make sure she sees it.
Why do I care?
Paycheck coming in on the 3rd,
and Christmas plans will deplete your funds.
Begin the day with a smile;
see how long it lasts.
Did I read my emails?
We have a meeting tomorrow.
I have two meetings.
One-on-one with the boss lady.
leave as early as you can without seeming anxious to leave.
Several times throughout my life, I did something that I wish I didn’t. Early 2023 was a prime example of this. By the time Summer was approaching, I really regretted my decision to cheat on my wife. It may sound like I’m a scandalous person, but really, I just wish she never found out. Anyone who is married understands that love can truly be a war. Each mistake made by either partner becomes ammo in the next argument; now she had an atomic bomb in her arsenal.
The affair exposed how weak I am. It started years before. I was still working as a bouncer in Downtown LA. I worked at a few different bars. One day, I was at a whiskey bar that was above a large restaurant. The whole building was once a bank in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, having different levels. The restaurant on the ground level was at one point called Clifton’s. Anyone who knows the history of Los Angeles knows that Clifton’s was a major chain. They had seven locations throughout the city, five of which were in the downtown area. Now there was only one location in downtown, and another location in the valley. But the one at the building I was working at had been closed for decades. During the renaissance/gentrification of LA in the early 2000's, the whiskey bar opened on the second floor. Then a hipster-friendly Mexican restaurant opened on the ground floor. About ten years after, the Mexican restaurant closed due to rising rent. I continued working for the whiskey bar while the bottom was being renovated for the next client. I stood at the front entrance, checking ID’s and guiding customers upstairs and away from the mess downstairs. This was when she walked in.
She was probably in her mid-forties. She had red hair. She wore glasses. She was relatively cute, and her sexiness was average at best. She was sexually aggressive.
I asked for ID. She said she was not here for the bar. Instead, she had been researching the architect of the building. Apparently, the architect was a spiritual advisor who mentored her spiritual advisor. Because of this, she wanted to check out a certain area of the building that was where the restaurant was. She wanted to take pictures of the ornate ceiling to show her mentor. She asked if I would let her in.
The restaurant area was closed off by a sort of vestibule that had a door and a wall that had the name of the previous restaurant displayed; the name was cut into the wall with gaps that one might be able to squeeze through. I told her the restaurant was closed, but if she wanted to try to squeeze through the gaps, I would not stop her. I told her she might get a little dirty, if she didn’t mind. She looked me in the eyes and said she didn’t mind getting dirty.
She attempted to squeeze through, and I helped her. I could feel my dick getting hard. She got in and started her clandestine mission in the closed restaurant. I knew there were cameras and that my managers could see what I was doing. I did not really care; most of my managers were womanizers. She soon came back and asked for help. I still had a semi-erect penis. She felt it as I helped her out.
This was when she started telling me about her spiritual quest in Los Angeles. Her name was Michelle, from Arizona, but she originally grew up near LA, in Agoura Hills. Her friend was driving her around and they were visiting sites of spiritual significance. I invited her into the whiskey bar, letting her know it was one of the best in California. She told me she would get her friend and stay for a drink or two.
Her friend was a man. I figured they were together, or might be getting together, or he might be in the friend zone. He looked much older. They both went upstairs. She soon returned, asking me if she could smoke outside. I told her of course. I think this is where I started thinking about having an affair with her. The old saying is, “If she smokes, she pokes.”
I escorted her outside and we chatted some more. We had some things in common. Mostly smoking and drinking. I did not smoke cigarettes anymore, but I had my cannabis wax pen. I let her have some. She was appreciative. Eventually, she started making excuses to brush her body against mine. I think she was trying to feel my cock to see how big it is.
She went back upstairs. I chilled for some time, trying not to think about it. My marriage was not great at this time. We had had intimacy problems. Sometimes I could not get hard or stay hard. My wife was not very sympathetic about this. A few times she had chided me for not being attracted to her anymore. This was not the case, but I could not tell her anything that would change her mind about this. It became a stress test every time we tried to have sex; would I be able to? Now this new woman came into my life, and I felt like I was in my twenties again.
Michelle came back down with her friend and told me she was leaving. She also said she wanted my number. I gave it to her. She had seen the ring on my finger; I never attempted to hide it. After we exchanged numbers, she leaned in to hug me. I was sitting on a stool. She moved between my legs and felt how I felt about her. She hugged me tighter and let go. She turned around and I saw her ass. This was probably her best feature. I grabbed her hips and pulled he back to me, kissing her neck. She shivered a little. I liked that. It was at this point that I thought of all the times before I was married that I had bad luck with women. All the almost connections or halfway hook ups that never panned out. I felt like this woman could help me redeem myself as a man.
Cheating was something I never felt like I would do. But as I said, love is a war. Some of the insults my wife had thrown at me were always in the back of my mind. Additionally, it seemed like everyone in the bar industry is a cheat. I have seen several of my managers and bar owners with their mistresses. The employees were mostly single. LA’s bar scene was not a place for virtue and honor. Most of the men were weak and most of the women knew how to use their sexuality.
Michelle texted, asking for a dick pic. She moved quickly. Before I knew it, I was in the bathroom, taking a picture of my cock. She liked it. We planned to meet after my shift, when I had an hour till my next shift at another bar. We met in a parking structure. Her friend from earlier was there. She said he was not her boyfriend or anything, but she wanted him to stay close for safety reasons (kind of awkward). She had everything planned out perfectly. There was only one problem: erectile dysfunction.
Those of you who have never had to deal with this problem (either as a man or a woman) will not understand how this can affect you. Men with ED will often talk about the stress involved, while the women with partners with ED will often blame themselves. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that any lovemaking will be fraught with awkwardness and disdain.
As I made my way to Michell’s friend’s car, I started feeling anxious. I was wondering if my ED would make an appearance. It did. I licked her to see if that made me harder. It did not. She did not return the favor. This made me kind of mad. I eventually got hard enough to stick it in, but I came too quickly. She seemed to enjoy that. I made my getaway, claiming I needed to get to my next job. She texted later, planning our next time.
A few weeks later was when she returned to LA from Arizona. We tried again. She came to my other job, where I had more freedom to fool around (I had a few other bouncers working with me; no one would miss me for the time I needed to fuck her). Once again, nervousness and anxiety affected my performance. She was begging for it, but I could not give it to her. I regretted the whole thing. I told her I needed to get back to work, pulling up my pants and leaving her in the back storage area (where most of the other employees and managers had their encounters). She soon left with her friend after having a few more free drinks. She texted me that she was waiting for me in the parking structure, but I had no intention of meeting her again. I told her I needed to get back home after the end of work. I never mentioned my wife, but she understood.
That was in the Summer of 2019. Fast-forward to Christmas time, 2022. I was no longer a bouncer, but a teacher. My wife and I were doing a little better; I had gotten a prescription for Sildenafil. There were no longer arguments about intimacy, but we still had other arguments. Things in general were okay. Then, Michelle texted “Happy Holidays.” I still wish I hadn’t responded.
“Thanks, you too.”
“Long time no see.”
“Right. How have you been?”
“Good. Still want to fuck you.”
“I don’t work as a bouncer anymore.”
“That’s cool. Where do you work?”
“I’m a teacher now.”
“OMG that is hot!”
“When are you in LA again?”
“After the New Year. Wanna fuck then?”
That is when I made a decision that I would really regret. It was almost destined; Michelle was coming out on a weekend that my wife would be working on a Saturday. I could meet up with her at her friend’s house and be back home before my wife got home. I took a pill to be ready. We fucked for about an hour. I must have given her about 3 or 4 orgasms. I felt manly. For a few weeks after this, I even fucked my wife more often because of how good I felt. It was like when we first met. Unfortunately, the Gonorrhea was incubating during this time.
I had just fucked my wife the night before. When I came, it was a little painful. When I woke up in the morning to take a shit, I noticed a discharge coming from my penis. It was like a nightmare, but I could not wake up. I drove to work, anxious to Google more about the symptoms. It was either Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. I needed to get tested. A few days later, I found out it was the former, not the latter. I got the shot and it cleared up. But my wife started telling me about a discharge of her own. I thought I could keep this as my shameful secret, but I would have to tell her.
It was about a week of arguing with myself. It was a difficult decision to make. I decided to tell her. I told her on a Sunday. I figured God would help her to forgive me. I cried as I told her, which made her sympathetic. But she was still angry enough to leave the house for most of the day after that. I was stuck at home, wondering if this would be the end of my marriage. It felt like forever. I spent all day beating myself up, literally and figuratively. I socked myself in the head; I scolded myself. She eventually came home and forgave me, for the time being. Since this all happened, we have gone through many hours of therapy.
I will not cheat on her again. We have come to an understanding about my ED and other intimacy issues. She forgives me almost every day. I regret getting caught, but I regret even more the fact that I did it in the first place. We are at a point where we can joke about it, and we both feel less traumatized from the experience. She still has that atomic bomb to use whenever we argue, but she does not use it as often as I thought she would.
“I HAVE A DOUBLE-BARRELLED SHOTGUN LOADED UP FOR YOU GUYS!!!” Perhaps this was the wrong choice of words. At that point in the evening, anything I would have said would not have mattered. Ultimately, they became the exact words that needed to be said. Thus, ending my tenure as a High School Football coach.
This was our second-to-last game. It started off great. We had won the coin toss and elected to receive. I was deferring in every game up to that point. But since it was our biggest rivals, the Romans, I wanted to start off as aggressive as possible. Additionally, the visitors decided to try an onside kick. Maybe it was because our special teams were terrible. Or maybe it was Coach Jackson’s way of welcoming me to the league. The kicker, attempting the onside kick, kicked to his left, sending the ball to the sideline about three yards short of the 50-yard line, drawing a penalty and giving us starting position at the Romans’ 35. It was here that I wanted to unload our not-so-secret weapon: Victor, the running quarterback.
I had watched hours of game film on Wildcat formation and running quarterbacks. I studied the way quarterbacks read the defense and let Victor know how to run it. Wildcat, mistakenly, is referred to as an option run. I would describe it more as a designed QB run with an option to pass. This is how I planned my formation, giving Victor the option to pass if his running lanes were not open. We had tried this formation in previous games, as the fourth quarter ticked down and we were grabbing for meaningless points. But the game against LA required me to change our strategy, as I wanted to come out swinging, so to speak.
Victor lined up in shotgun, with fullback and halfback blocking on either side of him. He had his X, Y, and Z receivers with simple routes and shifts to throw off the defense. The first play started with Y and Z shifting outside to spread the defenders out. Juan, the center, delivered a perfect snap to Victor, who immediately rolled right. He pump-faked to Anthony (Y receiver), who was running a 5 route. This drew the QB spy to the Tight End, opening a wide lane for Victor, who took off running, easily gaining five yards. He rolled left on the next play, gaining another twelve yards, picking up the first down but taking a massive hit from a linebacker. Juan called the huddle and Victor started limping toward our sideline.
Victor had taken many hits throughout our season, always popping right back up, ready for the next play. I thought he was just walking off the hit and coming over for the next play. I said to him “Let’s go Purple 2 Spread, on two.” Victor said, “I can’t play, Coach.” It never even occurred to me that this kid would get hurt in such a way. But this shifted all momentum. We had not even practiced with our QB 2 all week.
We had lost every game of our season at this point. We faced some powerhouses, like the Bull Dogs, Pythons, and Huskies. The Huskies had blown us out, 56 to 0. This was the worst loss of my career thus far. The real reason we lost so many games was mainly due to the lack of support from our school. It had been known for a while that our school is very non-conducive when it comes to sports. Football has been in a sad state since 2015, when our league championship was stripped because of illegal recruiting practices. Since then, our principal has had no empathy for the program. When I started coaching in 2022, I aimed to change her mind and everyone else’s mind at this school.
I assisted the previous head coach. He was not a good coach. I learned very little from him; I mainly learned what not to do. He seemed more interested in making money off spirit packs and barely showed up to practices. When he did come to practice, all he did was complain about how we were “not ready” for any of the games. Schools are allowed up to 18 hours of practice a week. We barely had 6 hours. I was determined to change this during my time as head coach, which was thrusted upon me after the previous coach quit.
I wanted to get everyone on the same page; I wanted to take advantage of mornings and Saturday practices; I had gone through the trouble of starting an offseason workout through our after-school program, the only option available. As the season approached, none of these things helped us in any way.
We forfeited our first game due to a lack of cleared players. The offseason workout saw some participants, but a lot of them did not have the grades to play. The principal never approved the morning workouts during the semester. A lot of players never even joined until the week of the first game. We only had about 15 players cleared; well short of the 18 required. We forfeited, and it was a foreshadow of the struggles we would have to endure through the whole season.
We called the next two games at half time, experiencing too many injuries to continue, still being blown out in half a game. We saw some progress with clearing players, but also faced so much adversity. Kids were inconsistent and barely showed up for what little practice time we had. The team was doomed well before any games were played. But the sheer competitive nature of the players made me determined to get them a win.
We came close to a tie against the Monarchs in our third game. It was one of those games that came down to one play at the end of the game. The Monarchs had just scored their third touchdown, bringing the score to 20 to 14. They went for a two-point conversion that everyone, except the refs, thought was no good. Even their coaches were shaking their heads disapprovingly just before the side judge raised both arms to signal the touchdown. We got the ball back, drove down field (Wildcat formation), and scored, bringing it to 22 to 20. We went for two points. I told Victor to hand off to the running back for a run right up the middle. Instead, Victor told his center, Juan, that if he taps him twice on the thigh, he will take it in with a QB sneak. I had never told him to do this (I did not even know this was their plan until I watched the game film). Victor tapped his thigh, the o-line pushed forward, and Victor tried to sneak it in their, but his knee came down just before he could cross the goal line. Two-point conversion was no good. We lost.
Our next game was oddly similar. We played the Sentinels, ranked dead last in the state of California. Our players were so cocky before the game. When the Sentinels scored their first points of the season on their first drive, I knew we were doomed. But we were able to come back in the fourth quarter. There was 43 seconds on the clock, and we were down 23 to 16. Victor, who had been missing targets all day, connected to three different receivers, bringing us all the way to the 15-yard line. There was only 3 seconds left. Time for one fucking play. Victor tosses it to Phil but misses. A flag flies through the air. Pass interference on defense. We got a free play. I told Victor to find Phil again, our best player (besides Victor). The ball is snapped, Victor stands tall in the pocket, delivers a strike to Phil, catching it at the 2 yard line and falling backwards to get the touchdown. But a cornerback had him and kept him upright. No touchdown.
The game against the Romans was our last chance to get a win. This game presented us with the best chance at winning just one game. They were not the best team, but not the worst. We had to be aggressive. I planned to score first to set the tone and give us momentum. Best laid plans….
Victor comes out of the game; Cristian goes in. Cristian is a great player, but he has horrible game management. First play he allows a delay of game penalty. We get backed up. The next play results in a sack (not Cristian’s fault; o-line was never protecting the A-gaps). We went from driving down field to going backwards. The next play was an incomplete pass. I had told the players “We are not punting at all this game”, but we probably should have. Instead, Cristian threw another incomplete pass on fourth down. Turnover on downs.
Victor told me he can still play, but the medic said otherwise (an old ankle injury was becoming worse over time). Meanwhile, Cristian had to stay in at Linebacker on defense. Defense let the Romans drive down the field, running it right up the middle on us. They scored the touchdown and two-point conversion easily. I could hear the parents in the stands talking shit. “COME ON, COACH! WE WANT A WIN!”
It did not help that this was our homecoming game, with a pep rally being held for us earlier in the day. Everyone was rooting for us to win, but things were not happening like I expected. We had another scoreless drive, going for it on fourth and not converting. The Romans scored again, and again, and again. It was 56 nothing at half. I was trying to maintain my composure all night. I did not even yell at them during halftime. Maybe I should have.
The second half was a little better; we only allowed 12 more points, stopping two two-point tries on defense. But our offense could not get a footing. Cristian got hurt at the start of the third quarter. We had a lefty QB at third string who absolutely refused to play after QB’s 1 and 2 got hurt. Anthony, the Tight End, stepped up as QB. Then he got knocked the fuck down, hurting his throwing arm. He came out of the game and took his pads off, not wanting to exacerbate an old baseball injury. Cristian reluctantly came back in, nursing a hurt knee. The refs started running the clock (one of those slaughter rules meant to limit huge blowouts); the second half went by without a score from us.
The game ended. We shook hands with our opponents. After this, several Roman players went to the middle of our field and danced while doing a live video on Instagram. Absolutely disrespectful. I let Coach Jackson and his AD know how irritated I was. They acted like they would tell the kids not to do this, but I doubt they did. This was the worse loss of my career.
I gathered the coaches and players in the end zone. The assistant coaches told the players how disappointed they were. But when it was my turn to talk, something inside of me blew up. I yelled, very loudly. Some of the kids were startled by this. I yelled “THIS IS MY TEAM, AND YOU GUYS LET IT GO TO SHIT!”
From this point on, I cannot remember exactly what I said, except for the metaphorical shotgun I had loaded up for them. Eventually. I stopped yelling and walked away from the players. The principal and two assistant principals were right there. They neglected to support us all season, but they were there at that moment. The principal said, “You are not allowed to yell at the kids like that.” I was apologetic, but you cannot come back from something like that. She told me to go home, and we will have a meeting on Monday about this (where she would fire me as coach). I asked if I could apologize to my team. She said no, and that I should go home immediately. They were probably scared because of the mentioning of a firearm; they were scared I would go into active shooter mode. There were several parents who overheard the tirade of shouts. I can only imagine how pissed they were.
Maybe this sport is too intense for me. Maybe I am propping up a dying sport (at least at the high school level). Maybe I needed to be removed, bringing my stress levels back down. Maybe football is too much for me. Maybe I am more player than coach. Maybe the metaphorical shotgun was pointed at my own head.
It’s Been Years...
Hi Prose people. I have not written anything here in at least three years. I feel like a veteran returning home after a long war. I have been busy with life. That whole pandemic thing got in the way of any creative writing I wanted to do. Interestingly enough, I have gone through a metamorphosis of sorts: I am a completely different person than I was in 2020.
If the past three years could be simplified into a laundry list of events, it would go like this: quit my job as a bouncer; finished my degree in History; got my Special Ed credentials; worked as a teacher at a horrible school; cheated on my wife; coached football and got fired. Just reading this gives me an overwhelming sense of chaos, but I would not trade any of it.
It is nice to actually return to some sort of normalcy (not that my life before 2020 was normal). I feel like nothing has changed here. I see most of you still write poetry (even though the word "prose" means non-poetic writing). The monetization of our writings here was in its infancy three years ago. I think I put my Bitcoin book up for sale; no one is buying.
I guess I'm writing here because it must be done. I need this in my life. I need to be structured and creative. I need a connection to others like this. I need to be adored for my writing skills, instead of mildly appreciated for my other skills. I used to love posting and coming back to find reads and likes. It gave me a pleasure that teaching, coaching, and even my extra-marital affair could not. I miss being able to confer about projects with others here. So I am back. Stay tuned for the next post.
She always loved playing with knives, especially when she was a boy; he was so skinny and weak, his first knife became a security blanket of sorts. The first few years Tung was homeless; he always needed a knife. A homeless child can be an easy target. Now that she had fully changed, the affinity was still there.
After the transition, Thao often concealed a blade or two in her skimpy outfits. When she first started crossdressing, she liked to think of her knives as another thing to tuck away when meeting someone new. But that night it became another instrument of reciprocity. A tool to help her exact revenge on the type of men she loved but hated.
They were in his car (Brandon, some random dude she met at The Syndication), parked in the concrete channel known as the Los Angeles River. He thought he was so cool, bringing her down here, not knowing that he had been fucking a tranny all night. Thao surprised him with her secrets; figuratively and literally. After revealing her assigned gender, she pulled out the switchblade she had concealed in a pouch in her short dress (no one ever would have seen it). Thao thrusted upward into his abdomen, ensuring a puncture of the major organs, and twisted. This released dopamine into her brain and gave her a rush. She loved the feeling that accompanied violence, having grown accustomed to it when he was a hardcore gangster for the Vietnamese Boyz, and when she transitioned and started killing.
Thao was originally born Tung Dao, the youngest of five, with all his siblings having been born in Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Min City). They always thought of him as the spoiled American child, especially his older brothers, Quyen and Chinh. They loved to torture him, holding him down and putting duct tape on his genitals. They laughed after ripping it off violently. Tung always associated pain with sex because of this, never forming healthy relationships as a child; meanwhile, a rage built in him. He let it fester as an adolescent. Eventually, he joined one of the biggest gangs in Torrance, VBZ (designating the Vietnamese Boyz). In the late nineties, they were so deadly that Fox 11 news did a special on them. Tung showed up in some footage with a green bandana covering his face. His parents saw and knew it was him. When he got home, Tung’s mom had a TV antenna in her hand while dad pulled his belt off his pants in a swift ninja move. They beat him until he ran away with only the clothes (and fresh welts) on his back.
Running away from home at fourteen can be dangerous. Tung had a very thin frame. As he struggled with crime and poverty, he eventually realized that he could turn tricks in Long Beach for a lot of money. Tung had no real sexual inclination, but becoming a gay prostitute, then starting to cross-dress, gave Tung a sense of purpose, and it subsided his violent tendencies. They were buried under a new identity, giving Tung/Thao a way to escape the past. No longer would he continue living on the streets and running with the Boyz. He soon found a world that accepted him and gave him shelter, as Tung lived with several transgender women that helped with the transition. Tung became Thao (after a trip to Thailand) and further immersed herself in the community. By the time she was twenty-one years old the violent tendencies had subsided almost completely. But not entirely.
Now she sat in the passenger seat of Brandon’s SUV, thinking back on how the urge to kill resurfaced from time to time. The first time she killed was a potential John that made an insulting comment about her chin. This upset Thao as she was unable to afford this part of the surgery—the surgeon kept insisting on this aspect as everyone sees the chin first. The prick asked for a discount because of her “manly” jawbone. Thao pulled out a pocket-knife and tried to cut his throat. He did not die as quickly as they do in the movies, bleeding all over the hotel room floor. She watched as it took about fifteen minutes for him to choke on his own blood. Tonight’s kill was so much more precise, and clean. Thao barely got any blood on her petit outfit.
The body-count rose as she practiced her craft. Thao kept a tally in a little notebook that she titled “Her Story”. It was filled with ambiguous details: initials of her victims, color of clothes, personal items lifted. She did not want to make it too obvious; most killers make that mistake by taking trophies and writing journals. She was smarter than that. She knew they could only find evidence linked to Tung and therefore any police involved would be looking for a male. Her new identity came with the proper forged documents to complete the transition. Brandon was her twenty-fourth death. She was a confident killer now.
Robbery was another way to throw off the police. Cops were likely to let a case grow cold when it was linked to robbery. The lack of pattern and monetary motive allowed for this. While most kills were random, there had been three men that she killed for personal reasons. These three were the only ones that followed any sort of pattern. She had sex with them, convinced them to drive her somewhere isolated, then revealed her birth gender and stabbed them in the abdomen. All the others she had taken precautions to not leave DNA or fingerprints behind. She often met them at clubs or on the track, in different cities. They would proposition her and then she trick-rolled them before they knew what was happening. Her method of killing varied as well, using guns, ligatures, and even poison.
She knew the big mistakes of previous killers that she studied so often. Bundy was too regimented, Ramirez never changed his shoes, BTK taunted the police until they linked his letters to a computer used by Rader. These silly men were amateurs. Thao knew that if she wanted to remain free, she had to avoid these mistakes and disconnect from these crimes. The three she did follow a pattern with were assholes. Pompous men who knew only confidence and arrogance. She reasoned that these men would likely have few friends and family to miss them as they seemed to shy away from close relationships. These men were like her brothers, whom she stalked on occasion. Quyen and Chinh lived their lives at a distance from everyone else, preferring their own company. Thao felt a sense of pride in being the one to make these scoundrels squirm after fucking a transexual. This intensified the thrill of the kill.
That night, the urge came to her with an intensity she had not felt in a long time. She felt the need to do violence to someone. Not just anyone; she would kill a real douchebag. Someone deserving of her malicious attention. She knew a great place where the gaudiest of assholes liked to hang out. A place where she could find the victim she wanted to find. A place where the drinks flowed while predators waited for their chance to pounce. Women lined up outside in their short dresses even when it was freezing, and men tipped the bouncers to jump the line and look important. Thao went to such a place with a friend to buy coke from the bartender. It was a lounge called The Syndication. Thao actually knew one of the bouncers there from her time at Taft prison, before her trip to Thailand; she knew she would be safe as he would likely keep his mouth shut about someone who blew him for favors while locked up. The Syndication was a perfect hunting ground, with its crowded dance floor and strong drinks, and she did not need to be there for long. She saw the asshole named Brandon acting the part. He noticed her and his fate was sealed.
Thao hopped down from the tall vehicle and felt the cold water on her feet. She bent down to clean her hands in the “river”. The concrete channel was a few inches deep with rainwater that recently swelled the synthetic waterway. She watched as the blood washed off her hands and the knife and it would make its way to the ocean. After killing a man, she often was hungry. It was about three in the morning. She took out her phone and looked for nearby coffee shops that would be open. Tranquility filled her as she found one within walking distance, if only she knew how to get out of the wash.
TITLE: Her Story
AGE RANGE: 21+
WORD COUNT: 1470
AUTHOR: Timothy Severtson
GOOD FIT: A diverse publication company like Trident Media Group would be a perfect channel for a writer like Timothy Severtson. His eclectic style is on display in this piece as the criminal he is writing about has many dimensions. This story is part of his Fallen Angels series that follows seven Angelinos living (and in some cases dying) in the Downtown LA area during one night in December of 2016. The stories make use of visual metaphors, tragic storylines, and a diverse cast of characters that reflect the cosmopolitan city that the author has grown up and worked in for his entire life.
HOOK: The first paragraph shows the duality of the main character’s life. It shows that we are not dealing with a simple man or woman, but a person who has redefined identity in two ways: one way through sex, and the other through violence. Like most of Mr. Severtson’s stories, the first paragraph is key to drawing in the readers and taking them on a journey through dark themes such as murder, drug addiction, and other sinful behaviors.
SYNOPSIS: Tung/Thao reflects on life after killing a man who just found out that he has been having sexual relations with a trans woman.
TARGET AUDIENCE: Adults with a dark sense of humor and a taste for the macabre. This is not a story to be taken lightly, but it is a story that makes you laugh and consider your own mortality.
BIO: Timothy Severtson grew up in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of the city of Angels (Los Angeles). Like his stories, he has had a diverse narrative throughout his life, with many different jobs and recreational activities. His main influences include but are not limited to the following: Charles Bukowski, James Elroy, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and Hunter Thompson. Recently, Tim has earned his BA in History from CSU Dominguez Hills and is currently working on his MA in Special Education. His senior paper on the Marital Culture of Colonial America was chosen to be published in volume 8 (upcoming) of The Toro Historical Review for the school’s History department.
PLATFORM: Timothy Severtson has been published in the above-mentioned Toro Historical Review, also receiving Editor’s Mentions and Winner on a few challenges on The Prose (please see profile for other works).
EDUCATION: BA in History at CSU Dominguez Hills in Carson CA; working on MA in Special Education at same school and Student Teaching for Los Angeles Unified School District at Green Design STEAM Academy.
EXPERIENCE: Timothy Severtson has been writing casually for most of his life. He started creative writing in High School as a member of the Speech and Debate Team at James Monroe Law and Government Magnet in North Hills CA.
PERSONALITY/WRITING STYLE: Tim is a simplistic man with a positive outlook on life (although his writing can be grim and transgressive). His friends all know him as a jester of sorts, always attempting to make them laugh even at depressing situations. His writing style has a more serious tone but still contains shades of his humor even in the dark tone of such settings as “Her Story”. He has been influenced by many of the macabre authors of the past.
LIKES/HOBBIES: Tim enjoys reading, writing casually, listening to music, homebrewing beer, cooking and barbequing, watching sports like football and ice hockey, and spending time with his wife, friends, and family.
HOMETOWN: Mission Hills CA.
Beer and COVID
This morning I woke up with the intention of going to the super-market early to avoid the rush. All I really needed was beer, hoping I could get in and out through the express lane if it were busy. Last night, my wife and I reasoned that the deliveries would be fresh off the trucks, and the items would all be waiting like gifts. This was not the case.
Let me take you back to a month before this outbreak started. I had quit working to focus on school, leaving a fucked-off job for a bright future as I am almost finished with my bachelor’s program. By May I will be graduated and on to better prospects. But before leaving my job at a bar in downtown I noticed the tapering of people. LA relies on visitors and events and good times. As early as January I can remember slower-than-usual nights; winter is busy at the bars of DTLA because of tourists and depression. This winter has been quite slow. It seemed like a good time to quit, so I left and fully focused on my studies.
Leading up to March I felt great. I was stress free and progressing properly at school. This changed gradually, as the fear spread further than COVID ever could. It infected the consciousness of everyone through our social networks and streaming services. It made us afraid again, a comfortable place for Americans (apparently the world as well). We all needed something to cling to for safety in the face of finality.
How does a materialistic society prepare for the Apocalypse? The answer: shopping.
We have plenty of food at home. We normally have a good amount of food; a lot of it is dry food and RO water that we have stored, as we live in earthquake country. I drank my last beer two days ago, and while I’m not an alcoholic, there’s nothing better for me to do (unemployed and forced online for my studies). I figured the best thing to do would be to go to the market as early as possible to get some beer, but everyone else had the same idea.
I walked to get some exercise, and my wife left for work. It was early on a Saturday; the streets were pretty much dead. There were cars here and there, but not many. Then I got to the market. It was busy, with cars rushing in and out of the parking lot. I approached with the caution displayed by the soldiers and zombie-slayers in my favorite movies.
Sensing I needed to relax, I took a hit from my vaporizer, deeply inhaling the shatter and coughing a little. Three people walking in front of me quickly turned with a deer-in-the-headlights look. I stopped and let them get clear of me.
The market itself was pandemonium. It was the busiest I had ever seen it. Not just because of the customers and the situation but because of the deliveries and lack of employees. I noticed the security guard with a look of discomfort on his face; I’ve been there brother. My wife always wants me to go to Black Friday sales with her, but I hate shopping. It was my worst nightmare coming true. And all I wanted was some beer.
Everything was picked over already. The shelves weren’t empty, but I surmised they would be that way before long. The stockers were in a state of shock, used to having an empty store to work in. One muttered under his breath “ridiculous”. He saw that I heard, I smiled, letting him know how much I appreciate his effort. I noticed some people in groups, going over lists with each other. Were they coordinating? The end is nigh, and we shop.
I decided to walk around the entire market to take it all in. By the time I got around to far side I noticed one aisle had a lot of people in it. I wondered what was so popular, then I realized this was where the line started. I walked to the front and saw two cashiers with probably twenty to thirty shoppers in each line. There were no cashiers in the ten-items-or-less lines, which killed my strategy of just buying a couple beers and leaving quickly. I made the decision to walk to the liquor store instead, bought two 40’s and walked home in the stinging rain.
To whom it may concern,
This is my first significant post to Prose in a long time. I have missed contributing something more than a smart-ass remark here and there. The reason I have been persona non grata is mentioned in the piece above. I truly am almost done with my degree and have been writing nothing but boring history papers for such a long time now. I guess COVID allowed me to break that cycle and step back into creative writing.
Thank you all for reading and see you this Summer,