An Age For All Humans - First Pages

Remember last week when I said I couldn't remember the last time I was sick? Well, this week, I'm sick. Definitely jinxed that one, huh?

So in honor of Thanksgiving, and my feverish delirium, I proudly present the much anticipated first chapter of my book, An Age for All Humans. I hope you enjoy the sneak preview.

Parental Advisory: Explicit content

 

An Age For All Humans - Chapter One


They call Los Angeles a forty-five minute town, even though it usually takes an hour to get anywhere. It’s something people love to hate about Hollywood. During rush hour you could live five miles away from someone, and it would be faster to jog there than drive. But the sidewalks are all buckled and the smog coats your lungs and cars won’t stop at stop signs, so you’re pretty much signing your death wish. That’s what LA does, makes you sign away most of your life just to live there. 

In LA you can’t walk, and you can’t drive, and god help you if you try to bike someplace, so you get stuck. Stuck in a beige apartment with something someone defined as a balcony, but is really just a floor to ceiling window with a railing across it. Stuck in a relationship that sucks your life dry, stuck jobless, stuck passionless, stuck in the doldrums of poverty and boredom. 

The sun warmed my bare naval as I tipped back my plastic folding chair and propped my feet on the balcony railing. Oli stretched out on the floor next to me, his fuzzy white belly soaking up the spring sun. In LA, spring doesn’t mean anything, because it’s the same temperature all year round. It’s always warm, it’s always stucco, it’s always shiny, and it’s always plastic.

In LA you can disappear. If there’s one thing I like about the city, it’s that. There are so many people and so many cars that if you’re not famous then you’re anonymous. That’s why everyone’s trying so hard to get looked at, so someone will actually notice them for once. So someone might look up from their phones and think, oh my gosh is that… no wait… The up side is that no one notices if you stop at the liquor store for the second time that day to buy another handle of whiskey. And if you’re afraid they will, there’s another liquor store halfway down the next block. If not there, you’ve got the Vons, or the 711 or your neighbor down the hall. Maybe that’s one reason to really love LA, just for it’s plentiful whiskeyness.

My phone dinged, and I set down my handle of makers mark (I’d given up on glasses months ago) and picked my phone up off the spot on my belly.

Be home soon.

Oh great. Bobby’s coming home. I cap my whiskey and hide it in the bottom drawer of my dresser. Time to sober up. That was my life, drink all day, pretend I hadn’t all night. Bobby gets his share of drunk, but that’s usually after five. During the day, I’m on me time, and I get to do whatever I want.

My mom texts,

You coming up tonight?

Tomorrow. I text back

Okay. Play a word. 

I pull open words with friends and drunkenly spell out the word DRUNK. That’s ironic. Or was it? I wish Alanis Morriset had done a better job explaining irony in that song. I liked playing words with my mom, It wasn’t communication at its best, but it beat her calling me up every other day to make sure I’m still alive. And it was nice knowing that she’s still out there in the world too, like a pat on the back just to let me know she’s still there. I lay back on my bed and tried to form my next word.


“Babe?”

Oh, shit. Bobby. Did I fall asleep? 

“Hey.” I sat up sniffing myself maniacally to make sure I didn’t have any alcohol on my breath.

Bobby stepped into the room and kicked off his shoes.

“What are you doing?”

“Just changing, I’m about to go for a run.” I lied.

“Why don’t you change in front of me, nice and slow?” Bobby leaned over and kissed me on my neck, he made his way up to my chin, and then right before he hit my lips I turned away. 

“Bobby.”

“What?”

“I’m not in the mood.”

“Oh you’re never in the mood.” He took off his jacket and tossed it on the bed. “You smell like whiskey.”

“Yeah.” I said passively.

“Where is it?” I pointed to my bottom drawer..

He pulled out the bottle of makers mark and unscrewed the top.

“Want anymore?” I shook my head and flopped back on the bed. He took a swig and loosened his tie. “Cool.” Then he carried it into the other room like a trophy. All I heard was his ass flopping into our ikea futon, and the tv flick on. I closed my eyes again.


We hadn’t f***ed in over three months, though Bobby would probably say it’d been longer. I still counted that one time after Peter and Arielle’s wedding in January, but since neither of us finished, I can’t imagine he even remembered it. I got mine though every so often, I just wasn’t sure where, or if, he got his. I thought about giving him one last go before I left for a few weeks. My Oma (that’s grandma in german) just had heart surgery, and my mom had asked me if I would live with her and help her recover. Since quitting my job at Aster’s and the whole Ford commercial debacle, I was in no position to pay rent that month. Besides Bobby and I needed a break from each other. I planned on telling him that right before I got in my car and drove away. 

It was the cowards way out, and I knew it. But I don’t see any problem with being a coward. It’s called self preservation. Don’t run towards the bullets, run away. That’s the only way to survive in this world.


C. L. Brenton