Waves

It’s June, and Suzanne needs to go swimming. Every evening she sits on the benches under the highway under the bridges and stares the waves buffeting the barricades. She brings no books, no cigarettes. She folds her hands on top of her jeans and adjusts her posture when she senses it’s off. It’s been years since the fish market has been in business, but she catches dead fish scents from 2002 soaked into the brick. She hears featherbrained fish flap against the rocks below.

When the sun decides to call it a day, she takes the long way home, taking an additional two blocks to turn left to make another left. At the intersection, she passes a streetlamp plastered with taped up teddy bears, melted candles, and water stained photos of a handsome boy, about fourteen, smiling without revealing his braces and holding a baseball bat.

Suzanne walks into her apartment and smells cigar. She walks into the dining room and kisses Tim on the top of his bald head. She smears the lipstick off and grabs some of his scotch.  “Hey honey,” Tim says as he takes his ash tray to the sink. “I put aside dinner for you.”

“How was work, hon?” she says.

“Same shit, different toilet.”

“Does that make sense?”

“You get what I’m saying.” Tim finishes his glass and starts to pour another. “Wanna watch the game with me?”

“Who’s pitching?”

Tim laughs. “Not the good ones. The fat one’s pitching for them tonight.”

“Nah, I’ll just go to the room and read.” Suzanne grabs her reading glasses off the dining table. “Enjoy, hon.”

At three in the morning, Tim wakes up dripping sweat. He zombie stumbles through the bedroom, though the bathroom door and pukes in the general direction of the toilet. He finds the light and his splattered mess. He lights the candle in the bathroom of one of the saints he doesn’t recall and leaves it on top of the tank. He walks back to the bedroom to check on Suzanne. “Fuck.”

Tim jogs down the river parkway in a Mets cap, tank top and sweatpants. He looks down at his stomach jiggling during every stride and laughs. To his surprise, he finds several couples jogging by the river. Each nods in his direction.

A mile later, or sixteen minutes, he reaches the baseball fields adjacent the river. If a kid can clear two hundred fifty feet, he has a homer in the water. Tim sees Suzanne in the dugout bench of field three, silhouetted by the yellow halo project lights behind. He walks over to her and holds her.

“You smell terrible,” she says.

Tim chuckles. “I know. Let’s go back home, hon.” She obliges. Suzanne and Tim walk next to the river. Tim’s arm drapes over Suzanne. “I swear I heard him here. He was here. I could’ve sworn.”

“I’ve heard him too, Suzanne.”

“No, but heard him. Like God was telling me.”

“I know.”

Suzanne wakes up to an empty bed at 11AM. She makes the bed and prepares her hair dye. Tina Fey has chestnut brown hair on the cover. While waiting for the mix to settle, she heads downstairs to check if the washers are free.

She finds Gina sitting by the washers with pink curlers in her hair. “Suzanne, honey!” Gina says as she makes flip flop pitter patter towards her. She gives Suzanne a bisou.

“How you been holding up, dear?”

“I’m good, mija. Holding up is about right.”

Gina holds her head up and nods at Suzanne. She cracks a smile and shows the gaps between teeth. “Have you been getting my messages?” she asks.

“Yeah,” Suzanne says as she shifts her eyes towards the machines. “But you know how it goes. Still a lot on my mind. Nothing personal.”

“You know the church never stopped praying for you and Tim,” Gina says as she hobbles towards her dryer.

“I know,” Suzanne says. “And I thank you. You know how it is, though. We need a little time before we get all acclimated to people and church again.”

“For sure, for sure. But don’t take this the wrong way,” she starts as she folds her laundry on top of the dryer. “But you need to be accountable for how you speak with God. Now, I know there’s a time and place for the time alone and even time for selfishness, even God has that in the Bible, but at some point the devil’s gonna creep up. You give him a foothold, and he’ll work his way in. Don’t give him that foothold.”

“I’m not having this talk. I’m sorry. Don’t start.”

“Okay, but…”

“Don’t start. I’m not getting into this with you. You ain’t even got your hair or clothes together but you wanna talk about getting right with God. Not today. Goodbye.”

“I was watching a TED talk on my way home. You gotta try this meditation technique,” Tim says as he takes out two Twinkees from the cupboard. “Close your eyes.” She obliges. She hears Tim ruffle the Twinkees out of the wrappers.

“I want you to see an ocean. A vast, flat, dark ocean. You know it’s purple and black even though it’s usually blue. The only light is the horizon. You see an ocean? Great. Now,” he takes a bite from his Twinkee. “Now, you know how the Vikings had funerals? They put their dead on a boat. They say their blessings, their parting remarks, and the start to fill the boat with their belongings or things that related to them.”

Suzanne snorts and sheds some tears. “No, honey, it’s not over. Follow me through this, Suzanne.” He wipes her tears and holds her hands. “I want you to stack everything in the day, anything that’s weighing heavy. Anything that is living rent free in the apartment of your mind. Stack it on the boat. Acknowledge what is there. A shortness of breath. My liquor breath. Time. My beer belly. Your gray hairs. My gray hairs. Mike. His report cards. His catching equipment. Report cards. His girlfriend whose name you always forget. Time. Now, I want you to set that boat on fire. Watch it dance around the belongings. Watch it hug the people you put on the boat. Now, I want you to shove it as hard as you can, send it out with the currents. Watch it sail towards the horizon and sink, silently. How do you feel now? Better? Did it help?”

“That didn’t help at all.”

“Well, I’m trying here.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“What would help?”

“Look, I don’t know. All I know is that I want to swim.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

Suzanne put her hands in front of Tim’s mouth. “Look. When I was a kid, my family would go to Coney Island. The tradition was that when you see the first wave, you jump backwards into it. It’s like a new beginning. It warts off evil spirits. It gives you good luck. And I think we need some of that.”

“Is that a Puerto Rican thing?” Tim says as he crosses his arms.

“Yes. My dad kept shouting over the waves ‘it’s nothing like back home.’ You always see it in the ads, people jumping backwards into the waves.”

“What ads are you talking about?”

_____

“Tim, I love you, but you’re dressed like an asshole right now.” Tim takes off his sunglasses and wipes them on his Eddie Bauer shirt.

“C’mon babe, I’m in vacation mode. I got my cigars, my hat,” he says as he dusts the top of his fedora and puts it back on. “I’m gonna get my drink on. I’m all set!” He balls up his fists like an excited baby. When Tim smiles, it’s like the rest of his face never received the notice.

“But they’re gonna think that you took your kids’ nanny for a vacation in Puerto Rico. Or you met some local vieja and brought her to your resort?”

“Vieja? But you’re not old.”

“Who taught you vieja?”

“I know some Spanish, Suzanne.”

The plane lands on a cloudy San Juan day, giving Tim the impression of Communism. Suzanne sits on the aisle to stretch out her left leg, recovering from knee replacement surgery two years before. She bends over Tim’s chest to look out the window. Even for Suzanne, San Juan lives in daylight. Anything else is sacrilege, a bad omen. Tim’s fingers tingle from the altitude and the rum.

“Where are your parents from?” Tim asks.

“Actually, they came from Poncé.”

“Poncé. Poncé. Poncé. What’s to know about Poncé?”

“Actually,” Suzanne says as she perks up her posture. “It used to be a slave port town.”

“Oh! So you are part black?” Tim’s eyes widen.

By the last baggage claim, Suzanne spots her cousin, Sandy. She’s darker than most on the floor. She’s been dealt her steady flow of casual island racism from the blanquitos or even the negros, who like to call it out for the hell of it. Literally pot calling kettle black. She smiles with all her big teeth and her deep brown eyes. Her smile spites the island. She runs up to Suzanne and embraces her. She motions with her hand around Suzanne for Tim to join in on the embrace.

“How was the flight, Blanca?”

“Suzy, why do they call you Blanca?” Tim asks. “I thought you were part black.”

Sandy speeds up the road by the hill overlooking San Juan. “I live an hour out, Tim,” Sandy shouts over the car.

“I remember,” Tim shouts back. “I was here when Suzanne was pregnant with Mike.”

Tim looks out at San Juan and pokes his head out the window. The air smells the way he wants mangos to taste.

Fifteen years ago, Tim resembled an Afghan hound poking his head with long hair out the window. Suzanne took Polaroids of him in his white cargo shorts and oversized tank top. For the next week they called him langosta, because he burned redder than a lobster.

Suzanne took the opportunity to poke Tim’s raw skin when he didn’t look, and watched the color rush back in its place. “It stings,” Tim said like an ultimatum. When he turned to get a spiteful drink, she smacked him on the back of the neck.

Suzanne checks the weather while Tim looks out on sullen San Juan. “Is it gonna rain all week, Sandy?”

Sandy flies the car over a bump. Tim grabs the “oh shit handlebars” as he loves to call them. “Yeah, there’s a tropical storm coming!” Sandy raises her fist into the air. “We needed the rain.”

“How long is it gonna rain for?” Suzanne asks.

“A couple days probably, why?”

“Well, why the fuck you think we’re here? To see you?”

Sandy laughs. “See? God didn’t like your attitude. A couple of days to cleanse. Be good for you.”

“But Sandy,” Tim interjects. “She wanted to jump backwards in the wave, for luck or something.”

“People still do that?”

The Jeep pulls up to a series of semi boarded houses along a road mixed with weeds. One house blasts Raeggeton. A group of shirtless kids play stickball until the Jeep clears them from the road. Tino grills steaks from the front yard with a beer in his hand. He waves at the Jeep.

“Hey, you guys hungry?” Tino shouts.

“Hell yeah,” Tim says and jumps out.

“Honey, you wanna get the bags out first?”

“What’s the rush? They’ll get down after a steak and a beer.” Tim runs over and hugs Tino. “My man! Que paso, chico?”

“Mira, this fucking guy wants to hang with the boriquas,” Tino says. “This fedora-wearing motherfucker. Grab a beer.”

“Gracias, papi,” Tim says as he walks to the cooler. “Suzy, tu quieres?”

Suzanne looks at Sandy. “This motherfucker acting like Tito Puente right now.”

“Tino, why you cooking steaks?” Tim asks.

“The power might go out,” Sandy says. “So, might as well just cook what was gonna go bad in the next few days. If the power stays out, the whole block will cook like crazy. Also, Tino’s a fat ass, aren’t you, babe?”

“You know it!” Tino says as he grabs his flabby belly. It jiggles more than anyone anticipated. “You still don’t like beans, Tim?”

“No me gusta,” Tim says as he bites into a steak with his hands.

A drizzle falls on the street. The parents call their children back in before the storm hits. A few straggle. A few of the men, high on hubris and drunk off beer walk to the street to confront Neptune, God, the Atlantic, whoever they deem on that day responsible for the drizzle and the coming storm. Their wives come up and will them inside with the promise of more food and drink. One neighbor stumbles out with some wood, nails and a hammer.

“What the fuck do you think that’s gonna do to your hut?” Sandy yells across the street.

“God can’t say I didn’t try,” he yells back. He hammers three boards over the front window and calls it a day.

“Do you like to gamble?” Tino asks Tim.

“Does the Pope shit in the woods?”

“I don’t know what that means, Tim.”

“Hell yes, it means.” The window panel smacks against the house.

“When this dies down, hopefully tomorrow, you wanna get your trip money back?”

Claro que si!” Everyone stops and turns at Tim. He forces out a chuckle. The window panel smacks against the house again. The wind sounds wicked enough for the children in the neighborhood to light a candle or to pray like their mothers asked. Tim looks at their dusty desktop computer in the corner of the dining room. “Does that have Internet?”

“What do you think this is, the Dominican Republic?” Sandy says while walking to the fridge. “As long as there’s power, there should be Internet.”

“Good. I wanna check on my fantasy team.” Tim sits at the desktop. His body forms a C-letter shape as he types one key at a time.

Sandy comes back from the kitchen and pours Suzanne more rum. “So, can I ask you?”

“Sure.”

“How are you guys adjusting?” Tim straightens his posture.

“It ain’t adjusting,” Suzanne says as she swirls her glass. “It’s dealing. Dealing with the bullshit. Dealing with the shitty hand God gave us.”

“You have every right to be mad at God.”

“I didn’t ask his permission, like he sure as hell didn’t ask for mine.” Tim curls his back and continues typing. “And don’t start with the whole ‘God has a plan’ bullshit,” Suzanne continues.

“Yeah, but it wasn’t God, Blanca, you know that.”

“So what’s God accountable for, Sandy?” Suzanne stares at the dribble left at the bottom of her glass. “Can I?” She starts towards the kitchen and pours herself another glass.

“We only give God credit for the good shit,” she says as she sits back at the dinner table. She feels the wicker texture and giggles. “Wicker makes me feel at home. I don’t know why. I’ve never owned it. Maybe I watched too many 80s movies, because everyone had the fucking wicker furniture. No sé. No idea. But when is God accountable for the shitty things? The starving everywhere. Everywhere, not just fucking Africa like dumb Americans think.”

Tim turns back at Suzanne. “Hon…”

“Honey, you don’t go to church, so don’t entertain this. Check on the fat pitcher.” Tim turns around.

“Can I go back and ask you what happened? You don’t have to answer.”

“It won’t change anything. Sure.” She gets up from her seat and walks to the window. The panel smacks against the plastered wood, and she walks back to the dining table.

‘Mike won his Pony League championship. His team didn’t win it. He did. He went four for four. Two triples, a double, and a fucking home run. He hit the fucking ball into the East River. The rival coach took the pitcher out and had to hug the pitcher, cause he was crying. He made the opposing pitcher cry. Everything he threw just, bah! Bah! Gone. Into the gaps. Out of the park. That kid will never pitch again. The worst part was that Mike always smiled. Always. Grounding out to the pitcher, smiling. Colliding with another player, ear to ear. This boy had no idea what sadness was. He wasn’t stupid. He just hated the idea of being sad I guess. I felt bad we gave him braces. We made him self conscious. He still smiled, but he had a Grinch or cheshire cat thing going on.’

‘The final score was five to two. They gave him the game ball. They lifted him up. I’ve never seem him that happy. You know when you see someone in their zone, in their element? That was Mikey. They let him down and he ran over and hugged us, fucking tears of joy streaming down his face. He clutched us. We have the photo somewhere. I don’t know where it is, but it’s somewhere. We couldn’t hang it. Tim is kissing Mikey’s head. He ran over to his girlfriend, what the fuck is her name? Tim?’

“Marcy, Suzanne.” Tim interjects without turning from the computer.

“Marcy. Marcy. Keep forgetting that. Kisses Marcy square on the lips. It seemed perfect. I’ve never seen him kiss a girl, but it looked so flawless. I saw him with her or with other women in the future, and it felt great. I made a whole man.”

“Was that the same day?” Tino asks.

“Yep. He asked to go to a party with his team. They say he was drunk, but I don’t know if I believe it. Not that it makes a difference, I don’t know why the hell they told us that. He was celebrating, why does it matter? Some fucking monster bought a gun and wasn’t even man enough to shoot the man he wanted. A stray. Hit him a block away from home. Hit him right by the heart. He died within minutes. Someone found him dead. But no one found that fucker who shot my baby. That fucking sub-human who couldn’t even shoot his target and hit my baby. He doesn’t even know it I bet. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Suzanne buries her face in her hands.

“No, no, mija,” Sandy reassures. She motions for Tino to come over from the kitchen. Tim walks over to the kitchen and pours himself a large glass of rum. “Does anyone want to know about the deadliest hurricanes ever?” he says as he wipes his eyes.

“It’s funny,” Suzanne says and lifts her head from her hands. “Hurricanes are labeled under an act of God.” She laughs. “So, do you collect your money from him? Or do you go to the church and recollect your offerings?”

“So, by far the deadliest one recorded was way before our time, in 1780,” Tim says. He looks at Suzanne and Sandy for some eye contact. Their eyes don’t meet his. “It’s estimated that…” he scans the Wikipedia page. “Twenty-seven thousand! Holy shit!” He fixes his posture.

“Can we not, Tim?” Suzanne says.

The lights cut out in the house.

“I guess it’s time for bed, gang.” Tim shuffles over and feels around the room for Suzanne and her shoulder.

Suzanne reaches over for Tim’s side of the bed and finds a banana. She throws it off the bed and turns over. She pats dry her face with a sheet and sees the ceiling fan wobbling.

Sandy shuffles towards the kitchen in her pink moo moo and brews coffee. She bows her head and gives a hand towards Suzanne.

“The men went gambling, huh?” Suzanne asks as she strategizes her rise off the air mattress. She shimmies over to the right side of the bed and places her right leg on the floor like dipping a toe into new waters. She rocks to get momentum off the bed.

“You need help there?” Sandy asks and walks over. Suzanne puts her hand up.

“Ja, ja. I got this.” She rocks several more times and swings her left leg.

“With the storm and the drinking, my robot knee feels like jell-o.” She presses both hands into the air mattress. As she lifts herself off the ground, the mattress gives way and slides out from under her. Sandy runs over and catches her between Suzanne’s armpits.

“Look at you carrying my heavy ass,” Suzanne says and laughs.

“I picked up Tino’s fat ass all these years. This is my vacation.” She offers a mug with a coqí frog.

“You wanna go to the beach and read a book?” Suzanne asks before sipping coffee.

“Holy shit. I haven’t done that in years.” She smiles wide enough for the laugh lines to fill. “You have any books with you?”

“Wepa!” Tim yells as he rolls dice along the craps table. “Vaya, vaya! Coño!” The dealer smiles and takes Tim’s chips sprawled over the table.

“Maybe we should stick to slots, Tim” Tino says as he motions at the server for another beer. The casino reeks with tobacco leaf. The carpet tells a sad story about being vacuumed hourly but never shampooed. It gave off the impression you would imagine your chain smoking aunt’s lungs to look like. For some reason, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours plays from start to finish, now playing “Dreams.” The viejos in the slots look as leather as their seats. The server walks over to Tino with the pint.

“I’m feeling lucky, Tino! Gotta say ‘wepa!’ when I say it, though! It’s like when my kid said ‘Kobe!’ before throwing something away.”

“You feel lucky,” Tino says as he pays the server for his beer. “But are you actually lucky?”

Tim pats his pockets to find a cigar. “If I say no, then I’m a loser.” Tino takes out his lighter and tosses it to Tim.

“No, man, you’re just unlucky. It’s fine. Switch it up. Change your luck.”

“Fine.”

He walks over to the nearest slot and puts ten dollars in. He pulls the lever and mashes the buttons like a cashier at the end of their shift. A hip hop air horn interrupts “Don’t Stop” playing over the casino speakers. The gamblers at the tables stop and turn at Tim and applaud. A Puerto Rican George Hamilton smacks Tim on the back. “Wepa!”

“Doscientos cincuenta dólares! Two hundred and fifty dollars!” a man shouts over the intercom. Two servers take out pouches of confetti and toss it over Tim’s head.

“Tino, I feel like a winner now.”

Suzanne sits by the beach with her posture straight. She lets the sunlight warm her back and brighten her page. Sandy floats with her eyes closed deep beyond the waves hitting the shore. At the end of every page, Suzanne pops her head up to make sure Sandy remains in sight. She listens to the seagulls fly overhead and the water have its way with the beach. Occasionally a couple walks by hand in hand.

Sandy swims towards shore and lets a hearty wave carry her the rest of the way. She crashes into the sand and flounders her way back up to Suzanne.

“What are you waiting for, Suzanne?”

“Tim. He needs to do it with me. I’m fine reading until then.”

“You don’t even want to swim?” Sandy asks as she wrings out her hair.

“I’ll read until he comes here.”

Sandy waves her towel and drops it next to Suzanne. She undoes her top and lies face down. Suzanne does the same, and they both fall asleep as the tide recedes.

Tim places a cold bottle of beer on Suzanne’s neck. She bolts up, fumbles her book on the ground and smiles at Tim. “You fucker.”

“I bought us drinks for the night!”

Tino catches up with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. “High roller here won two hundred fifty dollars.” He hands the bottle to his wife and she takes a sip.

“You ready?” Tim asks. He offers his hand to Suzanne. She takes it and they walk towards the water. Tim takes off his polo and throws it to the side. He grabs his beer bely and laughs.

“Stop doing that, Tim.”

“You love it.”

Tim runs towards the water and dives into the first wave he encounters.

“Tim, wait!”

“What?” Tim says as a wave smacks him into the ground.

“My leg, hon. I can’t go out too deep.”

“Suzanne, this isn’t that deep!” He points to his knee to show the water level. “I’m standing.” Another wave topples him.

“I can’t handle those waves.”

“Well, hold my hand then!” He grabs her hand and escorts her to knee level water. She buries her feet into the sand and bends her knees to brace herself.

“Don’t be so tense, honey,” Tim says. “You’ll sink.”

“Don’t say that!” A wave barrels in at eye level. Tim hops and his head bobs over the wave. Suzanne gives it a go, but her buried feet don’t get her off the ground and smack her down against the ground. “Shit,” Tim says. Sandy and Tino watch from the shore.

Suzanne coughs and yells for Tim as the waves slap her arms from under her. Tim grabs his head and swims between Suzanne and the wave. “Honey, just get up! It’s not that deep!”

“I’m drowning!” Suzanne yells.

“You’re talking, so you can’t be drowning. Just look at me and get up.” Another wave comes as Tim lifts Suzanne from her arms. Her legs give way and smack against the sand.

“For the love of God, Suzanne, just get up.”

“I can’t. My knee.”

Tim bends lower to Suzanne’s waist and carries her over his shoulder. “Alright!” Tim shouts. “I’m gonna walk towards the next wave, and we’re gonna jump backwards into it. Okay? You ready?”

“I’m scared.”

“One!” Tim turns and falls backwards into another barreling wave. He swims under and sees Suzanne kicking the ground and flailing hands. He picks her back up and carries her to shore.

“What kind of Puerto Rican woman can’t swim. I’ve seen you swim before, hon.”

“I don’t swim anymore. I sink.”

They make it back to Sandy and Tino. “Fuck me,” Tim says. They all laugh. Sandy falls onto the ground. Tino follows. Suzanne crosses her arms.

“Tim!” Sandy shouts from the ground with tears streaming down her face. “I thought you were trying to kill her. Get yourself another island babe that could actually swim.” Tim bends over laughing. He wheezes out of breath. Suzanne covers her mouth and laughs. “I hate you guys.” She wraps her arms around Tim and they fall on the sand. She kisses him on the back of the neck. “Thank you,” she says.

Exes.

I’m “like a puppy.” Well, you better
Fix me before I fuck everyone in your house.

Cupid don’t shoot arrows. He chucks
Tomahawks. They leave their blesséd marks
In the coward’s back.

I wish our relationship were a plane
Crash so we can look at the black box.
Maybe I’d learn.

“December branches are the souls of trees.”
You looked at me like I stabbed your boyfriend
And then asked, “Who the fuck are you talking to?”

It’s hard to hide an erection in a dress
Unless her head is on your lap.
Ten Foot Tom comes back and you don’t exist.

I have no idea where your bra is
And I hope you don’t find it.
Come again and we’ll ruffle it back in sight.

The true sign of maturity: being inside
Someone and knowing you’re lonely
But not alone.

No, I Won’t Apologize to You

While watching the 40 Year-Old Virgin:

Romany Walco enters scene
White Housemate: “Oh, look, it’s Bill Cosby.”

Silence.
Silence.
Silence.

Me: You know no one finds that shit funny, right?

White Housemate: I know, but I do it for a reason.

Me: Because you’re a racist asshole and you’re pretending not to be?

Silence.
Silence.

White Housemate: I guess I should stop doing that.

Me: Please.

Silence.

After that encounter, I felt guilty. Maybe I was too hard on him.

Then I thought.

Nah.

Fuck that.

He cowered like a five year old sent to time out. He’ll get over it.

White people play victims way too often. When things go too far, they gotta act offended. It’s not about you. Your time is over.

On every social media, there’s a retaliation about POCs overgeneralizing white people and cops, and threatening to unfriend. Please, if you’re so basic to unfriend someone over petty bullshit you’ve had in your head as so fucking important, please. I don’t wanna see your fucking Buzzfeed articles on workouts or your meaningless existence in the 21st century exemplified by 32 gifs of people more famous than you gesticulating in a way that makes you feel so fucking unique. It’s all so masturbatory.

Oh, man, I’d hate to overgeneralize. I hope I didn’t ruin your dinner. I hope my overgeneralizing didn’t have you felt up by New York’s finest on your way home. Oh, wait, that shit won’t happen. You’re white. Get the fuck over it. Your civil rights are tears that get bottled in PBR for more of you to drink and bitch.

Devil’s Advocate is you expressing an intrusive racist thought you’d thought you’d entertain, because you can. I can’t entertain comparing every white actor because “there’s a difference.” We’re programmed to see the difference. I can’t joke about burning crosses on gentrified “lawns” because that’s stuffy and uncomfortable.

The fact that white people have something to complain about at this time is absurd to me. Their complaint is that other people are complaining too much. They’re the reverse gear of social progress.

If you think I’m saying every white person, get the fuck out of your own ass. If you find that as a counter point to any argument, you’re up your own ass and can’t get out. You’ve lost an argument and are grappling for any argument to make yours seem less pathetic.

My Rant

Black People: Don’t hit your kids. White people want that honor. Then they’ll not get charged for it.

If anything, you should hire white people to discipline your children, but the problem is they’re liable to kill them and then get away with it.

We all said there would be no problem if cops had cameras. Well, the Eric Garner event, whoops, murder, had cameras all over it. Lots of people saw it. I saw it multiple times. I’m fucking desensitized to the murder of black bodies, and that should not happen.

A white off duty cop uses a move deemed by the NYPD itself as unnecessary and improper to bring down an unarmed black man with health conditions who repeatedly shouted that he could not breathe. On video. Circulated around the Internet.

Because the punishment for selling looseys in New York is death.
Because the punishment for stealing from a store in Missouri is death.
Because the punishment for being black in the suburbs in Florida is death.
Because being not white on a Friday is death.
Because being not white is death.

Grand Jury mean Lynch Mob in American? Must’ve missed that.

Remember, when a black man wrongfully assaults someone (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, etc.) they are monsters that can have their salaries and careers cut. White cop kills some people, eh, fuck it they’ve suffered enough.

Progress is not people of color improving themselves, it’s white people calming the fuck down and not killing us literally or systemically. Progress is a fucking month going by without a white cop killing a black man.

My Month of Sobriety

I can’t grow a beard to save my life, and I wanted to spare my liver for a while with the horrible damage that I’ve done to it.

Last summer, three of my friends addressed my drinking habit. Even if I could win an argument, it is no excuse for the multiple people that took issue with drinking. Hell, if I value it so much to not take heed, then it is a problem.

An honest report of my drinking habit? I like drinking. I believe the social lubricant argument and all that. I see nothing wrong if someone wants a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after work. On a typical week, I drank maybe four days in the week. On weekends I’d have more than four drinks. For me, I acknowledge that it was too much and would lead to many problems if I didn’t address it and curb it for a while. Returning back to drinking, the amount will be smaller and I will respect my body.

For November, I didn’t have a drop of alcohol. My body loved me for it.

The first two weeks ruined my sleeping habits. A part of me was afraid to sleep and encounter some alcoholic shakes. I was not as much of a problem drinker for that to be a problem. In fact, my body felt right, like the way it’s supposed to without poison frolicking about your body. There were some minor headaches. My dreams all involved drinking. It was never a real craving dream. I’d chug a whole bottle of gin, or vodka, or rum and be upset that I was drunk, that I broke my month.

When I was awake, I didn’t miss it. I frequented bars with friends and ordered soda. No one batted an eye and I got mostly free soda the whole time.

I lost fat around my midsection. I woke up better. I had a clearer mind for writing.

The only real time I had a dire craving was during a beer commercial. I never wanted Coors so badly. It looked so refreshing. I just wanted the pisswater in and around my mouth.

So here was a month of me journaling through it without concern about narrative flow and all that, but something to document, because I haven’t updated this in a long time. I’ve been writing, but nothing like short stories and poetry to put on, just long curing rants that I call screenplays.

I’ve been drinking for the past two days at night, and I forgot why I liked it so much. Being sober just feels better to me.

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Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and the Cult of Awkward White Girls

Flavorwire

Taylor Swift’s announcement of her new album, 1989, doubled as a proclamation of her pop-star status. “I woke up not wanting, but needing, to make a new style of music,” she said Monday during the 1989 live-stream “event,” adding that this would be “her first documented pop album.” It’s cute that Taylor Swift wants us to think she doesn’t know she’s been a pop star since, essentially, 2010’s Speak Now, but I don’t believe the act for a second. This is one of the most sensitive, self-obsessed celebrities on the planet, the type who’s a pro at transforming public perception into hits (see: “Mean”). But boy does it feel like she’s fresh meat all over again, striving towards even higher-stakes pop perfection in her own, Liz Lemon way.

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What Heat? Lifelong Cleveland Fans in Miami Burn Heat Jerseys

By Stephen Straub

Miami, FL- Thousands of former Heat fans riot on the street, removing any sign of alliance to their local basketball team.

Former Miami fans burn their old jerseys and chant, “What Heat?”

As the news of LeBron’s return to Cleveland hit the streets, Miami citizens with Heat gear undressed, saying “Fuck is this?” and “This isn’t news. He’s always been there. I’ve always been a Cleveland fan.”

Coincidentally, sales of the former Heat player’s Cleveland jersey have soared.
“This in no way has anything to do with LeBron relocating to Cleveland. As far as I’m concerned, he’s always been there, as has my spirit and support,” an unidentified shirtless man said. “I just lost all of my Cleveland LeBron jerseys. They must be somewhere.”

Some citizens have considered mass brainwashing as the only reason an entire city would buy jerseys for teams they never in any way supported. “This is some witchcraft shit,” said Mike Thompson, as he lit a torch. He was on his way to the nearby sports goods store to “Burn all the mind bending witches.”

Many store owners have replaced their Heat decorations with the Caveliers. “Who did this?” pizza shop owner Rafael Perez said after laughing at the garbage can filled with Heat gear. “Good thing I fixed that.”

The supposed mass brainwashing left hundreds of thousands of lifelong Cavs fans in Miami befuddled. “I was a Cavs fan since the start of time,” 25-year-old Mike Ramirez said. He proceeded to take off the Heat jersey he was wearing and toss it into the flame pit. “The fuck was I wearing?” he said.

“We must have been under some mass hysteria,” said 30-year-old Stacy Carlson. “To think a whole city would wear a team jersey that we didn’t even know existed, especially when LeBron wasn’t on it!”

A naked man painted in wine, gold and navy sprinted down the street in shutter shades and gasoline in his hands. “Never forget!” he yelled while pouring gasoline on the dwindling street fires. “We’re not bandwagoners; We’re LeBron fans.”

Last Night

Last Night I lost

My fucking Mind.

 

Between the poison in our hands

and liquor in the other 

we stood landlocked in our conversation

waiting for the words to undress. 

 

My hands nerved hard. English

less. I said I don’t know how 

to Relationship or how to Human, but

I’d really try.

 

And I said I want you to wreck me

because we chase Memory’s chariot.

Logically, you left.

 

I love you like my last cigarette

rested between my fingers and on fire for me.

The nicotine stain remains.

No One Wants You Here

To the class of 2014:

Congratulations. You did four (or however many) years of a thing and may have worked hard on that thing. Good on you. Good luck in the job market and finding something fulfilling and significant. May we reclaim the world from the old and wipe up their mess before the earth devours us. 

All that being said, can y’all just not be the fucking stereotype and not flock to New York? Please?

An alarming amount of the people I know are just flocking to New York City without jobs or much of a prospect. They expect to make it there. This is a part of some bullshit Disney fantasy where the white prince or princess does something out of their element and it just works out for them because they sing a tune, have a skill and make a bunch of friends with the locals and the new neighbors and become the bell of the ball. These people will find the intersection of Cool and Cheap and continue urban displacement, or gentrification if that makes you more comfortable.

There are three reactions to my accusation: 

“Oh, I’m not like the others.” 

“I know, but I will try really hard to ______.” 

“The fuck you want from me?”

No level of awareness or guilt helps if you still decide to move to a developing neighborhood. Your placement is someone’s displacement. Your Starbucks was a furniture store. Your drunk adventure on the streets of LoHo is a beer bottle away from some of the poorest in the city. Your ability to move to a new city on essentially a whim affects those that lack. You put your life in a higher priority than someone making ends meet and expect sympathy. 

For the white starving artist, maybe it’s time for you to not have your story told. It’s selfish for you to move yourself to an established place with established people, many of whom you’ll never see because they are working. Your stories have been told ten ten ten ten ten fold. Your active denial to participate may actually help start voices that get smothered and displaced as their families do. 

Your white dream defers the dreams of thousands of others who are waiting to express repressed generations. Your mainstream culture has nothing more to contribute. You believe you are inherently special and that justifies an action to misplace the perpetually misplaced and plea innocence. There is no innocence for you. More appalling than unconscious violent action is fully aware action that is done in an “Oh me, oh my, I can’t help it” fashion. It ameliorates nothing, and you should be disgusted by yourself. You should hate that part of you that does that, your colonialist gene.

Acknowledging or “checking” privilege has become this hail Mary that white people use to exorcise guilt. As a person of color born and raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I get to be the patron saint of gentrifier’s guilt, because feeling really shitty about something and still doing it makes it better.

What should you do? I don’t know, and I don’t fucking care. If you really, truly gave a fuck about the economic and systemic violence you’re imposing on classes and races, you’d get the fuck out of the town and find careers elsewhere. Your struggle is illegitimate when put against years of institutional racism. Boo fucking hoo. If you can’t handle that, by all means gentrify as you would have all along. Make yourself an “ally” while ultimately misplacing another generation of underprivileged, and hope that this generation is not The Generation that gets fed up and empowered enough to do something about it and demolishes what you once called home, because it’s happened to them all too often.

Gentrification solves nothing. It advances an externality in economics. Capitalism was meant for white people to lord over everyone else. It still does. As an inherently white production, it is meant to advance whites and exploit all others. Neighborhoods never improve when gentrified; they lose their soul.

Snow Bunnies

This was the type of Friday that felt like a Monday, like you had some shit to do the next day. Dad sits in the love seat by himself in the living room. The Law and Order chimes every hour from when I get home from UPS. Mom watches her HGTV “buy a home, sell a home, watch us buy a home sell a home, because you can’t afford one, bitch” shows in the bedroom. During the commercial breaks, mom checks on the arroz con pollo, because she thinks she’s gonna fuck it up like last time. “I forget how to cook,” she said last week as we crunched on hard-ass rice.

Just when Mom’s almost done with cooking, she breaks into her robot monologue while stirring the rice. “Every fucking day I gotta be in this kitchen and cook,” she says. “Fucking pollo guisado on Monday and steaks on Tuesday. Ribs and platanos on Wednesday. Chicken and arroz con gandules on Thursday and arroz con pollo today! Shitting rice for weeks! Like a fucking robot, just beep boop cooking, beep boop cleaning, beep boop shitting.” Dad leans out of the couch.

“I cooked the steaks and ribs! What are you bitching about?”

“I’m just tired of working so fucking hard.”

It’s like we don’t even have walls in these brick buildings built in the thirties. Like they’re arguing with my room.

“Honey, what the fuck are you even talking about? I did the laundry when I got back from work.”

“I just feel unappreciated.”

“You feel unappreciated?”

Mom slams the dish on the table, and that’s my cue to walk out to the dinner table.

“Rich, you and your fucking father don’t know the sacrifices I make for you all.”

“Yeah, mom, you’re a regular Christ,” I say. She chucks the serving spoon at my head, and I duck it. I go to the kitchen and grab another spoon.

“You’re barely in this house anymore. Like this is a fucking hotel room for you. Chasing whatever the fuck you can get, I bet. Just eat, shit and sleep is all I see you do. You do anything else?”

 

At the table, mom and dad sit across from each other with mom scooting her chair to see HGTV passed dad’s head. He eats with one hand on the fork and the other sandwiched between the sports section of the paper. I find it funny how instruction manual white his skin is as he grabs the fork, compared to my Kennedy tan or my older sister’s extra, extra virgin olive oil pigment or my mom’s UPS colored skin.

“So Rich, what you got planned tonight with your boys?” he says, pretending that “boys” don’t sound weird in his mouth.

“Same old shit like last week and before that,” I say.

“You got enough money?”

“Yeah, man. Thanks.”

“You sure?”

“Nigga, you wanna give me money that badly?” I ask. We both laugh. Mom’s still looking at the TV with big ass marble eyes.

“I’m just not used to this shit yet,” he says. “Soon, your punk ass will be giving me money.”

“Some fucking day.” We both laugh.

“Nigga, you better give me some of that bread,” he says. Shit like that sounds weird even though he’s said it ever since I’ve said it, and we laugh even louder.

“Mira, but why!?” Mom spits out with her arm and spoon extended over the table. When she asks a “why” question, her voice winds in a loop. “But why she gotta buy that three bedroom, though? I couldn’t fit my ass through that door!”

Dad turns back to me. “So, you gonna try and bag some snow bunnies, as I hear you and your boys say?”

“What the fuck else can I do?” I say.

We was fine with fucking the girls down the block, but once we got of high school, got jobs and got busy trying to get our shit together, things changed. Puerto Ricans decay faster than any other fossil or element on the table. If they have their first kid in their first twenty years, teeth turn yellow, then black, then fall out. Diabetes gets the best of them. They get hooked on the wrong drug, or the wrong man, and they gain fifty pounds and some wrinkles. Every girl I fucked with has a kid from some other nigga now, and that’s her life. She has to devote the second half of her life to prevent her kid from fucking up like mommy. My boys and I scraped the bottom of that arroz con pollo and ate that salty, sweet, moist pegao for years. Then it dried up and stuck to the bowl. So now we after snow bunnies.

Snow bunnies don’t get attached to their men like the women on the block. Girl from the block finds out you fucked around with your downstairs neighbor, knives and chancletas are hitting you right on the head. Then they gonna go fuck with your boys. One of the snow bunnies talked about how she believes in polyamory or whatever the hell. If I can fuck as many bitches without her getting pissed, that sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Snow bunnies take care of themselves. They’ve been fed on that Whole Foods shit, so every ounce of them is USDA organic. Not an ounce of Goya entered their bodies. By the time they hit like thirty, they wither fast. The ones on the block that make it to thirty without fucking up with a kid or anything become immortal beauties.

Everything with snow bunnies is ephemeral. They know that, and they cool with it. They see you just want fun, and they’re with it. You see it in the streets the next morning. Bars get filled with them tearing shit up, throwing bottles on the streets in our neighborhood, then the next morning it’s just us minorities cleaning it up. They move on to the next thing after they used up all the resources. It’s in their blood.

Except we haven’t bagged any yet. Messed around, sure, felt up , in and around bras and panties, hell yeah. But we haven’t gotten a steady fuck from them yet. But it’s due. If not, I don’t know what the fuck we doing next other than moving somewhere. But, fuck, where we gonna go?

 

At Luis’, we smoke for a bit while Adventure Time fucks with our minds. He smokes so much, the fake marble tile and the plastic over the couch is covered in a fine layer of smoke. He walks around and it’s like Pigpen from Peanuts came to life.

“They should definitely make an Aventura Time,” Luis says before he coughs out some more smoke.

“What, you want bachata on the screen for eleven minutes a clip?”

“But wouldn’t that shit be hilarious, though?” he asks. “How many white kids at home be bugging out?”

 

Five episodes later, Joe comes through with a fedora hat and a burgundy and white Polo draped from his coconut shell skin. The sleeves roll past his fingers.

“This nigga looking like Freddy Kruger over here,” Luis says.

“What?” Joseph asks. “These snow bunnies be fucking niggas with this shit, so why not?”

“Yeah, but they got that shit fitted, and not from Goodwill, man,” I say.

“Man, fuck you.” He rolls up his sleeve.

“That’s better,” Luis says. “Now you just look like a hipster pedophile.”

“Fuck this. Let me smoke.”

Joe pulls up a chair from the dining table and slides it at the corner of the TV.

 

Joe is the type of nigga to get high and tell you shit from the first grade, like “You know those stars up there? Them shits is just like the sun.” Sometimes he’ll throw in some really fascinating shit like how there are only us niggas in these buildings and the white people got the nice buildings. The past few weeks we’ve tried bagging snow bunnies, his good looks, athlete muscles, bright wide brown eyes and sincere stupid wide toothed smile get him the attention, and this nigga fucks it up. He be having two snow bunnies around his arms and then throw in some shit talking about how gay some people look. He just don’t get how snow bunnies operate. You can’t just be dissing gay niggas left and right. After that, the women just slink away from his arm and go back to the guys with the fitted Polos who can buy them free drinks and take them to their well-furnished apartments.

He was the closest to bagging a snow bunny than the rest of us. We all had someone to dance with, but this nigga was going in! Grinding against the wall with a crowd cheering him on, then this nigga whispers in her ear, “Yo, ma, let’s get out of here. Let’s not wake up my moms, though.” She patted him on the head and said, “Another time. Lo-see-en-toe.” I know better than to invite some snow bunny back to my apartment. The chicas down the block? No problem, their apartments look just as bad or worse than mine.

Another bowl in, and CJ walks through the door in a black tank top and a bottle of Ron Diaz in his hand.

“Ron Diaz? I see you went all out tonight,” I say.

“Nigga, Ron Diaz? I ain’t trying to remove paint in this house,” Luis says

“Yeah, man, shelling out that crazy money for shitty rum,” Joe adds. “I thought you was Bacardi rich at least?”

“Nah, man!” CJ says while closing the door. “These niggas at Citigroup wanna cut my pay by an hour because I showed up twenty minutes late for my security post, but they ain’t pay my time and a half from last week! So, y’all getting Ron Diaz tonight. Unless you wanna pay twelve bucks for some watered down shit.”

“Fair enough, man,” Luis says. “Cheap ass nigga,” he adds.

 

“Here’s to a night of bagging snow bunnies!” Luis says.

Each of us stands with a double shot of Ron Diaz in a solo cup. As we take our shot, Joe shouts out, “Here’s to me being sexy!” Luis and CJ spit out what they drank in and laugh. I finish my shot and my esophagus boils.

“Gimme a chaser,” I say.

“This nena over here,” Joe says. “You want it in a sippy cup?” He walks to Luis’ fridge and hands me a bottle of Coke.

“Aight, so what’s the plan?” CJ asks. “We trying to crash the galleries?”

Across the street from CJ’s building on Rivington Street in-between the unisex salon and the pawn shop, a couple of young artists turned the empty building into some white walled, black furniture, glossy floored art gallery. Every Friday, a gaggle of these black shirted scruffy motherfuckers smoke outside of the joint, walk in and stare at photos, paintings or whatever displays they put in. My sister’s friend who goes to the art school said that they give away free wine for the openings. When I told my boys this, we had to go give it a shot.

 

“Nigga, I’m not going in there first,” Joe says as he blocks the entrance to the gallery. “Rich, you go in first. You the ambassador. Half white.”

CJ, Luis and Joe make a circle around me and start clapping. “Woaahhhhhhhh,” the three of them yell and then push me through the glass door into the gallery. The room smells like Pine-sol and Hollister. My eyes water from the fumes.

I expected like a lynch mob or some weird remarks or looks, but I got worse than that. No one even recognized anything different walked in, like everything I built in my head that had me different from them didn’t exist. Like we live in some post-racial utopia bullshit.

CJ, Joe and Luis rap on the glass and nudge their heads for me to move to the back of the room. Sure enough, there’s a petite intern in a ponytail, tight black dress and laced leggings grabbing bottles of wine from the counter and pouring the wine into the glasses of the tall men around her.

I stand on the outside until these asshats open up for me to enter their rapey semi circle. They give me less space than they do to each other.

“Is this your first time here?” the woman holding the wine asks.

“Yeah.”

“I was gonna say, I’ve never see you here,” the taller guy on my left said.

“White or red?” the woman asks.

“I’m feeling white tonight.” I grab my glass and walk towards the front of the gallery. My boys see the glass in my hand and fall on top of each other to get in.

“The wine’s back there?” Luis asks.

“Yeah. A snow bunny in a black dress got it.”

“Oh, she got it. But she got the wine, too?” CJ says and laughs.

“Yeah.”

“How much is it?” he asks.

“Nigga, what I tell you? You don’t pay.”

“Get the fuck outta here.”

“Go get your wine while I look around.”

In the middle of the gallery floor, some artist scattered rocks wrapped in newspaper. The room of twenty is too timid to walk across, accept for one in the crowd that wants too much attention. On the table near the wine, he stacks empty glasses of wine and tries to look fucking cute with his smug smile. He’s the type of nigga to touch the photos while his friends witness.

I stare at this photo of a dozen white women staring back into the camera with mirrors in their hands. Each woman at different disorganized heights has the same white kitchen apron and black bob to the ends of their neck. Behind me, I hear two dudes speaking French.

“What do you think?” a snow bunny asks as she brushes along my shoulder with hers.

“I have no idea. They’re just looking back at the camera like ‘the fuck you want from us?’”

“Exactly!” she says as she pushes her hair behind her ear and reveals a purple streak. “They’re reversing the male gaze back at the camera.”

“What, the camera a male?”

“Of course!”

“That sounds like some bullshit.” She leans back and gives me a quizzical look with her lips turning flat across her face. No one’s ever called her out before.

“I don’t think you know how much of a privilege you have,” she says as she checks then ignores her iPhone.

“It must suck to sit pretty at a bar until someone buys you a drink or asks you to dance.”

“I just met you, and you sound like an asshole.”

She starts to walk to another painting. “Wait,” I say. “Let me try this again.”

“Okay.”

“Buy me a drink,” I say. Her eyes open wide.

Luis, CJ and Joe stand around the photo on the left with the dogs pissing on old newspapers. When she’s not looking, they turn their heads in our direction.

“I’m playing. Let me get you a drink.” She turns back to me.

“Men still do that shit? I have a boyfriend.”

“Oh, word? I got a goldfish.”

“What?”

“Oh, my fault. I thought we were talking about shit that don’t matter.” She walked back to grab more wine.

CJ, Luis and Joe walk up to me.

“Yo, what happened?” Luis says after finishing his glass of white wine.

“It didn’t happen. Fucking stuck up.”

“Hate that shit,” Joe says while looking around.

“This place is kinda aight!” CJ says. “I don’t know what the fuck’s up with the pictures but they give you free wine to look at this shit?”

“We spent enough time here, nigga,” Luis says. “We got our wine. It’s like eleven. Let’s go somewhere.”

 

When we walk out the gallery, more and more stumbling couples cross our paths towards the bars. One bar doesn’t even look at us. The bouncer just pushes his hand out in our faces. The second bar, the bouncer says, “Nah, man, we full.” The third bar has a fifteen dollar cover charge.

“How the fuck we get in?” Joe asks.

“We probably need a snow bunny to get in to meet more snow bunnies,” Luis says.

“Where the fuck are we gonna find snow bunnies that aren’t in the bar?”

 

At the cupcake spot a few blocks down, we spot one smoking a cigarette and checking her phone. Her people flaked out on her. Again, as the ambassador, I walk up to her and ask if she’s going to the bars. She flicks the cigarette away, clicks her phone shut and says, “I know one we can go to. Just tell me your name. I’m Lila.”

My boys walk in the jungle bar with the snow bunny. The bouncer outside of the lets her in without a problem and puts his hand on my chest. The bar’s filled up. Lila’s hand reaches back and pulls me past the bouncer. “My bad,” the bouncer says as he moves out of the way.

The bar has plastic leaves and branches that slap everyone over five foot five in the face. Every five seconds, a mist sprays from the ceiling to nourish the plastic. The closer we walk to the back, the bass starts from the floor then jolts my knees, legs, nuts, stomach then chest.

I’ve seen white. I’ve been to the Upper East Side, Central Park, SoHo, NoHo, Chelsea, Battery Park, Williamsburg, the gentrified parts of Harlem, Bed-Stuy and Park Slope, Upstate New York, but that dance floor was the whitest thing I’ve ever seen. Dozens of couples chock their hips and accompanying dick behind them back and forth with no sway or tie but like a clock on its own time, like in the old silent movies when Chaplin pretends to be a part of a clock and moves with the artificial ticks. White men with nice never owned shirts don’t know what to do with their hands, so they wave them like the inflatable tube men outside of used car lots. Only with hard dicks. White men in baseball caps turned back. White men with Polo shirts collared up. White men with rolled up jeans and khakis with socks and boat shoes exposed. White men on the periphery of the dance floor jockey for pussy position around snow bunnies.  Snow bunnies with fake blond hair. Snow bunnies with real blond hair. Snow bunnies with red hair. Snow bunnies with shaved hair. Snow bunnies in two inch, three inch, four inch heels. Snow bunnies bent and propped. Snow bunnies with hair tossed to one side. Snow bunnies with no smooth motion. Snow bunnies that grind against the beat.

Lila grabs me and we dance a fake salsa with our hands clasped and rocking a count off. I pull her in and my hips move to the beat and hers grate against it all. I turn her around and her ass does the same, like a poorly timed windshield wiper. My blood stops pumping at an elevated rate and I look around the floor. Why do I go after them? I wanna stop. But if I do, I can’t fuck Lila.

“Let’s stop and get a drink,” I shout.

“Wait! I love this song,” she shouts back.

 

Lila stays getting grinded by an invisible person while I cut through the flow of the bar. Every time I get shoved, I shove back. When I get to the bar, CJ has his arm around a girl and nods as if he don’t see anyone else but her. My man Luis is on the corner of the dance floor waiting for an entry or an invitation to dance.

I put my finger in the air and the bartender just walks by me to the glitter dressed snow bunny with her boyfriend clasped to her.

“Bitch, please!” CJ yells over the music. He drops his arms off of the girl and walks towards me. “This bitch wanted me to buy her a drink.”

“Where’s Joe?” I ask. He gives me a Kanye shrug.

We walk back to the dance floor next to Luis. He turns to us and shakes his head.

“Fuck this, man,” he says.

The music changes to “Mercy” by Kanye West and the fifty other rappers on that track. Just when we get hype, the dance floor clears. Every single person stopped what was arguably dancing and walked back to the bar and to the seats.

I walk up to one of the women and ask why they stopped dancing. “I don’t dance to this asshole,” she says.

“Oh, but you can dance to Macklemore?”

I walk back and Luis stares out at this one girl drinking her drink and swinging her hips in rhythm to the song. A fucking miracle. He looks back at us and nods. He walks with his dick leading the way towards the two. He grabs the woman’s hands and drags her into the empty middle and they both smile.

Then this fucking broad chested cat with legs that can’t handle the top of his body hobble their way over to Luis and shove him off his girl. The broad chested man shakes his hand back and forth.

“Who the fuck are you?” Luis shouts.

“You’re dancing with my girl,” the guy shouts back.

“She didn’t say shit to me!” Luis says as she walks back to the bar.

The guy shoves him back and dances a crabwalk around Luis to box him out of his area of the dance floor. Luis shoves him down on the floor.

“Fucking faggot, man. Fuck this. I’m done for the night.”

“No fucking way!” I shout. “This was the plan! We was bagging snow bunnies. We all wanted that.”

“Yeah, and we ain’t doing shit. I’m not saying I’m done forever, but fuck this night.”

“Buy her a fucking drink. Fuck outta here,” CJ mumbled.

“The night’s still young!” I say.

“Nigga,” CJ says. “You ain’t got shit tonight. I got nothing. Luis got cockblocked by that gay ass dancing whatever the fuck that was. We out. We’re done. Call it a night. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

“Nah, let’s just go to a different borough or something. I don’t know what the fuck they did to our neighborhood,” Luis says.

“Forget it. I’m hungry,” CJ says. “Anyone got food at they place?”

“Yeah,” I say. “We got mad arroz con pollo. Just don’t wake up my mom.”

“Of course!”

“I call the pegao,” Luis says.

“Man, fuck you,” CJ says.

“Aight, we out. But where Joe at?”

A snow bunny walks out of the men’s bathroom hunched over and gagging. Five seconds later, Joe walks out with his back arched and the kool-aid smile.

“Holy shit,” Joe says as he zips up his pants. “Best I ever had.”