Everynight Carry

I've laid them out on the seat of the limo to take stock of my nightlife.

These are tools I need to get me through the night.

These are tools I need to get me through the night.

I understand that the phenomenon is everyday carry, but that's not nearly as interesting unless you want to see pictures of a chicken-scratched to do list, overpriced sunglasses, Sara's obese cat boxed up for the vet, and/or stacks of the boss's dry cleaning (yes he outsources, don't ask). You see, the monsters come out at night...vampire and human alike. My job is to make sure everything runs smoothly.

To that end, Sanctus Hotel & Casino's Head of Guest Relations' everynight carry includes: .357 Magnum loaded with silver bullets, sharpened, silver cuff links, silver Kershaw spring loaded on my forearm (you really can't carry enough silver when you work with vampires), black leather gloves in case I have to pull an impromptu B&E, cash and casino chips to keep the party going, limo keys with a big red panic button for when I forget where the fuck I parked it, and one very, very important silver bracelet that carries information I'll explain another time (no, I don't have a heart murmur or Chrone's).

But what's missing? Pepper spray? Rape whistle? A murse? Maybe a gallon of AXE Body Spray for the ladies? Stop. A Leatherman? No, if a bolt or a screw needs tightening I'll call someone. But with what? So yeah, that's it. A phone.

I broke another iPhone today. Crushed it under the limo after I set it down to load Sara's ill-tempered, diabetic cat into the trunk. I can't stand the sight of it, and it hates me. That's what I get for taking the low road. But y'know what's scarier than vampires? This ugly sucker--

My new phone. It flips.

My new phone. It flips.

I destroy iPhones. I'm good at it, and I blew passed AppleCare+ a few hundred phones ago. The boss ain't happy, so he sent me to the mobile store to pick up this classic. Sure, I could buy my own phone, but that wouldn't end well. This was handpicked to teach me a lesson.

What goes with $2,000 Tom Ford's, a $20,000 custom-made Ermenegildo Zegna suit, and a $1,000 silk Charvet? A flip phone. It's like a samurai wielding the file in a toenail clipper. Add that to my everynight carry.

On the upside, in two years I get a free upgrade.

JS

Good morning, Verde

You're my joy...my sunshine.

The reason I put my socks on in the morning.

Her top is still mostly red, and there's about a shoulder's worth left of her green stalk...but to me, it looks like she's leaning over to vomit her face onto the cactus soil, which could easily be skulls piled around a forgotten graveyard or perhaps some monster's lair.

Verde is a ruby ball cactus. She isn’t doing so hot. She’s dying.

Verde is a ruby ball cactus. She isn’t doing so hot. She’s dying.

I suppose I should have named her Ruby, but I was feeling particularly creative when I brought Verde home two weeks ago. One of our guests arrived late that Friday afternoon. He had no girlfriend. No wife. No friends. Just an entourage of succulents. All shapes and sizes. Ugly things really. Prickly, insect-like plants with thick, fleshy parts to store water in arid climates. And each one had its own colorful pot. Fifteen to be exact.

I escorted our guest and his fifteen, potted succulents to their suite. I watched as he placed some on the balcony, others in the windowsills, and a few in the brighter corners of each room. He spoke to them. Told them they were beautiful. Misted each and every one with a spray bottle labeled "Bill" on a yellowing strip of masking tape. All of this might sound touching, but I felt nothing. Wait...I was annoyed. I distinctly remember being annoyed. Bill was concerned about the sunlight in his suite. He needed to be on the east side of the building to get even, morning light for his plants. I assured him that if the sunlight wasn't to his or his succulents' liking, I would personally move everyone to a more suitable location in the morning. Of course that meant the furnace but why ruin the guy's afternoon.

Bill was eaten around 11? Who knows when they started or how long they kept him alive. I wasn't present for the feeding, so I don't know who or how many. HR handles that. I just supervised cleanup at 12:03 a.m. The plants had to be destroyed, naturally. It is evidence after all. But I hid Verde under my suit coat and whisked her home to what I believed would be a better life.

So two weeks later, here we are. Per myfolia.com, "Ruby ball cactus is normally fairly low maintenance and is normally quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year." Time is an odd thing when you've lived over four centuries. Two weeks is a blink...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I can't pull the "I'm so ancient time confused me" excuse. I left her in the sun, and it burnt her face. Then I drowned her, and she got root rot.

Verde is actually just the red top. Her scientific name is Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var. hibotan. She's a mutant that can't produce chlorophyll, so someone grafted her onto the green cactus to receive the nutrients she needs. You could say she feeds off the other plant. See where I'm going here? Each requires different amounts of light, so if you don't hit the sweet spot, buh bye.

Verde is a succulent. Anyway...

JS

Sleepless at the Wheel

I don't sleep, and I don't dream.

Ever.

It's hard to describe what this feels like. Try to imagine a world dominated by thought; the conscious world spinning out of control, unfettered and relentless. Usually, a good REM sleep allows your brain to go on autopilot, at which point it can work through all this nonsense and prepare you for another go at the outer world.

Unfortunately, my mind is completely uninterrupted. I'm never tired, but I'm restless. Thinking, thinking. Unable to find any relief in the recesses of the unconscious. This 406-year insomnia began the the day I died. I'm no detective, but I think there's a connection.

The good news is that I'm a great employee. Work, work, work. Night and Day. Day and Night. I suppose this counts as my "coffee break."

The last dream I remember was of a shark. Land shark to be specific. Cruising just beneath the surface as I walked beside it. It called to me. Enticed me with pleasant conversation. But I knew it's nature. A devouring beast living inside mother earth.

My dime store psychology points to unresolved mommy issues. Or maybe it was a premonition. Warning me of the beast who now rides with me every night.

I'm not even sure I'm talking about Sara.

JS

My Trip to the Museum

What does this look like to you?

Some miraculous, celestial happening? Two heavenly bodies in motion, working in concert to color the sky as they hurtle through time and space on a collision course with cosmic art.

It's the light above the urinal where I'm urinating.

It's the light above the urinal where I'm urinating.

I'm at a museum. Not by choice, I'm hiding. On any other evening, a trip to the museum would be grand, but I’m driving Sara tonight. She's a working girl and to get through the type of work she does, she has to prepare. Sometimes we catch a show, or a movie. Sometimes we drive around in silence until she’s ready. Sometimes I just play a song. Today, she wanted to go to a museum.

Regardless of what we do, it’s tense. Slight jabs, bitter barbs disguised as flirtation, passive-aggressive, dead air. Admittedly, most of that's on my end, but there’s only so much I can take.

According to Sara, this is me...

It’s called Demonic Roland.

It’s called Demonic Roland.

Yes, there’s a boat in my chest. Or maybe I’m the transparent woman spilling her ovaries out of that man’s elbow. Maybe I’m the ovaries. Maybe if I squint.

I don’t see it.

I’d like to remind Sara that this is, in fact, her...

Of Chinese Lions, Peonies, Skulls, and Fountains.

Of Chinese Lions, Peonies, Skulls, and Fountains.

I’ll hold my tongue. She’s the boss’s girl now.

Not my problem.

JS

Stay of Execution

I probably had all these “who am I what does it all mean” musings before I was burned at the stake, but death really makes you take a long, hard look at yourself. Some might say I've been given a second chance.

I imagine that whoever granted this stay of execution is grossly underwhelmed.

As for souls. I don't know. I just listen to this...

JS