Whenever I inadvertently hurt myself I spew racial slurs combined with homophobic accusations. Do the math. Don't make me say it. I don't know why, it just happens. I hate stubbing my toe while stomping around my apartment because a remarkably nice black gentleman lives across the hall from me with his pleasantly thick white girlfriend. I don't resent the physical pain of my infraction, but the offense I might cause if my neighbor or his beloved overhears my shameful reaction is appalling. I also regret that I forget his name--though he always refers to me by mine while passing in the stairwell--and have relegated his being to a description of his character that subtly implies surprise due to his appearance, as well as a latent need to drag his old lady into it. What's wrong with me? Not enough years in the building trades to know better. The perfect amount to succumb to its crass trappings. In my defense, however, I bet none of the boys have analyzed their verbal shortcomings to this extent and aired them for catharsis. Clap for me. I'm worthy. Did I mention I'm 33?

And that's the rub:  I do that. Observe, transcribe, process, compile, compose, repeat. Is it the mechanism a mostly only child's developed to fit the Universe into neat boxes arranged at his feet, or a way to fill time that's not as self-destructive? I won't pretend to know the answer. That's not my job. It's yours, but don't remind me. There's a glass of Pinot noir at my right and a dwindling clove cigarette at my left, but the notes aren't laid out before me for a change. I'm winging it. I'm typing. When I punch the keys they form words, sentences, thoughts, implications. I can control them, if nothing else. Maybe that's where the gun fascination's derived. When the trigger is pulled--if nothing is rotten in Denmark--then the cartridge will consistently fire. Steel is reliable. Lead runs its course. There are definites and absolutes in the world still. Most people will let you down, though Samuel Colt was not one of them.

The funny part is that I'm no better. There are good souls in my corner whom I constantly let down. I wonder how they go about defending my actions to naysayers on a daily basis while managing to call me and check up as seen needed. Maybe they recognize something that I don't, or maybe they've been duped like my parents. Can someone be called a narcissist if he readily admits that he's wrong? Pleading for mercy equates not to sainthood. If I had it figured out I'd share the winning numbers. In the meantime there's transparency. That's the point of my modus operandi. If the cards are laid out then how can you be angry? If everyone said exactly where they were then we'd all be better off. I'm terrible at guessing. I'm worse at pulling triggers. The guarantee is there, though the outcome remains a mystery.

With one life to live among many possibilities it's terrifying to know that we're only given a single chance. That was my second-to-last tattoo:  a revolver cylinder with one round in a chamber. Have I squandered it yet? It's too soon to tell. The choices have varied in their merit and yields, but I accept the responsibility. That's where many veer incorrectly in their assumptions. Accountability is paramount. "Be impeccable with your word," a wise book given by my ex's therapist said. I read it and it stuck, like when my eleventh-grade English teacher wrote "Keep writing!" in red ink at the top of an assignment. I have. I will. Tonight it wasn't poetry so it's not quite as convincing. I won't hear from any unavailable women I'm courting after this mess is aimlessly consumed. The paragraph, the stanza, the way I still can't come up with a title to punch at the top of this meandering diatribe; they're all just as guilty as my right and left hands, my mind for forgetting the name of my neighbor.

I'm grinning into the hell-hot filter now. Honey, there's always tomorrow. Fish on.

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