The New York Optimist
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Daizy was in one of her usual impatient with the entire world moods. These were
dangerous and if you found yourself even remotely in their wake, debauchery could
pretty much be assumed. I was often the
last standing thing lying in the aftermath of her catastrophic
outbursts. You see, I had learned how to survive what no mere mortal ever could. I had learned the trick to
dealing with Daizy. Ignore the bitch. Pure and simple. Pay her starving for attention ass absolutely no heed and
get on with whatever the fuck it is you're doing. Countless boyfriends had failed to learn this easy lesson and
were therefore laid bare and bleeding, a love sucked image of carnage brutality. And there was Daizy, laughing
out loud to no one but her own amusement. But I never wanted her. I just wanted to be with her. Not sexually.
Not even as a friend. More of a keeper. A watcher. A protector, albeit silent, but a protector nonetheless. And
Daizy loved me for it. She became my best friend. A sister. My confidante. Almost a wife. And then one day he
came into our lives and I knew instantly that nothing would ever be the same.
Strangely, it happened at a time when everything
between us had become strained and my ability to see
things clearly at an all time low. It was as if I had
finally come to some sort of conclusion about Daizy and
I, but its meaning was still out of my grasp. I had
almost
been expecting him, recalling fragments of my
fucked up dreams and slowly coming to the realization that a
change was due. Whether I liked it or not. Daizy seemed
restless as well and our usual, playful banter had been
reduced to cutting comments geared towards slaying put
downs and sadistic sarcasm. Yet, I still loved her and she
me. No matter how tense we became, or how much we got
on each others nerves, in the end, all we had was each
other. Or at least that's what I thought.  


By this point you're probably thinking that Daizy and I have
some sort of bizarre, psycho freako relationship. Nothing
could be further than the truth. You see, Daizy, really was
my sister. She was barely twenty-one and I had been fifteen
going on forty for most of my teen life. My name is
Sebastian Taylor Tomas, Bas for short and my sister Daizy
and I were lucky enough to grow up on the lower east side
of Manhattan before there was a Gap on St. Marks, yuppies
were not yet an en-powered species and Starbucks was just
a sick dream fostering in the brains of demented coffee
addicts.  


Our mother was the editor of a slick, yet desperately trendy
downtown magazine called STOP! and our father was a
former skateboarding champion who now lived in the
Chelsea Hotel on the residual checks from his endorsements.
They weren't married any more, but they weren't divorced
either. At least not legally. One day my sister and I had
arrived home from school, I think it was third grade and we
were greeted by the sight of my mother straddling my dad
and plunging what looked like a pair of scissors repeatedly
into his chest. They were tripping, fucking tacky old hippies
we thought, but miraculously my father lived and never
returned home. My mom scared him shitless.


Now, let's get to him. The dude who would try to come
between Daizy and me. He was the kind of person that
turned all his toys into weapons when he was a kid.
Everything shared one purpose. Destruction. Kill. Destroy.
Bury alive. He was a brutal child that grew up way too early
into a fiercely fucked up young man. And the only thing that
he had ever wanted in his entire life was Daizy. Not so hard
to understand when faced with her impossible beauty. Daizy
had never had an ugly moment in her life.
They had gone to grade school together, but never particularly gotten along. He constantly tried to get her to open up to him. He would
stare at her in class until she grew noticeably uncomfortable. He walked a block behind her as she came and went from school each day.
He hid notes and flowers inside her lunch box. When she still failed to respond, the sight of dead bugs mixed with her sandwich greeted
Daizy. Once he even went so far as to dump a handful of slugs into her gym bag.


By this point, you're probably wondering how he managed a second chance in Daizy's already confusing life. After all, serving up a bug sandwich is
not exactly an act of endearment. Then again, compared to the dull complexities of everyday life, at least it was a colorful intrusion. He popped up one
day as strangely as he had disappeared almost ten years earlier. Not to the day, however. That would be too strange a coincidence and Daizy was
immune to coincidence. Her life had been mapped out before she was even born, but destiny wasn't to blame. She was just one of those people who
never have to decide which way to go in life. She just went where it led, no questions asked.


It was Daizy's 20th birthday. Mom was typically busy at work, Dad hadn't showed his face in months and I was the only one who seemed to give a
flying fuck. As usual, this was a major birthday for Daizy. She kept saying she was now just one year away from the first day of the rest of her life.
That seemed pretty stupid to me, considering Daizy had pretty much been doing whatever the hell she pleased since she was able to walk. The most
guidance our parents had ever instilled in her was to please close the zip-lock bag that they kept their pot in and at least learn to properly forge their
signature on school notes if she was going to make a career out of cutting school.


I myself had cut school for Daizy's birthday and had organized a fabulous schedule of celebratory type things for us to indulge in. After all the tension
we had been going through, I saw her birthday as a chance to re-establish our highly correct connection and close whatever open gaps we had. First
we were going to have breakfast at our favorite diner, The Cooper Square on 5th St. and 2nd Ave. After our usual, grilled Swiss on wheat with
tomato and mustard, burnt French fries and chocolate milk with a shot of Jack, we would thrift shop until the prices disgusted us (I'm sorry, but I'm
not paying fifty bucks for somebody's old pants, even if they are from Screaming Mimi's), then pay a visit to our best friend and local dope dealer,
Scratch. Afterwards, once we were correctly inebriated, it was as many movies as we could sneak into at the multiplex on Union Square.  


He had never even made it into my plans, yet there he was, an unwelcome addition to our day.  After waiting for eternity until Daizy got dressed, we
were finally on our way. We closed the apartment door and there he stood, leaning against a car across the street. We proceeded to approach him as
he stood almost menacingly in our way.  I half expected Daizy to turn around and run back into the apartment, but instead she took hold of my hand
and pulled my hesitant self towards her potential suitor. I had no idea this was the pre-teen terror of her past, yet Daizy knew immediately. Like I said
before, there is no room for coincidence in her life, this was planned by the gods.
He was a little over six feet and had thick, unruly red hair that tried to stay in
place. Not hard enough though, because it kept spring up in places like a battered
box spring that had seen better days.
Green eyes pierced from his face and a
smattering of rather large freckles flew haphazardly across his cheeks. A sturdy yet lean
frame was clothed in a snug pair of cords and a battered but not threadbare sweater that
was so faded, it was impossible to tell whether or not it had once been green or blue.
Being a stickler for detail, I then looked down at the biggest feet I had ever seen on a
man who didn't play professional basketball. They were at least a size fifteen and he had
them encased in a brand new pair of sky blue and silver New Balance trainers.


When we were about a foot away from him, Daizy released my hand and extended it
towards our new friend.


"I'm sorry, but I can't recall your name," Daizy said as he took hold of her long slim
fingers for what seemed to me the longest five seconds in history.


"Jude. I used to be in grade school with you, do you remember?"


"The bug sandwich guy. How could I forget."? Daizy looked at me and realized how
uncomfortable I had become. "This is my brother Sebastian. We call him Bas."


Jude let go of Daizy's hand, but didn't exactly offer his to me. Instead he made a half-
hearted attempt at a wave and then shifted his focus back to Daizy.


"I hope you don't mind my stopping by like this. I remembered where you live and when
I got back in town I thought I'd see if you were still here."  


"You used to follow me home. I thought you were a weirdo," Daizy said, almost
sarcastically. "Then one day you were gone and I kind of missed my escort."


"My family moved outta the city, to Jersey. I never got a chance to say goodbye. I'm
sorry." It seemed genuine, but I couldn't get past how he was staring at Daizy. He
seemed not to blink, his gaze was so intense. I looked at my sister and tried to see what
he saw. When you look at someone for fifteen years, it can be hard to understand what
other people are looking at. In Daizy's case, however, it was fairly obvious. She was the
most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Anyone had ever seen for that matter. I was smitten
with her in the most unsexual yet completely in love manner. It sounds corny but I
would have died for her.


Her skin was almost olive colored, a striking contrast to her jet-black hair, which was cut
into an exaggerated bob with the front slightly longer than the back. Her bangs were
constantly falling in front of her face, which supplied her with the almost annoying habit
of chewing on one end with her teeth. Her eyes were a very ordinary shade of brown,
but huge and round, almost cartoon like. Like a Keane character. Her lips were bow
shaped and naturally stained cherry red as if she was forever sucking on an Italian ice.
Her body was slim and showed no hint of a woman's figure. She was as lean and straight
as a board, with long, thin fingers and narrow, tiny feet. She barely stood over five feet
tall.


You may be wondering why anyone would be attracted to a twenty-year-old child
woman. It wasn't just her looks that made Daizy so special. It was just her. Her way of
being. The way she stood half askance and the way she sighed when she opened up the
fridge and discovered there was no milk for her Honey Nut Cheerio's. The look she got
in her eye, transfixed yet doe like, whenever she saw a boy that tickled her fancy, or the
way she laughed at the movies; loud, hard, like a sailor, totally oblivious to how annoying
it was to the other people in the theater. It was as if she were this famous, glamorous
star living right in our own house, only nobody knew it but Daizy and I.


Jude broke what had seemed like a ten-minute silence and forced me out of my self-
created exile.


"What are you up to today," he asked.


"It's my birthday and Bas…"  


"I'm taking my sister out for the day," I cut in, grabbing Daizy's arm and trying to budge
her immobile body from his presence. "I'm sorry, but we've got to get going."


"I'm sorry Jude," Daizy said as she struggled with me. "But my brother is a bit persistent
this morning."


"That's alright, but…can I see you later tonight? Maybe around 8pm?"


Before I could successfully drag her away from the monster's clutch (I've always been a
bit dramatic), Daizy broke free of my grip and stepped right up to Jude. Without even a
blink of her well mascara'd lashes, Daizy gave Jude a sweet, perfectly innocent peck on
the cheek and whispered her phone number in his ear, thinking I wouldn't hear. I did.


"That would be lovely," she said, then turned to join a visibly annoyed and on the verge
of scowling me. As we got a few blocks away, she took her hand and placed it on my
shoulder, stopping me. She took her other hand and sifted it gently through my hair, a
half smile, half look of scorn spreading across her lips.


"I know you love me in whatever sick, weird way your imagination has convinced you,
but I am not going to sit on a shelf like some fuckin' china doll and gather dust. Don't
fuck with me Bas. I'm your sister, not your goddamn wife for fuck's sake!"


Now I felt fucked over, stupid and annoying, as well as embarrassed by my own
presence.  I was definitely not touched by his presence, dear. I shifted about nervously
and contemplated suicide. For Daizy to be mad at me was tantamount to the extinction of
mankind, as we know it. I had shown too much emotion, made myself way to vulnerable
and thus sunk myself so deep into a hole my only chance of escape was a quick and
blunt reply, absolving me instantly of all guilt, conspiracy or fraud.   


"Nobody has ever had a sister like you Daizy, you're beyonder. I love you so much that
sometimes…I get jealous. I want to always be there for you, but sometimes it feels as if
you don't want me to even be your brother!"


"You're over reacting a bit, don't you think?" Daizy replied as she took hold of my hand
and completely shifted the tone but not the subject. "I know you love me. But one day
I'm going to leave here and that means I'm going to have to leave you. At least for
awhile."


"What do you mean your going to leave here?" I asked, my voice belying a soon to be
steady stream of tears and fitful guffaws.  


"I mean, I'm not getting any younger Bas. Today I'm twenty years old and you know
what? I'm sick of my life. I'm sick of our fucked up parents and I can't stand living in
this roach hotel city a minute longer. I want to see what's out there for me and the only
way I'm gonna find out is by…"


"Going out with him," I said, finishing her sentence.


Daizy actually looked puzzled, a face that was often beneath her more self assured
demeanor. "Who's him?"


"The bug sandwich guy. Your precious Jude. The stranger that you almost allowed to
interrupt our birthday celebration," I seethed, suddenly unable to control my rage. Daizy
took a step back, but then quickly reversed herself and reached out to hug me. I fell into
her arms like melted butter on popcorn; only I smelled a whole lot better than golden
flavor. A haze of contentment swept over us, until I could almost feel nothing but our
two hearts beating together as one. Then it hit me. She was going to leave me. She had
finally admitted it, my biggest fear. I was going to be left all alone. It was at that moment
I reached my ultimate conclusion. Jude the bug must be squashed.


She broke away from me and I wondered if somehow she sensed that I had become full
of fear and overflowing rage. Maybe she was right. Maybe I was in love with her. She
was the only one who had ever loved me. At least that's how it seemed. The last time my
mother did anything remotely maternal for me, I was either still in diapers or too shell
shocked from my fathers abuse to actually remember it. Daizy on the other hand filled
my head to the point of bursting with all the good things she had done for me. If she
were going to be out of my life, my own would cease to exist
"Bas?"

"What?"

"Are you going to be alright? You're shaking like a leaf," Daizy said and brushed
a loose lock of hair out of my tear stained face.

"Are you going to see him tonight?" I asked, looking briefly away.

"I don't know for sure and even if I did I'm not going to tell you. This is something I
want to do on my own and for once, you're just going to have to deal with it." Daizy had
never spoken so firmly to me before and it freaked me the fuck out.

"Then do me the favor of at least having him pick you up at home so I can apologize for
my rude behavior", I lied, and rather well, might I add. "If you're so intent on seeing him,
I might as well get used to the idea."

Daizy looked at me and for a second I thought she was staring right through my devious
soul. Had I gone too far? Was she buying my counterfeit sincerity? Her answer was like a
kiss behind my ear.

"Alright, but I'm warning you Bas, if you pull anything I will kick the living shit out of
you."

"Don't worry sis, I'll be the best you've ever seen."

The next four hours flashed by me in a haze of self-inflicted anxiety. I had no idea what I
was going to do but something told me it was going to be a doozy. A brilliantly blind
spotted debacle that would melt any doubts that Daizy might be harboring regarding my
ability to freak out even the fiercest opponent. I had to go for the jugular mentally and
perhaps draw blood physically.  

We decided to continue Daizy's birthday plans and headed off to our now late breakfast at
Cooper Square. After stuffing our faces, neither of us felt like a movie anymore, but the
thought of a thick spliff at Scratch's still appealed to me. The only thing that seemed to
get Daizy going was shopping, and she wanted to go shopping on Eighth St. to get some
new make-up for her date with Jude. We kissed each other goodbye, but it just wasn't
enough. I went to hug her, but it turned more into a grope. As her body seemed to
collapse against mine, I let my head linger a bit too long in her chest, making her
increasingly uncomfortable.  

Daizy broke from my grip, smiled faintly and walked away. About half a block away I
was still staring at her, watching her figure diminish into the crowded NYC street and
blending unfocused into the fold of a million other people. She looked back at me, but her
smile was gone, replaced with something that looked like a mix between a scowl and a
frown. It was then that I saw her for what she really was to me. My obsession. No
longer just my sibling, no longer something I could lie to myself about. I had fallen in love
with my sister even though I had been in complete denial forever.

Scratch lived over on Ave. B and 11th St., above a funky old bodega that served as one of
the last drug fronts in Guilliani's newly sanitized and supposedly crime free NYC. Next to
that was a trendy, poser bar for patrons who liked Gap leather and vintage concert t's, but
still got up and paid homage to their boho yuppie experience by getting to work fresh,
early and disgustingly perky. I hated what the East Village had become. What once was
edgy was now dull. Polished, but lifeless. Glistening with new money, yet fading fast
from reality. Scratch was sitting in his window on the second floor, surveying the whole
scene like a token watcher whose one mission in life was to observe the modern decline
of all that used to be cool, but now wallowed in it's own pretentious and tacky shit.

I rang the bell even though Scratch had seen me coming from a block away and ran up
the steps three at a time once he buzzed me in. His apartment was the only one that hadn't
been refurbished by the condo crazy landlord. Scratch had the oldest lease in the building
and had so far eluded every legal attempt to force his pot-smoking ass out. Daizy and I
had met Scratch quite by accident. We had come to there expecting to meet our friend
Troll. She was this extremely spastic candy raver we knew from hanging out at this
floating club Concrete Jungle. She had met this "really cool guy" Scratch at Dojo's one
day and they had spent the afternoon drinking mint tea and debating Hillary vs. Rudy.  

Within a week they were living together, even though Scratch was about two hours from
thirty and Troll hadn't even had her sweet sixteen. They were both addicted to Tootsie
blow-pops, VHI-Behind The Music marathons, spaghetti dinners on Bleeker St. and
drugs. All kinds, forms and effects. As long as they fucked you up enough, that's all that
really mattered. Troll had always been me and Daizy's hook-up, but we hadn't seen much
of her since she moved in with good old Scratchy. Daizy got her cell phone number from
the cashier at this trendy raver boutique Liquid Sky where Troll used to work and still
hung out occasionally. She convinced her to have lunch and Troll invited us to pick her
up at the apartment she was sharing with Scratch. It was the beginning of the end for
Troll and she didn't even know it.

We were early for the first time in either of our lives, which should have been some sort
of sign. Troll answered the door, giggling and sporting pupils as wide as saucers and as
crossed as an ex-lover. She led us down the skinny hallway of the railroad flat until we
were in the living room and graced with Scratch's presence. Daizy and him took one look
at each other and came to the same conclusion. They wanted each other and now wasn't
a moment too soon. For Troll it was all instantly too late and extremely over. She left in a
fit just as Scratch was licking the back of Daizy's neck while I pretended too look
shocked, but couldn't resist a stifled guffaw or two.

Scratch romanced Daizy as best he could, but the trouble was Daizy was never big on
heads and Scratch smoked nearly a pound a day. This meant he wasn't paying enough
attention to her. In fact, none would be a better word. One day they were walking out a
club together and Daizy jumped into a cab and slammed the door leaving Scratch itching
his chin in bewilderment. No wonder she didn't feel like coming with me today. She
hasn't seen Scratch in a year, doesn't even mention his name. Scratch never stops
whispering hers though. He had never forgiven her for dumping him, which is probably
why he stayed friends with me. I was his last connection and all he was to me was
another dealer. Someone who could get me high. Period.

As Scratch opened his door to let me in, that's all I could think of. Getting high, forgetting
Daizy and all these weird new feelings for her and figuring out what I was going to do to
get rid of this new annoyance, Jude. I felt like driving into the thick of the night, my car
radio stroking me like the tender fingers of a long lost lover as I cut into the road,
swerving on the black tar until I become one with the long, winding path that lay before
me. All the while, singing the last refrain of some insane song blaring from my radio.
Scratch grabs me and socks me back into reality. "So you wanna go get high, " Scratch
whispers, breaking me from my self imposed morbid spell.

"Of course I do, dumb ass."

"Then get the fuck over here and smoke this."

I grabbed the joint out of his fingers and took a long, deep drag that slowly fills my lungs
and quickly numbs my frantic brain until Daizy ceases to exist and all I can think of is my
next toke. The next one is even deeper. I could feel the resin soak my lungs and the cloud
of smoke get stuck in my increasingly itchy throat. I finally let it out, staring
dumbfounded at the thick cloud and stonily imagining a rough yet seemingly real image of
Daisy transpiring through the smoke. Just when I seem to forget her, she always comes
right back at me. Scratch quickly broke my spell.

"That's some good old write home to fuckin' mama cheeba, right?"  

"It doesn't exactly suck," I offer, then take another hit before Scratch grabs the joint out
of my fingers and down his own hungry throat.


"Why do you always eat the roach?"


"It gets me more fucked up. Whatever…. anyway, waste not want not, right?"
"Yeah, whatever. If you wanna act like a human ashtray, that's you're fuckin'
business. So how's about fixin' me up with an eighth, ok?"


Scratch walked over to his closet, pulled out a grubby old laundry bag and dumps a huge
sack of gorgeous green leaf onto the floor mixed with a dozen pairs of crusty underpants.
That's Scratch for ya. He'll sell you some of the best pot in the city, smelling like his ass.
He weighed out a bag for me, but stopped short just as he was about to hand it to me. I
already had three twenties in my hand, but instead of taking them he looked me directly in
the eye and smiled.


"What's up with you? Usually you like to hang here for hours. I bet that flaky sister of
yours is driving you bug fuck gain." Scratch laughed, ripped the bills from my fingers and
handed me the bag, which I furiously pocketed.


"No, Daizy is not driving me bug fuck," I seethed, attempting to get up and leave.
Scratch's strong arms held me down.


"What's the matter man, older sister got you down. Again." Scratch was smirking, on the
brink of hysterical laughter. Until I cut in.


"Listen, asswipe, I'm not the one she dumped who can't seem to get over it. That's your
lucky role in life."


It worked. Scratch shut up and sulked across the room.  


"Did you ever think of getting back at her?" I prodded, a sick idea forming in the back of
my mind.


"For what?" Scratch seemed to whisper.


"For fucking you over and never looking back, that's what."


"I don't exactly remember it that way."


"I do. You were the loser. Big fuckin' time."


"What about you, you little fuck. You let her walk all over your shit. At least I don't gotta
live with her anymore."


"But you want to. You still love her and you'll never get over her."


My ploy had worked. Scratch was freaked the fuck out. I was in my glory, but did my
best to hide it.  Then I went in for the kill.


"So Scratch, how long has it been?"

"Since what," he asked, simmering like an overheated crock-pot.


"Since you actually dipped that dick of yours into something other than your own well
lubed fist?"


Scratch lunged at me, knocking me down on his cracked linoleum kitchen floor. I got up
and tried to run across the room, but he grabbed the back of my shirt, ripping it off my
shoulders and tossing me face first into the kitchen table. It wasn't a pretty scene. Before
it was over, it became downright ugly. Scratch fucked my shit up and I was soon to be
the proud owner of two very black, blue, yellow and purple eyes. But my newly hatched
plan had worked. Scratch was still in love with Daizy and he was going to be my way of
getting rid of Jude. Of course he was completely unaware of this. Or so I thought at the
time. The image of a smiling child like girl holding a huge butcher knife behind her back
invades my mind until I can recant…


"Daizy really pisses you off, doesn't she," I ask Scratch as I rub my stinging pupils and
struggle to get off of the now collapsed kitchen table.


"I'm sorry Bas," Scratch says, "I guess I over-reacted."


"I guess," I muttered back, then gaining my composure, reach back and swing a fierce
punch into Scratch's right jaw.  


"Guess what?"


"What?" Scratch hisses as he falls back into the refrigerator.


"I just figured out how you could ruin Daizy's day, give yourself a big heaping handful of
satisfaction and get me out of a bind at the same time."


"How?" Scratch was obviously curious and I realized I had him hook, line and stinker. I
was a little stinker I thought to myself, not realizing I was grinning like Cheshire cat.


"It's all quite easy. It seems Daizy is about to lay the soul of another brother bare."


"She got herself a new boyfriend, huh?"


"About to be boyfriend. First date. First kiss. First taste of his fresh flesh till she tires of it
and casts it aside. "


"What's his name?"


"The bug guy. Jude the dude.  And he's picking her up at our apartment at eight."


"Tonight?"


"Tonight. Why don't you stop by around the same time? It might just make something rain
on Daizy's parade. And you know how much she hates getting wet."


"All bitches do," Scratch muttered as he got up and pulled some ice out of the freezer.


"Put this on your eyes, Bas. They look really fucked up and you wanna look your best
tonight for the family reunion." Scratch was laughing and for a second it made me
uneasy. But the thought of ruining Daizy's date made me incredibly happy in a kind of
Grinch who stole Christmas way. If I was a cartoon character at that moment I would be
poison green and shaped like a sorry sow with snarling lips and sad cast eyes exuding
twisted feelings of revenge mixed with remorse.


I got up and headed towards the door. Scratch stopped me and for a moment I thought he
was going to deck me again. Instead, he gave me a long hug that almost hurt as bad as a
beating.


"I'll be there at eight," Scratch said as he let go of me and I headed out the door.


"Don't be late," I shot over my shoulder as I bound for home, almost leaping across
Thompkins Square park and onto Ave. A. Past poser bars and millionaire yuppies dressed
as down as they could, pretending to savor the burritos at Bennies and desperately trying
to look cool as they walked their poor dogs and talked ceaselessly into cell phones behind
dark glasses. New York dreary.


Daizy was already putting the polishing touches on her perfectly flawless makeup. She
was wearing a lime satin thrift store suit that had been taken in from it's former boxy self
to a sexy, nipped and tucked cocktail number that showed off the few feminine curves
her boyish body allowed. She had borrowed a pair of Manolo's from our mothers vast
collection that had tiny seashells at the tip of each gold muled toe and she had an
"emerald" tiara perched atop her black bangs, slightly askance, that I had given her for her
birthday last year. Most people would look garish, a bit fucked up, but Daizy made it all
work effortlessly, looking fairly chic for a twenty year old with an aversion to clothes
bought from department stores.


She pries herself slowly away from the mirror and acknowledges my new bruised
presence. After staring at me in mock horror for a few seconds, Daizy brushes past me
and heads for the kitchen where she heads straight for the peach Haggen Daz which she
eats out of the carton with her long, pink nailed fingers.


"Ever consider using a spoon?" I grabbed the ice cream out of her hands and placed it up
against my still sore eyes.  


"What the fuck happened to you?"


"I ran into an old friend…"


"It looks like he ran into you. So, how do I look? I'm not too dressed up am I?"


This was weird. Daizy was never nervous, especially about a new outfit. Could she
actually already be into this guy? Like in love?


"You look major. You're a real babe."

"I detect a note of sarcasm. Please try to keep it to a minimum when Jude gets here."


"Did he call? Is he coming over?"


"Yes and he will be here any second, so please try not to freak out on him. I could use a
little support."


How about a little sabotage, I thought to myself as I smiled at Daizy and retired to my
room to change. After a brief bout of style resistance, I quickly threw an old hoodie over
my t-shirt and joined her in the living room. It was at times like these that I wish I were
the fifth member of The Fantastic Four. Gigantofreakodude, capable of all other four
members superpowers, plus my own unending capacity for counterfeit astonishment-
thank you Roger Ebert and Russ Meyer- and my own amazing ability to bullshit or hustle
anyone out of their last fucking dime. A hero for my own imagination, incapable of ever
getting fucked up, over or out.


Alas, I was not a superhero, nor was I the brave, devious soul I imagined. Without
thinking, I suddenly blurted out everything I should have kept secret.


"I have a guest coming over as well. An old friend of the family."


How old?" Daizy asked suspiciously.


"Oh, about twenty past boyfriends."


"Past boyfriends. Are you gay and forgot to tell me?"  


This made Daizy laugh and me cringe. She was always calling me a fag, or hinting that I
was into her boyfriends, which is why I hated them. It was just the opposite only she was
too self-absorbed to ever really figure it out.


"Not my wicked past. Yours." Daizy looked concerned. Annoyed. Royally fucking pissed
off.


"What the fuck are you up to Bas? Are you about to pull one of your infamous stunts,
cause if you are then I…"


"I'm entitled to my own method of social intrigue, just like you." I stood defiant as Daizy
raced up to me and grabbed me by the front of my shirt.


"Your idea of intrigue often crosses the borderline of insanity," Daizy hissed at me just as
the doorbell rang. We both stopped instantly and turned towards the door wondering
which mystery guest had arrived. Daizy broke free of her grip on me and raced towards
the buzzer.


"Who is it," Daizy whispered into the intercom, almost wearily.


I was almost relieved when I heard the bug dudes voice croak through.


"It's me, Jude. Can I come up Daizy?" The sweetness in his voice distracted me. It was
almost soothing. I found myself almost wanting to hear him say more, when it dawned on
me how annoyed I was becoming. Just as Daizy had headed towards the front door, the
buzzer rang again and my eyes lit up like Christmas lights, only brighter and tackier. I
raced for the intercom before Daizy could spin on her Blahnik heels.


"Who is it," I croaked, breaking into a coughing fit as I tried desperately to hear who it
was. Scratch's creepy voice was like music to my ears.


"Yo Bas, It's me. Let me fuckin' up already." I buzzed him in just as Daizy threw open the
door and Jude sauntered into the apartment. Daizy shot me the most evil stare ever, but I
ignored it and watched in disbelief as Scratch came bounding through the door, stopping
about an inch short of Jude's heels. Daizy took a step back when she realized which ex
boyfriend of hers had actually turned up. Luckily for me, it was her extreme least favorite.


"Why are you here Scratch? I dumped your ass over a year ago!" Daizy grabbed Jude's
hand and tried to pull him into her room, but the carrot-topped pest was having none of it.


"You got two dates goin' down tonight?" Jude was suddenly seething, his hair flaming and
cartoon like as eyes darted suspiciously from my own to Scratch's.


"Are you her new boyfriend," asked Scratch, taking a step back as Jude spun around to
face him solely.  


"I was about to be…"


"Bas, what the fuck is the meaning of this and why is Scratch fucking here?" Daizy cut in.


"Because I still love you baby and I thought it was time we had a little bit of a reunion."


"The only reunion we're going to have is with my fist you dumb ass stupid son of a
bitch!" Daizy was seriously pissed. Her cursing extent usually only encompassed a few
words, never whole phrases. Frankly, I was impressed. Jude however was not. He was
already heading for good ol' Scratchy and I was not anticipating a subtle scene.


"I think you need to move your ass on up and outta here," Jude seethed as Daizy tried to
pull him away from Scratch. But it was too late. Scratch had lunged at Jude and the bug
dude simply held out his arms and welcomed his toked out opponent. It wasn't pretty.
The three of them crashed backwards into out mothers antique china cabinet, sending a
fortune of porcelain shattering across the tiled floor. Daizy had rolled herself backward
into the kitchen while Jude and Scratch socked it out amidst the broken plates and teacups
and saucers that our mother had annually collected since she was a teen-ager. I stared in
glee, loving every minute of my family history suffering carnage and marveled at the sheer
spectacle and chaos I had knowingly created. Daizy had other thoughts.  


She leapt to her feet and raced over to the kitchen drawer and pulled out a huge butcher
knife that we had once had to pry out of our acid saturated mothers hands before she
could murder our father. Daizy looked at me and locked my gaze solely with her own. I
didn't even notice as she flung the tiara from her head and shook off her jacket. Next to
go were the Manolo's and without a word she raced towards me and brushed me to the
side as she stood over the battling lothario's and made her presence known.


"Stop it. STOP IT!" she bellowed, cow like and unconvincing, almost getting knocked on
her ass as Scratch stumbles to his feet and lands a slow, but correct sucker punch to
Jude's cheek that tosses him doll like to the floor and momentarily immobile. Scratch
looks at Daizy and laughs, pointing at the knife in her hands and cackling like a crow as he
reaches into his own back pocket and pulls out a small silver pistol that catches the light
from the chandelier like a warning beacon that only I seem to notice. Daizy seems
stunned, unable to grasp what is about to happen, but it has all become too clear. Scratch
had no intention of simply beating up Jude and he had no intention of trying to steal Daizy
away into the deep dark night. No, he was going to kill her. And me. All of us it seemed
and I wasn't going down like that. Too common.  


Daizy started to spin around and Scratch had already taken aim when out of nowhere
Jude had gotten back up and jumped on Scratch's back as he grabbed Daizy's arm with
one hand, letting off two rounds with the pistol in the other. The bullets lodged into the
ceiling and for a second everything seemed to slop, but the knife in Daizy's hand was
already up and before I knew it she had plunged it into Jude without realizing, aiming for
Scratch but killing her new love instead. Jude fell back and Scratch knocked him even
further aside. He spun Daizy around but she was too quick and knocked the pistol from
her hand with the knife before she let it slide across his smirking face, leaving a deli like
slice of facial bologna in it's wake.


What the fuck was going on? Had we suddenly been transported into some demented
Tarantino-ish other dementia? Was this a sick joke, had somebody spiked my Cinnamon
Apple Cheerio's again? No this was real. Daizy slipped on the now blood soaked floor,
rolling over Scratch who was desperately grabbing at his now faceless head. Jude, the
bug dude, lay squashed a few feet away, flat on his face, his hands strangely tucked
underneath him as if he were playing with himself. I looked for the pistol, but couldn't spy
it at first because it was hidden far in a corner. I leapt across Daizy and the still wiggling
mass of Scratch until I had reached the weapon, grabbed it and slowly took aim. The
bullet shot in a fractured explosion from the gun that broke the room free of its eerie
stagnation and newly blood soaked presence. Daizy looked at me in mock horror as
Scratch's body just spassed out and shook in endless convulsions. Frankly, I found it
boring and overly dramatic. Even in death, Scratch had to be a fucking ham.


"What the fuck do we do now?" Daizy muttered as she stepped over Scratch's now still
body and grabbed the pistol from my trembling hands. I pushed Daizy aside and walked
over to the CD player and put on my favorite record. The Sleep, by Psychotica. It was a
simple piano and violin composition that perfectly conveyed the dead stillness that seemed
to fill the room and simultaneously tarnish our now seemingly non-existent future. Or did
it. I finally had what I wanted. Daizy had no one but me. There was nowhere for her to
go unless I took her. And that is exactly what I did.


"Where the fuck are we going?" Daizy asked me as I took her hand and we headed for the
door.  


"Anywhere. Any fucking where we want. Only thing is, we have to go together…. can
you deal?"


"You finally got exactly what you wanted and I ended up giving it to you." Daizy didn't
seem pissed. In fact, relief would be a better word. Maybe she had known all along.
Could it be that not only was I in love with her, but she was in love with me to?


My question was answered as she took my head in her bloodstained hands and stroked
her fingers gingerly across my red hot and flaming face. Her lips descended upon mine
and we briefly kissed, lingering only to taste the few drops of saliva that spread across
them. Daizy tasted as beautiful as I had always imagined. It didn't even matter at this point
if we had sex. She was mine. Completely. So we left. Moved to California. San Francisco
to be exact, where Daizy and I live together as boyfriend and girlfriend. I know, it doesn't
make sense. Whatever. Life doesn't fucking make sense and the sooner you figure that
out the happier you'll be. That's what Daizy taught me and for that…I'll always love her.
"Daizy"
Three Short Storys with
Photographs by Walt
Cessna
Walt Cessna
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