November 20, 2003

November 2003 (Vol 2., Issue 11)

Welcome back to your favorite blogzine. November is National Novel Writing Month and just like last year, I participated in a writing contest on NaNoWriMo. This month, there are excerpts from two new novels. I wrote The Blind Kangaroo and Mona LaVigne submitted a selection from The Wild Side. This month features a Barcelona story from Haley Slovin. Also, I returned with a scary Subway story and a tale about my junkie days in Atlanta... Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.

1. Subway Stalker: Part I by Tenzin McGrupp
At the 23rd Street stop, she exited the train. I was headed for lower Manhattan, but I decided to follow her instead. I waited, and as the doors were about to close, I jumped off... More

2. Confessions of a Donut Junkie, Part I by Tenzin McGrupp
Every time that I visited that particular D & D, I was inebriated; drunk, stoned, tripping, hopped up on ephedrine, or all of the above. We showed up at all hours... More

3. The Blind Kangaroo by Tenzin McGrupp
I imagined Adriana sipping a huge fruity cocktail in a trendy L.A. bar like Little Pedro’s Blue Bongo with a slew of other assistants, all worn out from a long day of being a lap dog to the stars, sharing their bad days and ranting about their famous employers... More

4. The Wild Side by Mona LaVigne
Lorna went to work the following evening, and after her first stage routine, two main floor lap dances, and one ten minute back room private dance, she had a back back room adventure with a young guy... More

5. Gaudy Barcelona by Haley Slovin
The backbone of activity in Barcelona was the Rambla, a long pedestrian walkway which ran through the center of town. It hosted a multitude of newspaper stands, bookstalls, and flower stands... More

Subway Stalker: Part I

By Tenzin McGrupp

She got on at 116th Street, the Columbia University stop. She looked young enough to be in school, perhaps a graduate student working on her Masters degree. She had long brown hair, and wore tight, faded jeans, black flip flops, and a purple sweater. I noticed a shiny silver cross that dangled around her neck. Her nails appeared freshly done, a ripe shade of bubblegum pink, that glistened as she rummaged through her bag while she sat down across from me. I was reading the NY Daily News and occasionally I’d glimpse up at her, to see what she was doing. She read a woman’s magazine, perhaps Glamour or Elle. I did not see the cover. She nonchalantly flipped through the pages, sometimes stopping to glimpse at the pictures, but I got the impression that she was killing time as the train made it’s way downtown. She started to get her things together after the doors closed at 28th Street. She held up a copy of her magazine and I glanced at the mailing label on front: Geraldine Watson, 34 W. 21st St., Apt #3A. She lived in Chelsea.

At the 23rd Street stop, she exited the train. I was headed for lower Manhattan, but I decided to follow her instead. I waited, and as the doors were about to close, I jumped off. She quickly walked down the platform, past the crowd, out the turnstile, and up the stairs towards the street. I maintained a healthy distance, far enough that she would not suspect anything, yet close enough, that I could see any important details.

When she got to street level, she immediately reached for her cell phone to check her messages. She made a quick call while she waited on the northeast corner on Seventh Avenue and 23rd Street. By the time she crossed the street and reached the Malibu Diner, she put her phone away. She walked east on 23rd Street until she reached Sixth Avenue, where she headed south. She walked into Barnes and Nobles on 22nd Street and I followed. She browsed the New Arrivals section for six minutes, before she looked at calendars for a moment, then retreated back to the “Self-Help Section”. She stayed there for ten minutes and thumbed through a book by Dr. Phil. When she finished, I hurried into the same aisle and picked up the book that peaked her interest. I wrote down the title and resumed trailing her.

She stopped at a display stand in the middle of the store and picked up a David Sedaris book. She read it for a few minutes with a puzzled look on her beautiful face, then left. I followed her outside, again keeping a safe, non-threatening distance from her. I thought she saw me once in Barnes and Nobles, but I was not certain. She walked one block south, then made a left on 21st Street, which was filled with a couple of random office buildings and lofts. I figured that she was headed home, to 34 W. 21st Street, so I slowed down. When she got to her front door, she took out her keys and went inside. I walked right by her, past her front door. I walked for ten seconds, then turned around and briskly walked back. The front door to her apartment building took a long time to close shut, a definite security risk, because by the time my hand reached the handle, the door was not locked. I slipped inside, keeping my head down to avoid the security camera right above the entrance. She was waiting in the lobby for the elevator and when it opened up, I followed her inside.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

Confessions of a Donut Junkie, Part I

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

March 1994, Atlanta, GA

A small 24 hour Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner of Houston Mill Road, with a tiny counter and just two booths, was the closest D & D to the Emory University campus. The strip mall across the street housed one of our local hangouts, Maggie’s, where we’d often drink cheap pitchers of Milwaukee’s Best, shoot pool, and attempted to pick up Sophomore chicks. After a night of heavy drinking, we’d stop off at D & D for sausage, egg, and cheese croissant sandwiches or a box of Munchkins for the ride back to our fraternity house. Every time that I visited that particular D & D, I was inebriated; drunk, stoned, tripping, hopped up on ephedrine, or all of the above. We showed up at all hours; early morning, mid-afternoon, early evening, or in the middle of the night. We’d converge on D & D, and Haji, the poor kid from Bangladesh who worked the counter, would have to put up with our drunkin’ taunts and tomfoolery.

After drinking Jim Beam for six hours straight with Ryan P. McNeil (I went to college with two Ryan McNeils. I was friends with Ryan P. from Oceanside, and while I never met the other one, I heard that Ryan J. from Nashville was a stuck up, BMW driving, fake-tanned prick, who date raped three Theta pledges last semester) like a school of alcoholic fish, we ordered a pledge to pick us up at Maggie’s and drive us to D & D.

Haji took too much time making McNeil his egg and cheese sandwich. I craved three chocolate frosted donuts. My fingers itched at the sight. My mouth salivated when the aromas of freshly baked donuts wandered my way. I was a raging, drunk, junkie and I lost all patience.

“Hey Haji, let’s fucking go… today!” I shouted and snapped my fingers.

McNeil took offense to my uncouth behavior. He thoroughly enjoyed pointing out my social faux pas (drunk or sober) and this was no different.

“Can’t you see the gentleman is busy? This guy works two jobs. He’s a neurosurgeon in his country, and he comes to America to start a new life, stuck at the bottom of the food chain. It’s not his fault the microwave is slow. He doesn’t have to put up with your bullshit.”

McNeil could be a nasty, insecure dick sometimes. He’s the type of guy that makes fun of you in front of a group of people.

“For fuck’s sake McGrupp, I can’t believe you actually paid for that haircut!”

He purposely tried to put you down when you’re hanging out with a bunch of girls at Maggie’s.

“Maybe you should pace yourself McGrupp. Drink slower. You don’t want to pass out early, then wake up in your own piss again? Do you?”

Sometimes I wondered if our Ryan McNeil was a date rapist too.

“Hey, McNeil… fuck you!” and I playfully shoved him.

McNeil laughed, then shoved back much harder with a sinister malcontent.

I returned fire. We must have looked like a couple of high school kids messing around in the locker room. Then it got ugly. McNeil grabbed me and push me back onto the front counter. My head almost slammed into the cash register. I tried to fight back, but I could not stop laughing. I was enjoying myself too much to be pissed off at McNeil. He grabbed my ankles, lifted up my legs and gave a hard shove. I flew backwards, slid off the counter, and landed upside down, my face inches away from a batch of bagels. I stumbled, failed to correct my balance and slipped. To brace my fall, I leaned out against the wall of donuts behind me. I mistakenly grabbed the end of a rack of ├ęclairs. It swiftly toppled on me when I fell back to the floor. McNeil and our pledge had a great laugh at my expense. They pointed and heckled.

Haji, frozen in a wave of shock, stood with his mouth wide open, unable to put forth any reaction. The front doors opened, and a new group of people walked into the D & D. I jumped up from my spot, right behind the counter and smiled.

“Welcome to Dunkin Donuts! I can take your order please?”

Three sorority girls, wearing Emory sweatpants and flip-slops giggled. For years afterwards I’d have nightmares accompanied by non-stop cold sweats, with memories of hearing Meggie Beckett’s shrill Mississippi accent, telling the same fucking story three thousand, two hundred and forty-six times about how, “Oh my goodness! I was studying for my Organic Chem mid-term with my suitemates. We took a study break and drove out to the Dunkin Donuts. We walked in and I found McGrupp, drunker than Ted Kennedy on St. Patrick’s Day, behind the counter giving away free donuts!”

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

The Blind Kangaroo

A novel excerpt from Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

I imagined Adriana sipping a huge fruity cocktail in a trendy L.A. bar like Little Pedro’s Blue Bongo with a slew of other assistants, all worn out from a long day of being a lap dog to the stars, sharing their bad days and ranting about their famous employers.

"It was 3 AM and he wanted sushi," one young guy with slicked back hair and a perfect tan moaned.

"That was nothing! It was 4 PM and he wanted a hooker. We were in the middle of the Redwoods on location, and he demanded that he wanted his cock sucked in between scenes. You know hard it was to get a hooker to come all the way out to the middle of nowhere like that? Those fuckin' Baldwins," a fellow jaded assistant added before she downed a shot of tequila.

"I had to get her fucking dog the perfect outfit for a stupid pool party. It was a nightmare. I had to take forty-seven different outfits on and off her fucking poodle," Adriana mused.

"And you know they hate each other. They got into an argument at Madonna's party at the Sky Bar last year. When she got home, I heard that our favorite super model smashed her cell phone over the head of her assistant! Of course she fired her, then took the coast of her new cell phone out of her last paycheck!" another complained.

"I went to a cocktail party at the Chateau Marmont with my boss. It was thrown by Harvey Weinstein, and I was super excited. I mean the fucking Weinsteins! I thought maybe I could corner one of their assistants and pitch my idea for a great screenplay I had been working on for the last two years, sort of a modern-day adaptation of the Spanish Inquisition, but it takes place in San Francisco during the 1960s. Anyway, when I got to the party, my boss was so unimpressed with my tie that he cut it off with a pair of scissors. That asshole! It was my favorite tie," another young writer, moonlighting as a Hollywood peon confessed.

But they all put up with the shit that got shoveled their way because they knew, just like I knew on Wall Street, that you had a job that everyone wanted. And as much as it sucked, there was a line around the block of eager idiots willing to do you job, for less pay. That fear kept grouchy assistants in line and that's why the stars were able to get away with murder, that was, until one of their assistants wrote a tell-all book and pitched it on the Regis and Kelly Show.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

The Wild Side

A novel excerpt from Mona LaVigne © 2003

Lorna went to work the following evening, and after her first stage routine, two main floor lap dances, and one ten minute back room private dance, she had a back back room adventure with a young guy who wanted to fuck her tits. Lorna was sure that the kid was gay, but he pounded his cock against her chin and kept saying cheesy shit like, “Oh, you got gorgeous boobs!” and “Soft, milky pillows!” It was all Lorna could do to keep from laughing, but she was glad that she hadn’t, because after he came across her neck, he gave her two hundred dollars in twenty dollar bills. She wiped herself off, gave five of the twenties to Chavez, and went to the dressing room to change so she could go home. She saw Missy, alone at a dressing table, finishing off a line of white powder. She looked up at Lorna and wiped her nose with the side of her hand.

“Coooooooocaine! Want some?”

Lorna had grown used to Missy’s drug use in the dressing room at The Satin Strip, and every time she would see her, Missy would offer some of whatever she was taking and every time, Lorna would refuse. She had learned to ignore it.

“Hey, Missy, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” Her eyes rolled into the back of her head for a second, alarming Lorna, but Missy righted herself almost immediately and smiled.

“I, uh, I met Charlie Knuckles last night.”

“Ooh, he’s great. Did he introduce you to Mary Benjamin, too?”

“Yeah, he did. But, um, he gave me his business card. Daisy told me that he had given it to you once, too. I was curious... did you call?”

“You bet your ass I called! A rich man like Charlie Knuckles wants me to make more cash? I was into it at first. But I don’t deal with third parties.”

“What do you mean?”

“I called him and he gave me some other number. He was like some pre-screening thing or some shit. And I’m not into that. Are you gonna call him?”

Lorna shrugged. “I think I might. I mean, I have nothing to lose, right?”

“True. Look, Lindsey, forgive me for being presumptuous, but how long have you been dancing?”

“As long as I’ve been working here... less than a year, nine months, maybe?”

“It’s funny, but I’m only 22, and I’ve been dancing here nearly three years longer than you have. Can I offer some words of wisdom?”

Lorna thought this was a little bit rude, but she was the one who had made the initial approach, so she nodded. “Of course.”

“I think it’s totally cool if you call Charlie Knuckles. But just... be careful. He wants to know if you want to make some extra cash. What kind of ‘extra cash’ does a stripper make?”

Lorna flinched. Unwritten Rule Number 53 of Exotic Dancing: the girls are called “dancers,” not “strippers.” As long as she had been dancing at The Satin Strip, she had never heard one of her fellow dancers refer to themselves or others of their ilk as “strippers.”

“Lindsey,” Missy continued, “I’ve been in ‘adult entertainment’ or whatever you want to call it, for a long time and believe me, it can be a really ugly business. I know, you’re thinking, no shit. But I’m telling you, out there, in Charlie Knuckles’ ‘extra cash’ business, there are big, angry men with knives and guns. And you don’t have Buck the bouncer on the other side of the curtain, you know what I mean?”

Mona LaVigne is a former call girl from Paris, France.

Gaudy Barcelona

By Haley M. Slovin © 2003

The backbone of activity in Barcelona was the Rambla, a long pedestrian walkway which ran through the center of town. It hosted a multitude of newspaper stands, bookstalls, and flower stands, and radiating off the Rambla were a network of small streets full of shops, bars, clubs, and restaurants. Near the end of this street was one of the most famous hostels in Europe - Kabul's. Located in a rather shady neighborhood, Kabul's was ground zero for young travelers. It had no curfew, a large lounge area, a pool table, a beer vending machine, internet access, even a french fry vending machine. It was a self contained party scene, which prompted many people to never bother to venture outside.

I spent most every day in Barcelona touring the Gaudi structures. Antonin Gaudi was an architect and artist known for his incredibly fanciful, overstated designs. It is from his work that we get the term "gaudy". I had very little knowledge of his work, but after touring over a half dozen sites, I became a Gaudi devotee. The most amazing thing about his work was the incredible range of skills he demonstrated in each project. He not only designed innovative buildings which were structurally way ahead of their time, but he was also responsible for every detail - ornate metal grates, all interior woodwork, furniture design, and of course, his signature tile work. His buildings were straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss.

Haley M. Slovin is an actress from New York City.

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been...


From the Editor's Laptop:

It is November, which means NaNoWri month. Last year, I posted excerpts from my novel Jack Tripper Stole My Dog and Mona LaVigne's Gysana. This year, we have selections from our new novels. And next month, I might add some more!

Please feel free to e-mail this link to your friends, families, co-workers, cellmates, lifemates, etc. Help spread the good word about this site and the writers!

Be Sweet,
McG

"Life's a cash bar." - Eric Bruno (circa 1991)