Monday, August 27, 2012

Cake and Champagne

Happy Birthday to Scott G. F. Bailey! Cake and champagne for breakfast!

What's Peanut eating? Cake and champagne, of course. It's Scott G. F. Bailey's birthday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chinese takeout

More from "1, 3, 2, 4." I've changed Toph's name to Benjamin based on <ahem> popular demand.

Benjamin came home from work on a Saturday to learn that Leo and Jimmy had gone to lunch together. Two white takeout boxes with red pagodas stood side by side on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Leo offered a list of the things they had talked about: jobs, vacations, childhoods, ex-boyfriends--

"And what did you have to say about ex-boyfriends?" Benjamin asked.

"Nothing really." Leo shrugged and turned his attention back to the television.

It had been three weeks since Benjamin last had a day off. He hung up his shirt and slacks and yawned his way to the bed. He napped frequently these days, covering his eyes with a pillow to block out the afternoon light that streamed in through their bare window. Leo always complained that this made him look headless, but Benjamin couldn't help it--maybe his eyelids were too thin. Only a few minutes seemed to have passed when he sat up to find himself alone. He dressed, peed, ate some yoghurt using a spoon he found on the counter. A short while later, Leo returned panting and glistening with sweat. He had gone for a jog. He had decided it was time to get back into shape again.


In his first life, Benjamin had been more sensible. Though he didn't finish his degree, he fell into a well-paying job as a corporate speech writer. He found that he had the innate talent to write words in other people's voices. Then, in his thirties, life suddenly felt as if it was chugging along faster than he had realized. He noticed more missed opportunities, more lack of discoveries, more things that were almost done, but not quite. He saved up a good deal of money, and, upon the invitation of his friend Marissa, he sold his house in Silver Lake and flew to London on a one-way ticket, sleeping on a couch, and living out of a single, over-sized suitcase.

Men in London--at least the ones he paid attention to--were young and trim and well-groomed. He loved seeing them pass by in their little gray suits and narrow black ties, their sleekness balanced by unkempt hair that only the young can really get away with. Not once did he approach any of them--he didn't need to. He was content just to see them and to be among them. In London, he felt as if he was on an expressway, making up for lost time. Each morning he would walk the streets for hours, snapping photographs, eavesdropping on English conversations, not returning to Marissa's until the late afternoon, when he would finally take some time to plan his return to the States as he waited for her to finish her work.

What's Peanut eating? Chicken bits fed to him under the table. Shhh.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Today is a special episode of What's Peanut Eating. Unfortunately.

What's Peanut Eating? Snail poison.

So, I've been rather distracted the last couple of days. The poor little dude was having bad muscle spasms and was drooling excessively when the dog walker went to visit him. The vet said it was common for dogs to eat snail poison because it's mixed with molasses. He's back at home now and filled with charcoal.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Trail Mix

I've been working on a short story. I keep wondering if it's a mental vacation, because the plot is fairly straightforward. But I'm hoping deeper emotions come through as a result of the fewer technical acrobatics.

I wasn't trying to take a new approach to writing, but with this piece I found myself gravitating to pen and paper, and I'm also writing in fragments instead of moving from beginning to end. This comes down, I'm sure, to me feeling more able to focus on smaller details as opposed to simply worrying about the story being coherent as a whole. I feel as if I've graduated from something!

Here are a few paragraphs (not necessarily in order), just because. I find that I'm still revising a lot, even with the pen and paper, so each of these paragraphs have been handwritten multiple times and are changing very quickly.

The story's called "1, 3, 2, 4."

The other couple lived on the same floor, only two doors away. During Toph’s early weeks alone in the new building, he occasionally passed them in the hall without eliciting so much as a smile from either one of them. They had a child, a blond-haired boy of four or five who trailed behind them with one hand gripping onto the pant leg of the father he most matched to physically. Toph figured it was parenthood that kept them so reclusive; then, of course, Leo arrived from London, and, as a couple, they became visible. The other men introduced themselves as Jimmy and Marcos, a carpenter and an accountant. Leo wasn’t even over his jetlag yet when Jimmy invited them over for dinner.


Leo tended to have that effect on people. In the first month of their relationship, Toph had introduced him to all of his close friends. They liked that Leo had a Ph.D. They liked his smile. They universally agreed that Leo was good for Toph—at forty-five he had played the field long enough.


Leo stormed out of their apartment the first time Toph insisted on watching a playoff game. He said that he wasn't mad, that he simply wanted to get away from the sound of the television. He was gone until well past dinnertime, claiming that he didn't know how long the games lasted. Toph pretended to read the newspaper while he listened to Leo rummaging around in the kitchen, finally deciding on a fried egg sandwich. The apartment filled with the smell of grease, and it was Toph who wordlessly stepped over to the window and opened it.


In London, Leo often befriended other couples, saying they made him feel more at ease in the foreign country. On any day of the week, Toph would return home from work and find a note on the door telling him to meet at a local pub, or at a new restaurant, or, occasionally, at an apartment, where Toph would find himself stepping into the home of someone he had never met before and awkwardly introducing himself. Leo was thoughtful enough never to bring anyone home without advanced warning. So, on the days when Toph wasn't feeling very social, he could easily stay in, take a bath, and tell Leo that his meetings had run so late that he didn't think he would be able to catch up with them when all was said and done.

What's Peanut eating? Feta cheese

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Teacher's Apple

Hi Kids!

Today, I have a problem for you to take on or ignore. Write a sentence that ends with the following, including its beautiful concluding punctuation:

...I eat what I see”!’ ” 

And, yes, I have been looking at the Chicago Manual of Style. Thank you for asking. 

What's Peanut eating? A wad of paper that I worried would choke him. That troublesome rascal.