How Paranoid Can I Make Myself Tonight (Part 1) by Noah Cicero
Nickleback, on the radio, want to be funny, need to be funny right now, need attention, in the car alone, alone driving to Kent, where I met my girlfriend. We met on a saturday, came in, she was high on coke, she looked beautiful, fell in love, went up to her room that night, had sex, she pulled down her pants, I saw her vagina for the first time, never forget, the same vagina, have loved the same vagina for two years. My vagina, what is her name, my girlfriend, her name is Maddie, that is her name
I have given her the name Maddie, now she has the name Maddie, oh god Maddie.
Maddie will be there, what time I don’t know, she will arrive when it is time to arrive, she will text, she will use her phone to connect to my phone, I’ll get her text and I’ll find her. I can’t find her in that same apartment, she has moved since then. She moved from Kent, I don’t go to Kent anymore, other people have moved from Kent, some remain, Kent is a college town, a town that has college kids, professors and Starbucks and college bars, all of them supporters of college.
Really excited now, so pumped, have a Saturday off from the restaurant, I still work at a restaurant, 31 years old, total failure, my brother had three kids and a mortage by the time he was my age, everyone is normal by my age, not me, also substitute for a local school, boring most days, most days, I sit there, checking my email over and over again, the schools have blocks on every site besides google and wikipedia.
A Nickleback song comes on, I get my cell phone and record myself rocking out to Nickleback while driving, texting while driving, I am a dangerous person. A person that lives a life of danger and excitement, texting while driving. Making movies while driving. I send the movie to Alex and Tom, they both hate Nickleback, maybe it will entertain them. Play the movie back, can’t understand what the music is, complete noise, oh god, my funny joke is not funny. All I want to do is be funny, why won’t the world let me funny. I’m not funny. I’m not a funny person, I should settle on being a nerd, a nerdy asshole that writes long Pynchon like novels. I should delete my facebook and twitter account, go to the mountains and write Pynchon/keep thinking ‘Pynchon like novels’ ‘Pynchon like novels’ ‘Pynchon like novels’ ‘Pynchon like novels’ ‘Pynchon like novels’ I have never read Pynchon.
Get to Kent, text Alex while driving, texts back, smoking two blunts, be at Starbucks in a half hour. I don’t know what to do, Alex told me he would be at Starbucks in an hour, I left my house, I am on time, I have a cellphone, I always know what time it is.
Go to the Chinese buffet alone. You see me at the Chinese Buffet alone. You see walk amongst the Chinese food, you see me look at General Tso’s chicken, there it is, chicken made all weird, you see me get some. You see me stand near the chicken on the stick things, is it really chicken, who cares, get like five of them, the fried dumplins look good, oh, fried dumplins you supply meaning to my life, will never give up on fried dumplins. Sit and eat alone. Everyone else is eating with someone. Everyone else has a friend, someone is eating with their mom, their mom loves them. They don’t talk, no one is talking. College kids are sitting in groups of four, they are having a great time, I used to sit with three college kids at the Chinese buffet in Kent, but no more, two of them went to Chicago, they needed to go to grad school, they need to make money and profit in this world, I need to sit alone at the Chinese buffet ,slowly put fried dumplins in my mouth.
I drink water at the Chinese buffet, the water tastes just like water. I am glad.
Can you see me eating alone? There by myself, with the Chinse food and the water, I am not using a straw, you wonder, why isn’t he using a straw? He is drinking from the glass, that is so gross, I am a gross person that does gross things, these are your thoughts, your main thought is ‘doesn’t he have any friends?’ That thought goes deep into you, makes your heart rattle around in your chest, your lower intestines contract and cause diarrhea thinking ‘doesn’t he have any friends?’
Go to Starbucks, the line is long, full of professors and college kids, I want to have fun tonight, I want tonight to mean something, I want tonight to be perfect and wonderful like the old days in Kent, when we would take Adderall and drink all night watch the cats play life would pass easily, feeling overly sentimental, bad, must stop this, put a halt to sentimental thoughts, who asked time to pass, I didn’t mean to graduate college, it was an accident, maybe I can go to grad school, but grad school is serious, you have to take a GRE, get accepted to a program and life is way to fucking serious to be drunk all the time, oh fuck, this is an accident.
Go to the bathroom and poop, Alex sends me a text message, says he will be there in 20 minutes, the bathroom has the best lighting in Starbucks, I stay in there a long time because of the lighting. Go upstairs to sit at a table and read Mark Twain’s Innocent’s Abroad, reading travel book, getting ready to travel to South Korea to teach English, haven’t been hired yet but Maddie has, my girlfriiend, I keep telling myself I have a girlfiend, only see her once a week, sometimes twice, not a very active relationship, sex sometimes, sometimes not. Mark Twain thinks France is beautiful, I am in a Starbucks in Ohio, everyone currently living in France thinks it is a shithole and wants to come to America, tell myself more things, the amount of shit I tell myself, reaches scientific notation levels.
Alex shows up, he comes upstairs, drinking coffee. He has Brandon with him, both are stoned, glassy eyes, faces droop, smiles protrude, Alex says last semester did not go well, Brandon says last semester did not go well, he is washing cars now. Brandon rarely ever talks.
Noah Cicero has six books published and many shorter things online and in print. His book The Human War was made into a movie and will coming out in 2012. He lives in Youngstown, Ohio and went to college at Youngstown State University for Political Science. He has a kitten that won’t let him type because she won’t stop trying to get on his lap.
© 2012, Metazen.