The Grinch Who Stole Valentine’s Day

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            It’s Valentine’s Day but you have no date. It’s supposed to be Lovers’ Day but you have no one to love, you have no one to tell you they love you, you have no one to tell that you love them; you are alone. Somehow somewhere you’ve managed to convince yourself that alone protects you, you’ve told yourself that alone is good, that love is not for everyone, especially not for you. Somehow you’ve gotten yourself into believing it’s better to be by yourself, that your life is about you and you don’t have to share feelings with someone else to enjoy your life. But you know the truth, you know what you are, you know alone is not alive and you know that you’re not just alone. You’re not alive.

You’re dead inside. It’s the reason you can’t sleep at night, it’s the reason you work your ass off to prove yourself, it’s the reason you don’t care, it’s the reason you don’t love. You’ll like to believe it’s simple, you’d love to believe love was not meant for you, you’d love to believe that you’re alone because that’s how its meant to be, you’d love to believe you’re one of those people who are not supposed to be happy with their life. But it isn’t. You are meant to be happy, you’re meant to be loved and you’re meant to love. It’s not a primary defect; a broken heart isn’t something you were born with. It’s because you know the truth. You know that love is just a ruse. You know that there is no such thing as true love, you know that it is impossible to be spend the rest of your life completely satisfied with someone, you know people cheat, you know people say they love you when they don’t and others don’t even give the courtesy of a preceding false positive. You know people manipulate each other, you know people lie to each other, and you know people could be married but   actually hate each other and can’t bear to look each other in the face but want to deceive the world. You know love cannot make up for peoples’ deficiencies, you know people are hopelessly naïve and entirely ignorant. You know people fight, not just metaphorically, but they literally fight. They throw punches at each other and they hit each other with as many pain-inflicting objects as they can lay their hands on. You know people insult each other, the ones that are supposed to be in love, the ones that are supposed to be happy, the ones that are meant to be alive.

Love changes people; it turns them into monsters. Love pretends to be okay. Love believes it deserves what it knows it doesn’t. Love shatters your heart to a million pieces. Love makes you cry day after day after day. Love takes advantage of you; love controls you. Love tells you “she’s just my secretary”. Love has man-friends. Love slaps you in the face when you question his morality. Love leaves you and your unborn child. Love beats you behind closed doors. Love was the one who gave you that scar. Love was the one who put a gun to your head. Love reproaches you. Love makes grown-ups cry like babies. Love treats you like trash. Love will sleep with you today and call you a whore tomorrow. Love will never take you seriously. Love will ask you to trust him but won’t trust you. Love will take all you’ve got and leave you with nothing.

You know the truth. Love is about smiling for the cameras, love is about you two looking good together, love is about kissing in the hallway where everyone can see and love is about how many cows were killed on your wedding day. So you close your heart; you kill yourself over and over. You dull your emotional senses; you show no love and expect none in return. You become selfish; you live life for you. You flee from company and you go for alone. You shut people out; you alienate. You refuse to love because you know the truth: that love is pain. Love is anguish, love is like killing yourself a thousand times over, love is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and love is a devil’s favor. Love is not real but it’s all pretending; it’s a paralyzed state of mind. And the idea that love is a river that never runs dry, that love is our reason to live, that love is indeed a beautiful thing, that love makes you happy and satisfied, that love is hearing laughter in the rain, that love will take away all the pain of loss? That’s the fantasy; that’s the illusion. That is the lie and to live in that reality is to live in a lie; to live in that reality is to not be alive.

Alone is not dead; alone is alive. Alone is being aware of what is really going on. Alone is not wanting to be part of the fantasy world: not wanting to partake in the ruse. Alone on Valentine’s Day is not wrong, fake love on Valentine’s Day is. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with your mind. It’s just who you are and what you know, and aren’t we all products of our experiences? Alone is alive, alone is real, alone is the truth: No matter how together we are, deep down we are all-alone and that’s okay. That’s fine by you, because you’d rather be alone for the rest of your life than experience the kind of love you know that exists.

Mark Deer

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Confessions of a Mob Boss: That’s Mr. Panzetti to you!

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            Hello there, my name is Terry Panzetti; my friends call me “Big-T”. For you, it’s Mr. Panzetti or I cut your f**king balls off. Back to the point, I’m Mr. Panzetti and I am a mafia boss. I run the cartel that ships in all that sweet-sweet pot you’ve been choking on for the past 2 weeks. How I got here? None of your business, nosey Thompson. I’m paying you a visit for one reason and one reason only: I want to know what you want. Now, before you answer that with some made up bullshit, here’s a little story to put your mind on the right track.

A couple of weeks back, I was opportune to meet my long lost cousin, Pablo. Pablo’s father was my uncle and as far as I know he was the only goddamn family I had till his unfortunate death in ’78. I haven’t seen Pablo since then and the moment I saw his Yankee-doodle pigeon face on my lawn again, I knew he wasn’t here for a family reunion; he was troubled. It turned out Pablo had been duped by a real estate agent somewhere in the city that goes by the name Abett. I hadn’t heard of the guy and it was obvious he hadn’t heard of me too, if not he wouldn’t have gone around duping any member of my family, not even the dog. Pablo came to me complaining and I promised to make Abett pay for what he did and most importantly, get his money back.

The next day, I sent out a search team to gather Intel on Abett and I heard the most insulting things; this guy was a walking scam. From the pictures of him, he looked American, but my men said he spoke French and claimed his birth certificate implied he was from Australia. His head was bald and his abdomen was bigger than my pool, why on earth did Pablo decide to do business with him in the first place? My men reported that he and his family were living in the Hotel De Laurentis somewhere in the penthouse, so I decided to take a few men with me down there and put forward the very same proposition I gave you not so long ago: I want to know what you want. I swear everything was pretty much calm when we payed him a visit and I tried ever so hard to tell the f**king pig that I was only there to talk about my cousin and getting his money back, nobody had to get a bullet in their heads. Abett didn’t concede to my persuasion and one way or the other his wife and his little boy were casualties of what could have been a rather quiet piece of espionage. When Abett found out I wasn’t here for kicks, he opened his heart to me and confessed that he was indebted to a man called Toni Du Plais and my cousins’ money had helped him buy a little time. I assured him that if he had cooperated with me like this, his wife and kid wouldn’t need a coffin no more. I made Abett understand that debt is not a good thing to have on ones neck and Pablo’s money wasn’t the right cha-ching to be buying him a few extra hours to live, then I made him write me a cheque for double what he owed Pablo and I had one of my boys go cash it out in the local bank while I stayed with Abett for a few more words on this Toni Du Plais figure.

By the time my guys came back with the report that the cheque wasn’t a bounce, I explained to Abett that the problem with owing is that you never get out of debt and exploiting younger ones like my cousin, Pablo, wasn’t the right way to go about clearing his name. I also advised him to pick his scapegoats more carefully next time otherwise I wouldn’t be so forgiving if this situation were to repeat itself with anyone even remotely related to me. Then I had my boys carve the capital letter “T” on his inflated belly and left.

So, I suppose that narrative you just heard is definitely making you become a little less creative with your reply to my proposal, so I’ll ask again: What do you want?

Prose-stitution: Belong

I wake up lonely with you by my side, one more night it doesn’t feel. There are movies playing in my eyes; I dream of our fortunes, but they’re wrong, I don’t belong to you.

****

            “Let’s get married Annie, let’s get married right away. We’ll travel the world and have a lot of kids together.” I whispered into her ears as cold shrills ran down my spine, this was the boldest step I had ever taken since quitting college to become a photographer. She looked at me mercifully as if I were a lost dog searching for a home in the cold of winter, then she held my hand and she looked into my eyes, it was obvious I was scared; scared she would say no, scared I’ll push her away.

“Where would we go?” She asked,

“Anywhere, anywhere we can, just to be together” I replied.

“I have to stay here Tom, I have to go to college, I have to get a degree, and I have to get a job and a life and…”

“…You could have a life with me, as long as we’re together, you’ll never be alone”

“What you are asking for is not life, it’s a risk and my life isn’t worth the risk,” She answered quietly as she arose from the wooden chair we sat on at the park. “I can’t take risks Tom, I’m not wired that way. You want to get married, you go get married, I’m not doing anything of the sort” She said to me angrily as if I had hurt her by simply asking her to be mine forever, as if it was a crime for me to ask the only woman I have ever loved to marry me and let’s enjoy the rest of our lives together.  It had happened, she had said no; she refused. My heart began to race faster and faster with every passing moment we looked at each other, maybe she’ll change her mind, maybe she’s bluffing, this is not real, she loves me, she loves me more than anything in the world and I love her too, perhaps even more than she does me, but that doesn’t matter. When people are in love they are meant to be together; that’s how it works.

Annie looks me in the eyes and it’s clear she’s savoring me one last time and I try to tell myself that this isn’t over; this isn’t goodbye. Her deep brown eyes peruse my hairy exterior, she takes my hands and she fixes hers within then she kisses me and continues her gaze. “I love you, Annie. Let’s get married, travel the world and have lots of kids.” I said to her once again hoping she’ll change her reply, hoping she’ll let me in this time, hoping she’ll tell me what I want to hear; that yes, we should get married and travel the world and have lots of kids and live happily ever after. Her eyes close, a tear drops and she whispers “Goodbye Tom”.

****

            I wasn’t taught this way, with a thousand words to say but nothing to mean; I was born with a broken heart. What I wouldn’t give for that first night when I thought you were mine, I could put my hands around you all through the night and dream of our future, but no, the dreams would be wrong; I don’t belong to you.