Pain, Disdain, Shame

It wasn’t as if anyone got hurt.

Not physically, at least.

Derek Ward stood just inside the bar, a glass of whiskey in hand, a blank expression on his face. He was 32, graying prematurely. It made his dark hair look like it was dusted with ashes.

It was all that damn woman’s fault. Sasha. The woman he had thought was his forever, his diamond, the mother to his children.

How had he not seen the signs? He found himself asking that same question, every day, every hour. He should have seen it. The way she looked at him–no, more like didn’t look at him.

He hadn’t noticed because he hadn’t wanted to see the signs. He hadn’t wanted to see the loveless stare in her eyes, the disappointment on her face. Hadn’t wanted to see the sympathy and pity in her frown.

He should’ve known she was cheating. Maybe if he’d caught on sooner, things wouldn’t have ended the way they had. He could’ve won her back, some how, some way.

Who am I kidding? he thought.Even if he had gotten a job, and hadn’t drank so much, the damage had already been done. He’d slacked off for several years, and he hadn’t been nice to Sasha during that time, either. He knew his attitude was what had driven her away.

He sipped his whiskey with disdain, grimacing at the taste. Or was it the memories? He wasn’t sure. A year sober, he thought, all down the drain in a single night. All because of Sasha.

The divorce had been brutal, but it had been two years since it had been finalized. Since then, he hardly saw her. She had sole custody of the kids, and Derek had only seen them once in the past two years.

My own fault, though, he thought bitterly. If I hadn’t gotten in a drunken fight with the neighbor, I’d probably still have visitation rights. He closed his eyes briefly and brushed his hair back.

None of these thoughts would be on Derek’s mind if he hadn’t seen her that very night. He had been leaving a diner when he’d spotted her.

Sasha and an older gentleman were outside the club across the street. Derek had caught a glimpse of her face before the old geezer shoved his tongue down her throat.

“Damn gold-digger!” he had shouted, though no one was close enough to hear him. Thinking back on it, he was glad about that.

After that, he couldn’t quite remember how he’d arrived at the bar with a shot of tequila in hand.

Standing under the bar lights, his vision slightly fuzzy, he found himself smiling. Maybe it was the alcohol making him smile, or maybe it was that the only men his ex-wife could get were over fifty years old.

Derek, however, was not in such a position. He scoped out the bar and spotted a girl in her early twenties staring at him. He winked at her, which she must have seen, because she started toward him. Her movement was slightly unstable, an indication she was probably drunk.

When she reached him, he asked her name. He was pretty sure she said “Alexis”, but he could’ve been mistaken, because it was at that moment that the alcohol really kicked in.

The next thing he knew, he was in his apartment, and Allison…Alexia…whatever her name was, was on top of him, topless. He was vaguely aware of movement, but was so drunk, he hardly felt anything. He closed his eyes, just for a second.

When he opened his eyes, it was morning, and he was alone.

Derek sat up, his head immediately throbbing. The room spun for several seconds, then suddenly righted itself. He glanced around his apartment, the feeling that something was wrong settling in.

He stood up, which was the wrong thing to do; the floor lurched up at him, causing him to stumble. “God damnit,” he muttered. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself to stand up straight.

He started searching his apartment, checking to make sure nothing was missing. When he got to his jeans, though, anger swelled deep within him. “God damnit!” he yelled, throwing his jeans aside.

His wallet was gone. Alexandria had stolen his wallet.

So, it wasn’t as if anyone got hurt.

Not physically, at least.


Have you ever been bowling?

Most people have at least once in their life. It’s a favorite past-time of mine.

I was sitting here, watching Lit’s music video for My Worst Enemy, and the longer I watched it, the angrier I became.

The video, which has absolutely nothing to do with the song, by the way, takes place in a bowling alley. The band, dressed in what I can only call 80s pedophile costumes, are bowling, and by some miracle of God, they keep getting strikes. If you’re unfamiliar with bowling terms, a strike is when you knock down all the pins at once, which is good for your score.

Now, I don’t know about you, but unless you have some god-like talent, getting a strike takes skill or absolute luck. I was on a bowling league for at least four years, and let me tell you, the number of strikes I got was pretty low, and was usually a miracle.

There were quite a few kids in my league that had been bowling practically since birth, so of course, they were fantastic bowlers. One strike didn’t impress them. No, to even get a round of applause, you had to get a turkey, or else you just sucked.

A turkey is three strikes in a row. If getting one strike wasn’t hard enough, imagine getting THREE IN A FREAKING ROW! God himself had to take over your body and bowl for you to achieve such a feat. I could probably count on my fingers how many turkeys I’ve gotten in my bowling career.

I remember there was one little girl in the league that blew everyone away. One day, as we were bowling, I hear the group a few lanes down begin to cheer. This little girl had just gotten a turkey. At that point, luck usually runs out, as the adrenaline begins to wear off. Usually, someone fumbles and ends up with a zero.

Not this munchkin.

Instead of running out of luck, her luck only increased. Increased! Strike four, strike five, she kept going. By the end of the game, she’d gotten nine strikes in a row. NINE STRIKES IN A ROW. That turkey was way overdone, probably burnt at that point.

I believe she was one of the only people to get that many strikes in a row on that league, ever. Everyone was jealous, and I mean everyone.

So, needless to say, watching the Lit music video brought back some of those jealous feelings I had as a kid. What’s the opposite of nostalgic? Whatever it is, that’s what I feel at this moment.

Morning Terror

Imagine you’re asleep. You’re dreaming, and the dream is amazing. You feel happy, secure, like nothing could go wrong.

Then, you hear it. Someone’s calling your name, some outside voice. You wake up suddenly, wrenched out of your happy dream.

Your mother is in the room, and she says, “It’s 8:49, aren’t you going to be late?”

Panic hits you like a semi-truck slamming into you at max speed. You jump out of bed, adrenaline pumping through your veins. If you hurry, you can be out the door in 10 minutes and make it to work on time.

You dress quickly, brush your teeth at light-speed, and make it out the door at 8:57. The law prevents you from speeding, it would only slow you down if you get pulled over.

You make it to work with 5 minutes to spare, relief washing over you like a tidal wave. You did it.

That was exactly how my morning went. Moral of the story: When your alarm goes off at 7:00, don’t hit the snooze. Just get up and suffer through the day!