The End of the Year is the Eyes of a Deer Playing Dead on the Side of the Road

by Serge Bielanko

He came out of the mist, smoking a cigarette, hacking his lungs out, but smiling. No one paid him much mind. No one cared.

Who cares, right?

Who has that kind of time?


My older two are at the kitchen island flipping the pieces of the Zingo game they got for Christmas all over the place. I'm standing there, third cup of coffee, staring at them. I get tired of trying to tell them how to live right. I can only tell other living people how to act or be so many times across any given half-hour stretch before I lose interest.

What's the goddamn difference? I repeat myself. I say the same shit over and over again until it has no meaning, until it loses any sparkle it might have had when it was born a few seconds ago in the delivery room of my idiotic mind. Blah blah blah. After a while you have to recognize that tried and true love is way bigger than the dumb stuff you go around saying. The dreams I have for them, the hopes/the lingering fears/my inability to comprehend their mere in-my-face existence on a very very regular basis/the way I would scoop out the eye of the man or woman who would ever hurt them bad, God forbid/the way they would describe it all in court/me sitting there in the orange prison get up/some lawyer getting all loud and affected as he describes how I used a teaspoon to separate the eyeball from the socket of the son-of-a-bitch who did what he did and how I stuffed my old Waylon Jennings t-shirt in his worthless mouth to keep him quiet as I made him watch me (with his crybaby good eye) as I swallowed his severed eyeball like a Rappahannock oyster/down the hatch/Silence of the fucking Lambs grin/out in the parking lot of the mall where I'd tracked him down. Or in the parking lot of his job. Or wherever dude.

I get sidetracked.

I shut off my good Dad bitching halfway through the morning not because my own tired words start making my mouth taste like puke, but because I stand there watching them throwing the game pieces around and fighting each other over stupid crap, their elbows slamming into the breakfast dishes, their forearms hitting spots of pancake syrup, and it dawns on me that I'm never ever going to be able to come up with some string of hollered sentences that turn it all around, you know?

I'm drowning in love. There's nothing I can say. The parenting advice and the gentle guidance and the positive reinforcement and the yakety yak don't come back, it's nothing but steam rising up from the ghost of a train. I'm trapped under love. I'm buried beneath the rubble of the collapsed city of everything. I'm imprisoned. I'm a POW up to his neck in kid swamp. But look. I'm still here, bigger/stronger/better now: because of all of this.

Fight it out. This morning they can just fight it out themselves and let the chips fall where they may. They don't need me all up in their shit all the time.

They know who I am.

They know I will eat the raw oyster eye of a man if need be.

I pour cup #4. Bitter morning coffee. I am a king, you know? I am a king of kings blocking out the sound of these two jokers with piss coffee and a banana smeared with peanut butter. This is it. This is the day before New Year's Eve. And we're happy as pigs in shit over here. I'm dead serious.

We are- I'll have you know- doing just fine.


This new car I got, another Honda, it does this weird thing every now and then during track 4 of The Cure's Wish CD. That's From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea if for some strange reason you didn't know that. I hit the brakes at the end of the narrows road, at the stop sign by the fast road cutting up the valley, and the volume on the tune lowers itself a couple notches.

I look in the rear view to see if Violet or Henry clocked the sound fail but they didn't. They're staring out the window at the grey woods and the dead corn stubble without any expressions. It's all so Cure. I sit there at the stop sign for a second watching them. I watch their little eyes looking out at the land. I wish I could slip up their nose holes and see what they see, or see what they see how they see it. We see the same shit, I know, but I always figure they must see it better than me. Wholer. Purer. With van Gogh color. With Renaissance light.

I'd give a rib bone to see these old winter mountains through their eyes. I don't know what it says to them. The Cure at 9 in the morning on a Christmas break day at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, what do they see?

There's a riff in the song, keeps circling around, comfortable, menacing, I 'm not sure how you'd describe it. Whatever/you can't describe riffs/it's dumb. But this riff, I wonder if they love it. I wonder if they are feeling it in their skin right this second. Is it possible? Is it possible I could have presented at least one of them with a gift riff out of nowhere this morning? Is it possible that I maybe play a song on the ride to their Grammy's that sticks with them forever, or that they somehow stumble into years from now again and suddenly remember me in some beautiful way?

Could this riff boomerang back into one of their heads in 2027 and let them smell their daddy's smoky/pepper jerky/sour coffee smell from long ago while they're out there living their lives, maybe riding on the Tube in London or digging dinosaur bones in some red clay canyon somewhere across the fucking world?

Is that possible?

Why does the sound lower itself at the same point in this song on my factory issue car stereo? And why do I forget all about that at the stop sign? Why do I look in the rear view and see them staring at the world and forget everything I was thinking? Don't answer that. Don't tell me it could be electrical or whatever. That's not what I'm asking.

I'm dead serious.

I don't even care about the volume thing at all.


Every New Year's Eve is basically a shit show. I don't plan anything anymore. I blow myself out with Christmas. I have a note taped to the coffee can starting at Thanksgiving. It says 'E.O.S.' That means Elf On the Shelf. I don't give a damn if you hate that Elf. I love it. I get into it. I never fuck up. I see the note: I move the Elf before they wake up. I feel involved. I get off on Christmas, on the mythological magic and on fake plastic poinsettias.

Then it's all over and that's a bit of a problem for me.

By New Year's I'm smoking a cig in the post-coital glow of a very hard shag. I've got nothing left. I like Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. I'll watch Dick Clarke maybe. He'll be on. He'll find a way.

I want to say goodbye to the year in some romantic way but I just can't be bothered. Survivors we are and we all deserve to live it up, I'm sure, but I'm tired, man. I'm out of breath. I'm feeling good but I'm feeling out of it. I'd share my evening with you but what would even do, you know?

I'd let some cheese cubes fall out of the palm of my hand, plopplopplopplopplop soft bricks landing on a plastic dish. I'd bring them over to you with a cold beer maybe. Or whatever you want.


Wine or beer?

That's all I've got actually. So that's your big choice.


Or beer?

You want some shrimp? I've got shrimp. They were frozen once, I'm sure. I got them at the grocery store. Probably raised in some weird shrimp pond somewhere in Alabama or Mexico or something. Look at them. So dead, so pink. They were probably frozen and then thawed a little and then got frozen again. That happens, you know. Things freeze, unfreeze, freeze up again, we never know the difference. We never can quite tell what parts of our world are partially frozen/dancing with death at any given time, I guess.

Anyways, we could drag dead pink shrimp through cocktail sauce from a jar and watch CNN and drink beer or wine. We could laugh. We could bang pots and pans out in the street. I'd probably insist on that. Or we could go to bed at 11:24pm.

I've done it both ways/I don't even care.

New Years Eve is easy.

You just gotta let it happen. I mean, it's happening anyhow.

All of this life, all of this love and sadness and fear and mad rejection and disappointment. All of this ungodly torment hailing down on our naked bodies like garlic hissing cross a pan. All of this Earthly bullshit clouding up our vision, blocking our view of things beautiful and pure.

You just gotta let it happen, I think. I really think I believe that now. I really do. Hey, you know what? You know what? I'm not scared anymore. I'd only be scared at this point if I didn't admit that I wasn't scared anymore. I'm over it. The year does things to you. It did stuff to me.

The songs turn themselves down now. The kids stare at the dreary sky. The coffee is gross and that's exactly how I like it.

He came out of the mist, smoking a cigarette, hacking his lungs out, but smiling. No one paid him much mind. No one cared. 

Except a couple of people. A couple people cared. And that was enough. That was enough for another year. That was enough for all the years left.

Hell, that was more than enough.




Things to Remind the Firing Squad Before They Shoot You In the Face

by Serge Bielanko

I lay my right Van down onto my tuner and the lights quit flashing. I'm in tune. Or I'm close enough. The guitar will sound good, I'm sure of that. The room is full and the people are loud and this is all there is for now.  The guitar is a gun, the safety is off, here we go. 

We do what we always used to do but haven't done much in a while. I stare at my brother and his eyes meet mine then dart away. He smiles but it's vague. We are where we belong in a sense, just a few feet apart from each other on a stage not all that far from where we were both born.

My nerves are nothing. I'm firing squad cool/lips dry/condemned and down with it/hinged to the fact that it is what it is. All is lost, you know. I tried to fight it. I wandered for years far from the music, from the band and the songs. I used to revel in every afternoon van mile, in every early stupid November post-nasal drip pain-in-the-ass I'd simply choose to ignore.

Staring at myself in St. Louis motel room mirrors/in Barcelona mirrors/in Austin mirrors and London mirrors, in tiny interchangeable rooms where the nicotine paint would flare up as soon as the hot water steam rose up to lick its face and the shock of the transition from some caffeinated day running an interstate to nothing but my own reflection, that all became as comfortable as any sense I had ever experienced. Years went by when I couldn't imagine myself not being in the band. And then new years unfolded all around me, years in which I couldn't imagine ever being in the band again.

And now tonight. I have no idea what anything means anymore. I finger my pick as my brother turns to the drummer and I imagine myself up against the wall, saying 'Fuck you' one last time to a firing squad who will eat meatloaf or whatever at home with their families tonight while I set out across the universe on a idiot mule, bound for some distant alpine mountain ridge wilderness across the stars that I will chase but never catch for eternity.


It's a mindfuck, but so it goes. Life or death.

My brother counts us in with the familiar slide and pull of three or four notes on his guitar and then we are off. Everything comes down out of the sky when you kick it all in with a band, first song of the night. You are shot thirty times at once, the rifle bullets tearing through your face and your chest, ripping across your heart and shattering your ribs/shredding your armpits/slamming through your spine with the force of a trillion wild sheep who have been running you down since the day you were born.

It is the most perfect way to die, kicking into the opener is. It is the most beautiful life-affirming feeling I have ever known because it is such a goddamn beautiful way to get shot in the eyeball/die/get reborn/and start living again, but this time with all the cocksure sway of   immortality firing through your veins.

To be up here again now is my decision of cards flung high in the air. I get a little scared. I feel a little sad. I wonder if I'm alright. I hope I find my groove. I stare in people's eyes. They stare back from the crowd. They break into smiles.

I catch a fistful of screaming bullets and I hold them in my fist for a long long second or two while the firing squad boys try and figure out what the fuck is happening. Then I drop them down on the prison yard stones- clink-clink-clink-clink-clink- slow-clink-clink-pausing before I drop the last one- letting it go- not watching it fall-staring straight into the frightened doo-rag masky eyes of the men who tried to kill me- quiet-quiet-quiet.......


That's what it feels like for me tonight.

Dude. That is me kicking into song one.


In the box are more boxes and I have them scattered all over my summer kitchen floor. The first thing the satellite TV companies do is try and get you to stay. Don't cancel your account, they tell you. You have options. But if you refuse all the options and you don't answer the 8 or 9 times they call your cellphone over the next week or so, then they finally give up on you and send you a box of boxes.

Pack your equipment up and send it back to us, they tell you. Or we'll hit you with charges. Fair enough. I flop the boxes down onto the floor and root around for the directions they send along to show you how to pack their shit so it doesn't get busted rolling around on it's way back to them and you don't end up getting hit with charges. Charges is why I'm doing this. But there are charges for canceling charges.

I lift up the black receiver thing that has sat atop my TV for the last year and a half and I try and figure out where it it goes. I haven't erased anything off the DVR so there's still a lot of me and the kids in there, I guess. So many movies I recorded and never watched. I remember that I had the Today show recorded from when I was on it last year. They invited me on to talk about an article I'd written where I listed reasons I was a shit husband. Whatever. I never watched it. I've never seen me on the Today Show. Who fucking cares.

I was always down to like 9% space available for recording stuff, but I hardly ever watched any of the stuff I was recording. And charges all along.

So much Peppa Pig in there too. I hold the receiver up to my face and I sniff it in but it smells like nothing. The Peppa thing makes me a little sad. It's Charlie's favorite show when he's here at my place. I would always do this whole balancing act maneuver whenever we rolled up from the grocery store or the park or whatever. I'd double-park the car out back in the alley and get Violet and Henry in the house with snack promises as I carried Charlie in my arms. Inside I would hand out juices and milk and swing over to the TV/grab the remote/hit all the right buttons/and have Peppa Pig rolling out into the room in seconds flat.

Charlie is such a beautiful little boy. He always wandered over to the flat screen high above his head and he smiles as he recognizes his show, his pigs. Transfixed then, I'd make my move and go back out to carry in all of our school bags and lunch bags and grocery bags and shit before I'd park the car/run back into the house/open both back doors (making sure I sneak in the one that leads into the kitchen) so I could stand there for a second watching Charlie leaning his bottle back into his face/side-stepping/uneasy swaying/his eyes up on the TV/Violet curled up under the blue blanket/Henry up the other end of the couch, his usual afternoon face down on the usual pillow/his kicks kicked off under the coffee table/his tired eyes emotionless but stapled to the show.

I find where the receiver/DVR thing goes and I lay it down.

The kids aren't here, they're at their mom's. I lay all the Peppa Pigs and Sponge Bobs down. I lay the animal shows down, the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that me and Henry would watch every night after we did our guy's workout on the living room rugs and I drug my dinner over to the coffee table so he could steal hunks of cheese or strips of red pepper off of the cutting board I use as a plate.

I start crying. I swear to God I do.

I know, I know, I know.

Fucking pussy.

But I lose it sometimes. I don't care. I admit that shit. They're here, they're not here. I'm up, I'm down. The shows were part of it all, you know? Peppa lived up in the DVR and she was a part of all this sweet mess we've got going on over here and now I'm shipping her out. It's like I'm shipping our pet pig off to the bacon house or something. 


There's only like maybe 4 or 5 tears and then I bounce back: I growl, clear my throat, tough guy shit. I put the remotes in the box. I seal the whole thing up according to their directions. I try to avoid any additional charges. Then I look at the box on the counter and I touch it with my fingertips, like a coffin. Like my dead grandmother's coffin splayed out there in the late afternoon front room Victorian sun shafts.

Oh get it together, rock-n-roller. Just send the goddamn box back and pull yourself together. Goodbye, Peppa. We love you. I'll buy you in an app for Apple TV if there is one.

Yo, is there one?


That show I played, we played...the one from the beginning of this thing?

We killed it.

We fucking killed it.


It's not the guitar or the cartoons. It isn't the words I try and come up with or the fact that I never proof read them enough. It isn't the frozen pizzas in the freezer or the push-ups in the evening or the fantasies in my head or the novels piling up on my nightstand. It's never the awkwardness of forward motion or the hammering resilience of the past. It isn't the slamming of the backdoor and I know it's my brother or the ringing of the phone and I know it's a bill. It's neither here nor there, hardly this or that.

It's not her people showing up in my Facebook feed making me restless.

It's never the last of the milk and I've gotta get more.

It isn't the text message invites or the Christmas lights burning out in the kitchen again or the sour smell in the car upholstery that never ever goes away.

It's not the dog that died.

It's not the things I tell myself. And it's not the things I can't face.

It's everything at once and everything else at the same exact fucking time.

It's nothing really. But then again it's not that either.

It's the shine of the tiles in the gas station bathroom. It's the waking up from a deep sleep three seconds before the alarm goes off. It's the long, strangely elegant toilet paper ribbon 'someone' drug into the bunk bed room. It's the last ditch offers from Direct TV coming so fast and furious for a while there. Now they don't come anymore at all.

It's the little girl eating her Cinnamon Toast Crunch by her plastic cup of lemonade.

It's the pumpkins dying out in the field right up the road.

It's the one dude dressed up like a vampire, eating a banana.

It's the other dude streaming snot down over the smile of God.

It's the silent click of the tuner under my Van, the rush of in tune firing up into my groin.

It's knowing I don't know. It's knowing I will never know. But I know it will snow. So it's the snow, don't you know.

It's these racing days and these long dark nights slipping past me like deer in the morning sliding down past the tractor parked in the colorless mist of yet another dawn not even a half mile from where I sleep the sleep of a man who stared his firing squad in the eye, whispered "Fuck. You.", and lived to tell the tale.

The Stars in the Sky Are Dinosaur Bones, The Thump on the Stairs is Your Ass

by Serge Bielanko

At night when the kids aren't here I do my thing. Some nights I make my salad or whatever. Other nights I push my fingers deep inside the fridge-cooled carcass of some long dead chicken with one hand while I work the remote with the other. Flicking through the stuff on my DVR I have to laugh at all the movies I've recorded over the last year or so.

There's so many good ones, but what am I doing?

I never watch them.

I've been dragging Slumdog Millionaire around with me for so long that it feels like I've seen it just by looking at the damn title night after night, week after week, month after month after month.

I've never seen it though. I might never watch it at this point. I get off on not seeing it. We get so turned on by edgy denial. Some art hits you all strange like that. The best sex has never ever happened for real. The most epic shags are ether and mist. Slumdog Millionaire and me, we have that. We get off on not getting off. We are fuck-me eyes across the bar and then back home alone.

I miss the kids on these nights. Lately Henry in a certain kind of way.

He never leaves me alone when he's here and so even though I refuse to tell him this outright, the fact of the matter is that I've quit trying to keep him away. There was a period last winter when I wanted him to stay upstairs as each evening came and went. But no matter how much I begged him to respect my 'Grown Up Time' or told him I was going to be watching a "Grown Up Show'. No matter how much I lied to his tiny ass about how I was going to be pissed off if he came back downstairs after I'd set him and his sister up with the Netflix on my computer, his resilience proved too much.

His little heart was set on me.

It took me a while to get that, but I get it now. After a while I began to understand that I was trying to shove a lousy half hour of come down silence/peace/quiet/bullshit lies into a space the universe had already long ago reserved for a 4-year-old to come thump sliding down the stairs on his ass despite my selfish pleas.

Back around June, as the summer began to slip in all around us, I started seeing that the whole time alone thing for me wasn't even something I really needed or even wanted for that matter. I don't know how Henry figured that out. I will never know. But he did, he zoomed in on the truth. And so he kept coming down. And I stopped stopping him. And right away fifty elephants were chopper lifted up off my lame chest.

Now I play the same stupid game with him but I have no idea why. I get Charlie to sleep in the damn Pack-n-Play I still use for him and then I go through the same old drill with Violet and Henry. 

Brush teeth.

Wipe toothpaste spit and water off of sink edge.

Wipe toothpaste out of kid mouth corners.

Cup water in my hand for them to rinse out their neon blue Avengers candy crap toothpaste   since they seem to dig me doing that for some reason.

Tell everyone to stop jumping around like wild animals ripping high on toothpaste. "SHHHHH! Charlie's sleeping!"

Hand out pajamas.

Have my pajama choices refuted and refused for infinite reasons, mostly in favor of near nakedness.

Hook up the laptop to the speakers and mess around with it until I find the Netflix.

Ask them what they want to watch.

Warn them that it's an early night. "We have to get up early in the morning." No one listens. No one cares. I'm a potato chip bag blowing down the street.

Listen to them refute and refuse each others cartoon choices.

Put on something, anything and tell them that's it. "Watch Wild Kratts. It's a good show. There was no Wild Kratss when me and Uncle Dave were growing up. We had to watch Tom and Jerry or nothing else. And that was only on for a few minutes a day. You guys are lucky. Watch Wild Kratts or go to bed now."

I slip away then sighing the sigh of the battlefield wounded. But as I exit that room each night of my half of the week with them, I get slammed by love. Annihilated by love. Roadside bombed by something truer than truth despite the string of lies I tell myself all day long.

I move down the stairs, hit the bottom in the pale light of the bulb back at the top, pass by the school bags and lunch bags and the wooden box of shoes and open the door back into the kitchen alone.

Then I wait.

I make my dinner, look at the clock. It's 8:22pm or something close to that usually. I look at my phone, see if anybody called/anybody liked any of my shit on Facebook or Instagram. Nothing. I look around my house, my small house, old house, my small old rented house glowing in the Christmas lights I hung up and leave lit up all the time even though it seems so tacky and bullshit. I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I imagine Christmas lights will make the kids happier. I want them happy and that's pretty much all I want, I tell myself, which is also a lie by the way.

I look around and I walk over to the TV and flip it on and it's Monday so I know there's a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives marathon on and that's where I aim the entire living room. I aim it at diners. And drive-ins. And dives.

In the fading moments of some fading moment I aim my whole life at a taqueria joint in Minneapolis where they still make their own salsa verde in house, every single mother fucking day.

I pop the cap off a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I only ever have one anymore. I might even stop that. I just can't be sure where I'm headed, you see.

I glide/float/walk/fly over to the coffee table and I thump my food down, the chicken still parked there in the same plastic container I bought it in, parked there in death, its stupid brittle bones dipped down into the gelatinous goop of its own demise. I thump the hummus container down next to the bird. I bring over the cutting board with the slices of red pepper and the cheap jar olives and the cut-up tomato on it.

A broccoli piece rolls off the thing as I try to balance carry it the six feet I have to travel from the kitchen to the coffee table.

"Fuckin' fuck," I say. I don't know what else to say. It's a piece of broccoli. What do I say? Whose fault is it? It's on the floor now so to hell with it. I'll still eat it/I don't care. I eat shit that falls on my kitchen floor all the time, dude. I don't go in for any of that kissing it and holding it up to God or anything either. I just pick it up and pop it in my mouth and I can taste the whole world for three miles in any direction. My kids and me, we track it all in here and I turn around and dredge/marinate stuff I drop to that world and so yeah: every single day I eat dropped broccoli dipped in dog dirt/tick spray/gravel dust/kid foot fungus/whatever.

Who cares?

I dare that shit to kill me or to make me sick. I don't worry about that. You can't die from eating dirt or small amounts of horrible chemicals. It adds flavor. I probably eat and digest upwards of two or three ounces of squirrel shit a year if I broke it all down. My insides are a forest, babe. My guts right now? They're this overheated museum of Pennsylvania summertime. Dig that if you can. And you can if you want.

I wait til Henry shows up before I eat now.

He has this sixth sense. The entire thing has been scripted for probably the last three billion years, me and Henry dining together after I tell him to stay upstairs. It's as if our fates were sealed many many moons ago and I feel that in my bones, yo.

He shows up underneath his blankie. I hear his muffled ass thumps on the stairs as I sneak an olive and stare at a Waco burger joint where they're kickin' out some fuckin' FlavorTown righteousness.

All of my world falls away from me everyday. I sense her holding me in the embrace of a lifetime only to loosen her grip on me at some point so I can be fed to wolves, shoved gently out into the open pit of my own panic or fears, my whole future down there slithering under the weight of a thousand mean mountain rattlesnakes.

And then Henry. Here he comes pretending he's a ghost, making his ghost sounds the moment he enters the kitchen from the stairwell. He saves me every night, I guess. That sounds so stupid to say that. It seems like lazy writing for me to carry your heavy ass over to some soulful point where my little kid saves me from my own blue haze, but there it is. So there you go.

You need to recognize real beauty when you see it, man. It isn't ever someone's face either. That kind of beauty is nothing. That's happy hour whore makeup, dude. Faces and bodies and your body on my face or whatever, that's not what I'm getting at here. I'm talking about castles, you're thinking about cheekbones or whatever. Beauty, true true tried-and-true beautiful beauty doesn't live out in the evening sparkle of some lover's green eyes or blah blah blah. True beauty, the real McCoy shit, the literature stuff that makes you lay the book down on your chest and stare at the ceiling in awe of the moment you just lived through, that stuff never comes from any obvious place.

It's born unexpectedly. It's a free fucking car slamming through your front room.

And then, if you're lucky, that kind of beauty comes back on a regular basis for a spell. Maybe it comes back for a few nights running. Maybe for a hundred nights or even a thousand nights, I don't know. No one knows. We take everything for granted. We are blinder than bats. We are bats wearing blinders. Oh damn, we miss so much.

Beauty knocking down our doors. And then/gone.

Eventually, you see, one night you sit there waiting for it, your fat finger sliding up and down the wetness of a single bottle of beer/your half-baked teeth chewing down slow and hard on some floppy sliver of some factory farmed shitty life chicken's dead body/your eyes on the Denver mom and pop joint where they're still making deep fried onion rings in their own house special secret batter like they have for the last seven motherfucking years now/ you sit there waiting for it, expecting it, counting on it, dreaming of it in ways you never dreamed you'd dream of a thing but that's what you're doing, amigo, on the very night when- POOF: it doesn't come.

It stops showing up.

The ass thumps go quiet.

The ghost peering around at you stops showing up.

The loveliest beauty just leaves you hanging.

And look, my man, it's nobody's fault. It's just the way the script was written. Written way back when the sun was a stone and the sky was the ocean and the stars were all dinosaurs licking each others assholes and bones in a galaxy far, far away.

Not tonight though. Or not tonight if the kids are here with me anyway. If they're here, me and him will act out the scene there at the coffee table. Or at least: God I hope we will.

Show up, boss.

Steal my cheese and talk over the TV, a-mile-a-minute, you beautiful soul.

Put your finger in the plastic thing of hummus even if you've been picking your crusty nose with it. I don't care, man. I swear to God. I. Do. Not. Care.

I'd eat all your boogers if you asked me to.

I can't tell you that outright, bro, but if you asked me to, for almost any stupid reason in the world, I would eat your beautiful late summer boogers out of your skull like sweet relish from a picnic jar.

It is what it is.

And on the nights when I'm alone here/and you're nowhere to be found/that's the kind of stuff I'm realizing/as I sip my one Pale Ale/as I stare fifty mile prison spotlight holes through a pizza joint in Milwaukee where they're cooking up some good old fashion motherfucking calzones with a very Midwestern twist.