Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saved by the Bell: The Very Later Years: Samuel "Screech" Powers


When he was super young, back when his teeth fell out of his head with no schedule, and he got his first boner watching Small Wonder, he wanted to be a Firefighting-Astronaut-Super-Scientist who came up with a cure for cancer (so his Mawmaw could come back), battled towering infernos and went to outer space to have sex with a robot girl.

When he was a little later, he focused on science, because it was the roux of his whole juxtaposition. With science, he realized, he could cure cancer and break the restraints of the stratosphere, and, well, fuck robots.

When he was a little older than that, he was in college and he had to pick a major and he ended up studying education because he decided that fostering the ideas of children who were like him—the way he used to be, anyway—was a little more rewarding than robot fucking or space travel.

And that’s how he ended up back at Bayside, all these years later. As a respected science teacher. (With the casual, quiet accolades of both faculty and students alike, it should be noted.)

And now, he was standing in front of the sensible chest-top mirror that he’d purchased using a coupon from an online ad that IKEA held two years past. He loosened his tie—it was one of Maggie’s favorites, one that she’d purchased for him—and began undressing.

From behind him, she spoke in her smooth, totally human tone.

“Samuel. You are looking well this evening and I am interested in our love-making.”

He arched an eyebrow and turned his head slightly, throwing a glance over his bony shoulder.

“Yeah? You want this?” He tugged seductively at his penis and turned a corner of his mouth up, smile-like, in a manner that Zack had taught him so long ago.

“Samuel: please transmit your seed into my throbbing receptacle.”

He didn’t need to be told twice.

He climbed between the comfortable, affordable sheets that he’d purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond using a “10% Off Everything!” mailing six months ago.

He rubbed his boner against Maggie’s cold, soulless steel and smiled.

This was love.

This was everything he’d ever hoped for.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Saved By The Bell: The Very Later Years: Lisa Turtle

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Lisa stretches out on the bed. It’s 7:15, but she doesn’t hear Terry crying yet. Oh, blessed existence, she says to God. She slides out of the covers as quietly as possible. The floor creaks beneath her, but she knows where to step to minimize it. She wants a little time alone. Just a few minutes. Dear God, please grant me these few moments, she asks. She smiles as she opens the door leading into the hall.

No wails from Terry.

Praise Jesus.

Praise God.

She makes her way to the kitchen softly and puts the “Donut House: Chocolate Dream” into the Keurig and presses the button. She squeezes her eyes shut as the noise starts. It’s soft, but Terry has awakened from less. MUCH less.

Fingers crossed, she heads to the fridge and pulls the door open. Again, softly. Always softly.

So far, so good.

She thanks God again.

He’s such a good God.

And then: the cries.

Oh, Moses, she thinks to herself. The coffee is almost done, but she may not get a chance to enjoy it. It depends on Terry’s mood. 

It always depends on Terry. Everything depends on Terry.

She heads down the hall and turns the handle. Gently lets the door open. It smells, immediately. She knows what he’s done. She doesn’t even need to see it to know that Terry had an event.

The shit is smeared across the walls. There are no patterns or shapes—one of the early doctors told her to look for that sort of thing, like maybe it might tell them something, that it might mean something, but it never does. It’s just shit. Smeared all over the walls.

He’s sitting there. He’s crying, but he’s also laughing. He’s 13, but he has the mind of a 1 year old. He’s got shit all over his hands—his shit—and he’s laughing. He doesn’t know. She doesn’t know if that makes it better, or worse.

Either way, she’s crying now, Praise God, as she stands in the doorway in her robe, her only son on his bed, covered in his own filth, nothing but unclothed madness and a toothless, drooling grin.

In the kitchen, her coffee is done brewing, but it won’t get touched.

She’s got a lot of cleanup ahead of her. A lot of scouring and scrubbing.

Praise God.

He is good, and this is His plan, she tells herself as she heads into the war-zone armed with nothing but elbow-length rubber gloves, the “shit-bucket” and a scrub-brush.

Terry just smiles.

Praise Him. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saved by the Bell: The Very Later Years: Jessie Spano

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Her wine glass was empty—what’s new?—but before she could even raise a slender digit, Dorian was there with the bottle. He spilled a bit as he poured, but Dorian was never like, the best. She remembered overhearing that he wanted to be a novelist, and that made her giggle, internally.

Good luck, Dorian, she thought then, as she thought now.

She smiled and thanked him with her eyes, but said nothing. She never did. That’s what she liked about Candice’s. They left you the fuck alone, and after work, she only WANTED to be left alone.

Today was exceptionally rough, but weren’t they all? Ah, the life of a public defender. Today had been three appearances, one sad case of a “reformed” addict trying to regain custody of her kids, and two standard Drunk Park Flashers. Today was life.

Ugh.

This wasn’t what she envisioned leaving law school, but what the fuck. She’d been idealistic, then. Change the world. Blah, blah, blah. That quickly morphed into “present a plausible defense for the homeless guy who’d been rubbing his dick on the Neptune statue in the fountain of the Clayton Memorial Cancer Garden Park.

Now she just wanted to be at home and alone. And aside from Mr. Pickles, that was entirely possible. And Mr. Pickles? He was fine. He liked to cuddle and his balls had been cut off. Ideal.

She hailed a cab, held her breath against the Sudanese man’s polyester sweat, and sooner than she knew it, she was on her couch with a new, big glass of wine—nothing spilled this time, fuck you very much, Dorian—and her iPad.

And then Facebook.

Because of course.

The friends with kids, the friends on vacation, the stupid fucking high school acquaintances sharing anti-Obama “memes,” and disturbing pictures of children who’d been mostly burned who needed prayers to prove to their doctors that they could make it.

She was only on here to keep in touch with Lisa, but Lisa never posted anything anymore. 

Jessie would be hard pressed to tell you if Lisa was even alive. 

Thanks, Facebook. Thanks, Obama.

She giggled to herself as she set her glass on the table in front of her and tucked her legs beneath her body.

Fuck Facebook.

Fuck Lisa.

Fuck it, she thought before drifting off to sleep.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saved by the Bell: The Very Later Years: Zack Morris

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When they met at the bar, she looked 22 or 23, maybe. 25 at the most. Now, under the unforgiving parking-lot lights streaming in through the crack in the window, she looked 35 or 40. Maybe even 45.

Jesus.

She probably had kids and maybe even a husband, or, at the very least, a long term boyfriend.

A live in boyfriend.

Probably a guy who she went to high school with. He probably worked at a mechanic’s shop in town. Pete’s, the place he saw when he was coming into town on 13 the day before. The place with the rickety sign and mostly-gravel lot.

She was pretty rickety herself, but she’d been alright. She’d done things that Rebecca wouldn’t do, and really, that was Zack’s barometer. He told himself he wouldn’t feel bad if the girl (whore) would give him something his wife wouldn’t.

But it didn’t work. It never did. The guilt always lingered there, hiding like a mischievous child in the pantry.

And so she slept, in her haggard state of existence. Her mouth was open half an inch and he could smell the whiskey coming from her snores. He was pretty sure he could smell his cum on her slowly escaping breath, too.

His phone rang.

Rebecca, of course.

“Babe?” He tried to sound sleepy, though he was anything but. She said some words.

“Oh, yeah. It was fine. Got a big contract with the guys out of Des Moines. No. No. No, he wasn’t there. I didn’t see him. But it all seems like it’s gonna go through. Yeah. Definitely. Haha. Big time. Sure. Tell MacKenzie we’re getting a pool. Absolutely. Yes! Without a doubt. Cross my heart. Love you too, babe. See you soon. Love you.”

Next to him, she slept. Zack couldn’t remember her name. He wasn’t sure if it was the booze, or just life. He thought she was Megan, or Meghan or Melissa. She sure had some saggy breasts, though, now that he really got a chance to look.

Oh well.

Being an in-home medical equipment salesman wasn’t without its perks, he thought. Even if sometimes the pussy was a little loose, even if he had to drink a shit-ton to quiet his conscious. It was all part of life. 

Part of success.

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Even saggy tits.

That was life.

He tried to sleep, but he couldn’t.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saved by the Bell: The Very Later Years: Kelly Kapowski


She stands in front of the mirror, clutching handfuls of stomach fat. Her stomach is mapped with hundreds of slight, soft red crevices, and she has to fight the urge—always—to dig her ratty nails into them and just TEAR. She wants to rip her stomach apart at the unsightly seams, to spill her fat-ass guts all over the floor of the trailer. She wonders if Scott would even notice, or if he’d just wonder why in the fuck there wasn’t any food waiting. He probably wouldn’t, she figures. Notice, that is. He’d probably squish through her lard-ass guts and switch off his clothes before grabbing a beer and leaving. He’d go to Dirk’s up the road because Dirk lives close and Dirk doesn’t have a fat wife—or any wife—so Dirk can play video games and look at hot women on computer porn and do whatever he wants. He can have pizza for dinner on a Tuesday, even if it isn’t a special occasion, so why wouldn’t Scott go there?

She hates her life. All of it. She hates the marriage, she hates the kids who are AWFUL—they fight and cuss and get kicked out of school, and T.J. started smoking even though he said he didn’t, even though he’s only eleven. She hates never having enough money and not having a job of her own, and not being able to set up any of the bills to pay automatically because there may or may not be enough money in the account on any given day. She hates not even knowing if they have enough to pay the light bill at all, really.

For a while, she had Facebook. She was able to keep up with everyone from Bayside, which was nice, but it was hard as shit, too. Because she found Zack and she they were “friends” on there, but all of his post updates were like, “so happy to be seeing March of the Penguins with my two Girls,” and he’d put a picture of his wife and their daughter and it just about made her puke.

That used to be HER Zack. And now he was a salesman of some kind who made nice money and drove a sweet Avalon and she lived in a fucking trailer with an uneven floor and a nightmare husband who barely noticed her, and when he did, it was mostly to hit her. She had some nightmare kids who stole shit when she took them grocery shopping and seemed destined for a path not unlike that of her or their daddy.

It made her cry. A lot.

So thank God they couldn’t pay for the internet any more, and she couldn’t be on Facebook. Fuck Facebook, she thought. Fuck the internet.

She was a fat, loser cow and she didn’t deserve that sort of thing, anyway.

She sat on the edge of the mattress and cried some more.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Saved By the Bell, the Very Later Years: A.C. Slater

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He sits in the corner of the empty room in a ball, folded in on himself and shaking. His spastic hand clutches the scorched glass pipe while he tries to mentally will more rock into the bowl. He’s crying, but he doesn’t know it. Tears cut clear rivers down the grime that has settled in on his face, a layer of filth and despair so thick that it has become a second skin.

They’re not tears born of fear or desperation, necessarily; the crack is gone, but he can get more. It’s never pleasant getting it, sure—the bus station hand-jobs, the car burglaries—but he manages. He always manages. 

So it’s not that. That’s not why he cries.

The tears flow for the memories, the last vestiges of who he once was. Once upon a time, in a place far removed from this den of inequity, he was captain of the wrestling team. He scored winning touchdowns, and alternated women like some men change socks. The cheerleader. The student body class president. (He never dated the rich black girl, though. Back then, he cared what his dad thought, and the admiral would have never tolerated his son dating a black girl.)

He used to be Albert Clifford.

A.C. Fucking Slater.

He used to be someone else.

But now, he’s here. In a crack-house festooned on the outside with CONDEMNED signs. 

Even the worst junkies didn’t come here anymore. 

The floor rotted through where Pastor Bill OD’d and died, the acids in his body eating a whole in the wood. If Slater looked hard enough, he believed that he could still see the outline of his dead friend’s body. And as he sat there, shivering despite the balmy Los Angeles night, his Jheri-curls dried and withered, hanging over his shoulders like wild jungle vines, he wished for a fate not unlike that of Bill.

Death would be release, he figured. Death would be a sweet, resplendent relief.

He carried these thoughts with him as he stood from his crouch, his legs unsteady beneath him. He headed to the door.

Not tonight, though.

One more hit, he tells himself.

One more to end it all.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Here's How Fucked Up My Family Is, Vol. 117




This is a very real telephone conversation I recently had with my mother regarding my cousin Sean:

Me: So did something happen to Sean? I think I saw something on Facebook about his kidneys failing.

Mom: Hmmm, well, I guess he got out of jail and went on a 4-day meth-binge. He passed out in a parking lot for several hours in the cold and had to be rushed to intensive care.

Me: Oh, WOW.

Mom: Yeah, and I think it was his dad who helped him shoot up when he first got out.

Me:

I didn’t say anything, because honestly, what can you say? What constitutes an appropriate response in that situation?

A question meant to gather more details?
A statement wrought with disgust because his father is close to 60 years old and intravenously injecting his son with drugs?
A joke expressing my concern for cousin Sean’s long-term health because, if something happens to him, then who will ever cure cancer, for fucks sake?

So I didn’t say anything and I probably kind of, “tsk-tsk’d” and I got off of the phone and I posted it to Facebook for laughs, and quite honestly, didn’t think too much about it.

I mean, I’m glad he’s not dead, but only in the same way I’m glad that most people aren’t dead. To say that I care about him as much as I care about the random stranger who just crafted my Burrito Supreme at Taco Bell would be a lie, though, so I won’t go that far; the Taco Bell worker affected my life in some way. Frankly, I’m a little gladder that he's not dead, because I was hungry for that burrito, damn it. (And, you know—not to focus TOO much on this hypothetical fast food worker or whatever, but he’s contributing to society much more so than Sean.)

It wasn’t ALWAYS like this. Obviously. I mean, babies aren’t thrust from the womb as worthless, wild-eyed sacks of shit. It takes a little living to achieve that kind of thing. Often times, however—especially in my family—there is a predestination to doom, and if ever there were a couple of kids born under the sign of despair, it was Sean and his brother Chris.

(I’ve written about Chris on this blog previously, so I won’t waste too many words, and I’ve written about their mother Donna, too. To get a complete, thorough picture of what their clan was like, please click the links and read.)

Their father David was (and presumably is still) a drunk, as is/was their mother, and they grew up in a shitty box of an apartment above a hardware store in a shitty hamlet of a town called Claycomo. The apartment over the store shared a parking lot with a mechanics shop where David worked. He’d work and drink and work and drink and he and my aunt would argue and fight and they’d all drink and they’d split up and move apart and move back in together and then drink and fight some more, and it was really like the most stereotypical personification of a country song you’ve ever seen.

Meanwhile, Chris and Sean would play in the nearby creek that caught runoff from a sewer pipe so they always smelled a little like raw sewage, but I’m not sure anyone really noticed They’d fish for crawdads and bust bottles into smithereens on rocks and shit, I don’t know, probably torture birds or something.

I’d spend the night with them sometimes, in that shitty apartment above the hardware store, and in the morning, aunt Donna would make everyone biscuits and gravy and David would poison the stagnant air with beer farts and we’d all watch fishing shows on television. It was never really my scene—any of it—so I always preferred that Sean and Chris would come and stay at MY house. I had a Nintendo and my parents were never drunk and arguing and we had windows that opened, letting in fresh air.

Sean was always a little wilder than Chris. He was a couple of years younger, and for the first 7 or 8 years of his life, he had the most ridiculous speech impediment you could ever imagine. In this day and age—or maybe even back then, if you had the proper means (i.e. not a family built around the financial capabilities of a semi-employed, oft-drunken car mechanic)—it probably could have been diagnosed and quickly dealt with.  Because they were poor, though, his affliction was left unattended and largely forgotten. Thankfully, Chris understood his brother in that magical way that only siblings can. So when Sean said something like, “gah eh hoo, pah-kua,” Chris would turn to you without missing a beat and explain, “he said ‘go to hell, peckerhead.’

They were certainly a sight to behold, and I look back with abject horror at the kind of nightmare they must have presented for outsiders. When they weren’t in school—and dear God, I still pray for their poor, poor teachers—they rarely wore anything other than torn jeans, the legs stained with motor oil, whiskey and the dried blood of a thousand dead crappies. They never wore tops, or footwear.

No shirt, no shoes, and who gives a shit, I guess.

To complete their “rebel-Appalachian-hillbilly-chic” look, they had cracked lips that were perma-colored with a generic Kool-Aid product and ratty, almost-dreadlocked hair that hung in dirty clumps to their boney shoulders. Oh, AND they had lice, which I ended up getting from them. I discovered this one day in Mrs. Carr’s 5th grade, when I caught little-bitty bugs jumping off of my head, and onto my Big Chief tablet. (Perhaps the most curious part about all of this is that they never had a dog, or a cat, or any sort of house pet.)

Thankfully, I got older and started realizing that I liked books and video games and watching baseball more than I liked firecrackers, clubbing catfish to death and smelling like a walking sewer-pipe. As children—and sometimes, as in this case, families—are wont to do, we went our separate ways.

Sean and Chris shuttled between their mother and their father, whose separation finally took.

We lost touch.

Every once in a while, my mother would talk to her sister Donna and hear tales of her boys’ struggles. First at school, and then with the law—mostly on account of the wondrousness that is crystal meth, and the various ancillary activities that it brings… things like burglary, armed robbery, etc.

Like most of my other cousins, I kind of forgot they existed, and for the most part, good riddance. I may not have been a saint, and I’m certainly not a surgeon pulling in six figures, but I can also happily report that I have never smoked crack with my dad, or any other crazy bullshit like that.

With the advent of social media, I kept up with these people the best I could. Not by “friending” them, mind you—I have no desire for them to have access to ANY of my personal info, as I would undoubtedly be robbed or murdered—but by spying on their pages when I’ve a mind to. (As you may or may not know, extremely stupid people are completely unable to comprehend things like “privacy settings,” and even if they can, they tend not to care.  I don’t suspect Sean’s Facebook page will be the lone reason he DOESN’T get a job as CEO with a Fortune 500 company.)

And from his internet activity, I’ve painted a picture that I might have been able to do already, if I’d put more than three seconds of thought into it.

He’s in some sort of relationship, but “it’s complicated,” because of course it is.

He plays a lot of online poker and “gem” related games, because what else are you going to do when you’re so full of amphetamine you can barely breathe and it’s 5 in the morning and the world is asleep?

He has a scary moustache that doesn’t necessarily fit with the stocking cap and overall “gangster” persona he’d like to portray.

He has a tattoo extending down the length of one forearm that says “TRUST” and on the other, “NO ONE.” It’s in poor, graffiti-ish script and is very hard to read. (Leading to lots of comments from luminaries like “Andrew ‘Baby Boy’ Taylor” that read, “THAT’S TITE CUZ WHAT IT SAY?”)

He spends a LOT of time in hotel rooms with overflowing ashtrays, surrounded by sickly people wearing FUBU and Karl Kani clothes that look as though they were plucked off of the set of a Heavy D video, circa 1994.

He likes pictures where his face is obscured by a cloud of weed-smoke, because who DOESN’T? It just looks so cool, is all.

So I’m not surprised that he recently overdosed on meth in a Wal-Mart parking lot after a binge that started with dope provided by his father. Honestly, that’s all kind of par for the course at this point.

Nor am I surprised that I don’t care very much. Had he died, I would not have attended his funeral, the same way I wouldn’t attend the funeral of any passing stranger, or a co-worker’s sister-in-law.

Sean is a stranger to me, far removed from the natty-headed tyke who I used to wrestle and catch crawdads with.

And it’s not sad. It’s life. You can’t control who your family is, but you CAN choose whether or not it means a damn thing.

To me—clearly—it does not.