A short story:Decent Devin

Devon was making his way down Bellington St. It was Friday 5PM, the streets were unsurprisingly packed. For those young, and free of obligations, it was the place to be. Not to mention it was beautiful out. The sun was warming the hearts of everyone in the area.

Devon on the other hand, was far from thrilled about being here, at this time, surrounded by all these hopeful people. He was brought here by unforeseen circumstances. He might have just left the area immediately, but he was already here, far from home, tired, hurt (he thought his nose might be broken), and for god sake’s he could use a drink.

Devin was about 5 and a half feet tall, with awkward forward leaning posture, and messy shoulder length dark hair.

He decided he would seek out an establishment that would meet his needs. He had countless places to choose from. But he preferred somewhere not too busy. He wanted to drain his sorrows, not have them interrupted by positivity.

He would walk down the sidewalk, look through a pub window, see it packed with people, and continue walking.

It was a struggle but eventually, hey this place looks pretty quiet. Not going to find anything better than this. The sign on the door said “The Green Flamingo”.

He went through the big glass door to find no hostess. Okay great. I will sit wherever I like. Devin looked to the left to a row of empty booth’s, and took the one in the far corner.

He was sitting there a couple of minutes. Okay. Service? Can I get some service please…..

Devin looked around. He could see the waitress on the other side of the room. She was just standing there, with her eye’s glued to her phone, without a care in the world.

Regardless, Devin appreciated how cool the air was, he was sweating his ass of outside. Even without a drink he instantly felt more relaxed, and the sting on his face was eased. And the place just looked nice. It had freshly painted black walls, and modern looking furniture like it had recently been renovated. Then why is it so dead in here? It was just Devin, an older couple across the room, and a young couple sitting at the bar. How could this place be so dead?

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Devin heard suddenly. Someone was ringing a bell obnoxiously. Devin looked over at the bar. The bartender stopped ringing, and was now giving the phone occupied waitress the death stare. He pointed towards Devin while still glaring at the waitress, clearly pointing out Devin was sitting there un-served while she was staring at her phone. She took the less than suddle hint and starting walking towards Devin.

“Hi. Welcome to the Green Flamingo. What can I get you?” The waitress said. Rather carelessly for an employee who had just been openly reprimanded for carelessness.

“What kind of beer do you have?” Devin asked.

The waitress leaned down and pointed to the section of the menu that listed the available beers.

“Okay. I will get the Kodac please.” Devin said.

The waitress nodded her head and walked away.

What’s her problem? You would think someone who was just ridiculed openly like that would make an over correction and be overly polite. Perhaps she was genuinely embarrassed by her mishap, and her aloofness was just her natural reaction? Or she just doesn’t care. Who knows. Devin didn’t trouble himself over it.

His beer was brought as quickly as could have hoped, therefore he was satisfied.

He stare was starring at his beer. Well, I guess this is what I wanted. Without another thought, he grabbed it and chugged down half the glass. He meant to chug it all down, but he lacked some skill in this regard. The aftertaste of alcohol in his nose, his watery eye’s, he didn’t enjoy this part of the process. But he needed a proper buzz, he longed for it after a day like this. He gave himself a few seconds, and then he chugged down the rest.. Ah, the feeling of drinking on an empty stomach, he could feel the effects instantly.

Where do some people get off? Like seriously. I swear this entire planet is just predators and sheep. There is no middle ground. Is there anybody else that is actually kind and empathetic just for the sake of it? I was trying to do the right thing. What clearly was the right thing. And what do I get in return? Shit. A broken nose, and potentially legal trouble in the future. Sure, my plan could have been better. I didn’t have a plan. I took action. That’s how things should work. You see an injustice, you take action. And now i am the bad guy. All those people looking at me like I am some kind of monster. Calling the police, telling them I am the problem. Was I the one who was mistreating my dog? No. I am the one who took action against abuse. But just because their the one with the BMW, and I am the one who doesn’t look “professional”, or speaks like it, automatically I am the bad guy. Not a single one of those people cared for a second to hear my side of the story. I swear the only thing that matters on this earth is what’s on the surface. Nobody cares enough to look any further. Everyone just put’s on a mask, everyone is pretending to be somebody their not. I refuse to do that. I am a decent person, even if nobody is willing to look far enough to see it. I refuse to play their game. But sometimes I wonder if I should play their game at all. Would nothing be better than suffering in a world run by monsters? Would anybody care if I just disappeared? Would anybody remember me for being a decent person? Is it suffering worth it?

With all of this, Devin’s eye’s got watery, he was on the verge of crying, but being in a public place, he was trying to restrain himself.

The waitress was coming back over.

“Would you like another.” the waitress asked.

“Yes.” Devin answered while nodding his head.

“How is your night going?” Devin asked with the reflective sadness in his voice. Made sure to look right into her face, so she could see his eyes, they were still watery like he was about to cry. He wanted her to see this.

“Fine.” She answered his question. Then turned around and walked away.

Devin sat there and chugged down his second beer, waited a few minutes, and ordered his third.

“Waaaaahhhhh”

all of the now 8 people inside the green flamingo looked over at the bar. There was a girl sitting alone positively sobbing. Just letting it all out for everyone to hear. She sounded like she just had the tragedy of her life. It was difficult to listen to.

The bartender rushed over.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” He asked her like any concerned person would.

She answered him. But not in English. She was of eastern Asian descent, in her early twenties.

She ranted and raved for a good 2 minutes with tears changing the note of her voice, and the expression like she was telling a story. The bartender looked into her face, and nodded empathically like he could understand every word, except he could not, he didn’t even know what language she was speaking.

She stopped speaking, looked at the bartender like perhaps she was waiting for him to speak, he said nothing, just looked back at her with a caring expression.

The bartender paced back and forth for a few moments. His eye’s then lit up. He set his cellphone on the counter directly in front of her, pointed to it, then to her.

She nodded her head side to side to decline. She pointed her finger at herself, and gave the bartender a thumbs up to express she was okay.

She then proceeded to start sobbing again, much quieter this time, but expressing just as much pain.

The bartender handed her a box of tissue, she accepted graciously and used them.

Her sobs got quieter, and quieter until they went away.

Meanwhile Devin was almost finished with his third beer, and his fourth had already arrived.

Devin looked over near the entrance. That same waitress who had been serving Devin was talking to some guy.

They were laughing about something together. Devin had a good view of the man. He radiated confidence. He was tall, good looking, well dressed., fancy watch,perfect smile. He was wearing a white button down shirt, black dress pants, and dress shoes.

This man and the waitress were having a very interactive conversation. One of them would be talking, and then they would laugh, then the other would talk, and they would laugh again. This went on and on for a few minutes. Eventually, the man started flapping his arms like a chicken and spinning in a circle while saying something repeatedly. Must have been apart of some inside joke they had, because the waitress found it hysterical. She absolutely lost it with. She was using the hostess table to hold herself up, otherwise she would have toppled to the floor. Like she had never seen anything so funny in her entire life.

Why would you be so friendly to somebody you don’t know? Do you decide your going to be friends just be looking at each other. “Hey I like the way you look, want to laugh together so loud the entire bar can hear us?” Are some people just best friends with everyone they like the look of. Is your personality open ended? Open to twisting in any direction to connect with anybody for your own benefit? Some people are shameless. And now your sitting beside the Chinese girl. Good luck with that.

The tall good looking man was indeed sitting with the eastern Asian girl. He ordered a water. And they both nodded to acknowledge each other. The girl was done crying, but she still had the box of tissue in front of her, and the eyes of someone that had just been crying for the better part of 20 minutes.

Devin looked over again.

Are they talking? Yes they are definitely talking. How could that be? Does the Chinese girl speak English? Why didn’t she speak in English when she was talking to the bartender?

Devin got up. And walked close enough to hear what they were saying.

They are speaking Chinese. Seriously? This guy speaks Chinese? Of course he does. Whatever it takes to impress people. What other reason would a white guy in America learn Chinese. What a fraud.

After chatting for a few minutes, the eastern Asian girl got up to her feet, stood there looking at the tall good looking man, he said something to her, and she nodded her head in agreement and went out the door.

Devin finished his fourth beer.

Devin continued observing the tall good looking man. After the young crying girl had left, the man was navigating all throughout the pub. It didn’t take long for Devin to overhear that the man’s name was, Peter.

Peter was talking to an older gentleman, they were having a good laugh together, then with a young lady, then with an younger man, and another person, then another, hahaha, just laughing away, soaking up the all of the positive energy in the room.

“Hey did you meet peter?” “Yes. That guy is so funny!” “Peter!” “Peter!” “Hey peter. Come here!”

“Peter. Let me show you this picture you’ll love this!” “Peter, stop it! Your a wild man.” “Peter. What kind of watch is that?” “Peter.” “Peter.” “Peter.” “PETER!”

Well… That’s enough bullshit for one night. Watching any more of this is going to make me sick. Most people probably admire a guy like that. They sit in their tiny little seats and think, “Oh my, if only I could get that much attention. I am special too! Notice me!” It’s pathetic. And someone like Peter is their king. The King of bullshit. A guy like that deserves to be put on trial. On trial for all of the nonsense he spews. His words literally mean nothing. He probably forgets 90% of the stuff he says to people. Not me though. I remember everything single thing I say. Even going back to when I was a little kid. Because words actually matter. You don’t just…..

“AHHHH” Devin heard a shriek of pain.

“Come on. Just a little bit further.” Devin could hear, he looked over near the entrance.

A man, and a little girl who had just entered were responsible for the noise.

They were struggling together to walk, the little girl was holding the man by the side desperately trying to keep him upright.. They were moving along slowly, step by step.

The man had a two prosthetic legs exposed from his shorts, and one prosthetic arm.

The handicapped man’s momentum starting carrying to the right, the little girl tried to change his direction with all her might, but the weight of the man just carried her along, the man toppled face first into the bar side chairs, taking the little girl along for the ride.

Mixed in the stew pot of mess was four toppled over chairs, beer and chicken wings, and three people lying on the floor. The little girl, the handicapped man, and another man who had been seated at the bar. He had shoulder length hair, a patchy beard, bloodshot eyes.

The little girl rose right up to her feet. She couldn’t have been any older than 11. She had light brown hair. Her face was beat red , she was nearly out of breath, but she had the stern look on her face of a hardened old man.

The man who had been seated was cuddled on top of the handicapped man, their bodies making a T shape. He grunted, and unceremoniously used the handicapped mans waist to push himself off of the ground and to his feet.

“Don’t worry I’m fine.” The grubby looking man said to the little girl.

The little girl glared at him with a fierce face.

“Okay.” The man said awkwardly, chuckled. Reached around in his pockets. Smiled and walked away covered in a mess of chicken wings and beer.

The handicapped man was lying on his back among the mess.

The little girl crouched down beside him.

“Ah Christ” the man said. And started laughing hysterically.

This instantly wiped the concern of off the girl’s face. She smiled with relief.

She could hear some some chatter behind her. She turned her head. There were six concerned faces hurdled together watching her.

“Are you guy’s okay?” One of them said.

“Call the coroner.” The handicapped man yelled out from the floor.

“Yes. Thank you. Were okay. My dad just lost his balance. He just need’s a minute to rest.” She said.

“Do you need some help?”

“No thanks. we will manage.” The little girl said. Smiled at them.

They seemed reluctant, but the concerned bystanders slowly backed away.

“Come on dad, we should get you up now and to a table.” She said to her father.

“What for Sam? You should just leave me here. At least you wouldn’t have to ever worry about moving me again. I can conduct all of my future endeavours from this exact spot.” The handicapped man said.

“Come on. No more jokes. Can I please get you up?” She asked him.

He nodded in agreement. Stuck his two mismatched hands towards the ceiling for his daughter to grab.

Sam stood over him and took her fathers hands. With all of the little weight she had, she leaned backwards, trying to pull her father up to his prosthetic legs.

She tugged, and tugged with all her might, grunting, and red in the face, she had her father about halfway up, but he wouldn’t get any further. She continued like this for about 30 seconds, until she had nothing left, she gently set her father back on the floor.

“Come on Sam. Your going to hurt yourself. We need to ask somebody for help.” He said to her.

“Hey you grab one hand and I will grab the other, and we can pull him up together, okay?” Peter said.

Sam did just as Peter suggested, and they were able to easily lift him to his feet, and with Sam, and Peter both under a arm, they were able to walk him to an empty table, and sit him down. Peter then sat with the father and daughter, and they engaged in a conversation.

“He got up so we could take a picture, and somebody stole his wheelchair, can you believe that? Who steals a wheelchair? His prosthetic legs don’t work nearly as well anymore, if we have to go long distances he needs his wheelchair.” Sam said to Peter in the midst of their conversation.

“Unbelievable.” Peter said. “Some people in this day and age truly amaze me. I thank you for your service sir. If there’s ever anything I can do for you let me know.” Peter said to the handicapped man.

Devin had been entertained by watching all of this unfold, he had planned to leave over 10 minutes ago but instead ordered his fifth beer, and had just finished it.

He watched Peter help the handicapped man up from his seat and to the bathroom, while Sam stayed in her seat.

I swear this ass hole is so darn fake. I just cant fathom, cant possibly fathom how this guy can look himself in the mirror. How much attention can one person possibly need? Do you need to be friends with every single person in the bar? Are you worried you won’t have their approval? Does everyone need to like you? I just cant understand how all of these people fall for it. It’s so obvious. A interchangeable man addicted to approval. And yet I’m the one that people look down on. This world is such fucking bullshit. I don’t give a fuck if I am the outlier, why should I change to blend with everyone else? That’s the problem. Everyone else is willing to cut out their core to blend in, so something that is wrong is normalized, because everyone else is just willing to bend to it. To look cool, and have approval. So fucking stupid.

Devin watched Peter help the handicapped man back to their table. Peter then seemed to make a farewell, threw something in the trash, then exited through the front door.

Well, I can’t say coming here and getting drunk, has made me feel any better. I have had enough, I should leave, it’s only getting busier in here.

Devin proceeded to get out of his seat and head for the door. He stopped to throw out the bloody napkin he had been using to nurse his battered nose.

After he had tossed out his napkin, he continued standing over the trash can. He was looking inside.

Is that? A wallet?

He took a better look. Yes that’s definitely a wallet.

He slowly reached his arm into the trash can.

Stops. Is there anyone watching? He looked around. Okay good. Nobody seems to notice.

Reaches his arm the rest of the way down. Feels around with his hand. Okay, that’s something slimy. Gross. Feels around a little more.

Okay that feels like a wallet. He grasps the wallet with his slimy hand, slowly and as suddle as possible, pulls the wallet out of the trash, and DAMN IT.

It slips out of his slimy hand and somehow goes 10 feet across the room, and under a table of 6 people.

Okay, people are definitely looking at me now, just look forward, and act normal.

He walks over to the table, tries to muster a smile, the people at the table don’t smile back, just eye him suspiciously. He leans down and picks the wallet back up, holds it against his body so he doesn’t drop it again, and heads to the washroom.

There was two men young men looking themselves over in the mirror. Devin walked past them and into the middle stall.

“Hey, I’m thinking about getting a cat, would you ever get a cat?” One of the young men said.

“No! What would I want a cat for? Do I look like an old lady to you? Are you lonely? Don’t you have a TV? Get a stuffed animal if you need something fluffy to lean against, it serves the exact same purpose and you don’t have to clean up any shit.” The other young man responded.

Devin sat on the stall, staring at his red slimy hand holding the unopened wallet. His mind felt blank for the moment.

What the hell am I doing? Why didn’t I just leave the wallet where it was or immediately bring it to one of the employees? What if I was ignorant to the circumstances, and I was watching myself right now. Devin, that’s not your wallet. Why are you sitting on a public toilet staring at a wallet that’s not yours? What kind of nonsense have you involved yourself with Devin? What bad decisions led you to this point?

Well, I am already this far, might as well open it and see what’s inside.

There was an I.D.

Jeffrey Robinson.

Devin looked closely at the picture. Where do I know that guy from?

That’s the injured guy….

Why would his wallet be in the trash? Could it have gotten thrown out on accident? That would be a hell of a mistake to make. Probably not likely.

So what does he have in here…..

ID, membership cards, credit cards, no cash. Hmmm…. Does he not have any cash because some people don’t carry cash anymore, or because somebody already stole it?

I think it’s possible his wallet was in the trash on accident, who knows, mistakes happen. It’s also possible that he doesn’t have any cash because, he simply doesn’t carry any. But for both thing’s to be true… It doesn’t seem likely. Foul play? Most likely.

Devin could hear a very loud group of at least 3 people laughing loudly in the bathroom. It made him uncomfortable, like having people close by was shining a light on the fact he was looking through a wallet that wasn’t his.

He was far too preoccupied by thought to comprehend what they were saying, he was just hoping they would go away.

God damn it, whether it’s stolen or not, now I have it, what am I supposed to do?

Could I just leave it somewhere? I could set it right on this toilet seat and leave like this never happened. But…. What if some lucky jerk ends up with it, and drains all the guy’s credit cards? Or even worse, steals his identity. Can’t do that. I also can’t imagine the pain in the ass it must be for a guy like that to replace everything in his wallet. Besides, think of what a good guy I would be to return it. I could use the guys credit cards before he cancels them, but I wouldn’t do that. Think of how happy Jeffrey would be to see there’s good people like me willing to do the right thing. What if he even gives me a reward?

So how do I proceed? Should I just be completely upfront and honest? I haven’t done anything wrong. “Hey sir, I found your wallet in the trash on my way out the door, I took it into the washroom and looked through it for 15 minutes, and now I am returning it. Good day.”….

Okay, I don’t need that honest.

So what should I say then?

“hey I think this is your wallet, I found it in the…. bathroom!” Yes. That ‘s perfect. It explains why I left the bathroom with it, and plus there’s a good chance that’s where somebody stole it from him anyway, and they probably took the cash and tossed the wallet it in the trash on the way out.

But what if somebody noticed me take it out of the trash and…. I also dropped it under that table. All those people would have saw. Would they think it was my wallet? Or would they have somehow noticed I took it out of the trash? And then I go to the washroom for 20 minutes, and then “oh I found your wallet”. It makes me look very suspicious if somebody was being observant.

Well damn. I don’t have a better plan. Alright, I still haven’t done anything wrong. There’s no need to over explain. “Hey sir, I found your wallet in the bathroom…..” And somehow none of the countless people that used the washroom before me didn’t find it. Just me. The guy that has been sitting in here for 25 minutes….. God damn it.

The longer I wait in here the worse it make me look. If I wait too long, the guy might leave be gone by the time I come out.

Don’t think, just do. Don’t think, just do it. I don’t have a choice. Here we go.

Devin stormed off of the toilet seat, bolted out of the bathroom door, and headed straight to the table where the injured man and his daughter had been seated.

He came to a stop. Looked back and forth. Where are they? Another group was in their seats.

Devin looked around some more. Could they have moved to another table?

Devin was circling about looking for them, even more difficult with his drunkenness fogging his vision, and coordination.

He backed into someone.

“Oh sorry about that sir.” The man said to Devin politely

Devin eyed him briefly. He was wearing the black shirt of the servers. Devin didn’t offer his own apology, or accept the one given by the server, he continued looking about the room frantically.

“Are you looking for somebody or something?” The server said to Devin.

“Huh?” Devin said. He looked around and finally found the servers face.

“Yes the injured guy, and his daughter. Where are they?” Devin said.

“ I think they just left. Are they friends of yours?” The server said.

“No, uh, I mean yes. Thanks.” Devin said frantically.

“Sure thing.” The server said.

Devin B lined right out of the green flamingo. He was standing on the sidewalk, looking it over back and forth. Where are they? Surely they couldn’t have walked very far. They must have gotten into a car. For god sake’s! I must have just missed them……

Out of the corner of his eye…. A taxi. Just pulled onto the street just 15 feet away.

“Hey!” Devin yelled like a maniac

“Heeeyyyy”

“Stop!”

He ran like his life depended on it. The traffic seemed congested when he took off but somehow the taxi seemed to glide through it. Devin saw the taxi turn right, by the time Devin took the same turn, there were multiple taxis in sight.

“It was that one. I remember the license plate starting with B.”

He ran and ran. Left turn, right turn, then left again. Finally it was stopped at a light long enough for him to catch up.

Devin looked through the window, it was tinted black, but it had to be the right one.

The light turned green, he had to get their attention before they took off again.

He smashed his fist on the back window repeatedly with the force of someone who had zero concern about breaking it.

“Wallet. Wallet. I have your wallet.” He said over and over. Continued smashing the window even as the taxi started rolling away.

The car suddenly stopped.

Devin smiled with his whole face. Flashed the wallet in front of the window for the person inside to see.

The window finally rolled down.

Devin’s smile faded away.

There’s was a perfect white haired old lady looking at him with a warm expression.

Before Devin could think to speak a single word, the old ladies expression changed, to furious rage.

She snarled her teeth, and her face wrinkled into the face of a monster.

“SCUM!” she screamed out, and threw a book that hit Devin square in the face, and the car sped away.

Devin’s already battered face seared with pain that even the alcohol failed to numb. He looked down at the book, picked it up, it was the bible. He dropped it back down.

He looked around. It was somehow completely dark all of sudden. He had no clue where he was, and no clue how to get back to the green flamingo. He felt his back pocket, he still had Jeffrey’s wallet. He had to get back to the green flamingo, surely Jeffrey would come back eventually and ask about it. It was the only thing left to do

He started walking back the best he could remember. He turned left then right, then left again. Wait? Wasn’t I supposed to turn right back there. I don’t remember this street…

He hopped in a taxi. He had to. He would have walk around in circles all night otherwise.

“take me to the green flamingo please” Devin said to the cab driver.

“Okay. Hehe.” The cab driver said. Chuckled.

They took a left turn, and drove through one set of lights.

The car stopped . “The green flamingo” The cab driver declared. They had arrived.

“Five dollars.” The cab driver declared.

Devin pulled his wallet out of his back left pocket. Seriously? He found not a single bill left. He knew his credit cards were already maxed out.

Could I? Well, it’s the cost of returning the wallet. I’m sure Jeffrey would understand.

“It will be on credit.” Devin said.

He was handed the machine and he used Jeffrey’s credit card.

“Hey I think the green flamingo is closed.” The cab driver said.

“Closed? No way. It’s only midnight. It’s Friday.” Devin said.

Devin got out of the cab, waited for a break in traffic and crossed the street.

He tugged on the big glass door. It wouldn’t nudge. No way. He tried the other handle. What the hell is going on?

There was a notice on the door.

“Closed early for maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Devin let out a nervous laugh.

What am I supposed to do now? Leave the wallet here at the door?

He chucked the wallet onto the concrete, and stomped on it like a maniac.

People walking by looked at Devin with caution. Some of them even moved onto the street to avoid getting too close.

Devin collapsed down, sat against the locked door, and stared off into the distance. His mind felt blank. Like he didn’t have the energy to muster another thought. The sidewalk was flooded with people. Devin watched their faces as they passed by.

There was one particular face across the street, and his eyes continued following it. He recognized it.

It was Peter. Scooting down the street with his trademark smile. Peter stopped, looked at the sign on a door, and walk inside a pub.

Devin got right up,grabbed Jeffrey’s wallet, crossed the street recklessly, and went through the same door.

“Can I get you anything?” The waiter asked Devin.

“Whisky please.” Devin said.

Devin was sitting at a table in the corner, where he had a view of the entire bar.

He looked around.

Whereabouts are you Mr. Peter? Where are you lurking? Maybe you have already introduced yourself to the entire bar and have moved onto the next one. Probably not though, I would have seen him leave. Perhaps he is conducting a performance in the washroom. That’s okay. I will wait.

And so Devin sat at his table and drank his whisky. Looking all about for peter to appear. The place was fairly busy, people were spread all around. There was only one person sitting at the bar though. A girl.

Devin was looking her way. For one reason or another he was curious about her. He could only see about 20% of her face but clearly she was cute. She had mid length blonde hair, a black t-shirt, jeans, and she she had a skateboard beside her feet. Devin wished to know more about her. He even temporarily put off his optical search of for peter to stare at her.

Devin downed his whisky like a seasoned veteran.

“Can I get you anything else?”

“Another Whisky please.” Devin said.

His whisky arrived before he could blink, and he downed it quicker than the last.

His head was spinning a little bit. A song came on. He liked it. Really liked it actually. He wasn’t sure he had ever heard it before. He was tapping his fingers, shaking his head.

This is fun. I am glad I came here. But wait. I didn’t come here for fun. Peter. That asshole. That lying, manipulative, open ended personality bastard. I came here for justice. And that’s what I am going to do. Has he shown his face yet? No. Okay. I will continue waiting. At least I am enjoying myself in the meantime.

Devin noticed a shadow coming from around the corner. And then he appeared, right on que. Peter. He didn’t have his usual smile. He had a struggle on his face. This was slightly disappointing for Devin. He had fantasized of the exact moment he could wipe away that stupid smile. He hadn’t decided exactly how he would accomplish this, but he had the stolen wallet in his pocket, and he would figure it mid confrontation.

Peter sat next to the blonde girl Devin had been eyeing.

Devin should have easily been in earshot, but he couldn’t hear a single word. It was clear from body language they were involved in an intense conversation. But they were speaking quietly.

Devin, being heavily lubricated, got right up, and took a seat two chairs down from Peter.

Both Peter, and the lady looked over at Devin, and subsequently paused their conversation.

Peter scoffed, and nodded his head side to side, then proceeded to stare forward with a partial smile on his face. The lady seemed more jumpy, like she had more to say. She kept on looking back and forth, looking at Devin multiple times. Eventually analyzing Devin for a few seconds, then looked back to Peter and said:

“I just don’t understand it. No matter how many times you try and justify it, I still don’t get it.”

“What don’t you understand about it?” Peter answered immediately. Looking forward the entire time.

“Well….” She considered her words.

“You say you need time for yourself, and I can understand that, I guess. But, that’s not really what you are doing. Right? I didn’t run into you taking a quiet walk, or sitting alone at a movie. I find you all dressed up, surrounded by people, and making conversations with multiple people within the span of 10 minutes. And you lie about it. You lied about where you were going to be tonight, and you lie to my face right now about why you are here. So why are you here? Because clearly you don’t want to be alone. That’s clearly bullshit. I’m amazed you would think i would actually buy that. Could I not have been here with you tonight? What difference would that have made?” She asked him. You could hear a little fire in her voice now. The volume was increasing the more she spoke.

Peter chose to not answer any of the provided questions. Continued looking forward.

“Answer me.” She yelled.

“What does it matter Dacy? Sometimes people just need to get away. There’s nothing unusual about that. And if I didn’t lie about it, I would have been interrogated about something you clearly don’t understand. People lie all the time. It’s normal.” peter said. Finally turning his head to speak directly to her.

“It’s not normal.” She snapped back.

“yes it is.” Peter said. “You wouldn’t know what’s normal for men.”

There was a silence. Peter proceeded to look forward. And Dacy continued pacing her eyes back and forth all over the room eventually finding Devin again.

“Hey there. Excuse me. Yes you.” Dacy said to Devin.

“Hi there.” Devin said and waved to her. “What can I help you with?” Devin said smiling reassuringly.

“If I were to ask you a question, would you mind giving me your honest,unbiased opinion?” Dacy asked Devin.

“Absolutely.” Devin answered, still smiling.

“If you were in a relationship, and your partner said they were going to be working a specific night, and you end running into them, that same night, dressed up at a bar, would you consider that reasonable behaviour?” Dacy asked him genuinely.

Peter laughed out loud. “Let this master of reason sort this out for us why don’t you.” Peter said. Still looking forward.

Screech. Devin slid back his chair and stood up.

“You really want to know what I think?” Devin asked. Looking at Dacy with dramatic eyes nearly popping out of head. While holding his drink in his hand.

Both Peter and Dacy were looking at Devin with their mouths hanging open.

“Of this scoundrel.” Devin added. Raised his voice.

Dacy looked back and forth between Devin and Peter.

“Wait. Do you guy’s know each other?” Dacy asked to both peter and Devin.

Peter, seeming to find this new bizarre interaction amusing, chuckled. “I have never seen this guy before in my entire life.” Peter said. “Look what you started Dacy. Nice job.”

“Oh yes we know each other.” Devin said with anger.

“All too well unfortunately. To answer your previous question, do I consider that reasonable behaviour? The answer is no. That is not reasonable behaviour. Not even close. That is, reasonable behaviour for a reasonable person anyway. But for this guy? I am not the least bit suprised. Trust me this man is capable of far worse. I have only been in his presence for one night, and I have already seen it first hand. He parades around like a circus puppy, performing for anybody that will give him an ounce of attention. He may present to just be a genuine person, looking for a genuine connection, but that is just apart of his act. And people fall for it, because Peter is a professional. I am sure he has been performing for a long time. He probably performs for you. And has been the entire time you have known each other. People like Peter are so hungry for reassurance, that they become nobody. They will bend in any direction for you to accept them. They have no solid ground to stand on, so they are willing to stand anywhere, and do anything as long as it benefits them. Just tonight. Peter charmed a crippled man, and a little girl with his nonsense, and then stole from them!” Devin raised his voice.

“I can’t imagine what else he has done. I can only imagine. “Murder,infidelity, arson, cruelty to animals, kidnapping, extortion, sexual assault, human trafficking…..”

“Hey buddy” Someone interrupted Devin from behind. Tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

Devin turned around to the man standing before him. Devin looked up at him. He was big and tall. Had a full beard, was wearing jeans and a band T-shirt. He was standing with a little girl.

“Hey there. So sorry to interrupt.” The man said to Devin. “This might sound kind of funny but….” The man considered his words. “Okay. Let me tell you a story. I drove down here to Bellington St. To pick up my brother and my niece. After reaching them, my brother told me he had just realized he was missing his wallet. So logically we traced back his steps back to the bar him and my niece had spent about half an hour in. Unfortunately at this point, they had already closed. Okay bummer. But, by some amount of luck. A bartender who had still been inside, walked out of the green flamingo just as we were outside. So of course, we told him are situation, and there wasn’t much he could do, especially after close. No wallets had been returned. But he did have an interesting memory from earlier. He witnessed a young man that seemed to have taken a wallet out of the trash. He said the young man was acting strangely, and his behaviour in general just struck him as odd. This alone wasn’t very helpful, or gave us any reason to believe this was connected to my brothers missing his wallet especially considering the green flamingo doesn’t have security cameras. But nonetheless he described the appearance of the young man to us, and my niece here, remembered seeing him. We were actually just driving away, when my nice here said “Hey that’s him right there who the bartender was talking about.” And she was talking about you. She saw you through the window. Like I said I’m sorry to bug you. But that is why I am talking to you. I’m not accusing you of anything of course. For all I know the bartender described the wrong person. I honestly feel like a jerk for even asking, but by any chance did you happen to find a wallet in the green flamingo, and forget to return it, or maybe you did return it or anything that could help me. And i am Chris by the way.” The man said.

“Well as a matter of fact I can help. I can help by pointing you in the right direction. To that man right there.” Devin pointed to peter who with Dacy had been closely listening in.

Chris glanced quickly at peter, and then back at Devin. Looking understandably perplexed, he was waiting for Devin to continue speaking, but Devin did not.

“Okay?” Chris finally said. Chuckled. “uhh would you mind elaborating on that. What does that guy have to do with it?” he said.

“Well he’s the man you are looking for.” Devin said cryptically.

“What man?” Chris fired back. Started to get frustrated. “Can you please stop messing around and just say what you mean.”

“Well it’s pretty simple. That man.” Devin pointed to peter again. “Is the man your looking for. He’s the one who stole your brothers wallet. I know this, because I saw him do it. He took it right out of your brothers back pocket on the way to the bathroom. He did it stealthily of course, but luckily a keen eye, myself was paying close attention and caught him in the act.”

“For Christ sakes.” Chris said under his breath. Scratched his head and nodded in frustration. He brought his head up to look at Peter.

“Is any of that true?” Chris asked Peter with a tone like he couldn’t believe he was even asking.

“please don’t trouble yourself with anything that guy says This guy was accusing me of arson and cruelty to animals and a bunch of other nonsense.” peter said. Then circling his finger around his temple to indicate Devin was crazy.

Chris was looking at the ceiling flabbergasted when The little girl, Sam, poked him to get his attention.

“That is peter. Me and dad met peter. He was nice. He wouldn’t do that. And dad always keeps his wallet in his front pocket. Always.” Sam tried to speak quietly, but it was loud enough for all involved to overhear.

“Yes he would!” Devin yelled out. Losing his quiet cryptic composure.

“Fine. I can prove it. Before peter left the green flamingo, he dropped it the trash. And I did find the wallet in the same trash can. Just like you said.”

“So you did find a wallet then?” Chris said.

“Yes.” Devin said.

“Can i see it please?” Chris said. Laughed like he shouldn’t even have to ask.

Devin handed the wallet to Chris nervously. His hand shaking to take it out of his pocket.

Chris looked through it.

“Does your dad usually have no money in here?” Chris asked Sam.

“No. He had at least 200 dollars in there.” Sam said.

“Okay. I am calling the cops.” Chris said. Took out his phone.

“good.” Devin said. “Hey everyone.” Devin spoke loud enough so the entire bar could hear.

“That man. His name is Peter. He stole someones wallet. We need to make sure he doesn’t leave. The cops are on the way.”

Chris chuckled at this.

“Thank for that.” Chris said.

“Well.” Devin stretched out his arms. “I think I have done enough justice for one night. I have places to be.” He said.

“I think you better stay actually. At least until the cops get here. Your are one eye witness to the crime. We will need you.” Chris said. Standing firmly in front of Devin. Not exactly trying to hide his sarcasm in his tone.

Devin even in his drunken fog, understanding the situation, looked all around the room to plan his next move. Should he quickly flee before anyone can touch him? He noticed a bit of a crowd of people had formed around who had been watching the scene. They all had the same look in their eye, Devin thought. The look of powerless zombies, under the spell of someone like peter. He was fighting a losing battle.

With this thought in mind, he subsequently vomited a vast amount on the floor, and losing his balance slipped and fell onto the pool of puke. The police shortly arrived, and Devin, covered in vomit, was taken away.

A short story: The man laughing upstairs

The three of them were at Peter’s apartment. Peter, Eric, and George. They were spread out on his couch in anticipation for a boxing match that was coming up that evening. They all saw each other very regularly, but they were catching up on what was new.

Peter was worried he had failed his recent exam, Eric was thinking about getting a different job, and George was telling them about how his relationship with his girlfriend had recently taken a turn for the worst.

“Wait. She threatened to kill you on the voicemail?” Eric asked George.

“No. No. Well yes. But she is not serious of course.” George responded with a lack of concern. “She has a lot of spirit you see, she just get’s a little carried away. She could never hurt me.”

“Why is she so mad at you?” peter asked.

“She seems to think that I cheated on her with her sister. She is wrong of course. I spent an evening hanging out with her sister, by the sister’s invitation. I have learned since then that the two sisters have a bit of a feud. Her sister, may have told Brooke that something happened between us to intentionally enrage her. I have just tried to deescalate the situation by staying away from her. When her fiery emotions settle, I should be easily able to explain to her that nothing happened. Oh look another voicemail. I get one every couple of hours. She is very passionate.” George explained. Seeming determined that she had good intention’s.

“I don’t know that sound’s pretty intense. I wouldn’t want to get involved with a crazy family conflict like that.” Peter said empathetically.

“No No. You just don’t understand. Brooke is a very misunderstood woman. You have no idea what she goes through. It will all work out in the long run, she has a good heart. But anyway, enough of me. Do you really think Patterson is going to knockout Bronson?”

The fight was just about to start. Everything was as expected. Three good friends, just enjoying the moment. And then all of a sudden, their attention gravitated to something else. They could hear a noise in the background.

“Is that coming from upstairs?”

“Yeah it sounds like it’s coming from directly above.”

They could hear laughing. Not just your typical snicker you can hear through the wall, but hysterical laughter. The type of laughter that sounds uncontrollable, like somebody has lost control over their own body, the type of laughter that brings tears to the eyes. After the first episode of hysterical laughter, it seemed relatively normal. Sometimes people just have a good laugh, nothing worth noting. The three even found some amusement in the level of enthusiasm they could hear in the loud laugh. It lightened there spirits. But then it continued. Again, and again. It wasn’t completely non stop, there were short breaks in between episodes, but it was very frequent. Again, not necessarily unusual to hear frequent laughter, but it was the level of enthusiasm combined with how frequent it was. Most people would laugh to that degree perhaps once a month, or once a year, or a uptight fellow may never laugh to that degree in their entire life.

“Do you have any idea who that is Peter?” George asked.

“I honestly have no idea.” Peter answered.

” I still can’t believe how loud it is. If my eye’s were closed I would wonder if it was coming from right beside me. Have you ever heard any noise from that guy before? It sounds like it’s just one guy laughing. Who laughs that loud?” Eric said.

“No I don’t think so.” Peter considered the question. “At least not that I can recall. I sometimes hear footsteps or objects moving, but I don’t ever recall hearing that guy’s voice before. I agree, it sure is loud.”

“It must be a comedy.” George declared confidently.

“What?” Eric inquired somewhat rudely.

“A comedy Eric. That guy must be watching or listening to some sort of comedy. Trust me, I would know.” George explained to Eric.

“Just because your a failing stand up comedian George that doesn’t mean you have magical powers to know why somebody is laughing.” Eric responded. Both Peter and eric laughed.

“Failing standup comedian? Did you see me at Qortsville last weekend? No neither of you decided to come support your friend. I can assure you that everyone in the crowd sounded exactly like that guy upstairs.” The three of them all snickered as they could hear the hysterical laughter from the man upstairs simultaneously as George mentioned it.

“Now what you too unfunny individuals don’t understand, is that if you have told enough jokes Infront of crowds of people, their is a certain type of laughing that is exclusive only to jokes from comedians.” Eric scoffed at that.

” If you have heard it enough times, trust me you would know it it too. Now trust me, that guy must be watching comedy. Peter, are you sure you haven’t heard this guy before? Perhaps he just moved in?” George said.

“I doubt it. It’s the middle of the month, and there is a board in the lobby that lists the vacancies, and I don’t ever recall seeing any vacancies on the sixth floor since I have lived here.” Eric answered.

“Well Peter, I don’t mean to pressure you, but may I ask you a favor?” George looked over and said to Peter.

Peter just stared back at George, waiting for him to continue talking. Peter had a resentment on his face as if he expected George to ask him something that would cause him discomfort.

“Well as you know, I love comedy. I am a comedian.” George declared.

“Failing comedian.” Eric interrupted.

“hey, everyone start’s somewhere, I am getting better, alright?” George started again.

” I don’t think I have ever heard somebody laugh like that for so long. Even the best comedians can’t make somebody react that way. That man sounds like he is possessed. I have to know, or I would like to know what comedy or what comedian that man is watching, perhaps it’s a comedian I have not heard of and need to learn from him. Or if perhaps it’s one that I already know of, I would like to know which one. Like I said Peter, I don’t want to pressure you. This is your building, It is totally up to you. But would I have your permission to seek this man out and ask him what has caused him to laugh to this extent?” George asked of Peter with a tone as if this was more important than his words might suggest.

“You can’t be serious?” Eric interjected confrontationally.

“Why not?” George responded.

“Uh I don’t know? Perhaps the complete invasion of privacy. Intruding on some random guy to ask why he is laughing. Seriously? The guy has been laughing hysterically nonstop for over an hour. He is probably a madman. You want to get Peter mixed up with some maniac that lives in his building so you can possibly add fuel to your failing comedy career. What is wrong with you?” Eric said.

“Like I said you don’t get it. Peter what do you say.” George said.

Peter was slouching forward in between the two with his hands covering the bottom half of his face, he seemed to be struggling with the decision. He looked back and forth between his two friends like he was considering both of their reasoning.

After a few more moments he brought his posture back up, looked over at George.

“Okay. You can go and try to talk to him…..” George rocked his fist in celebration.

“But. Okay. But….” Peter started again. “I will come with you. And you will knock once, only once. If he doesn’t answer, we leave. If he shows any protest to us in any way…..”

“We leave.” George interrupted. “No problem. I assure you I will not offend him. It’s me were talking about. I am great with people. And since he has been laughing so much he is probably in a jovial mood. I am sure we will get along great.” George said in great spirit’s.

“Okay. We can go up after the fight. Eric will you come with us?”

“Sure. I don’t want miss this. especially if it goes bad.” Eric responded. He seemed to find the situation amusing.

The three put their focus back to watching the final rounds of the boxing match. George and Eric maintained the same spirit and continued going back and forth with each other, and Peter got especially quiet, in deep thought, and unable to pay attention to the fight as the other two enjoyed themselves. The laughing hysterical laughter from upstairs continued all the way through the fight.

The three of them were in the elevator, heading up to the sixth floor.

“I really mean it George. Don’t cross the line. If he doesn’t want to talk to us, we need to leave right away. If you cause any trouble I am going to be seriously pissed. Okay?” Peter declared in the elevator.

The three of them got out of the elevator. George walked Infront of the other two. He was a short Lebanese fellow. No taller than about five foot six. His body would waddle back and forth as he walked. Peter and Eric followed behind. Peter and Eric’s looks mirrored each other for the most part. They were both tall and thin with brown hair, although their aura was unmistakable. Peter walked as though every one of his steps could fall him into endless pit and there were infinite eyes constantly watching him, whereas Eric walked as though he could care less if he stepped on the foot of the queen of England.

They were looking back and forth between a few of the units. It was unclear which unit was the one directly above Peter’s. All of a sudden one of the doors of the units opened. A man walked out. A very big and tall man. At least half a foot taller than any of the three. He had a black hoodie on, with the hoodie up over his head. Peter and Eric just stood there wondering if that could possibly be the laughing man, but they just stood there, not in any way prepared to approach him out of the blue. The man was holding a garbage bag in each hand, he kept his head down as he walked by, heading toward the end of the hall towards the elevator. George after a few moments, started charging after him.

“Hey you.” George yelled out.

The man didn’t respond. He continued walking down the hall.

“My friend.” George once again yelled out again. This time a little closer to the man.

This time the man stopped and looked back at George. As George was still charging towards him, the man pulled down his hood and smiled. He was a very good looking, with pearly white teeth, and effortless smile. He had blonde combed over hair that had a strong contrast to his black hoodie.

“My friend.” George was now face to face with the tall good looking man. ” I have a question for you. If you don’t mind. Seriously. I don’t want to intrude on you.”

“No No. There’s no problem.” The tall good looking man responded. ” What can I do for you?” The man was still smiling, his face seeming genuine to his polite response.

George looked back at Peter, who along with Eric was now standing right behind him. He smiled at Peter to acknowledge the man was happy to make his acquaintance, and that George was not crossing the line as Peter had insisted.

“I apologize. This may sound a little strange. What I am going to ask of you.” George started. ” Are you sure your not too busy? Your taking out some garbage? Your still holding them in your hand’s, they look heavy, your arms must be getting tired, are you sure I am not bothering you sir?”

“No No. Don’t worry about it, your good. These are light garbage bags.” The man shook them around to show their lightness. ” Ask me anything.”

The garbage bags the tall good looking man was holding were clearly stained with red from the inside. Both Eric, and Peter had noticed this, they had both been eyeing them but attempting to not be overly obvious about it.

Perhaps the tall good looking man sensed this. He looked down at the two garbage bags, shook his head back and forth.

“Spaghetti. Can’t get enough of it. Got a little too overboard with the tomato sauce.” He looked down at the garbage bags again and let out a loud laugh. It was instantly recognized by the three.

“Like I said, this may sound kind of strange. You see I am a comedian. It’s my passion to try and make others laugh. And when me and my two friends were downstairs we could hear somebody laughing up here. Somebody laughing with a great deal of enthusiasm. A level of laugh that contained so much enthusiasm that I am not sure I have heard anybody laugh like that before. So as a comedian, I wanted to know what that man might be laughing about. Were you by chance the man that was laughing so enthusiastically?” George asked.

“Was it really that loud?” The man asked. He smiled, seemed completely unfazed by Georges strange inquiry.

George laughed and embraced the man immediately, patting him on the shoulder.

“Yes my friend, it was quite loud. Haha. But don’t worry about it. It means you enjoy yourself. I love to hear that. What was it that caused you to laugh like that? If you don’t mind me asking. Was it a comedy?” George looked back at Eric after he asked the question.

“Well sort of. It may sound kind of strange, but I was writing a story actually. That’s what was making me laugh like that.” The tall good looking man answered.

“You write comedies?” George got very excited. “My goodness. I am so happy I have come to meet you. Is there any chance I could read it? When you are finished of course. Could you send it me?”

“Well as a matter of fact I just finished it. But it could be kind of tough to send it to you as I wrote it on a typewriter. I am Stephen by the way.” He put the garbage bags down on the floor. Extended his hand out for a handshake.

They shook hand’s.

“My name is George. And these are my friends Eric, and Peter. It’s great to meet you Stephen.”

“nice to meet you guy’s.” Stephen said as he smiled at the three of them. Both Peter and Eric didn’t say anything. They just nodded at him with blank faces.

“I’ll tell you guy’s what, if you want to hear it, I would be happy to read it to you. It is best received to be read out loud anyway. What do you say?” Stephen asked them.

“Absolutely. We would love that.” George answered, he started looking at the palm of his right hand. “Shall we go into your place?” He ran a finger of his opposite hand to feel what was on his right hand. “I think I might have gotten some of that spaghetti sauce on my hand.” George said to Stephen.

Stephen looked slightly shocked.

“Oh no. I don’t think that’s spaghetti sauce, that might be blood. I cut my finger opening up a box of spaghetti.” he showed that he had a band aid on the pointer finger of his right hand.

“I am so sorry. I never should have shook your hand with my cut finger.”

“No No don’t worry about it my friend.” George assured Stephen.

“I will go get you something to wipe that up with.” Stephen started rushing back towards his apartment door. “I am so sorry.” he yelled out.

Peter and Eric were standing right next to each other.

“Does this guy seem a bit off to you?” Eric whispered quietly right into Peter’s ear.

Peter turned his head and looked over at Eric with an intent look on his face, opening his eyes up real wide, looked right at Erics face, and nodded. His face was undeniable. He needn’t say a word for Eric to understand how Peter felt. The two just stood there. Not looking at each other. They were both looking forward at red stained garbage bags Stephen had left behind.

“Unfortunately I only have one roll of paper towel, and it has blood all over it. I will roll it out and it might be clean in the center.” Stephen said after he had come back into the hall.

His roll of paper towel was indeed covered in blood. Somehow so soaked in blood you could hardly see a single spot of white on the entire surface. He started unrolling the paper towel all over the floor. Peter and Eric looked in bewilderment as Stephen continued to do this for what seemed like a especially long period of time. As he did this the paper towel didn’t get any cleaner. Eventually he was left with a empty roll in his hand, and bloody paper towel spread in a circle all over the floor.

Stephen let out an obnoxiously loud laugh for about 10 seconds.

” I didn’t realize I had bled that much. Somehow it soaked through the entire roll. It was just a little cut on my finger haha.” He stuck his injured finger out.

“Don’t worry about it Stephen.” George said all of a sudden. ” I can wash the blood off at Peters apartment. You have some paper towel Peter, right? I still want to hear that story though. How about you come down into Peters place, I can wash the blood off my hand, and then you can read the story for the three of us. What do you say? Oh and Peter your good with that right? It shouldn’t take that long. It’s not a really long story is it Stephen?”

“Yes absolutely that sound’s like a great plan. And no it is not very long at all actually. Should only take about 5-10 minutes.” Stephen told them.

“Uhm, excuse me.”

Stephen turned around. There was a a women standing there. A little 30 year old Indian women with camo shirt, and pant’s and, red sunglasses. She had a shocked looked on her face. her mouth was wide open. She was observing the bizarre scene Infront of her. The four men in the middle of the hall, circled around the pile of bloody paper towel.

“Have you seen Jennifer? Sorry I thought I saw you go into her place.” The women spoke very quietly and timidly. Like she was so shaken she could hardly say anything.

“Yes. Well not for a week. I am her brother. She is on a business trip in south America. I have been staying at her apartment” Stephen said to her confidently.

“Oh.” She seemed surprised. “I didn’t realize she had a brother. I haven’t heard from her and haven’t been able to get ahold of her over the phone. The Yorkson’s are on tonight and she usually comes over and we watch it together. So I was wondering were she might be.” The lady said nervously.

“Yeah she is going to parts of Brazil were there isn’t cell reception. She told me to not bother trying to call her. She will be back in a couple day’s, I will let her know you were asking about her. You are?”

“Christine.”

“Okay. I am Stephen.”

“Okay. Nice to meet you.” She said timidly and walked slowly back into her apartment looking back at them multiple times.

“Okay. I will take this garbage out and I will head right down there. What unit are you in?” Stephen asked.

“504.” Peter answered reluctantly.

The three of them were back in the elevator.

“And you thought Peter had a mad man living above him.” George broke the silence. “I can’t wait to hear that story.”

“Do you have any idea what you have done?” Peter blurted out to George. In a manner and tone foreign to anybody that knew peter.

“What?” George didn’t understand.

“Do you have any ability to see anybody’s red flags?” Peter was now yelling. He realized how loud his voice was and he took a deep breath and regained a more level tone.

“A madman? Yeah have you ever seen one before? Because you just made friends with one. And you invited him into my apartment! You son of a bitch. You could have at least invited him into your house and let him murder you, but of course you have to drag me into it. You don’t even care to know if you have my permission. You just do these things and act like everything is all jolly and good, and never think about anyone else’s perspective or of the consequences. Do you even care if I was okay inviting him into my place?”

They stepped out of the elevator and stopped Infront of Peters door.

“Peter I am really sorry. I can’t believe how upset I have made you. But I did ask you for your permission, you didn’t say anything so I thought it was okay. And murder? Why are you talking of murder? Stephen seemed like a nice guy. A fellow comedian.” George said very sadly, Peters rage seemed to really bring down his spirit.

“What am I supposed to say right Infront of the guy? You call that asking permission? I usually try to not upset maniacs, okay. I just hope my friends are good enough to not invite them into my home. And don’t worry about why I am concerned about the guy. Clearly you don’t get it. Everyone is a good person to you. Your judgment means nothing. Even Eric said he seemed off.”

Both peter and George looked to Eric for his opinion.

“Well…” Eric seemed unsure what to say. ” He definitely seemed odd. I would definitely say that, and the blood and the laughing….”

“It doesn’t matter.” Eric interrupted. “He’s not coming into my apartment. You can wait outside and tell him I am not feeling well. Eric you can come in, or leave or whatever you want. But he is not coming in. No chance.” Eric explained, completely enraged. If he wasn’t trying to control the volume of his voice he would have been screaming.

“Come on Peter….

Ding. The elevator door opened.

Stephen was standing there with his story in his hand, and a smile on his face. He stepped out of the elevator and approached the three.

“Come on! 5! 6! 7! 8! 9! one more! 10! Yes!”

The lady slammed the barbell back onto the rack and rose up from the bench. She was clearly a big strong women. Standing nearly 6 fit tall with big broad shoulders. She had pretty blonde hair and a face that seemed to mirror rage no matter her mood. Psyched up from the bench press she gave a violent high five to her friend that was just spotting her and counting out her reps. Her friend grasped her hand in pain from the high five. She was a very small women by any standard, and completely dwarfed by her bench pressing friend.

” That was a new record right!” The smaller lady yelled out in excitement.

“That was nothing!” The bigger women said still psyched up. “I’m going to do 12 this time!”

“No rest. Come on. right now. Get ready to spot again.”

The smaller lady happily got back into position to spot her friend on the next set. Although by her appearance she didn’t appear capable of providing any assistance if needed.

The bench pressing proceeded. “1! 2! 3!” But was suddenly interrupted. They could hear laughing all of a sudden. HAHAHAHAHAH

Hysterical laughter. The type of laugh you almost never hear. It appeared to come from the floor directly above. It sounded like at least 3 men were laughing. But from one specific man most of all. The noise of the loud laughing man seemed to be coming from the heating vent on the wall. They could just barely hear the other men’s laughs, but the laugh coming from the vent filled the whole 1 bedroom apartment like it was coming from a speaker.

On the fifth rep the lady rested the barbell on her chest. The smaller lady grabbed at the barbell to help her friend pull it up, but the lady bench pressing tugged it back on her chest.

“Wait.” The bench pressing lady ordered to her friend who followed her orders and stood their with a confused look on her face.

The bench pressing lady continued to hold the barbell at her chest, and looked to at the air vent like she was listening to the laugh that was coming out. She moved her head back and forth, and mothed words looking like she was unsure of something.

“Bastard.” She yelled out.

She grunted and pushed the weight off her chest, slammed the barbell back on it’s rack, got up, and stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door without saying a word.

She went to the elevator and smacked the up button with fury.

The elevator opened, it was full of people, She was about to enter.

“Sorry we forgot something we have to go back down.”

The bench pressing lady stood there, looking at the group of people with enough rage to ignite them with just her eyes. As the elevator was almost closed, she could hear someone laughingly say “sorry” like they found her rage amusing.

She proceeded to kick the wall. and pace back and forth like a raging bull. After about 3 minutes of waiting, her rage once again ignited. She was done waiting. She looked to her left and saw a door indicating it led to the staircase. She went over to it, and kicked the door open, nearly knocking the door off of it’s hinges. As she walked through the door she had to step over a man who was knocked to the ground by the door being kicked open on the other side, he was covered in popcorn as the popcorn bag he was holding spilled everywhere from the impact. The bench press lady said nothing to him as she stepped over him and made her way up the flight of stairs.

She took the door to enter the the fifth floor. As she started making her way down the hallway, she saw three men exit the door of one of the apartments. They seemed to be in a great mood, they were all laughing about something.

“Why would there be a goat in an karaoke bar?” One of them said. Their laughter ignited. The question was not answered.

The bench pressing lady stopped right Infront of the men. George looked up at her. He was in complete shock. The bench press lady looked at him with so much rage her face might have exploded. She was clenching her teeth like she might say something but she was so enraged she couldn’t find the words. She was a head taller than George.

“Brooke” George said to her. You could hear the weakness in his voice.

He opened up his arms for a hug, and smiled at her. After a few moments of not seeing a change in Brooke’s face, and getting a clear look at the fury in her eyes, the anxiety returned to Georges face.

“Brooke. I am sorry.” His arms were still held out for a hug, but his voice was trembling.

Brooke headbutted George, knocking him straight to the ground. She jumped on top of him and to attempted to strangle him. Luckily Stephen, and Eric were there to stop her, along with Peter who heard the commotion and came into the hall, along with multiple other neighbors who came out of their apartments, most of which were needed to keep Brooke separated from George as Brooke’s fury did not dissipate for the entire 20 minutes it took for the police to arrive and take her away.

hopelessly addicted to screens

Just brainstorming, I thought, what if I just completely boycotted all electronic screens. I would buy a cell phone with buttons, and I would watch nothing on TV, or anything on the computer. Basically spend none of my free time looking at screens.

I thought, what if somehow this could benefit mental health? What if these screens which are so essential to all our need’s today our really hurting us? I have no objective reason to believe this, but it’s a compelling interesting idea to consider.

Then I thought, how am I supposed to spend my time now? Okay. I have books. I can workout. Socialize? Wow. There’s not much. So I sat there for a few minutes really thinking about it. What if I really tried it. No screens. Would it have benefits? are these screens contributing to the apparent mental health crisis? Or would it just make me bored? Am I just trying to naively romanticize the simplicity of the past? I’m not sure.

I do think it would be interesting to try though. We rely on these screens FOR EVERYTHING! Literally everything. Their are people who use a screen for literally every activity they do, every minute of everyday of their life, aside from sleep.

What really struck me was trying to actually conceptualize what it would really be like if I actually tried this. I would be completely lost. The only activities I do that don’t involve screens, is working out, reading, and cooking. While those activities consume a decent amount of my spare time, there’s still so much time in-between.

All that time I spend surfing through youtube, or watching tv shows and movies, or video games? Even my writing involves a screen. It made me think, okay, what if I still used my laptop just for writing. And I could use my cellphone for listening to music, and perhaps, I could still watch my favorite TV shows. Man oh man. I haven’t even committed to trying this yet and I am already making compromises. I am completely addicted. Hopelessly addicted. And I am sure everyone around me is as well.

It’s kind of like being a drug addict. But drugs are bad for your health and wellbeing, could screens be as well? Even though it sounds so difficult, I might actually try this at some point. Because screens are so essential to our daily lives, perhaps the benefits of boycotting them could be dramatic, in a positive way. I’m sure we weren’t evolved to to stare at artificial light all day, perhaps it could make no difference, or perhaps it could be hurting all of us.

Random thoughts on tv show mad men

I have spent quite a bit of time lately watching the Tv series Mad men. I really enjoy it. I wish I could explain eloquently why I enjoy it so much. Perhaps I could talk about how I love the depth and development of it’s characters. Or the romantic portrayal of the era it represents. But trying to convince anybody those are the reasons just feels like I am trying to convince myself. I don’t know why I enjoy it so much. I just know I like watching it. It’s like the part of my brain that need’s rational explanations just turns off. Ah, good old mindless pleasure. can’t get enough of it, and always fighting myself to get less. I’m sure there is a perfect balance. Usually when I throw myself into an abundance of mindless pleasure, I stress about how unproductive I have been, and if I make more sacrifices to work more towards my goals I wonder why I am forcing myself to take so little pleasure from life. It feels like an evil cycle that ensures I never take any enjoyment from anything. Like I am always chasing something that stays a mile away no matter what direction I go. kind of like Don Draper, I suppose. (The main character of the show). Chasing woman, admiration from colleagues, love from those closest to him, a fresh start. Don chases pleasure from just about every source imaginable. And all of it just continues him on a endless cycle. Is that why I like the show so much? Because I can relate to the flaws of it’s main character? Sorry. I’m not sure that’s the reason either. Convincing you of that still feels like I am trying to convince myself. I guess I will give up. Perhaps the only explanation I need for why I like it so much is the fact that I like it so much. Works for me. Perhaps Don doesn’t know why he likes advertising so much either. Cant say I relate to Don on that one. That always did strike me though. Why would someone who is hopelessly chasing something never consider making a career change? I doubt it would have made a difference for him but you would figure he would at least try at some point. he made changes to all other aspects of his life. Whatever. I am going to go watch more mad men. Bye.

A short story: The Tennis racket

Disclaimer: This story is intended to be silly and humorous and hopes not to offend.

it was midnight, Hickson was getting pretty tired. The store was set to close in 1 hour. A man came in the store. He was very tall and fairly slim, wearing a leather jacket, and had red hair. From behind the counter Hickson said, very politely “hello sir, how are you?” The man didn’t even look in Hickson’s direction and responded “Yes Yes hello, I am good” He responded in a tone like he might be resentful about being asked such a pointless question, but answered nonetheless out of a desire not to be overly impolite. He went straight to the vodka section, seemed to be looking at which bottles were on sale, trying to make a decision on what he was going to take. Just after, another man entered the store. short and stocky, with brown hair, and a button up shirt and jeans. Before Hickson could communicate his friendly greeting, the man said “Hello sir, how are you doing tonight”?

“Very well sir, how about yourself?” Hickson responded.

” I am very well, thank you” The man said smiling, as he strolled by the counter. Made his way into the beer cooler.

A minute later, the short brown haired man walked out of the beer room with a 15 pack of beer. As he started walking to the counter he checked his watch, he smiled, had a satisfied look on his face.

Just as he was halfway back to the front counter the man loudly said to Hickson

“Sure is a beautiful night isn’t it?”

“Sure is sir.” Hickson responded.

Still standing in the vodka section, the tall red hair man took a good look over his shoulder at the other man just after the man had spoken loudly to Hickson. The two men mad eye contact just as they were parallel to each other.

“Howdy there Jim.” The short brown hair man smilingly said to the vodka shopping man as he passed by. The vodka shopping man neither responded or made any attempt to reciprocate the friendly demeanor which he was greeted with. He just scowled at him, and continued to scowl at him even after the other man had looked away and continued walking to the front counter.

The friendly man arrived to Hickson at the front counter.

“Hey any chance you know where I could buy some watermelon at this time of night?”

Before Hickson could respond, or even think up a response, the vodka shopping man appeared, and smashed a bottle of vodka over the short brown haired man’s head. The impact knocked him onto his back, but not unconscious. He sat up, had blood and vodka dripping down his face.

“You son of a bitch” Jim was yelling down at the man, he was pacing back and forth in front of him, seemed unsure of his next move. “You son of a bitch! I can’t believe you could do something like that, You are disgusting!”

“You need to leave now, I am calling the police.” Hickson said from behind the counter, with his phone in his hand.

“No! don’t call the police.” the bloodied man spoke, he was still sitting on the floor, now looking at Hickson. “My name is Marty. It’s my fault. This is Jim, he’s a good guy. Please don’t call the police on him.”

“great. thank you. your standing up for me.” Jim said sarcastically enraged. ” I don’t give a rat’s ass if he call’s the police. Do you have any idea how much trouble you have caused me? to my wife? your just lucky I ran into you in a public place.” Jim wasn’t yelling quite as loud, he seemed to be slowly regaining a level head.

Hickson was again holding his phone in his hand. “Guy’s this is crazy. I am calling the police. okay.” He said like he was still looking for an assurance from Marty.

“No! Don’t. it’s okay. We are working it out. I will pay for any damage, or cleanup, or however much you need for your trouble. Just let us work it out.” Marty assured Hickson from the floor.

Hickson looked completely perplexed, gestured up his hand’s in confusion.

“Okay? If you don’t want me to call the police, you guy’s need to tell me what’s going on. Look at yourself. Your face is covered in blood man. Somebody need’s to tell me whats going on.” Hickson was just staring at the two of them. “RIGHT NOW!” He raised his voice.

Jim had a thought. “You know. that’s a great idea actually.” He was still standing over the bloodied man. “Why don’t you tell him what you did. tell him just how disgusting you are. tell him how I let you guy’s into my home, and you showed yourselves to be the degenerate’s that you truly are.”

“TELL HIM!” He yelled as he took a step closer to him.

“Alright. Okay.” Marty put up his hand’s in front of him as a defensive gesture. ” Well, if I am being completely honest, I am not 100% sure what he’s referring to.” Jim Scoffed at that. Nodded in disgust.

“But. I admit I am far from perfect person. Jim is a reasonable guy, so I am sure his anger is justified. Unfortunately I don’t have a great memory, sometimes I forget these thing’s. but If you give me a few moment’s, I am sure I can remember what I did wrong. ” He took a deep breath. Whispered to himself to lapse his memory.

“Okay. I think I got it. Was it the fact that I didn’t use a coaster for my glass of wine on your coffee table?” Marty asked.

Jim just stared at him blankly waiting for him to speak again

“I got it! The cookie container.” Jim remarked excitedly. “We forgot to return the plastic container that Denise gave our cookies in. Jim I am so sorry! The cookies were fantastic. I can’t believe we forgot that. Jim how can I make it up to you?” Marty asked like he was genuinely apologetic.

“You got it Marty, that’s what’s got me so angered, It’s the cookie container” He did a big sarcastic whole body laugh waving his hands around all silly. “Gosh Marty that darn cookie container. That’s why I smashed a bottle over your head, that’s why we are having this conversation. How could you possibly make it up to me for not returning that precious cookie container.” Jim remarked smiling and sarcastic.

“You stupid son of a bitch!” Jim’s light joking tone suddenly shifted. He made a quick step towards Marty like he might strike him.

“Hey Hey, take it easy.” Marty responded. Put his hands over his face defensively.

“Are you a fucking moron Marty? WE HAVE A CAMERA SYSTEM IN OUR HOUSE DUMBASS!” Jim yelled at the top of his lung’s.

“Okay?” Marty was confused.

“The tennis racket! Do you remember what you did to the tennis racket Marty?”

“Oh.” Marty sighed. Finally understood what Jim was getting at.

“You Guys defouled it!” He was still yelling. ” You and your damn boyfriend. We invite you guy’s into our home as guests, my wife makes herself vulnerable to you. She tells you about her dead brother who was a professional tennis player, do you know how hard it is for her to talk about that? She knew you guy’s liked tennis, she wanted to show you his tennis racket, it’s probably her most prized possession in the entire world, and you guy’s do that? You guy’s make me absolutely sick.”

“I’m so sorry Jim.” Marty said sadly from the floor.

“I will tell you, we found it odd that you both went to the bathroom at the same time. But to look at the surveillance tape, and see you take that tennis racket into the bathroom, we couldn’t believe our eye’s. And of course Denise was with me when I looked at the footage. That was great luck. If she didn’t see the footage I could have pretended like it never happened, but instead, she was absolutely mortified. It’s been two weeks, she still hasn’t recovered. You wouldn’t believe what this had done to her. What do you have to say for yourself?” Jim asked.

“Jim I am really sorry. Like I mean it, I really am. But you said you saw us take the tennis racket into the bathroom. Was it damaged? What makes you think we did anything with it?”

“THE TENNIS RACKET HAD SHIT ON IT MARTY!” Jim was yelling again.

“Okay, your right I’m sorry, alright. Were sorry.” Marty sounded genuinely remorseful.

“You guys couldn’t have it at least cleaned it off after?” Jim asked, flabbergasted.

“Your right. I Know.” Marty said.

“Ok. First thing’s first your going to apologize to Denise.” Jim said more calmly.

“Absolutely I will do it right now.” Marty started to get to his feet.

“No! stop.” He pointed his finger at Marty. “You are good just as you were. Sit back down on the floor, and that’s how I want you when she get’s here.” Marty obliged and sat back down in the mess of vodka, broken glass, and his own blood.

“As you know we live just down the street, I’m going to call her, she can be here in not even 2 minutes.” He was opening her contact on his phone.

All of a sudden another man walked through the front door. A tall heavyset man with a bald head and a friendly face. He was wearing a black hoodie, and blue jeans. All three set’s of eye’s already in the store instantly gravitated to him, and his gravitated to the bizarre scene which was in front of him.

He laughed to himself, waved his hands up in confusion. “Is everything okay?” He remarked with some sarcasm.

“Don’t worry about it, just go about your business.” Jim responded briskly.

“Thanks for your concern. everything’s fine. It was just a silly misunderstanding.” Marty assured the man from the floor.

The man looked behind the counter at Hickson for his take on the matter.

“I know it look’s bad, but they really are working it out. I give you my word these man wont cause you any problems, I will be right here to make sure. Sound good?”

“Okay.” The man laughed at the strangeness of the situation. “Don’t mind me. I just came to buy a bottle of whisky.” The man said as he made his way over to the whisky section.

“Okay. Let me know know if you need anything.” Hickson yelled out reassuringly. Rolled his eye’s. Couldn’t believe he was letting this nonsense hurt his business.

“God dammit, she’s not answering. I tried her twice. She might have gone to sleep.” Jim said frustrated.

“What if I just popped over to your house real quick. if she was still awake I could apologize, and I could even clean the tennis racket for you myself.” Marty said

“You don’t think I already cleaned it Marty? And you think I would actually let you back in my house? I swear sometimes I wonder if…..” CRACK.

The heavy set man who just came into the store had just smashed a whisky bottle over Jim’s head. The impact knocked Jim onto his butt, but he was still conscious with blood and whisky dripping down his face.

” What the hell is wrong with you? Why did you do that? We just told you everything was fine.” Jim said to the heavy set man.

“Hello Jim. I guess you don’t remember me.” The heavy set man said darkly. “Why don’t you jog your memory a little. Stare at my face. See if anything come’s to you.”

” I don’t remember shit.” Jim started to get to his feet.

“STOP!” The heavy set man yelled. Pulled out and opened a switch blade, pointed it within a few feet of Jim. “Sit back down!” Jim did as he was told. ” And you.” He pointed a finger of his free hand at Hickson, who has on his cellphone. “If you call the police I will stab this guy to death right in front of you.”

“Okay.” Hickson said cautiously. Set his cell phone down on the counter.

“And the same goes for you.” He pointed at Marty, who was also still on the floor. “I don’t care what misunderstanding you had with Jim, but as long as you don’t concern yourself with me, I won’t concern myself with you.”

” Can I at least continue my shopping?” Marty asked from the floor.

“I don’t care. Just don’t leave until I do.” The heavy set man said to Marty. “And stay where I can see you. I mean it about killing Jim right here.”

Marty got to his feet and walked deeper into the store.

“Okay then. Let’s get to business. Jim, You still going with that you don’t remember me?”

They stared blankly at each other blankly for a few seconds.

“The tennis racket Jim. Do you remember selling me a tennis racket?” The heavy set man said like it should be obvious.

Jim still didn’t say anything, just sat there.

“Well maybe you remember stealing it from me then? Yeah I know.” The man revealed. “I knew exactly what I was buying. I knew who your wife was, and I knew that it belonged and was used by her famous dead brother, Alexander Cooper, the tennis pro. I’m sure you didn’t realize it’s significance when you were selling it. You probably thought, 30$, for an old tennis racket, That’s a hell of a deal. But then you realized the mistake you made. maybe your wife told you or you found out on your own, doesn’t matter. So you decided to steal it back from me. Don’t even try and deny it. It had to be you. You were the only person on this earth that knew about it. Who else would break into my house and the only thing they take is some old tennis racket. Doesn’t make sense. So here’s what’s going to happen. We are going to go to your house. For you and your wife’s sake, you better still have it, and it better be in the same condition as I bought it. And after I get the tennis racket back, your going to pay me some money. You owe it me. You don’t get to just steal something from someone because you made a bad deal. that’s on you. You could have at the very least tried to…… CRACK.

Marty had just smashed a bottle of Rose wine over the heavy set mans head, Marty had managed to sneak up behind him. The man was unconscious facedown on the floor.

Marty looked at Jim, a shocked look on his face, like he couldn’t believe what he had just done. He was still holding the half of the bottle that hadn’t broken off. He finally dropped it.

“My god. Jim. What should we do?” Marty asked in a panic.

Jim got up. ” It will be fine. Come on Marty. let’s get out of here. Before this guy wakes up.” he started leading Marty out of the store.

Marty stopped. “But what then? Are we supposed to just leave him here like this, with the liquor store guy?” He looked at Hickson.

“Don’t worry about it.” Hickson said to the two men. ” I will call the police. There’s a police station just a few blocks away, they will be here by the time he wakes up. I will make something up, perhaps I will say he tried to rob the place with his knife and was knocked unconscious from a good Samaritan. I know the cops around here, they will believe me. Just pretend this never happened.

Jim and Marty exited the liquor store.

The pursuit of happiness is a silly movie

Yesterday I was scrolling through Netflix, and I decided to re watch the movie the pursuit of happiness, starring Will Smith. For a movie that’s intended to be a inspirational story, I found it’s message to be silly. Try and put yourself in the main characters shoes, you have a young kid, your severely struggling, your in a business venture that is an utter failure, your one unexpected expense from being forced onto the streets, what would you do? Does it sound like a good time to take an unpaid internship? An unpaid internship with very little prospect of being offered an actual job, that requires the majority of your time. Does that sound like a good idea? If your answer is yes, you are, in my opinion, an idiot. And your wife should leave you too. How could you blame Chris’s wife for leaving him? It was the sensible thing for her to do. Perhaps he should have got a job with an actual pay check, is that such a wild idea? Maybe that way his kid wouldn’t go hungry, or have to spend the night in a public restroom. A guy in that situation should be doing everything he can to provide for his family. Not taking unpaid internships. And yes, it works out, and it’s just so happy, but it wasn’t necessary. There’s no reason he needed to put his family in such a vulnerable position. Especially for a guy that’s supposed to be smart. If your intelligent, and dedicated, you can make it in any industry. There’s not some one job that’s going to magically change your families trajectory, that’s worth sacrificing everything for. Sacrificing your families safety for a job, just because you have some inflated idea of it in your head is not inspiring, it’s pathetic. And I’m not trying to insult the real Chris gardener, even though this movie was based on a true story it is still just a movie. The real story could have been completely different.


Continue reading “The pursuit of happiness is a silly movie”

The NBA should give the players more incentive to compete in the all star game

I’m watching the NBA all star game right now as I’m writing this. It’s somewhat exciting. In comparison to other professional sport leagues version of the NBA all star game, it’s pretty good. For the most part they are able to play basketball similar to how they would if it was just a standard NBA game. With that said, the players clearly dont take it very seriously and you can tell based on their effort that both teams dont care a whole lot about actually winning the game. They constantly jack up low percentage deep threes, they dont compete for rebounds, and they put minimal to zero effort on defense. It’s still somewhat exciting to watch because it’s the worlds best basketball players all on the same court playing the game their the absolute best at. I think this game has a lot of potential. If the players actually took it seriously, and played with an urgency to win, it could be just as exciting to watch as the NBA finals. It would be the absolute highest level of competition possible in basketball. The amazing matchups that would you would see, the highest level of scoring , defense, rebounding all put on display on one court to decide which conference could put together the more effective team. I cant even imagine how exciting that would be. Seeing the elite of the elite of any sport all compete together is very rare in any sport. With the lack of physicality in todays NBA, the all star game could be played competitively with little risk of injury. NBA athletes play up to 82 games in the regular season alone, how much would they really be risking by competing hard for one more game? The level of excitement generated from this game actually being competitive, far negates any heightened risk of injury from one single game. Don’t get me wrong, I dont blame the players for not competing hard. That’s not what this is about. Why would the players want to risk injury for a game that means virtually nothing? The players clearly dont have any real incentive to compete hard in the all star game because they clearly dont compete hard in the all star game. They hand out a trophy and the winner gets money donated to their charity and all that, but its not enough. There’s a number of ways the NBA could provide more incentive for winning the all star game. The best way to do it, I think, would be to make the result of the all star game impact the ratio of home and away games between the east and west teams for the remainder of the regular season. If home court percentage between east and west teams is equal, make it so that the winning conference gets 75% of games played against the opposing conference to be played at home, for the second half of the season. You would want a potential increase or decrease in home games large enough to motivate players, but not enough to necessarily drastically impact the results of the season. Even players who aren’t on teams capable of competing in the playoff’s would have large incentive to want more home games. Less road games means less travel time, meaning more rest, more time with their families. This would have an impact on every single player that participates in the all star game. And for for players on the top NBA teams, it would provide an edge in who has home court advantage in the finals due to the advantage their conference would have in the regular season against teams of the opposing conference. The NBA all star game is cool, but it’s not exciting because it’s not competitive. It’s like watching the best boxers in the world casually spar versus actually fight. It’s more of a scrimmage than an actual game. This proposal might seem drastic, but I am sick of seeing a game with so much potential be so disappointing. The entire point of professional sports is to be exciting, make the all star game more exciting. Make the players want to compete.

Motivational content is toxic

Lately, when I have been surfing through YouTube, trying to find interesting videos to help me waste time, I have stumbled upon some motivational videos.

Motivational content creators lure you in with clickbait titles like: “the number one secret to success”, or “the advice that got me from rags to riches”.

And the clickbait is effective, these types of videos generate a lot of views.

When they clickbait viewers into thinking these status icons, like a Tom Brady, are telling you their secrets to becoming successful, its enticing. It really makes you want to watch the video.

if you watch a few of these videos, you learn pretty quickly that their not actually sharing “secrets” to success (obviously). Because there aren’t any (obviously).

The message in the actual content of these videos is very clear, and concise. It’s all of the cliché mantras for self improvement like “outwork everyone”, “dont listen to naysayers”, or “dream big”.

These three mantras practically summarize the entire premise of all motivational content.

These mantras aren’t necessarily bad pieces of advice, I guess.

These motivational content creators would have you believe that if you could just “work hard”, “dream big” you could drastically improve your quality of life, and be living more like the highly accomplished celebrities featured in these types of videos.

My issue with this message is that it contributes to the false sense of entitlement that’s so frequent with young people in todays day and age.

The concept that you should aspire to be famous, or a billionaire, and that level of status is what’s missing in your life, is absolute bullshit. It’s a trick.

For 99.9% of people, these goals are not only unattainable, but undesirable.

There’s a reason most people aren’t spending 60 hours a week working towards becoming the next billionaire, trust me its not because they aren’t watching enough motivational videos.

status icons like Tom Brady, or Elon Musk, aren’t normal. Working hard enough to be like them is not normal. You dont want to be like them. You cant be like them.

What gets highlighted in motivational content is the spoils of the success of somebody like Tom Brady. They show you all of the fame, all of the fortune, and all of the admiration, but none of the sacrifice.

For 99.9% of people, if they could make all of the sacrifices that Tom Brady makes to be like Tom Brady, they wouldn’t want to be like Tom Brady. Most people just aren’t that driven, and that’s fine.

Most of us are just normal. There are more positives than negatives to just being “normal”, or “average”.

For views, motivation content creators would have you believe that you should aspire to be special, and if you work hard enough, you can be. its a toxic message.

A lot of people feel they are missing something, its how we are wired. It’s easy to brain wash people with the glamour of elite status. It looks so exciting compared to your life.

This sort of mindset prevents people from working towards what’s best for them. What is actually realistic. It creates a sense of entitlement because your not living like the celebrities featured in these videos. Although you could be, if only you could “work hard”, “dream big”.

Everyone wants to think that their special, your not, its fine. A lot of those celebrities that you look up to, that are actually “special”, are even more miserable than you.

Being normal is underrated. Don’t watch motivational videos.

The flawed officiating system of the NFL

In week 15 the Kansas city chiefs defeated the New England patriots in Foxboro. The Patriots offense was stagnant, and the explosive Kansas city offense managed to do enough against the stout New England defense to get the win.

My thought after this game weren’t necessarily about the tell tale of either of these teams, or the future playoff implications, or anything like that. I couldn’t get over two specific plays. The play were Nkeal Harry of the Patriots reached over the goal line but was called short. And the play where Travis Kelce fumbled and a New England defender recovered it in stride with the end zone in sight but the play was whistled down because Travis Kelce was called down by contact.

These were two crucial plays in the game. The missed call on the Nkeal harry touchdown was a 4 point swing. No debate necessary on that one. The refs cost the new England patriots 4 points on that drive. On the Travis Kelce fumble play there is no doubt that the Patriot defender would have gained a significant return, and most likely score a touchdown.

I just dont understand why this should happen. With the resources of the NFL, there is just no need for it. On the missed Nkeal Harry touchdown, the patriots were helpless because they were out of challenges. The entire concept of a challenge is based on the accepted room for error by the referees.

If you have a group of referees on the field that are responsible for calling, and not calling penalties in real time, it is obvious there are going to be mistakes. And there are. To help cope with that fact, the NFL has coaches challenges, and referee review on scoring plays, and plays within the 2 minute warning. These rules are in place to help get the significant plays in the game called correctly. which is great. Although, the fact they feel the need to have these rules for specific situations shows a flawed process.

The fact that they review such a minuscule amount of the plays on the field, and we see time and time again that these play calls need to be corrected by review shows a flawed process. It shows that it is too difficult for the on field referees to adequately officiate the game in real time. with so few of the plays in the game actually reviewed, think about how many play calls the refs must get wrong. Think about how all these incorrect calls have impacted so many games to come to incorrect outcomes. Think about how much power this gives the referees. Power that is vulnerable to bias, and emotion resulting in incorrect calls.

In a game that is commonly referred to as a game of inches, these inches are often decided by the subjective calls of referees. The NFL has accepted a level of failure with its officiating process. In the past, this was acceptable. But today, with the vast resources of the National football league why should the NFL accept any room for error? There is absolutely no need for it. The NFL is completely capable of getting every single call on the field correct on every single play. So why shouldn’t they? If the NFL could get every single play called correctly on the field, it would leave fans with the feeling that the right team won every single game.

It feels completely unnecessary and outdated to have referees on an NFL field deciding the outcome of nearly every play in the game. If the NFL has come to the conclusion that in critical situations (scoring plays and under 2 minutes) video review should over rule the calls of officials in real time, then why shouldn’t all plays be decided by video review?

The logistics of this would certainly be a little difficult. One of the arguments against this approach is that it could slow down the game. Although, I believe with the resources of the national football league, they could easily manage to get every call correct with video review. While also maintaining the same pace of the game. The NFL could have 20 plus people in a room with video of all players on the field. And they could review footage of specific aspects of the plays as many times as they can with the time that they have. The NFL wouldn’t even necessarily have to get rid of on field officials entirely, but at least have meticulous video review of every single aspect of every single play.

Another argument against this approach is that there would be too many penalties. Nobody wants to watch a football game with penalties on nearly every single play. While this is a understandable argument, I believe that if NFL teams know that their players are going to be reviewed on every single play, players would adjust. Players would stop pushing to the gray area of calls, and try to play within the rules every play. If there would still indeed be too many penalties after an adjustment period, then its obvious the NFL penalty rules are too strict, and should be changed.

This lack of review, and accountability of the officiating process of the National Football League has created this gray area for referees. A gray area in play calls that leaves penalty outcomes far too much to chance, and leaves an on field officiating crew with far too much power. The NFL has the power to erase this subjectivity in its penalty calls, and make the game truly fair. The reason why they wont? I am not too sure.

The thing people who dont like to exercise dont understand

So much of what enjoying life is about is finding balances. As biological creatures we have an array of different needs. Everybody’s balances of needs are different, but for most people they are pretty similar. everybody has a desire for a certain amount of social interactions, or mental stimulation, and of course, exercise and rest.

People that claim to not enjoy exercise only think about the physical distress during a workout. They think, working hard with my body hurts. why would I voluntarily subject myself to that. Those are the same people that have trouble sleeping, or are restless.

There is nothing quite like relaxing after a hard workout. It feels great, it feels like you are recharging your body. There was a time in history when physical activity was necessary for survival. If you didn’t use your body to obtain food, you wouldn’t survive. And if you couldn’t rest to recharge after physical activity, you also wouldn’t survive. In modern society’s this is no longer the case.

Modern society has made it very easy to get by with barely needing to use your body. many people associate rest with comfort, and exercise with pain. For people that enjoy intense exercise, they associate pain with comfort. For most people, the gratification from working out doesn’t come while they are actually working out. It comes afterwards.

Our bodies have not evolved to the rapid change in technology which we are accustomed to. our body expects us to use our bodies to survive. Therefore, if people dont push their body’s to a certain point, their mental well being will suffer. Their rest will suffer. If all somebody does is rest, their balance of rest and physical activity will be off. So there rest wont be nearly as enjoyable.

Thats really what it comes down to. people that claim to not like working out dont understand how much exercise boosts their quality of rest. It makes it feel so much better. Its about finding the right balance. For just about everybody, their balance of rest, and physical exercise should include a certain amount of exercise. because if all you do is rest your body, then your not going to feel very good. Just as if all you do is exercise your body, then you also wont feel very good.

For people that claim to not like exercising, I suggest at least giving it a legitimate chance. Dont think about how tiring it is, think about how good it will feel to relax afterwards. Think about how much more rewarding relaxing will feel when your body actually needs it. Some people will find enjoyment in the moment while they are exercising. But for most, the mental benefits will come afterwards. If all you do is rest your body, your rest will suffer. And your missing out.