Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Matthew Brookshire

Yesterday, at end of work day the Contessa asks if I would like to go see music with her. Would like to see music but tell the Contessa that If I don't go swimming today I'm going to turn into a puddle of fat. The Contessa says that is no trouble at all. Show is at nine. We can meet at the place. Call Dave who agrees to go home to walk Jenny and then to come back to the city again (side conversation entered into in which Dave proposeds hiring dog walker and hear self saying in shrill tones that We are Not going to hire a Nanny for our Dog--for rest of evening am revisited by memory of tone of voice which causes me to feel like should step in front of subway at earliest convenience. But in moment, Dave disregards tone and says that the dog walker is acutally a dog runner. Jenny could get some exercise. Tell him that, as he well knows, Jenny doesn't like to run. At this Dave concedes but says that it would still be nice to be able to not have to go running back and forth to Brooklyn. This leads to brand new conversation about Moving Back to the City. Get off the phone much, much later, feeling exhausted but interested in new life in Manhattan. The Contessa says that the show starts at nine but that the place is tiny and one needs to get there early so that One Can Get a Seat. Tell her that I will get there early. Emerge from the gym and see that it is already eight oh five. Gobble down piece of pizza. See that if take taxi will not make it to show on time. Procure taxi with no trouble. Taxi seems to have time travelling capabilites because find self at Rockwood Music Hall (the venue) at eight thirty on the nose. The Contessa, and Dave, naturally nowhere to be seen. Get glass of wine and, as the previous singer not yet done, sit in only available seat. Seat at extreme front of room, practically on lap of singer. Next half hour spent with neck at very uncomfortable angle, mouth fixed in what can only imagine is a very fake smile of encouragement to singer, whose breath I can smell. Mind not calmed by the music. Have impassioned thoughts about the troubles one causes oneself when one gets every place early. The minutes stretch on and become the length of weeks. At nine, exactly, Dave and the Contessa arrive. They have very little interest in my travails. Thankfully, the musician we intended to see starts up (young singer and songwriter by the name of Matthew Brookshire.) Am entranced by music and do not want the show to end, but it does, much to quickly. At bar afterward, the Contessa says that she has a little crush on Matthew Brookshire. Tell Dave, Don't Take COffence, but I have a crush on Matthew Brookshire too. A small one. Dave says he doesn't mind, he'd kiss him in a heartbeat. At this, feelings get very badly hurt and pout until realize that neither the Contessa nor Dave is going to acknowledge pouting, join in their conversation about piano lessons.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dogs in the Park

This morning in park, all dogs seem to be in very high spirits. Part of me wishes to join in, but unseasonably nice weather makes me feel Nervous. See Serena with Great Dane on other side of park. She waves, and consider going over but am afraid that I will say something depressing. Do not care to witness self bringing gloom into the world. Jenny wriggling energetically, apparently very happy to have no need to wear booties and jacket. She tosses her head causing her ears to flap in what looks like very fun way. Have long thought process about how there is much Wisdom in dogs. Thoughts interrupted when notice Jenny eating what appears to be extremely ancient hot dog. Scold her, but she is unrepentant. We go over to see Serena. Jenny capers beneath Harold. Serena says, Isn't this weather terrible? Agree. She says that she blames George Bush entirely, for everything. We have a spirited conversation in which we agree strongly with each other at length. After agreeing to come over to Serena's house for a drink Sometime (cynical side says that Drink will never happen), part in much better mood than came to park. Walking back home, balmy day and reality undergo subtle shirt and see that all of world is an illusion. Think about the Buddha. Several minutes after returning to apartment hear retching sound from underneath bed. Dave, who is still sleeping sits bolt upright in bed and asks, What is Going On? Tell him, firmly, that Jenny has just puked, but other than that, I Don't Know.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Last night Dave says that he can't go to the play with us because he needs to walk Jenny. As have used this excuse often myself, agree, but reserve small portion of resentment. Tell Libby that it will just be us three. She says it is too bad because she is sure that I am going to Love the play. And the Playwright, who will be going out for drinks with us after. Says the playwright and I very similar. We even look alike. Develop instant and intense dislike for unknown playwrite. The contessa tries to say that her stomach feels Funny. Give her firm look which she turns away from. She puts her hand up to her forhead in dramatic fashion. Libby says she is going up to get her purse and then we can go. Hiss at the Contessa, Don't you dare abandon me. Remind her how helpful Libby was about the Space Conflict. At this, the Contessa sighs angrily and says Fine. Play set in future--costume designer seems to think that we will soon be wearing many unattractive layers (cut off t-shirts over dress shirts, shorts over leggings--both women and men) as well as gaudy costume jewelry (also for both men and women). Dialogue in rhyming couplets which has mesmerizing effect. Begin pleasant thought process involving what it must be like to shop for clothes for a play. Develop elaborate scenario in which have task of running around very large store throwing clothes into grocery cart. Feel sharp jab in ribs from Contessa's elbow. Rest of play spent trying very hard to pay attention to play which appears to be about morticians after the apocalypse (play heavily, though not happily, influenced by television show Six Feet Under). Once realize what play is about, watch with an extremely unpleasant mixture of terror and boredom. At bar afterward, Libby asks, What Did you Think? I think it was Wonderful. There is a pause. Rules of society force me to say, It Really Made Me Think. The Contessa glares at her wineglass and says in a tight voice, Hmm. Libby waves the playwright over. Says in bright voice, We were just saying what a triumph the play is. The playwright laughs in way that is intended to convey modesty but in fact conveys the opposite. Is wearing shiny square toed shoes, jeans that taper at the bottom, and seems to be working on a soul patch. Libby says, Finally you two get to meet. You can talk about writing, and see, you could be twins! Playwright gives me look of pure hatred and avoids me for the rest of the evening. While fully prepared to not like him, do not feel that his dislike of me just at all. Libby becomes very tipsy and Forces the Contessa and me to have two drinks each. Take subway home feeling extremely discouraged.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Even Keel

Day progresses with unaccustomed ease--subway arrives right away, there is no line at the post office, clerk at sandwich shop winks and charges less than she should, all articles of clothing remain both non-hideous and non-constrictive. Tell the Contessa, who says that I shouldn't Tempt the Evil eye. Think this very unhapply put, but even this unwonted pessimism doesn't harm mood.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A New Path

The Contessa looking very fresh this morning. Tell her so. She frowns. Says that she had a very strange evening the night before. Had a date with guy. Which guy. Doesn't matter who. A Guy. Arrived at restaurant early so decided to take lap around block. (We have side conversation about Getting Places Early. The Contessa says that her theory is that people are either always late or always early. Thinks it must be Freudian. Ask, You mean it has something to do with sex? She says, No, the fear of death. This puts a chill on the conversation about getting places early, so go back to topic of date.) One lap not sufficent. While starting second, stopped by man on street. Said to her, are you in the Village Voice? Said that she had wild fantasy that somebody had written an article about her. Perhaps her poetry was written about without her knowing. When man said, Or do you have a card? She realized that he thought that she was at the Back of the Voice. (Explains to me, He thought I was Hooker!) Marched directly to restaurant lobby wanting drink. Met date. Sat down to table. Eyed wine list like a castaway. (Know from prior conversations she is thinking not of History, but of Survivor.) Demurely passed wine list to date, asking him to choose. He says none for him, it Gives him Headaches. The Contessa, alarmed, asks, What about beer? That too. No, no, but you go ahead. The Contessa says that she felt that she was afraid that she might slur. We agree that slurring very unattractive. Says she had At least Twelve glasses of water and she is Not Exaggerating. Tell her that I did not think that she was. (Privately, think exactly the opposite.) Bladder very very painful and at end of evening felt drunk even though wasn't. (Diagnose the Contessa to self--first stages of hypoxia?) The date hot, with all his hair and in command of grammer, funny, and employed neither in the arts nor in banking. Has nice full lips that she wanted to kiss, but didn't because she wasn't actually tipsy even though started to feel like maybe she was. When she got home she felt very confused and very very sober. Scrubbed the kitchen floor and then slept soundly for nine hours. Says primly that it is she feel so good, it is very likely that she will Never Drink Again. Doubt this very much, but naturally don't say anything. As if she is going to have another date. She says serenely, yes.

Monday, January 23, 2006


After enervating morning spent looking for box of New Man's copies supposedly delivered two weeks ago (but weren't), decide to go swimming. Also think that a bit of retail therapy in order. Old Speedo in sad shape, somehow sagging and bunching at the same time. Chose handsome green pair in size thirty. Go directly to cash register after looking at hiking boots, backpacks, flashlights, and down coat sale rack. Clerk asks if would like to try on speedo. Had previously been under impression that trying on bathing suits not allowed. Say so. Clerk says, That's not true. In dressing room, have extreme difficulty fitting suit around Thigh. Apparently wrong that legs slimmest part of body. After extreme effort hitch, suit up around waist. Image in mirror very, very upsetting. Stalk downstairs to choose Larger sizes. Size thirty-two almost as tight as thirty. Thirty four tight, but refuse to purchase anything larger. Console self with sudden idea that this batch of speedos must have been meant for Europe and measurements in centimeters. (Explanation does not hold up on further examination.)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Downtown Theater

Libby very very helpful with the Space Conflict. Am feeling very gateful and also, apparently, weak. She says, My friend is in a play at the such and such theatre company in Dumbo. The show opens next week. It is very experimental, she says as though offering the detail that will close the deal. Combination of words experimental and theater turns blood in veins icy cold. Libby asks, Would we like to go? We could make a night of it. Think up very good excuse, which is that will very likely die if attend. Unfortunately, hear mouth saying, O That sounds like Fun. The Contessa gives me a stunned look, which think can only mirror look on own face.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Spend very productive (early) morning working on mystery. (Procrastination very minimal: Manage to play only two games of computer chess (lose both) and while thinking hard about next plot turn, draw passable elevation of apartment building. Drawing breaks down when try to place Dave and Jenny in front of building--both end up looking alarmingly like pigs--the Dave pig, naturally, on hind legs.) Because of writing, leave for work feeling full of virtue. On subway, virtue morphs into fantasy based on book being optioned by movie studio. Find scrap of paper in pocket and make note to self to ask the Contessa who all she knows in film. (While writing, train lurches and know with certain knowledge that combination of messy handwriting and abbreviations will render note--Ask Contessa abt Contacts--meaningless.) Still have spring in step when walk into lobby. Good mood eroded by Libby, who says with sadistic twinkle in eye I Heard there is a Conflict with the Space. Think she is talking about Physics and am, though baffled, very curious. Curiosity turns quickly to dread. Enter office where Vice-Boss curls menecingly over the Contessa's desk. Says, I want you to call up the room scheduler and ask him who he as double booked us with. Do you understand? Is V.BG. had said similar to me, would have snapped back, I'm not quite sure I get it, could you repeat? (Actually, would do nothing of the sort. Would, instead triumphantly think up line in middle of the night.) Crisis progresses. Though nobody dies, the Vice-Boss's behavior throughout indicates otherwise.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Have giving up fiction that murdered mouse a bachelor. Last night set trap and catch mouse immediately. Brain provides unhelpful image of walls heaving with rodent bodies. Try, while gulping wine, to look at bright side. At least all glue traps disposed of. Mouse caught in the sort of trap much like traditional wood and metal style except that mechanism and body covered up by black plastic structure. Feel that design slightly more hygenic, except that though body covered up, tail still protruding. Find tail the least appealing feature of the mouse. Am alone except for Jenny, and both snap of trap and sight of tail produce screams (from me.) Jenny disinterested to the extreme. Removes herself from room and takes nap on bed. Meanwhile, go through farcical process of setting of trap, shrieking, disposing of trap, until three mice have met their untimely ends. Have heard that the best way to take care of mice is to plug up holes in wall with steel wool. Find steel wool in Dave's toolbox, which seems like good sign. Drink second glass of wine. Bright side becoming more evident by the minute. After vacuuming and bleaching area under radiator, stuff steel wool into all holes. Do not care for smell of steel wool, which has odor of creosote, but have firm belief that it will Fade. When Dave comes home, tell him in tumble of sentences about evening. He nods. Says, It Smells like Oil. Disagree strongly. He refuses to have a fight, asks, Are you a bit Tired? After restless night invlving dreams of walking through traffic clogged streets, wake up feeling like chewed up bit of string. It does smell like oil. Go on internet and find alarming stories about steel wool spontaneously combusting--stories seem to be about the sort of steel wool soaked with furniture polish, but do not care to take any chances. Fear fire much more than mice. (Question: Is this a bright side?) Remove and dispose of steel wool. Go to work. The Contessa, unlike Dave, sympathetic to the extreme about trials. We trade rodent stories. The Contessa, shuddering, tells story about how, while living in Very Dirty house in college, rats could be heard dragging their bodies through the walls at night. Evidence of rat activity could be seen in the kitchen in the morning. Ask, what do you mean by activity? The Contessa shakes her head, Don't ask. Residents of house finally put their collective feet down and Talked to the landlord. Landlord provided large rat traps. Many rats trapped and thrown away in Biohazard bags procured from the biology department. The Contessa leans in, Guess what the landlord said? Reply, What? Why didn't you save the traps? The, landlord wanted to know why we didn't Reuse the traps. This moves us onto the topic of landlords, which makes the morning zip by. In conclusion, we agree that landlords are generally dogs. No Offense to Jenny, the Contessa says. Reach lull in conversation. Have moment of delusion. Say, Maybe We will Buy. The Contessa says firmly, O you should.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Am on floor doing crossword puzzle and Dave streched out on couch watching the golden globes and knitting. Dave a tense knitter, and given to muttering curses. Hear wooden knitting needles hit ground. Dave standing on top of couch, brandishing cushion. Join Dave on couch, heart beating. See problem: small, greasy, gray mouse runnning from kitchen to radiator. Jenny unconscious throughout. Do not care to be in apartment alone with mouse--Jenny clearly not a help--so volunteer to run to deli to get traps. Am told at first bodega that They are Out of Traps. At second, am told that they Only have the Glue. Am scared of the glue (very very bad morning several years ago when stepped into trap with stockinged foot--am still mourning loss of that sock, which had unusal characteristic of being both woolen and not itchy). As there is no other alternative but the clerk's quaint story about how as a kid in Iraq he and his cousins used to hold mice by their tails and drown them in coffee cans, purchase the Glue. Not more than five minutes after putting trap down under radiator coils, high pitched shrieks begin. At this, Dave, again jumps up on top of couch. Tell him sternly that this is nothing to be afraid of. Retrieve broom from closet. Use end of broomstick to scoot trap out from under radiator. The mouse and I both scream. Am shattered. Dave takes over rest of operation. From garbage room down the hall, hear sinister clanging noises. Feel strongly that the Buddha would not approve and accordingly, gave dream about large rat clamping down on big toe. Wake to sounds of what can only assume are ghost mouse shrieks. Get up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


See the Contessa printing out Resume. Ask her what she is applying for. She blushes and doesn't respond directly. Says, Nothing. Hate to have secret kept from me and think about all of the possibilities. Call Dave on Cell phone from courtyard and give impassioned speech. Speech ends with pronouncement that if she leaves, I will have to Leave too. Dave's says, Don't Worry. Don't bother telling him this very much like saying, Don't blink.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Elizabeth Kolbert

Last night make mistake of reading Elizabeth Kolbert's latest foray into topic of Global Warming, or How We Are Effed. As per usual, skip first couple of paragraphs in what know is useless attemp to not get ensnared by what am morally certain will be terrifying. Article is terrifying, but feel a sense of calm as shut magazine, turn out the light and attempt to go to sleep. Unexpectedly, sleep dreamlessly through the night and wake up refreshed. Once awake, however, spend morning on edge of severe panic. Fifty two degree weather not helping situation. See Libby in elevator this morning. Says, Isn't it a Beautiful day? Say No in hunted voice, which freaks self out even more. The Contessa comes in late, carring in what appears to be a sackful of drinks and and egg and cheese sandwiches. Am very disapproving of all of the packaging. Speech about how we all need to Do Our Part to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle on tip of tonuge until the Contessa hands me one of the snadwiches and a coffee plus obscene wad of napkins. Feel sick, but also, am ashamed to say, hungry. Take foil off of sandwich. (No bacon?) Eat as though have been starved. Tell self grimly that when things get really bad will look back on this sandwich with longing, so better get it while the getting's good. Lick fingers. When done with second breakfast, ask the Contessa if she is worried about Global Warming. She says, I was afraid you'd see thath article. Say, That's not answering the question. She shrugs. Says, Thereare Lots of things to be Afraid of. Besides, we are all going to die anyway, sooner or later. Say, But what about the rest of the animals and plants. Aren't you worried about those? The Contessa admits that last week she cried about the Orangutans. Reason, why she cried about orangutans hitherto unknown (Bornean rain forest being taken over by palm oil companies,) does not make feel better. By chance, the Vice-Boss overhears us talking about article. Says that Elizabeth Kolbert is an acquaintence of hers. Become more interested than have ever been in what the Vice-Boss has to say. Ask, Is she Suicidal? The Vice-Boss says, No. Pauses. Adds, She looks like she likes to drink Tea.

Friday, January 06, 2006


The new man motions me into his office with furtive hand waves. Am afraid for what is to come. Fear reasonable, but misplace. Rest of day spent in New Man's office with New Man and New Man's new toy, small portable video game made by Sony. He uses the word Awesome many times, which makes feel uncomfortable. Also pumps fist in air when gets higher score than me. Become angry and determined to win, but New Man is, not surprisingly, much more dexterous than I am, and wins every time. Come out of office with what can only imagine is guilty expression because the Contessa narrows her eyes and says what were you boys doing? Tell her. She nods. We, she ticks her head at the Vice-Boss's office, had a tense discussion about the dumb New Yorker listing again. I got snippy and she cried. The Contessa mimes putting a gun to her head and pulling her (thumb) trigger.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Come in to the office to see the vice-boss standing in front of the Contessa's desk don't know Whether to Cry or to Scream. Would very much prefer that she do neither and think about leaving the office, immediatly, never to return, but curiosity, unfortunately, gets the better of me. Vice-boss is very upset that event which is to take place in last week of January has not been listed in the New Yorker. See that the Contessa is also on the verge of screaming or murder (not tears.) Explains icily that the the event will be listed in the next issue. Did the Vice Boss Look at the Date on the Cover? The vice-boss says O. Goes into office and closes door. Hear alarming shrieks, which turn out to be laughter. Tell me, the Contessa says, is Dave's mother better or worse than the Vice-Boss? Say, Well, I don't want to say anything mean. The Contessa shakes her head and makes tsk tsk sound. Says, That bad? What did she do? Tell the Contessa that she picked us up in enormous black mercedes . Gave hugs all around. Smelled of Vodka, said, Who wants a drink? Wasn't feeling one hundred percent from plane, but didn't want to be Rude, so said, Me. Dave says, Mom, give me the keys. There was a bit of a scene ending with Dave's mother in tears in the back seat. On highway passed car that has decal on back window displaying Confederate flag and slogan, Yankee Be Gone. Thought it was very strange syntax and wondered if self would be considered Yankee. Think of Yankees as from northeast and those who have cold houses and thin sheets and toweld. Had long train of thought wondereing whether Yankees and Wasps the same thing or no. When we got back to the house the tears were dried and the makeup fixed. The housekeeper mixed us a pitcher of Martinis which we drank very quickly. Rest of visit spent in alcoholic haze punctuated by fits of crying and loud disagreements about Politics. In one arguement, Dave's mother maintained that it was her understanding that the Mexicans moving in Like to have very large families. She wonders why.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Second Day Back

Scold the Contesa for ruining Jenny. The Contessa replies briskly that Jenny looked Hungry. Ask, how could you tell she was hungry for chicken. She says that Jenny sent her an esp message. Can't tell if she is being serious or not and have no time to cross examine because she changes topic to my trip to see Dave's mother. Says, Tell me Everything. Tell her that trip did not begin well. Plane extremely small--one seat right and two seats on left. While settling self down into seat, accidentally touch air sickness bag and feel premonition that am going to be very ill. Tell Dave. Dave says, don't be silly. You are going to be fine. Plane takes off and bumps along into rainy and dark skies. Remember that have staved off air sickness before by going into trance by staring at Sky Mall. Find many things that have absolutly no use for but feel that need quite a bit (i.e. hot ash vacuum for easy fireplace clean-up, special long brushes to clean out dryer lint traps--lint apparently nearly as dangerous as uranium). Am occupied and just on this side of sickness when Dave puts his hand on my knee. This breaks trance. Next hour very very trying. Have disturbing fantasy that plane falls out of sky and ends misery. Have funeral and elaborate scattering of ashes. Death and cremation unfortunately do not bring relief. Dave says, Do you Want some Seltzer. Shake head without speaking which can tell hurts Dave's feelings. He, apparently, feels perfectly fine. Has had one cup of coffee and eaten all of vile looking cheesy dolfins and pretzels. Proceeds to eat my bag of same. After several weeks of flight, plane lands. After unfortunate scene in which puke on Jetway, go to bathroom to clean up. Feel much better. Dave, on the other hand slightly pale. Says, Prepare Yourself.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First Day Back

Last night have uninspiring dream in which am in tent in Iraq with Vice-Boss. She is holding my passport in an officious manner saying that I am to take the next Aeroflot flight out of Baghdad to Iraq. Try to think of way out of task while examining passport, which has intricate drawings. Amncertain that the border guards will not look kindly on drawing of Poodle. Wake up to sound of rain beating on windows and, on further inspection, floor. Jenny displeased about freezing rain, despite booties, and refuses to go further than edge of awning. Blame self for regression as Jenny stayed with the Contessa for week that was gone. Blame shared with the Contessa, who dog sat and fed Jenny baked chicken and cheese, exclusively.