One night at the hospital, during the height of the pandemic, during her fourteenth straight hour on shift, after watching yet another patient die from COVID, a nurse’s aide named Carly, still wearing her PPE complete with mask and face shield, shuffled out of the ward, through the halls crowded with patients, and through the front exit. She got into her Kia and sat there, mulling over her options. Did she even have options?
Yes. She could terminate her selflessness. She could vacuum her car’s interior. She could check on that emergency intubation. She could pump air into her tires.
Almost a year into my pandemic-imposed layoff, hermitting inside my sublet, constantly wearing an effluvious white terrycloth bathrobe, I received an e-mail from the HR factotum in which she, quote, “regretfully,” unquote, announced that our employer, the publishing house where I myself had factotummed (as an editor, proofreader, and content provider) for half a decade would not rehire me, da da da, “good luck” thrown in as lagniappe that simultaneously increased my desultoriness and my inclination toward continuing to download Australian (I like kangaroos) metaphysics PDFs, the more abstruse the better, as a looming challenge to start reading and/or deleting.
Modern lesbianism: one day at Whole Foods, Meghan—that cute cashier with the pierced cheeks—flirtatiously invited me to her art opening. So the next night, I stopped by the Transmission Gallery (a former auto repair shop), where I stared at her sculptures, which resembled giant chthonic hairballs: fuzzy, tentacled, and seeping imitation blood. “Whadjoo think?” she asked, wearing a COVID mask and a flapper dress, both the same faded turquoise.
“TrèsDisney Channel,” I replied through my beige-and-beiger-checked mask. She giggled. And walked away. Oh well. I drove home alone, vowing to continue looking for affordable, non-crummy health insurance.
For the previous chapters of the Lynde Saga, see here, here, here, here, here, annnnnd here. (These two sentences don’t count toward the hundred-word total.)
At eight PM, the time this TV special started airing, my band The Splats stepped onstage at Guralski’s Bar to open for Highlife. Someone in the audience immediately shouted “Faggot!” and threw a beer bottle at me. It whizzed an inch past my head.
I got M-A-A-A-AD. I charged toward him.
A minute later, I lay on the floor, hearing Guralski himself tell my bandmates “No fuckin’ way I’m payin’ you for this. Now get the fuck outta here.”
“Awww,” I said with a mouthful of blood. “Can’t we see fuckin’ Highlife at least?”
For the previous chapters of the Lynde Saga, see here, here, here, here, and here. (These two sentences don’t count toward the hundred-word total.)
As the howling, yowling fifteen-year-old lead singer for the first (and probably worst) band I ever belonged to, The Splats, I had no idea this TV special even existed; I’d long ago stopped watching TV, which I considered, as I put it in one of my songs, “Brainwasher Supreme.” I didn’t even read my mom’s favorite magazine, TV Guide. At the time, I considered her a pathetic tube junkie, but considering my stepfather’s dalliances, not to mention his homophobic disdain toward me, who could blame her for escaping into bullshit? (Also: Perversion of the Body Snatchers? I gotta see that.)
Once upon a time, I supported legalizing all drugs, freeing Mumia, raising the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour, etc. Then Trump won in 2016, and if the electorate loves someone like him, then why bother? So I stopped caring. And I started actually paying attention to my job as senior content provider for WebFresh International. Soon I made a fortune when I created that Luvcats series of e-books in which humans bang human-feline hybrids: Purrfect Lover, Gettin’ Some Tail, Grab ’em by the Pussy, etc.
Anyway, I doubt Biden will change anything. Sleazy escapism always remains in vogue.
The night I turned eighteen, in 1984, I was at some party, drunkenly celebrating my newly-arrived adulthood, when I beat the crap out of some Greek (as in fraternity member) from high school because he’d said my favorite band, those heavy-metal retards Skorchin, “suck donkey dick.” Five years later, during my first stint in AA, out of a twelve-steppish desire to make amends, I visited him (he still lived in town) to apologize. “Forget about it,” he said. “I love that band now. Can you fuckin’ believe it?” I fuckin’ could. Sometimes it takes time for people to appreciate retardedness.
After years of playing coffeehouses and regattas, the female alt-rock band Bitchfork scored its biggest hit ever, when the band’s 1998 song “Here Chicky Chicky” appeared on the soundtrack of that direct-to-streaming, Nineties nostalgia movie Lamestain. The residuals that Bitchfork’s lead singer and sole original member Tessa McQuade earned from writing that song helped pay for her eighty-one-year-old grandfather’s funeral. She’d never liked him, but she thought he deserved something for dying a particularly nasty death from COVID; she’d seen him wheeze like a porous accordion via Zoom as he lay in his hospital bed. Survivors’ guilt: the other pandemic.
A truck sideswiped a convertible one warm, rainless night, killing the convertible’s driver instantly. (The nonunionized trucker had fallen asleep behind the wheel after eighteen straight hours driving to meet a strict deadline for delivering overpriced consumer goods to various high-end department stores, such a literal deadline indicative of the destruction of organized labor and of the corporate world’s valuing profits over employees, including the employees who had manufactured those consumer items overseas for subsistence wages under dangerous conditions.) I suppose we need a human-interest angle here. The convertible’s driver, Jonathan Perrin, thirty-nine, liked watching superhero movies on his computer.
One night five years ago, after getting drunk at some bar, the bros and I walked up the street to a tattoo parlor, where we had our left biceps inked with the logo of Skorchin, that lame Eighties band we’d listened to in high school during the 2010s. Only, on me, that jagged, fiery, metallic-lettered logo ended up looking like a smudgy SKOBCHEN. Today, the tattoo serves as an entertaining story, turning me into a character, someone with no aspirations beyond partying. But I did have aspirations once—investment-company aspirations. That messed-up tattoo must have engulfed them, sci-fi style. Eerie.