Logan Beaver vs. The Future

So I was walking down a street in downtown San Francisco, delighted by how cold the city isn’t, how freezing it must be in Illinois right now, and how my head isn’t trying to draw itself into a winter coat like a turtle, or how I’m not hunched over, trying (probably failing) to avoid the wind by trying to walk while in the fetal position.

So there I was, reveling in all the non-possibilities, when I decide to jaywalk. I cut through a parking spot on the road that this guy was about to parallel park his prius in, which I guess might have been a dick move, I don’t know. And while I’m standing in the parking space, looking both ways before I cross the street, the parallel parking guy nearly hits me trying to get into this space. And I’m an idiot, so I do that “deer in headlights” thing where you just kinda stare blankly at your own death, and that’s when I realize that there’s no driver. This car is trying to parallel park itself.

The car backs up, re-adjusts, maybe gets ready to come at it from another angle. Maybe it’s contemplating it’s carbon footprint, I don’t fucking know. By this point, I’ve already leapt onto the hood of the car next to me, somehow ending up in the crab position,  and started screaming “HOLY FUCK!” Now everyone on the street is looking at me like I’ve got two heads (or, more appropriately, like I’m A CAR THAT IS DRIVING ITSELF WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE) so, in order to make them understand, I point at the Night Rider Prius in front of me say “AAAAAAAAAAH!!!”

"Don’t worry, it’s okay." says this guy on the sidewalk with a steaming Starbucks coffee and graying, intentional bed hair, wearing the "laid back" version of a proper suit, and wearing glasses that are just like my glasses, only the frames are even thicker and boxier than mine.  "It’s just my car. It’s got cameras and… motion sensors and stuff. I don’t know exactly how it works, but it can park itself."

Logan Beaver vs. The Dog

A fluffy, white dog walked with me one night as I was walking home. At stoplights and busy intersections it would rub up against my leg and look up at me, like a cat, almost. When I stopped on the steps of a church to pet my new sidekick, I saw, though not before I touched, the mass of worms intertwined with its skin. I wiped my hand off on my pant leg, and decided to finish my walk.

The dog started following me. Of course. Why wouldn’t it? It probably adores me now. I quickened my pace, but it kept up. I stopped at an intersection, not thinking for a second, then bolted across the street and kept running. It kept up. It must have thought I was playing with it. I was getting tired. I had to think ahead. I ducked into an alley.

I stopped in front of an open dumpster, doubled over, and caught my breath. The dog still quite effortlessly barreling towards me. I held my arms out to it.

"Come here, boy! Come here!"

The dog leaps into my arms, and I’m staggered a bit by the force of it, but I use its momentum to toss it into the dumpster, and close the lid. I then lean against the wall to catch the remainder of my breath. It starts yapping. I can hear it’s head hitting against the lid, trying to push it up far enough to get a couple paws onto the edge. I start screaming.

"What? Do you feel betrayed? I’m not your owner! I don’t owe you anything! You’re not a dog, you’re a leech. You’re more of parasite than that shit growing out of your skin! You’re like that girl in the wheelchair with her tiny, atrophied legs who had a crush on me in high school, who made me push her places during lunch, and, if someone didn’t hear her call their name, she’d just yell out to them ‘I guess he doesn’t want to talk to me,’ over and over until the person finally came over to apologize. Did you think I was going to feed you? Or clean you? I don’t want to take care of anything! I hate animals! I hate babies! Anything that can’t stand on it’s own two feet I despise! I couldn’t even watch my mom buy me candy bars at the supermarket! Because not being able to buy your own candy bars is a sign of weakness!

The dog was still yapping, completely unaware it was being projected upon. I open the lid, and it stared at me blankly as I hefted it out of the dumpster. I watched it walk away from me down the alley without looking back.

When I came home from work

Checklist

1. Make sure you wake up on time for work while pretending I’m still asleep by stealing the covers and kneeing you in the butt. Check

2. Stick the tickets down my pants so I don’t forget them. Check.

3. Start looking for a job, remember the plan and feel silly, stop looking, check e-mail, feel silly again. Check.

4. Vacuum the living room (like I said I would two weeks ago), do the dishes (four days ago), pick my clothes up off the bedroom floor (four weeks), but remember not to bother cleaning them. Clean the gross stuff off the stove (five months), clean the bathroom (seven months). Call for a cab. Check times six.

5. Pick out two good outfits, toothbrush, toothpaste, and grab that notebook you filled up in college from under the bed, the one that was only half full when we first met after that party our freshman year, and one of the empty ones you keep on the nightstand. And a pen. Check.

6. Collect my things and divide them into “Salvation Army” and “Pawn shop” piles. Check.

7. Grab my coat. Make sure tickets are still in my pants. Check.

8. Load all my things into the cab. Check.

9. Take a picture of me with my suitcase and my coat. Take multiple pictures, actually, until I get one that looks decent. Delete the rest. Check.

10. Write up checklist. Check.

11. Stick checklist to refrigerator so you could find it. I thought you’d like it. You used to like honest, painful things. I did everything on the list before I left, I really did. I thought you would appreciate that, too. You’ll never guess where I’m going, not in a million years. I’m sorry it had to end like this. But I’m grateful, too, because you taught me something: that no one can make your life worth living but you. So I’m going to go do that now. Goodbye, Logan.

I drove to Chicago to see my friend’s play. The theater was in Pilsen, I got there about… three hours(?) before the house opened. I grabbed some Pad See Eiw, because if you throw a stick in Chicago you’re likely to hit a thai restaurant, but where I live now there’s only one within 60…

 I wrote this! Everyone should go look at it! eeeeeeeeeeeee

Logan Beaver vs. Marina Abramović

To quote wikipedia:

Rhythm 0, 1974

…Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were scissors, a knife, a whip, and, most notoriously, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions…

 

I chose the knife and said “I want to take something to remember this by.”

"You come one horrible step closer to understanding humanity today. I don’t want the knife, the knife’s just a prop. It signifies what I can do to you, but not what I did, or what I experienced in doing it, or what you learned from letting people do what they want with you. I was thinking maybe of taking a lock of your hair. I could take a piece of your dress. Hell, I could take the whole dress if I felt like it. I don’t want to be barbaric, mind you, but I also don’t want to ruin the piece. You lay out all these implements, and you promise not to stop us from using them. When we all start torturing you, isn’t it by design? What was your intent, really? You say we’re free to do what we want, but don’t you already know what will happen? I just want to own one moment. I want one moment in my life where I’m proud of being myself. I want to not only be free but feel free. I want to be myself perfectly. I want to ride the wave of my own brilliance. I want to be beautiful and epic like you. You are so actively beautiful, your life so intentionally epic. And I do have a choice. Maybe I’ll pretend to be your footrest, maybe I’ll tickle your ear with the rose. I’ll just do whatever until the piece ends, and when you stand up to greet us, I’ll be the only one who doesn’t run from you. I’ll stay and chat. Maybe you can teach me how to be perfectly myself. Not that I don’t already know, or that knowing ever mattered.”

Logan Bevaer vs. The Chair (or: is it okay to write badly about being a bad writer?)

In a coffee shop. Staring at the empty chair across from me. Listening to the pretty girl and the midwestern state school grad student, flirting as they discuss the life and work of Arthur Rimbaud. “You don’t look like a senior,” he says. “I am!” “Liar.” “No, really, I am! I graduate from UHS in May,” and I can hear his brakes screeching. It was hilariously sad for him. She was laughing not 10 seconds ago, and how do you not fall for a pretty girl who laughs at your jokes? “I’ll be a freshman at NYU next fall,” she tells him. 

Empty chair says I’m eavesdropping when I should be working. Working, working, and I don’t even work that hard, really. I should be rooting out the sentences, the paragraphs, the pages; a way to say something, something to say, and a reason to bother. I need to tell the truth from a chair in the corner of a chain coffeeshop in the town I was raised. The empty chair stares at me across a blank notebook page. 

I’ll have you know, empty chair, that both David Mamet and Stephen King have written about the stark horror of a blank page. I am in the company of giants, you chair, and I will not be mocked.

The girl and the grad student stand up together. He holds the door open for her. The night air is cool, a welcome respite from our oppressive midwestern humidity. I can feel the breeze from where I’m sitting. Empty chair and I watch as they tentatively reach for each other’s hands. 

Heart Failure (rejected Machine of Death submission)(probably because of all the feces)

Heart Failure

Lying on the couch in my therapist’s office makes me intensely aware of my breathing. My lungs heave against the layers of my fat, hideous body. My breathing is audible across the room. When I try to sleep at night, my breath sounds like a monster from my childhood, lying in wait in a closet or under my bed. 

"So I was thinking maybe it would be cool to get to use the Machine of Death some time."

"Well, first you would need to get yourself off of suicide watch."

"You could… take me off of suicide watch."

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Logan Beaver vs. Gravity

My last thought after I first exhibited symptoms was either “Fucking Korean drivers,” or “JESUS FUCKING FUCK” I was drunk. I kicked a car that nearly ran me over and it slid 40 feet and rolled over a curb. The doctors said the kick ruptured every bone, muscle, and blood vessel in my lower body. Feels worse than it sounds. I did not pass out from the pain. I started hyperventilating, and my diaphragm pulled on my lungs so hard they tore apart and filled with blood. I gritted my teeth into my skull. I looked at my leg. Then I passed out.

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