Behind Her Back

Throw a bunch of words in a hat, pull one out, and write a story using that word.

This week’s word: SLIP


Venice Beach. What kind of person doesn’t like Venice? The ocean, the boardwalk, filled with artists and entertainers, passion and beauty. Bums, that’s what she calls them. Lazy, leeches, dregs on society. Get a real job; contribute like the rest of us. Like she did to me.

That’s right, like me, 9-5, corporate marketing and my soul sucked dry, Monday through Friday and Saturdays too, fifty weeks a year for the rest of my life, earn that fat paycheck and buy nice things, dinners and jewelry, a fancy car, a place in the city. Things that don’t matter, no happiness, no fulfillment, no satisfaction for me.

We continue down the boardwalk, admiring and complaining. Me admiring, her complaining. The passion, the freedom, the talent and beauty. The ugliness and patheticness, these losers all losing. Inspiring and joyful, appreciate and take part. Disgusting, all useless, wasting time on crap art.

A painting, I like it. Sensual and beautiful, and sexy too. A woman, in bed, naked, alone. A real woman, with flesh and curves, I can see it on our bedroom wall, the openness and vulnerability, alive and free, tasteful, connected, uplifting. “If it were good it’d be in a gallery,” “I don’t want anything from here in my house,” “Real paintings go for much more than that.” I can hear it all, her criticism and contempt. And so the wall remains bare, no painting and no passion, bare walls and a bare life, and every once in a while it’s off to the boardwalk, where she judges and complains, too good for everyone, too good for me. Forever and always, stuck with this girl, to good for everyone, too good for me.

“Can you believe it?” she asks herself, to herself but aloud, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Of all things, classical.” She’s near a violinist, performing for us, for us and himself and everyone. Mozart’s 40th, beautiful, but to her, disgusting. And she’s not shy, she’s special, her thoughts are for everyone. “Who do these people think they are? If you’re gonna butcher something, at least not classical. God!”

And that’s it, her thoughts, through her mind and out her lips, for everyone to know. The violinist keeps playing, for himself and for others, no longer for us. But the music is beautiful, and so when she’s not looking I slip him a twenty. Into his tip jar when she’s not looking, because I don’t want a scene, encouraging poverty, laziness, apathy, and false dreams. Not music or art or passion or beauty. Must go behind her back to encourage those things. Behind her back, the only place where I can be me.

Stress Relief

Throw a bunch of words in a hat, pull one out, and write a story using that word.

This week’s word: SURPRISE


Life can be counter-intuitive, and full of surprises. The more you live the more you learn it, and here, today I’m learning it again. An art museum, world famous, the biggest in the city, and yet, I’ve never been here before. I’m smart, educated, I’ve lived in this city my whole life, but somehow I’d just never been here. It took you Jared, you, my boyfriend, to bring me.

Jared, the unexpected boyfriend, Jared and me. Jared, so hot and muscular and not a brain cell in your body. Me with my Masters heading to PhD, and you, dumb as a brick, if you’re lucky maybe one day you’ll get your GED.

But whatever, doesn’t matter. All that matters is you like me, and I like you too. Your mind, your body, your personality. Working out at the gym, I was open and free and you came right over; I don’t remember but I must’ve been looking, because over you came and with no hesitation, you just walked right over, introduced yourself, swept me off my feet.

It was probably the timing, no question it was. Deep in my studies, just out of that breakup, I was free at last, free from old boyfriends and their bullshit relationships, all brainy and needy and bad in bed. They’re all like that, all my men, smart and intellectual, knowing everything about something and nothing about anything, nothing about relationships, about women or being a man. But Jared, you know all that, everything they don’t, and it’s not just your muscles, your body, or that you’re dynamite in bed. You are thoughtful, you are sensitive, you are sweet and cute and caring and yes, it’s worth repeating: you’re dynamite in bed.

“I see you’ve found Vetheuil. One of my favorites.”

Huh? What? Who said that, that voice, uninvited? Not mine, not yours, someone else has come over. Someone else and it’s one of those guys, can tell in an instant, stamped on his forehead, a brainy nerd who’s bad in bed. “It’s a lesser work, everyone so in love with his waterlillies. But I find this one really captures… sensibility. The hidden blacks, the white on the lake. It’s so simple and pure. What do you think?”

Ugh, this guy, simple and pure and pukeworthy. So full of shit, this is what I left, egotistical and condescending, just like the rest, and I wouldn’t care except he’s intimidating my guy, making him feel bad, his brain so big, my guy’s so small. “You must have some opinion. You think this is a good representation of the artists sensibilities? Or you prefer something else? This is one of his lesser known works after all, but I’m sure you know that. Tell us your thoughts.”

“Yes sweetheart, what do you think of this fine painting?” I say, helping him along, encouraging a reply. Helping him to be confident, to be strong, to believe in himself, to not let this this pest of a man show him up or put him down.

“I… I like the colors,” he says, trembling and sad, out of place, his intellect too small.

I hold him close, squeeze his arm. “I like the colors too. You really don’t need to know more than that. They’re beautiful,” I say as I move in tight, intimate and warm. And that pest, that loser, he’s smart enough to know, to get the picture and off he goes, back to his world, to his life, empty, pathetic, and forlorn. For I like the colors and I like you Jared, simple and sweet, honest and warm. Jared, who’s unlike the others and you may be surprised, but I like you, not them, you. As I said, life can be counter-intuitive, but only if you don’t understand it. And don’t worry Jared, I got it. I’ll understand it so you don’t have to. You just be you, sweet adorable you.

Now lets get out of this place, go back to your world and into your bed. Cause it’s you that I want, just you, only you. It’s you that I want, and I want to screw.