussy

It was Sunday, November 30. A friend of mine, Branson, had come to collect me so we could venture into downtown for some jolly co-operation. Initially, we had plans to go to a sword shop… because why else would Branson want to go downtown except for the chance to gawk at lethal, sharp metal sticks.

Branson’s initial intention was to show up early, to be my alarm clock, as we like to say, and force me awake so we could embark on our metropolitan escapade. I had already been up since an ungodly early hour (as is the nature of floor-sleepin’) and was the one telling him to get up.

We made our way to his house to kill time and wait for another friend, Kyle, to not show up. He wanted to go at the mention of “sword shop”, then proceeded to take a shower, after which, he informed us that he was going to sleep instead.

We headed into downtown, bundled up against the cold and incessant wind. Downtown Portland plays host to a thing referred to as The Saturday Market, where people peddle their wares and food trucks congregate. We parked, paid, then set out to find this sword shop. It was a bit smaller than expected and was stocked with an assortment of various weapons that I wouldn’t trust Branson with. There were actual swords, assorted knives, flails, and other such dangerously named items, along with replica Master Swords that pined for our wallets to empty themselves.

After perusing for a few minutes and deciding our money best be spent elsewhere, and definitely not on regret, we left to check out the rest of the hipster bazaar. We chatted and explored, hoping maybe we’d run into somebody we knew.

At one point, I remembered something I read online: Oregon is the most booziest state in the country. I mentioned this to Branson as we were walking at which point, apparently, the words “this place” were spoken, and one of our fellow pedestrians figured this would be a good opportunity to regale us with a tale that was smoldering a profane hole through their teeth. A Russian woman with short hair wearing a coat that looked a little too big for her and a scarf, who I shan’t name mostly do to the fact that I’m a bit scared of them finding this post, turned and asked us a question:

“Can you answer something for me?”

“Um, sure.”

“Why would anyone in their right mind cut their dick off?”

Initial reaction to laugh stifled, I replied with a half-hearted “Ummm… I do not know.”

She went on to elaborate: She had seen, I think/hope to all hell, a video of a man getting his genitals cut off and reshaped into a vagina. This baffled, and assuredly, disturbed her. However, the end result was apparently a sight to behold. She called it… “the perfect pussy.” She described it in vivid detail as to the size and shape of it and its lack of hair. She couldn’t get over it. She had seen the perfect pussy. I thought maybe the subject of the video was getting a sex change/were transsexual. She asked if we knew what they called a person who would do such a thing, to which I replied “transsexual,” but she already had an answer:

“‘Fags.’ We call them ‘fags.'”

Russia must be really weird because that’s not how we use that word…. Which I guess makes The UK even weirder, I guess. Regardless…. This is where things get even more Portland. The woman tells us that she is a filmmaker and she has made music videos for bands like Guns N’ Roses (which I’m pretty fairly kinda certain that she hasn’t) and she was wondering if such a “spectacle” would be good to include in her next video. Heh, heh… NOPE. I suggested that the shock value would make it rather interesting to which she agreed. Branson pursued the music video angle a little further and asked her what sort of work she had done and asked where to find it, if she maybe had a business card. She gave us the name of a supposed YouTube account (I pulled my iPhone out to type it in, because “Oh, holy shit, if this was for real,” but Branson strongly suggested I put it the fuck away) which I later tried to find, but no cigar.

She eventually, thankfully, finished what she had to say, and bid us farewell. Deciding that we’d had enough of Portland for one day, weeks even, we headed back to his place to unwind and warm up, but not before stopping at Fire on the Mountain for some tater tots.

[Next: Ep. 3 – The 2nd Annual MacBook Pro Shitting of the Bed]

Floor-Sleepin’: Ep. 1 – My Bathrobe

So I developed a habit exactly 2 years ago: I like to wear my bathrobe all day, every day, during the winter season. I had started college late in 2012 and after a few brief months of enduring the acrid stench of Hollywood, I was allowed a short reprieve for winter break and returned to the amnesty of Portland for a short while. I slept on the couch and almost constantly wore my bathrobe, using it as a second blanket at night as a means of defense from the cold that the heater tried so fruitlessly to stave off. It didn’t help that the damn thermostat took the piss sometime last year and stopped working, rendering the heater just about useless, making my robe all the more crucial.

I elected to forego a shirt in most instances, keeping the robe closed with the sash, and hardly ever wore boxers under my pajama pants. This way, I was never too hot under the blanket but never fully subjected myself to the cold. (Yes, I am currently wearing underwear as of this writing… but for how long?)

This trend became a mainstay last year out of a combination of nostalgia/tradition and a compulsion to stay warm (for reasons stated above). I returned to Portland, cagey and in need of companionship, glad to indulge in winter break of 2013, bathrobe at the ready. Starting about sometime last month, I donned the illustrious garb and sauntered around, constantly sleepy-eyed, as the cold was making its presence known and my more vulnerable parts weren’t too thrilled. Mind you, I prefer the winter seasons, mostly because I can deal with the cold easier than the piercing simmer that is summer. Living in Portland, you’re treated to a most interesting style of winter as it doesn’t snow often, but you can always count on the infamous rain. In Portland, you don’t “bundle up and grab an umbrella,” unless you’re an unwitting tourist or a Californian pansy. Instead, we “liquor up and grab a hoodie.” Not exactly being of age, my dealings with the cold usually devolve into binge consumption of holiday coffees, peppermint teas, and spiced ciders, welcoming the warm, festive swills into my system, excreting jolliness in the form of half-lidded facial expressions, excessive lounging, and general laziness.

This year, I have added a scarf to my wardrobe. So… that’s new, I guess. But it has recently donned on me that in almost prophetic coincidence, I have become Patton Oswalt:

The way he describes his depression’s puppy-like enthusiasm, especially and most certainly regarding the bathrobe, is my life all throughout the holiday season. And rather than The Princess Bride, it’s the same old holiday specials we’ve all seen in tandem with the Cartoon Network ones from my childhood, heady with the musk of nostalgia. It is my essence, my very being. However, rather than a puppy (belligerent, repugnant cretins), I’d liken it to a fluffy kitty: Lazy-ass cat curls up and sleeps for half the time, the other half is spent ignoring any other outside stimuli with the exception of the occasional display of affection, instead focusing on whatever trivial distractions it feels up for, and eating. It is truly the vapid nature of my depression kitty that embodies the holidays, undoing any good intentions the Prozac-like months beforehand had.

At this point in the writing, I’m no longer decent (so have fun with that knowledge), and in need of a new trivial distraction.

I love the holidays!

[Next: Ep. 2 – The Perfect Pussy]

My Accidental Life As A Full-Time Meth Peddler: Part One

After walking approximately seventy miles, I reached the Portland city limits. My legs were on fire and my conscience was beginning to fade, fourteen consecutive hours of travel weighing upon the many more spent without sleep. And yet, here I was at last, lost at the edge of my hometown with sixty dollars to my name and a ratty crust of hair plastered across my cheeks. Selecting a random block, my legs began to throb in its general direction, moving against all odds to keep me alive.

Countless buildings passed before another human presence was identified, some young woman sitting on the curb outside of a convenience store, a frighteningly large cigar burning between her skeletal fingers. Seemingly oblivious to my disgustingly disheveled appearance, she glumly informed me that she was a clerk on break, imprisoned in a graveyard shift to pay for a trashy apartment. When asked where one could find a place to sleep, she haphazardly pointed her stogie and proposed we have sex together; greasy, pained, and filled to the brim with undischarged fecal matter, I declined. She then offered to sell me acid, ignoring my awkward dismissal. After declining once more, I bid her farewell and my travels continued.

Soon enough, a filthy motel crossed my path, something cheap enough to rob me of all cash and house me for the following six hours (it was made very clear that I had to vacate by eleven o’clock). Crumpling into a mattress that reeked of adultery and well-fed scabies, I plugged my cell phone into the nearest outlet and proceeded to sweat my body-weight overnight. In no time, the light of noon was upon me and I fell sprawling from the mattress, taking a two-minute shower and drying off with a hand towel (the full-sized towels provided were all stained in copious amounts of shit). Tugging my clothes back on, I gathered my meager belongings and hit the road again. Within hours, I had reunited with my friend Levi.

The plan was to stay a night at The Boneyard (a tax-evading, independently operated semi-cult), later gathering supplies from a disturbingly gaunt man named Fini (unbeknownst to us, a narcotics dealer) before setting out on a group expedition to Eastern Oregon.

“The guys are kind of weird,” he notified me on the bus ride there.

Upon entering the strangely inconspicuous residence, I was greeted by its homeowner, a middle-aged man with frazzled hair pulled into a frayed ponytail. He held a hand-rolled cigarette and discussed his life as a digital effects artist, voice becoming comically gruff when he spoke while exhaling. “What genres do you like?” he asked me.

“Just about anything,” I told him, “as long as it’s not too bogged down with action scenes. I usually like a little bit of meaning.”

“I find meaning in action movies,” he told me, slowly crushing his cigarette against the tabletop with smoke billowing out from his nose. “Meaning in the violence.”

As if on cue, a large man came lumbering into the room with a plastic cup of beer splashing about in his fist. Immediately, an argument sparked over whether or not Vikings adorned their helmets with horns. “I am a fucking Viking,” he boomed drunkenly. “I know this shit.”

After a wry and condescending remark, the homeowner grinned and exited to the kitchen, dismissing his friend entirely. Directly following this departure, the Viking threw his arms out to the sides, twisting them in random directions and stomping his feet, screeching indistinguishable sounds at the top of his lungs with eyeballs protruding and tongue flapping around outside of his mouth. Then, just as spontaneously as he had begun, he came to a sudden halt.

“You know what I mean?” he asked me.

“Yeah,” I told him, giving a thumbs-up.

“Alright,” he grinned, leaving the room.

Calmly turning to me, Levi lifted an empty mug. “Do you want some coffee?” he asked me, utterly unfazed by what we had just witnessed. “We can wait out back for Fini to get here. I’ve got to show you this hole they’ve been digging.”

Nothing could prepare me for the events that followed.

First week back in town with Jolly Oswald and Funky Mannequin.

First week back in town with Jolly Oswald and Funky Mannequin.

The Ensuing Smut-fest Begins….

The christening of this site can easily be likened not to sacrificing a good bottle of champagne at a ceremonial ship launch, but instead wasting a good bottle of champagne by chucking it at a permanent trailer-park residence. Because if you’re gonna shill out for quality booze, you most certainly don’t waste it on the drivel. And thus, we are the drivel.

This is a collaborative endeavor amongst a group of friends (read: shit-posters) who need a place to let loose and regurgitate their mundane-ness upon the world at large. Get an umbrella, that’s not rain.