Woman #756 I’d Like To Sleep With

Time to write. Too bad the biggest ass in the city is five feet to my left. I’m in the café. So is she. She’s in a sundress and has a large book of Buddhist teachings that she’s not reading. Maybe she’s like me and just carries books around as a prop to look smart. She’s on her phone. I hate whoever it is she’s texting. The hypothetical existence of a male that she may be interested in makes me angry. And if it’s another girl she’s texting then I hate her for sucking up Sundress’s attention so that she doesn’t notice me.

She does have very large teeth but… that ass. This is rare in Asia. Which is why I came to Asia, to this little mountain suburb town. In pursuit of voluminous output. To go into a Batman Begins exile and come out with a beard and five thousand pages. And today I came to the café with a turbocharged willpower, ready to crush it, and then Sundress sat down. Now how the fuck am I going to write some brilliant shit. I hate being a man. I have a Tom Brady sex drive that just doesn’t fade. I should have jacked it before I left the villa but, hey who am I kidding, it’s not like that would have really helped.

***

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Dear Future Wife

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I want you to cheat on me so you realize how good I am in bed. Because all I’ll do all day is draw up new game plans on how to ravage you. I’ll be the Bill Belichick of husbands. Kegels all day. Because these are savage times and your relationship is only as strong as your last fuck. God, you’re going to be pissed when I get boring but am still the only one who can skewer you into a seizure.

I want to grow old staring into a smartphone next to you. A real nice smartphone, birthday present from our son. The son who’s tall like his daddy who we forced into the NBA so we could cash in. Hopefully your mother tongue won’t be English so I can never creep on your emails and find dirt. You’ll make cute grammar mistakes and won’t realize how hackneyed my writing is. I want you to love me only for my body so that I stay in shape. I want you to die first because you cheated on me. And also because I have to see if my blog about being single at 80 will catch fire. So how about it.

Let’s Go See A Rap Show, She Says

 

I heard that and thought: I fucked up. Someone who loves attention as much as I do should have been putting eggs in another basket. Not rap but something else you can do conspicuously in public. As a young rebel I quit basketball and piano just to be a cunt to my older self, probably. Everything you do when you are 15 ripples out for decades. Every book you don’t read is five jobs you’ll be too dumb to get. I guess I’ve always been intent on fumbling my own destiny. I fucked up. Because something girls often say to each other is: let’s go see a rap show. Something no girl has ever said is: let’s download and read this guy’s ebook. God please don’t leave me for a rapper.

 

Big Night Out: Seoul Edition

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April 2015

I.

Stick to the north of the Han River. Fuck Gangnam. It’s overrun with hairless K-pop and K-drama stars. It’s like going to the Vatican if you’re not Catholic. And I didn’t come here to kowtow, I came here to be a god.

11:35 P.M. on Saturday. I slip free from a rooftop birthday in HBC and rendezvous with my associate Paul (not his real name. Or is it?) in Itaewon District. Paul is a large ginger cunt of Irish descent. Probably has a few strands of Viking DNA kicking around too. He’s fifteen years my senior and is one of my alternate futures. His stats include seven years on the peninsula and one divorce.

Itaewon is the foreigner’s mecca of Seoul and a place that makes no sense. An absolute zoning clusterfuck. US Army base at the bottom of the hill and a mosque at the top that looks like Jabba’s Palace. The Grand Hyatt crammed on the same road as Hooker Hill. It’s a futuristic spaceport that just hasn’t become a spaceport yet. Turks Nigerians Mongolians. White homemakers hustle their children through the brown crowds like it’s goddamn sniper alley. For some reason I love it when white people are scared of things. I feel like they deserve to be.

Off-duty American soldiers rumble by and tell me that I’m tall. I act like I don’t who they’re talking about and they laugh. Their base is where my grandfather did a spell in 1973. He’s walked this road before. Forty-two years later I’m on the same sidewalk with an IPA in hand and preening the fuck out of a charcoal suit. My mission in this country is decidedly different and far less virtuous.

Paul has been on the scene for hours putting down sake with his Korean employers, while I’m just a beer deep. Exactly how I like it. The first commandment of casual alcoholism is to always have someone around who drinks more than you. We decide on doing a blitzkrieg of Seoul Pub. Go out exit 4 of Itaewon station and walk straight. Seoul Pub is home of a record-setting number of interracial date rapes. Also more STDs per square foot than Burning Man. We come in here to feel superior to the rabble and we quickly accomplish that mission. Bald white men in various stages of decomposition gurgle and wheeze in the booths. I get a San Miguel and listen to a gay South African tell how he got raped by a woman. He thought it was the funniest shit that had ever happened, like, what woman is this desperate? Paul is slow-spitting game at a girl who is moving to LA soon and has a gym bag with her that she’s trying to sell for 15,000 won. I start mocking her by trying to sell her the pen in my pocket for 75,000 won. Sell five gym bags and then you can come back with enough money to buy this nice pen. She calls me a dick. Now I know the warmup lap is over and I’m ready to go out.

She hands me her phone to take a picture of her with Paul and in the ten seconds I’m holding it two different guys text her. So she’s almost as slutty as I am. I give Paul the no-go look and we eject. I salute the South African and drop 10,000 won on the bar. I love literally dropping money on things. We just got paid. We’re teachers, no, we’re wizards; we stand in a room and perform English incantations and money appears. The working man is immortal for the six hours after the paycheck hits.

II.

And what a fucking feeling that is. July 2009 I was just out of college and so I was no longer being paid to exist. Christian college. I could do some damn fine Biblical exegesis but I couldn’t figure out the credit card machine on gas pumps. Definitely too naïve to get hired somewhere. I sold my iPod Touch for $99 to buy groceries. Then my bike.

III.

Paul and I procure road beers from the CU market. Nice high-calorie IPAs for 8,000 won. Money ain’t a thing. I have to drink so I’ll have an incentive to work out. If I have a nice body I’ll stop. And I have to start drinking tonight or else it won’t be ethical to fornicate with someone later. Second commandment of casual alcoholism. We cab to Hongdae, the student area. Never mind that I’m now old enough to be in my 11th year of college. The driver thinks we’re new in town and gives us the high-fare runaround. A long slide down the river freeway. We call him a cunt and he redirects.

Paul’s got a Filipina who he’ll connect with later if he can stay vertical. He says he banged her seven times on their first night together. I love Paul but I call bullshit because he’s forty-two. Not out loud though. Karma for when I’m forty-two and giving fuzzy stats.

I put out a blast to my backup women and get them stacked up like planes above the runway. It’s 2015 and your phone is just something you use to order sex like Domino’s. Probably Alexander Bell’s endgame.

The French cougar and the Korean girl who used to be Sasha but changed her name to Claire. And there’s Ruth from Texas and Jessica from Chicago and—Christ, OK, it’s not as bad as it sounds. This is all just because I love my future wife so much. A man never listens harder than when his love mentions something from her old pile of dicks. This is so I’ll have a raft of stories to balance her out.

IV.

2008. Bible study and then making out on the couch with Lauren for four straight hours afterward. Chaste cuddling with a boner I could have shoved through a brick wall. Night after night after night. I became the best kisser there ever was. I can pick locks with my tongue now. I put in the 10,000 hours. 10,000 hours of sin, 10,000 guilty texts received the morning after. Finessing my responses is how I learned diplomacy. Give a man that and his bed will never go cold. Praise the Lord, I guess.

V.

We touch down in Hongdae. Paul’s got an aristocratic British friend who owns this lit-up basement club that looks like a Tron dungeon. He gives us absinthe with the flames on top like this is Potions class. I knock back the shit and make an insincere offer to pay before Paul always says he’s got it and I skyrocket back up to street level. There are drunk Koreans slumped in front of 7-11 like they got shot execution style. A single shoe shoe sits under a streetlight.

Fourteen months in-country and I’ve got the zone figured. Smart clock management and venue shifts timed down to the second. I hit the park but it’s dead so I hit Thursday Party to press flesh, I hit Zen Bar. Right now the birthday entry cutoff for the clubs is 1985. No one older allowed in. I see Father Time laughing at me in the shadows. I’m slinking around to shake off tackles from old flames so I can stay in pursuit of new ones. It’s like playing tag and even though I’m 27 I enjoy this a lot. Europeans everywhere. An infestation.

I fuck with people and tell them I’m a lawyer for the “the company that owns Pokemon” or that I’m “here to get plastic surgery.” I hit Shamrock & Roll because they have the cleanest bathroom in the district. Then I hit this absolute dive called FFs. The DJ is spinning stuff from 2011 so it makes me feel young again. Nostalgia seeps into my bloodstream in equal measure with the poison. I always have some paper in my jacket pocket and I write some drunk shit down. Words that I think are pretty good. Days later I’ll read them in Hemingway. Fuck that guy; I still deserve credit.

I keep a handle on myself. I’m loose but still collected. Riding a delicately constructed buzz like a motorcycle on a highwire. I’m copying lines from my funny friends without immediately realizing it. They don’t know it but they’re ghostwriting my life. This girl from Newfoundland is in my lap.

VI.

I inherited a stammer and couldn’t kick it until I was about twelve. The problem is that children have uncommonly long memories. You step in dog shit in third grade and it’s like 9/11. Never forget, no forgiveness. I was at a dance when I was thirteen and Amanda was complaining that all the guys were taken. I was sitting five feet away.

Why don’t you dance with Fred, someone asked her, and Amanda said God, no. This is all your fault Amanda.

VII.

I’m taller than Kobe and when you put me in a suit I have more power than I know what to do with. I’m like a Superman who can fly but can’t land. I just crash and destroy shit.

In the grand scheme we’re only alive for a millisecond. And you only spend a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of your life in a dark room with a song you like playing and someone pretty in front of you. You want to capitalize on those moments. And when you do, you think: 1) I can’t believe that worked and 2) maybe suits should be illegal. Any oaf who can match a pocket square can get it in. That will be the next feminist crusade. Make men wear polos in courtrooms and on dates. I get it. I would also tire of constantly falling for an optical illusion.

This particular Canadian girl won’t fall for the illusion but I have too much pride/insecurity to back off, so we go to karaoke instead. We’re singing “My Love” as the sun comes up and my backups all drop off of text radar and Paul’s updates become so incoherent they might as well be hieroglyphs.

I came here and I became a god. And it’s kind of stupid. Now to master being a normal person. Thank God I haven’t learned all my lessons yet. I can only imagine how riveting my writing will become when I have to quit drinking someday.

***

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inside the twisted mind of Gordon Flanders part 1

A conversation between two damn good writers:

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IMG_3097 photo by Gordon of the Flanders

I pictured Gordon Flanders as a young African American who wore hip-hop and was a TA for a lit class in some snooty New York university. When I found out he was white and a bartender, I imagined he was a young Charles Bukowski, less scruffy perhaps and not so broke, but just as raw. Like Bukowski, Flanders sees the ant that crawls under the bathroom sink and writes about how it makes him feel less lonely. Only Flanders has never read Bukowski.

When he’s not writing fiction, he blogs on Anyone’s Ghost and, on Saturdays, he pops up on Conceited Crusade. A few weeks ago, we collaborated on a short story, Elastic Phantasm. I got a first hand look at how his mind works. It moves like a cat.

You’re married. Is she the woman of your dreams? 

I have been…

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I LIKE TITS

Notes from Korea: 9/24/15

My star rises. Gay men on Twitter have started sliding into my DMs. Achievement unlocked; count me flattered. Though my blog might not be clear enough on my sexuality, so think of this is a press release of sorts. That’s what the I LIKE TITS up there was about. Also because you gotta come out of the gate strong, you see. Every post.

***

Made my coffee too strong this morning. Weapons-grade brew, took me four hours to drink it. Of course I didn’t have to actually finish it but I believe in punishing myself harshly for mild mistakes. Counterbalances how I allow myself to wriggle off the hook for my huge mistakes. Then they cut us loose early from the office and even with all the caffeine I was tired enough that I took two naps with the extra time. It’s because I’m working out two hours a day. Because this girl is only seeing me because I do. Fair play; what I get for objectifying women. But now I have to compensate by objectifying her even harder. Trying to channel uncut 1960’s chauvinism. I catch her with one fucking Oreo and I am OUT.

***

Spent the morning in a fury. Korean Thanksgiving is next week. It’s based on the lunar calendar and it’s a nine-day holiday but they’re only taking four off. Because WORK that’s why. What the actual fuck. That’s like the Jews cutting Hanukah short because they love working so much. Korea is the only country that could be colonized and brutally enslaved and wouldn’t notice a difference.

***

This fourth grader at my school got caught with dick pics on his phone today. Some girls were playing with his Samsung and found them. First of all, well done, young man. Getting them acclimated to dicks early. You’re gonna have fun in middle school. It was all one big Machiavellian scheme, wasn’t it. Take the hit and shame now and reap the benefits later. Then I realized I’ve never taken a dick pic. Thought about putting it on the bucket list so I could scale down my life goals to a more achievable level.

***

A DC temp office just emailed me about a good position. Which means they were probably emailing guys in Korea about DC jobs when I actually lived in DC, instead of emailing me in my apartment ten miles away. Thank God. Otherwise I’d be working a good position in DC right now. Just in a bar crowd after work with all my WASP combover clones. And being in an American bar is just being lost in a big pile of dicks. Like being in that vault in Harry Potter 7, where the cups multiply if you touch one of them. You turn and bump into a dude and then two more dudes spawn off of his elbows. Which is a problem. I’m so into women that talking to a male human feels like a tragedy. I’m wasting my life talking to you.

So, full circle on the sexuality thing. That’s how you end a post.

***

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Hit and Quit

Eighteen months into Korea. Great cuisine, undisputed status as a nightlife legend. I should stay.

But also: eighteen months into Korea. Horrific off-balance haircuts like you get before brain surgery, dumb job on this workaholic treadmill. I should go. Somewhere else, absolutely anywhere in the world except for America. I get too infuriated being on the ground there; it’s run by murderous Puritans. And it’s also boring, like living inside PBS. Familiarity has bred absolute contempt.

I should go. I see clear cave lakes in Iceland on the Bing page and want to cry. I’ve conquered Seoul but who gives a shit about Seoul. One city in one country. One small pinprick of light on the map. Time to play a new level: Shanghai, Perth, motherfucking Hanoi, wherever. Too bad moving to one of these places means I’ll have to actually work a job. And I understand that there are children getting sucked into gears in Bangladesh garment factories but even working until lunch is an indignation to me. I’m a blogger on the cusp, fuck your punch clocks. Don’t you know who I think I am. Enough of the grind, of the alarm hitting like a defibrillator at 6:45 A.M. Motherfucking money. Everybody just give me money.

Tokyo, Cairo, goddamn Capetown: I’m en route. I’ll admit that I’m going to miss my Korean ecosystem. Gym store workplace apartment all on the same street, all within a paintball shot of each other. But great new challenges await me in some new place. Like maybe having to make a ninety degree turn off my street at some point in my day.

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The Valley

Sunday is finally gone, praise God. It always feels like I just got locked in a cage with a bear. Every Sunday the week breaks up with you and the office beckons. Every Sunday it’s twenty-four hours of classic basic-model depression. There’s nothing wrong. It’s just God, balancing out the high of Saturday. The rules are that we all have to take down a heap of pain one way or another. If you’re not a refugee then you’ll just have to be miserable in your apartment. No motivation or pride or energy or life or hope. Spend the full day plunging down stupid Internet rabbit holes, feel like an old lame fraud because your favorite songs came out like three years ago. Stalk the streets with a tall beer. At least you still drink a little bit. Feel a weird twang in your abdomen and then frantically Google to see where the liver is. It’s on the other side of the torso; we’re good.

Then comes Monday and the resurrection. Now fuck off; it’s time for me to pillage.

Alternate Post Title: God Is A Bitch

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Postmortem

New (very) short story over on the Crusade. Life, death, family, memories and the future:

Conceited Crusade

Prompt: “raw.”

You died on Sunday. Just a few hours after I’d left your bedside to go sleep at home. At least I didn’t have to hold your hand when it happened. Even though our relationship was a fully broken thing, from wire to wire, it still would have killed me.

When I came back to the hospital they’d moved you, but your stream was ready for viewing. I said I wanted to watch it and they took me down to this white room that made me feel like I was inside an egg. There were muted lights and a long screen on the wall. I sat on this deep couch and use the tablet to scroll through your life. It was all there, the “raw footage.” Incredible amounts of it. I searched around for things I recognized and just went from there. They said they can only do a…

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Sleeper Bust: Crisis on a Chinese Highway

It was this hellish autumn midnight in October 2010. I was with some friends on a sleeper bus in China. We were bombing down a rainy highway, right into the eye of some kind of gale-force monsoon. When you’re on a highway the best direction to move is “forward.” But tell that to the driver. Motherfucker was an innovator and had this fascination with skidding left and right. He was a ruby-red little smokestack of a man with a witch cackle for a voice. Something askew in his head. He’d see a puddle and speed up like an F-16 was chasing us. This was going to be yet another Asian tour bus catastrophe. And that wasn’t even my biggest problem.

“We’re not going to stop,” my friend whispered.

“I know,” I said.

We were right in the middle of a harsh new reality. Three hours into the ride and we had to piss so, so badly. The problem with that was that the bus didn’t have a bathroom. We’d been drinking before we boarded, because of course we had. When you’re twenty-two you’re perpetually playing a game where if you stop moving, you start drinking.

We had also expected stops along the route but apparently the driver was having none of that. He was going to make the whole sojourn in one shot. A nine-hour overnight haul to the Tibetan border. Six hours to go and I’d already set a new bladder-stretching record. So at least I had that going on for me.

Nine hours, no bathroom, no stops. What do you do.

***

2010 was my first tour of duty in the Asian ESL trenches. We had the first week in October off for Chinese National Day, so I headed west with some friends to hike this place called Tiger Leaping Gorge. When you get up to the summit you can see some the lesser Himalayas in the distance.

The first leg of the trip was a twenty-four hour train ride out to Kunming. It’s in the southwest of China, the geographical equivalent of Phoenix. Just one of the hundred Chinese cities with a population north of one million. From Kunming it was an overnight bus trip out to the Gorge. We hit the bus terminal courtyard and bought some Tsingtaos. Circled the wagons and drank.

The deep chill of fall was here and gray dust caked a world that already gray to begin with. The courtyard was an endless thing. It could have doubled as a Soviet-style parade deck for dictators to show off lines of tanks. China. Toddlers in split-bottom pants squatted on the concrete slabs to go potty. Long-range loogies launched and exploded like ICBMs and motorcycles with dead pigs strapped to them buzzed by.

We cracked our second round of beers and bitched and jeered about our teaching jobs. Each time this memory unspools I want to intervene. Tell myself to stop drinking. It’s like watching the choppy footage of JFK in that car as he makes the final turn to ride past the Book Depository.

The sun melted away and the buzz rolled over us and then it was time to ride out. I crushed a third can and picked up my bag. The inside of the bus looked like the belly of an old warship. The little sleeping bunks were arranged like sailor berths. Three long rows of beds, stacked three high. Of course they were the size of matchboxes. Fit for Gimlis. I’m more of a Gandalf so I knew I was in for a rough night.

I dropped my bag on my little mattress and as the bus rolled out of the sprawl of Kunming I realized there wasn’t a bathroom.

That’s cool, I thought. I’ll just hit the bathroom at the next stop.

***

I had come to this continent to keep the party going. To be a young king, to sarcastically deride my new home. Such arrogance had to be paid for. Asia was going to twist and break me while God laughed and pissed a hurricane down from above.

Three hours into the ride, no stops yet. I didn’t speak any Mandarin yet but I’d mimed an emergency request to the man in the smoke cloud driving the bus and he’d already told me to fuck off.

The bus hurtled down unlit mountain passes but I was in too much pain to be scared. I wondered if bladders can explode like grenades. This was new territory for me. Every rut the bus hit multiplied the agony. When your bladder is that full you get existential and review your entire life. All the regrets and bad calls. Every second was a new eternity of spiritual darkness. I considered that maybe I was already dead and this was my punishment.

Somehow my friends managed to fall asleep. I couldn’t, so I just lay there and hated them with all my heart. Everyone else on board was slack and unconscious. Lolling loose like corpses being ferried into Hell.

Nine hours, no bathroom, no stops. What do you do. This was the greatest challenge of my life. Could I finesse my way out of this. Could I rise up and take responsibility. Become more than a drunk simpleton. What do you do, Fred. No bottle to pee in. So all other options were on the table. Pissing myself. Pissing on someone else’s bunk and blaming them. Cracking a window and whizzing out into the rain.

I started rooting around in my bag. Maybe I could get creative and McGuyver something. I felt like I was one of those geeks trying to get the Apollo 13 astronauts home.

Four hours into the ride I figured out what to do.

***

I dropped down from my bunk and tip-toed a few steps up the aisle. It was full of people. I had to silently navigate a human minefield. Chinese transport companies don’t just sell out all the seats, they sell the floor space too. Every square inch of a train or bus is monetized. Because in a country of 1.4 billion people there’s always someone who will pay to get to Beijing by dawn, even if it means straddling the tailpipe the whole way.

I found a few toeholds between the faces snoring on the dirt-crusted carpet and braced myself against the wall. In my left hand was a plastic bag I’d just emptied of all the food I’d bought for the hike. In my right hand was my towel. I lined the bag with my towel and unzipped.

And then it was over. Then came the relief, the ultimate payoff. Tendrils of pleasure reached up and gave my brain a warm squeeze as an explosion of dopamine rocked me. I shuddered and almost dropped the bag. There’s probably a fetish devoted to this feeling.

The towel was to muffle the noise of my urinary discharge. So the crinkling wouldn’t wake anyone up. Like a gun silencer. Smart move on my part, because I was unloading like a firehose. When I opened my eyes I saw the bag sinking lower. Distending and distorting as it filled up. It was hanging low like an elephant scrotum. Swinging and scraping over a sleeping Chinese man’s nostrils. I had to pivot a bit and stretch away as I finished my mission.

And then I was just a jackass doubled over in a dark bus aisle, holding a bag of my own urine like it was a goddamn Lombardi Trophy. This right here, this was brains and true grit. I grinned like an oaf for about five minutes. I was free. I felt so light I thought I was going to float up into the stratosphere.

The next problem was figuring out what to do with the bag. Five hours is a long time to stand there holding a giant squishy piss-balloon.

We stopped at a highway rest area twenty minutes later.

***

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The Korean Workplace, Part II

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This is Ham

Part I is here.

Friday in the Far East. Good afternoon. I’m in the office and a male teacher is beating a seventh-grader over the head with a wooden switch. The kid had cigarettes. A year ago this would have shocked me. Now I hit kids all the time. Just the class clowns. Just a quick smack on top of the head. It’s fine; their puffy mushroom haircuts absorb the impact. I’m not a monster. But Good God, have I missed being a bully. Meanwhile back in America you’ve got teachers going to prison because they bulged their eyes out at young suburban prince. “Assault.” Whatever happened to violence. Whatever happened to the American Way of exploding our problems. Why coddle the young. Why give them a superpower by removing corporal punishment.

Anyway. The Koreans. The women never, ever shut the fuck up. Incessant off-key wailing. There’s no emergency,
nothing is on fire or anything; that’s just how they talk. Imagine The View, always on, at full blast with the volume knob broken off, in every room in the country. Ham, the “technology” teacher, sits across from me. He’s a gray man cut from a Santa mold, and his head actually does resemble a large ham. He naps frequently and I think his memory is re-set every time he falls asleep, because every time he wakes up he asks me the same two questions: 1) do you eat breakfast? And 2) why you not marriage?

I answer this question by sweeping an arm at the harpies twittering next to us. This is why, Ham. By virtue of being white and having a pulse I could be nuts deep in Korean snatch 24/7 if so chose, but then I’d have to listen to them before and after the deed. And not that American girls are any better. Bring one home and she wakes up you up watching Vines at 8:30 A.M. Then she has “stories” to tell about EDM festivals. I put “stories” in quotes because a story is supposed to have a beginning and middle and end. American girls’ stories don’t have middles or ends. Or beginnings. The one guarantee is that the last sentence will be: “and I was like, uh! Wow!” This, at 8:30 A.M. As revenge I put them on the wrong bus that takes them up north to the DMZ.

Man. Every kid here is smarter than me. Ruthless Sith Lord parents who force them to play Mozart-level piano before their balls drop. Meanwhile, I have a blog. That’s all I got. Why weren’t my parents Korean. I don’t even speak Korean because fuck it, that’s why. Which means I effectively have the lowest IQ in the building.

But I’m that worried about it. As the West implodes I’ll just drink beer over here in the lifeboat. Ham just asked what I was doing this weekend. I pointed to the women and then made an “I can’t hear you” gesture and we both laughed. Then I saw a deep vicarious longing in his eyes. Wait, he really wants to know what I’m doing this weekend. I saw horror in his eyes too. Ham is a man afraid of quitting time, and what awaits him at home. I read the other day that Koreans drink seven million bottles of soju a night. And I think now I understand why.

***

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Praise for “The Colony”

Colony Pic

My first book, the lunar action-thriller The Colony, has been out for about a month. Here’s what the reviews are saying:

“Magical… by remixing just twenty-six different black ‘letters’ on a white page in multiple variations, Fred Colton has created a story that you can actually see inside your head.”

-Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Impeccable. To research The Colony, Fred Colton flew to the moon over a dozen times and spent thousands of hours hiking the lunar surface. He also lived on a diet of dehydrated space food for three full years and this dedication is evident on the page.”

–Barry M. Smith, Amazon.com top 500 reviewer.

“Colton cranks the tension in his action scenes tighter than a trampoline, or a cat’s asshole.”

–Stephen W. Howland, Kirkus Reviews

“My name is Ryan and I’m an alcoholic. The Colony is the reason I stopped drinking. What happened was that I got too hooked on the book to go crack open another Miller Genuine Draft. Now I’m sober and have rejoined the workforce. Best of all, I was able to re-sell the rest of the MGD six-pack to a homeless man for a 150% markup, because he didn’t know the real price! Thank you, Fred Colton.”

–Ryan Schiff, newest inductee into the Boise chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.

“If (when?) Fred Colton ever gets famous, you’re going to feel pretty dumb for not buying this book in 2015. Reading this book today will be like knowing Barack Obama in 1983. Everyone is saddled with regrets; why take on another one?”

-Fred Colton, fredcolton.com

“Fred Colton came to my coven to have a séance with Lance Armstrong. I didn’t understand why, until he was leaving and he muttered something about researching a book about the moon. It was then that I realized he had meant to have a séance with Neil Armstrong, not Lance. I already had his money though, so I didn’t say anything. Also, I don’t think he realizes that Lance Armstrong is still alive.”

–Katrina Van Pelt, Wiccan priestess.

“Fred Colton is a desperate no-name indie writer who paid me to review his book. I didn’t actually read it. But then I started getting into water cooler conversations about The Colony at work, and now I have to pretend I know what people are talking about. I should probably actually read it. People seem to enjoy it.”

–Reviewer-for-hire who goes by the freelancer handle “Quick Mick.”

“If pilots open this book in mid-flight, 747s will begin raining from the sky. It is now the stated mission of the FAA, due to the hyper-engaging nature of The Colony, to keep this book away from all airline pilots.”

–Michael P. Huerta, Director of the Federal Aviation Administration

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How To Write Your Tinder Bio

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I like vagina and you like dicks. Somehow I think we’ll be able to resolve our differences. 8th Grade spelling bee champion but I humbly left the trophy at mom’s place. Because of that last sentence you can infer that I have my own place: +5 for me.

Lame personality but I’m tall. All the height of LeBron, with a refreshing lack of that “look-at-me” athletic prowess. I skip leg day so my package looks bigger by comparison. Casual misogynist because of Lauren. Swipe right to help me piss off Lauren. Is your name Lauren? Because that would be some truly poetic shit if it was.

I’m a white guy on the fade; probably only about two handsome months left, so act now while supplies last.

The Wolf of WordPress

Syrup and jizz. The musk of a hot Denny’s at 11:30 A.M. on Sunday when the post-fuck crowd rolls in. It’s how he’d always described it. Because Saturday night in the Big City is the Hookup Olympics and now here are the medalists.

He’s there in a booth alone with paper. A young writer ten weeks removed from employment. He thought he’d get paid to write some good pages, drift into parties in the meantime. There are TV shows where guys do that. Now he’s wondering why the fuck people keep believing TV shows. He was hot online during the summer. The Wolf of WordPress. So he dropped his notice and then it turned into fall and now here he is, on the other side of a happy ending. The blog got cold and now a big splurge is a $2.79 coffee. The price of admission to sit among humans and listen to their dialogue and steal it; his characters need it. Instead he just feels feel superior to it. These American urbanites are assembly-line rolloffs and they exchange shitty, shitty dialogue. Girls talking about “Insta.” Guys with Macklemore haircuts reciprocate with grunts. They are probably all named Ryan. This is the last time the writer comes to Denny’s. There’s not a less inspiring place in the universe.

It’s not like he can afford it anyway. Marinara sauce back home in the pantry is rationed out like this is World War Fucking II. He’s seven weeks out from living in the park. Because he doesn’t have it. The head that people will pay to get words out of. He almost has it—he’s so close—but he doesn’t. And it’s a game of absolutes. Well OK then. Back to pleated khakis. Maybe an office with blue jean Fridays if he’s lucky.

Now there’s a new tone in the ambiance. It’s instantly familiar. Holy shit, it’s Emma. It’s Emma. She’s a club girl now. She knows better; why is she a club girl. A 21st century manwhore will tire of you faster than a Top 40 song. She takes the booth behind him. He hears a grunt and car keys dropping on the table. Car keys: Christ, the guy she’s with has a fucking job. And then there’s her voice. She’s trying to deepen it, and she’s trying to make him laugh. Of course she is, he has a job. Meanwhile the writer just has a head full of free fluff. The luck is all gone. He knows the score by now. Every thought he has ever had has been dumber than the one before it.

Emma says: It smells like syrup and jizz in here. And her guy laughs. That’s perfect, he says. And the writer looks into his mug and a smile forms on his face, for the first time this season.

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Hot Shot

Capture GIRLS

Hot dead air, sweaty scrotum. So passes another day as an over-privileged white guy abroad, sitting here doing hard time in the Korean workplace. This office is an unventilated box like the rowing galley of a Roman warship. The principal has a kill switch down in his office and he cut off the AC and fans in the building on September 1st. Watchdogging those emissions. Korea is some kind of Captain Planet wet dream. Seoul’s propaganda ministry has done a bang-up job convincing the citizenry that not recycling is tantamount to rape. Little Korea, a nation the size of Pennsylvania, is going to save the planet all by itself. You dumb cunts, can’t you just give up like the rest of us have. China’s rivers are doped up with denim factory runoff and the water can boil your skin off. Smog clouds have turned the sky blacker than space. It’s too late, at least we had a good run. Now turn the motherfucking fans back on.

I try to think positive. Try not to fixate on ways I can El Chapo my way out into the cool breeze before quitting time. This room is a sauna and my mind slides sideways on Lewis Carroll slants. Just gotta embrace the free-fall into a fever dream. I kill time by drifting the hot hallways and entering other teacher’s offices to pilfer small food items. Just because it’s something to do. Quite the haul today: Oreos, nuts, and Korean Maxim Mocha coffee sticks.

Nice to be in Korea today though. No 9/11 coverage, guilt trips about not staying at war for eternity. Facebook knows I’m in the Eastern Hemisphere and tweaks its algorithm accordingly. So I see fewer News Feed links that pose the question: Can Jet Fuel REALLY Melt Steal Building Beams???

What else. Got YouTube EDM mixes going, mostly because the image thumbnails are girls like Rosie Huntington-Whitley blowing me a kiss. (see above). That’s all it takes; I’ll listen to whateverthefuck that video is. She could get me hooked on a 10 hour video of pond splashes and frog croaks. OK, surf surf surf, what else. Brady and the Pats are back on their curbstomp crusade. I like them; they inspire me to cheat my own way to greatness. If I have to steal some hot phrases from an obscure blogger, I’ll do it. Call it a “sample.” I just hope someday someone steals something of mine.

Oh yeah, big news: got a casting shakeup here on the Fred Show. After a year and a half of working with 45 year-old Korean mothers the Incheon Education Bureau just shipped me a new co-teacher. She’s 31, unmarried, has fertile locks of hair and cute rabbit teeth. A little too attractive for me to keep believing I’m not in the Matrix. Now we spend eight hours a day together. And now every day is like the first two minutes of a porno, stretched out to fill eight hours. Smothering sexual tension leads to awkward dialogue, but then eventually we start talking like we’re three drinks into a date. When we’re in the office alone she says things like: I have been with my boyfriend for eight years and we have no passion anymore. Wait, what? WHAT. I could be skirting the edge of a scandal here. When I first met her I started joking with my friends like: my goal is to make her cheat on her boyfriend with me. Then it started to not be a joke. She bought my book and has me explain the passages of military jargon. Wheels her chair over next to my desk so our thighs touch. We talked about my state of discontent with the American Empire today and she said: so don’t go home, stay in Korea and find a nice, smart girl. *pushes hair over her ear*

Wait, what? WHAT. What the fuck is going on. This has got to be a mirage. And dude, she’s taken. Karmic considerations are now a factor. Anyway, if I end up submerged in the Han River with cinder blocks tied to my extremities, you’ll know why.

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Drunk Post: Schwarzbier

WOMEN: why can’t I have all of you. It’s unfair that I can’t. I refuse to accept that any woman, anywhere in the world, has ever been in love with any other man 100%. She’s always been holding back just a hairbreadth of a degree, thinking: there must be something out there slightly better than this. And there is; that something is me. I find it blasphemous and insulting that any woman, at any point in human history, could have ever experienced lust for any other man besides me. For I am Frederick Maximus Colton, Kindle ebook superstar, blog-haver and charming drunk. Please don’t make me have to remind you how incredible I am again.

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Fred’s Book

Fred’s Other Blog

Summit

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Since I have a book out now I guess I can talk a little shit.

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You should write a book too. Stumble around and make a slew of mistakes with your debut, then calibrate and continue.

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Just write stuff and put it online. Don’t say you’re worried if it’s good or not because you know it is. You looked at each sentence and nodded at it. Confidence is probably your best weapon. A writer without it is a Jedi without a lightsaber.

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Even one blog click is a victory. That means all the cat videos and listicles in the world couldn’t stop someone from getting to your blog. Realize that Buzzfeed only exists to deny you, personally, a readership. This is war.

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Yes, your scenes are too long. It’s 2015 and you’re on the clock. One sentence with an extra word in it and you’ve lost the reader to the cats.

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The talent gap can be closed with hustle.

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Don’t think too much about plot holes. Even life has plot holes. Unconvincing and illogical shit happens all the time. So don’t worry. Find me a good story that doesn’t have any plot holes and I’ll eat my hat. Plot hole with that declaration: I don’t own any hats.

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You say you’re a writer, so why aren’t you writing very much?

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Days in the East

Why would I leave here. I’m famous. The locals whisper and watch as I shop for chicken and have me pose for photos with their infants. I have Asian godchildren. My haircuts are the discussion of an entire Korean town. Who am I, Prince Harry. Endless attention. Which I say I don’t want but if that were true then I would have gone full-stop on my web browsing after Snowden.

I’m not going home. I like not being a clone of every other white guy in the city. I like not overhearing ceaseless inanity. Hashtag philosophies. One more motherfucking direwolf theory and I’m jumping out a window. This is why European men have been sailing to other lands since they realized wood could float. To get away from all the other boring white people. The Saltines of humanity. We have to go to other places. It will never stop. My grandson will be like me; teach English to a colony of Martians. Bang spaceships full of three-titted wenches behind oxygen-dome dive bars.

Why would I leave. That would be like asking: would you like to stop being Harry Potter. Go home and be a basic-model doofus or stay here, do nightlife like rappers do. The Western girls I pull here are so far out of my league it should be against the law. They don’t add me to their tally because they’re “abroad.” Why would I leave. That would be like asking me to cut my dick off. The job here can be withering but in America you can have astronaut qualifications and not even get an interview to pour coffee at RE/MAX. Call me crazy but I like having three dollars in my pocket. My crew and I are economic refugees. Here or in China it’s the same: the one thing no one ever says is “I can’t wait to go home.” Because home is a lifelong game of responsibility whack-a-mole, and I’m too dumb to have responsibilities. Home is a game that I suck at. Home is 1:30 last call and Comcast and no parking anywhere and fuck that.

So instead I’m here, taking a motorcycle taxi. The drivers cannonball through reds and every time you think that this is the last minute of your life and so all you can do is laugh. We’re in the alley arcade shooting pellet guns with beers cracked because it’s legal. There was that zany Christmas Eve that turned into a HANGOVER hunt for Paul. He’d staggered into a 트랜스 젠더 bar. Too hammered to read the characters; they mean “transgender.” Why would I go home when in Beijing I’m Gatsby. Endless shots in the VIP section because they believe I play for the Lakers. Once we were throwing a frisbee in a temple courtyard. Chinese soldiers showed up and we were about to run for it. They dropped their guns and played with us. Stay here long enough and you’ll have twenty more stories like that.

But there’s also all this Confucian ass-kissing to do. A pressure cooker of a workplace until noon every day. Pinch-faced ajummas spitfire rasping in the café and headphones can’t drown them out. On Saturdays you can’t sleep in because trucks with loudspeakers drive around the block and shout shit like it’s Muslim prayer time. Tradeoffs. I’ll take them. I run up the hill trail, stop by the pagoda on top of the ridge. Recognize what this spike on the timeline is. A sweet pinnacle. Hold on as life sprints ahead. I will come home. Someday. When all the white people flee over here to follow me, I’ll go. And when all you Americans speak Spanish and need to learn English, I’ll be your guy.

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