The Beast



It was 1989 in a neighborhood that used to be called Hells Kitchen in New York City. I moved in to my first apartment. I was 19 years old.

One used to be able to park a car on the streets of Manhattan. I did just that.  My friends and I called her “The Beast”.

She was a Yellow 1978 Toyota Celica. She had many scars due to the fact I had cut my driving teeth on her gears and wheels. She’d been flipped, raced, banged up and ridden hard. The marks were proudly displayed and indented upon her body and frame. That engine, as any car enthusiast would know was the 20R motor. The car had a heart of gold.

She was parked on 48th street between 11th and 12th avenue. Back in those days, car break ins were prevalent. ‘The Beast’ had already  one window smashed in from a thief taking some trinkets.

Given the high crime rate in my neighborhood, I decided to leave the windows slightly open and the doors unlocked so as to avoid another broken window.

Late one night at around 2am, I ventured to the local bodega to get a pack of smokes. As I walked up the street and looked at my car, I was not quite prepared for the scene. A hooker was giving a guy a blow job in my car.

“HEYYYYYY!!!!!”  I yelled “What are you doing?!?!?”

The inhabitants  seemed slightly startled and thought I was a police officer. They had no response.

“That is my car!!! What the fuck????”

The whore responded “ohhhhhh we thought it was abandoned!”

I was still incredulous and shouted “THAT’S MY CAR!!!”

They slowly wandered off and I felt as if the beast was tainted for life. I washed her down with a lot of bleach Lysol type cleaners. I kept her locked up from that point on.

On a side note, that car lasted until 350,000 miles. I drove it up from Bangor, Maine to Daytona Beach, Florida.

To Kill A Mockingbird

My neighbor Danny came up to my apartment the other night and was very worked up about something. He was clearly perturbed and could not wait to vent.

“You hear that fucking bird? All last summer that little fuck kept me awake at night. I’m gonna get him this year!”

I went outside and listened. I heard some faint chirping. Hardly the cacophony he was complaining of.

“Well yes I hear him, but I thought birds slept at night”

“Not this little bastard! LISTEN!”

Danny then produced a digital recorder and started playing back the bird sound that he had captured from his balcony. I’m starting to see where this is going and got amused. We then perused about the internet seeking information about the various types of birds that made noise at night. I found a website  which had several bird calls. As we listened, Danny incessantly played back his recording. This went back and forth for quite some time.  Eventually we concluded that the bird in question was indeed a mockingbird.

He kept repeating the sound and fury grew in his eyes. Things suddenly took a dark turn. Danny planned on killing said bird. He went in to elaborate plans as to how he was going get rid of the menacing creature. Initially, he thought a rifle with a laser scope would do the trick. His plan was to capture the birds attention with some sort of ‘mockingbird mating call’ device. Since we didn’t have one, the digital recording would have to suffice. Danny was convinced the mockingbird was in fact mocking him for living in our apartment building. A place as loyal readers know is Sterile House, a mark of shame.

We then proceeded to the parking lot intent on finding the hapless creature. Danny started blasting the recorded bird call. It was 2am at this point. He walked around the parking lot in his classic frantic style. After a few minutes, the mockingbird answered. Danny then went in to full blown hunting mode seeking out his prey. He kept the looping the sound and the bird kept responding. We then found its location, a bush located right underneath his apartment window.

In his thick Long Island accent he proudly exclaimed “HAHA I GOTCHA YA NUMBAH BIRD! YOU ARE DONE!!”

He stuck his head in the bush that the mockingbird called home. He shook it and yelled. Despite all of his efforts, this did not work. Frustrated, Danny then thought it might be a good idea to pour boiling water and / or piss on the area from his balcony. I reminded him that we lived in a multi-user dwelling and that it might not be a good idea. He then looked for a stick. I helped him find one and he ripped in to the bush with a violent rage. The bird flew away.

Danny cheered in victory and I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. We headed back upstairs and had a quick joke and a smoke. Danny seemed quite content with his conquest over nature and went back home. I  then settled down on my sofa and fired up the TV.

5 minutes later I heard the Mockingbird.

Free Bird

It was an average Saturday night. I was sipping on a beer at my normal watering hole when  I received a call. It was Dirk.


“Bro, it’s Dirk! What are you up to?”

“Hey man, not much. Just having a beer at WholeMart. What’s going on?”

“Just here at my apartment, but yo bro I got something you might want to check out. Want to come over for a beer?”

I was slightly bored and agreed to go over to his place. I had no idea what I was heading in to. I arrived shortly thereafter, greeted by a plastic grin and was quickly handed a beer.

“Bro, one of my gym buddies hooked me up with some ecstasy. Have you ever tried it?”

I replied no as I had not. As a teen, I had experimented with several substances but that was not one of them. Dirk cajoled me in to trying some and given the fact I already had consumed a couple of adult beverages, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

A half hour went by and all I felt was more tired. Hardly the experience I had imagined from a drug called “ecstasy”.  I was expecting a euphoric upbeat sensation.  It was more of a down than an up.

“What’s going on, bro? You feeling it or what?”

“Not really” I replied “Just a bit more drunk.”

“Hold on, bro. I’ll pack another capsule up. Have another beer!”

I readily accepted the beer and watched as Dirk put some yellow substance in to a capsule. He handed it to me and I washed it down with the beer. Looking back, this was a mistake.

We prattled on a bit about things and soon after it felt like the walls were closing in all around me. I shook my head violently in an effort to gain focus. Perhaps this was the ecstasy experience? At this point I was in a hazy stupor.  I grabbed another beer thinking this might help clear my head. I put my hands on my head and tried to massage my brain with my fingers. I felt as beat up as a boxer would after 12 rounds of relentless pounding.

“Bro? You ok? You look tired.” Dirk said “Perhaps you should sleep here”

“Nah man, I’m good I think I’ll go home. Just a bit tired. ”

“Bro! Just wait. Let’s hang out for a bit. I can’t let you leave like this!”

I was in no condition to drive so I just slumped down in the chair. Dirk vanished for a moment then came back with an acoustic guitar. I was so intoxicated I was seeing double.  Dirk then started to serenade me with his guitar.

“Check it out, bro. I mastered Free Bird!”

Dirk strummed out and sang the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic song. Despite my complete and utter intoxication, I was in flight mode at this point. I knew I had to leave.

“Good work, Dirk. Anyways I’m gonna head out now. Take it easy.”

“Bro, bro! C’mon just sleep on the futon! Have another beer!”

“I’ll manage, I’m leaving now.”

Dirk protested, but I stumbled out the door. I had escaped. I thank my strong constitution for this.

While reeling about the parking lot, I called my best girl. Half way through the conversation I forgot who I was talking to and what my name was. I had no idea where my car was but I eventually found it. I slept there for 5 hours and still felt uneasy driving back home. For the next two days, I still felt the effect of whatever that drug was.

Was I roofied? I did willingly accept said substances. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide……



Does it have to be on?!?

Nobody is perfect. Some are closer than others. Others are a mistake of creation. Balona is one such creature.

I received a panicked call one morning. It was Balona. She claimed her backup software was not working. As I am paid to attend to such concerns, I listened.

“GREAAAG My backup said it failed! I thought you had set that up!”

“I did, Balona. Is there an error or something?

“Yeah it says it ain’t working!”

“Can you be more specific?

“I don’t know it just failed! I thought you set it up right! Oh my god! ”

I tried to troubleshoot the problem remotely but to no avail. Balona flailed about and it was clear I’d have to make a visit.

This particular client has vast resources, but likes to cry poverty. Upon arrival I was greeted by their dimwitted dog and receptionist.

“Oh Greag I’m so worried!” she cried “The doctors work is not being backed up!”

“Alright” I replied “Let me see what is going on.”

I inspected the computer and all seemed to be well. I tested the backup software and it seemed to be communicating with the remote server. I checked the logs and there was indeed no backup at night. At this point I called the provider.

*backup server company guy* “Hello! How can I help you?

“Yes hello I’m calling on behalf of *BALONA COMPANY* seems we are having problems completing backups…what do you see on your end? ”

“Hrmmm well I see you are a paid subscriber, but we have not seen any requests to backup, let’s try to troubleshoot the software”

He had me reinstall the backup client and we performed several successful tests.

“I don’t know what to say sir, can I ask as simple question? Do you leave the computer on at night?”

“I assume so? Wait a moment.”

I asked Balona if she left the computer on at night. She seemed to be in a state of bewilderment.

After a period of time she responded “OHHH Does it have to be on??”


A View to a Kill

Unfortunately, to live within the DC Metro Area you basically have one of three options:

1) You can buy a nice big house for a million dollars or so and live within the confines of the beltway. This would mean with few exceptions that you are a lawyer, ‘consultant’ a lobbyist, and / or your company somehow sucks off the federal government. Perhaps a combination of the three.

2) You can move farther away.

3) Suck it up and exist in Sterile House.

Danny and I are in this immediate area for different reasons. I don’t like Sterile House. The management company (let’s call them Scamco) are a bunch of vampirical leeches focused on the bottom line. There are many reasons I despise them but it is way too many to list in one entry so let’s just leave it at that for now.

Now while I may dislike Sterile, Danny hates the place with a fiery passionate rage. The only literary equivalent that even comes close is Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. He’s been here quite a bit longer than I have and has had some time to dwell upon it.

One night Danny came up for a drink and had a very odd request…..

He comes up one night and asked me a strange question…

“You know that song a View to a Kill??”
“From the James Bond movie?|” I replied with a puzzled look on my face. “Duran Duran??”
“YEAH! That’s the one, you got it?”
“Ummm it’s not in my collection, but I can certainly look for it online.”

I open took a quick look and found it. To my surprise, a lot of people were sharing it. I start to play it. Danny lights up and starts to groove around in some odd dance to the music a bit. I found this disturbing.

“OK” I ask “What’s the significance of this song?!?”
“Well” Danny says and pauses for a moment “I have a dream. It’s like this. I’m in an attack Helicopter say an Apache…. Have you ever seen Apocalypse Now?”

Here we go I’m thinking..

“Yes, in fact it’s one of my favorite movies”
“OK well there is that scene where they are flying over the water to attack the beach village blasting The Ride Of The Valkyries out of the speakers on the Helicopter” he beamed “What I’m dreaming is to come flying up to Sterile cranking A View to a Kill at full blast and just start unloading Hellfire missiles in to the building!”
“Of course..” He continues “we’d make sure the building was empty, but it would be a nice FUCK YOU to SCAMCO!”
“That’s an interesting dream, Danny ” I replied, chuckling at his insanity.

Danny kept having me replay the song. At this point, we’ve listented to A View to a Kill at least five times in a row. I’m starting to grow a bit weary of the 80’s wonder band. No amount of alcohol can make them sound good to me. Danny went on about the CEO of SCAMCO  and how he should be personally responsible for our living conditions. I wearily nodded as I sipped on my beverage.

I let Danny know my intent to publish these stories. His reaction to this one was “Great, one brick falls off the building and homeland security is on my ass!