South Desert Storage – 2

The person lit a cigarette in my direction. They were bigger. It looks like the silhouette of a cowboy hat? I didn’t want to move foreword.

“Have a good ride?” They finally spoke. It was a man’s voice. He sounded old, his voice was gravely and shaky. “Did you have a good time riding around on my bike? Now don’t stare, love. Come here.”

“Who are you?” I didn’t move.

“Well,” he slowly let out a drag from his cigarette. The figure looked calm. “You should know I’m the owner of that bike, for one.”

“But you haven’t paid, and I’m sure I checked it before and there wasn’t any-”

“Have you seen death?”

He caught me off guard. It wasn’t what he said, it was how he said it. I still couldn’t clearly even see his face, but the question was whispered right into my ear. As if he were right behind me.

“Does it scare you?” He was still in the same spot and the voice was still in my ear. “Are you afraid to die right now? I bet you are. What are you going to do?” Another drag. “Nothing. That’s what I know you’ll do. Listen, girl,” he disappeared. Vanished into thin air.

He appeared to the right of me. He was literally whispering in my ear now. I could smell his cigarette, his horrible odor. I could feel his breathing on my ear. “You’re afraid to die right now and you won’t do a thing about it.”

He vanished again.

I started the bike and left. I made it to the front gate, unlocked it, and sped off. I rode all night to just get away from there, from whatever just happened. How did he get in there? Was he even real? Was it just some elaborate prank to avoid a rental space debt? But, I did check the space before and it was empty. I know it.

The sun was coming up as I was getting gas. I had to go back.

I pulled up to the gate at South Desert Storage and everything looked the same as I left it. Gate locked, night lights on, apartment lights on. The only thing that was different was the storage unit – 1A. It was closed now, I had left it open since I began cleaning it and now it was closed.

I shut the bike off, collected myself, and built up the strength to go to the unit. I pounded on it with my fist.

“Yo! Open up!” I was doing my best to sound intimidating, like a woman who’d seen some shit. I wanted whoever was in there to hear me outside and be like damn, that’s probably some crazy ex-bartender chick. I bet she’s had to beat the shit out of drunk people and stop knife fights. I surrender! But it probably sounded like some twenty-something year-old who smoked too many cigarettes and became bitter at an early age. But who knows.

There was no response. I had to open it. Everything was still there – the whiskey, the handgun, and machete, and dog collar and everything else. Untouched and unchanged. That was a bit of a relief. Right?

The China teapot and tea set was still there as well. It was the most beautiful thing in the small, dusty room, and I wanted to look at it closer. I picked it up. It was warm! There was warm tea in the teapot. Who’d made it? Was that man from last night still here?

Behind me, in a shrieking woman’s voice screamed “You! You bitch! What do you think you’re doing!”

I was knocked unconscious before I could even turn around.


A Systematic Distaste

  1. Time

There resides within me a consistent feeling that I am wasting away. This is both physical and mental (the wasting away, that is – the feeling is totally just mental). I feel as though my body will give out momentarily, and my mind is at its peak. I know this to be ultimately false, but still it is hard to consistently tell myself otherwise. I know others that feel this way as well.
One of them is a friend who is an accomplished musician – a career I wouldn’t literally kill for, but close. This friend manages to change cities with no money and no plan, and has since established residences in two different houses filled with musicians such as himself. There are times where he is unable to speak with me because he is on a “short tour” to the nearby, yet out-of-state college towns. When I finally got the chance to meet up with him, he divulged to me that he feels as though he could have done more with his time so far. Of course, some of these emotions are spurred by the likes of celebrities who become extremely mainstream and extremely sold-out at such a young age. Yet, many of these feelings that he shares with me come from a sense of uncertainty in the future. In his case, what will the town of Nashville look like in ten years? And, god forbid, in twenty?
Before this friend left our hometown, one of the last sentiments we shared together was the idea that if we had a mortgage to pay in the town we grew up in, we’d both have to kill ourselves.
I, too, share the fear that the future is uncertain. I know that I am not someone who can do a whole lot completely on my own, because I will inevitably run away and change courses for something easier. Because of that, I yearn for consistency, yet also loathe it more than anything.
It also doesn’t help to see twenty year-olds making their “big break” with contracts on SNL, or record deals with Sony, etc. That’s not to say that I want to be famous, but still, it’d be nice to feel like I’ve done a bit more with my time.

I am comfortable, however, with the idea that I’ve not sold out. Sure, to sell out you have to be known by at least a minimum of, say ten people, but it’s an accomplishment all the same. Another accomplishment is the fact that I physically back up all of my productions AND use the cloud! And so to close is the iCloud commercial I’d make if I were in charge of things like that:

Are you afraid of dying? Of course you are, you are a person. Probably. And as a probable person you want to know that you did all you could with your time to be selfishly remembered, right? That’s why we’ve created iCloud. With iCloud, you can die, at any given time, and all of your content will be automatically backed up. Remember that note you were making, figuring out how to ask your relatives for money? Or that Pages letter you wrote to come out to your parents? If and when you die, you’ll be happy to know that all of that was saved! Your family can feel free to look at all of your inner thoughts, secrets, and even finances, even though you physically and mentally took no action for this to be so. So if you have to die, die comfortably knowing that your legacy will be not having passed with any personal privacy whatsoever. Ahh, now that’s a relief! iCloud.

A Systematic Distaste


I am not happy. That’s not so much a tone I’m trying to set, as it is just a fact. Just sort of a general statement that applies to me at most times. I am sad and anxious and awkward and I have a hard time dealing with people, not because I don’t know how, but because I often find it difficult to care and it takes too much energy. I can be oddly easy to please though, as my girlfriend (who I like most) can attest.
I like soda and candy and most foods that make me feel either physically or emotionally like shit. I like being outside. I like dogs (40 lbs +, please). I like watching movies by David Lynch and Kubrick and Von Treir and other directors that I think I understand but probably don’t. I like knowing that I don’t understand something. I like video games for a little while. I like driving. I like music. A lot. I like not feeling like shit. I even like other stuff, too. But, I dislike I lot of things as well and what better way to combat disliking things then to systematically view them individually, complain heavily about them, and then see if there is anything to be redeemed about the things I dislike.
Maybe it’s an exercise in being less bitter, who knows. But if I can write this and get some stupid thoughts out, or if someone can read this and say “yeah man, fuck traffic,” then I guess I’ve done something, haven’t I. Right?

South Desert Storage

South Desert Storage has been here for ten years, and I for two. The name doesn’t mean much because I don’t even know what desert this is. It’s just empty; north, south, it doesn’t matter. But I suppose some people feel comfortable putting a name on everything, so here I am – southern nothing. It’s better than some jobs, at least. I mean, I live here and get paid to do so, so that’s something. It’s just me, which is also kind of nice sometimes. When I signed up they asked me what I wanted most out of this job. I don’t know, I told them, I guess I just want to find out what I want to do with the rest of my life, you know? Some alone time might help that? They told me I’d be less alone than I’d think. I don’t know what that means, even still. It’s only a couple times a week I’ll have to let someone in the gate so they can get to their things. More often than that, I’m just cleaning up old spaces people have quit paying on and abandoned, which happens enough to still surprise me.

Today I’m cleaning 1A because I finished cleaning the cycle last month and now I start over. It’s an abandoned lot. The rules for those say that there aren’t many rules, and I can take what I want. There’s rarely anything I want.
It’s morning and I lift the garage door to 1A to begin. The smell is what hits me first. It’s like if a hundred-acre farm, with all of its farm smells, were wrapped up into one medium size garage of unpleasant musk. I found a lot of things in that unit that made sense – a baseball and baseball bat, some board games, Jack Daniels, old ashtrays, a twenty-something year old Honda Nighthawk, rugs with dust on them, an antique rifle, an antique handgun, more Jack Daniels, Paul Mall Reds, a machete, a dog collar, and a pair of black cowboy boots. There was also something which didn’t make sense to me – an antique china teapot and set, displayed pristinely in the middle of the room. I didn’t remember a unit like this. The record says they quit paying a few years ago, but I know I’ve cleaned this unit out already. More than once.
What am I supposed to do, what are any of us supposed to do, when something so strange but so mundane happens? Complain that we may or may not have missed something in our previous work, and risk sounding ridiculous? Don’t do the work and be fired? No, no, I’ll just do the work.
I clean and dust. I organize on my terms; everything except the motorcycle on one side, and just the motorcycle on the other (it runs). I take this person’s life and how they organized it at one point, methodically and meticulously, and I ruin it to make my cleaning easier.
South Desert Storage is assembled a bit like a castle. It’s a giant, two-story square lined with tens, maybe hundreds of units. In the middle there are also more units. I spend the rest of the day riding the motorcycle around the complex.
Towards the end of most days, I like to go to the top of the complex and watch the sun set.
I start the bike to get back down to my apartment on the first floor and it won’t go. I check the gas tank and see that it’s out. As I begin coasting the bike down the ramp to the first floor I see something. The headlight won’t work, but it looks like a person? There’s no way into the complex unless I open the gate. Unless my boss opened the gate?
“Joe? I thought you were getting the grocery order next week,” I yell.
I hit the brakes and begin just inching foreword. It’s a person, it’s definitely a person.
“Joe! Say something!”
Everything gets quiet. No wind, no birds.

Kid up front

Round body. Not fat, not spherical. Just round. Head would probably look less small if body weren’t so round.

Pony tail. No glasses, why would there be glasses?

Dresses like 2001. Middle school 2001.

“25 is when the brain stops uh, producing. Just producing. Uh. And decays?”

Left hand on right side, right hand writing.

Notes are probably just own thoughts though.

Just own thoughts.

Maybe not, maybe they’re someone else’s thoughts.

Red shoes, green shirt, blue backpack. Still quantitative.

Bic pen. Bic? I think maybe the Bic says the most.

What an uncomfortable pen.

Cares about knowledge but not writing comfortability.

To each their own.