The Kiss of Dopamine
There's something about not being picked. It triggers something, messing with the dopamine receptors.
"Well, what'll we have, Antoinette? " he said, tilting his head in a critical lean to the left.
I'd done a good job. Better than in the picture on the App profile. He was pleased. Some people just don't photograph as nice as they look in real life. And contra wise, some are romanced by the viewfinder of the camera, but lose their luster when seen actually moving in space, the third- or fourth- dimension revealing asymmetry that is otherwise quite natural, though sometimes unbecoming.
And others endure the knife. Or botox a certain look. Art for art sake, I've always felt was justified. I brushed a strand of cinnamon auburn from my cheek with chic red acrylic French tipped finger.
"Please order whatever you like..." I said, "On me."
A little grin pulled at his cheek, revealing a dimple in the center, like a child's, and I could see he thought the evening was going favorably well, for himself. If he thought anything wasn't quite right, he'd swept it like lint from the Five Star table napkin. Nonexistent.
We chatted pleasantly about nothing.
A convo chameleon, I'd read the transcripts enough times to have the wording verbatim on immediate rolodex. He'd talked about swimming, fishing, sailing, and his latest yacht. Yada, yada, yada, and oh yes the kind of girl he'd love to have on it...
"Your eyes are grey," he interjected over the aperitif in lead crystal. Ching ching.
"Colour changers," I said lowering and raising my false lashes for full effect.
By the sixth course, we were touching toes beneath the tablecloth. We split a sorbet, raspberry-lemon.
I had a very vivid recollection of her apartment. For fun I described it to him. All the odds and ends, those I was convinced he'd like best... "and just outside the bedroom double glass sliding doors there's a balcony, iron rails, overlooking San Franscisco Bay, and a palm screened hot tub in Turquoise tile."
"Wow. Sounds amazing. You've got a great place," he beamed love rays from his chest, an eleven-course meal in itself.
"Would you care for a dance?" I betted on an immediate yes. It was that kind of venue. I knew he'd trained, Latin and Classical.
Soon enough he had me in his arms, and I assessed our fittings. Her dress, impeccable. I didn't have to tuck or hem, though I did select my fullest undergarments and we both appreciated the lift and curvature. His hand lighting on my hip, breast to breast, our breaths just a little bit compressed, capturing the mood of the music.
I let him lead us wherever he liked. Three songs, four... till the band rested.
Back at the table, digging into the savory finger bites, Spring rolls and Lobster Rangoon's, I thought about her leftovers in the ice chest. Saved, to be dealt with later. Together.
"Let's skip the nuts, and head out?" I suggested, pulling out my keys and stroking just the hairs over his hand, stoking what I already knew was electrifying beneath the surface.
"Your place?" he said, surprised and delight, and I gave a little churlish giggle, behind a flirtatious hand with platinum bangles. He was charmed, and gallantly took me under the arm once I'd retrieved her credit card into my sequin clutch.
It was a quick ride, tipsy from the warmth of the revelry and intoxicating novelty, and anticipation of the stretch of evening still before us. I suggested a dip in the swell of the hot tub, and he was entirely game. Even when he saw as I undressed, that I wasn't exactly what he had pictured. Nevertheless, I fit within the breadth of his profile range of preference, as "open to persuasion," and so he reshuffled mentally, roused all the same.
We slipped into the bubbles of the jets. He closed his eyes and I leaned against his thigh. Now seemed like optimal timing:
"What shall we do with her?" I whispered softly.
"With...?" he murmured lazily, confused but not yet disturbed.
"With her. The woman. You know... the One you picked. From the App."
“Love is not a finite resource.”
When I meet someone new
I add them to their respective list.
An ongoing wall full of names,
and they are just tiny blots of ink.
columns and rows of letters.
Some of which I know,
and some I only saw once.
The new come in,
the old go out.
There are only so many spots,
many are easily replaced.
But when I met you,
the pages were filled,
my ink pot empty,
no open space.
You seemed to take this as a challenge
and carved your name on the wall.
I thought it was a glitch,
that soon the mark you left would disappear.
But it stayed,
and that day I learned a lot.
Like just how much I love you,
and how love is not a finite resource.
Howls, Swish, Crack
The howls. The swish. The crack.
I grew to admire that hatred in your eyes. They cut me in a way that made me feel like my pain was worth something. They made the color of love leak off my pale palette. It served as a reminder to me– a reminder, which I planned to recreate.
The howls. The swish. The crack.
I considered alternatives, yet none rose higher than this apartment complex. You read my love letter. The howls silenced your plea. The swish- your grasp almost saved me. The crack. My color of love painted the concrete canvas.
I'm finding faith
Like a dot to dot
Or something else.
So I interrogate
And why they bend
Light as they do.
Is anything real?
So I will follow
Into the foundation
I will never know,
And create night
With eyelids and hope.
And I will see her
As more than
When I can trace
Peeling like scars
From from the center
I peak back out
At the dawn.
And i wish I
I could see everything
And follow the greed.
The truth is,
Because she looks good
In both outfits.
If only I could
Dapper as fuck
In my confusion.
Drop beneath the horizon.
But when it comes
You always squint
At the fucking sun.
NICK FAIRY - PRIVATE EYE
(An Adult Fairytale Murder Mystery)
Exploded dynamite can leave behind strange odors. Nitroglycerin fumes smell a bit like bananas, my charred wooden floor gave off a tinge of mesquite mixed with a slight smell of rotten egg from the sulfur. So returning to my office was a bit like stepping into a truck stop diner, if that truck stop was located on the highway to Hell. The look of the place wasn’t much better. There was a hole in the floor covered by a slab of plywood and roped off for safety. The window was boarded up with double ply panels.
The office was dark as I entered, but I could see my secretary had straightened up the room as much as possible. Still, most of my pictures hung askew on the walls. The glass in the frame of my P.I. license was cracked. My desk, missing two legs, sat slanted in its original spot. My desk chair was back in place unscathed.
I crossed the room, turned on my desk lamp and took a seat. There was an envelope with the royal seal on it waiting for me. I opened it and removed a check. It was from the royal treasury signed by Old King Cole himself. The memo line read, “For services rendered.”
It was true then, they were shutting me down, making Rapunzel’s case officially closed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I left too many rocks unturned. The hardest feeling to overcome was the guilt I felt from having Rapunzel die on my watch. I may not have been the hangman, but I definitely provided a step leading up to the scaffold.
I reached into the drawer and pulled out a shot glass and my trusty bottle of bourbon. I needed a drink. I needed to think. It only took two belts before I started thinking O’Hamlin was probably right. I was worn out. Tired. It had been an exhausting couple of weeks, especially the last two days. Maybe it was best to just let it go.
I pulled O’Hamlin’s “gift” from my pocket and set the baggie down in front of me. I stared at the purple powder for the longest time. I was mesmerized by the tiny sparkly specks of magic glistening within. It looked like an old friend. In this case, it was like an old friend who had stolen my girl and my money. Still, a feeling of nostalgia bubbled up and I remembered the good times. Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind recreating them for even a minute.
I could do it, too. This was pure, uncut, Sandman pixie dust, there was no Faetenyl in this batch. Faetenyl is a synthetic chemical designer drug made by Faeries from the East and dangerous when mixed with natural pixie dust. It caused many unwitting drug users to OD and has been a scourge in Mother Goose Land.
The fact this batch was pure guaranteed me a trip to dreamland with magical visions of flight and fancy. I hadn’t had a flying dream since my wings were clipped the day I was drummed out of the FBI. I could use a dream like that now. That’s how I was feeling when I started to unseal the bag.
I have no idea how long I was out for, hours or days. I can only tell you my dreams never had a chance to take flight. It was more a sense of falling rather than flying. A feeling of impending doom suffocating me. A voice kept calling out my name, no, screaming out my name and telling me to wake up. Repeating the demand like a broken record.
I opened my eyes to see my secretary, Fae Nymph, slapping me awake. I must have dozed off in my chair. On the third slap I grabbed her wrist. “That’s enough. I’m awake. What the hell is your problem?”
“Nick! How could you?” She looked completely distraught.
I must have looked as puzzled as a dyslexic crossword addict. That is until Fae held up the baggie of uncut purple pixie dust. "What the hell is this, Nick?"
Then I understood her reaction. I told you, Fae and I had met at Fairies Anonymous, a drug treatment program. We had gone through the twelve-step program together. A program in which we bonded as friends. Each one of the dozen steps is seared into my psyche:
One-Two, buckle your shoe.
Because a journey of a thousand
Miles begins with one step.
Thee-Four, close the door.
On past guilt and trauma.
Five-Six, pick up sticks.
Because you’ll need the fire
of faith to light your way.
Reward yourself for
getting this far.
Nine-Ten, Do that again.
Because it feels better than
any drink or drug.
Finally, Eleven-Twelve, forgive yourself.
Because there is no shame in making
mistakes, only in not correcting them.
It was a powerful doctrine to follow and has kept me clean for the past decade. I reached for the baggie.“Give me that."
She held it away from me at arm's length. "Nick, what have you done? Ten years clean down the drain! What were you thinking?”
I answered by snapping my fingers, "Just give it to me."
"How long have you been off the wagon?" She insisted.
"Babe, I'm not off the wagon. O'Hamlin gave me the dope thinking I'd back slide like a penguin climbing a glacier. I didn't do any pixie dust. I fell asleep naturally. I was exhausted. Now give it here."
"No. I'm flushing this down the John." She started for the crapper.
I blocked her. “No you aren't. I am. Give."
"Fae, look at me. Give it to me." There was no puppy dog stare from me this time. Just a calm stoicism that told her I was telling the truth.
She handed me the baggie. I opened the door to the loo and lifted the seat. I tore the bag open the contents emptied into the toilet like sand falling in an hourglass.
The water gradually turned purple, looking like grape juice in a punchbowl. I snapped my fingers again at Fae. “Toss me the bourbon, too.” I emptied what liquid remaining half a quart of booze into the bowl and dropped the empty bottle into a waste can. My drinking days were over. Next, I took out my cigarette pack and, one by one with a shake, tossed them into the toilet. I crushed the empty pack and it followed the bourbon bottle. I had a chaw of tobacco on me, that followed the cigarettes. Lastly, I pulled a nicotine patch off my arm and dropped it in. It was a bouillabaisse of vices floating in a porcelain bowl. Then I grabbed the pull chain on the crapper and flushed habits that held me back for years down the drain. I turned to Fae and nodded. “What do you say we get back to work?”
Her smile of relief was all the answer I needed, but she required a hug. “Oh, Nick. For a minute there, I was scared.”
“Me too, Angel. Me too. Now, did you get today’s paper?”
She handed it to me off the desk. “You're not gonna like it, Nick.”
I spread it open and read the headline. Sure enough, it was just as O’Hamlin foretold. “GRIMM CITY HOMICIDE DIVISION SOLVES MODEL’S MURDER.”
There was a glamour pic of Rapunzel (still alive) next to an insert photo of O’Hamlin shaking hands with Humpty Dumpty. They were standing in front of a mug shot of High- Five. The copy read how Beauty and the Beast, or the model and musician, met at the Blue Fairy Club, fell in love, until she dumped him for Paddy Cake the Baker Man and how High-Five stalked her after they broke up, killed the baker out of jealousy, tried to burn the evidence, then committed suicide as the police closed in. Talk about your fairytales.
Despite O’Hamlin’s attempt knocking me off the wagon, I was ready to go full MythBusters on the whole hair affair. I endorsed the royal check and handed it to Fae with some instructions; “I want you to deposit this into our account, then I want you to hire 24 hour window repair and change it out to read: “NICK FAIRY - PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS” Add “I Never Quit.” in italics below it. Okay, Doll? Thanks.” I grabbed my hat and coat and headed for the door.
She started to dial the phone and stopped. “Wait! What font should I tell them to use?”
I lowered my hat onto my head. “Whatever font says, 'Fuck you, I ain’t going anywhere.'”
“But... where are you going now?”
“I’m going to see a queen about some tarts.” With that I was out the door, still on the job.
When I am without you, my dear, I feel a sorrow unknown to man.
I find myself lying awake, wishing to be brought into your warm embrace, yet I am plagued with the guilt of not being enough.
I find that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot bring myself to love.
It pains me knowing that I could never love you the way I should, but it pains me even more so knowing that despite that, you would love me all the same.
This Karma of Evil,
Is not yet over.
And so it went.
The good receive good paid forward.
The bad receive only what they've put into the world. Souls stained dark and so their lives would be in this world we lived in.
Where evil paid unto evil.
A God somewhere above indifferent or perhaps ignorant to nuance and how complex each action and inaction truly was. For there was no black and there was no grey.
I'm sure even the thought is traitorous. Promising another rain of hot coals and spiked shoes.
\\I don't think... I'm that awful a person//
Head bowed I was careful to keep to my space, wary of bumping anyone. For good reason. Some looking surly, others smiling from ear to ear, happy and glimmering with pink and cobalt little gems stitched onto their clothes or glittering their cheeks in healthy, almost magical glow.
I couldn't say, why they looked the most grotesque of all.
Traditional Solitaire potential combinations...
that clenched another win today
February 20th, 2024
(eight hundred and ninety yesterdays ago
since June 13th, 2021)
original crafting date of following poem,
when yours truly
single handedly trumped computer,
for umpteenth time
which saw countless instances,
where all knowing one
witnessed all fifty two cards
automatically filling four stacks
anchored courtesy king.
and nabbed another virtual trophy.
While in the midst of playing solitaire
(with losing outcome foreordained
after a couple moves), I became gripped
with combinations predicated on thirteen
ranks each of four French suits subsumed:
Clubs (♣), Diamonds (◊), Hearts (♥) And Spades (♠).
I totalled a sum of fifty two variations.
If one of four possible draws for king available,
(which could be either Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts,
and Spades), that would automatically determine
every subsequent card diminishing in rank
topped off with an Ace.
Please feel welcome to challenge my presumption
within a dark alley late at night.
The above calculation logical since a standard deck
(not surprisingly) comprises 52 cards
(4 suits of 13).
Each suit (Clubs ♣, Diamonds ◊, Hearts ♥, Or Spades ♠)
contains an Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
Jack, Queen, And King.
There are no duplicates.
No Google search yielded results
asper this nagging question, but unexpectedly
whet an immediate appetite describing
the history of plain old vanilla playing cards.
Said legacy encompassing the four suits
i.e. collectively represent four elements
(wind, fire, water, and earth),
the seasons, and cardinal directions.
They represent struggle of opposing forces
for victory in life. Each suit on a deck of cards
represents four major pillars of economy
during middle ages: Heart represented
Church, Spades represented military,
clubs represented agriculture, and
Diamonds represented merchant class.
King of hearts is the only king minus a mustache.
Face cards (Jacks, Queens, And Kings) so called
"face cards" because the cards
have pictures of their names.
One-eyed Royals (the Jack of spades
and Jack of Hearts often called "one-eyed Jacks"),
and King of Diamonds drawn in profile;
therefore, these cards
commonly referred to as "one-eyed".
The King of Spades ♠ ranks
as one of three immovable Fixed Cards
in the Cards of Life and resides
in the Crown Line of both Master Scripts
(Spirit and Life).
Said card, in situ, the most powerful card
in the deck.
A Jack or Knave is a playing card,
which in traditional French and English decks,
pictures a man in traditional or historic
aristocratic dress generally associated
with Europe of the 16th or 17th century.
The usual rank of a Jack, within its suit,
plays as if it were an 11
(that is, between the 10 and the Queen).
Charming, resourceful, personable and easy-going
best defines Jack of Spades.
Blessed with a creative mind,
this one-eyed Jack of the deck manifests
jais nais sais quois salient scrutiny
jest via virtue of lightness of his being.
The four card suits that we know today —
Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs
(rooted in French design) circa 15th century,
but the idea of card suits is much older.
The written history of card playing
began during 10th-century Asia,
from either China or India,
as a gambling game.
That idea found its way to ancient Muslim world
before 14th century.
The oldest known deck of Muslim playing cards,
like the playing cards of today,
had four suits: Coins, Cups, Swords, and Polo Sticks.
These decks of cards then showed up
in southern Europe, but because polo sticks
were unfamiliar to Europeans, that suit
eventually changed to Scepters, Batons,
or Cudgels (a type of club).
In France, Parisian cardmakers
settled on Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds
as the four suits.
The first adaptations of German card suits
constituted Leaves, Hearts, and Hawk Bells
(Acorns rounded out German suit).
Considering cards strictly made
for French upper class, tis little surprise
cardmakers chose expensive
Diamonds over common Acorns.
The French advanced card making utilizing
flat, single-color silhouettes for suits.
These images created with simple stencils,
made manufacture easy, quick, and inexpensive.
Innovative new, cheaper cards
flooded the market in the 15th century,
became popular in England,
and then traveled to America.
Contrary to contemporary belief four suits
meant to represent four seasons inaccurate.
Equally questionable 52 cards linkedin
to 52 weeks of the year.
Many numerological and religious
explanations asper composition
analogous to deck of cards postulated,
but these explanations purportedly created
ex post facto, perhaps to give deck-holders
a solid argument, that role deck of cards
maintained existed other than for gambling.
I stretch and I yawn out my nap
Which little vermin
sleazy and greasy
will find their way into my trap
I creep and I prowl
under moonlight and owl
hunting the grass and the reeds
Stalking the night
and hunting a fight
until I've fulfilled all my needs
The arch in my back
just before I attack
leads to a twitch in my tail
My dripping teeth burn
past the point of return
and at this point I know I can't fail
I feast and I gorge
on the soul I absorb
while the grass that surrounds comes alive
The dogs start to circle
as the morning turns purple
and the thieves glowing eyes arrive
My goodbyes to the darkness
time to donate the carcass
and make my way back to my tree
A stretch and a kick
and a yawn and a lick
well earned lazy day-z for me
Nothing for Valentine’s Day
“You’re lying!” my coworker insists. “Women always lie about that!”
“I’m really not. I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day.”
“If your husband comes home empty-handed, you’re gonna be pissed.”
“I don’t need flowers or a fancy restaurant to believe my husband loves me. Would it really be love if he only did those things because I demanded them?”
My coworker scoffs.
But as my husband and I cuddle on the couch in our PJs, vegging in front of the TV after a meal of Chinese takeout, I know I wouldn’t trade this for all the roses in the world.