Friday, June 23, 2006

on korean

It's our language

of boats and hang man

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Coal's Up Here. (excerpt)

Carl pulled at the bottom of his shirt, stretched it over an expanse of stomach. When he released his grip, Ernie noticed that the bottom of Carl's white T-shirt hung ouched and ruffled from frequent tugs. Carl brought wax paper-wrapped sandwichs from the local diner. The only diner. The town wasn't big, but since news of the mine's closing people couldn't get out fast enough. The first few houses sold well to out-of-towners but now the clapboard hoems were drastically reduced on the market. Some went for a thousand bucks.

Most days Carl and Ernie did their jobs quietly--Carl stood watch on the mountain and Ernie sat in the site office--but clear evenings made Carl think; got him to talk.
"Look here," Carl wiped his hands on his belly and they left sooty smudges as they ran down his body. The coal dust coated everything. "When I was getting these sandwiches, you know what I saw?"

Monday, April 03, 2006

That List

Kovsky sends an e-mail:

The following samples should be in my office today:
1- 100,000 bath towels.
2- 25,000 lined jackets.
3-4.5 million lip liners.
4- 1.5 lip sticks.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Qualifying, Q-U-A-L-I-F-Y-I-N-G, Qualifying

He said, "I'm going to give you an A in spelling from Sister Theresa Machiawanna."
Sensing my lackluster response, he replies, "She only gives out one a semester."

It's good to know that if I just completely bomb at this tough administrative job that I have a future in the Spelling Bee Circuit

Monday, February 20, 2006

"Can you hear that?" The French Analyst stands in my office. "From here? Do you hear him?"

My office is small, almost too tiny to fit two people, yet I average about four on busy days. On slow bank holidays and Fridays I average one. I have hung stills from Fellini films, three record albums and the sexy priests on the walls. It makes it homey in here. Like decorating a shoebox with postage stamps. All the offices are close together and the walls are thin. Sometimes I hear an office team running relays above my head. Most of the time the French Analyst, the Peruvian and I shout messages back and forth to each other. It usually beats standing up.

I look at her, attune my ears to detect sounds other than the relentless white noise produced by the air conditioning and listen. "I don't hear anything."

"Cans." She replies. "Kovsky is crushing cans." She pauses. "In his office."

"Our cans?" I ask, "Or did he bring his own here?"

"I don't know."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Defacing the Hot Priests of Rome

During a trip several of my friends took to Venice last year, they returned with a "Hot Priests of Rome" calendar. You see, I was the only bred Catholic they knew...

On the whole, the priests are rather good-looking in an Italianate sense. However, there are others (particularly Padre January and Padre February) that must be related to one of the calendar producers. I simply cannot face the often boorish faces of these young religious men, so I have decided to de-face them. For every day of every month, I shall draw one more feature in black ink upon his visage. Today marked the advent of Padre Domenico's sinister moustache.

Just another hatch mark on the list of little things that will ultimately damn me to Hell.

Monday, January 16, 2006

My Summer as a Loan Shark (pt.2)

Mr. Hartman has got to be close to a thousand. He works in closeouts and this means that he's usually at our door peddling hanes women's cotton briefs, jackets, or a warehouse filled with chinese knickknacks. We once ended up with twelve large boxes filled with small glass figurines, plastic dolphins, large decorative bottles of oil filled with red peppers. It also means that he works from job to job.

Mr. Hartman leaves us strange gifts: bags of ski jackets, packages of bottled water, t-shirts in odd sizes. His rheumy pale eyes stare past me; we never make eye contact. I feel too guilty to look at him, or talk to him more than I absolutely have to. I'm his "dear girl" or "sweet child." Sometimes he moves his worn fishmerman's cap from hand to hand before patting my hand. He pulls up in his Honda SUV, parks in the handicapped spot, and collects himself. His watery and red-rimmed eyes fix on a point towards the sky (he can only drive seated at a strange reclined position). In these moments it's like he's underwater and gasps for air: his face slackens into an expression of repose. His daily resignantion before he grabs the battered box next to him and begins with us all over again makes my breath catch.