Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Grumpiest Monkey’s More Tales From the City

FullSizeRenderSomewhere in the city, there are Jehovah’s Witnesses standing in pairs outside of every train station. They are unfailingly well-dressed, pleasant, smiling, good looking people. It is only their literature that hints at the extremity of their views.

For religiously-minded individuals, they seem blissfully unaware of the real-life human suffering that goes on all around them. The addicts, the drunks and the homeless. The desperate and the worn out. They look right past them and focus their attention on the the commuters walking by. A cynic would say that is where the money is.


A man and a woman huddle in a corner. They are thin, frazzled, nervous. The man is berating the woman for some perceived slight, but it is clear that this is nothing new. The man takes his frustrations out on her. Yells in her face. Threatens her with his words. Blames her for everything. She looks towards the ground, sucks on her cigarette and absorbs his rage. She has been absorbing rage all her life.


An hispanic worker at a pizza kiosk inside the train station sets a slice of cheese on top of the counter and whistles over at a man in a faded green army coat. The man, a lifelong drifter who usually panhandles outside the station at rush hour, takes the free slice gratefully and returns to his bench. It is a small, subtle gesture.


Four black teenagers have a loud conversation about which one of them is a more important member of the Bloods. One would think that being the member of a criminal gang would be nothing to shout about, but then again they just seem like kids showing off for each other.


Grown men spend their commute playing Candy Crush on their phones.


Grown men commute on razor scooters.


 

A truck rumbling through a tunnel hits a warped manhole cover and launches it into the air. It smashes through the front windshield of another car, killing the driver instantly. What was she thinking about when the manhole cover hit? Her job? Her love life? Her weekend plans? All of that is now gone.


 

And the city lurches on.

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Shameless self indulgence, Writing

The Grumpiest Monkey Presents: Tales from the City

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Somewhere in the city…

A schizophrenic woman sits on a bench inside a train station, babbling aloud about past sexual trauma, completely lost inside her head while commuters brush past her without noticing.

A chunk of the ceiling inside an underground vehicle artery suddenly dislodges, landing on top of  a passing car and killing the occupant inside. She was on her way to the airport. Traffic will be a mess all morning. A cursory check of the tunnel will reveal no other structural defaults. Life will go on for everyone but the woman inside the car.

A worn out man in a faded green Army jacket waits outside a subway stop with an empty Dunkin’ Donuts cup in his hand. “Do you have 50 cents?” he asks the swirling hordes of working professionals as they pass. He is there every morning, always asking for 50 cents. How did he arrive at that number? Does anyone even carry change on them anymore? Would he be better off asking for a dollar? Or getting a smartphone and a card swipe?

A man staggers out of a bar on a freezing cold night without a coat. It is so cold, in fact, that the streets are all but deserted. Forecasters have warned of frostbite in 10 minutes. He wanders up and down the streets of the deserted financial district, then heads out towards the harbor. He disappears somewhere in the icy black water.

A subway train is stopped so that transit officers can remove a woman who has loaded  all her earthly possessions into the corner of the last car. There are bags upon bags stuffed into two fragile metal pull carts. As she is pulled off the train, the woman curses at the officers. Where will she go now? Where did she come from? What happened in her life to bring her to this point, where she is old and alone and carrying her world along with her?

A tall thin black man with braids, a flat-brimmed cap and sagging jeans stops to help a short, middle-aged white blind man cross a busy intersection. It’s a small moment that few people see, but it’s a rare moment of civility in a city that rarely has time for anything.


 

Writing

Where this Monkey Stands

What I’m for:

  • Hard work
  • Surfing
  • Kindness
  • Music
  • Good television
  • Real breasts (size be damned)
  • Guitar
  • Patience (even though it is a struggle all the time)
  • Sunshine
  • Dogs (especially Southern rescue mix dogs)
  • Leaf peeping
  • Spotify (for music selection)
  • Tipping
  • Did I mention surfing?
  • Surfing in case I didn’t mention it

What I’m against

  • Organized religion
  • People who cut in line
  • People who don’t hold doors
  • People who don’t clean up after their dogs
  • People who don’t walk their dogs
  • Fast food ( 95% of the time)
  • Fake breasts (chicken or otherwise, see above)
  • Coffee with sugar
  • Country music
  • People from the Northeast who wear cowboy hats and/or boots (see previous)
  • Flourescent lights
  • The Northern Lights (more like the Aurora Boring-alis, am I right guys?)
  • Reality TV shows (unless about surfing)
  • Spotify (for poor artist compensation)
  • Best-of-the-year album lists that trade coolness for listenability (Pitchfork can you hear me?)
  • Ads on YouTube that you can’t skip after 5 seconds
  • ESPN
  • Greyhound racing
  • Greyhound busing
  • 24 hour news network
  • Local news
  • OK, pretty much any televised news unless there is an actual emergency taking place
  • No, a 6″ snowstorm is not an emergency