Big Black Door

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29th, 2009 by eddie

Next time, Stephanie, just talk to me.


My mom sat me down last night. She was a mess–clay all over her fingers and her hair flying all over like it always did. The clay looked like ash. I didn’t really want to think about it. She said Eddie what the hell is going on with you? And I said nothing Mom, it’s nothing. I love a girl who doesn’t love me back. What else is new?

Did I ever tell you how I met your father, she says. He was a riveter in the factory where I worked and he had so many girlfriends, oh my! A little city all revolving around him. But I wouldn’t even look at him and that drove him crazy. I was a closed gate, and one by one he got rid of the girlfriends, like he was paying a toll, until he was just as I wanted him, all for me. And then I let him in.

Mom. I don’t–

I’m just saying, maybe you’re too open. Everyone wants to feel like they’re discovering a new world.

Maybe. Whatever, I don’t know. Maybe Mom has a mark on her and it’s just somewhere I’ve never seen. I look at everyone these days and think: are you one of them? Do you know?

But the thing is, I’m the only one now. The only one in our little circle without a mark on him. I haven’t been in to work for days. Jack…Jack says there’s factions. Some people who want to spread it, the…well, I guess it’s a virus. Funny thing, for a child of the 80s. I spent half my youth terrified of STDs, the gnarly and jagged ones like all those filmstrips of viruses with slitted villain-eyes. I was so scared of catching something from girls, and now I wish I could. Jack says some people want to spread the virus and let everyone in. But most people, they don’t want anyone to know. They want to keep it safe, and secret, like Gandalf said in that movie.

So what have I done, writing about it here where everyone can see? What’s going to happen to me?

Stephanie says that in her dreams, she wears a helmet like a whale’s head, covered in sea-grass, made of red wood. It’s huge, bigger than a car. She sits in it all night. Men come to her and suckle her breasts underneath the helmet, and what comes out isn’t milk but ink, and they beg her for more. She says she touches their heads like a priestess and in all her life she has never known anything like the peace of the dark under her whale-head.

Part of me wants something to happen to me. So that I can be a part of it. So that I can suffer for it, like Wren, or surrender to it, like Stephanie. Neither of them will touch me. They say someone has to be the control in this little experiment. So all I have is this blog, where I plant myself stubbornly, hollering into the ether: come and get me.

But in the end, if they did want me, could I? I don’t know. They aren’t the only ones. And there’s always Jack. It’s easier to say I could if they’d let me than to face the idea that there’s a whole magical world out there and I’m just too much of a baby to ring the bell on the big black door.


Posted in Uncategorized on January 27th, 2009 by eddie

This is Stephanie.

Eddie always had about the technological know-how of a six year old. So I guess I could have posted here any time, since I set the whole thing up. But that’s so invasive, you know? But it’s late and I feel so bad for him. It’s not a No Eddie Club. It’s…just me, and Wren, and Jack, and it’s all fucked up and scary.

When I sleep now I dream about a woman with a frog’s head and three other people in a little shop. We put our feet in ink. We hold hands. And that’s all. We go out into a city with a funny name, and in that city there are spiders with gears on their bellies, and rivers of cream, and old men with zebra legs limping down the street. Jack says it’s not a dream. Jack says a lot of things.

He says there was a war there. Over people like us. Immigrants.

And all I had to do was fuck Wren to get there. Easiest customs process of my life. My mother used to say that people are like other countries–you can visit, you can learn the language, but you can never really be a local. I guess that’s literally true.

There’s this book I love, and the author had a weird life, she disappeared and everything. It’s so bizarre, but I think this is where she went, to this city. To that war.

Eddie, when you wake up and read this: you have always been in my club. I’ll be by around 4 with Wren and some awesome pictures of a chick in New Mexico with a chupacabra on her ass we can point and laugh at. You’ll be better soon, and then…well, sometimes customs takes awhile.

We’ll bring take-out. Maybe pho.

P.S. Jack made you a present.

The No Eddie Club

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22nd, 2009 by eddie

Ok. I know I haven’t posted. But…how could I? I don’t even know if I should now.

Wren says I think too much and don’t talk enough. I picked her up at Stephanie’s the morning after they…well. I took her out for pancakes. She sat in the booth all pathetic and weird, and when the syrup came she reached out and grabbed my hand. She said she just wanted to hold it for awhile, just needed something warm.

That’s me, something warm.

Then she asked: when you were little, did you ever want to think there was someplace wonderful you could get to, if you just wanted it bad enough? Like Oz or Narnia, but different, the Oz or Narnia you would make if you could make a place just how you wanted it?

Sure, I said.

But you know, when you find a place like that, it isn’t what you thought it would be.

I think she would have said more, but Steph barged in, brash and loud and wearing some stupid jacket with buckles and bells on it. She plopped down next to Wren and unbuttoned her shirt.

There was a black mark on the top part of her left breast, like Wren’s, like Jack’s.

When I was a kid, I was never invited into any of the clubs the others kids invented at school. I couldn’t play sports, I was Asian, I was fat. One group of girls even came up with a No Eddie club.

Stephanie was so proud of her mark. She was so excited to tell me. You dream about this place, she said. And there’s a woman with a frog’s head and she tells your future and makes you stick your feet in this weird ink and then there’s all these bugs but they’re really machines and–

I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about a group of little blond 6th graders who thought they had invented the best club in the whole world.

But Wren looked brighter and happier, as if Stephanie liking the place gave her permission to like it.She really is pretty when she brightens up. When there’s blood in her face.

Jack says there’s this website, Stephanie told us with her stupid dimply little smile she thinks is so cute. Maybe you can find someone there, Eddie.

Maybe you can find someone there. But not here. This here is a No Eddie club.

So I spent a week reading through Jack’s site. Afraid to post. Afraid not to. Hating myself for not being able to decide.

And then a woman in a blue Datsun rolled into my driveway, and I just really can’t talk about that right now. I want to, I just…I’m so tired.

Jack and the Dictionary

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15th, 2009 by eddie

I don’t really know what to say. The only reason I’m even posting about this is because all you guys commented that you knew what was wrong with Wren and that you could explain it.

You said you could explain it.

It takes some shit going down for me to not even give care that Stephanie kissed me. She apologized later, said she was projecting, that she wanted Wren and I was there, and…oh, all the crap you really want to hear.

But Jack came today, like he said he would. He was more put together, shaved and combed and all. But when Wren saw him she basically hid behind me like a little kid. Said she didn’t want to talk to him and couldn’t he leave her alone.

But he couldn’t. On account of the mark, the tattoo, whatever.

He said it wasn’t a tattoo, it was a place, a place you could go to, if you wanted it bad enough. A place with a funny name–I looked it up later. And that he’d been to that place with Wren, that she wouldn’t talk to him in the real world, but in that other place they knew each other, they had been together…

Oh, man, this all just sounds so crazy. It’s a sexually-transmitted city, he said. And he needed to find her, to talk to her, so that they could find other people like them. But Wren was scared of him, she didn’t understand what was happening to her.

This isn’t real, this can’t be real.

I looked at Steph while Jack was talking. She looked back at me. Later, after Jack left and Wren was quietly freaking out in the lobby, she said: it’s an experiment. Someone has to try it. Has to sleep with her. I’ll take this one for the team. I’ll tell you everything. I’ll record it all. Then we’ll know if it’s true or not. It’s scientific.


And I’ll be scientifically alone tonight yet again.


Palimpsest: noun. A parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.

I look at the dictionary and say: that’s me. Scraped away to make room for a better story.

What Is Wrong With People?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12th, 2009 by eddie

Now I get it. Why Wren just had to see this guy.

Sato Kenji, author extraordinaire, has the same tattoo on his hand that Wren has on her stomach. Definite WTF.


He read all this shit about trains, weird stuff, stuff that didn’t sound real. I didn’t really like it. I didn’t not like it. I wish I could ride on trains  like that. But I don’t think they’d let me on, you know?

She accosted him after the reading—a bunch of weird shit about Japanese train conductors—and hauled him between the bookcases so she could take her shirt off and show him. He was, I don’t know, late-forties, neat and nice, in a suit, all combed and slick, and he smiled at her, kind of a sad smile, and touched her belly. Man, just everyone gets to touch everyone lately.

He said: It’s not a tattoo, and I sort of swallowed that, mostly glad I didn’t have to pay for diagnostics for the UV machine. But Sato kept looking over Wren and Steph’s shoulders, all nervous, like he was expecting someone.

Wren was totally wrecked. She cried and begged him to tell her what it was, and she started babbling about bad dreams. Even Steph was sort of taken aback, she just stared at her new girlfriend practically on her knees in front of this nice old man. Finally, he leaned down and kissed her stomach right in front of all of us. He might have actually licked it.

“They don’t have it?” he said.

“No, just me,” Wren sniffled.

“Come with me. I have a hotel room, I can show you, but…I can’t be heard…”

She went.

Holy shit, I have got to start licking girls’ stomachs.

Steph and I went out for coffee. We felt bad, since we’d driven Wren there, but Steph called club rules: you hook up and ditch your friends, you get your own ride home.

Afterward, in the parking lot of the diner, this guy came running up. He was wearing a suit, like he’d just come from work, or maybe he wanted to to impress us. He pounded on the car window.

He yelled: “I have to talk to her!”

I said: “Are you the guy from the phone? Get a grip, dude. She’s right here.”

But no, he didn’t mean Steph. The other one, he said, Wren. He had to see her, where was she, would I talk to her for him, would Stephanie talk to her, tell her to meet with him. His name was Jack.

No, I would not. Patient confidentiality. Also, you’re weird.

He pulled up his shirt and pressed his…do men have a bosom? I guess. Huh. Well, his pectoral, I guess, he pressed his pectoral to the window. Same mark as Wren. Same black streetmap. Same tiny writing.

“I. need. to. talk. to. her. She won’t see me, she doesn’t understand. Please help me.”

Aw, man, I really just have no defense for totally fucking pathetic. I told him to meet me Thursday at the office. Wren’s appointment is Thursday. We’ll see.

Steph was shaken up pretty bad. She’s not a fan of screaming men slapping their flab against her window. I took her home and made her coffee. Mom was asleep.

And while we were waiting for water to boil, she kissed me.

I’m not bragging. I’m just saying.

The Women in My Life

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8th, 2009 by eddie

eMom set up a kiln in the kitchen already, between the oven (which I don’t use) and the sink (which I do use). I am going to kill her. She’s making like, elephant figurines or something. I don’t even know. There’s trunks and tails all over the counter and I didn’t even get to have breakfast. I can not have been this annoying when I was a kid.

Turns out Steph was way ahead of me—she called up Wren last night and took her to dinner. Bitch.

Apparently, Wren is a Scorpio and enjoys pho and air hockey. Fantastic.

Stephanie, heedless of the dangers of unemployment, gloated all over the place. She spent half the morning implying she fucked Wren before I got her to admit that it didn’t get past a little kissing. They’re going out again on Thursday, to see some Japanese author read about trains. When Stephanie was a kid, her mom took her across Austria on a train, reading her Grimm’s fairy tales and scaring the shit out of her with all the blood and maidenheads and severed limb stuff. She dug it, though, secretly. And I guess Wren has a thing for this writer.

I should have been a writer.

I wasn’t going to ask. It’s bad enough Stephanie got to stick her tongue in this girl’s mouth, I don’t need to watch. I’m not a masochist. I don’t have that “maybe they’ll let me join in” fantasy. They totally won’t.

But by the end of the day, she’d stopped crowing about it and told me to come along, even though I could give a shit about trains. Fine. I, too, enjoy pho and air hockey.

I had fully three sorority-chick butterflies today. Their moms freaked, I guess. Fucking butterflies. Fucking moms.

After Stephanie packed up and left I got this phone call. I practically fell over the front counter reaching across her damn plants to pick it up. There was some predictable heavy breathing and then a guy said: “I need to talk to her.”

“Whatever, dude,” I said, and hung up over him sputtering that I didn’t understand. It rang again. I picked it up, told him to get over it, and slammed the receiver. It’s pretty awesome to slam a receiver these days. Clicking your cell closed just doesn’t have the same emotional punch.

This One Time

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5th, 2009 by eddie

So this girl came in today.

All my stories start like that. Like that girl in American Pie. This one time, at band camp…

This one time, when this girl came in…

Mom says I need a hobby. I say hobbies are for people who are terrified of empty time. Also, I can just watch her do stuff and feel just as tired as if I’d done it.

So this one time. Yesterday. This girl came in. The name on her release form was Renata Grene, but when she was lying down on the table with her breasts in her hands—which seems modest to the girls who do it but really isn’t, I mean, it’s way hotter than if they just didn’t care who saw—she told me: “It’s Wren. Like the bird, not like -and Stimpy. Renata’s too long for me. I’m…not that big a girl.”

She wasn’t. It’s not that she was super-skinny like Steph or whatever. She had a round belly and big shoulders and her hands were totally inadequate when it came to covering up her breasts, but she was so short, like maybe five foot, and so all of that body still seemed small on her, even though it wasn’t, really. That doesn’t make sense, but I keep trying to remember her, and it keeps slipping away. Her name, her smallness, and the tattoo she wanted me to get rid of.

Wren’s tattoo was weird. I’ll say that upfront. It wasn’t good at all—not that the business I get is generally the work of Rembrandts of the needle. But this wasn’t just ugly, it was violent and jagged, just a bunch of black lines criss-crossing over her ribs, like a streetmap, I guess. The lines were sloppy, like gashes. There were bits of writing but they were blurry and sloppy, too, I couldn’t read any of it. The middle of the street-lines was just under her heart, spidering out over her stomach. The last bit circled around her belly button like a roundabout. It was ugly as shit but I couldn’t stop staring at it. It was so black and so stark on her, so big and flamboyant—usually if you get art that size it means you either have something big to say or you’re trying to hide that you’ve got nothing to say. She didn’t seem like either type.

I said: “Where’d you get this done, Wren? We should put him on our Do Not Take Checks From This Man list.”

And she just started crying. She let her breasts go and covered her face and sobbed. Said she’d never had a tattoo in her life, she just woke up one morning and it was there, she didn’t know what was wrong with her, she’d been to doctors and they didn’t know either, and it wouldn’t go away. Well, I thought. Don’t Take Checks From This Man, But Definitely Get Drugs From Him. Poor kid must have been out of her mind to not even remember getting such a hatchet-job.

She kept saying: Just get it off me. Like it was a spider.

So I fired up the machine. It’s funny, I never think about it, but really tattoo removal is like magic. What happens when you get a tattoo is that the ink is injected in between layers of skin. The skin heals around it, but the ink stays liquid in there, warm, like blood, so when it’s done you’re walking around with a big snaking river of ink inside you, almost like it’s alive, negotiating with scar tissue every day to stay in the shape of an eagle or Hello Kitty or a damned butterfly. It’s freaky. Part of you is made of ink. And what UV therapy does is pulverize the ink molecules so that the scar tissue is all that’s left, nearly invisible. The body absorbs the broken ink, and you’re still part-ink for awhile, but no one can see it. It doesn’t even hurt. I just turn on my magic machine and you’re all right again.

But not Wren. I don’t know if that girl is ever gonna be all right again. When the beam hit her she screamed like nothing I’ve ever heard. We put on a topical anesthetic but light therapy isn’t supposed to hurt anymore than a little sunburn—at worst it’s an eyebrow waxing. But she screamed like I was stabbing her. But hey, whatever, some people have sensitive skin. We’ve got stronger sedatives, we’re not cruel.

But even when she’s calm, the tattoo won’t come off. It doesn’t even fade. Deep and black and sharp, just like before. And I told you how it works—there’s no way it should have no effect. But it didn’t.

I’ll have the UV machine checked out next week. All I can do. But I don’t think it’s the machine. It made quick work of an Old English PAINSLUT on this guy’s shoulder that morning. Sounds stupid, but I think the tat just didn’t want to come off. Part of her is made of ink. I had her make another appointment—there are other things we can try, though considering how she reacted to the “painless” option I’m not too thrilled with her chances. But I told her it’s not so bad, she can cover it up, hell, it’s interesting, anyway.

I didn’t want Wren to leave. That’s the truth. Unless the machine’s fucked, she’s stuck with that thing on her stomach. I told her to make a follow-up with Steph because I wanted to be sure I had her phone number.

I am kind of an asshole sometimes.