Friday, February 14, 2020

Intro Info

I write these stories in ten, twenty minutes. They're quick writes, quick reads. An idea pops into my mind and I try to immediately write it down, the whole story. Often it happens in the shower or while driving and as soon as I park or dry off I'll write the story on my phone. Then I'll copy it onto my laptop and edit from there later on when I get the time.

I think it's important to write daily, for me at least. It's important to work out and exercise your mind. Writing or reading I prefer. I set aside at least an hour each day to write. I read when I can. These stories, they're a way to keep my mind fresh while I think of what to do next. Like them or hate them they're all spontaneous ideas that I wrote down before fading away. Many ideas were lost, these and a few others survived. I don't spend much time on these. I don't binge-watch shows on TV but if I could binge-write I would. I worked tirelessly on the book while working and studying for school and right now these short stories are just a way to keep my mind fresh. Nothing more or less.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

The Fight

Skiff Ronlonski was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and a world champion boxer. He was sitting in his chair in the corner of the ring waiting for his opponent, Milk Ellis. T was sitting in cheap hundred dollar seats, laid-back and quiet, buzzed. Milk had been in the locker room for some time. Skiff Ronlonski was getting impatient, T was getting impatient, everyone was wondering what was going on. The door opened. A feeble man made his way down the aisle. The man whispered into the announcer's ear and then walked back up the aisle looking defeated.

"Excuse me, everybody."

The whole stadium stopped talking.

"I'd like us all to take a moment of silence. Milk Ellis just had a stroke in the locker room and passed away. The time was 8:02pm. So please, join me in a moment of silence for Milk."

Not a sound was made from anyone or anything. Not a breath, a beep, a fart, a laugh, a word, a squeak, nothing.

"Thank you," the announcer Jeff Dyke continued. "I'm sorry to inform you that the fight will have to be canceled..."

The entire crowed booed. Some threw shoes and food at Jeff Dyke. T got out of his seat and walked over to Jeff, told him, "Get me gloves, shorts, wraps and I'll kick Skiff Ronlonski's ass."

"Who are you?"

"Doesn't matter."

"Hold on everyone," Dyke said into the mic. "We might still have ourselves a fight!"

Then began the soft chatter, confusion and perplexion within the crowd. Jeff Dyke turned around, looked at Ronlonski, gestured to T. Skiff grinned, nodded his head slowly.

"All right. Go up to the locker room."

T walked up the aisle, nonchalantly, as heads turned to look at him. He pushed through the doors, undressed, wrapped his hands, put on shorts, payed respect, walked out the door.

T sat in his chair in the corner facing Skiff. His team was standing around him, pampering him. T had no one on his side. "You ready?" the official asked him. He nodded his head, looking at Skiff.

They both rose and met in the middle of the ring. "Let's have a clean fight," the official said and then glared at Skiff. They walked back and stood at opposite corners. The bell rang.

The Fight Pt. II

The loud crowd in the stands hushed. Skiff Ronlonski clapped his gloves together twice and then stepped away from his corner and started dancing around. Step and slide, back and forth. T stepped out of his corner, ready. Skiff was a southpaw, T was orthodox. They did not touch gloves.

The two fighters closed in towards the middle. Skiff jabbed, T dodged. He thought, this'll be a quick fight. They separated slightly. Neither man could hear a sound nor focus on anything other than each other. If Jeff Dyke was commentating the fight they did not realize it. It was all a thrill!

T closed in on Skiff. T swung, hit, again, hit. Skiff had a shade of surprise in his eyes, T had a mean gleam. They went at each other again and locked horns like a couple of wild rams. Skiff pushed T back and swung. The amateur ducked, then landed an uppercut to Skiff's gut, hooked and hit Skiff's face with his left. They both fell back. In T's mind he saw it all ahead like the moves in a chess game.

Skiff wiped his nose with his arm. He shook his head. They both began dancing around the center of the ring in circles, both men sizing up the other. Skiff spat, T's vision blurred. He took advantage and landed a good blow to T's jaw and then another to his gut. T recouped, swung hard and smashed Skiff. They locked horns again, then separated, then BAM!

T stumbled back and then fell to the floor. He lay stiff on his back with vertigo vision and then closed his eyes. Everything was jet-black for a moment. Cow bells rang loudly and quickly dampened. He then imagined wild horses trotting off in an open field as the sun was sinking beneath the horizon and above the horses were once dark clouds now bright pink and red and filling the open space sat a fading blue sky and like an illusion the distance between his lens and the horses grew yet shrank as they moved closer and closer to the sinking sun that was casting out its final light for the day and then finally dipping behind the hills out of sight. The wild horses pressed on. The official kneeled down and shook T's body. No movement. The official shook him once more, nothing. Again, nothing. The wild horses were gone, out of sight. He clapped his hands three times in front of T's face and then T woke up to bright lights, soft chatter, a high ceiling, he stood up. He came back to life, was ready to go, went to the corner, they met in the middle, touched gloves, stepped back, T swung, he hit, Skiff fell. He was out. It was over.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Thursday, February 13, 2020

For Nas

"Trust me, people want to know what you think."

"Then they can talk to me."

"What will you say?"

He shrugged. "It'll be something good. I'll bless them with something."

"But you're not a priest."

He raised his fist, then his middle finger.

"What do you think about people biting you?"

"I'd rather they bite me literally than bite my bread, you know, style."

"So you're telling me you're one hundred percent original... Whose style have you bitten?"

"I like to think I've borrowed, not bitten. Nas for sure. Prodigy, Diddy, B.I.G., Hem, Bukowski, McCarthy, Miller. But really, their styles have just been an influence. I've found and made my own voice from all of them. My mind is my mind and I own it."

"How did Nas influence you?"

"He said: 'Stay fly when you're bummy, keep your pajamas Armani.'"

"You wear Armani pajamas?"

"If I wear anything to bed it'll be Armani."

"Is that it? Was that his only influence on you?"

"Not even close. I fell in love with his poetry at a young age."

"How so?"

"Well, the first song of his I heard, and it might be unpopular, was 'Ether.' I was young and it stuck with me."

"'Ether?' How old were you?"

"Four or five. I was a wild one. I had a temper and his music sounded right to me. You know, I was that kid who was into money and horror movies. The classics. Especially Halloween and crisp bills.

"Back to Nas, Z. How else did he influence you?"

"Well, first off I think he's a genius. Growing up in the projects in New York, in the seventies and eighties, and then making something from nothing, I think it's admirable. And his work is next-level. I've been listening to him for years yet every time I come back and listen again it's almost like listening for the first time. I get something different every time. It's real and it's great. But damn, what I'd do to hear all of his records again for the first time..."

"I'm sure he would like to hear that from you."

"I'm sure he's already numb to it. But the way his work influenced me. To put it simply. I wanted my writing to have the same power as his had on me. Where if you read it multiple times you'll get something different out of it each time. Maybe even just a small detail clicks in a different way. There's so much beneath the surface, beneath each line, in between each line. In the book, I'm talking about."

"It's a good book, Last Night's Music. Thanks for sharing your insight, Z."

"All right." He stood up, stuck out his hand.

A Marvelous Dinner

"You like to stir shit up, don't you John?"

"Like a Kool-Aid spoon," he said.


"I like to speak my thoughts."

"You don't care about others."

"That's not true. But listen, when truths are told there's no way to tell how others will react."

"But they're your truths."

"Yeah," said John. "And it's nice if others feel what I'm trying to say, or what I'm trying to do."

"What are you trying to do?"

"Build up my oeuvre. Leave my mark. Change lives or at least perspectives for the better. Anything more and it's just a bonus."

"Cut the shit, John."

"What's the matter, Fred?"

"Yeah, Fred. I like what he's trying to do."

"What about what he says, Elisa?"

"I like most of that too, yeah."

"Fred, here's a tissue."

"What for?"

"Because your nose is bleeding. I don't want your blood to get on the tablecloth or on the floor."

Fred rubbed his nose, looked at his hand. "Shit!"

"You like to swear a lot, Fred."

"Well you swear too, John..."

"I try to limit myself only to the F word. Body parts I don't consider swears."

"Some of what you say is vulgar!"

"It's all relative, Fred."

"What do you guys want to order?" asked Elisa. "I'm hungry."

"Fuck if I know," said John.

"See, there you go!"

"I stayed within my limit, Fred."

"I've had it! I'm done. You guys can eat without me. I'm in the mood for a Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's anyway."

Fred got up and left John and Elisa at the table. They asked for another round of drinks, ordered food. It was a marvelous dinner. All class.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

You Can Be Anything

"I need your help."

"What's bothering you?"

"I don't know what I want to be."

"What do you mean, Amy?"

"Like, I don't know what I want to be in this life. In this world, I mean."

He understood what she meant. "You can be anything you want to be."

"Oh yeah?" asked Amy. "But I don't know where to begin."

"You mean you can't narrow it down?"


"Well what do you like? Let's start with that."

She sat still and appeared to be thinking deeply. "I like staying in my bed all day on rainy days. I like window seats on airplanes. I like the feeling I get when the airplane first takes off. I like a tall half-caff soy latte with an extra shot and cream. I like guys who listen to me. Who understand me. And I like sex. I like the month of December. I mean, the days leading up to Christmas. I like warm days in the summer, but not too hot. I like a lot of things, James."

He was pleased to hear her say it. "So, based on everything you like, what can you be?"

"I don't know. I can't think right now."

"Well, you could be a barista, a stewardess, Mrs. Claus..."

"Shhh. Let's stop talking. I don't care what I want to be anymore."

And with that, not a word more was said.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

East Of No West

"How have you been, Luna?"

"I've been good." Luna let out a good laugh. "This is actually really funny right now, being here and seeing you."

"I'm all ears."

"I don't know where to start, Tony..."

"Start from the beginning."

"Okay. So you know, I was really into you. But you were always quiet. You weren't shy. No no no. Not shy. But you were quiet. What did you call yourself, genteel?"

Tony nodded his head. "Then, yeah."

"Yeah. Anyway, I was into you. But then I went on a trip abroad to Spain. It was delightful! One night I was singing and dancing on the street alone and one thing led to the next and I met someone. A bullfighter. I moved in with him shortly after. Things moved very fast. Soon he made me forget about you."

"I'm glad it was a delightful time," said Tony.

"Oh, you have no idea!"

"You're right, I don't."

"What's wrong, Tony? Are you mad?"

"Not at all. I think it's great."

"You're jealous."


"You're jealous he made me forget about you."

"Well, why did he make you forget about me?"

"He was a bullfighter! You're just a writer. A lousy writer, Tony."

"You like my writing."

Luna drew in her lower lip, couldn't let him know it was so. "Your writing, it can be hypnotizing. Your words and style. Yeah, it can be good."

Tony got up and went into the kitchen. He returned with a glass of water for Luna and a glass of red for himself. He sat down. His cat, Mr. Wilkins, walked across the floor and hopped onto the couch beside Luna. Mr. Wilkins cuddled her leg, Tony sipped his wine. They both sat for a minute and thought their own thoughts.

"All right, Tony. Yeah. I like your writing more than his bullfighting. I like the different worlds your writing brings me to. It's sick. I didn't like the world of his bullfighting. I hated it. I was in the stands one time, just sitting there, watching him get his ass handed to him. It was pitiful! After they took him out back I stayed around for the intermission. I was bored. You know how I can get sometimes. I looked over at the woman sitting next to me. She was reading a book. I recognized it out of the corner of my eye. I asked her, 'Hi, what book are you reading?' She turned the cover over and it was one of your books. East Of No West. I couldn't think. I just immediately got up and left, and then I bought a single plane ticket for the next flight to the states. And now I'm here."

"You know I'm always here," said Tony.

Luna massaged Mr Wilkins up and down his back and on the top of his head.

"But this summer I'm moving out west to San Diego," the lousy writer said. "I might wait until fall."

"Oh. Maybe I'll go out there with you."

"You're more than welcome to."

Mr. Wilkins got up and ran out of sight.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Monday, February 10, 2020

White Girl Lost (Be Protective)

He read what he saw on his phone out loud. "Be extremely protective of the person you are becoming." Great advice, he thought. Thanks, Diddy.

The food was served and set down on the table.

“Are you on Tinder?” she asked.

“Not now,” he said. “I tried it but I’m not into it.”


“I’m more than just the surface. You know, a few pictures and a catchy bio.”

“You probably don't have any good pictures.”

“Yeah, you're right. But I don't like the whole idea of meeting online. It's kind of lazy. If it's for anything more than just hooking up. Like it's easy for anyone to talk big game when they have time to figure out what to say. Then in person they’re never quite the same as how they made themselves out to be. Not always the case, no way. But personally, meeting in person by chance feels much more genuine to me. It's realer.”

“I like that," she said. "But don’t you get lonely?”

“Not really. I heard that the strongest men are often the most alone.”

“But you’re not alone, are you?”

“Yes and no. You know I need my quiet time.”

“Me too. Laura got another sugar daddy the other day. He sent her four hundred dollars for sending a couple sexy pictures.”

"He sounds very generous. How'd it go in person?"

“Oh," she laughed. "She’s not actually going to meet up with him."

"Why not?"

"Because she needed the money and it was funny. But I'm glad we didn't meet on Tinder. Where was it? The cafe in Constance Winnie.”

“Yeah," he laughed. "Are you on Tinder?”

“I was a little while ago. I actually had a sugar daddy. I sent him a few pictures and he sent me two hundred dollars. He was a lobsterman. I thought it was funny.” She laughed to herself and thought about it. “Wanna see the pictures?”


She took out her phone, brought up the pictures.

“Sexy,” he said.

She kept scrolling. "Oh, I like this one."

"Me too."

"Yeah? I wonder why..."

"Well," he said. "The lobsterman probably did too. But careful of who you let guide you."

"Oh, 'cause you're the one to talk."

He didn't say anything, arched an eyebrow. She looked down at her uneaten food, then at his. They were both hungry. They devoured everything and not a crumb was left on their plates when they finished.

“My stomach hurts," she said. "I want to go home but I forgot where I parked.”

“All right, I’ll help you find it."

Later on she dropped him off at his apartment. He walked up the stairs and thought, I have to write. I have to write and write and write. To become a writer, that type, I have to write and be protective. I heard it from one of the greatest.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Matter At Hand

What to start with, he thought. Where to go from there? Trust your instinct. Say something and he'll find the way.

Jamie snapped out of it. He imagined her laughing, crying.

After all these years, he thought, after everything good and bad, I still remember my first crush. The times at recess. The time her brother invited him over and they all played hide and seek but of course he peeled off with her. Then money entered the picture and him thinking cash is king. Imagining one day morphing from a Kid to a King. And there was the ten-year flood but he held himself down, learned a few things, did his own thing. Did a few things. Paved some new lanes. Mishaps and setbacks are part of the past. Overcoming hard to impossible tasks. Crashing whips, skipping class. Kissing lips, smoking grass. The matter at hand, what's meant to be, he knew would come back.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 1"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"