You are slicing bell peppers into ribbons when your man tells you that moving in together was a mistake. Next to the cutting board, you’ve measured out a thimble of hot pepper flakes, and the shrimp are shelled and deveined, cooling in the fridge until you’ve finished the rest of the prep. He asks if you heard what he just said. You keep slicing the pepper meticulously; you are proud of this one dish—shrimp fra diavolo—that you make well.
It was midnight when Tyler first heard the knocking on his bedroom door. Still groggy from the haze of his dreams, he rolled over. He chose to believe his imagination was getting the best of him. Besides, no one else was home. His father was working the night shift like always, but even if he were at home, he would certainly never knock on any doors in his own house.
The overgrown ruins loom in the distance. Peeking out above low lying fog, pyres burn atop ancient, vegetation strangled skyscrapers. There are still people who live in the forbidden zone, as is evident by the acrid smoke of their cook fires. “Are you ready for this?” The boy with the binoculars asks his companion as he carefully adjusts the windage and elevation dial on the ankle pad of a boot. “Ready or not,” the boy replies, grinning fiercely. Thomas takes another look through the eye piece. In predawn stillness he can make out the subtle movement of figures on six of the ten towers lancing through a cloud-like membrane.
I will always find amusement in the sight of breath, in the pale smoke that escapes as I purse my lips and blow into the cold, still breeze. As a child, I would try to pull the breath back into my body. I would inhale, focusing as best as I could, but the breath never returned. Instead, I’d watch as it drifted away from me. Here, two years into undergrad, I find myself retreating into that boy. I exhale and watch as the vapor becomes life in the winter air. All the while, Mary holds my hand, the two of us trying to transfer a warmth we know is absent.
The call came shortly before 10 p.m. after a slow evening alone at Baker Street Bar over in the Medical District of San Antonio where Jack doubles were only $2.50 all night, Dos XX the same, and the Lone Stars were always a buck half. My old flip cell lit up and he says, “I got two women over here looking to party big time,” but I had my suspicions because by here he didn’t mean his apartment over by the community college but some obscure address far out on the west side of town, out beyond loop 1604, where there are more jackrabbits than driveways or red lights.
It was the smell that got me.
We drove along the harsh edged cliffs – the same I ran along as a kid – with the windows rolled down. The same salt that stained the shoreline rock faces stung the inside of my nose, and memories tumbled through my brain.
"Boy," I said to Linda, "you can really smell the sea."
"What?!" Linda, who was driving, yelled over the whipping wind.
I rolled up my window. Linda did the same.
"The sea," I said. "You can really smell it."
"Oh, yes," she replied.
A tribute to writer/actress/bad-ass Carrie Fisher, who passed away today at the age of 60.
I’m so selfish, I sometimes use other people’s birthdays to measure certain spans of time in my own life. In terms of Drunk Monkeys, the last four years can disguise themselves as forty quite well. I’m amazed at the time, place, and state of my life in mid-2012, when the endlessly amazing Matthew Guerruckey asked me if I “had anything else I thought Drunk Monkeys would like.”
I gave them the first issue of this column. And that was it. I’ve written sixty-two editions of Captain Canada’s Movie Rodeo for DM.
Even if I think you’re hot, vile garbage, if you wrote about politics this year, I have to applaud your courage. That might not be the right word. Whatever it is, I don’t have it this time around. I’ve never been fully comfortable in writing about political matters. I’ve scratched together a few loose thoughts over the years. I always wind up wishing I hadn’t. Keeping depression and terminal cynicism out of my heart is hard enough these days. Researching and writing an article on the 2016 Presidential Election, or on just about anything else happening right now, feels like spiritual suicide.
Matthew Guerruckey reviews Sully, the latest from director Clint Eastwood, starring Tom Hanks as Captain "Sully" Sullenberger.
Donald McCarthy reviews the gripping crime thriller Hell or High Water.
A 100 Word Review of the Nick Cave movie One More Time with Feeling, by our Managing Editor, Dani Neiley!
We conserve land through outreach, restoration, and research.
Some of the Earth's greatest landscapes are threatened by increased road construction, oil and gas exploration, and mining. We aim to protect these areas from inappropriate development, but we cannot achieve our goals alone. Find out how you can help.
All photography provided by Jared Chambers