Spec Add Three

Original:

I meditate to stop counting my likes

Matt, Tennis Player

New:

I meditate to face my family at Thanksgiving

Matt, Living a Lie

 

Vignette of a Guy in an Airport

The PA system reminds passengers in three languages to adjust their clocks to Eastern Standard Time. The day is bright and gray. He sits by the window overlooking the boarding ramp and across the runways.

An elderly Asian man sleeps stooped in a chair, his chin on his chest, and a large happy woman reads fan fiction while her cell phone charges.

The concourse is quiet and sparsely populated when two businessmen arrive and sit a few rows down. They brush off their seats with an old newspaper and sit with one seat between them. He judges them based on appearance.

Man A: Gray Sport Coat, men’s size 7 black loafers with buckles, thin lips, small cranial vault.

Verdict: Racist

Man B: Full head of salt and pepper hair, wire rimmed glasses, striped shirt with one button undone at top, no wedding band.

Verdict: Mystery. But if one must guess, divorced and new to online dating.

Elderly Asian man wakes up, puts on white cloth gloves, takes off his shoes, and goes back to sleep.

The men’s size 7 racist receives a phone call, answers, and a new verdict is reached: Gay.

He wonders how these two final assessments were reached using the same criteria, and begins to analyze his methods and childhood.

A woman in her late-twenties/early-thirties sits facing the opposite direction in the row behind him. She’s attractive but doesn’t know so, but she hopes so, and she kind of thinks so. Her hands and feet are mani-pedied in the same shade of pastel pink. She bites her lips and thumbs her phone due to some weak but persistent anxiety. She is tanned but naturally pale. She was on his connecting flight and begins to take notice of his curious glances. She intentionally avoids eye contact and hopes he’s not on her next flight. He is, and men are terrible.

The gate attendants break the still with a laugh. Radios beep and the PA reminds passengers in three languages to set their clocks to Eastern Standard Time. The windows beside him shake and a jumbo jet heaves itself upward into the bright gray sky.

End Rhymes for Erica

Erica, I’m worried,
I’ve fallen too hard.
I saw him get handsy
on that rooftop yard.

My chest hurts like cardio,
neck prickles with heat,
I lose control, I’m bewildered,
and at a loss to compete.

Our connection’s a secret
maybe prudent at first,
but now I’m possessive
and fallen-in with the cursed.

History tells all,
there’s something wrong you see
I was selfish for months,
unabashedly me.

I loved and resented,
and thought that all past,
But you’re something else,
Alea iacta est.

Am I wrong? Speak quickly,
I need your direction.
I’d rather be lonely,
Than wear this jealous complexion.

Three ante meridiem
I’m exhausted but awake,
Please forgive this trite poem,
If only for new love’s sake.

I’m better than this,
with time you will tell,
I’ll willfully escape
from this masculine hell.

What I want from you now
is to ignore my flaws,
to grant me a pardon,
blind to reason or cause.

While I want this to work,
It will cost more than free,
Erica, I’m tired,
of my envious ennui.

Bernie Sanders Supporter Votes Clinton to Ensure Shirt’s Coolness

April 19, 2016

Outside a polling station at an elderly care facility in Bushwick, Brooklyn Tuesday, 24-year-old Cleveland transplant, Daniel Stern, was asked what about the Sanders campaign inspired him to give his support.

“It’s really a matter of Bernie vs. Hillary as human beings,” Stern said. “As far as what they’d be able to accomplish in the White House, I’m afraid neither will get anything of significance done with Congress in its current state. The fact is, Bernie says what he says because he truly believes it’s the best thing to do. Hillary says what she says because it’s what she thinks will get her elected—Hillary does what she does simply to look cool, whereas Bernie is the real deal. People see that and they like Bernie.”

Stern was wearing a blue Bernie Sanders t-shirt he had recently purchased from the campaign’s online store. “It picked up some bleach stains in the wash, but I’ll continue to wear it proudly. Bernie wouldn’t care so neither do I—we aren’t 1-percenters.”

White Millennial males, like Daniel Stern, have been one of Bernie’s largest supporting demographics since the campaign’s beginning, but to have a chance of pulling off an upset at the DNC, he will need to appeal to a more diverse audience.

When asked if he thought Bernie would upset Clinton that night in the polls, Stern said it would not happen. “Democrats are smart, we think in future terms. We think about all possible consequences.”

When pressed for examples, Stern revealed he had just voted Clinton. Upon further questioning, he said “Hey, I’ve been pulling so much liberal tail with this shirt, just imagine what’ll happen when Bernie becomes an abandoned icon in political subculture.”

We asked if he thought this to be an immoral voting strategy. “Listen, a Democrat in the White House is good enough. Hillary is good enough. My uncle Jerry would be good enough. Sometimes you have to play both sides to get what you want. I want that wet. Bernie would understand — that’s politics.”

*Correction: An earlier version of this story misquoted Stern’s shirt as having “cum stains.”