Category Archives: Excerpts

An Excellent Job of Disappearing


I gave up drawing the bathrobe and I didn’t feel guilty.

Until I did.



I arranged pillows on the bed in your general size and shape and leaned into them through long, hot afternoons while scolding myself for not being more productive.

In a fit of ennui I made myself draw a bathrobe for you. I obscured the robe behind the ladder-back of a chair and suddenly understood my friend’s impulse to imagine something new behind her gate.

I had already been convinced that if I thought about you while I drew the robes I would do a better job.

Another way of saying this is that I believed that if I had sex with talented and interesting people, I would be more talented and interesting. There are formulas that corroborate this bad logic, which makes it no more accurate. Continue reading

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The Subtenant

I realize now that taking him on as my subtenant was not the wisest decision I ever made, setting aside my dating life, which could properly and without exaggeration be characterized as a decade-long disgrace. It’s not that I suffered lasting damage to my apartment or my body. But I now have a certain image burned onto my memory that I wish I’d never acquired. Live and learn, my father would say. If he were still alive. My father was an idiot.

It’s been a bit more than three years now since Satan first sent me an e-mail response to my Craigslist posting. Alarms should have gone off in my puny brain. I mean, who has an e-mail address like Redboy? AOL? But I hadn’t had much luck with the ad, and I was kind of low on money since losing my paralegal job when the law firm downsized as the economy went down the shithole. I had some savings and picked up a little work here and there from this solo practitioner in Westwood, so I wasn’t starving. But I needed an additional revenue flow, like right now. Continue reading

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The Urban Cyclist

No terrain is impossible for the Urban Cyclist. His powerful legs drive the pedals down in alternation, right, left, right, left, calculating the degree of incline by the strength required of his thigh and calf muscles for each complete revolution of the front sprocket. The soles of his feet and palms of his hands read each vibration transferred from the tires to the handlebars and frame, making microadjustments to his direction and balance at a speed faster than thought. The initial uphill stretch when he first leaves the house is short and serves to lubricate his joints and warm up his muscles. He quickly reaches Reservation Street. Its sloping cobbled lanes are separated by a grassy central reservation. Five blocks to the Strip. Knowing every inch of the way like the back of his hand doesn’t make the challenge any less dangerous for the Urban Cyclist. From one week to the next, so much can change. A resident might decide to have a new driveway put in so they can park their car in the garage more comfortably, and may have to deposit mounds of sand, gravel, and cement in the middle of the sidewalk, an example of the kind of mutant obstacle for which the true Urban Cyclist must be prepared. There are dogs that shoot out like rockets from behind walls to try to snaffle a bit of their favorite food, an unwary cyclist’s shin. Even trees, an apparently peaceful and inoffensive element of the natural world, from one week to the next push out branches and roots, which can obstruct the Cyclist’s path. Weeds sprout from the sidewalk, concealing pebbles, holes, and bricks that can catch one by surprise and cause serious accidents from which only the most skilled, experienced cyclists emerge unscathed.

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