I will for sure torture myself until the sun explodes because what the heck else am I going to do with my time!!!!
I will for sure torture myself until the sun explodes because what the heck else am I going to do with my time!!!!
I don’t know what this is or why I wrote it, but it was definitely me who wrote it:
My favorite horror game is Kingdom Hearts. Nary a moment exists in my nighttime thoughts when I am not haunted by the deep-black images of this loathsome horror-fantasy. You control a floppy-footed little boy with gorgeous hair who wields a large key (keys scare me). Later, we are introduced to a talking mouse aided in his dark sorcery by his googly-eyed clan of miscreants. They are an insidious group of roughnecks, to be sure. A mentally deficient dog and a violent, alcoholic duck round out your so-called “party”, and the three of us explored hallucinogenic worlds glazed in every nightmarish hue of the rainbow. Oh! And up out of the ground come these goop-y creatures with bug eyes! Most frightening of all: they are without hearts! If this isn’t some sort of deep metaphor, I don’t know what is, but surely it scared the wits right out of me. These little horrors attacked my floppy-footed boy, and said downright nasty things to him in squirming, inhuman voices. So I hit them with the enormous key, and what a dreadful task that was. . . . Lord God am I ever shivering, just pondering this memory! I’m afraid I don’t have it in me to describe in detail the dreaded gelatin craft that I was charged with piloting. Such a thing might do this old heart in good (but at least I have one!).
I wish I could remember the context. Maybe there never was any context. Yeah.
Pictured: two young men who will never, ever get laid again.
This is some fine tobacco. I have been smoking it all afternoon and into this deep dark Oakland night. No snow tonight—no, they say it will never come. For god’s sake, why would it?
We have been warped on guerrilla sake and fermented arugula for days now. The tobacco is a new addition. John picked it up this afternoon on his way through Berkeley, from a tobacconist who will not allow us to smoke inside. That’s just the way it is in that godforsaken city, and we’re not going to challenge them. Hell, if we did, they’d have us in the lotus position with pistols pointed at our heads for the rest of our lives. We’d be dead men, for all intents and purposes. So we don’t question the rules: we take the money and we run.
In this case the money was tobacco.
In Virginia, where we were born and figured things out, tobacco is king. Always has been.
Last night, our kinsfolk collected us from this dark place where we dwell and took us to a fine new eatery on San Pablo Avenue. They had met the owners (we think (if it actually happened, we have chosen to believe them)), at a wine tasting in Napa Valley. The owners had said, “Come on by.” And so, hours after we had drunk the last drop of whisky we had in the place, we took a handful of barbiturates (god knows which) and were whisked away, not far south, to Uptown, which for some is a nice enough place, and for others is an invasive tumor which Oakland is sick with all over.
Maybe none of that happened. We did go to a restaurant. We’re sure of that part. It was called Mockingbird, and the decor was bright and crisp and the menu was small and probably perfect. It felt strange though, sitting there a few blocks from the Greyhound station where a man in terrible sunglasses had once asked me for $37 US dollars so he could get to Las Vegas. Another time I’m pretty sure I witnessed a birth on that sidewalk. I was on my bicycle, going someplace on an important errand (always important), at 15 mph, so maybe it was a mock-birth. It’s Oakland, man. Who knows.
Things are changing, I reckon. Mockingbird is new and beautiful. I am glad it exists.
I myself puff had the house pasta, which was good fun. John had strips of something—an animal, maybe, not too long ago—and the best-tasting French fries a man could ever hope for. Everyone except me drank merrily from the wine that had been hand-selected, days earlier, from a winery in Napa Valley—and I sipped a tall glass of water and pawed at the black rings under my eyes with whatever free hand I had available.
Pictures were taken for the matriarch in the east. John and I were caught off guard; the night was getting colder and our minds were dim. So we posed naturally, which is to say we didn’t pose at all, leading to the abomination you see at the top of this post. We look like a couple of psychos who live off caffeine and stay up until 5 am every single god darn night.
In all likelihood, no sensible person will ever love either of us again. Especially if they’ve seen this picture. Our future was already doomed and I have doomed us further (and faster) with its publication.
It’s a damn funny place, this world.
Mockingbird is great. Try their desserts.
Before last week I hadn’t dreamed in two years. And now, suddenly, I am dreaming every night . . . and it is a terrible dream, because it is so sad, and because it is always the same one, and because it ushers me into a day that I could care less about.
In my dream it is winter and I am in Maryland. Outside it is dark and there is snow on the ground and I can see the smoldering orange lights of Baltimore above the black trees that encircle my yard. Dante and Virgil are curled up on a snowflake-patterned blanket at the foot of the bed. M is brushing her teeth in the bathroom down the hall. Gently I peel the comforter open and turn off the bedside light. The room is mostly shadows now but some moonlight makes its way through the grey sheet hanging over the window and casts a ghostly glow on M as she pads over the carpet in slippers. I touch her arm as she gets near and hug her—I almost never hug anyone—and she says something about Dante and Virgil and we get into bed. She is facing the wall and her back to is to me and I pull her close to my body and the dream goes dark.
The whole thing lasts 30 seconds and when it ends I awake in my own bed, in what I can only assume is the present, and stare upwards at the ceiling until I cannot tolerate another minute of feeling sorry for myself.
I am 25 years old and sleep doesn’t comfort me. I mean it really doesn’t do anything to my body. What’s going on? And now I am frightened of closing my eyes at night and going back to that person who no longer wishes to know me and to the place where I am no longer welcome.
Here is my bio, in case you need it for some reason:
Ryan Starsailor is until he isn’t, man.
If possible I would like to have the text surrounded by animated gifs of skeletons smoking marijuana cigarettes (drugs)
(Please note: “man” may be replaced with “you idiot” at your discretion)
“Pointing a pistol at my crotch, Arthur said, ‘Which part of what’s attached to you are you most attached to?'”
The following “interviews” were conducted on the night of 7 October 2012 at Mohawk, which is a small music venue in downtown Austin. The lights were dimmed low, and there were hot flames coming from the fireplace near the entrance. People seemed happy to be where they were.
The interviewer, Ryan Starsailor, was under the influence of two to four beers, depending on the time at which the conversations took place. We present the piece in chronological order.
• • •
The interviewer spots drummer/vocalist Linwood Regensburg in line at the bar. He is holding two drink tickets and talking to a young woman with short-cropped bangs and black-rimmed glasses. On top of his head is a little orange knit cap.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, hey, Linwood.
LINWOOD: Hey! You look familiar. Have we met?
INTERVIEWER: No, we haven’t. I just knew who you were. I wanted to say I think you’re an all-right dude.
LINWOOD: Man, thanks. [Shakes interviewers hand firmly.] Hey—what should I get? You’ve got a Lone Star there.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, Lone Stars aren’t very good—
LINWOOD: I wasn’t going to say that outright, but yeah, it’s just kind of what it is: a cheap beer.
INTERVIEWER: Really it’s no different than any other cheap beer. Hell, it gets the job done anyway.
LINWOOD: Right, right.
INTERVIEWER: You could get something local, I guess. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to say here?
LINWOOD: Yeah, I always have this guilt that I’m not trying out more local beers. These days I just want a Miller. [Laughs.] My fallback—my fallback is usually Heineken. Except when I drink too many of those I can’t stand it for a few weeks. Maybe I’ll just get something . . . that, uh, isn’t very good.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah shitty beer rules.
[An older woman approaches Linwood holding a copy of Those Darlins’ second album, Screws Get Loose.]
OLDER WOMAN: Linwood, Linwood—can I get you to sign this for me?! I’ve already tracked down Nikki and Jessi and they signed it.
LINWOOD: Oh, yeah, of course.
[The woman who is with Linwood, with the short-cropped bangs and black-rimmed glasses, turns to the interviewer.]
WOMAN WITH SHORT-CROPPED BANGS AND BLACK-RIMMED GLASSES: I’m Lindsay, by the way. Not sure how I missed out on introducing myself.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, man. I’m Ryan.
LINDSAY: I’ve known Linwood for a long time. He’s one of my oldest friends—so this is so weird to me, to have people come up to him like this. I don’t think of him as being famous at all.
INTERVIEWER: He seems like such a nice dude.
LINDSAY: Oh, he is. The nicest.
LINWOOD: [Turning back.] Isn’t tomorrow Columbus Day?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. And I still have to go to work. Oh well. That guy was a psycho anyway.
LINWOOD: Was he really that bad?
INTERVIEWER: He was a total asshole.
LINDSAY: Yeah, he was.
[Linwood hands Lindsay a beer and takes a sip of his own. The interviewer thrusts his beer into the middle of the human circle. Linwood and Lindsay tap their beers to the interviewer’s, and everyone takes a long gulp.]
INTERVIEWER: Basically one of the biggest psycho jerkoff freaks in human history.
• • •
Two beers in, the interviewer stands as a lone sentry near the venue entrance, where the fire can be felt, and new faces can be seen. Jessi Darlin is one of those faces. She is 5’3” and dressed in a leotard covered in sequins. She is wearing wrestling boots and blood-red lipstick.
INTERVIEWER: Oh hey, Jessi Darlin.
JESSI: [Turning to the interviewer.] Hey! What’s up?
INTERVIEWER: I just wanted to say hello—and do this. [Reaches out for a handshake.] I’m Ryan.
JESSI: Hello Ryan! It’s nice to meet you. [Shakes outstretched hand.]
INTERVIEWER: Uhh, do well!
JESSI: Thank you! I will. [Walks away.]
• • •
Nikki Darlin stands at the end of the bar with a grown man who is wearing a paperboy cap. Her eyes are partially hidden behind smoky black eyeshadow and an asymmetrical tangle of bangs.
INTERVIEWER: Oh hey Nikki Darlin. I’m just some dude, but I think you’re cool.
NIKKI: That’s always a nice thing to hear.
GROWN MAN WITH PAPERBOY CAP: Man, I’ve got to use the bathroom!
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, it’s right there. [Points to the open door next to the bar.] It’s a weird room. There’s purple light flooding out of it, and the trashcan is propping the door open so there’s virtually no privacy.
GROWN MAN WITH PAPERBOY CAP: Weird, man! Totally weird. [Walks into the bathroom.]
INTERVIEWER: [Turning to Nikki Darlin.] Uh, I’ve always wanted to meet you. So it’s nice that that happened. [Motioning towards the bathroom, where Nikki’s dude-friend/maybe-boyfriend is.] Listen, this might be an inappropriate thing to say, but I guess I was always in the John camp. You could have been the next John and Yoko, man.
NIKKI: The what-camp?
INTERVIEWER: The John McCauley camp.
NIKKI: [Smiling.] Well, I’m not. Hah.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, man, yeah I guess that was kind of rude of me to say. I just like that dude is all.
NIKKI: No, it’s fine. We both live in Nashville and we’re still friends. I guess we broke up . . . about a year ago.
INTERVIEWER: Well, that’s sadder than hell, but I guess that’s just some shit that happens.
NIKKI: Yeah, it’s OK.
INTERVIEWER: Aren’t you from Rappahannock County?
NIKKI: I sure am.
INTERVIEWER: Heck, I’m from Prince William County, which is something like thirty miles away. We’re both Virginians.
NIKKI: [Holding up two drinks—one belonging to her special guy.] Cheers to that.
INTERVIEWER: [Pantomiming a toast with an empty hand.] Uh, I don’t have my beer. I gave it to my girlfriend.
NIKKI: [Winking.] Good man.
INTERVIEWER: [Patting Nikki on the shoulder.] Hey, I’m really looking forward to this. Thanks again dude. [Darts away.]
INTERVIEWER: [Walking backwards towards Nikki Darlin.] Yeah?
NIKKI: What’s your name?
INTERVIEWER: Oh, I’m Ryan.
NIKKI: Hi Ryan. [Extends her hand.] I’m Nikki. [The two shake hands. Nikki has a nice handshake, as far as those go.]
INTERVIEWER: Hi Nikki.
• • •
Those Darlins are about to perform. The crowd waits patiently. They are engaged in friendly conversation, and are sipping drinks and staring ahead at the stage. Linwood Regensburg walks through the crowd to get to the stairwell leading to the stage and the green room. He recognizes the interviewer and raises his eyebrows as a greeting.
INTERVIEWER: Hello again, Linwood.
LINWOOD: Hey man.
INTERVIEWER: Linwood, this is Chantal—
[Linwood shakes Chantal’s hand.]
INTERVIEWER: —and Karina and Javier.
[Linwood shakes Karina and Javier’s hands.]
LINWOOD: I gotta get ready. It was nice to meet you all!
INTERVIEWER: Bye Linwood!
• • •
The show has ended and the members of Those Darlins depart from the stage and head to the bar to get one last drink. On the way out the door, the interviewer spots Nikki Darlin, and red-faced and stupid from a few beers, has the balls to say good-bye.
INTERVIEWER: Have a good night, Nikki Darlin.
NIKKI: You too, Ryan.
INTERVIEWER: Uh, is it OK if I hug you?
NIKKI: Of course. [Hugs the interviewer.]
INTERVIEWER: Hey Nikki, you keep on making stuff, and I’ll uhhhh . . . keep on supporting you. H’okay???
NIKKI: That’s sweet of you to say, Ryan. [Turning to the guy behind the merch booth.] Wasn’t that sweet of him to say?
MERCH BOOTH DUDE: It really was.
• • •
The interviewer exits the venue and walks down the sidewalk in the direction of his car. An enormous bearded viking-giant, whom the interviewer recognizes as one of the Mohawk bartenders, makes huge strides in the opposite direction. The two recognize each other as they pass.
ENORMOUS BEARDED VIKING-GIANT: Have a good night, brother.
INTERVIEWER: You too, dude.
It is nearly five am and the world’s least-favorite day is an hour away from sunlight. I am sitting here in my dimly-lit room wearing a terrible t-shirt and a terrible hat, listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and wondering when was the last time I closed my eyes and rested my body. (Lord—it’s been almost twenty-four hours.)
There’s Japanese beer in the refrigerator and I’ve watched all three Daniel Craig James Bond flicks in the wrong order in the last four days. Skyfall is pretty good. I think I like that one best.
Tomorrow I will ride my bicycle to Downtown Oakland and get a P.O. box for this fine website. And then I will figure out if my roommate’s mother actually runs an art store in Berkeley (as opposed to me just thinking (or perhaps misremembering) that she does), and when I get there, and if it exists, I will buy a watercolor set. Then I’m going to create some things that I will give to anyone who is interested.
I just knocked over the French press with my foot. I guess I forgot to clean the damn thing out. Hours ago, who knows how many, I was drinking coffee straight from the press, which is not only hardcore strange but also greasier.
Somewhere not far from here there are cars racing down black highways to get to San Francisco for reasons that can’t be altogether good. I’m going to close my window now and shield myself from the noise and the cold autumn breeze that comes with it.