online literature since 2007

Monday, August 31, 2009

ob stands under the streetlight smoking a cigarette. The streetlight is off, despite the fact that it is beginning to get dark out.

He feels a vibration in his pocket. It is his phone. Mark is calling him.

"Hey," says Bob.

"Hey," says Mark.

"What's up?"

"Nothing. You want to come over and get drunk with me and Kaley and Gene?"

"Sure. I'll be over in half an hour or so."

"Ok. Later."


Bob walks to the nearest bus stop. While waiting for a bus he sees a group of Orthodox Jewish males walking across the street. At least he thinks they are Orthodox Jews because they have long beards.

He sits down on the bus stop bench next to a lady with red hair. He begins looking at her legs but then she begins to turn slightly towards him, so he pretends to be scratching his eyes.

His bus comes and he rides it for nine blocks and then gets off. He then waits for his next bus. No one is waiting at that bus stop. He whispers to himself, "Motherfuckers."

His next bus comes and he rides it for eight blocks and then he gets off and walks four blocks to Mark's apartment.

He knocks on Mark's door. A girl named Kaley opens it.

"Hi!" says Kaley.

"Hey," says Bob.

He walks in and says hello to everyone and then finds an empty chair. They all seem deeply involved in some kind of horror movie. Except for Kaley, who looks bored and tired. Bob doesn't try to catch up with the film. Instead, he just watches the expressions on everyone's faces.

Twenty minutes later the movie is done, and everyone says how much they liked it. Bob doesn't care and he remains silent.

The conversation then veers into other movies. Then they all get bored talking about movies and no one says anything for fifteen seconds.

"So what do you guys want to do tonight?" asks Mark.

"I want to go to the bar," says Kaley.

"I don't want to spend money on drinks," says Gene.

"Me neither," says Bob.

Mark looks perplexed. "We could just go see Halloween again."

"But we can't drink in the movie theatre," says Bob.

"Yeah, that's right," says Mark.

"Remember when we used to be allowed to drink in movie theatres?" says Bob.

"We weren't alive then. I don't know if that was ever legal," says Mark.

"Everything used to be legal," says Bob.

"What is that supposed to mean?" says Kaley.

"Well, there was a time before the state and before laws or any of that stuff wasn't there?" says Bob.

"I guess," says Kaley.

"Well then, there used to be no laws prohibiting drinking in theatres a long time ago."

"But there weren't even movie theatres back then," says Mark.

Bob says,"Yeah, but just think about it....I don't know...I think I've had to much to drink."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An overwhelming feeling of deja vu seems to be haunting Bob more and more frequently. As he opens his eyes in the morning. The clock says, "8:14." He thinks, "I opened my eyes exactly like this either yesterday or the day before at 8:14."

He walks into the bathroom and turns on the shower. He puts his hand in the water to make sure it is hot. He takes off his clothes, turns off the light in the bathroom, and steps into the shower. He stands motionless with his back to the shower head for several minutes before he shampoos his hair. These are all choices he has made freely and originally, but that feeling of deja vu continues to sweep over him. He can't remember making the same choices any other morning, but yet it seems that he has made them a thousand times.

A pepperoni sandwich for lunch, a quesadilla dinner. He knows for a fact that he's eaten those exact same meals before but he can't remember where or when.

"Hi, I would like two pounds of apple-cured bacon...Hello?"

Bob turns his eyes to the right and sees a woman smiling at him. He has been daydreaming for several minutes. He blinks.


Bob bends down into the meat case and grabs a handful of bacon. He weighs it. It weighs one and a half pounds. He takes a smaller handful and then puts it in a bag, weighs it, puts a sticker on it, and gives it to the lady.

"Anything else?" he asks.

"No thats all for today."

"Have a good night."

"You too."

Bob watches as the woman leaves the deli. He looks up at the clock. It says 8:14. He only has one hour and forty-six minutes left to work.

He turns to April. April is a forty-two year old mother who works in the deli with Bob. She isn't as fun to look at as Margo, but she is not ugly at all and she is able to carry on a meaningful conversation. She and Bob share the distinction of being the only two people who work at the deli that have college degrees.

"Hey, April?"


"Will you marry me?"



"I think I might have asked you that before."

"I don't think so."


Bob grabs a broom and begins to sweep so that he looks busy. April is cutting stacks of cheese. She looks really bored. Bob is really bored too.

"Margo really sucks to work with; she's so lazy," he says.

"I don't mind her."

"Yeah, neither do I."

"You just said you did."

"Yeah, but I was just feeling you out."

"Oh," she says.

"Do you ever get moments of deja vu?"

"Not too much anymore."

"I've been getting them a lot lately."

"You know it could just be you're getting tired of a routine."

"I don't have a routine," he says.


"I mean I do a lot of the same stuff everyday, but not in the exact same way."

"Does that matter?"

"No, I guess it doesn't."

"It could mean you're a psychic. At least that's what I heard," she says.

"No I can't see the future, I can only remember something from the past, except I can't even really remember it, I just know that it happened."

"It also could mean you're reincarnated."

"You mean like in a past life I was a roach or a pebbler or a rodent?" he asks.

"Yeah, something like that."

"Well then, how come I can remember activities that only a modern industrialized man, such as playing tetrus."

"I don't know. I don't believe in that stuff anyway. I was just leading you on" she says.

"Yeah, no one believes in psychics or reincarnation anyway."

"Well, someone must. They each seem to be fairly profitable ideas."

"Yeah, I guess."

"I'm bored," says April.

"Me too," says Bob, "This will be the summer to remember. We will tell our grandchildren about it someday."

April laughs and says, "The summer of 2008. We'll never forget you!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

“You need to shave.”

These words interrupt Bob’s daydreams. He has been cutting cheese on a cheese slicer at the deli, gazing at each piece of cheese as it falls, thinking about Karl Marx’s sex life. Could he have had one?

“Did you hear me, Bob? You need to shave for now on before you come into work,” says Jack, the manager of the deli.

“I did shave today,” Bob says. He didn’t. He doesn’t know why he said that. He could have just as easily have said, “Okay.”

“C’mon,” says Jack, looking skeptical and confused.

“This is an afternoon shadow,” says Bob.

“Well, just make sure you shave before work for now on.”


Jack walks to the back of the deli and into his office. Bob looks at the clock. 5:00—only five more hours. He’s almost halfway through his shift.

He continues cutting cheese. He cuts a piece of cheese and puts it to the side of the slicer and then cuts more pieces of cheese and stacks them on top of it. He begins to daydream again. He thinks about feminism, and wonders what it can do to help his sex life. He thinks about having a boner.

“I’m going on break,” says Margo. Margo is a girl who works at the deli with Bob.


Bob watches Margo as she takes off her apron and walks outside for her break. He should ask Margo out. He should ask someone out. He returns his focus to cutting cheese.

“I’d like two pounds of chip chop ham.”

Bob looks up, startled. A fat woman is standing on the other side of the counter. He goes over to the meat slicer and cuts her two pounds of chip chop ham. He walks over and puts it on a scale.

‘Those slices are way too thick,” says the woman.

“That’s how we normally cut it,” says Bob.

“And people buy that?”

“Well, yeah.”

The woman gives him a suspicious look and then says, “Well, that just won’t work for me.”

Bob goes back to the slicer and cuts another two pounds. He cuts it so thin that he can barely see the slices. It is amazing that he even knows they are there. He takes the new two pounds of chip chop ham over to the scale.

“This look good?” says Bob.

“Well, it will work, I guess,” says the woman.

“Anything else for you today?”

“Oh yes. Yes. I need two pounds of cheddar cheese.”

Bob cuts two pounds of cheddar cheese and gives it to her.

“Anything else today?”

“Oh yes. Yes. One pound of potato salad.”

He scoops her one pound of potato salad and weighs it.

Fourteen ninety-seven is your total. Anything else?”

“No. No. That’s all.”

She gives Bob a twenty and he gives her the change.

“Have a nice night,” he says.

“You too.”

Bob feels her response was sarcastic, and he knows that he had been sarcastic. He wants to kill her. He wanted to stab her with a knife the entire time he was waiting on her.She probably takes pleasure in the fact that he has to be at work on a nice afternoon like this.

He returns to his cheese. After slicing several loaves of cheese he takes the stacks of the cheese he sliced and begins putting them into one pound stacks. He gazes out the window of deli and thinks about nothing.

Margo returns from break. She puts on her apron and turns to him.

“Did you hear about Obama?”

“What? That he’s half-white?” says Bob.

“Ha, yeah, think how many more votes he would have got if that was true,” she says.

Bob winces. She is misinformed. But he feels too lazy to inform her of her mistake.

“He’s going to raise taxes,” she says.

“Who told you that?”

“A man at the bakery. I went there to get a muffin, and yeah, he told me that.”

Bob stares questioningly at Margo. He wonders what kind of muffin she ate.

“Do you think it’s true?’ she asks Bob.

“Well, if he did, he’d be breaking his campaign promise, and you know how politicians never lie.”

“You’re kidding, right?”


“Why do you always have to make a joke about everything I say?”

“I don’t know.”

Margo rolls her eyes and goes over to the meat slicer and begins cutting roast beef. Bob looks at her ass. She has a nice ass. He wants to touch it. He never will.

He sits and stares at the cheese as he cuts it for several minutes. The silence is uncomfortable.

“Hey,” he says.


“Which do you like more: this job or your other job ?’

“I like working at Arby’s more.”

“Why?” asks Bob, “Because it’s easier?”

“Well sort of…”

“Because it’s more efficient and less complicated?”


“I think humans like things that way.”

“I know I do.”

“But isn’t chaos good, sometimes?”

“Like anarachy? Everyone fucking and killing whoever they want with no consequence?” she says.

“I don’t think that is really anarachy….”

“What is anarchy ” asks Margo.

“I don’t know. Chaos.”

“When I think of chaos I think of riots.”

“When I think of chaos I visualize someone slowly pouring water on an anthill.”

“That’s terrible, how can you even—“

Margo stops and looks over at the counter. A guy, who looks to be in his mid-twenties, waves to her. He is wearing a light blue dress shirt and khakis. He looks like a douchebag. Margo goes over to him and they begin what looks like an animated conversation.

Bob wishes he were that guy, coming to the deli to talk to Margo, glancing indifferently at the other worker with an air of superiority at how he doesn’t have to work at the deli.

The guy didn’t give a look of indifference to Bob, because he didn’t even look at him at all.

Margo leans over and kisses the guy on the cheek and then waves goodbye to him as he walks out the front of the deli. Bob pretends to be busy concentrating on his cheese cutting.

“That was my boyfriend.”

Bob looks up, pretending to be startled that she was directing her words towards him.

“Oh really? I didn’t know you have a boyfriend.”

“Yeah, his name is Marcus. We’ve been going out for a couple of months.”


“He goes to law school across town at Columbia.”

“Where did he go to college?”


Bob smiles. Oberlin is in Ohio. He used to live in Ohio. He got out of there right after high school. Ohio sucks. Marcus paid to go to college in Ohio. What a loser. Bob regrets having ever felt inferior to Marcus, and is pretty sure they he never did.

“Why are you smiling?”

“That’s my home state.”

“Oh yeah. Well, he’s very smart. He always picks the best movies.”

“Like what?”

“Last night we watched Fight Club.”

“I hate that movie.”

“Well it was the first time I saw it, and I thought it was amazing.”

“It’s horrible.”

Margo looks around as if she knows there is something better to be doing than talking to Bob.

“How long have you guys been dating?” asks Bob.

“A month or two.”

Bob looks at the clock. It is almost six.

“I’m going on break,” he says.


He walks out of the deli and lights a cigarette. He has half an hour to do whatever he wants. He thinks about walking to the bistro ten blocks away, but he knows he wouldn’t have enough time to make it there and back. He considers going across the street to the bakery to get a muffin, but that seems too close and too simple.

He leans against the window and continues smoking his cigarette. He tries to figure out what emotion he is feeling. He feels nothing.

He finishes his first cigarette and begins smoking another one. He runs his hand through his hair. He finishes the cigarette and looks at his cell phone to see the time. His break is already halfway over. With so little time, he has no other option than to walk across the street to the bakery.

He walks into the bakery and goes up to the counter. He orders a doughnut instead of a muffin. He thinks he might be feeling like shit, so perhaps a doughnut will raise his spirits. He thinks that perhaps doughnuts are happy and animated in comparison to muffins,. He walks down the counter to the cash register.

“Two dollars,” says the cashier.

“Really?” says Bob.

“Yes,” says the cashier, “Two dollars.”

Bob pays the cashier and then stuffs the entire doughnut in his mouth. The doughnut hasn’t made him feel better. In fact, he now feels fat and lazy. He is lazy. He should do something sometime.

He walks outside and lights another cigarette and opens his copy of Rimbaud’s A Season In Hell and reads that for the remainder of his break.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

hunt deer

deerhunter is art-rock in one of its truest forms. like the velvet underground of today, bradford cox and his ensemble blend poetry and waxy, shimmering music into a swirl of aural enchantment. they create canvases of sound; dark and looming, like an impressionist painting of an impending storm over the calm blue of the ocean.