Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Townhouse Mansion

Dear Diary,

I’ve been hanging with a slacker thirty-something dude named Todd for four months now, living in the mountains, growing beards, growing hair, and collecting dirt-stains on our bodies while I’ve been wearing nothing but a plastic garbage bag over worn-out, tissue thin boxer shorts.

A few days ago, we hitchhiked into Manhattan to Todd’s townhouse mansion. Todd is an extremely popular and successful motivational speaker and writer.

When we arrived at the doorstep of his mansion, I was aghast. And awed. The place reached up into the cold gray sky with Christmas decorations in every window.

The door opened, revealing a beautiful young woman with long blond hair and an angelic face exquisitely accented with a Popsicle cold expression.

Todd’s face lit up.

TODD: Sharon…

SHARON: Where have you been?

TODD: I’ve… I’ve been in the mountains.

ME: Sharon, you are responding to your husband from a place of material things. In the mountains, we came to learn that the material world is a road to hell and unhappiness. You were not in the mountains so you wouldn’t know this.

SHARON: Who is this?

ME: Answer Todd from your essence being. You may not understand this at first, being as how you are the kind of person who cares only about things and trinkets and gadgets.

SHARON: Is this another one of your bottom feeder “friends”, trying to leech money off of you.

TODD: Eric has been a good friend to me.

ME (to Sharon): We didn’t need money where we were. And we don’t need money now. One day, perhaps, you’ll grow to feel like we do, and not be so ugly and gross on the inside.

Sharon ignored me and turned to Todd.

SHARON: The board is ready to have you committed, and they’ve signed over control of all our assets to me.

ME: Sharon, nobody cares. Assets… they’re just things. Things to buy your widgets and doodahs and curly fries.

TODD: Why would the board want me committed? I am not crazy, Sharon.

ME: Sharon, you and this board are concerned with things that no one cares about, or that matter.

Sharon kept her attention on Todd.

SHARON: You’re not crazy? Are you kidding me? You’ve spent the better part of four months with a man in a garbage bag.

ME: This is all I need. It’s all anyone who is truly enlightened needs. I’m practically naked under here.

TODD: Sharon, let us in. We can talk about this inside.

ME: I can help you two work something out. Not financially, but emotionally and spiritually.

SHARON: Go back to your mountain.

ME: Sharon, if I had one wish I could ask a genie right now, it would be to make you see how money is making you miserable. Let it go. Trust me, your disgusting selfish self will thank me.

SHARON: Leave.

ME: You might have control of Todd’s assets but you don’t control who’s allowed inside his mansion.

TODD: Eric, I’m afraid she does. Sharon now controls all my assets.

ME: I’m just talking about all your money, and your food, and a roof over my head.

TODD: We have to leave. All of it, it isn’t mine anymore.

I pondered for a moment.

ME: None… nothing…

Todd shook his head.

I lunged for Sharon, reaching my hands toward her throat.

ME (to Sharon): I’ve been freezing in this bag for four months, you cow!

Todd yanked me back.

SHARON: Get this scavenger off my property.

I grabbed hold of her hand, and a bracelet.

ME: Just give me this bauble, just to pay off a few things.

TODD: Eric, let go!

SHARON: Todd, I will call the police.

I released her.

ME: Maybe you can just buy me a few things for Christmas. I’ve made a mental list.

Sharon slammed the door in our faces.

I turned and spied her through the living room window, marching past. I vaulted from the front steps onto the living room window ledge.

ME (shouting at Sharon): Just buy me a few things! Canned meat, a second-hand sweater, a second-hand pair of boxers!

For the next ten minutes, I scaled from window ledge to window ledge, following her from room to room, begging her to buy me stuff.

ME: You have so much money, and all I want are a few things to enjoy... to covet.

Sirens blared as police cruisers screeched onto the street.

TODD: Let’s get out of here!

I came hurtling down from a bathroom window ledge.

ME: I feel so empty!

We scuttled into an alley. When we were at a safe distance, we stopped, panting, and I turned to Todd.

ME: See you later.

TODD: You’re leaving me?

ME: You have no money. I don’t have time for this crap.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Le Message

Dear Diary,

I’ve been living in the mountainous wild somewhere in the State of New York for over four months now with a newfound, thirtysomething, slacker-looking friend named Todd. I ran away from my pregnant wife after duplicitously making her spend all our money and bankrupting us. I now wear a plastic garbage bag over my threadbare boxer shorts.

Two days ago, Todd and I decided to leave for a “quest” which he has assured me will net us each millions in cash. Todd is a motivational speaker who ran away himself after getting down. He now feels refreshed and has asked me to join him on his latest big money endeavor.

This morning, we hitchhiked into Manhattan, heading for Todd’s mansion townhouse. In the backseat of the car, I asked Todd what this “quest” was all about. I did this between two major bouts of the giggles (we do this often, never knowing what we’re laughing about). The driver who picked us up kept giving us nervous, terrified looks.

TODD: For years, many of us in the motivational speaking and publishing industry--

ME (cutting him off): Wow, I’ve never heard you speak so eloquently and concisely before. For four months I thought you were a complete idiot and I hated you. I’m sorry.

TODD: I didn’t know that you hated me. That must have been a terrible feeling to carry around for all these months, freezing in your garbage bag. I’m sorry.

He reached out and we hugged each other then. Really hard. It felt freeing.

TODD: So… people in the motivational industry have long known of a message written thousands of years ago on a cave wall--

ME (interrupting): You know, during our four months together, I went to a cave once to pick out a rock to kill you with. I was just so annoyed with you. I think I was getting stir crazy. I’m sorry. Anyway, if I had known you were so informed about ancient messages on cave walls, I wouldn’t have thought you were worthless enough to murder with a rock.

TODD: Oh my God, and you held that in for four whole months. It must have crushed you.

ME: It did. It was unbearable, especially having to carry that rock around, waiting for the perfect opportunity to smash you with it.

TODD: Come here.

Todd took me into his arms and held me for a few minutes. It felt nice, just being quiet and nurtured.

TODD: Everyone wants to find this message in this cave so that they can publish a best-selling book. Legend says it can be found near Angoulême in western France, and that the message tells the truth about why we are here on this planet, what we are all meant to do with our lives and how to be happy. Forever.

ME: I tried to poison you once with pebbles and bark. I mixed them into your water canteen and waited all day for you to die, spying on you from behind trees and such.

TODD: I am so sorry. What a burden to have to hold onto. And all that waiting, that wasted time.

ME: I’m glad you finally realize that.

We hugged again, rocking each other back and forth for almost half an hour.

TODD: I plan on finding this message first and making it my next multi-million dollar success. I’m going to call it Le Message.

ME: Thank you for taking me on your quest. I still have that rock under my garbage bag as we speak but I swear I’m just saving it as a souvenir.

Todd took out his water canteen and put it to his lips for a drink, but then stopped.

TODD: Why is this rattling?

I wrestled the canteen from his grasp, rolled down the window and pitched it.

TODD: I think I’d like to have that rock that you’re hiding under your bag.

ME: On your head?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Four-Month Getaway Weekend

Dear Diary,

I live in a cabin somewhere in the mountains of the State of New York with a new friend named Todd, a slacker-looking, thirty-something dude with an overgrown mop-top haircut.

I ran away from my newly pregnant wife over four months ago and haven’t looked back since. She was angry with me for 3 major reasons. These were:

1) Pretending to still be employed for most of the summer

2) Lying about being promoted to a position where I made unbelievable amounts of cash

3) Telling her to quit her job, get pregnant, and max out all our credit

Once my wife discovered the truth I booked it, ending up here in the wilderness where I’ve been living with Todd in a cabin with no power, running water, fireplace, insulation, or roof. Basically it’s a hunting cabin that burned down decades ago but half a wall still stands and we sleep against it at night in one big garbage bag, holding on to one another in an attempt to fight off hypothermia. I also wear the garbage bag during the day since I have no clothes, having stripped down to my boxers while bolting from my wife.

Last night, I had a hard time getting to sleep.

TODD: Stop rolling around. You keep moving the garbage bag and waking me.

ME: I can’t live like this anymore, Todd. It’s been four months. And there’s nothing to do here but hang out against this wall. And all I’ve eaten is the mushrooms and weeds that you find. I’m starving, Todd. And, goddamnit, I need a shower. My hair’s all greasy, and in some spots, it’s rock hard.

TODD: When we decided to move up here in the mountains, you told me that you’d help with gathering food and hunting but you haven’t done a thing.

ME: Living here wasn’t a decision we made. We got stuck here after getting kicked out of that truck that picked us up last summer because we couldn’t stop giggling.

TODD: I wasn’t laughing at anything in particular. I just had the giggles.

ME: So did I, but two grown men with the giggles in the enclosed space of a truck can get pretty annoying. Especially when the reason these two men are giggling isn’t so apparent to the driver who just picked them up hitchhiking, and one of the hitchhikers happens to be in nothing but really loose boxer shorts.

TODD (adding): Which keep falling because the elastic is so threadbare.

ME: I can’t do this anymore, Todd. I can’t. I haven’t done a thing in four months. I mean I know nothing about you and for four months I’ve been sleeping next to you in a garbage bag. Do you see what I’m getting at?

TODD: You’re not happy here? We’re free from all our problems here.

ME: It’s snowing, Todd. And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed lately but I barely have anything covering my genitalia. If we don’t leave here, we are going to die.

TODD: Can’t we just stay a bit longer? I’m not ready to face the world yet.

ME: Todd, I’m not saying we have to go back to our regular lives yet. We could be transients someplace else… where I at least have a shirt or a towel or something. It’s just that I need something more in life than a wall that’s half burned down.

TODD: Where would we go?

ME: I don’t know. Maybe I can get some job making photocopies in an office or something. You can find a job too. What did you do before you ran away?

TODD: I was a motivational speaker.

ME: What the hell happened?

TODD: I got depressed.

I looked up at our half-burned down wall.

ME: You must have been really down.

TODD: I was successful too.

ME: And you lost everything?

TODD: No. I still have a townhouse mansion in Manhattan.

ME: What? And I’ve been sleeping against this wall for four months naked in a garbage bag!

TODD: I needed to get away.

ME: You made me eat a raccoon once, raw, and I think it may have still been alive.

TODD: You looked peaked.

ME: I’m outta here.

TODD: Where are you going?

ME: Your mansion. I need to thaw out.

TODD: I’m headed somewhere else. I now know what I need to do.

ME: And what’s that?

TODD: My quest. It’s time I finish it.

ME: Screw your quest. I’m dying, you moron. We probably have scurvy.

TODD: It’s what I was running from. I just got flustered.

ME: Flustered? You almost killed yourself here in these sadistic conditions. You make me so sick, I’d throw up on you right now if I had something in my stomach. Throw up: that’s what someone as pathetic as you deserves out of life. Get out of my face before I strangle you with my skivvies.

TODD: It’s a quest that will make us both millions of dollars.

ME (changing my tone): Let me grab my garbage bag.