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The Bitcoin

13 Dec

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Friday he got off late from the coffee shop. Had to walk up the hobo alley off Abbott Kinney in the dark, to the residential street where he’d parked his Mercury Topaz. Work lot for customers only. Rough day but they all were. Gloria the goth cashier girl called in sick. He had to cover. He had a crush on her but she was dating some guy in a band. A state worker out of South Carolina had called, threatening a fine. The dishwasher had fathered kids there and he’d forgotten to file the wage garnishment. In his hand, in a clear gallon freezer bag, the now day old vegan almond flour blueberry muffins. No time to cook but it was something.

Suddenly behind a trash heap something moved. He felt his hands raising up, although he couldn’t box. Rats scattered and a coke Zero bottle rolled half cocked over the concrete with a sound like a door knocker. A strange voice rattling off the dumpsters. Can you help me, it said. Continue reading

The Fisherman’s Daughter

10 Dec

(Previously)

In Puerto Princesa the guard at the resort gate had an M16 with the blacking worn off. A kind smile. He made 50 cents an hour and they posted him by the road. When Abu Sayyaf took you they approached from the beach. They drove speedboats up the coast from the south; he’d read about it. If they came the guard would have to hear the disturbance 200 yards away. Run to the beach, fight off five men with AK-47s by himself. 50 cents an hour. That’s assuming the boats weren’t already halfway back to Balabac where they kept the video equipment dry for the beheading. The hotel came at a significant discount but the desk girl still charged him for an upgrade. We need it sir, she said. No more Westerners now because of the terrorist. She had studied hospitality. Hoped to work in California. You’d be like a movie star there, he said. The men will go crazy for you. Continue reading

Festival of Savings

19 Nov

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Previously

He dreamed he was walking. Looked down and his hands were holding papers. Folders of mistakes he’d made at work. It was the day of his annual review. In one or more areas he had not been Very Satisfactory. He woke up thinking he was late. Then remembered. There had been a nuclear holocaust.

Thank God, he thought. Continue reading

Aswang

4 Nov

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Previously

Don’t come inside, said Maricar. She was 4′ 11”, 19, looked 14. Waray-Waray. The father a coconut farmer on Samar. There are beach there but no tourist, she explained. He’d never heard of it but decided to move there.

They were in the best hotel in Angeles. You could tell because there were so many Arabs. In the elevators they’d quietly appraise your girls and smile. One named Waleed he’d seen three times, earned enough trust to hear that your George W. Bush was a criminal. He worked for the Jews. Continue reading

Finally, Some Good News (Part 6)

22 Oct

la x press

Previously:

What Do You Do

Nest Egg

Second Date

No Exit

The Zombie Zone

Angel of the Morning

Belinda

Power Achiever

I Just Keep Losing

**********

The Sherman Oaks Outdoorsman

The gun shop door was open but half the ceiling had collapsed. The Sherman Oaks Outdoorsman. Here too hissing sprinklers, shrieking alarms. He had to press his fingertip into his left ear and still the back of his head rang with the sound of cicadas. Shelves fallen into each other. Tile floor covered with flashlights and Rambo knives, spreadeagled Guns & Ammo magazines. Soldier of Fortune open to honeypot ads in the back for hit men, all sopping wet. Marcy still catatonic in the ’79 Mercedes outside, in the handicapped space. He’d wrapped her in his picnic blanket. Strapped her in like a baby. Eased the seat all the way back so her head wouldn’t stick up. He’d thought about taking another car, a 4-wheel drive. But the hallway floor tilted in and the first burned corpse he checked for keys groaned when he tried its pockets. Continue reading

Finally, Some Good News (Part 5)

30 Sep

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Previously:

What Do You Do

Nest Egg

Second Date

No Exit

The Zombie Zone

Angel of the Morning

**********

Power Achiever

The Monday before Halloween there were vegetables in the break room. Broccoli and baby carrots. Continue reading

What’s Out There

30 Jul

house

Three years later he still looked at her Facebook. Once every six months. Violet. She was in a relationship. Formally engaged or not was hard to tell. That section of About Me was blank. She’d had to look available for her career. Often key decision makers were still men.

But they went on trips together. Resorts insulated from global unrest. Engaged in all but name. The fiance had been a photographer. Now Creative Director for a lifestyle brand famously run by a DisruptHer/ She-EO. His early work made it look like he fucked the models. You don’t become a photographer to take pictures. She still worked for the ad agency. An early adopter of La Croix. No doubt they’d moved on past pamplemousse, an apres-garde flavor.

She was still beautiful. When he felt bad enough he’d stop looking. Continue reading