And if you thought that giant bunny in Donnie Darko was creepy, check this out:

"And your skin is turning orange," says my mother´s voice through the receiver, "from eating all those raw carrots of yours."


Riding the bus to work with Zelda Fitzgerald

The collector manning the turnstile on the bus tells Zelda Fitzgerald he´s out of any change to spare. All I got´s a ten, she says. He shrugs and apologizes with a condescending half-smile, then signals her to let the other passengers in: maybe they´ll provide him with the needed coins. Goddamn 30 cents. She shrugs as well, same a condescending half-smile as his, with the remarkable difference she´s got all her teeth to show and what a half-smile it is at that.

Now. That´s not really Zelda Fitzgerald, though, and mostly because Zelda Fitzgerald died in a hospital fire like eons ago. She´s an ersatz though here´s hoping to minus the booze and the mental institution. It´s the placeholder nickname I´ve given her because of her striking resemblance to the third result that Google yields when you look up Zelda Fitzgerald images: The one with short hair, in profile, though the picture doesn´t quite do the namesake justice. My Zelda has even shorter hair and looks way, way better than F. Scott´s – We´ve discussed this over croissants and orange juice one afternoon years ago: One of the most important facts of life is that The Great Gatsby is way overrated anyway.

But look. This girl is another thing entirely, really.
You know the type: The kind of girl who makes you go Please. Be. Single. every time you see her coming up the street, so damn cute, so damn classy it almost hurts.

It took me like, three months to barely start saying Hi to this girl while waiting for the bus to work. We share the same bus, the same bus stop but let´s be quite frank here and draw the line on establishing that coming on to girls on the bus stop has gotta be the dating equivalent to asking for anal intercourse during the first-date dinner: we´ve all got friends who claim the feat to themselves, but no, not us. So I don´t, and I have to count on my public transportation blessings and wait for the proverbial rainy morning with a crowded bus so as to give her the seat. Next morning and all ensuing mornings, Zelda´s got the Hi thing going already.

Thus once the collector relegates her to waiting in line for spare change, much to her chagrin, I never miss the beat and step up to pay her fare. Don´t need to, she says. Not a problem, I tell her, though once I slip my pass through the card reader at the turnstile the red light goes off and tells me I have no credit myself. I was pretty sure I had like, close to a hundred bucks worth of credit on my bus card but my last recharge must have happened a thousand years ago, even before my vacations. That´s never happened to me before, I tell her with a phony yellow smile and just the proper amount of innuendo. She gets the joke from the get-go, smiles even if just slightly, then asks the collector if he´d have the change for two passes instead. Yup, he nods. She pays up, gets her change, we pass.

Now, if one of the most important facts of life is that The Great Gatsby is overrated, another one is that we are all inevitably bound to fail in life: Any victory is an illusion and regardless of our success we´ll all reach a point in life when we get to Screw Up Big Time, and that´s pretty much why Marvel Comics ever came up with all those team-ups in which Spider-Man fights Daredevil: Every time Spider-Man (weightlifting capacity: 9 tons) punches Daredevil (not even half a ton) for the last say, forty years, Daredevil says he´s only survived the punch because he “rolled with it” just in time. Now, I have no idea what the hell does to roll with the punch mean, maybe except for the odd rock and roll chorus piece and the eventual comic book, but the outcome is pretty clear: That´s how Daredevil survives being punched in the face by Spider-Man. So you got to roll with the punches, man.

Case in point:

Do you know how much I make a year, I ask her and she frowns in disbelief. Three hundred bucks a year, that´s what I make. What, she asks, Out of that con, I mean, I say, a sucker a week or so. Oh that was nothing, she smiles, it happens, no big deal. Oh but big deal, I insist, then tell her as soon as it´s time for my lunchbreak I´m so charging my pass with like, ten grand or something. Okay, she nods, finds the only vacant seat in the bus and offers to take my backpack. Oh you wouldn´t want this filthy knapsack over your pants. Is it that dirty? Oh like you wouldn´t believe. How come, she asks. I use it when I´m out jogging and stuff. You run?, she asks, then tells me she know this guy who ran the marathon last week (which is real annoying, because like everyone knows a guy who ran the marathon last week, up to the point where any marathon that´s happened on the week before starts sounding like some goddamn mantra or something). Nahh, I don´t do marathons, I tell her. Point down to my legs: I got this thing with my knees, you know, from running. Have you ever see a doctor about it?, she asks. Yeah but he always tells me to stop running and that´s not what I want to hear. I know what you mean she says, I used to do ballet, busted my ankles once but just couldn´t stop it (on a sidenote, the real Zelda Fitzgerald was a ballet buff as well).

Then we max out on the filthy backpack as a conversational piece and the inevitable awkward silence sets in. Then I remember I´m supposed to be like, real good at Disaster Recovery, at least at the office, so I´m expected to find get Out Of Prison cards with a certain ease: First time I saw Zelda talk on her mobile, I made a bet with myself that she´s majored in psychology despite the fancy tailleur and the stern, laconic composure, or because of them: This girl is a Corporate psychologist, see, she´s just gotta be. But what else am I missing here? What´s to leverage? Oh yes: There was also this briefcase this girl was carrying one time, see, a few months back, which had the logo of one of our vendors: I tell her about that, asks if she works there because I have a friend who… No she says, they´re a vendor of ours she says. Really? I ask. One of mine too. What do you work in, she asks me. Human Resources, I tell her (oddly enough, not a total lie). Really? She asks. Me too. Oh where? She tells me of her job, I tell her of mine. I sort of boast just a tiny little bit while still making the point so as to keep on sounding like a space cadet just so as I won´t sound like pretentious or something. But that´s like, expected, right? Then a few sentences down the road she tells me she´s majored in psychology.

I get off the bus with her e-mail written down in her own handwriting on the inside cover of this HP Lovecraft book I had with me, and then I…

…then I…

…. Well I just….

Oh god.
Look at this girl. There´s no way in all of hell this girl is…
Oh god.
I´d do everything… anything… twice over. I´ll burn all my The Flash comics, then buy everything on eBay once again just to have it burned a second time. I´ll let go of cable TV and internet porn forever. I´ll trade running on the streets for religion. I´ll even stop stealing food from the people I work with. But please. Just please. Just Please. Be. Single.


Space cadet reaches an amazing conclusion while running laps around the lake

I´m lying down on my back on the largest lawn in the park at noon, all by myself. It´s the middle of the day in the middle of the week and the park is pretty much empty except for the odd married old couple or the occasional jogger (myself included). The sun is peaking high up in the blue sky and there´s not a cloud to be seen. The heat, unbelievable as it is, has stripped me down to my running shorts and multiple beads of sweat all over, period.

Silence reigns supreme on the lawn except for a jetliner crisscrossing above every fifteen minutes or so, and the perpetual droning of the ubiquitous dragonflies swarming about. I take a deep breath and make a point so as not to forget to do that thing with the diaphragm just like that girl who took Yoga taught me a few months back: I inhale and here´s the faint, fresh smell of the recently-mowed grass, clinging to those last traces of last night´s rain, coming in with the air.

I have nowhere else to go, see, and nothing else to do: I was running laps around the lake a few minutes ago, and every time I run, I run scared witless of messing up with my knees (again) so I end up interposing instances of just walking in-between the laps. But this time was different: I found myself in that legendary, nigh-unattainable state of mind halfway between the nihilist and the space cadet, and by the time I realized that, I´d been running for almost an hour, somewhere during that fourth lap around the lake, without stopping for a walk, and running faster every lap. Not scared witless. Not even thinking. And the best part of it, I could´ve run so much longer. I simply stopped once I realized what I´d been doing.

God I´m such a pussy sometimes. I mean, this is no superhuman feat: Here´s my bragging about a six, seven-mile run when old people will run ten or more with ease. Coming to think of it, I think I´ve been treating my patelae like other people treat their religion: Like an imaginary friend, you know? There´s absolutely nothing there but you just press on with the dogmatic faith, buddy, because some jackass in white told you to.

Ah the last days of vacations. I´m due back to the office in a few days but until that happens, to hell with it, really. I´m here on the grass under this scorching sun and I have nowhere to go, and nothing to do, and no one to see – and hey, come next Monday, I´ll come back to the park in the evening after work, and then I´ll see how long I can take before my knees fall down.


Recurring themes, a breakthrough or two, and the inevitable Bizarre Love Triangle (2010)

This girl I´m having dinner with tonight is leaving for Canada in a couple of weeks, for good. Canada by now, of course, has since become a nexus for intertwining plotlines in this story, in the long run: All the female characters here seem like they either came from Canada, or are going to Canada, or went to Canada once in their lifetimes. Sort of like mythical California, you know? How this hero´s journey of our is inevitably bound to lead us to the Pacific, either to drown or be reborn? But I digress – while plotlines continue to merge.

It´s early March, 2010 and this girl I´m having dinner with tonight – this drop-dead Chilean blonde I´m having dinner with tonight – is leaving for Canada in a couple of weeks, for good, to live with her (I suppose) drop-dead gorgeous French boyfriend who works for Air-France and the works. This is a send-off dinner date so the only things happening after the dessert are the espresso and the cab home, not to mention my picking up of the check. See the plotlines merge here too?
“Knowing you, it´s so likely you got to choose this place on purpose,” she tells me with a sly smile, almost feline, as she fiddles her food with the fork for a while. I look down at my own plate and the left corner of my own lips curl up in a half-smile: “Whoa,” I mumble, “Don´t you think the confit de canard goes like, way better with a little irony thrown in?”

But this is not only a send-off dinner date, but a dinner in which I get to merge different plotlines: I have to be perfectly straight with you here. This must be my first date in what seems like centuries now. I haven´t gone out with a girl in ages though I´m not entirely sure why. I want to find something, someone, to blame it on and I can´t tell you enough how tempting... how easy... it would be to simply call it upon your not showing up last November and then wrecking my world or something, but that would just be the drama-queen in me talking. It was something of a bitch, granted, and that´s also quite probably a word I must have used to name your mother during the ensuing weeks or something, really, but in the end I guess we´re all inevitably drawn back to the very rules of the games we choose to play, and regardless of my usual questioning of authority, I´m no exception to that.
Truth be told, I often get way too much caught up in my own dealings, and find myself way too much left to my own devices, to even remember there´s an entire outer world right there. Somewhere, but out there nevertheless.

And then, apropos of that and apropos of everything else too, I´m drawn back to this old comic book I used to love when I was a kid: See, this is my going back to the old, late-1980s Hawk & Dove mini-series once again. I once stated, only half-kidding, that I did the interiors of my place to look like Hank Hall´s dorm room in College in that story. That´s only half-a-lie, you know. But as I´m sitting on this fancy restaurant with the aforementioned drop-dead Chilean blonde with the feline smile at my side, I get to recall another line from that story: So, Hank Hall´s parents barge in the dorm room all of a sudden and Hank is talking with Dawn Granger, who happens to be not only this drop-dead gorgeous blonde but also the superheroine Dove, who´s taken Hank´s brother place after the brother died, and Hank´s mother looks at Hank´s father, or vice-versa, whatever, and says how nice it is to see Hank being interested in girls once again.