note: new serial fiction from yours truly
On a moderate night like this, I like to walk out onto my balcony to enjoy a cold beer and a cigarette. It’s actually not much of a balcony as it is a slab of concrete slapped onto the side of this aging gray-colored apartment complex. I pay $2300 a month for my studio, which these days, isn’t so bad for New York, especially when you have a subway stop only half a block away. I like to call myself a writer since I spend more than half of my time in front of my typewriter, which I bought at an antique shop for $400 a couple of years ago. Supposedly some famous journalist had used it while reporting for the Sunday Evening Post. I’ve actually had a couple of articles published in my neighborhood paper – the free ones that often compete with Gay City and Village Voice for attention on street corners. One article was about commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and what living in New York has been like since that day. I received a few letters from kind readers thanking me for the piece. Another article was a restaurant review of a newly opened Thai joint a few blocks from my apartment. The shrimp pad thai was delicious and the staff was very friendly. I gave it two out of three stars.
When I’m not writing, or trying to write, I’m usually stopping by at the two bookstores that I own in the city. Yep, I’m a small business owner, and a successful one at that. My bookstores, you see, aren’t your average book-off-the-shelves kind of store. I’ve turned my store into a sort of reading salon, where seating and lighting are plentiful and you can pay $3 for strong coffee that we make from organic Colombian coffee beans. Book sales are average, but we make a very nice margin on the pastries and beverages. Then again, we’re not much different from your local bookstore – we invite authors to come and sign books and answer questions, we give tote bags to customers who spend over $50 on books, and we offer gift cards that come in five different designs. Of course, I do have a few restrictions – no children’s books, no books by authors that have been on the New York Times Bestseller list for more than five weeks, and no self-help books. But okay, enough about my stores – they’re hip and cool and a haven for both seasoned and budding intellectuals.
Anyway, before I finish smoking this cigarette, one thought I wanted to share that came across my mind today was about this one girl I used to date in high school. Her name was Yuri and she was a cute Japanese girl with these distinct bangs that covered her forehead. One thing she always did was to plan out every single hour of her day the previous night and the amazing thing was that she actually executed her plans more often than not. Of course, with my teenage horniness at its peak, I did my best to derail her efforts, but eventually she would even find a way to schedule in our intimate moments as if it was just one more thing on the checklist. Spontaneity was not her thing. I never thought much of it then – just an annoying habit which was quickly forgotten when she removed her clothes, but today, as I was walking through Washington Square, I suddenly thought of her and wondered if it was because she was a child of divorce. Perhaps the instability of her childhood and adolesence, at least from a family perspective, made her want to create for herself an environment that was well under control and very predictable. And thinking about it today, I sort of felt bad for her, seeing that I was from a stable family background and spoiled to the bone by my mother and grandma, who fed and cleaned up after me until the day I left for college. But I’m sure she’s out there somewhere now, perhaps together with a lover who’ll give her the opportunity to provide a stable and happy family for her kids. Gosh, which does remind me of the time we had to go to the clinic, but that’s another story for another time.
I’m gonna go back inside and watch CNN now.