this is the perfect place to get jumped

Month: June, 2014

does a story about harassment qualify as harassment?

IMG954018kenny and CJ, respectively

I borrowed the first names of some ex-coworkers for a debatably salacious, verifiably average short story that I published to this blog a few weeks ago. The impending discovery of that story by one of my ex-coworkers was met with an ultimatum: failure to replace the names, or remove the accompanying photo (which pictured the back of CJ’s head), or remove the entire piece within 72 hours meant the story would be sent to CJ, whose fictional family becomes the butt of an absurd inside joke between two coworkers. As the joke becomes stale, the story’s narrator reaches a point of obsession, using  CJ’s family as the pillar for a creation myth. CJ’s reaction would presumably send shockwaves of shame, regret, embarrassment, humiliation etc. throughout the office.

That wise adage “what mama don’t know can’t hurt her” is applied perfectly to this scenario, so I fail to understand the purpose of showing this work of fiction to CJ. California would have tumbled into the ocean if CJ ever found my story, and then resurfaced from its oceanic depths if CJ ever read past the first paragraph. I understand the logic of the threat, because I wrote the story confident CJ would never read it, just as I wrote this story confident Meg would never read it. (Despite me reading it aloud, and publishing to this blog, she has never read it.)

It is not news to anyone in the office (save CJ) that I borrow names from real life. (ex: Habanero Moonshine) I do this without permission especially  because I can cite that coincidence clause that reads at the end of every scripted show on television as a universal writer’s defense.

I like to think of it as flattery when I choose a namesake, and just because I enjoy vulgarities doesn’t mean I intend harm. If the story was about a loving man who cares for his children and lives a long, fulfilling life would it have been as controversial to use CJ’s name? Subject matter was not referenced in the cruel ultimatum, which leads me to conclude that my ex-coworker did not read past the first paragraph, and therefore misunderstood the negative consequences of the story’s secret harassment.

Maybe my story is an allegory for a reality that would only exist if I destroyed the story that would create this reality. Would the consequences of CJ reading my story been as tragic as the story vaguely predicts? Or am I trying to imitate life in such a way that it affects the real life I’ve borrowed from? I don’t have intentions when I begin to write fiction, I just write what I know and hope to learn something I don’t, although I staunchly refuse to learn a life lesson.

Although the story features imagined harassment that becomes actual harassment in the name of research and inspiration, does writing such a story about an ex-coworker qualify as harassment? If that answer is yes, I believe dissemination is an integral component in determining the extent of harassment. For example, if I emailed the story to CJ, even with a friendly note attached, the first paragraph alone would cause him alarm, despite this being a work of fiction. If I emailed the story to everyone in the office besides CJ, I think that would also qualify as harassment. However, I did not email the story to anybody. Anyone who read it knows the existence of this blog and sought an update. CJ is not one of these people.

There is no reason for the existence of pleasant stories, and plermpt will always be read at your own risk, as suggested by the disclaimer beneath the header. So I picked the namesake of a poor, harmless individual for my personal creative amusement. This is my personal site. There is nowhere else I send my work because there is nowhere else that will accept it. plermpt is a place where I sidestep rejection, but it is not a place where I can sidestep criticism.

happy father’s day

before he was my dad he would strap goggles to his face and lay face down in a tarp, in a puddle of alkyl nitrites. when he was good and high his friends would unroll him, then take contrasty photos of his goofy smile and place them amongst a larger compilation on a shelf in a container in the bed of a truck. my dad didn’t know about the photos. i had a crush on the librarian. she had short brown hair. the truck tipped over, but the books stayed in place.

 

 

for the record

i still fall asleep to music, but since spring i’ve been tossing and turning to albums in their entirety. when the album finally ends, I begin pacing my room before queuing another album and returning to bed with eyes wide. it seems like i have forgotten how to sleep.

this is attributed to the summer’s bloom, which has again stirred my ambition. last year’s drug dealing scheme proved erroneous, as my first step towards this life of crime was kindly dismissed by my supplier when i tried to purchase weight with a check. this year’s scheme draws upon my libidinous character to produce a body of photographic work that will someday lead to a handsome compensation.

in addition to my full time job, my blogs, and my photo scheme i’ve begun work on an unofficial trilogy.

you want a movie motherfucker? i’ll give you three:

(please note that besides an imminent, undisclosed completion date everything listed below is subject to change.)

Right Here (II)

Right Here (I) was a work in progress, and I consider Right Here (II) to be a continuation of that work because my neighborhood is still in its tragic flux. I’ll be visiting construction sites daily, hopping fences and maintaining my charms and composure while alienating strangers with one free hand and holding a camera with the other. This is a straightforward but physically demanding project.

“The Dollar Party”

my mounting rage requires new topics and outlets for expression. the comfort zone i built with right here needs to be destroyed by “the dollar party”. i dont believe in shot lists or budgets or rights or a legal department or superfluous industry producer roles. this could be my manifesto. or a dismantling of my unwritten manifesto. whatever it is, i don’t expect recognition or payment or tranquility. i expect passion, spirit over perfection, and hopefully, relief.

Script for a Movie

Hollywood is bullshit. I want to produce and direct erotic cinema. This will be a script, and it will be produced in the tradition of The Industry, but it won’t require a massive budget, and it won’t be a hackneyed piece of glitter covered shit like True Detective. it will be shot to a professional standard and distributed to festivals (by someone that isn’t me) like an industry hopeful, but it won’t be picked up because it will be too “pornographic.” people are boring. i have one scene written, but summer is not the time to be cooped up writing all day…i’ve got some trespassing to do.

new fiction

“Xorpus of Xarl”

20140415_171508

We  joked about Xarl’s wife constantly.

Xhris started it:

One day Xhris excitedly beckoned me from the hallway as I passed Xarl’s office. Standing at his desk while Xarl was away making photocopies, and with both hands gripping the framed photo of Xarl’s wife, Xhris detailed the bizarre sexual acts he’d forced onto “the hottie Mrs.Xarl” last Sunday while Xarl ran errands with their young daughter. (“The hottie Mrs. Xarl” was not quite shaped like a drum of crude oil, but telling the difference between the two would be difficult if they were both draped in a black blanket.) I was a very fast learner. I confided to Xhris that after Mrs.Xarl cleaned herself off, cooked dinner for her family, tucked her daughter into bed and made love to her husband, she awaited his deep, nocturnal breath as signal for a post-sex slumber before sneaking to my apartment, where i chained her orgasms with my lancaster cheeseburgers until she resembled the smeared contortion of a toppled oil drum.

We choked on laughter with tears in our eyes as Xarl returned. Xhris gave him a confident, friendly head nod that Xarl returned with a raised, suspicious eyebrow.

Discovering the paradise of true love is a universal, ongoing quest in this cruel and unforgiving life. I believe that the intimacy Xarl shared with his wife, the bliss that they created in the corporeal form of their infant daughter, and the tender realm they cultivated as a home served as the best definition of the success and power of a love impervious to the cruelest of jokes; but we welcomed the challenge.

Like sport we violated that intimacy, while maintaining our professionalism. The time which used to be defined as our shared midday meal was now treated as an informal roast of Mrs.Xarl, and practice for the imminent holiday party. We agreed that verbal jokes made any time before or after this roast was off limits, but we wordlessly traded insults using a complicated language of smug glances we invented for our eyebrows and cheeks so as not to queue outsiders in on our joke. We were reaching unhealthy obsession with record pace. I couldn’t remember talking to Xhris about anything other than Mrs. Xarl, which now seemed like the only shred of similar interest that remained between us.

Erin was tired of our game and pleaded for us to stop harassing Xarl’s family, but we never harassed Xarl’s family; we never photographed the bathing Mrs. Xarl from the deserted barn across the street with our new telephoto lens purchased with the cash we lifted from Xarl’s wallet at lunch, we never pricked our cocks and covered those prints with cock blood and mailed them as fake ransom notes to Xarl’s nonexistent cousins in Lancaster, and we never smeared our army fatigues with the rancid turd of a wild boar and egged Xarl’s junior’s soccer practice. Xrin didn’t understand anything.

I don’t blame Xenny for inviting Xarl to dine with us. He was eager to become involved himself, and consequently couldn’t exclude anybody. Still, this slight lapse in foresight definitely couldn’t inhibit the ridicule of Mrs. Xarl; it was all we had. Ultimately we viewed the experience as an impromptu dry run, and I swiftly switched our classic Mrs.Xarl moniker to “The Red Eyed Slut” to spare Xarl’s feelings and keep our best material a secret until the holiday party, which was only two seasons away. As we warmed up to this new moniker Xarl laughed nervously alongside us, unsure of the context of our comments. Throughout the meal we relentlessly heaped insults from this buffet of cruelty, much like Mrs. Xarl’s generous portion of my full bodied lancaster cheeseburger chains every tuesday night while Xarl attended spin class. Our raucous laughter was met by the stares by every jealous onlooker in the cafeteria.

Obsession was an insult: this was not a shallow joke anymore, this was a major project for humanity. I was laying the foundations of a new mythology, and my lancaster cheeseburger was like the cup of a carpenter. But who was the carpenter’s son?

Besides a mistaken chuckle at his wife’s expense, Xarl never expressed his feelings in the workplace. My daily snoops through Xarl’s workstation provided my infant faith with a surplus of symbols for it’s expanding tapestry of mystery. As Xarl photocopied invoices I sniffed the seat of his chair and tore through fresh boxes of unsealed envelopes, even sifting through the week’s payroll shreds for the clues. I needed the clues. Beyond every relic is a cabal, and I nursed my complex from the seat of Xarl’s chair on a feast of the spirit.

When my frantic snoops discovered a stash of crude sketches, bizarrely bereft of the blood or vomit of his disturbed daughter, I realized that the truth was expanding, and that the Red Eyed Slut was but a sequin on the cocktail dress of my ambitious xorpus. Xarl was a secret seer, and these drawings were his. These drawings really creeped me out too. I was never afraid that this sick Xarl joke was on me, but these pictures looked so much like me. Xenny said I was being paranoid.

While Xarl rummaged in his trunk for the rifle I compared my hips with the hips of the stick figure; I lifted my shirt up and pulled my pants down slightly below my waist so Xhris could observe and compare the curves and see for himself this eerie similarity that Xarl’s fecal bereft sketches contained. I was ignored. My news of this mighty mystery did not please Xhris, and his dour mug warned me against further investigations. This seemed a secret between Xhris and Xarl, and it was no secret that Xhris ceased all pretense of our relationship with my discovery.

Xhris’ intense feelings for Xarl had resurfaced with Xrin’s predicted boredom of the Mrs. Xarl project, which was merely a temporary distraction from Xarl’s inevitable rejection of Xhris that I misinterpreted as our budding friendship. I didn’t like how Xhris fashioned my purpose as a temp bestie in his transparently farfetched relationship with a straight, married coworker, but I wasn’t sad yet. His feelings had become stronger than one’s love for country, and besides, Xarl couldn’t love Xhris in the same way he loved Mrs. Xarl, or Xarl’s junior. And he had too many great things already: a car, a job, a home, a wife, a daughter, a box, a rifle, and maybe a boat someday. Xhris was being dumb.

I was not about to abandon Xarl’s xorpus, as its importance to humanity far outstripped Xhris’ petty office crushes. Despite empty threats of termination I attempted another successful search party, making tiny, concentric laps outside Xarl’s office, waiting for him to leave to make more photocopies. Just as I was overtaken by a fatal wooziness, Xarl looked ready to leave for the evening, so I gave him a head nod which he did not return, and began riddling out his file cabinets. As I lifted my face from Xarl’s seat my eyes were met with the motion of Xrin crouching low to the floor to lift the water tank to the top of the cooler, revealing a relief map of lancaster in her stretch marks, and proving divinity over coincidence. Symbolism was everywhere.

I found the box beneath Xarl’s desk. This black, six sided conundrum without hinges and only a single slit was a personification of Xhris’ weakness: one way in, no way out. When Xhris cried and lamented Xarl’s lack of emotion, claiming senility, I believed him at first. The dense, handwritten notes that accompanied these sketches in Xarl’s black box disclosed further enigma. Maybe Xarl kept his feelings in this box, wrote them out and hid them away, nothing more than proof of a layman’s expression, and an admirable, unparalleled professionalism for keeping those expressions to himself. If given another chance I would respect the confidentiality of a person’s box.

Any euphoria experienced as I chained those lancaster cheeseburgers across the receptacle of Mrs. Xarl was a speck when compared to the despair I experienced upon forced entry of that box. The terrible truth unveiled caused a complete reversal of my previous beliefs in close to less than a moment. Everything tipped over. Feelings of sympathy or apathy were swallowed by a depressive adrenaline that death couldn’t cure amid that final leap. What could have been cheeseburgered naturally and safely into a transformative love for Xarl’s daughter was mutilated like the lobe of a tribesman, probably traced up and stuffed confidently into that fucking box. I needed my cheeseburger for the next, great verifiable act that would fashion someone a martyr. To spin this great revelation into a message was no longer my calling. It had to be intimate, and it had to be anal, it couldn’t be love if it wasn’t anal, and it would have happened while Mrs. Xarl took their junior to spin class if Xarl didn’t storm the office with his rifle.