At my work there was a Mexican guy named Noe who was bald, with glasses and looked just like a parakeet.
He could whistle better than anyone I had ever met in my life and called me “Heavy D” from the Fat Boys, even though I’m white with a mild beer gut.
One time after work I had to loan him my bike and sit with an El Salvadorian named Chongo on Sandy Boulevard while he got gas because his car ran out.
He told me a lot of things about his life, how was born in Mexico and was related to Carlos Santana, but had lived in the United States for 30 years and grew up in Northern California.
His mom was on drugs and he got made fun of at school so he dropped out in the 6th grade. His wife had a restraining order against him and he hadn’t seen his daughter for an entire year, but he always showed me pictures of her on his old Verizon flip phone which somehow had internet.
I was pissed because my phone didn’t even have the internet.
He started talking to his ex-girlfriend who he dated 19 years ago and lived in Utah, but he couldn’t write in English so he asked me to help him text her.
He would ask me how to spell words and write them on cardboard so he could refer to them later for texting.
One day he got fired right at the beginning of work.
I saw him walking out and he shook my hand.
I don’t think I will see him again, and I know he won’t be able to read this.
The walls are a certain kind of dull white that reflects the fluorescent light and creates a palish yellow.
It’s the kind of color that makes time slow down, and causes a strange fuzziness in my eyesight that gradually increases the longer I look at it.
The floaters in my vision are dark against the walls.
They swirl around the room as I glance from one area to another, slowly moving back into the center of my eye.
Outside the window, I can see people walking and I think to myself how nice it must be to be them.
My boss steps outside to smoke a cigarette she rolled on her desk, spilling loose tobacco in-between the keys of her keyboard.
The scent of smoke enters the room and lingers like a fly that doesn’t know how to escape. They always do that.
They know how to get in, but don’t know how to get out.
Buzzing around until they die on the window sill.
I wonder if they know what’s going to happen.
Each room they fly into could potentially be their coffin.
Some might have been in thousands of rooms.
Some might have been in none until the one they couldn’t escape.
Passionate ballads configured on resale keyboards and pirated software.
Written in composition notebooks and read from the shattered screens of smart phones needing to be charged.
Recorded in living rooms, closets and basements.
Performed in sparsely filled taverns, pizza parlors and failing concert halls.
Chanted through shitty microphones with loose cords and operated by angry sound men who listen to punk rock.
I take things way too serious and mostly it doesn’t do anything for me besides fill my body with what probably causes cancer.
My dad once described himself as “an optimist fighting against tremendous odds to remain one”.
I think that might be the meaning of life.
Kush so loud windows burst throughout every major metropolis.
Eardrums exploding in all directions until you feel that far-away tunnel.
Speeding like a Japanese bullet train.