Fictional prompt: At first, it seemed like no big deal, but then…

black canvas

Fanciful number inspired from fiction prompter. 

She dismissed the small rift the way she would with salsa several days past the sell-by date (whipping out the tub onto her serving tray with the rest of her seasoning accoutrements). It was so small, and still, and lifeless. More, frayed edges with the beginnings of an opening. As law of entropy goes, over the days and weeks, it widened into a hole. But, she had holes in the throw pillow that she used more for tucking against the side of her growing belly at night, than for show unlike her specially purchased ones from Etsy boutique sellers. There were holes– large spaces of self-doubt and self-loathing she was now watering with a different kind of nourishment than her earlier drinking and white stuff formula. There was the wholeness of a hole in her diamond ring that, even at size 3, still swung loose on her finger, days she did not feel so swollen.

He had surprised her, coming back one night to her apartment on the premise he had left his storehouse keys behind. “Check the coffee table, will you?” came his shout, muffled as he dug around a box in the other room. It was one of those flex-foldable 5 buckaroo boxes from Ikea; she had designated one as his– glad he needed space much smaller than a closet. He left only a few change of clothes, and a notebook. Of course, he had placed the ring box on the table and he came out in time to watch her expression change.

The rift became a hole that became a yawning pit, a widening space, a gulf. She sees it, feels it best when she’s left the office and is driving home at night – when she has time to let her mind travel its own veins, on roads more tenuous yet harder than asphalt. It has gone from something she’d put on the same level of urgency as two day old salsa to something with lifelike menace. With each night she passes, she’s aware of it now on a visceral level– driving head long into an abyss. The end point has vanished. This large empty space has the power to constrict her as if it were too a sinuous, fat boa. She’s swallowed up in dark space and straining against ligature marks.

It grows and grows. When he comes back. When he leaves.  When she tells him she needs to leave. When she spies his small box in her room.

The hole has changed the world irrevocably. Like, someone above had wiggled large god-like fingers around the water and land-masses– some sinking, others roiling up into new formations until you no longer knew where you were on the map, and there’s no going back to the way things were. It was a fray you’d once find lending character to a thoughtfully decorated room– maybe, a stray feathery almost pretty fray at which you’d smile and absentmindedly pick, from the plumed throw pillow from which it first broke loose. It’s a new world and a new map.


There’s a knock at the door but when you answer it, no one’s there. You look down and see a box with a bow on it…

(For better context, you might want to read >> previous post << before proceeding.)

For some reason, the fact that the box is large and oblong, puts me at ease. A pipe bomb or other vagary gifted out of malice somehow seems more apt in something square and  compact. The impact of mischief enhanced by nature of  its carriage’s less assuming size.

The bow looks more like twine than its actual satin fabric– the way it’s been lopsidedly tied. Can even see one or two faint stress-creases. I get an image in my head of gifter gritting his molars, willing self not to rend the damn thing apart. Notice the gender assignation in last sentence; unwieldy fingers and motor skills seems more of a male than female plight although I myself display a peculiar disability with tying, untying and– well, to take it a step further– opening, undoing anything– shoelaces, plastic fruit bags, bottle caps, buttons.

Inside is an old faded peacoat bearing a Calvin Klein tag.  From one of its pockets, I draw out two ticket stubs.  Moment later, it’s as if a hand has physically reached into my skull and given my cranium a hearty poke and it’s set a-spinning.

Five years ago, on one of our night ‘home-comings’, you whisk my jacket off to coat check before ushering me to the bar.  I drink too much that night so that there is no a-teetering– just sitting, head draped on your shoulders and you occasionally brushing back my hair from my face. You do the same when we later sit in my car.

A night later, I hound you over instant message about the coat we left behind and you promise its retrieval.  The lounges in the city are our proverbial haunts, our night domiciles but, still, I know your ADHD ass. Two weeks later, I – my petty vindictive imp-self- name an arbitrary sum to recompense for my lost item. That coat was a gift from the man, who at the time, was the singular one over which my heart was now necessarily on the mend.  It was a relic, a piece of him, and a piece of a me more whole (or so it felt).  Of course, you didn’t know that.  But, maybe you knew my asking amount was a mark up tantamount to thievery and maybe that was a put-off or maybe the crime marked your dawning of the space between us.  Or, maybe other things else.  That’s when you snap.  That’s when you became my ghost.  (Although, as it’s been mentioned, the haunting sets in only many years later.) But, in all technicality,  you are already a ghost  weeks later when I stop by the booth where you are guest-DJing and you curtly hand over an envelope stuffed with green wads.  We look at the hands and the envelope– never our faces, and that’s the last we ever stand a few feet apart.

I massage the faded stubs in my hands; you can find these in any dollar stores or Party Center. Many clubs purchase reels of them to serve as drink or other VIP passes and they are also the same ones I remember using in elementary school in the lunch line.  These little relics of the same matter and material that my hands had touched, trillions of different heart beats and heart aches ago.

To be continued…

(If you still haven’t read my previous post, you will need to do so for context:

(Title of post generated from Daily Page prompter: )


What relationship would you like to mend?

I’m not sure if it’s worth mending if I don’t know how it broke in the first place.  Tracing the fault lines does tell you something, often, about the heart of a relationship even when those lines weren’t there, or before they begin to seep in.

I want to understand if love was on the other side of that break– that day he snapped, did a 180, drew himself up and inward, and walked out of my life.  Maybe it’s the case of the have not’s as the doyennes of desire, if you will indulge my histrionics, are wont to have.

He was forgettable then.  He was endearing as he was maddening with his boyish charms, infant attention span, unbridled joie ….his ability to elicit from me an equal amount of smirks/eye rolls, name-calling that amounted to any variations of ‘idiot,’ and real smiles (the last one being a big deal for resting bitch faces).  He was home in a small way, even as my heart was still mending.  On those nights we’d rendezvous at a club after my shift ended from another, those memories of his eyes alit whenever he saw me appear stage-center (or whichever direction terminology; I should probably stick to what I know which is not terms associated with theater)– him taking me by hand to the bar and snaking his big arms around me as we waited for our drinks…those were moments we came home together.   According to him, I was the first he truly liked after his broken engagement.  Yet, maybe because I was still reeling from my first love, the physical chemistry was there but my heart was miles off.  I was impenetrable during the multiple times he’d cornered and try to woo me in that haphazard all-out Don-Quixote fashion of boys consumed by their feelings.  (Then, again, childish though he may be, he wasn’t used to this fashion either.  He was more a boy who rove around breaking things then he did getting broken.)

I tend to know better the fault lines with the men in my past– victims or victors or those in between.  I don’t understand why he has haunted me more and more with the years and in my more golden years to boot.  The haunting is almost physically wrenching.  All of a sudden, as I’m driving down a beltway, wrench (I can’t quite figure out what words may describe the sound of a *wrench,* failed onomatopoeia principles- sorry).   I wonder, with a *wrench,* what would have happened had I allowed us to be together back when he stared at me with starry eyes.  In all probability, I wouldn’t have been anywhere ready to reciprocate his love.  Or, maybe I could have.  Would I still be with him today?

The coward that I am, it took me years to work up the courage to try to contact him.  When I finally did, perhaps it was almost 4-5 years past…his contact was obsolete.  I know this is the way life goes.  Chapters stay unclosed.  Or, they close without endings.  I don’t pine for him regularly.  It’s only that when he enters my head, everything seems to stop for a moment.  And I don’t understand why he is now able to wrench me away.  I don’t remember anyone else from my past whose ghost does what his does to me.


Hi, my name is Angela and I’m a recovering alcoholic.  Aside from two lapses (for which I will NOT reset the sobriety clock), I have been sober since October 17, 2015. 

Lucas Carlson says,  ‘If you’re ever lost, one of the best things you can do is write about the process of being lost….If there’s one thing that you should not ignore from this book, and if there’s one thing you can learn that will radically transform you as a…leader for the rest of your life, it’s the importance of writing.’  (Finding Success in Failure: True Confessions from 10 Years of Startup Mistakes)

I didn’t follow Carlson’s advice the good part of 2015.  I didn’t have the humility to accept that my steps could waver and recurse right into the same spot of yester-dragons. I  had collected vagaries of wisdom and strength boosters along the way of besting this beast years ago, but here I was getting schooled again– no idea where my chest of arms went.  

Today, I’m going to take a stab at committing humility to my chest-of-arms by writing about being lost.  Being deeply personal is uncomfortable.  I  am going to lose some prospective employers or clients,  get damned and my professional ratings downgraded if not for my sickness, then for breaking the arcane and archaic professional vs. personal dichotomy (thankfully loosing steam  with the Millennial mindset).  But this is good for me— good like knee scraps and battle scars.    

Years ago, I wrote about my ‘bedside bottle,  standing alert like a royal British foot guard with the redcoat and towering black burly mop of a hat.’  In true-story romantic ‘sagas,’ alcohol was a proverbial costar ‘gently tugging down my guard the way one peels away his lover’s robe. Thank god, my gateway in a glass existed.’  I spent a good part of my young adulthood growing up or staving off adulthood or oscillating between the two, cupping glass in hand amidst laser-lit backdrops,  beats, beaus, and breakable beauties in the nightlife.

Don’t make the mistake of picturing me as a drifting, rank-breathed loafer on head of hair and stilettos. Most people throughout my life would label me a workaholic and/or perfectionist—with one or two astute observers  warning me at one point of letting my career-centrism subsume other meaningful spheres of my life.  My pretty, functional flaws ably hid the ugly ones that couldn’t be lyricized.   I could be tearing new records (and tearing a new one for our competitors,  if-you-know-what-I-mean ) in my business of recruiting, dripping powerful words out of my fingers like sauce from a jar, giving life-coach ‘Ted Talks’ of sorts on metacognitive matters; while waking to panic attacks and turning over to swish down swigs because breathing moment to moment had become nails on a chalkboard.  The narcissist in me understood so well Jeanette Winterson’s characterization of the “Hopeless heart…that gnaws away at the night-time hours desperate for a sign and appears at breakfast so self-composed’ (“The Passion.”)  I am a person with sharp edges and, as bloggist Heather Nann puts it better than I ever could, ‘I wanted to feel that buzz; the softening around my edges.’

I battled off and on, in my life, with depression and anxiety.  And, then, to add gunpowder to the keg, I let success derail me from process to finish line, from authentic love to love with conditions, from mental awareness of prosperity to the Joneses, from oxygen to fumes.  I saw the alcoholism coming,  like in those slow-mo cinematic scenes of bullets ‘ flying.’ Well, it was slow-mo but it also got there before I knew it, even while I was watching.  Other good way to describe this is how I described my eating disorder, another past  illness  in a interview when the journalist asked how I’d know if I was ever crossing the line again:  There are an infinite number of ways you can erect your own fox traps.  I used to think of myself as the anomalous type of  ‘survivor’ that would never even have an urge to relapse.  But I found that while it’s not loud, it’s there…  Like ivies on a wall, it grows. 

Ironically, this interview took place the day after I got arrested on a DUI and spent twelve hours in the slammer.  By that time, I was several months into around-the-clock drinking and was drunk more hours than sober:  6pm,  12am,  3am,  5am, and repeat.  The short lived hour(s) of sobriety  (when my body would finally revolt and say ‘ Fuck you, brain; I need to detox’) were terrifying because I had forgotten how to work,  write, watch TV,  do much anything sober.  (The odd thing, as I’ve been told, is that I can be blackout drunk and still carry on peachy, like carrying on anything from colloquial banter to epic verbal jousts— at my most obscenely best, earning me business follow-up calls the next day. It’s like I had an alter-ego that, as drunken a sot as she be, was just as Type A.  It was effortless to be a closet alcoholic.) 

 The county under which my DUI charges were incurred, required my car to get ‘outfitted’ with an interlock ignition device.  Here’s when it started to hit home that I really had a problem: It wasn’t a random surprise test; it was an in-your-face, you-have-to-blow-to-start-the-engine test spelled out to me, and I failed it, several weeks in.  This means I got into the car, still unsteady from my ‘repasts,’ knowingly blew, and failed the test.  I panicked and called my fiance.  We talked about how this was my wake-up call.  A week later, I failed the test a  g  a  i  n.  Around the same time, my psychiatrist said the time was nigh to suspend treatment of my depression and address the alcoholism first, and he gave me the number for a detox clinic.

This is how you know you are an addict.  When you of reasonable intelligent mind do  and, then, keep doing insanely stupid things. My mind reeled right after the screen displayed, in red letters, RETRY.  ‘How and why in the f*ck, what just…’ …Couldn’t begin to form or finish what I had just let happened same way I wouldn’t, ‘can’t even’ with someone who tossed their baby into a well or a full garbage bag onto lit stove burner. Can’t even. Even at that juncture, knowing I was on the brink of getting actual incarceration time; losing my health, my life and really everything of value in my life, I wasn’t sure I could stop.  But, October 17, 2015— the day I failed my interlock ignition test a second time— was the day I started trying.

What I have learned so far:  It’s easier to slip back than you think, but it’s also not as hard as you think it is being back on the other side.  Seen through the addict’s mind, the greener grass yonder looks like scorched earth.  And, there’s no denying the beginning of the fight is painfully hard.  But, whilst as an alcoholic, you start thinking there’s no joy in sobriety because you just can’t remember what that was like, know that thought is a lie.  I still sometimes struggle with enjoying certain breaths to next, or finding new ways to manage stress.  But, there is joy.  From vegging out in front of the tube, to trying a new fruit, getting all DIY (thanks, Pinterest), outlining a op-ed fiction in which Christians will have become the villianized-as-radicalized bunch (see how we like a taste of our own meds), to doing Sudoku puzzles [For some reason, I was ESPECIALLY surprised to learn I enjoy Sudoku just as much, sober.].  Three months ago, these were things I didn’t know how to enjoy sober.   Today, that I’m writing without the elixir-hand of a drink and even enjoying many parts of this process, is a big deal. 

Today is a big deal.  


A What If? Guide to Canabalism in Aftermath of a Solar Storm

This is about the type of conversation that happens with a bouncer on a Friday night at a club when you alight upon a crème de la hypothetics read (see link and image below) and are bored awaiting late-night crowd rush.  Enjoy and don’t call the cops on me. 

The way in which we arrive onto this topic is a thread of stories unto themselves; for the purpose of sticking to one, we’ll skip them.  Anyway, he is telling me about solar storms which could, with respectable probability, usher in our next Armageddon.  Solar storms occur when the sun randomly farts out energy from its retina– scientifically termed “coronal mass injection.”  This gaseous discharge essentially becomes a huge electromagnetic pulse.  An EMP hitting the earth would overload our power grids with its silent but deadly (“SBD”) electrical currents.   This actually happened about 150 years back but the damage done then wouldn’t hold a match to the damage projected in a current-day solar storm.  Largely thanks to technology’s “Moore’s Law” trajectory, our lifeline in almost every aspect is on the grid.  So, here’s a quick snapshot of life post modern-day SBD shit storm. Cars, air conditioning/heating, mobile devices– most things under the sun (literally)– would cease to operate.  Initially, you could bike, walk or ride horseback to the nearest grocery store and do some high falutin looting.  But, with infinite demand and finite supply,  thievery will only last so long.  Time to travel back to an age of foraging and hunting, and here’s my take on how it’d all go down.  (For more information on solar storms: )

Sure, our ancestors hunted animals.  But that was when animals were as plentiful as Starbucks and Chipotle.  Plus, our ancestors’ brawn was way more hardcore; like, how many of us today know how to hurl a spear, or shoot a bow and arrow? Nope, animal hunting ain’t going to cut it.  Hunting humans on the other hand would be much easier.  (Don’t lecture me on the immorality of even broaching such a subject; and don’t tell me you wouldn’t consider this if it came down to gnawing on a human thighbone or starving.)

This brings to question what human flesh would taste like.  Pork or chicken?  He believed the former and, although, I can provide no scientific rationale, my gut tells me he’s right.

Now here’s another question: What if different ethnic groups meant different tasting flesh?  Begging the next question (see how we are going down a rabbit hole?)  which would taste the best and/or worst?  He and I muse over this for a good part of the night.  White people would taste bland; Indian and Hispanics might be pretty damn savory; Asian might also be a good route.  Our presumptions are based on diet.  You are what you eat, right?   Half an hour later, he comes back and, with a gleam in his eyes, says “Eskimos and Native Americans;” those would be our five star flesh.  Because of rarity?  Clean and simplified lifestyle and diet?  Then, we start pondering fusion cuisine– Indian/Euro, Asian/Mexican, etc, etc.  Luckily, he and I live in the District which is a smorgasboard of multi-racials– a veritable palate of trial-and-error, Andrew Zimmerman-style dining.

Moving onto the next variable: fat.  The natural assumption would be that fat people taste better than skinny minnies (although, I point out, meat close to the bone like on a ribeye or buffalo wing often tastes better than their boneless counterparts).  Now, there’s usually always a rule of depreciation somewhere, so the question is, after what point of fattiness, does tastiness begin to decrease?  The obese? Definitely avoid them.  My theory: go for the slightly overweight– like those with dad/mom-bods.  Also, why women would probably taste better than men because we have a higher fat composition.

Age: Just like veal (baby lamb) and “fa lam” (baby pig– a popular Chinese dish), we should be able to safely assume that young humans are more tender– containing more gelatin-producing cartilage.  An infant would taste much better than an adult.  However, both the old and the young will probably have a shorter shelf life which means, alongside eating the best first, we’d also have to get the worst over with.  Last to be descended upon would be the lucky tweeners– those in their twenties to forties (maybe fifties).  Jackpot if you live by an elementary school, hospital, and/or nursing home.

Safety:  He and I agreed to avoid eating club industry people at all costs, since the probability of drugs, venereal disease, general decay from years of partying and vice, would make them both unhealthy– even toxic– and not such tasty fare.  Another perk of babies and kiddos besides their taste: Much less likely to have started down any self-destructive, tear-and-wear path.  I wondered, say, if someone was carrying a contagious condition– like an STD…or someone shot up with heroin– what danger would this pose to his flesh eater?  Would a certain amount of heat (slow cook 350 degrees) kill whatever toxin lingers?  Would we always have to opt for meat well-done?  I decide I would make an exception for babies– medium rare for that occasional reckless treat.

Body part: What’s tastiest?  Thigh?  Least tastiest: Wild guess, the neck, the head (I mean, we tend to avoid those anyway when it comes to animal meat), the genital areas?  What’s the safest?  Probably, the extremities like the arm, thigh, leg.  Most dangerous?  Anywhere close to vital organs and, of course, the genital areas.

Well, it had been a rousing two hours of deep-dive thinking.  He and I agreed that, if we actually get f*cked by a solar storm, he and I would team up.  Angel face that I have, I’d serve as decoy damsel-in-distress or prey (depending on the ethics of actual prey), and he’d do the clubbing, spearing, or whatever other means of brute force necessary.  At the end of the night, we pat ourselves on the back for having a contingency plan.


Hell-gone-to-heaven Mind


We are no longer in Kansas.  What the frack kind of substance or space travel disorientation-induced ailment am I on?  The craving for a cig is the first thing that awakens me.  Fracking ruined, half-glued mascara– I curse as I struggle to roll back retinal blinds.  Psychedelic colors scream at my screen as the fog from my capsule retreats.  Trees with clock-on-a-wall- sized fronds in dodger blues and lime green hues — some wavy, others sharply corrugated like stuccoed roofs.  The flowers are Gerber-type baby faces enwrapped in bonnets– swaying and cooing.  There’s this hum across ocean and land that sends a pleasant electric wave in my skull.  Reminds me of my childhood psychiatrist who entranced me with her silky voice as she sat ladylike, knees crossed.  The houses rise- half rock, half glass…minarets, spires, mazed gardens, carved columns, and streaming fountains as if out of Lord of the Ring’s Rivendelle. The citizens do glide about, swanlike, as the elves of the lore except that they are bedecked in bio-smart body suits and not flowing robes.  The tiniest notes of music trail their chatter– music that rises not from mechanical instruments.  Living is the same as music and flight and beauty– never clashing.  If this isn’t heaven, I’m okay with a half-way home.  I can feel my hair folicles wiggle, my stride strengthen, my brows unfurl…dear god, Fairy God Mother is everywhere and gravity is a thing of the past.  I float over to a building rising out of a waterfall into a magnificent wedding-cake-tiered structure– gleaming from both its crystalic bolts burrowed into its beams as well as the reflections off the virginal waters. Somehow, it manages both an Imperial Oriental and Roman aura with its serpentine door designs, moon arches, doric columns, and travertine limestone floors.

At the other end of the first room– the great room– there is a gold-coated mural depicting dragon deities and gold-plated warriors on chariots. In front, a plumed bench. On which He sits. He wears lightning beams on his brows and yet also a smile as warm as Mom’s chicken noodle soup on a sick-at-home day.  For my readers of the last decade, he’s the Chuck Bass, Harvey Specter, Don Draper of my heart-looking type of gent and I fight the urge to pounce on him, run fingers over his light bristles and arched brows, and scandalous shadow of a smirk.  

The electric hum in my skull heightens a few decibels higher. I feel like I’m riding a silk carpet.  I feel like a maiden cupped into the pulse of his fist.  Oh, throbbing.  I almost faint with delight.  


“There you are, pet.” I awaken to his cooing, his rugged chistled gentle godlike face. He is bending towards me — behind him, ruffling curtains gathering at lacquered bed posts. Chiffon wounds itself inward towards a vortex in the ceiling like the tip of a circus tent. I am an offering on a shrine or is it he? “Love, stop the blood-drops; stop the wrinkles; the dew-drops; let me in with my love.” His kiss on my forehead feels like a Bindi paint mark — all things divine torpedoed into the core of my sand-house of a mind. Something shifts but it’s not the house falling on its foundations. Something wild blooms somewhere in the distance.

— –

I feel like a phoenix re-risen. I’m on a round step-stool — arms outstretched so a dozen maid-servants can make their measurements of outwards-funneling robes. Peach rose petals shower down; all shadows change to sun-hued tints.

They are just finished adorning the last butterfly headpiece ornament on my head when He sweeps in past moon-arched doors. I feel like Aphrodite as he gathers me up in his arms. I feel like Bonnie Blue child swept up by Rhett Butler, daddy dearest.

— –

That sound of brakes wearing, that soft Thumbelina-pup screech? That’s the sound that rouses me back to a bed in a room decked with a pop art print here and an expensive throw there, absent of palatial posts and spiraling curtains. I cradle my head in hands — re-knowing the hum in there as something painful and real.


Pie in the Sky talk: What’s on your Dream Board?

I almost hesitate on the title “Pie in the Sky.”  Pie in the sky like pigs flying connotes the fictional and fantastical.  But, hey, as I am writing this post, learning robots and all manners of AI forms, and homes running on battery packs are happening.  Everyday I read about some tech thing that’s a “holy shit” tech thing in my book.  Pigs everywhere are flying today. 

Everyone should have a “dream board” whether it’s in their head on on a whiteboard.  Ironically, the days where I am not in ‘go HAM, balls to walls, war of worlds’ work mode, are often where I feel my dreams like agitated atoms in a test tube banging around something fierce.   So, here I was chilling with my leftover wings, bedsheets, and laptop and the banging around town got a bit much.

eating fried wings in bed

So, here are some of mine:
  • Become a thought leader in recruiting, startup recruiting, mindfulness, staffing, career consulting.  Service others with stuff of educational value
  • Do something more with my blogging.   Everyone’s blogging and monetizing their blogging nowadays, I know.
  • Finish and publish ‘that damn novel’ under a pen name.  This one will be completely divorced from my career space.
  • Teach.  Whether it be the aforementioned thought leader/SME stuff or training people from the ground up to become recruiters– using a holistic approach where I’m showing them how to learn to approach the messy stuff in their heads and hearts, as much as they are their job (what the educational system needs to work on).
The soft stuff:

The big pie in the sky stuff:

  • Told a financial advisor the other day that I want to  accumulate enough assets (“go to hell” funds, if you will) so I can SCALE UP on a whole new level when it comes to changing the world and making the world my laboratory. Like Elon Musk with his SpaceX program, or Peter Thiel and his Thiel fellowship (awarding $100,000 to 20 year olds to drop college and get going on their startups).
  • Travel on a starship.  Dear God, I have said it before and will say it again: I wish I might, starlight, star bright, live to see NASA accomplish warp-drive. If there ever came a day, in my lifetime, where Harold White and Mark Rademaker or whomever’s work paves the way for a real-life Enterprise, my single life-mission will become to get on that ship.  (Want to know how I’m not playing? Read: )

What are yours? Continue reading