Rick Edelstein was born and ill-bred on the streets of the Bronx. His initial writing was stage plays off-Broadway in NYC. When he moved to the golden marshmallow (Hollywood) he cut his teeth writing and directing multi-TV episodes of “Starsky & Hutch,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Chicago,” “Alfred Hitchcock,” et al. He also wrote screenplays, including one with Richard Pryor, “The M’Butu Affair” and a book for a London musical, “Fernando’s Folly.” His latest evolution has been prose with many published short stories and novellas, including, “Bodega,” “Manchester Arms,” “America Speaks,” “Women Go on,” “This is Only Dangerous,” “Aggressive Ignorance,” “Buy the Noise,” and “The Morning After the Night.” He writes every day as he is imbued with the Judeo-Christian ethic, “A man has to earn his day.” Writing atones.
Okay, I’m here, what’s the emergency?
I needed to talk with someone who has my back before I go out and commit some kinda’ mayhem that me and Annabeth would never forgive.
What’s going on?
I’ve had it. It’s all bullshit.
Chill, I’m not the enemy. What’s bullshit?
Anything, everything, democracy? Please. As if we really have a say as to what asshole in Congress decides to reduce our coverage while he is covered up the yin-yang even when he leaves office.
You’re pissed at Congress? What are you the naïve good fairy turned rancid?
I quit my job.
Hold up! You liked that gig and the paycheck which keeps you in significant goodies. What happened?
How do you know anything happened? Maybe I just had it.
What it? You’re making me crazy.
It, shit, four years never late didn’t even take sick days but did take vacation. Vacation, two weeks, they act like it’s a favor. Two fucking weeks? France gives 5 weeks, New Zealand, the Maoris with faces tattooed like Mike Tyson, 7 weeks, and Americans, wow we get two weeks. Is that weak or what?
You quit over vacation time?
No, it’s a little more complicated.
I’m going sit down and listen. Fill me in. Why did you quit a job you really liked and paid a bundle?
Okay, okay, this morning, I’m in the office even early which is usual for me and Rachel saunters in...
Rachel, the one with black curly hair who you want to fuck?
Just a fantasy, you know.
What happened with you and Rachel.
Nothing. She ambles over to the desk near me, wearing a pair of I think you call the color ecru pants that are hugging her butt like it’s saving her from drowning.
I’m an ass man so I get the imagery. What happened, you pat that pulchritude or...
No. No way. I don’t touch unless I get an invite. I just said those pants are great, Rachel, your butt looks sensational in those pants. Punto. Period. Nothing further, she smiles, nods, sits down and goes to work as do I.
Come lunch time my intercom buzzes, the Supervisor wants to talk to me. Okay, I figure maybe a raise or more responsibility.
Somehow this is going into the toilet, isn’t it?
Mr. Hackford-Bishop has a look on his face which is less than amiable. Who the fuck has last names with a hyphen anyhow. Is it a gay thing?
Is he gay?
As a holiday fruitcake.
He says that I have been reported to have made an inappropriate sexist remark to a colleague and he intends to enroll me in the Sensitivity-Trainings which I am scheduled to attend once a week in the evenings for three months.
You’re kidding. You sure you didn’t pat that butt?
I was beyond belief. I told hyphen man all I said is that your butt looks good in those pants.
Reasonable. What did he say?
He made a sound as if he bit down on a pit of a prune to help him with constipation telling me that my remark was blatantly inappropriate. That’s the word that faggot used, blatant.
Weird times we’re living in. What was your response?
I said give me a break. Even you gay people to which he stiletto’s me with you have a problem with gays and I said hell no, different strokes and stuff but what I meant I said to him was that you gay dudes are into butts, right, so when you see a man togged out in spandex hugging his gluts don’t tell me you don’t salivate, I said to him.
Methinks your rationale didn’t go down all that well with him.
He replied as if I was an alien, speaking ever so slowly and enunciating like only faggots on the rag do. Thursday from 7 to 10, three months, Rachel will give you the address.
That’s cold. Apparently you didn’t go for it.
Go for it? I said Rachel can take the address and shove it up her beautiful butt, and you too you hyphenated faggot, blatant that! And I walked, went to my desk, picked up some personal shit, passed Rachel and said a sweet goodbye.
A sweet goodbye? I’ll bet. What did you drop on her?
Have a life you deserve you cunt. Sweet enough? I need a brew, want one?
Nothing beats cold beer.
Except two cold beers. And a joint.
Roll it tight.
Tighter than a nun’s pussy. Talk to me about something.
Anything other than the hypocrisy of the human condition which is beyond redemption. Here you go, toke this baby.
Uhmmm...sweet smell of access. Good shit.
The best in the West. Talk to me, brother but don’t be bogarting the joint.
Okay, okay...here you go...talk about hypocrisy, how about my ex calling me for some financial help. Can you believe it. Married only three years and two months, she took me to the cleaners but I’ll bet half of it went to her bitch of a lawyer and now she wants help. Fuck her.
I remember when you two split. It was tough. You loved her, didn’t you?
I still love her. I just don’t like her.
Well you adjusted in time.
Yeah...me and me are doing just fine. You gonna’ share the wealth.
Here you go.
Better. Speaking of which you ever check out liberator.com?
Were we talking about what?
Matters not...liberator.com. Know it?
Yeah, their prices are too high. A yard and a half for a vibrating butt plug. Give me surcease.
They got a black granite job for eighty.
Black granite’s cool. I had a ring like that until someone ripped me off.
How can someone rip off a ring without you knowing it? You still got your fingers so...
No, it was in the spa. I left in the locker.
It’s called a locker because you’re supposed to lock it.
Duhh...I liked that ring. Black onyx, an original. It looked good on my finger.
You believe in reincarnation?
You mean what happens to us after we die?
Only kinda’ reincarnation I know. This shit is getting to me on the good side.
Infuckingdeed. What were you saying? And stop laughing.
Reincarnation stuff. You into it?
I don’t know. I’m a what you see is what you got. If it doesn’t register on one of my four senses I pay it no mind as if it doesn’t exist which it probably doesn’t, you know what I’m saying.
Five senses. You said four. Five: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
Well my nasal passages are so often blocked up smell is on hiatus so like I was saying if I can’t see, hear, touch or taste the puppy, if it doesn’t resonate it doesn’t exist for yours truly. You believe in that shit?
Yeah well, if you’re into karma like what you reap and shit you know if you fuck up you got to pay maybe even in another lifetime like that dude who ripped you off might come back as...
Well if that motherfucker who swiped my ring reincarnates as a frog destined to swim in fetid waters, I’m down with it.
What would you have done if you caught him ransacking your locker?
I’da’ straightened him out in no uncertain terms to get his clammy paws out of my locker!
If he was six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier?
Call the attendant.
Not try and punch him out?
When it comes to a severely over-matched disparity on the physique side I am your sui generis ninja specializing in cowardice.
Talk your shit.
Good smoke helps.
Suppose you had a gun.
Hey, man, coming out of the spa all I had was a towel wrapped around my butt.
Why do we do that?
Get out of the sweat box wearing a towel covering our dick as if we’re ashamed of the fact that it shrunk up in the heat.
Wesley Snipes got three years for tax evasion, Trump’s tax evasion makes Wesley small change.
The brother got slam time while Trump got Prez.
Gives a person pause.
He should get time just for that piece on his head.
Another brew, another joint?
Don’t have nothing but a yes from this corner. I read about this 13-year old genius saying that we are on the verge of solving the energy crisis without using fossil fuels.
You’re going to believe a 12-year old...
Thirteen. He said that we’re approaching the most important advanced stage since the industrial revolution.
Advanced, shit. I think we’re in the advanced stage of human ignorance, advanced stage of stupidity, advanced stages of ugly to the max. Makes me crazy. I understand those freaks who go out and just shoot everything in sight. Here we go.
Salud. It has little to do with who they’re shooting at.
Eggfuckingzackly. They’re shooting at the shadows that never manifested into a hoped-for reality.
Talk your shit and keep rolling.
If I wasn’t so sane I would in a Nano-second hustle over to the office and erase hyphenated fag.
Just wound the bitch so she’ll have to limp her way through life and every time she walks up the stairs she’ll think of the dude she ratted on.
How many guns you have?
Besides my Kel-Tec semi piece?
Me, I’m thinking of getting the bad boy. They got a sale, $449 plus 5 free mags.
You talking about an AR-15?
With tiny bullets, needle-nosed suckers weigh less than four grams.
Those babies travel faster than the speed of sound.
How you know that?
I read in the Guns ‘n Ammo mag. You think I only surf the Net? I read, baby. It’s three times as fast. By the time he says give me your...
Rip open a cavity inside the flesh of that zombie asshole who shoulda’ known better.
It is designed to kill in a the shortest amount of time. Protection, baby, macro protect!
Speaking of, do you wear condoms?
Can’t, no way, it feels like those rubber gloves women wear when washing the dishes. Protecting me from feeling anything, particularly the pussy juice which makes the in ‘n out worthwhile if you know what I’m saying.
What if she insists.
Why would she do that?
You know, protecting from getting with a baby and shit.
I had a vasectomy.
You never told me that. When?
How’d that effect your sex life?
Perfect. I used to carry a document straight from the doctor’s office around at all times and if the woman doesn’t believe me I show it to her and we get it on natural like the way it’s intended supposed to be, you know what I’m saying.
Toke this motherfucker! Me, I’m more comfortable, more at home with my semi. Legal in most every state to carry concealed weapons...have to pass on the assault rifle, though. It spooks me, bad vibes.
How do you figure?
That dude, Omar Mateen, can’t forget the name, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Oh yeah, I read about that shit-bag on Yahoo. He had an assault piece he bought in Florida.
Better than Facebook.
Facebook has too much personal dumb shit. I like the news straight out. Like 49 killed, 53 wounded. Pass on the rifle, too much history. Besides I can do the do with my piece as if I was Clint Eastwood on crack if the opportunity presents itself.
Ever feel like offing some motherfucker just on G-P, like Mr. Hyphenate?
Lotsa’ times but as a response to something specific like a dude telling me that my full house was not equal to his straight. We went at it until it was declared we split the pot. I egressed my butt out of there going to my crib grabbing my piece and actually drove back looking for that scum but he was long gone. I coulda’ wasted him with little effort believe you me.
I sometimes feel like a cartoon character wanting to wreak vengeance on the wrong-doers, you know. Like when I call Directv service ending up talking to some Philippine dude who insists on reading down from his fucking list having nothing to do with what I’m calling about.
Or how about those Indian dudes, I mean calling about an American issue on my American Internet I get this phony accent, hello I’m Jack...Jack your ass, you’re Bikram or somebody.
And if your question does not fit his list he tells you to hold for a supervisor. I once held for five minutes for a super-fucking-visor who never came one the line. Share the blunt, baby.
Here you go. The other day getting gas, the automatic shit choked up and froze. My credit card stuck in the slot, no gas flowing, the world has come to an end. I went to the booth dealing with a woman who had blue hair flopping around a fat face and two tattoos peeking out from the top of her tits resenting me from taking her away from texting on her cell. Can you believe it, Miss FatFace gave me a hard time as if I was responsible for the fucked up pumper. I’m telling you it was good I didn’t have my piece because the way she acted in a rude get out of my face ‘tude, I could have disappeared her blue haired butt from this grateful planet.
So you are comin’, right?
Annabeth said she never got a response back from you.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
The shit is melting your brain. Wake the fuck up, man, we’re getting married.
Oh, that Anna yeah.
Beth...Annabeth. She sent you the invitation with a self-addressed envelope even with a stamp and a small form to fit in it saying yes you’ll come, no you won’t and even four lines for other. She designed it herself. She never heard from you and needs the information, for the caterers you know, how many people.
Ah, right, yeah, sorry, so you two are really getting married, okay.
Yeah, we do good with each other.
You gonna’ tell her about quitting your job?
Yeah, of course, she got my back. With my computer programming skills I’ll land a new spot in a New York minute.
You gonna’ tell her the details about why, you know Rachel’s butt and stuff.
No need to overwhelm her with information of a questionable nature which she mos def does not require. I just needed a change so I split. Okay with you?
Wouldn’t have it any other way. Do you fight, have arguments? Shit that bothers you about her?
That’s the thing. It took some getting used to like when she sneezes I mean it’s like a 100 mph blast could break through walls.
Doesn’t get to you, on the real side?
Listen if a woman could get used to the way my feets sweat, like a pint a day, a sneeze blast ain’t no big thing believe you me.
I hear a but though...something you’re not saying.
We’re great...I mean she says on good days we feel like fresh warm bread sprinkled with garlic salt. She talks like that sometimes. Did you know that a person cannot tickle himself.
I never thought about that.
Me neither but Annabeth knows some shit like the largest cell in the human body is the female egg but the smallest, get this, the smallest is the sperm.
So much for male dominance, huh.
When we first met I asked her what do you do and you know what she said?
Not really, no.
She said It’s what I don’t do that’s important. What do you think about that? I was hooked from the get-go. I am so stoked.
Two of us. So you two never argue, fight, have disputes? You telling me everything about you and Anna is just...
Okay, that’s better. For a minute or two I thought you were smoking some delusional shit. What?
Well...it’s Mister Herz.
Uh oh, milk is turning sour. Who the fuck is Mister Herz, an ex or somebody?
No, Herz in German means heart. It’s her monster fucking Great Dane of a dog who shares our bed.
You don’t like dogs?
That’s one of the first questions she asked me and I said yeah, sure, I love dogs.
But Mister Hurt?
Herz. I have to fight her for...
What can I tell you. I walk her to pee and poop and most of the day she lays around sleeps.
On your bed.
Or if I’m watching TV on the couch, there she is. She likes me. Maybe too much but you know Annabeth loves that beast like even more than...
More than you?
No, I was gonna’ say more than life. You know, a saying.
Is Mister Hurts...
Going to be at the wedding?
So what’s up with you not sending back the invite?
Oh...okay...listen...I’m for you...I got your back but...how can I explain this...I’m a loner, a sort of urban recluse...I like solitude, I don’t feel all that comfortable with more than two peoples at a time which includes me but...
What are you saying? It’s a little envelope with a form Annabeth designed herself. Mail the gismo. It already has a stamp on it.
It’s just, well weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, anniversaries...those are things that say this is what’s going down and I have to come with the attitude of the event, you know...damn this shit got me on another plane, what was I saying, oh yeah, happy birthday smile and even wear one of those stupid hats, or sad faced condolences at a funeral and say the right things in a somber voice...I...it makes me feel like a programmed computer with no options of just...I’m not good at small talk and...listen even if I don’t attend your wedding, I’m laying a gift on you. How about a toaster?
Annabeth doesn’t like you all that much.
How can she like or dislike, we met only once.
Twice. In the coffee shop.
I remember that, yeah, we just met, first time.
And then at the movies.
I was coming out, you two were going in. We started to talk and Anna, yes, beth, said the movie’s starting in five minutes to which I said they play twelve minutes of coming attractions and shit to which she said I enjoy them as much as the movie and she pulled you in so that doesn’t really count as a meet to judge me. What did she say? Exactly?
Okay, her words not mine. She said your friend feels like something’s missing inside of him. As if he’s a skeleton in search of flesh.
She said that shit about me?
Annabeth has a way of talking she does. Don’t take it personal.
If it’s about me it is personal.
Maybe you should fill out the little form saying yes come to our wedding, she’ll change her mind I’ll bet.
A skeleton without flesh?
Not without. Searching for flesh.
Oh yeah, that’s a lot better. Fuck me.
You should come.
I don’t think so.
Just show up enough to show you celebrate your best bud going for it, you don’t even have to stay all that long. Come on.
Weddings, anniversaries, funerals...
You are equivocating me getting married with a funeral.
Just saying, you know.
Fuck you and just saying.
Are you hungry?
I can eat.