I am a story vampire. My own life is not worth living, so I suck the weirdness out of those around me to live. The blood is not sweet, but it’s salty and has bite.
- A friend’s roommate was going out tonight to lead a church study group about a self-help book she has not read, but claims to have. In preparation she was making “chocolate chip cookies” but had no chocolate chips, so she was smashing unsweetened baker’s chocolate with a hammer to make some.
- A local character who has a degenerative, progressive, crippling neural disorder spends his disability check each month on a new bicycle. He then gives his old bicycle away for a pittance, and inevitably then runs out of disability at the end of each month and couch surfs or begs money from others. He won’t take formal charity because it restricts his lifestyle. When the next check arrives it’s new bicycle time.
- The young, energetic man with the pretty face who works at the supermarket is solicitous of old ladies. He has a fresh Harry Belafonte sort of look with madness just about 1 cm behind the eyes, bulging out. His spiel is quick and repeated often: “A lot of ladies just say they want to adopt me! I’m a get along guy, I try to make things work in life. I tell you, I can put a lot into a situation.” After a year he disappears from the market and is only seen in the company of a fur-clad 90something with perfect platinum perm hair. They roar by miserably in her Jaguar on their way home from the IHOP.
- A group of middle-aged failed men practically lives at the coffeehouse. They sit together and agree on the world’s great issues; they affirm each other’s business acumen, experience, and common sense; and they plot. They say things to each other like: “You get paid 60 hours for 40 hours work, and that’s the beauty of the thing!” or “That’s what I’m SAYIN!” or “You the MAN!” or “The trouble is, a guy like Eisner isn’t ever going to understand what his real business is.”
- Most afternoons, the alcoholic bartender arrives at the sports bar next door about 4 pm. He wears shirts with beer bottle prints. He yells at the TV so loud you can hear him a block away. He yells at his coworkers, his customers, his parents. He wants the world to shut the fuck up, to give him head now!, to make the fucking play. He hates retards and faggots and fuckin’ losers. His parents own the restaurant. He has sex with lonely women who later regret it.
- The one-legged diabetic with the permanent wave 1970 toupée has his favorite chair and his favorite spot and clings to them desperately. He’s had jobs selling wireless phones and leather jackets on and off over the years but he spends a lot of time sitting. Someone said he once had an apartment manager gig but lost it because someone found some cameras rigged up around the place.
And then, ya know, there’s me.