WRESTLING ELEPHANTS

By Jamie Brisick

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

She was twentyish and full-lipped and Joanna Newsom-like and he was paunched and middle-aged and fighting off bitterness with sarcasm. They were standing in front of a vegan restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard. The smell of seitan filled the air. Yoga mat-clutching actresses giggled into their iPhones. Shiny black Range Rovers motored past.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked her.

“An organic farmer,” she replied, and went on about kale and dandelion root and Brussel sprouts.

“What about you?” she asked.

“Celebrity. Don’t really care what kind. It could be like a Snookie or The Situation, that’d be fine with me.” He moved in close and cupped his mouth. “I’m in it for the endorsement deals,” he whispered. “I want to get as much money as I possibly can. I want to be as high profile as possible. Cases of Cristal will pack my seven-car garage. AVN award winning porn stars will fill my speed dial. My bling marriage to Belladonna will end a few days later in bitter divorce. Then it will be revealed on E that she’s pregnant with my child. Paps will stalk us. I’ll wear a black baseball cap and loose-fitting Adidas sweatpants and sip ventis in the Malibu Country Mart. In crowded elevators I’ll enunciate top-secret movie deals to my agent. I’ll be patronizingly friendly with the Hispanic busboys at the Ivy. A 15’ by 15’ Damien Hirst spot painting will preside over my silk-sheeted king-sized bed. I’ll be at the top of the waiting list for Richard Branson’s space travel. I’ll appear on Jon Stewart stoned and disheveled. I’ll be so hideously obnoxious, but I’ll be a reminder that the hideously obnoxious can actually do good in the world, ‘cause I’ll donate large chunks of money to humanitarian causes I know little about. My White American Savior Complex will be bigger than your White American Savior Complex. I’ll get with that Kony 2012 dude and run nude through the streets of San Diego. People’ll know me. You’ll know me.”

May 3, 2012

BURSTS OF EUPHORIA

April 15, 2012

NOT MANY PEOPLE GOT A CODE TO LIVE BY ANYMORE

April 9, 2012

NO NAMES HERE

April 7, 2012

FINNEGAN’S WAKE

LOVE SONGS COOKED UP OVER CHEAP WINE AND SHITTY POT WHILE WAITING FOR SWELL AT SCORPION BAY

If I were a guitar, you’d be Jimi Hendrix
If I were a drum kit, you’d be Ginger Baker
If I were a cornrow, you’d be Lil Wayne
If I were a dreadlock, you’d be Horsemouth

If I were a banana, you’d be Traci Lords in Talk Dirty to Me Part 3
If I were a shrimp, you’d be Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee
If I were a tattered mohair sweater, you’d be Kurt Cobain
If I were Monica Lewinsky, you’d be Bill Clinton’s petting hands

If I were a 6’1” Channel Islands thruster, you’d be Kelly Slater
If I were a MegaRamp, you’d be Danny Way
If I were a skull ring, you’d be Johnny Depp
If I were a shark, you’d be Damien Hirst

If I were a Pomeranian, you’d be Paris Hilton
If I were a cell phone, you’d be Rebekah Brooks
If I were Salman Rushdie, you’d be Padma Lakshmi
If I were a sad-eyed lady of the lowlands, you’d be a cover band in Vicksburg, Mississippi

If I were a keg party in Orlando, Florida, you’d be Casey Anthony
If I were a 30-year-old Georgetown activist, you’d be Rush Limbaugh’s ghostwriter
If I were a lethal amount of propofol, you’d be Michael Jackson’s housekeeper
If I were Lindsay Lohan’s gynecologist, you’d be…

March 31, 2012

SEEN ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE

March 28, 2012

THESE CORNERS THAT WE PAINT OURSELVES INTO (NY)

Note to self: Never let the blood show. Note to self: Let the blood spill. Note to self: Masturbation in public makes a cloudy day sunny. Note to self: Put the steak knives back in the pencil drawer where they belong.

NYC. March, 2012.

March 21, 2012

LIKE A TRIP FOR TWO TO MAUI…

March 16, 2012

BURNING BUILDINGS

A couple nights ago I woke to the sounds of an elderly woman shouting. I looked out my bedroom window and saw, in the neighboring building, a silhouette in a window. “Help! Somebody help me! I’m on the 12th floor. Call the fire department!” It was 4:00 a.m. I was astonished that no one else heard her. In her rant I heard the word “gas” and thought of carbon monoxide poisoning. I called 911.

Minutes later, a fire truck rounded the corner with sirens blaring. They parked in front of her building and casually entered. I waited to see her light go on but it didn’t. A few moments later I saw the firemen exit her building and enter mine. KA-KA-KA went the pounding knock on my door. I looked through the peep hole and saw five firemen, axes dangling from their belts, wide as they were tall, staring back at me. I opened my door and they asked about the call. I explained that they were in the wrong building, I’m the one who made the call, but the woman in distress was next door.

“We were just there, no one came to the door,” one of them said. They eyed me suspiciously.

“Let me show you,” I said.

I brought one of them into my bedroom, and pointed to the window where the shouts had come from. There was no one there. He aimed his flashlight.

“That one?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“We were just there, bangin’ on the door. Nothing”

“I’m telling you there was a woman shouting for help. I felt it my duty to call.”

He shook his head, looked me up and down, gathered his team, and left. As they stepped in the elevator one of them hissed.

I watched from above as they got back in the truck, but in that moment, the woman poked her head up and let out a bloodcurdling “HELP ME!”

The firemen heard her, flashed a light on her window. “What’s your apartment number?”

“1604”

A few seconds later, her light came on, and I saw a fireman in her apartment. I went to sleep.

The next evening I asked the night watchman in my building if he knew anything about it. “They just took her away,” he said, and explained that she’d had a second shouting episode a couple hours earlier. She’s about eighty, he told me, lives alone. He shook his head resolutely. “I don’t think she’s crazy. Just lonely. I think she just needs someone to talk to. The right man.”

March 15, 2012

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