Groper Rob

“That’s a fine timepiece.”

“Thank you.” Andrew Simons looked down at his wrist. He looked up at the man leaning against the side of the building. He was a scraggly guy. It wasn’t clear if he was homeless or a surfer. He was only wearing shorts. His blonde hair was an unkempt mess. He was a short, wiry guy. He wore knock-off Blue Blocker sunglasses. He gave off a strange vibe. He laughed at Andrew, revealing broken front teeth.

The doors opened, emitting the air conditioning as he walked through the doors. The lobby was fairly conservative. To his left was a small reception desk. The elevator was straight ahead.

“I hope you’re having a good morning, Mr. Simons.”

“Morning, Billy. How are you?”

“I’m good, sir.”

“Billy, please stop calling me sir.” Andrew said as he walked to the elevator. Billy O’Connor was a balding middle aged man. He was the concierge and building manager. He had been steadfastly working that counter the whole time Andrew had owned his place.

He pressed the ‘up’ button. The doors opened moments later. Andrew hit the third floor and the doors closed. He stepped out and turned left. The first door on the right was his.

It was a beachfront condo. He had bought it back in college. He had scraped together some roommates from the dorms and moved in. It seemed crazy at the time for a 20 year old to buy a beach condo instead of renting an apartment, but now he was happy that he did. Almost a decade later, he no longer lived there. He used it primarily for his office.

Andrew dropped his briefcase on the couch. He walked into the master bedroom to hang his suit jacket up in the closet.

He went into the kitchen to make coffee. He had a morning routine. Andrew woke up at 6:00. He wore a suit and tie and never had coffee until he arrived here. He always drank his coffee black. His grandfather had once told him that, “If God had wanted cream in coffee, He would have put it there.” That was one of those nuggets of wisdom Andrew lived by.

Andrew was a writer. He took it seriously. He didn’t want to mix his home life with his business life. This condo let him escape those domestic hours. He could focus on his work without being worried about household chores or the phone ringing.

Phones weren’t allowed in the office. He left his iPhone in the car. The internet was no longer hooked up in the place. He didn’t want to be distracted by the outside world. The only way he was going to succeed in writing something meaningful was to sit his ass in that chair and write. There was no shortcut to writing. There was no app for that. You could either write or you couldn’t.

He emerged from the kitchen with his coffee mug. Andrew had a desk in the center of the room, facing out to the patio. He sat his coffee on the coaster sitting to the right of the keyboard. It was the only thing allowed on the desk, besides the computer.

Andrew walked past the desk and opened up the French doors. The smell of the ocean filled the room. He had always loved the ocean. It helped to calm his mind and let him get down to real writing.

He didn’t linger too long at the doors. He walked to the bookshelf and turned on the sound system. The iPod had a mix on it filled with his favorite songs; Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, The Grateful Dead with assorted other classic rock and blues. He didn’t have to worry about what to listen or skipping tracks. He just pressed shuffle and it would play all day long.

He finally sat down at the computer and opened the current piece his was writing. Andrew reread the last pages to remind himself of where he left off. He closed his eyes for a few seconds before typing. Sometimes the words wouldn’t come to mind and he sat there looking at the screen without seeing anything. He let his mind go slack. He pulled at his tie to give him another inch to breathe. He massaged his neck, trying to get some words to fall onto the pages.

The grandfather clock in the foyer rang out the hour. That was his cue to get up and walk around. He never liked to get stagnant. Sometimes he stretched, other times he just refilled his coffee. He would keep drinking coffee all day long.

The hours passed with this cycle of writing, pacing and drinking coffee. The clock chimed five times, which meant it was quitting time. Andrew finished the paragraph he was working on and saved the document. He always shut the computer down before he left for the evening. There was no point in wasting the energy.

Before He left for the day, he always straightened the place up, closing the French doors again. He washed his coffee mug and wiped down the counters. A little effort in the evening always made the mornings easier to deal with. He enjoyed walking into a clean office. It eliminated stress. Andrew retrieved his suit jacket. He straightened his tie in the bathroom mirror.

Andrew grabbed his briefcase, making his way downstairs. He felt good. He had put in a solid effort. He had written for the majority of the time he was at the office. Distractions came, but were dealt with promptly.

“Good evening, Mr. Simons.”

“Hey, George, it’s good to see you.” George McDermott manned the desk in the evenings. He wasn’t as polished as Billy, but he was the right man for the job for that time of day. He looked like a mob henchman from Central Casting. He was intimidating, but a sweet guy to the residents.

Andrew walked out the front door of the lobby into the late afternoon. The sun was working its way to the horizon. He could feel the summer getting away from him. The temperature was already down to a comfortable level.

“Hey man, you got the time?”

“It’s 5:17.” Andrew said, before realizing it was the same guy that commented on his watch in the morning. The guy smiled a goofy, toothy smile. It was difficult to look at him with that orthodontic nightmare going on.

Andrew did his best to keep walking. He used the key fob to unlock his car doors. Before he could get to the door handle, a baby blue convertible Bug stopped behind his car.

“Andrew!” He turned to see it was Holly. Sweet, beautiful Holly Lang was a girl he had liked for a long time. She was one of the perkiest blondes he had ever known.

“Hey there! What are you up to?”

“I was just in the neighborhood. I’ve been at the beach with the girls.”

“Sounds like a rough life.”

“You should have been there. It was fun.”

“I’m sure it was. Beautiful women on a beautiful beach. What’s not fun about that?”

“Don’t forget the scantily clad, beautiful women part!” Holly raised her eyebrows flirtatiously.

“Oh, I’ll never forget that. Trust me.”

“Wanna get a drink with me?”

“Of course I will.” Andrew popped his trunk and tossed his briefcase in before walking around to the passenger side of her car.

“You always look so good.”

“Thank you, Holly.”

“Why do you always wear a suit?”

“I just want to feel like a professional. Sometimes I don’t feel like an adult yet, you know?”

“Yeah, I get that.”

“I think if I look good, I’ll feel good.”

“Why aren’t all guys like you?”

“Because there’s only one Andrew Simons!” He said smiling broadly. She smiled and leaned in to kiss him briefly.

“I’ve always liked you, Andy.” The tender moment was interrupted by a voice coming from the building.

“Hey Suit! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do with Miss Sweet Tits!” The homeless/surfer guy chortled to himself like he was the funniest guy in the world.

“Ugh, I hate that guy!” She put her arm out across Andrew’s waist. “Please don’t do anything. He isn’t worth getting arrested over.”

“Do you know him? He was here this morning.” They both looked back at the man. Andrew’s fists were balled up.

“That’s Groper Rob. He is always bothering all the girls on the beach. He thinks he’s smooth and funny. He’s just a creeper.” Andrew stared at her, then looked back at the guy. He was still chuckling to himself and for anyone around him.

“Why do you guys call him that?”

“Because if you get too close, he’ll cop a feel. One time he flashed us. It was gross. He has such a tiny dick.”

“That’s not right. Why don’t the cops do anything?”

“They always remove him, but he keeps coming back.”

“I’ll talk to Billy about keeping him away.”

“At least that’ll keep this beach safe. Thank you.”

“It’s no problem. We need to keep the beautiful women of the world safe!”

“Don’t you mean, we need to keep all the women of the world safe?”

“Why yes, Holly, that’s exactly what I meant to say.” Andrew deepened his voice for dramatic effect.

“What are you talking about?” Holly said as she laughed.

“Nothing, I’m just being silly.”

“You’re a strange guy, Andy Simons. But for being such a gentleman, let me buy you a drink!”

“You do realize that a gentleman wouldn’t let a lady buy a drink, right?”

“Well, we’ll work something out.” Holly said with a wink.

Shifting

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The more he thought, the tighter he gripped the wheel. His anger was getting the better of him. He knew he was right to leave. There was no way to win in that situation. He was seething with fury. This was no way to live. There had to be a way to not get this upset. He had to learn to control himself.

“Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen blared from speakers as he shifted his anger. His knuckles were turning white. The driving made him feel better. There was fresh air and endless opportunities ahead of him. The music surged through him, sending the speedometer needle around the dial.

He was over-accelerating by the time he reached the top of the bridge. The tires got squirrelly, but he held tight. Traction was regained through his tight grip. It was a smooth, downward curve out and away. His speed was getting out of his control. He made a conscious decision to slow down. There was no reason to end up dead before anything was resolved. He downshifted to third. The car shuddered as it slowed.

There was a red light at the bottom of the bridge. He was glad he had decided to slow down before then. He sat at the light, waiting for it to turn green. He could feel his heartbeat starting to slow down. The deep breaths were visible in the cold night’s air. He zipped his sweater up to the neck, sticking his face under the turned up collar.

We all have choices, he thought. I don’t want to live my life angry. The light finally turned green, but he didn’t move. The car just sat there with his hand on the knob. There were no other cars out on the street at this hour. The lamps were spaced too far apart and did little to light the boulevard.

He slammed his foot downward on the pedal, jerking the wheel violently to the left. He made the U-turn and kept his foot on the floor, shifting up through the gears to fifth. He was going back. There was no point in running. That wasn’t going to solve anything. He hoped she would still be there. He hoped she would listen.

It didn’t take him long to get back up and over the series of bridges crossing the rivers. His speed was once again out of control, though anger was no longer motivating him. The need to return and talk things out were at the forefront of his mind.

He pulled the car into the circular, gravel drive in front of her place. He rushed out and ran through the front door, glad she had still left it unlocked. He found her sitting on the floor, right in front of the fire he had build for their quiet night.

“I’m sorry.”

“I am, too.” Her tears were fresh. She didn’t look up at him.

“I’m sorry I got so mad.”

“You left me.”

“Yes, I didn’t want to argue any longer.”

“You left.” She repeated. His heart sank.

“Yes.” He wondered what was the wisest choice for his next words. He decided there were no right words. He just sat down beside her and reached out to hold her. She recoiled at first. He allowed a hand to just linger on her shoulder. “I’m sorry.” He paused before leaning in to wrap her fully.

Taco Tuesday 

 

 

Tuesday afternoon came around. We had planned on meeting up for lunch at Rosita’s. They have the best tacos on the island. The place was beat up. It looked like it was constructed entirely of driftwood and old metal signs. I ordered the Key West Amber. The barkeep wore peach shorts and a denim shirt buttoned low over a nice, tight tank.

“I’ll have a water, no lemon please.” The sound of her voice broke the love spell.

“Sorry, I was…uh…”

“It’s okay. I understand.”

“How are you?”

“I’m good. It has been a rough start to the week, but it’s early and we’ll rebound.”

“I love that about you.”

“What’s that?”

“How you always find hope in the situation.”

“What’s the alternative?”

“No, I get it. I just don’t naturally see it.”

“Are you guys ready?” The barkeep asked.

“I’m going to have the taco plate.” Alice’s voice was overly cheery, bordering on patronizing.

“Make that two, please.” I resisted looking at the barkeep, instead keeping my eyes on the menu. I folded it, handing it to her without ever looking up. I’m sure it was awkward for everyone.

“What’s your name, dear?” Alice asked the barkeep.

“It’s Summer.”

“Oh, of course it is. ”

 

*previously published

Just Keep Pouring Me The Coffee

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Just keep pouring me the coffee. I’ll need it to keep warm. The air conditioning is over the top. I can’t handle it. The nights are long and they keep getting longer. I don’t feel the loneliness as much as I used to. But then again, I don’t feel much anymore. I’ve closed myself off from everyone and everything. You cannot save my soul, so please stop trying. I know I’m broken. I’ll probably never get over it. But that’s just the way life is going to be. People swarm around me, but I can’t feel anything towards them. I want to feel something again. I see those young ladies walking around in those short skirts. Yes, I’d like to do dirty things with them, but my tainted soul is no longer for sale.

Deck The Halls

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She made sure the house was cleaner than it had been all year. She scrubbed and cleaned deep into the home’s old wood. A little elbow grease made that place shine like it hadn’t in too long. Bleach and Pine-Sol made sure her effort didn’t go unnoticed. Her old sweat pants and stained t-shirt looked like Cinderella’s rags. She was a mess, inside and out.

She sat back and looked over the house, admiring the place which had been neglected. Work and caring for others had taken priority. She wandered into the kitchen and uncorked a bottle of Pinot Grigio. It had been a rough week and she felt a little relaxation would be nice.

Soon afterward, she retired to her bedroom and scrubbed herself of the grime and sediment of the past. There needed to be nothing left to remind her of disappointment and heartache. She needed to feel fresh and clean for the coming New Year.

The winter season had always made her feel special as a child. The recent past dulled any happiness she might have found. She was determined to change all that. This year she was going to be happy and joyous. She was going to take back her life.

She emerged wearing her favorite holiday cocktail dress. It was a classic blue taffeta. She loved how it fit her. It flattered her figure without being ostentatious. This dress quietly announced her. The perfect heels and pearls completed the ensemble. She felt graceful and beautiful.

She wasn’t going to allow not having a place to wear it this year to keep her from the pleasure of feeling this good. This dress changed her whole outlook. There hadn’t been many moments where she felt good about herself. She made a mental note to change that.

The fire had been carefully built and lit, as well as all the candles in the house. A fresh pine garland was woven along the mantle. She made sure the oversized red bow was tied perfectly upon the front door. Each decoration raised her spirit a little more.

She sat down on a barstool at the end of the counter. The second glass went down smooth. Her spirits began to rise. Spinning the stem in her hand, she thought about her life.

Something stirred inside her, telling her that she had a good life. She was tougher than this and was tired of feeling this way. She wasn’t a victim and she was tired of being treated like one. She knew that she was an intelligent woman. She held a good job. There were men who found her attractive and behaved nervously around her. The thought made her giggle softly.

She poured herself another glass and walked over to her phone on the bookcase. With a few touches, she queued up a waltz. The magic of technology had music playing from speakers throughout the house. She smiled broadly and returned to her decorating. She began to dance around the room as she filled her home with the Christmas spirit.

Once completed, she turned off all the interior lights, allowing the fireplace, candles and Christmas tree to illuminate the room. The coffee table had been removed for the winter to fit the tree. This offered plenty of room for dancing and merriment.

Her soul was glowing. This pure joy had been missing for so long. She knew that she would be okay as long as she could remind herself of the simple joys in life. She could be happy as long as she kept dancing. While she drank her wine and celebrated life all evening, her heels could be heard click-clacking on that hardwood floor.

 

*I forgot to post this earlier in the season. I hope you enjoy.

**previously posted on former blog

Gotta Throw All The Words Out

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Gotta throw all the words out
No matter if they’re drivel or not
Get them high up into the sky
Possibly to cling to someone’s thoughts
Unconscious connections
Allow them to autonomously weave
Touching deep into a soul
& that we might once again believe

Oakland Bound

 

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I’m trying to get comfortable. The seat must be made of that cheap, fake vinyl material. My legs keep sticking to the seat. Today is hotter than any of the other days this summer. It seems like it is just going to get worse. One must come to terms with these facts early in the summer.
I boarded the bus in Santa Rosa. My aunt dropped me off. I came out to California from Phoenix to help them move. I’m on my way back to Arizona now. I’ve grown up wishing I lived with my family out on the coast. It seems to be a much cooler existence. Who doesn’t want to live at the beach?
I boarded at the last minute & the only seat available was next to a cute girl. I looked around; too long to see if there was a different seat I could choose. I’m probably shier than your normal guy. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable the whole ride. The fact I was on a bus was already uncomfortable for me. I was used to driving in a family car or flying on the trips out to visit family. I flew out to the San Jose International Airport on my way back, but I didn’t have a way to get back to my grandfather.
So here I am. She is pressed against the window & hasn’t looked my way. I’m grateful for this, because now I didn’t have to introduce myself or somehow keep a conversation going. I can just keep to myself. I pull out a notebook. I know I have to put the finishing touches on a story I had written about my time in Camp Meeker.
Camp Meeker is an unincorporated community off the Bohemian Highway between Occidental & Monte Rio. Well, at least, that’s what Google says about it.
I look for a place to put my coffee. “Shit.” I mutter to myself. I guess between my legs will have to do. It’s no longer hot. It’ll be okay.
“Sorry I’ve been silent this whole time.”
“It’s okay.” I look up with wide eyes. “I don’t talk much, myself.”
“Why are you looking at me like that?” She has a bit of a giggle in her voice.
“I…I kinda just keep to myself. I think most of my friends are people I’ve known my whole life or I met through them.” I say, warily.
“I’m Samantha, but no one calls me that. It’s always Sam.”
“What do you want to be called?”
“I don’t really care. I’ve never thought about it….you know, no one has ever asked me that.”
“Well, we’re going to be sitting here together for a while. What would you like me to refer to you by?”
“It does seem silly, but why do we even have to use names?”
“It does seem silly.” I stare at her. I have never met anyone who was this bizarre in their logic. I see myself wanting to distance myself from this impending craziness, but I can’t take my eyes off her. She is pretty, but not in an over bearing way. There is something different about this one.
“You okay?”
“Yes, why?”
“I think you stopped breathing.”
“No, I’m still breathing.”
“Well, you’re definitely staring.”
“Oh. Sorry.” I look down. She giggles quietly to herself. I look at her again. Our eyes meet & then lingers.
“It’s okay. It’s nice to be noticed.”
Samantha keeps saying these strange things. How could anyone not notice her? She could never blend in if she tried. There was just no way. Where was she from? Who would make her believe that she wasn’t being paid attention to? I mean, I just met this chick, but it seems crazy to me. It seems cruel & harsh. I know some guys feel better when they mistreat women, but I couldn’t fathom this.
I keep my smile, but it is tinged with sadness at this point. We keep our small talk going through the small towns of Northern California; Petaluma, Novato & San Rafel. We grow silent as the bus comes to the Richmond/San Rafel Bridge. The noise of the tires & traffic echoes off the steel structure makes it almost impossible to hear each other.
The bus weaves its way through Richmond & into Oakland, where I have to depart. Sam is going to be continuing on. I wish we had met at a coffee shop or bar or anyplace else. This feels like a tragedy to me. I can see the Bay Bridge looming off to the west. Oakland never was an uplifting place. The grime & criminal element will forever supersede the stories of generations past growing up on these hillside streets. I can’t envision them being real after seeing the city for myself. Time had not been kind to this place.
“I wish I didn’t have to go.”
“Me neither. It was really nice meeting you.” Her eyes have grown sad as well.
“This is crazy. We’ve only known each other for a few short hours.”
“Life is cruel sometimes.”
“I think there’s some saying about heights & lengths of happiness.” I wish I hadn’t tried to be witty in this instant. It just makes me feel bad about myself.
Samantha shakes her head at me & smirks. I guess inappropriate dorkiness isn’t always a bad thing.
The bus pulls into the station & the brakes release their pressure with that tremendous sigh of air. It is the relief after a grueling trip. I sit there looking at her. She sits there looking at me. I know I have to get going. I don’t want my grandfather roaming these streets in the dark looking for me. My soul is stirring. This is one of those moments that define a lifetime. Perhaps not everyone encounters this sort of thing. I’m scared. I feel the butterflies in my stomach. But then I have enlightenment; a moment of clarity. I know what I must do. I reach over & touch her face with both hands. Her eyes close. I move in & place my lips upon hers with a confidence & grace that I have never done anything. It is a magical experience. Samantha kisses me back instantly. She is in the moment. When we finally separate, I feel like the king of the world.
Silently, I stand to rise. She looks up with a mixture of sadness & infatuation. I look down upon her with a smile that will last me for a very long time. Samantha reaches up her hand & grabs mine with all her might. I pause.
“Please wait.” I stand puzzled. She bites her lip, as if unsure of the next move.
“What is it?”
“I want to give you something.” She said, in a quiet voice. I watch her write out her address & rip out the page. She hands me the quarter sheet of purple paper.
“I’ll write you tonight.” Sam only looks down & smiles as I say this. “No,” I gently pulled her eyes to meet mine. “Really, I promise.”
“Okay.” She replies in the softest voice possible.
I smiled at her. I wait only a second before grabbing my bag again & heading towards the front of the bus. I paused one last time at the steps. I took Samantha into my memory, hoping this would not be the last time I saw her.
The air was a little cooler in Oakland. The smell of exhaust & grime penetrated the outside area of the bus station. Night was descending on the city. The Sunset neighborhood across the bay was most likely living up to its name. I moved quickly to get inside. My grandpa was probably hitting on some young lady. I began to realize I needed to get inside & save her.
The night was young. There was so much trouble for us to get into…

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*previously published

A Charmed Life

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“My imagination lives a charmed life.” Grace said.

The weather had started to change. The summer temperatures were lingering in the back of our minds. Grace wore a green, chunky sweater over black yoga pants. I could see the fatigue in her eyes. I don’t know if she wasn’t sleeping well or if it was just the stress. She sipped her venti Starbucks coffee. Grace had always talked about how she hated mornings, but now she was just hiding behind her sunglasses. There wasn’t much effort put into the morning. Her hair was tied back in the tiniest numb of a ponytail possible. That was all her short hair would allow.

“Have you been painting?” I asked.

“Not really, I mean, I have a little bit, but not as much as I need to be.”

“I don’t know much about art. I like your work, but mostly because I can feel your happiness in them.”

“My paintings are depressing as shit!”

“I get that. But I know you’re happiest when you’re painting.”

“I really am.” A smile broke out on her face.

An Evening Rant

 

“I don’t know how to write down what I’m thinking. I don’t know how to breathe properly. I feel suffocated and I’m anxious. I feel my lungs collapsing in on me. I just don’t know what to do about it. I cannot come up the proper words to express what I’m thinking or feeling. Does any of this make sense? I feel like I’m losing my mind. I can’t sleep. There is an endless reel just repeating and repeating. It is driving me crazy,” he said without stopping for a breath. He hopped down from his barstool and started pacing. He ran his fingers through his hair, leaving it disheveled.

She poured him another glass of Scotch.

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“It’s okay, Babe. Just come to bed. We’ll figure it out.” She placed it before him on a crystal coaster. She stepped from behind the bar, placing a kiss on his neck. She let her bright red lips linger on his flesh, inhaling to take in his manly scent. He felt her fingers reach his throat and loosen his tie.

She proceeded to slowly walk towards their bedroom door. Before she disappeared, she let her dress slip off her shoulders and fall to the ground. She looked over her shoulder to see if he noticed her standing in only her heels and his favorite pearls.

*previously posted

A Narrow Passageway Into My Soul

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She wasn’t fazed by them looking at her. She had become used to it after the years. At first, it made her uncomfortable, but now she didn’t mind. It would be a stretch to say she enjoyed the leers, but she still remembered the times when no one wanted to stare at her. She was tall & awkward, slightly geeky despite being close to thirty.

I didn’t care about any of it. I didn’t listen to the buzz surrounding me. I could see her & enjoyed what I saw. The whispered comments from the corners of the room & the crass locker room talk could not destroy what I thought was special.

Society has an infectious need to tear down anything positive. It locks in on it & crushes it out of envy, misunderstanding & pure unadulterated spite. Individual persons can be trusted. People are evil. You can never be sure that groups of three or more won’t try to rip you apart.

“Excuse me.” She smiled her demure, yet encouraging smile. I held my coffee high over her head. I didn’t want to spill as she passed by me. It was a tight squeeze, though it wasn’t mandatory she come as close as she did. Her hands on my hips as she shuffled by was definitely an extra bit she threw in.

It lasted for mere seconds, but I never let that memory leave me. A twinkle came to my eye whenever I thought of her. An innocent moment filled with the possibility of so much more. You have to be grateful for these moments. They remind you that you are alive.