The blog refuses to die. I’ve resigned myself to that. This blog will be updated with material regularly for the forseeable future.
This week, it’s a story I originally wrote for HitRecord’s TV episode regarding Trash. For those who don’t know, HitRecord is an artists’ collaborative site run by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt. They got a TV deal just last year, won an Emmy, and are in production on their second season.
Though this story was not selected for the show, JGL’s kind words about it make me think it was runner-up. For the record, I was beaten by some no-name hack, Rian Johnson. No one has seen him since, so either his career nose-dived or he’s been tasked to write the new Star Wars. (might be the latter)
Why Christmas Smells Like Shit
By Jonas Samuelle
A landfill had been forming around the periphery of our relationship. I could see it when I said something romantic on the patio, and she just laughed this quiet, awkward laugh. An old egg carton fell onto the table between us when she made that laugh. It was stained with dried yoke.
When we fucked for the last time, she held me inside longer, kept trying to prolong it, wrapping herself around me with a fake tenderness; it seemed more like an apology, which it was. I smelled soggy metal and old coffee grounds the whole time. The whole fucking time. The apartment was clean, with mother of pearl apathy and vanilla candles and anti-bacterial sex, but if I’d looked out the window, I would have seen it: shit piled against the screen, weighing on the walls, heaps of emotional refuse amassing like Catholics around guilt.
So I caught her on Christmas. I walked past the empty oil drums and twisted rebar that gathered around her apartment. The sky was shedding car parts and used socks when I knocked on the door, holding her present.
I thought I’d bought her a vase. I thought I’d wrapped it with ribbons and Styrofoam and money and affection and promises. At the door, I looked down and realized it was a piece of driftwood I’d crumpled newspaper around.
The door opened. A fat guy in his underwear looked out at me from inside the apartment, where a garden had grown over the last few days. His nose twitched as he stared, as the junk piled up behind me, around me, everywhere except through that door, where he stood, in his goddamned underwear.
“I’m Nick,” he said. She made some noise behind him, like she was going to explain but thought better of it. I couldn’t see her.
I coughed up something in my throat, but didn’t say anything.
“You can leave that anywhere,” Nick said, gesturing at the present.
I looked around. Towers of wasted plastic and stinking diapers blocked the horizon on all sides. There’d been a dumpster deluge in the last few seconds, and I hadn’t even noticed. I tossed the gift away somewhere.
“Can you find your way out?” she asked, still out of sight in the garden.
“I guess we’ll see,” I said.
I turned around and stepped over syringes, rusted nails, broken liquor bottles and dead rats all the way back to my car.
It took a long time to get all the grime off my shoes. Years. But Christmas still smells like rotten things, still feels like a pity-fuck in a room where the walls swell with garbage.