The sun was creeping down the horizon as we climbed onto our porch. A new night approached, a third round of madness. We all scattered in different directions to prepare for the evening, except me and Grace. She joined me on the trusty wicker bench. A pack of cigarettes and a lighter lay on the glass table. I grabbed one and lit up, even though I wasn’t craving it. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 13
Imagine this for a moral lesson: A lucky group of teenage boys are given a new form of artificial intelligence, designed to help them suck less. How do you tie a tie? How do you shave? How do you speak to girls? The young men need merely open an app on their iPhones and intone their questions; moments later, a precocious robot responds in its mechanic cadence with a personalized answer.
Better yet, this AI is freakishly empathetic, and its raison d’etre is to coddle today’s youth through life’s deepest quagmires. How do you ask someone out? How do you show confidence? What makes somebody a real friend? How do you know when you love someone?
Don’t worry about these pesky, 20th century worries – There’s an app for that! Continue reading You Know What, Gillette?
At some point Boris materialized, drawn to the positive vibes with his strange, predator-like way of seeking things out.
“How’s it been, man?” I asked.
“Excellent.” He cocked his head and gave an A-okay gesture, clenching together his thumb and index finger very tightly, practically pulsating, as if straining against his will to show his excellence. “I was just,” but he paused to exhale and wriggle his limbs, forcing himself to relax. “I was just goofing off with Ojas when I realized that I needed to do my own thing. Sometimes you know that you need to do you. And I know you know that, man. So I ended up walking along the water for miles – miles and miles, brotha.” Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 12
Nathan continued laughing maniacally as Ojas crawled back into bed, promising to wake up in an hour. We returned to the living room where Phillipa and Shelly were sipping on their lattes on the same couch as before.
“Did y’all hear about Carl’s stingray incident?” Shelly asked with an ironic southern accent. “Apparently he’s in surgery now. Doctors say they’re doing all they can to keep him alive.” There was playfulness beneath her somber tone, but Nathan’s gullible frame of mind succumbed all-too easily, and his bliss transmogrified into mournful despondency. He looked pleadingly toward Shelly, hanging on her every word. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 10
I was bored and kinda sad too. I don’t know if it was Saturday or Sunday. I can tell you it was February. I remember thinking: “It’s hot as hell for February.” Really, it was those exact words. I know this because I also remember thinking: “I bet folks in hell are made to wear big puffy coats,” which I know I thought at one point because I see myself wearing a big puffy coat, and I can feel my hairy torso prickling with sweat as I hurry across the street and down the dirt-smeared stairwell, into a cramped, stuffy subway car where I say to myself, “I bet folks in hell are made to wear big puffy coats and ride back and forth on cramped, stuffy subway cars until the end of time.”
Arnold grabbed his skim-board from our room as we descended from the Drug Den. I found a spare board on the porch sitting underneath a table. The dogged California sun was tiring, beginning its descent and bathing the mackerel sky in a pale yellow coating. A local teenage boy was shouting into his phone, sitting on the boardwalk barrier with one foot above sand, the other above pavement, straddling the wide cement bannister as if it were a horse. The beach was uncrowded and serene as Arnold proved to himself and the world that he was an excellent skim-boarder. Watching him float atop the water – effortlessly elegant, yet endlessly silly in his sombrero – he seemed like one of Kerouac’s goofy water bugs zipping across pond surfaces in Big Sur Valley, just playing in the water ’till the end of time. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 7
Cries of activity from the porch interrupted my reveries. Carl, the sweet-talking politico from New Orleans, was assembling troops for a dip in the ocean.
“Gitty up mother fuckers it’s swimmin’ time!” he cried out spiritedly. Eddy trailed reluctantly, his thin French body trembling in anticipation of the water.
“Sheet man, thees will be cold as fuck,” he kept saying.
The pack descended from the porch, crossed the boardwalk, hopped over the ledge and marched through the sand, into the great ocean. I chuckled at the thought of Lewis and Clark, whose westward journey had been a bit more challenging.