That Completely Random Guy: Liberation? Eh?

Dear Concerned Fellow Man,

 I’ve always felt a deep connection with the cause for liberation. ‘Liberation of what?’ you would only logically ask (as, of course, you are nothing less than a logical person).

‘Does it matter?’ I would, inquisitively and frustratingly, respond (as, of course, I am something quite less than the average logical person).

Liberation of anything and everything that has cause to be liberated. Oppression should not be tolerated no matter where it might crop up. Oppression of one’s view of the sun by the oppressive presence of the trees and mountains should not have to be tolerated. Oppression of one’s desire, neigh, NEED to rest in the afternoon should have no cause to suffer under the oppressive demands of lecturers and employers that one be awake in their presence.

Why any cause is just as worthy as any other. ‘Liberation for one! Liberation for all!’ is my cry. They claim laws and regulations serve and protect. Don’t be fooled, I say they oppress. They claim governments serve in your best interests. But I say, “in whose best interest is it that one must enslave themselves to authoritarian control’. My fellow man, who is truly free? Traffic limits are too stifling, stop signs too demanding, whose to say who can go here or there and where one must stop. Too long have we all been oppressed. In liberation lies your freedom. Embrace that freedom.

Yours Anarchically,

That Completely Random Guy 


Roaches in the Restaurant (Part 2 of 6)


On Tuesday, I go in early to make sure everything goes well with the truck delivery. Most of the time, Ron checks the deliveries and makes sure everything that comes off the truck matches everything we need for the week, or, at least, everything we have ordered for the week. Most of the time, though, Ron does a pretty shitty job.

I get there before the truck, before Ron, before the sun, and I just stand out front of the restaurant and look down the street. I stare off up until the point the roadway runs into the horizon and dodges around the corner to get about to wherever it is meant to be going. I wonder then if this is really my stop to get off. Maybe I am or was supposed to dodge around that corner, too, and get on to wherever I am meant to be going. Maybe––

I turn and look at the restaurant. I nod, as is my custom when I am at a loss as to what should be said. I go in and sit at one of the booths to wait on Ron. Ron comes in fifteen minutes later, but I do not move. I think then that maybe I am waiting for something––someone––else, but I do not say it aloud. Ron grunts as he walks past me towards the back of the cold darkness that is the early morning restaurant.

I wait another few minutes then nod again. I get up, then hesitate. I almost feel it then, like it is there inside of me. I know for an instant that cannot be held, and with the morning light coming in through the windows, I wait for it to come back. It does not, and something inside me feels it will not come again so I leave it there and follow along Ron’s path into the depths of the cave beyond.

With the two of us, it takes us no time to run the boxes in and cross all the lines off the long numerated list. Ron still does not speak, and aside from his grunts and muffled curses, we work in silence. For all that Ron is not, I still value him for this––this appreciation for silence, the great unstated that is never stated. I can respect our relationship because neither of us let words clutter the space that fills the time we share together.

After the truck, the day moves on in a sluggish run like a disaffected marathoner lost to his final destination. I limp along with it. By the afternoon, I feel tired in all the regular places and worn through in all the others. At my weakest, thinnest moment, a flimsy paper façade bending against the breeze, the gale erupts around me. I lean against the back wall scrolling absentmindedly over sales figures for the last month when I hear the thunder exploding, the first breaking of the coming storm.

“Where’s the bastard,” the thunder ricochets off the four walls. “Fuck you, Tommy. I’m going back there. Freddy––” The sound intensifies as the impending boom and shudder of the storm breaks the boundary between the restaurant front and the underbellies of the gut, the cave, beyond.

“There’s my good for nothing husband,” Molly says––her voice a bolt of streaking lightening hitting me square in the chest. My machine gun girl keeps the bullets––boom, boom, boom––flying as I stand stunned, frozen, in the cage of her coming fury. “You miss me, darling? You recognize me, love? Me, your wife, do you even know who I am? It’d be a wonder if you could pick me out of a line-up anymore.”

She barrels up to me as her arms continue flailing, the bent edges of a crumpled piece of white paper poking out the firm creases of her closed right fist.

“Molly, what––why? Molly,” I say, the words falling out partly questioning, but mostly just filling the shrinking space between us as if to establish myself as existent in some small way.

“So you do recognize me? How sweet, and all along I was starting to think you didn’t care anymore. Huh, how about that?”  She says, her flailing arms beating the air as if a boxer working the body of his opponent. “You can recognize me, but can you recognize this?”

The fists land their final blow as her right claw unfolds to let loose the crumpled piece of paper enclosed within. The words EVICTION NOTICE hit me harder then the force of all the screaming and commotion.

“When were you going to tell me? Huh? What was your grand plan this time, Freddy?” She says. Her arms stop flailing to come to a rest, folding seamlessly across her chest. “The girls, Freddy… what about the girls? What about us? Do you even think––do you even care anymore?”

“Molly, you know––you know, I care,” I say, my hands closing around the hailstone of the notice making it disappear as if melting away. “You know––I didn’t want this Molly. I know it’s been hard. I know…”

“How could you?” Molly says. “How could you? This? The late nights and not coming to family events, the not being there. Maybe, I could get that for awhile, for something. But, this, Freddy? What is this?”

“Molly, we can do it. Maybe we go to your mother’s for a time. It’s just a season,” I say. But, as the words leave my mouth, I don’t know if I can believe them myself.

“We? Freddy, we? This isn’t we. This isn’t us––not anymore. Freddy… forget you…” She says, and turns just before the rain starts to pour, running down the harsh tense landscape of her sullen features.

She leaves, the storm subsides, and I am alone.

She moves on and out in front of me like a road stretching towards the horizon going up and around the bend and then on to some hidden destination far away. I stand there behind and watch and feel something inside me let go.

I nod again, and think of Ron, boxes, and lists. I see lines upon lines, boxes stacked upon boxes, all leading off, all leading somewhere, with me standing still, trapped––behind. I feel lost in the world, not knowing my own point of view, or even if I should have one. Still, visions flash across the landscape of my sight. I see something. Something, at least, must still be there.

-Excerpt from Roaches in Restaurant by TR August


Roaches in the Restaurant (Part 1 of 6)

“There are roaches in the restaurant,” I say.

Sometimes, I imagine there are roaches, at least. Crawling, stalking somewhere just out of sight, out of consideration. Maybe in the wisp of a peripheral glimpse they scatter or, just beyond the cracked surface, the splintered covering of the wall, they squirm and run. Sometimes I think this, but, most of the time, I don’t.

On Monday, I am at the restaurant from sun up to sun down. I don’t plan to be there all day, but breakfast starts busier than usual and runs well ahead of itself and far into lunch. Then, lunch does not take the normal reprieve until the dinner plates come out, and through it all I have barely a second to think to look at a clock. When I do, the time diagrammed within has already traveled well into the territory of late evening drawing dangerously close towards the horizon of tomorrow.

“And where do you think you’ve been?” Molly says just as I walk through the front door of our two bedroom, two bath, uptown apartment. A glance up at the clock reveals that it is 11:47 pm––where had the time been?

Standing behind the kitchen counter, Molly emits visible puffs of frustration like steam rolling out in waves from the top of a chugging locomotive. I hate it when she gets like this. She goes about huffing like a neglected and ill-greased engine and starts wondering out loud questions that would more helpfully remain within.

She knows where I was. She always knows, yet she always asks like she expects the answer to suddenly change–– I was out bowling, I was on a roll and just lost track of the time or Oh, out knocking off the neighborhood convenient store; I would have been in earlier, but I had to circle back on myself, cover my tracks, you know how it is.

“At the restaurant, baby,” I say, for what feels like the first time after the millionth time. From the look she gives me, I feel like I should have gone with the bowling number, though. After all, her heart had fallen for and beaten––thump, thump, thump––close with and so in rhythm for that of the sports star once; much more close, at least, than it ever had with that of the restaurant dreamer, now starless, standing before her. “Tommy didn’t come in for the dinner shift. I had to cover––we had no one else.” 

“Damn it, Freddy. You knew about the recital. You knew what this meant to her… to me. It’s always someone doesn’t come in or you just can’t get away. Now, what are you going to tell her?” She says.

I know she is angry, mostly because lately she is always angry, and it has begun to be my natural expectation. Also, but less so, because she is talking in spurts again, waving her hands about in great big sweeping motions. I call her my machine gun girl when she gets like this, not to her or anyone specific, or really anyone at all. Still, though no one hears, I feel it’s fitting.

“Well, what can I do? We needed someone,” I say, trying––and failing––desperately not to picture her anymore as heavy machinery pumping iron into the air with each of her heavy bursts of perturbed air. The locomotive image had been bad enough. “I didn’t have anyone, Molly. You know we have to make sacrifices. We knew that before we started this thing. You knew it––we all knew it. I’m sorry, but the restaurant needed me. I’ll be at the next one.”

“Yeah, Freddy. It’s always the next one, isn’t it?” Molly says, and walks past me to the bedroom. I do not turn to watch her go. By now, I can just close my eyes, and it will play across the darkened canvas of my eyelids as if a movie projected against a screen.

I can see her just as well there––in the theatre of my mind––if not better, moving like a heavy stone dropping down, deep, descending quickly out of view. It always plays across like some scene stolen from out of a once treasured, now jumbled, family recording pieced back together from the bits that have happened not to have been taped over with re-runs of quixotic TV family dramas.

The door slams behind me. Alone, with the internal movie flickering to its end on the film reel of my mind––click, click, click––I turn and look across the room to the welcoming disposition of the slumping couch.

“Hello, old friend,” I say. “It looks like it’s just you and me again.”

I know the couch, at least. I get it, and it, with measured disregard for any true preference, gets me. In spite of the preferences of either of us––though surely, if consulted, they would not argue much––this has become our usual routine.  It exists, a routine, to end a day of routines––delicate dances featuring wearied partners––the restaurant and me, Molly and me, all ending with the drooping couch and me.

It does not have to be this way. I can go knock on the door and try to talk to her. I can and, inside me, I think I hear a stinted voice telling me I should, but I don’t.

Instead, I let the dance continue.

Instead, my feet fall in step, fitting neatly into the grooves of the same weary worn paces. Instead, I turn towards the bathroom to relieve myself and brush my teeth. As I walk across the room, I almost think I see a dark blotch pulled by two thin antenna scatter across the floor and under the couch. When I look back, the slumping coach––alone, silent, antenna-less––greets me with its same tired used look.

I continue along my path and start my nightly bathroom rituals. A few minutes later, I return from the tiny washroom. This time, no blotches scatter across the floor. I look at the couch and imagine a California King with a thousand count Egyptian cotton sheet spread out before me.

I manage something of a smile and reflect that this might be the first time I have smiled all day. For some reason then, I just stop. A frown replaces the smile, and I nod, perhaps to myself, perhaps not.

“A spread fit for a king,” I say as I settle in amongst the gentle imagined waves of finely knit cotton. I am tired for sure. Sometimes, I do not think Molly understands this. Most of the time, though, I am just too tired to care. I close my eyes.

As I begin to drift off, I think of menu items, dishes, knives, and spoilt food overrunning the confines of dumpsters end upon end off into infinity. I drift up. I am taken away, carried off on a cloud of Egyptian cotton up over the scatterings of broken restaurant promises. I sit high, floating above a land that feels nowhere, perhaps lost, there stretched out before me––a strewn, across, a filled with crumpled, torn and tired plans. I float up high above a grand expanse until my land of broken promises becomes all I see––until the world goes dark––until all I know I know no more.

– Excerpt from Roaches in the Restaurant by TR August


That Completely Random Guy: Han Solo and The True Story of Saving the Galaxy


Dear Concerned Fellow Man,

Why didn’t Han Solo play a larger role in the Star Wars movies? I just don’t see how the wimpiness and uncertainty of Luke Skywalker wins him the top billing over the brash toughness and more iconic hero personality of Han Solo. Han Solo’s out there kicking butts and taking names, living life on the edge, while poor little Luke is writing poetry and starring dreamily at stars. Han’s the man and Luke, well, Luke is closer to the (wo)man. Not to critique a modern classic, but it’s blaringly obvious how they did it all wrong.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter since Han is the real hero in the end. Did anyone else ever notice how pointless to the whole pivotal saving-the-universe-from-the-evil-of-the-empire Luke’s part is in the end? It did not matter if Luke was on the second Death Star or not because Han shut down the shield, which allowed the Falcon to penetrate the defenses and destroy the Death Star. With or without Luke, the empire would still have been destroyed.

What should have happened is Luke should have caved into the dark side at the end (like the sissy that we all know him to be) thereby Han is made the de facto hero of the story (as he really is anyway) since there is no other alternatives to go with. He saved the universe, and he got the girl. On the other hand, Luke fell in love with his sister, essentially killed his father, and was no less of a pansy in the end than he was in the beginning.

Han’s the man. Plain and simple.

Yours truly and deeply personally,

That Completely Random Guy


And So It Begins


That time every year when the days get shorter, the nights grow longer, and through and in it all, new and old writers alike sit down to churn out words upon words, and in the process make novels, all out of dreams and fragments of visions…

AND what does that even mean?

It means we are less than one week away from the kick off of the 2013 edition of the yearly National Novel Writing Month, and therefore, less than one week away from the start of early mornings, sleepless nights, and pure exhilarating exhaustion-induced creation. And I, for one, cannot wait.

This will be my second year of NaNoWriMo, and, if everything goes as planned, my second year to win. If you haven’t experienced it, there is nothing quite like writing out a novel (or at least the word count which could amount to a novel) in one month. And, if you haven’t yet experienced it, my only question for you is: why not?

So, if you are where I was last year at the end of October: lamenting the end of summer and warm weather and dreading the onset of wintery cold nights and brisk mornings then lament and dread no more. The springtime of creative lifeblood is here to save the day. It’s NaNoWriMo to the rescue…

BUT why should you participate in NaNoWriMo?

Great question, and, I am so glad you asked.  Here are your top ten reasons to partake in the amazing awesomeness that will be NaNoWriMo 2013:

#10 It’s too flippin’ cold outside to do anything else. Well, I guess you could sit at home bundled up, watching endless hours of TV reruns, and wishing you lived in {insert tropical location here}…OR you could create for yourself that tropical location in the pages of a book you can truly call your own. What was that? Which one did you choose? Option number 2. Yes, I thought so…

#9 Tis the season… for shopping and spending way too much on crap no one uses anyway. What all your friends really want (I mean really want) is something you’ve created from the heart. NaNoWriMo’s the perfect holiday solution, spreading cheer for everyone (yourself included) and not emptying the bank account in the process. Nothing’s more homemade, and from the heart, then your own self-published ebook of the intrigues and scandals of those very same friends you had planned to waste money buying candles and bargain bin DVDs on (told using absurd sounding pseudonyms, of course). And there’s no wrapping required. What a deal!

#8 You’ve always intended to write the next great American novel AND you did just see the Great Gatsby. What more inspiration do you need than Jay Z rap songs set against the backdrop of 1920s America? Stop procrastinating! Now’s your chance to Jay Z-up your own Great Gatsby. It’s NaNoWriMo time.

#7 Let’s face it, it’s been a while since you’ve “won” at anything more productive than guessing the right upsets in your office’s yearly mock NCAA basketball tournament bracket. NaNoWriMo is your chance to be a winner again- return to your true pedigree. Wipe that dust off your old t-ball trophies and off that old typewriter. It’s winning time, Champion! Queen was singing about you after all.

#6 You’ve been wondering what the world looks like at 4 am. No need to wonder anymore! Set those alarms, it’s writing time. Your 9 to 5 is about to get a little bit longer.

#5 You actually read “50 Shades of Grey” and thought, “Man, she made how much money off of this crap? I could write this with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back, all in one month!” Bingo…. and that month is November 2013. I would just recommended doing it with at least one eye open.

#4 You just realized that TV really has started to suck and the next Hobbit movie doesn’t come out for another whole month. How will you even make it? How about filling the time with making your own Middle Earth? It’s dwarf-chasing-orc-fighting-dragon-slaying-world-saving-epic-questing NaNo-freaking-WriMo time. We’ve got a world to save. Let’s get to writing.

#3 I mean you do like coffee. Right? Well you do, don’t you? Heck, now you have a fairly good (at least, pretty decent) reason to drink two pots of it a day. Better stock up on the Dunkin. It’s not the apocalypse-it’s so so much better (though, you could write the apocalypse in if you wanted to, just saying).

#2  J K Rowling had a day job once. Then she sat down and wrote a lot of words. Now she doesn’t. Get the picture?

And the number one reason why you should join in NaNoWriMo 2013:

#1 Because deep down inside you, you just know you have an awesome story that needs (has) to be told. And you also know your mom can’t tell it. Your dad can’t tell it. Your friends couldn’t do it justice. Your little sister would just get it all wrong (so wrong). But you know you could, if only… if only you could be, if only you would be an author. If only….BUT that’s why God made November. Because you already are, you just need to sit down and prove it. And, why, how about that, here’s just your opportunity…

Happy writing. Happy NaNoWriMo!

Don’t forget the Dunkin’. You’re going to need it, Champion.

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