Saturday, April 23, 2005


"There is more truth in this man's face than all of the revelations provided by the world's major religions. That's a simple fact that each of us must come to terms with." The acting instructor emoted each word with an admixture of awe, praise, jealousy, confidence and surprise. The acting instructor once taught the famous Tom Darlington so he knows what he's talking about. The acting instructor's class of ten listened in rapt attention.

"Here is an actor whose face might shatter lie detectors the way high pitches shatter glass. Simply put his face expresses the utmost of truth, truth at its highest decibel levels. In it's intensity it also denies the very possibility of lies thereby destroying the very devices which are enlisted in their detection." The film professor wrote in Journal of American Acting. The film critic had seen all of Tom Darlinton's films at least three times each. The film critic wrote extensively on all of his films, planning to someday write a biography on Tom Darlington entitled "A Biography of Truth".

"He is the truth incarnate. Is that sacriligious ? Well then I'll have to be guilty on this one count. The guy can act." A priest that had baptized him as an infant was quoted as saying in a local paper. On page three the article hung below a photo of the priest holding up an autographed photo of Tom Darlington. The priest snuck Tom's name into his prayers every week.

"Yeah he's got an honest face but he owes me money. We grew up together and I helped him out during a tough stretch. He's been promising to pay me back for five years. I need that money." His former best friend complained to everyone that he met. "But Christ is that guy a great actor," he'd say with a smile at the end of every complaint.

You were the only one who wasn't fooled by Tom Darlington. You were the only one who knew the truth about the truth.

Friday, April 22, 2005


In his quest for the perfect drug, the king summoned all of the lands' pharmacists, chemists, apothecaries and shady looking teenagers together at the Blue Castle. The day was marked with much pomp and circumstance and glory. Even the roosters in the farms surrounding the castle were dressed in golden trousers to befit the historical import of the day.

"The days ahead shall go down within the annals of this realm as the period within which the greatest bliss imaginable was bestowed upon the personage of his royal highness." The king spoke from his throne beneath a banner with the words "drugs" in giant, black sprawling script. "But first some entertainment." He clapped his hands three times.

Five cheerleaders from the local high school raced out into the center of the great hall to jump up and down and swirl their pony-tails in every direction possible. They widened the eyes of everyone in the assembly with their whirlwind of high-pitched joy. When they stopped their heaving cheerleader chests lined up to read "drugs."

The great hall filled with applause which after several minutes was quelled by the appearance of a page: "Our royal majesty calls upon the three chemists from the North-Eastern Forests. The three chemists may now approach the throne."

Three men in black capes shuffled up towards the throne and tried to negotiate their way past the cheerleaders who still stood in the middle of the great hall as they had not yet been offically dismissed. While several of the teenagers at the back of the hall chuckled out loud, the muddle of bodies in movement displeased the king. At the command of his scepter five pages raced up to the cheerleaders to swiftly escort them out. The chemists shuffled their final steps to the throne.

"You may now speak in the presence of his royal majesty !!" a page intoned.

"Your majesty. We have spent a year's time in perfecting a drug perfectly suited to your royal physiology."

One of the chemists held out his hand to reveal a red and white capsule.

"This goodly small vessel contains a dozen tiny orbs packed with ingredients from all over your realm. We have shaped these orbs into small likenesses of your royal face in honour of you."

The king smiled.

The other chemist stepped forward: "By letting this vessel sail down into the cavernous river of your blessed gorge, you shall-"

At this display of overly ornate oration the king shouted out: "In plain talk sir !!"

The chemist bowed his head in apologetic reverence. He started again much more slowly: "If your majesty ingests this capsule your goodly frame will be filled with the most excellent bliss. This heavenly happiness will last from sunrise to sunset."

"And what is it you call this drug."

The chemists spoke in unison the name of the king.

"I shall be pleased to ingest this drug fothwith and see what blissful effects it has upon me."

And that was the beginning of the end of the king's reign. Twenty years later the king, a shadow of himself, would be trying to exchange the last golden trousers (made on that fateful day for the roosters) for a tiny orb of his face. Teenagers on the steet laughed at him.

There were no cheerleaders cheering him on.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Every night he suffered from the same nightmare and every morning he awoke with the same shame. Everyone told him that there was nothing to worry about. Everyone had bad dreams. Every single person on this planet goes through a bout of recurring nightmares that would shock the horns off the devil's head, his mother had told him, lying through her teeth.

Every night his sleeping self woke to the same scene: he adjusts a brazenly red pair of pantees on a display model in the middle of a shop There is pounding all around him. Located on the crotch in tiny letters is a quote from Freud: "Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity." The pounding continues around him.

He moves towards a rack of sexy stockings which also have quotes from Freud written down the sides: "The act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety." He tries to concentrate on these quotes as the pounding becomes deafening.

Turning around he finds a rack of teddies that are coated completely in text from the Interpretation of Dreams. His heart pounds in tune with the banging around him.

Finally he looks up from the literate lingerie to face the pounding around him: all the women in his life from co-workers to cousins and previous girl-friends to great-grandmothers are pressed against the four glass walls of the lingerie shop. They have fists full of money and they are screaming silently through the glass. Focusing on their lips, their words become apparent: we're not wearing anything underneath. They just chant this over and over.

He realizes that he will have to clothe their skin and that's when his sleeping self passes out into consciousness.

Once again he woke up with a face that turned beat red. Once again his body was filled with stress. Once again he failed to find the obvious answer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


He has a dozen or so strands of hair but he goes to see his daughter the hair-dresser every month. Her fingers are sharp and ugly. He calls her "Sylvia Scissorhands".

"Okay. let's see some of that magic Sylvia Scissorhands. How about whipping up all my hair into an afro. Or maybe just a good old-fashioned pompadour."

She stares at his face in the mirror that stands in front of them. It is crisscrossed with age and anger. In her mind's eye, she steps back and the mirror comes crashing down on his head.

"But seriously, I think that if this here mirror fell down on me right now the shards of glass would probably do a better job of cutting my hair than you on your best of days," he says scrunching up the wrinkles on his face until he resembles a giant anus.

"Yeah well I guess you're always the one to look on the bright side, aren't you ?" She thinks of the time after her rabbit died, that he bought her a cookbook which included a recipe for Buckinghamshire Rabbit Pie. She remembers using one of the recipes to destroy one of her dad's favorite ties.

"You gotta stay positive. That old expression says it best: you can't cook a tie with a recipe for a rabbit." He stares at her searching for some trace of understanding. He cannot believe that she has never once considered the fact that her father might be blessed with telepathy.

She starts snipping away at his hairs with flustered fingers.

He started off with little jabs and jokes but when the weeks that she spend dumbfounded by his comments turned into years, his anticipation turned to anger.

He just wants her to get it.

Get it ?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


"First things first, you're gonna want to limber up the ol' digits, the ol' one to fives, the counters, the keepers, the coverers of the peepers, the flesh-colored mitts, the four crotched ladies, the five necked headless beasts, the gropers.." He stared in wonder at my clueless expression. "Your hands."

"Oh, yeah my hands." I stared back. "So what about them ?"

He sighed. "They are your most important tools. They hawk the goods. While they're razzling and dazzling potential buyers the rest of you should just sit back and enjoy the show. Somebody comes up to look around at the merchandise and you win them over with some flourishes of your fingers. This knife is nothing without a little..." He waved his hands around like wands to bestow value on the large hunting knife.

"Dad, are you sure we're allowed to sell knives ?"

"We can sell whatever we want. It's a yard sale. It's a free country."

"And prescription drugs ?"

"Okay, here's the deal. You can do anything you want at a tidy looking yard sale. It ain't exactly a heat score, if you know what I'm saying."

"No I don't." I looked up at him through my close to baby blues.

"Police don't care what goes on at a yard sale."

"So you mean we shouldn't be selling this stuff."

"What are you a lawyer ?! No, there is no problem selling what we are selling and on top of that police don't even care what we are selling in the first place. Look I gotta run, but I'll be back in an hour and I really hope to God that you'll have sold some of this shit."

"Does Mom really want us to get rid of all her jewelry ?"

"You will not sell this stuff - with your magical hands - if your head is full of questions. Look I'll take you on a trip to Disneyland at the end of today if you do your Dad proud. I promise."

"But I have school tomorrow."

"Doesn't matter. If you do good, we're out of here."

And that's when I remember us taking a bow to a laughing crowd of thirty or so people.

I think.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Everything he saw, he tried to erase. He bought over five hundred erasers every year. All of his allowance money went into erasers. Once he even tried to erase his allowance but then he realized that he wouldn't be able to continue erasing things if he didn't have any money because his mother refused to "feed his habit." When he repeated this and she said he was "a precocious little handful" he tried to erase her. He ran up to her leg and started rubbing the eraser on her blue jeans. She sent him to his room where he tried to erase his Hans Solo action figure out of existence. He erased at his face for hours until he was nothing but a blank faced nobody. Then he turned the eraser on himself and tried to erase his elbow. When he was left with nothing but a raw, red patch on his arm, he decided that he would erase everything in the world except for his allowance and his own skin. Everything else was fair game but some things just wouldn't diminish under the rubber of the eraser. He once tried to erase a hamburger at McDonald's when his parents weren't looking. He mashed it into a colorful mashed potato substance. They took the eraser from him and that's when he passed out. He felt a hand within him reaching up to snatch his consciousness. And he was out. They never took his erasers away from him again but he did have to see a therapist every week. The man behind a pair of very large glasses asked him why he felt compelled to erase things and that's when he made up the story of his grandfather falling into a giant cauldron at the eraser factory. While he told this story he imagined erasing the glasses off the therapist's face. He imagined all the pink eraser shavings piling up on the therapist's shoulders like dandruff. He imagined the whole world buried beneath heaps of pink. He... He... Well actually it was me. I erased everything I saw when I was a kid. I still erase things. It's been twenty years and I really want to stop. Keep it in the past tense. This is a purge. I'm trying to fess up in order to stop but all these words might be gone very soon.

Ehren Salazar Ehren Salazar

Sunday, April 17, 2005


"We all begin in nonsense, in the babbling gibberish of baby-talk. In the end we find shapes of sounds that make sense, but this process of verbal hit and miss started in the womb. I am here to take you back to that brilliance of birth. I will take you back to the womb. I am a professional womber." He adjusts his black professorial glasses and then lets out a sustained shriek that rips out from the back of his throat.

"Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeee !!!"

Most of the students continue taking notes, unphased by the change in his volume. They write down notes like, "face gets red after ten seconds of screaming", "bring earplugs next class" or "so do we then return to the womb when we scream at rock concerts ?"

"Waaaa waaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."

Some students put down their pens and watch carefully as the veins start to emerge from his neck like worms from soil on a rainy day. A couple of the students look over at their teacher Mr Griftens who invited the womber into their honours English class in order to introduce them to alternative modes of expression. Before they can understand literature, he tells them, they must understand basic language and also what exists before language. Mr Griftens sits on his desk, giving his blessings over the proceedings with a smile.

"Bwaaaaaaaaaaa Aaaaa Aaaaa !!!" The womber falls over into a fetal position. His screaming continues unabated.

And so it lasts for thirty minutes, until he stops to lead a discussion in what the class felt while he bawled.

"Did this make you want to cry ?" he asks. "I want you to cry. I'm here to make you cry. To find your baby voice."

I want to make you cry so that you can touch freedom.