Fish Day

 

You gotta do certain things on Saturdays, like put the sausages in the freezer.

Delington, is that a euphemism?

My last day was a Saturday. The big day! The biggest day of the week. Sunday off, thank goodness! Saturdays are real busy with all the Tufts kids and everything.

So, Saturday. My last day. I walked over to The Deli. Davy was long gone. It was dusk, summer in beautiful Somerville. Closed for an hour or so. Davy had cleaned up real good. The slicers were clean, the knives were clean. The counters, everything was nice and clean. I opened the fridges and looked at the stacks of turkey and capicola and I thought that perhaps it was the last time I was gonna be doing this.

I was so charged up, but it was this quiet moment and I remember thinking that this was a big deal. Not that I had really lost my temper this time. I kind of knew that was a big deal, the temper thing, but I was going to have to process that later. There were going to be a lot of changes. What was really on my mind though, as I looked at the provolone and manchego, was that I would not be opening the fridge doors anymore. No more fish days, I knew that was big.

Fish Day, Delington!

They called my stacks of meat Delington Stacks. I was proud of them. They were nice and tight. I’d try to stack slices like salami, that came in a tube, back into the cylindrical form they arrived in. Chris and Davy did a fine enough job. It didn’t really matter, but their stacks were easily distinguished from mine. Their salami slices hung out a centimeter or so. No big deal. But I thought I did it well and I was proud of it because I didn’t feel like I did a lot of things very well. I knew it was a silly thing but what can you do?

Sam named me Delington. Aaron Delington. Chris was named Chris Delis. Delis plural. Davy was The Duke of the Deli, or Deli Duke. We listened to Bruce Springsteen, Rancid, Goo Goo Dolls, and a lot of other bands that are too cool for you.

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The Improv

Circa 2004. GWAR and TYSON are two fellows in their mid-twenties. Both are a little overweight and exactly six feet tall. Both have served full-time missions for their Church. GWAR’s mission was cut short after about sixteen months while TYSON completed the two years.

This film begins as they attempt to re-live their pre-mission days of waterballooning. TYSON is in the front seat of GWAR’s 1987 Honda Prelude. They developed this practice of targeting both pedestrians and other cars on the streets of Poway, California around 1998-1999. Back then, there were more participants in the suspect car- typically three or four. Notably absent on this day is DAN, who was The Driver. DAN could drive and toss balloons with remarkable accuracy. TYSON’s marksmanship from the passenger seat was also legendary. At this point in their lives DAN, who has also served a mission, is married to a woman who is expecting their first child. As a result, GWAR defaults to the driver position on this day. GWAR is not a good water balloon driver. He was never even a great tosser of balloons. At best he got the Spirit Award. He once hit the inside of DAN’s car in a spasmodic thrust toward the window.

It might be obvious, but it should be noted that GWAR and THOMAS are the same person in this story.

THE IMPROV

By Aaron Kingsbury Litchfield

INTERIOR, NIGHT- CAR

TYSON
Dude, What are you doing!? What in the world are you doing!? Why do you slow down? Every time, Thomas! You don’t need to slow down! It messes up my timing!

GWAR
Sorry! I’m not used to driving.

TYSON
Dan could really drive. He never slowed down. You DON’T slow down.

GWAR
I know. Shut up. We shouldn’t be doing this anyway. We can’t get arrested for throwing water balloons. What if we get caught doing this? We can’t get caught doing this. We’re too old.

TYSON (nefariously)
We never got caught before, Thomas S Preston Esquire S Gwar.

THOMAS S PRESTON ESQUIRE S GWAR
That’s cuz Dan used to drive.

TYSON
Dan could drive that car like a champ Thomas!

THOMAS S PRESTON ESQUIRE S GWAR
Yeah, and he’s married now. With child.

Later on GWAR and TYSON are driving down Garnett Ave in Pacific Beach. They have quit throwing water balloons at cars and pedestrians. Garnett Avenue is where MTV used to go to cast lotharios in their shows The Real World and MTV’s Beach House. TYSON and GWAR’s drive down Garnett Avenue, with its myriad bars that specialize in Birthday Cake shots and Irish Car Bombs, is very observational in nature.

TYSON
Thomas, it’s your turn now.

THOMAS S PRESTON ESQUIRE S GWAR
No.

TYSON (building enthusiasm, in a devious manner)
C’mooooooon, Thomas!

GWAR
No, It’s not funny. I don’t know why it’s funny.

TYSON
Thomas…

GWAR
(rolling down the window) I hate you.

TYSON
YESSSSS THOMAS!

GWAR leans his head out the window as they pass a group of popped-collard, puka-shelled-necklace-wearing brutes with a couple of thin, loud-talking females. He yells out a startlingly loud and abrupt- HEY! This results in a young mini-skirted girl nearly falling to the ground. The group mostly laughs, though a couple of the big males affect an angry disposition.

TYSON
Good job Thomas!

GWAR (excitedly)
Oh Oh Oh Oh, get that group right there!

TYSON rolls down his window and yells with a remarkable amount of mocked vigor-

TYSON
PARTYYYYYYYY! WHOOOOOOO YEAH! PAR-TAY! OWWW!

The crowd hollers back uproariously. If they are aware of the irony, they aren’t offended. Though it’s safe to say they aren’t aware.

CUT TO- DRIVING HOME

GWAR
That’s the most fun I’ve ever had on Garnett Avenue.

TYSON
Whaaaat? Better than all the bars? The beers? Thomassssss? Thomas S?

GWAR
Yeah I guess. I mean, the beers helped me in the beginning. I don’t think I would ever have gotten Emi fall in love with me if I never had a drink. She would have dismissed me as awkward and intense like all the girls before her.

TYSON(with caricatured zeal)
You didn’t need beer to talk to ME, I love you for who you are Thomas!

GWAR
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and you never had any. You don’t need it. It’s weird to think what you’d be like drunk. Don’t ever drink.

TYSON(still with the exaggerated zeal)
I wouldn’t be your guiding light if I did, now would I Thomas?

END SCENE

A few days later GWAR walks into TYSON’s house. TYSON’s mother, in the kitchen to the left, sees Gwar walk in without knocking. He immediately turns right and walks toward Tyson’s room.  When he gets there, he finds that the door is locked. He leans in and hears that TYSON is in the shower. Through the door GWAR also hears Weezer’s Green album playing. He smiles at this. He knocks, knowing Tyson won’t hear, and knowing that even if he did hear, he wouldn’t end his shower early. GWAR curses himself. He turns around to look down the hall. He can see TYSON’s mom, wearing an apron in the kitchen. GWAR paces in the hall awkwardly before walking to the foyer to sit in a chair by the front door. After less than a minute, he gets up and walks back toward TYSON’s room. He leans in and hears TYSON still in the shower. He tries knocking again to no avail. He walks out to the foyer and stalls a bit trying to decide what to do.  Finally he walks to the kitchen.

INTERIOR, DAY- THE YOUNG’S HOUSE.

GWAR
Hi Sister Young.

TYSON’S MOM
Hello Gwar.

THOMAS(reaching into a cabinet for a glass)
What’s happening?

There is no glass, so he walks across to another cabinet where he finds one. He opens the fridge and pours himself lemonade.

TYSON’S MOM
Still don’t know where the glasses are?

GWAR
Sure I do. How are things?

TYSON’S MOM
Oh, busy. Denise and Darren are coming in a couple of weeks and I’m trying to clean up before they get here.

GWAR
Well that’s cool.

TYSON’S MOM
How are things with you?

THOMAS
Oh, fine I guess. Up to no good, you know. Same old.

TYSON’S MOM
That’s nice Gwar.

GWAR
Yup.

TYSON’S MOM
So what are you two up to today?

GWAR
Tyson and I are carpooling to college.

TYSON’S MOM
No kidding? Well that’s wonderful.

GWAR
Sure is. Tyson didn’t tell you?

TYSON’S MOM
He never tells me anything… you know, I saw your mother at Costco yesterday.

GWAR
Oh really? How is Meg Ryan?

TYSON’S MOM
She seemed fine. We talked about you boys…

GWAR
Yeah? What about?

TYSON’S MOM(sheepishly)
Well…I don’t think I should say.

THOMAS
I’m sure it was about just how proud of us you are and how great we are for each other. Tyson and I. Yeah, no need to tell me! Speaking of, I need to get that guy going. We’re gonna be late!

TYSON’S MOM
Bye Gwar.

TYSON (wearing a towel, at the entrance to his room)
Well if it isn’t a Thomas S Preston Esquire S Gwar!

GWAR (hushed)
That’s me. Hey man, I wish you wouldn’t lock the door. I walked into the house without knocking, thinking I’d just slide to your room but of course you have to lock your bedroom door. Why? I’m not gonna go into your bathroom and interrupt your shower routine. I know you lock that door too, you weirdo. Anyway, I bumped into your mom and I know she’s mad that I didn’t knock. We had a little chat.

TYSON (loudly, across the house)
Mom, have a nice talk with Thomas?

TYSON’S MOM (from the kitchen)
Yes Tyson- you know, Gwar doesn’t mind me.

THOMAS (still at the doorway)
Just let me in man. What does she mean? She doesn’t mind me?  Like I don’t have a problem with her?

TYSON
No like, you don’t mind her, like acknowledge her, or respect her, by just walking through the door of her house without knocking. Gwar the genius writer over here. A regular Bill Shakespeare.

THOMAS
Well, shucks. I don’t mean anything. I love your fam. You know I always wanted to be a Young.

TYSON (with an exaggerated smile, pats GWAR on the shoulder)
I know you do Tom.

GWAR (entering the room and closing the door)
Do you have a shirt I can wear? (tugs his belly) I hate this one.

TYSON holds the towel with one hand on his hip and opens his sliding glass closet door with the other. He stares into a vast, colorful closet.

TYSON
Ahhhhhh, what can I get for a Thomas S Preston Esquire S Gwar? (resting his now free hand on his other hip)

GWAR(grabbing a t-shirt that says THE FIRM)
Remember when I wore this to your old man’s office? When we visited him at the firm?

TYSON
Sure do Tom.

GWAR
That was somethin’ else. I wrote about it. Anyway, I got us an appointment to tryout for an improv place in Los Angeles.

TYSON(sighing)
What? Are you serious? When?

GWAR
Thursday. We’ll leave at noon, right after your oceanography class. We don’t have to be there until four.

TYSON (sighing again)
I don’t know if my liege will be OK with it Gwar.

GWAR
She’s fine with it dude.

TYSON(sighs again)
You asked her? Oh Tommy. Tommy Tommy Tommy. What are we gonna do with you?

END SCENE

EXTERIOR, DAY- JR COLLEGE PARKING LOT.

GWAR walks toward TYSON’s boxy new Scion. Someone is playing an electric guitar plugged into a miniature amplifier. GWAR knocks on the car window.  TYSON is disgustedly clearing the passenger seat for Gwar.  Without looking up, he unlocks the door and GWAR enters the car.

GWAR
What do you think about that guy over there, playing guitar?

TYSON still hasn’t made eye contact with GWAR. he’s picking up half-full water bottles and throwing them into the back seat

TYSON
I think it’s the gayest thing in the world and you do too. So don’t ask me.

GWAR
Are you excited?

TYSON(He still hasn’t looked at Gwar)
Sure Tom. (picks up a water bottle and holds it in front of Gwar’s face) How many millilitres did she drink out of this one? Riddle me that, Tom.

GWAR
I don’t have an answer for you man.

CUT TO- DRIVING

GWAR
Hey, you know how the Terminator asks little John Connor why he cries? (in a very mediocre Arnold Schwarzenegger accent GWAR utters) Why do you cry?

TYSON
Yeah, sure.

GWAR
Well, what if he was like Why do you fart? and Why do you laugh, when you fart?

TYSON (not missing a beat, in a perfect 13-yr-old Edward Furlong voice)
You know, cuz it’s funny.

GWAR
Yeah, Yeah, exactly. That would be a funny skit or whatever, like on Saturday Night Live.

TYSON
Sure it would Tom.

GWAR
Hey, also, when we’re up on stage, you gotta do Chris Farley auditioning for the part of Sam from Lord of the Rings. You know “Master Frodo…”

TYSON
Whatever you say Gwar.

GWAR
Anyway, that guitar player’s shirt told me to listen to Bob Marley and his hat told me to party naked.

TYSON(sighing)
I told you I don’t want to talk about him.

GWAR
Alright alright, you know how to get there? Just drive up The Five for like an hour then I’ll tell you where to go from there.

With resonant disgust for the fellow in the parking lot, TYSON intently scrolls through his Ipod looking for a more obscure Talking Heads song. After his selection, GWAR picks up the Ipod and changes it to Road to Nowhere. Tyson’s look implies that GWAR needs to move on past Talking Heads’s radio songs.  If GWAR was directing this film he might show TYSON and GWAR eating at In & Out burger as Road To Nowhere plays. TYSON is truly happy as he takes his first bite into a Double Double. Under GWAR’s direction, he’d perhaps show TYSON’s road rage. He’d show some exteriors of the drive from San Diego to LA. The ocean. The immigration check-point. The signs that caution families crossing the freeway. He’d show Gwar opening TYSON’s glove compartment, show a bunch of things falling out of the glove compartment and show TYSON’s irritation of the whole thing.

EXTERIOR, DAY- VENTURA BOULEVARD.

TYSON and GWAR pull up to a tiny, street-front improv place.

GWAR
We have almost an hour. Lets walk around for a while.

TYSON and GWAR walk down the street and quickly enter a typical LA vintage/ironic t-shirt store.

INTERIOR, DAY- VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE.

GWAR
Hey this is where that guy at college gets his shirts and hats that tell us what to do.

TYSON
That’s right Tommy Tom.

A very young blonde who most likely works at the store absently walks past them. GWAR catches her attention.

GWAR
Excuse me, have you heard of the improv place a few doors down?

GIRL
No.

GWAR
Really? (pointing) It’s just a couple of doors down that way.

GIRL
Nope. (she moves along)

GWAR looks at Tyson apologetically.

They walk to the Imrov place. They go through the door and enter a very small lobby. There is a woman sitting behind a box office.

INTERIOR, DAY- SHITTY IMPROV PLACE

WOMAN
Are you here for the tryout?

GWAR
Yeah

WOMAN
Go ahead through those doors and have a seat.

They enter a tiny theater with maybe twenty chairs. There are a handful of improv actors already seated. One looks about 30 years old and is wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jacket. In fact, they all look about 30 years old- with the exception of a 45 yr old man who is outfitted in Sam Kinison’s hair and wardrobe.

NINJA TURTLE(to a cute 30-year-old woman)
Where do I know you from?

CUTE 30 YEAR OLD WOMAN
I Don’t know.

NINJA
Was it a movie?

30 YEAR OLD WOMAN (sighing)
Maybe.

NINJA
It was! It was 13 Conversations about One Thing!

30 YEAR OLD WOMAN
You’re right. I was en extra in that.

NINJA
Nice! Me too!

GWAR picks up a brochure from the seat back in front of him.  He points to Chris Kattan’s name on the program and promisingly shows it to TYSON. TYSON nods.

A 50-year-old man with the world’s worst haircut enters the room. Think Javier Bardem in No country For Old Men, except this man’s hair is thinner. The following doesn’t really need to be scripted: The Improv owner shows them around the small studio. There are pictures of famous alums like Chris Kattan and Tim Meadows. Pictures of Jr. Varsity casts, Varsity casts, and Wednesday Night casts.  He explains that only the top one or two levels get paid.  Most do it for free and the rookies pay to perform.  He sits them down and tells them about himself.  He’s been in a few episodes of Three’s Company. With a smile, he says the residual checks are nice. He nods silently, giving this cast of hopefuls time to soak in the glorious residual money that he’s earning, suggesting they could be so lucky. So now it’s time to perform.

THREE’S COMPANY IMPROV DOUCHE
Ok, we’re just gonna do some things to get you loosened up here. First, I want you to swim around like fish.

Everyone does their interpretation of a fish.  TYSON is visibly annoyed at this stupid exercise as he just pretends to swim like a human, using his arms to backstroke. GWAR is more pathetically attempting to appease the improv man than TYSON. Initially, GWAR uses his arms like a human, then self-consciously pulls them back toward his body and attempts to show swimming without arms.  This results in a pathetic upright serpentine movement. As GWAR swims past TYSON, he gives a look of confusion, TYSON in return, silently expresses his annoyance for the whole thing. The other six hopefuls are generally desperate and over-zealous in their fish impressions.

What follows is a series of cuts that displays a typical bottom-level Los Angeles improv store: A good-looking Asian-American man does an excellent Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. TYSON and GWAR do some heavy, bookish British accents. The Ninja Turtle finds a way to work a make-out session in with the woman he met on the set of 13 Conversations About One Thing. The Sam Kinison man doesn’t do much at all.

At the end, the Improv owner lines everyone up onstage and tells them he wants each of them to do whatever they want, anything they want. They take turns doing freestyle improv. The Asian American man does some more excellent Arnold. There are a few other random things. Some funny, some not. Then we get to Tyson.

TYSON (very loudly)
MASTER FRODO! WE MUST CONTINUE UP THE MOUNTAIN! WE MUST GO ON! (shaking his hands vigorously, as if at an altar) WE CANNOT FAIL! WE NEED TO TOSS THE MAGICAL RING INTO THE BOILING LAVA OF DOOM! WE MUST GO ON, MASTER! IF WE FAIL EVIL WILL PREVAIL, AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EARTH WILL DIE!

When it is time for GWAR’s freestyle moment, he is extremely nervous. He’s silent for a few awkward seconds. Finally, he utters, in a horrible Arnold Schwarzenegger accent that nobody in the room can decipher-

GWAR (softly)
…why do you fart?

There is deadly silence from the Improv leader and the other actors. Tyson looks down the line at Gwar with astonishment and horror.

Cut to the car. It is quiet for a few moments as Tyson drives. Finally-

TYSON
Why do you fart?

(uproarious laughter from the two of them)

THE END

BONUS! An early short: The Firm

*ding

2010

I decided that I’m gonna blog. I’m gonna blog cuz I don’t know what else to do.

There’s that memory of my mom. She must have been my age now- maybe two years older. She’s in Dr. Stevenson’s office and they’re just talking about Tyler’s future appointments and then conversation ventures off into non-medical, life stuff. Not too personal or anything. I’m not going to make anything up, like: She had to go to the post office before 4 pm to drop off a credit card bill that she UGHHHHH, didn’t want to get into right now and that she HATES credit card companies and whatnot and she doesn’t have time to deal with any of this right now.

Cuz I wasn’t really paying attention, I was maybe 6 years old.

Everyone is quiet for a second, then she begins to cry. She doesn’t wail. And she doesn’t cry for too long. Dr. Stevenson does the best he can and of course her crying isn’t a surprise, nor is it out of line. She stops. He tells her that he couldn’t possibly understand. He says that they’re all doing the best they can.

He was a good-looking guy. He wore a plaid shirt. Not too old. He didn’t get out of his chair and come around and physically comfort her.

I’ve had that memory for a few days. Hanging around.

I remember playing outside the hospital with Tyler.

I went to the hospital with Nick right before I moved here to Boston. I was 26, Nick was 16. We drove down there late at night thinking we’d take a look at Tyler’s old 8th-floor stomping grounds. We found out that the 8th-floor was no longer the pediatric floor. In fact there wasn’t a pediatric floor in the hospital at all. Everything had moved to Children’s hospital.

As a 15 year-old I remember swinging the bat in the parking lot of the hospital and asking Pop if I swung as fast as they did in the majors. He wasn’t too thrilled with the question.

As a 17 year-old, in the elevator with Nick, someone asked if he was my son.

Tyler never spent a Christmas in there.

I’m 29 now and I’m doing the same thing. How am I any different from who I was? What am I going to do to “grow up?” Will I ever be less emotional? Will I ever calm down? Can I go back to school? Can I relax? Can I change things? Can I be happy for a while? I’m kind of happy now. I am so weird.

And then there’s the elevator memory. Another early one. I always wondered why I remembered a moment like that. I asked myself what made it stick. My mom told me once that Dad’s role was The Rock. He never showed emotion. It wasn’t his job. It worked even better that they divorced so young. We had two worlds. The one where we emoted, and the one where we didn’t.

In the Hospital Memory my brain likes to picture the three boys together- Adam, Tyler, and me- the youngest. I’m about six. But if we were leaving the hospital, Tyler wouldn’t have been there with us, waiting for the elevator.

There were six elevators that led to the 8th floor and we’d stand there and wait for a ping. It’s just a memory of my Dad asking which elevator door was going to open up. Just a trivial little thing.

Hello everyone, 2014 Aaron talking here. I know I said I was done with SFSF after the Ultimate Post, but this belongs here. It’s old. Plus, who actually believed I’d stick with closing out the blog? Anyway, the above was written four years ago, just days before I began SFSF. It began as a sort of manifesto, but then it quickly turned into a journal entry, with the weak segue being “I decided I’m going to blog.” That decision was a product of the manifesto, a baby step that I’d decided must be done. (I deleted the bullitt-pointed, actual manifesto portion that included topics like More Grocery Shopping and Less Eating Out.)

At the time, I never would have posted it. The blog was my first public writing venue. The early entries were vague. Prior to that, I kept everything locked up and unfinished.

While going through it, I remembered that I’d written about the elevator before so I looked in an even older online collection of my journals in Hotmail Documents and found the following:

2006

…and then there’s Tyler. Tyler. Am I a writer because Tyler had cancer and died? Did he die to enlighten me and you all? “You all” being really only a small segment of the population? A few hundred thousand or so young kids that will read this and relate to it and love it and clutch it and make them want to tell people to fuck off when they’re told dinner is ready while they’re sitting in their rooms thinking about it? Did Tyler have those 30 operations and spinal taps for YOU? Did Tyler have all this happen to him so I would be extra submissive and self-conscious for waaaay too long in order for me to better question and observe everything? So I could always think about that time in the hospital when we were leaving and my Dad was like “Which one do you think it’ll be? Which fucking elevator will be the one to take us out of this hospital, the hospital Tyler’s in cuz he has cancer and he won’t ever kiss a girl or get married or hit a home run or drive a car? Which one? No, Aaron, that one’s going up.”

*ding

“Ahh, there we go.”

When I Went To Lunch With Blaze And He Got Two Sides Of Fries

He told me that I was serious and that I used to be all about having fun. Interesting, because I don’t think of that pre-Boston year (post Amy break-up) as fun. But now my life was about growing up. He was damn perceptive, this Blaze. We went into a book store where a lady told him to keep writing. We were walking back to the car after lunch (two sides of fries) and I pointed to a bookstore across the street. I told him I should try to buy his book, EPISODES: My Life as I See It. That was no problem for him, his mom’s friend worked there. Inside, this friend urged him to keep writing as a young girl searched the store for EPISODES. I echoed that shit and said that he was like more important that 99.9 percent of the writers who get paid regularly to write. Fuck it, he’s better that 100%. Who the hell is more important a writer than Blaze Ginsberg? I have no clue.

I was a bit protective of him when I went to his house, at the start of our day. His mom was a writer too. She waitressed into her thirties but now made $ as a full-time writer which is the dream. The protective part came when I asked Blaze about his book at her house and she hissed “Don’t just grab the book off the shelf, Blaze.” I wanted to kinda say to her Hmmm, maybe it’s not a big deal, maybe I really wanted to see Blaze’s EPISODES, Relax lady. Sure it was my fault that I never got around to purchasing it online when I was in Boston because I was an extraordinarily flakey pothead, but that book was important shit and I wanted to see it.  A little intimidated by the son, hey lady? Blaze was the shit. I still haven’t read his book because I’m a fucking loser even though I know it’s probably the best thing on the planet. It’s his life in episodes, as in TV episodes, based on sitcoms, loosely- or based on the sitcom format. I don’t know, I’m not even going to begin wondering how brilliant it is, I just have to read it.

In Boston, I asked him to write something for my blog. Later, I went to edit it, “chop it up,” you know, play editor like a big boy, cuz Blaze was the only writer I could edit. I was about to chop certain words and things that I didn’t think worked but sure enough they did because he used like the 2nd and 3rd dictionary definitions of words, words whose first definition’s I was unaware of. And I’m not talking refrain and refrain. He was a brilliant writer, probably the most brilliant little modern piece I’ve seen and when people nudge him to write he just insists he wants a more normal, steady job. Something regular. I asked him if he knows anything about the finances of his book. Maybe he has enough in the bank from EPISODES that he doesn’t need a normal job. He could write, you know, what he was born to do. Do this world a service Blaze! Show ’em who’s boss. Who’s really mentally challenged or whatever? He knew nothing of his finances. I was suspicious about his mother and the rest of his family. Protective over Blaze. But everyone is protective. It’s easy to be protective. His mom was protective of him when I went to pick him up. She didn’t have to meet and chat with me, but she did.

The original plan was to go to the beach. We went looking for a spot and while we were driving around the lot I observed a supremely hairy man getting in or out of his truck. He was a stocky, hairy fella. I laughed a bit. Told Blaze that perhaps a man like that should trim himself or cover up if he plans on parading the coast. I was stretching for conversation, one of those things I knew was stupid as it was coming out of my mouth. What an asshole I am. We kept driving around the parking lot. I was in my mom’s hideous huge white Dodge Durango. I expressed disdain for this sort of activity, driving around, looking for a fucking space in a busy parking lot. I didn’t even have a license at the time. Blaze’s mom would have been furious had she known I had no license. I hated the DMV. I was home six weeks or so before I got my license.

Eventually Blaze suggested that maybe the beach wasn’t gonna happen. I was cool with not going. I looked at his arms an noticed they were pretty damn hairy. The striking difference between Blaze pre and post-Boston was his look. He definitely looked like a skinny boy when I left for New England. He was 20. He worked at the grocery store in the same shopping center as my Starbucks. He wore his pants really high and of course his name was Blaze. I chatted him up when he came in. He entered the coffee shop mostly bored, looking to satisfy something- hard to do in a Starbucks when you don’t drink coffee. But there aren’t too many options in grocery store shopping centers. He usually settled on one of the stupid over-priced fruity sodas. His disdain for his bagging job was far more articulate than my disdain for my job. I thought he was so cool and he acted nonplussed, which of course made me pursue the friendship more. I  put in the effort to be sincere. He doesn’t give a shit that I have an autistic cousin. I’m sure everyone has an autistic something or other. He’s probably sick of people wanting to believe THEY are the insider, THEY can relate. He’s probably sick of the patronization. I kept at it and eventually we were pals. Pals enough that I talked to him a handful of times during the six years I lived in Boston.

Upon my return a few months ago, I noticed that his hairline had receded quite a bit and he’d gained weight. His stubble was thicker and, like I said, his forearms were pretty damn Hairy. Again, I’m an asshole.

When we left the parking lot, we decided to go to lunch. A girl he had a crush on worked at a mediocre Mexican restaurant on La Jolla Village Drive. Blaze always had crushes. We ain’t much different. Maybe I’m fuckin autistic. He told me once that he didn’t wanna date an autistic girl or special needs girl and he hated it when people suggested otherwise. Made sense to me.

Sadly, his crush wasn’t present at the Mexican restaurant. He never gave up hope though. He was looking pretty much the whole time. His gaze was always above the table, out toward the front of the restaurant, around toward the server’s station. Ultimately I realized that his crush wasn’t only the reason for our lunch venue, but perhaps the whole day. I don’t remember how this crush began. I think he had simply fallen for the waitress a couple of months prior while eating there. He ordered two sides of fries. Chips and salsa were free. I had eaten and was broke so all I ordered was a coke. We were our waitress’s nightmare. The table was full of free chips and cheap fries. Whatever. This was Blaze, he was cool as fuck. Autistic. Our bill was like 12 bucks.

I asked Blaze if I was different from before I left and he said with a lot of expression that I sure was. Oh man was I. He told me that before, I was all about having fun but now it was all about growing up. Everything was so serious now. He was good. Blaze was good. It was all perception, mood, body language and he was dead-on. Most other people would have said the opposite because their analysis of me would have been based on what my current plans were. Upon coming home it wasn’t about going back to school or what I was going to do for a real job, but I talked about my “writing partner” and writing screenplays. Silliness. I was still frustratingly silly. The opposite of getting serious. Before I moved to Boston, it was all about “getting away.” I was still in my twenties. To me, at the time, it felt serious. Or in retrospect, I like to remember it as serious. My break-up with Amy sent me into a depression and life was all about picking myself up and getting things in order to move to Boston. I think of it as a serious time. But Blaze said back then I was all about fun. Having fun. Now I was so serious. For me, life was now all about GO GO GO and growing up, he told me.

They made a banner for me. My Starbucks coworkers. A Goodbye Aaron banner. I already felt old then, at 26. They were like 20. A couple of them were still in high school. But I drove around with them, a Honda CRV, where you can put the back seat all the way down so that you’re just looking up at the sky as you cruise around. Clouds jerk right and left and the tops of trees pop in and out of view. I enjoyed that. Damn. Why so serious? Shit got real I guess. Blaze knows. Blaze knows.

Read The Holy Cinemas of California and the other one about Blaze. Also, his website.

I See These Guys

I see them on facebook, the guys from my mission. They were supposedly more badass than me. I mean they broke ME down, but I’M the apostate now. They were the guys who got in fights playing basketball. “I wanna be on Litchfield’s team cuz he has heart.” Like I was innocent and they weren’t. They hushed when I walked into the room, like people always have. Ain’t foolin’ nobody. C’mon man. I thought you was badass. I’m the one who writes anti-Mormon shit now though I suppose. “Poison” is what the mission president called it. But they have families and pictures outside the temple. I went on my journey. I went to Boston to be a writer. I’m the apostate. I was the most anal. Anal Litchfield they called me. The other guys, walkin’ around naked. Badasses. They have families now. Takin’ pictures outside the temple. I thought I acted for them. I thought I spoke for them. Not one of them came with me. Not one.

Former Intro to the Ultimate Post

First off, the final Statistical Brief.

In these briefs I mainly go over how unlucky googlers found their way to a whiney blog written by a 30-year-old man in his underpants. So here you go:

Entering “spiderman bulge” into search engines led 117 people to sanfranciscostreetfighter over its four-year existence. In an early piece, a (not really blatantly sexual) photo of Spiderman inadvertently led “bulge” searchers to this lame-ass wordpress blog. Don’t think that 117 is the total number of folks who stumbled across the blog looking for bulge, as people searched also for “spider man (notice the space) bulge,” “wrestling bulge,” “one direction bulge” …you get it. I’m not going to list them all, because this is a BRIEF. But I will show a couple of photos.

What's your favorite? Seriously.

What’s your favorite? Seriously.

mister connectionstwo

Only FROSTED Pacey tips will do, folks.

One more? Okay.

bulge

bulge

Lots of people searched for “vigina” as well. You don’t deserve masturbation material if you can’t spell vagina, now do you? Someone searched for “tumors that fall out of a vigina.” And with that, I’m gonna close out SFSF’s final Statistical Brief.

*     *     *

Alright, ready for the Final post by Miss Connections? The San Diego Version? Sarah’s retired, so I’m going to do my best:

I don't know if you're trolling but you still suck dude.

I don’t know if you’re trolling but you still suck dude.

Anything but "knotty." And MissCons shouldn't be grammatically scrutinized, but you raise the stakes when you brandish a semi-colon; phrases on both sides of the mark should be able to stand alone as sentences.

Anything but “knotty.” And MissCons shouldn’t ordinarily be grammatically scrutinized, but the stakes are raised when you brandish a semi-colon; phrases on both sides of the mark should be able to stand alone as sentences.

roll call

Anyone hungry? Wanna head to the thru-smell? Didn't think so.

Anyone hungry? Wanna head to the thru-smell? Didn’t think so.

nurse

This guy’s alright.

Okay, that’s that. Miss Connections is officially retired. On to the business: