“I want my old friends
I want my old face
I want my old mind
fuck this time and place.”
A year ago today I was really fucking depressed. It was birthday number sixty. Yippy-fuckin’-do. Just another Tuesday. Spilled coffee on my pants. Looked in the mirror, which was a mistake. Forgot where I left my keys and was late to work. Boss was still an asshole, of course. My friend Jack took me out to Perkins for lunch, damn cheapskate. Guy makes six figures yet and feels like a goddamn saint watching me eat a Tremendous Twelve.
Home was somehow more depressing than Perkins. Other than a family of mice and my sorry ass, nothing had lived there for fourteen years. But that day there was one extra thing at home, a package delivered by UPS. My eccentric daughter (who decided Netherlands is where she could cleanse her soul) had sent me an antique lamp and an Ani DiFranco album I “just had to listen to.”
Now–and to be clear I have no regrets–I would advise anyone read this not to rub a lamp and have the stereo on at the same time. I can’t say I produced a genie; I’m half deaf and blind but there was definitely nothing I could sense in the room. But if something was released that day it heard Ani sing “Out Of Habit” and request three wishes on my behalf.
Not that I thought this at the time. But–and I can’t explain it–things have changed over the past year. Jack and I are right as rain. I genuinely enjoy seeing him, cheapskate or not. I no longer mind how I look. And hey, I forget shit now and then and it’s okay. My daughter still sends me weird things and I love her more than ever. Not everything’s perfect, but I can now say I want my life.
K: I can’t tell if this is a story or not. It’s all a bit of reminiscing where everything changed, but we saw none of it. Early on this guy is tedious to read, as he over-explains every bit of what he dislikes about his life. Tell us his boss makes six figures and tell us he brought the narrator to Perkins. We’ll put it together without the editorializing, which just slows the flow of the story, and keeps us at arm’s length when we could be identifying with him. BRONZE
DK: This is almost one of those cases of factual details nearly outweighing deeper characterization, but here I feel those two elements work more in tandem than in opposition to each other, and this does a nice job of completing its arc from start to finish in a satisfying way. SILVER
Yeah, the judges were too kind. I wrote this in about thirty minutes.
I’m solidly in third place half-way through the season. If I can keep pace I should easily make the playoffs. Inspiration don’t leave me now!