A short collection of short stories
by Bri Hand
To New York City -
you beautiful merciless woman.
© 2013 by Bri Hand
Table of Contents
in the woods this morning
- 1 -
Curious Yin & The World
Yin is walking down the street when he spots a paper bag on the corner right next to one of those perforated metal garbage cans made during the Nixon era. Most other people avoid paper bags on street corners especially in or around New York City but Yin is a curious boy a very curious boy indeed who for example stuck his finger not once but twice into an electrical socket when he was a kid because in seven-year-old Yin’s words “I didn’t get to really feel it the first time.”
So back to where we were.
Yin is walking down the street and spots the paper bag so he picks it up walks to the nearest tree after all it’s a hot July day and New York City is for the curious but certainly not for the weak so Yin’s sweating under the shade of a tree armpit stains and all and yes he finally opens up the bag finds
the whole world tucked neatly into the soft paper folds of a paper lunch sack.
“Curious, very curious indeed,” says Yin out loud to the tree.
So our man Yin pulls out the world with his right hand gently so gently looks at the mountains oceans cities “oh my,” says Yin ducks his head and the world under his shirt “look at those cities at night,” then gets his left eye up real close like-his-eye-lashes-cause-a-tsunami-that-wipes-out-the-entire-
continent-of-South-America-close when he spots the house he grew up in on Bernard Street.
“Wonderful,” says Yin, “simply wonderful.”
Then Yin puts the world gently so gently back into the paper sack walks by
a thrift store on North 11th and Wythe - yeah I think that’s the one - wanders in and around debates for a while between a pair of lightly used brown wingtips in size 10 or a jacket - you know the sort of jacket with those patch things where the elbows go - then walks up to the cash register trades the world for the jacket plus a few more bucks.
“I think I’ll go get some ice cream now,” says Yin puts on the jacket walks out the door on this hot July day curiously, so curiously.
- 2 -
Love in the New Age
Our hero goes by the name of Thomas Waits. Yeah that’s a pretty cruel way to start a story - give the hero a name he doesn’t even own without some kid or mom or grandma or smartass customer at the hardware store finding out his name and then asking if he’s related to Tom Waits. Or wait is he, like, Tom Waits himself but in disguise?!!! And our modern day hero Thomas Waits says back no I’m THOMAS Waits. Like there’s a big fucking difference.
So our man in shining armor if shining armor were jeans, a dirty white v-neck with Cheetos fingerprint smears and an orange Dolphins cap is standing in the frozen food section, aisle number nine, and he’s got a basket with Pringles, Tropicana and Cheez-Its in one hand. He’s staring absentmindedly at the Hungry Man dinners wondering why Judy dumped him two weeks ago and if they got any grilled cheese in this section when he notices the face of a woman poised between the Hungry Man Breakfast for Dinner Dinner and Hungry Man Surf and Turf.
Red lips, black eyelashes, pale white frosted skin with a hint of blue on high cheekbones.
Holy shit, says Thomas Waits as he leans in to see if there’s maybe an Orange Chicken Hungry Man somewhere in there next to her breasts.
Holy motherfucking shit.
Holy motherfucking shit indeed says a handwritten note addressed to Sir Thomas Waits and stuck to the front of the Hungry Man Orange Chicken Dinner (With Collectors Spork!).
Our man the modern day fairy tale hero Thomas Waits nearly puts his ass through the glass doors on the other side of the aisle right into the Baskin Robbins double fudge ice cream and rainbow sherbert.
Fine sir, please flip this box over for further details, reads our champion of champion on the bottom of the note as he picks himself up.
Dear fine sir -
We have been waiting for centuries for this time and place to come into existence. You see, your great great great great great great grandfather was a man among men who was predestined to kiss this woman (also a lover of orange goods) and cure her of her condition. But alas, destiny never followed through, until now.
It is only with the grace and mercy of time and fate combined with the celestial lining of the stars and planets that your kiss may bring our Frozen Beauty back from a land of sleepless dreamless rest into fluorescent-lit-consciousness and the indomitably breathing and non-catatonic and handsomely handsome of the moving mouth and lips state.
Huh? Says Thomas Waits out loud scratching his head looking up.
Kiss me and I’ll wake up says the big lettered note stuck on a box of Hungry Man Chicken Drumsticks (With Jello Gelatin Pop!) pointing to Frozen Beauty’s face.
Our hero of heroes now considers his choices.
Mac n’cheese. Or Orange Chicken. Or Sleeping Frozen Beauty.
Definitely Orange Chicken. Or maybe Mac n’cheese.
Or maybe Orange Chicken AND Sleeping Beauty?
But I do like Jello Gelatin Pops.
Thomas Waits opens the door.
A moment centuries in the making starts to stutter and tilt into existence.
Our man Tom’s face gets real close to Sleeping Beauty’s.
Then he peers around her head and grabs the Mac N’Cheese Big Boy Hungry Man XXL Edition.
I like my women orange, too, says and shrugs Thomas Waits to the Frozen Beauty.
And with that, our hero among heroes, our hero in a lineage of would-be could-be heroes, walks away towards aisle 8. He thought he just spotted a woman the color of Sunkist (save for her hairline slash bikini line) in the
I can’t believe it’s not butter, butter section.
There’s a Post-it stuck to the back of the Mac N’Cheese in Thomas Waits’ orange basket.
It says in orange, Fuck you.
Four probable reasons why we found a fucking shark in the woods this morning
- 4 -
*Play this song as you read along.
You wake up.
The kind of wake up where you’re not sure where you are who you are what you did last night what your name is who your momma is.
All you see are empty bottles of Jameson Pepsi Vicodin cracked open split empty like the shells of peanuts next to you fuzzy as the world comes in to focus.
Shit you think.
Shit thinks the woman sees you awake leans meanly in the doorway.
Get your stuff get outta here she says her arms crossing her chest her eyes crossing her nose.
Shit that ugly you think I will get my stuff get outta here then you lean forward get up head feels like it’s gonna split apart just like those peanut shells spill your brains onto the beige carpet floor.
Shit you say.
You grab for your pants what you think is your pants probably is your pants your right hand reaches for the hurt.
Shit I’m bleeding.
No shit says the woman leaning meanly in the doorway you were somethin’ last night somethin’ I ain’t never wanna see a-gain.
You look at your pointer middle ring fingers painted with blood ask for something to wrap your side with before you pull on the shirt the snakeskin boots that are probably yours big enough to be yours from under the peg-legged coffee table.
Fuck you she says thats my shirt you give up on the idea of shirts altogether sit on the couch pull the boots on your feet.
Robert you say remember your name pull up your pants slowly zip the zipper cause you don’t have no boxers on.
So the motherfucker’s gotta name she says.
Samson you say as you touch the belt buckle brainfog clears a little more the name of the Bronco you rode at the Littleton Rodeo in 1992 where you compressed two vertebrae in your spine but hot damn it was worth it to see your daddy so proud smilin at you for the first time you could ever remember.
She says who the fuck is Samson or is that your real name?
You look over at the coffee table the crushed vicodin pills the line of powder still waitin’ for someone’s nostrils to come along - like the way you see them movie stars in them movies do - put one nostril to it and hoove up then you feel the pain the real pain in your side for the first time your eyes widen big.
She follows your eyes to the coffee table then points says see that there you awful son-of-a-bitch to one of those small kitchen knives you’d use to peel an apple while sitting on a porch swing in the late afternoons with your kids because yeah am-ne-siac fucker you have two little girls Becca and Sammy two and seven who love their apples cut into perfect little pieces with no skin as they swing on the porch swing and kick their feet with those perfect little doily socks back and forth back and forth.
That’s the knife that cut you-son-of-a-bitch that’s the knife that’s gonna kill you if don’t get your tight little ass outta here right now.
Your eyes are working better your basic brain is kicking in.
You get the hell up don’t even care where you live where you’re from all you want is to bolt out that door as far as your broken body will carry you. You hope your brain can forget all this too.
Fuck me you say as you make towards the door see his car pull in up the driveway remember last night late bills raised voices slammed doors little girls crying your red Chevy truck wailing the bar her tits the truck the drugs her bed her body headlights through the window a man his wife you doing to her what he can never do ‘cept in front of a gay mag she says to his face the brawl the knife the superman drug power the headlights fading back into otherness the taste of victory and pussy.
Fuck she whispers he brought his boys as you both run for the back door.
You hit your shin hard on the bird bath hard enough to sober your dumb-ass up real good use it to superman leap over the bushes into the neighbor’s yard you hear the safety click off from a shotgun on the other side of the bushes.
You run like you’re Usain fucking Bolt like your sponsored by Adidas because Adidas sponsors coward white men runnin’ through backyards who smoke two packs of cigarettes a day fuck other men’s wives then you trip fall into a pool hide under the inflatable alligator as he walks by makes his way to the next yard.
You get out soaking wet half-dead half-alive you’re not really sure about anything anymore walk out of the backyard into the street walk what feels like centuries slow down when you see a gas station feel the pull of nicotine.
The teenager at the cash register sees you walk in shirtless soaked bloodied faded Levis grey leather snakeskin boots all lean and trim but the kind of lean and trim that isn’t born out of vanity so much as hard life and hard lessons.
Sees you ask for a pack of Marlboros, reach for the wallet from your back pocket realize your wallet isn’t there look up eyes afire with God or Satan the teenager ain’t sure which but he’s no dumb boy hands over the smokes and pack of matches anyhow.
You okay? asks the boy.
I’m fine you say walk out the door stop light a cigarette breathe deep.
I’m fine you think exhale smoke start walking towards home towards Becca and Bobby this has to be the right direction.
- 5 -
Her name was Regina
Lauren: oh hey girl :)
Sent at 3:02 PM on Monday
me: how was last night?
Lauren: pretty mellow, just stayed in
how about you?
me: I went on a date
Lauren: oh nice. another online date?
me: nah not really
Lauren: meet her at a bar or something?
me: Well no she came out of my head
Sent at 3:07 PM on Monday
Lauren: sorry I am making brussel sprouts
Lauren: Wait what?
me: Well yeah
I had this really massive headache yesterday
I mean REALLY MASSIVE
Lauren: shit man im sorry
ha and so i took some advil and that
didn’t do anything
Lauren: wait where does the girl come in?
me: and so i went to lie down in the dark for a bit
and then my forehead literally SPLITS OPEN and
out steps this girl
Lauren: holy fuck dude
that’s some serious fucked up shit
me: i know
Lauren: hold on two secs
i need to put this pot on the stove
Sent at 3:12 PM on Monday
Lauren: OK SO A GIRL LITERALLY STEPS OUT
OF YOUR HEAD
Lauren: AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS
me: She was actually pretty considerate
I mean, she stepped out then right away
found the drawer with the bandaids
and neosporin in the bathroom then came
and put my forehead back together
me: then she walks in the kitchen
and the weird thing is, she already knows
where everything is
me: yeah, like, she goes for the tea kettle and
fills it up with water then turns on the stove
me: then she pulls out the peppermint tea from
the left corner cabinet
Lauren: that’s your fave!
and she pulls out two mugs without having to open
eight million cabinets to figure out where they are first
me: and when the water is ready she pours 2 cups
then walks back hands me the tea with two cubes
of sugar and we start to talk
Lauren: holy shit this is so fucking weird
wait you’re sure you weren’t on drugs or shrooms
or something yesterday?
me: no def not
Lauren: ok so continue
me: Her name was Regina
I had been dreaming her up in the back of my head
for the past couple of months
me: yeah she told me so
she told me she had been this sort of person
percolating in the back of my brain for so long
and in greater and greater detail
Lauren: like your idea of the perfect woman
me: and she had been coming to life so vividly
in my brain, to the point that
she finally literally came to life and stepped out
Lauren: that is fucking incredible how did you do that
me: ha not sure
Sent at 3:24 PM on Monday
Lauren: Zeus almighty
Ok so aside from the sheer insanity of this
what’s Regina’s deal?
me: well we had tea, and
she told me how she came about
and then she asked me if she could
borrow some clothes and if I’d like to go see
a performance this evening because she had been
looking around and found a really great
Swan Lake production
Lauren: woah, and like, she’s your type?
me: yeah w blue eyes, brown hair and a great butt
Lauren: hahahahaha interesting
me: Regina looked great in my clothes
me: ok so she goes into my closet and gets some
clothes, then she takes me out to the ballet
Lauren: holy fuck man
that’s some classy shit no girl has done for you before
me: i know
and it turns out she loves ballet too
Lauren: yeah, well, I guess that makes sense
she did literally come from your brain
so you go to the ballet
me: we go out to drinks and she tells me
all about herself
Lauren: mother of god I just burned
my brussel sprouts
me: i mean, she just came out of my head
and my head isn’t an ATM machine,
so i buy all the drinks
me: turns out we both love black licorice
and logic games
Lauren: she sounds perfect for you
is it possible to both burn brussels sprouts
while simultaneously nuking them to hell
me: nah I don’t think so
Lauren: well i just did it
me: at one point on the date,
she even told me I looked better in person
than in my head
Lauren: oh man that’s a new one
me: and then we’re both buzzed because
WE HAVE THE SAME ALCOHOL TOLERANCE
and walk to the subway
Lauren: ok then what
me: I took her home
Lauren: you took Regina hom
Sent at 3:28 PM on Monday
me: well, she didn’t have anywhere else to go she
had just come out of my head five hours ago
me: so i took her home, and one thing leads
to another and we’re fooling around in bed
Lauren: wait wait wait
you slept with her on the first date
after she came out of your head?
me: and suddenly i start to realize
as im doing things to this girl
this girl isn’t some perfect dream girl combo pack
of all the girls I’ve been on dates with
or seen on TV before
Lauren: omg i think i know where this is going
me: she’s me
Lauren: holy mother of god
me: and I’m fucking me
me: and fucking me is soooooooo boring
me: and get this, so we stopped, but it was Regina
who put a stop to it first
Lauren: like, i am dying here
with the perversity of this
like, my old lady neighbor is banging
on the ceiling
me: she gets up real quick
like we literally have this epiphany
at the same exact moment
me: she takes some money from my wallet
and a roller suitcase of some of my clothes
and then she walks out the front door
me: yeah, and when she’s about to step
out the door like literally,
as she is mid-stride over the threshold she stops
looks at me and says
“I hope you find what you are looking for”
and closes the door
me: i mean, i dunno
Lauren: what an exit
i mean, not even you is good enough for you
Lauren: you kinda deserve that
Sent at 3:45 PM on Monday
Lauren: so what should I order from
Seamless for dinner?
Sent at 5:22 PM on Monday
- 6 -
Washer and dryer stage an intervention on a reality tv show.*
*Click on the x’s to activate the comment box dialogue.
(It’s cool. Just give it a try.)
The End. Yup. Truly. Maybe you’re like, Thank God that’s over. But hey, you know what? You read through the whole thing. That’s pretty special. I mean, who has the attention span for that sort of thing these days. Special thanks goes to you for reading all the way through and then discovering this hidden message, Roseanne Overton, that really big dog always parked in front of Blue Bottle Coffee, my mom (hey Mom!), and of course, New York City. If you’re interested in reading more of my stuff, awesome. If you’re not interested in reading more of my stuff, why the fuck did you make it this far. Anyway, I hope you have a great morning/day/night and please share this google doc publication if you’re in that particular sort of sharing mood. --- Bri Hand ---