When I was a kid, I used to listen to the teenager who lived on the corner playing his drums.
To my adolescent ears, Ray Hotchkiss sounded accomplished, but he probably wasn’t the next Charlie Watts–just a teenager good enough to create and maintain a rhythm.
After hearing Ray a few times and seeing Ringo Starr with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, I begged my mom for a drum kit, and after bugging her enough, she sent me to a drum instructor and bought me a drum pad and sticks.
She bought me a drum kit soon after, but in reflection, I think she jumped the gun on that purchase; after receiving the set, I learned a simple bass, snare, and cymbal rhythm, which must have encouraged both my mom and me, but that modest rhythm was as far as I got.
These days, whenever I see a little kid on YouTube playing very proficiently, I can’t help but wish I would have stuck with it; maybe I could have played like that kid in a few years, perhaps I could have played like Ray Hotchkiss by the time I was in High School, and maybe I even could have joined a band.
The drumming stopped from Ray’s house soon after I had quit, and now 50 years later, I wonder if he was as fickle as I was.
I took my dog, Vivian, out for her morning walk yesterday. Halfway through, she lunged towards another canine across the street. I lost my balance and stepped into a deep mud puddle.
I got angry at Vivian, but it’s on me; I trained her poorly. As the walk continued, I was reminded of what a yoga teacher said at the end of each practice: “May you live like the lotus, at home in the muddy water.”
I often wish I could be like that lotus. But it’s a process, and sometimes a muddy shoe prevents you from achieving Zen.
Every time he spoke, a collection of bubbles would start to form in the right corner of his mouth.
It got to the point where I stopped listening to whatever he was talking about and focused on the bubbles.
He could have been talking about things we both were interested in: motorcycles, skiing, or Notre Damn football; all I was thinking about was that damn bubble machine in the corner of that kid’s mouth.
Whenever a bubble popped, a smaller one appeared deeper in the corner, only to grow and then expire, and the cycle would start over again.
I wouldn’t call this effervescent; at the time, I didn’t know of the word though I had seen what happens to a freshly opened bottle of Coke.
The right corner of Dave’s mouth was effervescent, only by the loosest and most unappealing definition, but while writing this short piece using the prompt “effervescent” that was the first and for a long while, the only thing I thought of: Dave’s bubble-making mouth and how I wanted him to cut that shit out!
This is a story about Sunny, the pound trash tabby that stalked mice when the sun went down.
This is the story of Sunny’s owners, who often got little sleep when Sunny brought in half-dead mice so his owners could try to catch the lame rodents. Or to have their morning appetites dashed when they found a mouse in the kitchen, decapitated—it’s brains eaten out of its skull.
This isn’t a story about finches or full-grown owls, either, but Sunny dispatched them as well.
Larry liked the convenience of the corner cafe—it was an easy walk from his home. The problem was the baristas always made the coffee as hot as molten lava. Many times he asked if there was a way to make the drinks less searing, but he would receive the same icy, “No.” He was tempted to reply, “If only you had a button on that La Marzocco that reflected your attitude, that would surely cool down my macchiato,” or, “The beans are already roasted, buddy, there is no need to boil them.” Alas, he held his burnt tongue.
“Just look at that young man in that cowboy hat,” she whispered to her husband. “He should remove that when he’s in church.” “Times change. Younger generations don’t seem to care,” her husband replied indifferently. Then, suddenly objecting, “How come it’s okay that women can wear big fancy hats? Doesn’t the Bible say a woman’s hair is her crowning glory? And why can’t I wear my New York Mets cap?” The wife, flipping through the hymnal, sighed, “Yes dear, but the Bible also says a woman is to cover her head during worship. Anyway, God’s not a Mets fan.”
Ethan was walking to the office and was listening to a podcast: “Global Meltdown.” He loved his new noise-cancelling headphones. They made everything around him seem insignificant. The world is coming to an end! That Swedish girl is right, and no one is listening to her, except Ethan, Ethan was all ears. Behind him, a driver was unloading Red Bull from a truck when he fell off the ramp, spilling cases of the drink all over the street. Ethan didn’t hear the crash nor the sound of the exploding cans as the carbon dioxide gas released into the atmosphere.