Here’s to new friends

(Originally published by Horror Sleaze Trash)

Harold was planning on making homemade bread, which he loved to do, but was about a cup short of flour.  He used a recipe that he found online with 298 reviews, with an average of 4.9 stars.  The loaves had always turned out well for him, so there was no need to deviate from this tried, tested, and true recipe.

Harold would normally ask his neighbor Molly, but he knew that she was out of town at her mother’s for the weekend.  His only other option was the new neighbor Gary.  Everyone in the neighborhood knew that Gary was on the sex offender’s list, because they were notified when he moved in, but no one knew exactly why he was on said list. 

Harold wasn’t one to judge, and believed that everyone needed a second chance.  He wasn’t going to pass judgment on someone that made a mistake in the past.  Harold thought to himself that it was more than likely a huge misunderstanding between an old girlfriend or something, with only their word of events taken into account. 

Harold locked the door behind him and walked over to Gary’s.  As he approached the porch, he recognized the colorful day lilies and camellias in the front flower bed.  Harold thought to himself that Gary had extremely good taste and was a master of color coordination.  The swing on the porch, beside an elephant ear plant in a large pot, gave it a homey feel.  Harold thought that Gary just might be his new friend. 

He opened the screen door and knocked.  

“Just a second.  I’m coming,” Harold heard from inside.  

He then heard footsteps approaching, and the door opened. 

“Well, hello.  Can I help you?”

“Hi, I’m your neighbor Harold.  I live in the blue ranch style house right next door.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve seen you out in your front yard weeding your flower beds. My name is Gary, but you probably already know that.”

“Nice to meet you Gary. I see you have some beautiful flowers yourself there.”

“Thank you very much. I have a young Latino man at the market that has been a total godsend. He has taught me so much.”

“Well, the way you have them arranged is just brilliant. I may get your assistance someday if that’s okay.”

“Of course. I’ll do what I can. Lord knows, I need all the friends I can get. It’s been really trying lately, but thankfully, all of that legal stuff is behind me.”

“Well, that’s good. I can’t imagine how hard it must be.”

“Believe me, you just don’t know. What brings you over?”

“Goodness, my apologies. I am about to make some bread, and unfortunately, I am a hair short on flour. Would you happen to have a little to spare?”

“Of course. I believe I can scrounge some up.  Come on in.”

Harold followed Gary into his living room.  It was so pristine and organized.  The tidiness almost made Harold jealous.  There was absolutely no clutter, with seemingly everything in its place.

“Wow, you keep a spotless home,” Harold said, as he marveled at the immaculate neatness that surrounded him. 

“Thanks. It’s mainly just me in here for the most part.  I’ll have guests in here on occasion, but it’s extremely rare.  Let me get that flour. Make yourself at home. Would you like something to drink?”

“That would be nice. What do you have?”

“I have water and a few sodas, but I also have some imported beer and a great wine selection.”

“Well, if you’ll have a glass too, I’d love some wine.”

“I couldn’t think of a better time to open a bottle than right now with my new friend. Which do you prefer, red or white? I have a luxurious Malbec from Argentina that’s a must if you like reds.”

“That sounds tremendous. I love reds.”

“Excellent. I’ll be right back. I keep the wine in my basement.”

Gary took out a set of keys and unlocked a padlock on a door near the hallway.  Harold thought that it was a little strange to have the door locked with a padlock, but he just assumed that he had an expensive wine collection, and possibly other valuables down there.  Harold just sat on the couch and looked around, still in awe of the uniformity of everything. 

Gary was gone for about 5 minutes when Harold stood and walked near the door.  He thought he heard Gary talking, mixed with other muffled noises.  He couldn’t make out the sounds clearly, but they closely resembled a rustling mixed with whispers.  This sparked his curiosity.

Harold took a few steps down and called for Gary.  There was no answer, and the mysterious sounds suddenly stopped.  He descended a few more steps down and noticed what looked like cage material.  Only the bottom portion of the cage-like structure could be seen, but Harold swore that he saw what appeared to be feet. 

“Gary. Are you okay?” Harold inquired in a slightly cracked tone.

“Yes, I’m here. I decided to grab two bottles instead. I have them right here.” Gary said, as he came around the corner and swiftly up the stairs, as if to usher Harold back up. 

Once both were out of the stairwell, Gary shut the door and went to the kitchen to open the wine.  Harold could hear Gary opening the bottles and getting down glasses.  He was confused, yet intrigued by the previous events.  Harold wondered what the strange sounds were, why Gary was talking, and what exactly that was that he had seen. 

“You are going to absolutely love this Malbec,” Gary said, as he entered the room and handed Harold a glass.

Harold swirled, sniffed, and sipped the red.

“Wow, you weren’t kidding. This is spectacular.”

Gary put on some light jazz, and the two sat enjoying their drinks.  They made small talk about the neighbors that lived close by, the local farmer’s market, and the different cafes in town.  Both realized that each were vegan, and the conversation flowed effortlessly between the two. 

Halfway through the second bottle, Harold got up the nerve to ask about what he had heard and seen earlier. 

“Gary, what were those sounds that I heard from your basement?  I swore that I saw what looked to be feet behind cages.  What was that?”

Gary shrugged, shook his head from side to side, grinned, and in a nonchalant tone said,

“Oh, don’t mind them. That’s just my suffering suckboy stash.”

Harold took a long pull from his wine glass, placed it on the table, and casually made his way down the stairs to the basement.

The Splash

(Originally published by Horror Sleaze Trash)

late one night

outside a dingy bar

where my band played occasionally

and I was a bartender part time

punk, metal, and eclectic bands were featured

vibes were usually laid-back

however

frat boys and trouble makers

would sometimes show up

to watch their friends play

get drunk and start shit

I stepped outside

a muggy southern summer breeze

made me instantly sticky

people were milling about as usual

laughing, talking, smoking, drinking

this bar was near the corner of several gay bars

the gays were milling about as well

one ignorant fuck in attire more suited for a brunch date

starts talking loud about

“all these fags”

in earshot of a six foot four

black transvestite

The word fag

was not well received

the white boy was maced

blinded, pissed, embarrassed

his ego hurt more than his eyes

he attempted to fight to no avail 

then chased and beaten

with a removed six inch stiletto heel

begging for mercy but there was to be none

just a bloody mess on Conti Street

he should have known better

because under that wig

that dress

that makeup

there was still a big black man

fag or not

coincidentally 

an old school hoopty with windows down

rode by playing… 

‘More Than A Woman’

Part of History

(Originally published by Horror Sleaze Trash)

I have always known the word ‘cock’

as a term referring to the penis…or 

member, pecker, schlong,

prick, phallus, peter, dick,

shaft, tool, johnson, willy, 

stick, wood, dong, meat,

weiner, boner, rod, wang,

peen, ween, tallywacker, jimmy,

skin flute, organ, and private part

etcetera

I have never known the word ‘cock’

to be a reference for vagina

until today

listening to an old school hip hop song

I heard 2 Live Crew sing the following 

“What you like fellas? 

head, booty, and cock”

COCK?

did I hear that correct?

then I heard it again

there was no mistaking

they in fact did say cock

this sent me on a several hour

google research mission

I found evidence of numerous artists

from the 80’s and 90’s

using the word cock to refer to

female genitalia

I was absolutely shocked

some of these songs

I have heard more than a few times

obviously I just glossed over

the mention of cock or didn’t pick up on it

I dug in deeper with my research

pulling up forum after forum

where this exact issue was discussed

a little history lesson was learned

it seems that since the 17th century

the word cock referred to the male genitalia

then sometime between 1920 and 1940

cock became an African-American slang word for vagina

possibly derived from cockles

a cock opener was a penis

the dictionary of American Regional English states

‘at a point roughly the same as the

Mason-Dixon Line, there is a division in meaning

to the North cock refers to male genitals,

but in the South its use is restricted to

the female genitals

Missouri is a border state in which

both meanings are used’

I guess that explains why Missouri

is the ‘show me’ state

you know…just to be sure

Cul-de-sac Thoughts

I sometimes wonder what

my neighbors think of me

obviously they are 

completely oblivious

to the genius writer 

that lives next door

one that has been published

online and in print

who gets virtual

and real life compliments

from respected

editors

friends

and writers alike

the only one on the

entire street sipping

Rare Breed

Eagle Rare

Laphroaig

Ardbeg

or a random single barrel pick

the only one toasting sticks like

Padron

Ashton

or Arturo Fuente

the only one piping

small-batch releases

from a hundred dollar Savinelli

a true cultured motherfucker

enjoying top shelf luxuries

that they could never

understand the depth of

or truly appreciate themselves 

but in all actuality

to be completely honest

they are probably thinking

something to the effect of…

I hate living next 

to that son of a bitch

he never speaks

he is always out back

drinking and smoking pipes 

or those stinky-ass cigars

not too mention all the

obnoxiously loud vulgarities

when he is cursing at flies

he may be genuinely crazy

touché neighbor

touché

Unaware

on the way home from work one evening

I had to take the causeway instead of the bridge 

due to a wreck in the tunnel

toward the end of the causeway

I noticed multiple sections of bras

hanging on little two foot high clotheslines

there had to be approximately 500

sets on a roughly one mile stretch of road

however

all of the bras seemed to be

extraordinarily small in size

it’s like people only wanted to sacrifice their bras

if their daughter had outgrown

her training bra or something 

I was able to snap a pic while driving

but was not happy with the result

a day or two later riding with my wife

I told her to go back home via the causeway

I wanted to get out and get a good picture

but when we got to where all the bras were

they were gone

and so were all the little clotheslines

I told her about all the bras that were

there just a day or so earlier

she said

“yeah, it’s breast cancer awareness month”

I replied

“I thought that was February”

she said

“no, that’s black history month”

then I felt like a huge boob

Humble Realization

exiting the tunnel on my

drive home from work one day

when I noticed a bus with

the name Cougar Lines

printed on the side

my middle school mind

giggled from within

I looked over and noticed

nothing but geriatric women

I was disgusted

I grimaced and turned away

but quickly realized

that since I am now in my forties

those same decrepit woman

would in fact be my cougars

the joke just didn’t seem 

that funny anymore

Religion of Indifference

an insatiable desire

for animalistic urges

overtakes my being

tendencies toward a

tempestuous scenario

turbulent and tumultuous innards

garner a blackening anguish 

from within

an upheaval of frigid soul

or lack thereof

a careless catastrophe

caused by the need for change

blank stares toward a world

I’ve never known

or choose not to

midnight embraces

do nothing to heal the hurt

deadening from distillation

a chemical induced dulling

providing only a smidgen of relief

a smattering of significance

is sprinkled throughout

I’m just worried

that it will never be enough

Loyal Servant

(Updated and edited)

as I begin to write this

I’m down to about an inch

of an Olivia Series V cigar

I can’t recall

in my adulthood 

a time that I wasn’t

addicted to nicotine

at an early age

my mom preached

“don’t smoke”

but still sent me

to the corner store

to buy her Kools

I would also buy cigarettes

from the dollar bin by the register

and smoke them with my friends

I am not even sure if I inhaled

or smoked them properly

one time at my grandmother’s beach house

my mom found a pack of ‘Now’ cigarettes

that I purchased from the dollar bin

she gave me the same old

‘don’t smoke’ routine

while her and my dad

were blazing multiple packs daily

at the same beach house

lighting fireworks with my mom’s cigarette

she caught me attempting to take a puff 

she came unglued and said

“if I see you do that again

I’m going to make you eat one”

my young smart ass self told her

“I’ll eat one now”

and did

I puked my fucking guts out

more ‘don’t smoke’ lectures 

that maybe worked for a few years

then I found weed

the after joint or bowl cigarette

was a religion unto itself

that continued for years

with mild attempts to quit

when my mom’s blood pressure

skyrocketed one night

she lost consciousness

and never regained it

at the hospital waiting on

a miracle with my dad I said

“I’m about to smoke a cigarette”

he claimed to have no clue that I smoked

I continued smoking cigarettes

(only this time not hiding it)

with a few more attempts to quit

I started smoking cigars

but spent more on premium sticks

than I did on my packs

so I switched to cheaper sticks

due to my palette being 

accustomed to top-shelf sticks

I eventually went back to the cigs

when my dad died

I started smoking a pipe regularly

it was cheaper

had less chemicals

and the taste and smell were exceptional

but I was still inhaling smoke

then I learned of vaping

initially it was the delivery system

that looked like a cigarette

but soon graduated to massive

box looking contraptions

that could produce an ungodly

amount of vapor clouds

horror stories and reports

on the dangers led me to quit

but I replaced the habit

with dipping snuff

in the past I would take a

dip with someone who had a can

but now I was doing it daily

I knew I didn’t want that to

become a hardcore habit

that’s when my research

led me to Swedish snus

(steam-pasteurized tobacco you can swallow)

the Swedes method is presumably

safer than the fire-cured

American counterpart

I’ve also become reacquainted

with pipe tobacco and

have taken to the hobby

in a big way

buying pipes and collecting 

different tobaccos

so here I am

lipping snus and

smoking pipes daily

enjoying approximately

two cigars a week

having the occasional dip

and after I brush my teeth at night

popping lozenges and

nicotine pouches before slumber

still a goddamned slave

to demon nicotine

I should have listened to mom

Glowing Reflection

the moon slowly ascends

bright like the eyes of a child

round as a witches pot

reaching down with alien hands

toying with the ocean

showering light on killers and saints

making animals sing out of tune

memories made under its illumination

as the world 

sleeps

fucks

and

dies

Fancy Pants

look at you 

with your clean clothes 

and fancy job

I’d bet your hands 

are that of a princess

while my hands are 

scarred

scabbed

callused

you drive a car 

much smarter than you

your meals are 

elegant and costly

you condescend and patronize 

all you deem lesser or beneath 

the wife

basically a stranger 

spends money well

fucks young bulls

the mistress

wears shiny dresses 

high heels

no panties

your cock 

no comparison

falls short to the size 

of your bank account and ego

the whiskey you drink

and cigars you smoke 

are rare and exquisite

that is the only aspect I envy

ol’ bitch hands