Wednesday, June 29, 2011
"What do you mean I still owe you a thousand dollars? I paid that off last month. No, I did. I even wrote a check and everything. Well, the cash is no longer in my bank account so of course it was cashed. You know, why don't you go see what's going on with your computers messing up and get back to me."
I couldn't keep lying. It wasn't going to last. The debt was filing in and there was nothing I could do. They say 90% of new businesses failed, but I had a surefire plan. I knew how business worked. I had the best people, I pushed and worked harder than anyone else. How could I fail?
"Mr. Delaney, your father is on the phone."
"There's a Benjamin on the phone for you."
"Benjamin isn't my father. He's my step father."
"I'm sorry Mr. Delaney, should I take a message?"
"No, I'll answer it. Thank you Pat."
I hated this man. He married my mother when I was 20 and in college. My mom had kept my room exactly the way it was while I was away, and he took out everything valuable, sold it, and told me nothing in life was free and that I had to earn everything. I then told him I had earned many of what was in my room from working odds jobs since I was 13. He didn't relent.
"Andy, it's your father."
"You're not my father, Ben."
"And you're not my asshole son of a bitch son who promised me a giant return if I invested in his company. What is going on with you?"
Debt. I had pushed myself to deal with the bullying of high school to graduate at the top of my class, so I could go to any college I wanted to. Wasn't smart enough to get any of the scholarships I wanted though, and was forced to pay for college myself. $100,000 for 4 1/2 years and I learned little that I could use. When they wanted money back for all those loans, I was pushing myself working two jobs dealing with idiots that probably didn't have their GEDs calling me a rude bastard for not caring about their days and not wanting to fake caring, especially when the companies I worked for pushed me to the edge of exhaustion and still wanted more.
Then I took to doing anything I could for money so I could pay for food. I was starving most the time when working, because I just couldn't afford anything. Days would go by with no sleep. In my free time I would apply for jobs. Having to work through college, you don't get internships and experience. And everyone wants experience.
So I pushed harder. I found investors. I found people that liked my ideas. I got enough money to make way into opening up my own business. I hired the best team around. And then everything started falling apart.
"Hello? Andy are you there?"
"Yes Ben, I'm here. Sorry. I just. Things aren't going to well in my life."
"Don't tell me it's because Laura left you."
"No. It's been awhile, I'm sure I've moved on from her breaking off the engagement."
"Listen, I don't know what it is and I'm sure I'm the last one you want to tell- but if you need someone always know Pastor Thomas is there."
"Thanks Ben. I have some work to do, I'll call you back tonight."
If only I believed in God any more after all the bad things that happened. Laura had been my dream girl for two years after I graduated college. We worked together, and she understood my situation better than anyone I had ever dreamed of. She was supportive in everything, but one day it was just over. Some say we were too young. Others say she was cheating on me with other guys. I simply say, it is what it is.
I fell into a bad place, but pushed myself to move on. Nothing was bringing her back, and nothing ever would. I threw myself into work, unfortunately ignoring many of my friends from before. I find a few had been bad mouthing me behind my back, and told them off for it. Close friends I had known for years walked away from me. I threw myself into work.
A piece of paper sat on my desk. The pen was in my hand, waiting.
I found some of the best graduates around, and hired them. I had the investor's money to do it. I had the time now. I had everything I needed to do what I needed to get the business of the ground. Then as we were about to launch our website, our Internet went out. Checking into it, the entire internal network had a virus. It took us a month for us to get back to where we were.
Money was lost. I had to pay employees, costs of repair. The entire advertising campaign had to be scrapped due to timing, and I wasn't sure where to go from there.
The pen was heavy in my hand. I could feel it tilting back and forth.
More friends left me. I had to push myself, and nothing was going to stop me. Nothing except life. I needed more money from investors, and no one was giving me the time to even talk to them. A few places, schemes mostly, wanted me to basically borrow money from them. I took the bait on one, and wound up in more debt than I could afford. My business was basically in ruin. When I fired one of the guys who was getting paid too much, everyone knew what was going on. Others began to leave from finding other jobs. I brought in lower paid kids who didn't know what they were doing. Everything began to fail no matter how long I stared at the figures.
"Dear Loved Ones," I wrote, finally moving the pen to the paper.
I began drinking a lot. Tried to go back to school to get another degree, but didn't go further than looking into it. Too expensive for a guy my age. I applied to jobs, posted videos, posted everything I could to try to get someone to help. And nothing. I was simply waiting for it all to fail.
"I cannot live this life any more. I am depressed. I push harder and harder hoping for something and nothing comes of it. Nothing works out for me. No matter how hard I push, I keep pushing harder and no one seems to understand that. It was my fault many things happened between some of us, the bad things. I'll take that blame, even if it wasn't my fault. We have to blame someone."
I looked at the paper and took a deep breath. I twirled the pen around in my fingers. I took the paper and crumbled it up, throwing it in the trash can. I packed up my things and left the office.
I drove home and changed out of my suit. I left the house again and just drove. For hours I drove around the city, around the suburbs, around the country we had. I saw everything. As I was driving, I found where I used to live as a child. Down the street was a park I hadn't been to in years, despite not living more than 15 minutes away. I parked and saw the basketball court, where my friends at the time and I played.
I popped my trunk, took out the deflated basketball I had in there from college, and walked over. Each shot felt good, even if I missed. I had no cares in the world. My phone wasn't going off, as I had shut it off. No one was bugging me about the debt I owed them. I was relaxed with each shot.
It was a better shot than the liquor I had every night. And it was better than what I had planned to do that evening.
I waited until darkness to leave, then sweaty from the small exercise I had been doing. I drove home, happier than I had been. Not thinking about the stress I was going to face, because I knew that I had to just keep pushing.
I knew that I had to keep that drawer in my desk locked. The only shooting I would be doing was basketballs, and for the stars.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I decided to make another video. Sorry about the quality, something happened after post-production...I'm assuming it had something to do with gnomes that made it output so low.
Oh, and now that you've watched my video of me asking (pleading) for a job you should also post it on your Craigstwitterbookspace. Otherwise you'll die or something. It says so right in the description!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I decided to venture out today in search of the best burger in Cincinnati. Today brought me to Culver's, a small fast food chain around the midwest.
They specialize in butter burgers- burgers with buns that taste a bit like butter. They also have frozen custard, and a side menu reminiscent of KFC.
The rules of the search are simple: only rating the taste of the burger, which can only have bacon and cheese.
The first thing you'll notice is the burger's similarity to Steak 'n Shake in size. It's a thin grill burger. The first bite tastes like a bit of butter. The bacon is like something my grandma used to make: thin slices with a chewy texture. I noticed nothing abnormal about the cheese. Tasted like good Wisconsin cheese.
The issue I had is about halfway through I had fat leaking from the burger. Add the overall taste being mediocre, I was disappointed.
I didn't try the custard, but I did have some fries which weren't even as good as frozen ones I make at home. Overall Culver's left something to be desired, and isn't the top burger. Maybe next place will do better.
If you have a restaurant suggestion send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 13, 2011
"Thanks, love you too!" she said to her new boyfriend. At least, I could only make out that it was a guy I hadn't ever seen before. And there she stood, looking at her door, keys in hand, confused.
I put my hand, covered in a black glove, on the door to my car. I stepped out, body covered in a large coat, my face with a scarf over it, and sunglasses and hat to top it all off. I closed the door and slowly walked towards her.
She got her cell phone out and began dialing. "Daniel, weirdest thing my front door's lock is melted shut. I can't even get a key in and the door is still locked."
I walked slowly, my head down. My boots made little noise as they clacked on the sidewalk.
"Alright, I'll try to break the door down. Yes, please come back I'm a little scared now."
She hung the phone up and started to beat on the door with her whole body.
"Need some help?" I asked.
"No, I-" she looked up and saw me. She didn't recognize me. She was scared, because my outfit didn't fit the weather. Not that I would notice. "I'm good. Thank you."
"Here, let me lend you a hand." I said, taking my glove off and walking up to the door.
"No, really, it's OK."
I put my bare hand on the door to watch it melt off. The metal was putty in my hands.
"You did that to my door?"
"I did, Claire. We should talk."
I motioned her inside, as I pushed the door open. She wasn't sure what to make of me, but was visibly less scared than before.
"Daryl, what are you doing here?"
"My experiment. I figured out how to splice genes."
"Why are you wearing such a ridiculous outfit?"
I looked at the ground. I felt like crying. Like a tear was stuck. I took the hat off first, then the sunglasses and scarf. I slowly took my jacket off.
"Oh my...what have you done?"
My body had become infused with diamonds. My hair had fallen off as a side effect, all of my hair. There was none anywhere on my body. Instead my body was encased, mostly, in a crystal like substance. My face was the worst, with my eyes looking like glass. My nose at one point since the transformation had gotten hit, and cracked. The body didn't regenerate and the crystal was not as strong as diamond.
"This is who I am now. My research. I did this because of you."
"Because of me? Why would you do something so stupid?"
"Why would you?"
She knew what I meant when I said it. She knew I meant leaving me, finding another guy. Finding Daniel.
"Listen, Daniel is nothing like you. He's a great guy but-"
"I don't want to hear it. You fucked up, and yeah...I thought this was change things but instead it just made it worse. I thought I could change the world, and now look at me. I'm an outcast."
"Can't you just change back?"
"That's not how it works, Claire. This is how people see me, and will always see me. Even if we try to go back, this is what we've done. You fucked up my life."
"I still love you."
"I don't care. I just don't fucking care."
I moved out a chair, forgetting I had the glove off, and felt my hand collapse through as the chair caught on fire. I quickly put it out, putting my glove back on and attempting to sit down in a different chair.
"When I started I told myself I would make things better for both of us. That no body would destroy me, not even you. I could build myself up to levels you couldn't touch. Superhuman strength, heat levels that created fire, electricity running through me. Diamond tough skin. None of it worked. No one cared about me and just left me. You know what I've done to them?"
"What have you done?"
"I killed them all. I held them by their throats with this bare hand of mine and felt as their blood splattered over my hand. I watched as I tried to make everything better, and instead all I did was kill all of those people that left us. That left me."
"You're a murderer, Daryl?"
"I killed them, Claire. I fucking killed all of them. Then I burnt them to nothing with my bare hands."
"Please, just realize I love you Daryl. Even now with you in whatever state you are, it's taking everything in me to not hug you right now."
"You can't. The crystal is somewhat sharp and sometimes can be hot."
She looked at me with a tearful eye. "You know I love you, right?"
"Of course I do. You know why I came here, right?"
"To tell me how I ruined your life? How you killed all those people and plan to kill me?"
"No. To say I loved you too. And to say goodbye one last time."
"Goodbye? Daryl, please don't go. We can talk. Like I said, Daniel means-"
"Nothing. Nothing can stop me."
"Please, just- wait. You need to at least be in a hospital. Something."
"They couldn't do anything to help me."
"What do you mean?"
"The crystal is slowly taking over my entire body. Once it encases it, I'm fairly certain the heat will reach such heights that my body cannot take it. Once that heat builds up my internal organs will burst. That is, if the crystal doesn't get to my blood or organs first."
"That I am."
"But there's so much to do, so much to see with you."
"I'm going to be dead soon. Let's just focus on the good times. Like every time I was with you." My breathing felt somewhat heavy. I found it harder and harder to breathe.
"You're so sweet." She smiled. "I wish I hadn't chosen the path I had."
"We all make mistakes. Just like I did with this experiment. But hey, you're in a better place I'm sure. You have Daniel. I'm sure he's not a douchebag."
"Actually, he is kind of a douchebag."
"Dump him, you could do better. You could always do better than me, and you settled. You were the hot one."
"Now you're the hot one." She said, giggling.
We sat for an hour, just talking until Daniel showed up and knocked on the door.
"Fuck off." I told him. Claire went and got rid of him. It was another hour before my breathing got heavier. I became sleepy.
"I'm going to lay down on the floor here, Claire."
"OK. Keep talking to me though." She had tears running down her face.
"I will. Always. I just need a nap right now."
"Well, I'll be here when you wake up."
I didn't know where I was going when I woke up. I had traveled hundreds of miles to see her- killing people for months on end and hiding from cops. Hiding from everyone. And now all I could think of, was her voice.
"Oh hey, I brought you something. You left this in my car. I want you to still have it." I handed her the diamond bracelet I had given to her the night we broke up. She read the engraved quote, her favorite from Farenheit 451 "It is a pleasure to burn."
"I liked that quote because it has so many connotations. You could use it to mean the books. You could use it as an ironic statement. You could use it as a parody of what they really want you to do. Or you could use it as a literal statement, taking pleasure in the act of burning. Or you could even say, the idea of burning things into our memories. A burning desire for love or lust. So many questions of what it is a pleasure to burn."
"I'd burn for you." I said out loud. "But after I wake up."
"After you wake up," she said putting the bracelet on and watching me fall into the deepest sleep she'd ever see someone go into. "After you wake up."