Friday, May 18, 2012

Bowie; Not James Dean

Bowie: Seen on the Brown Line to the Loop at about 10:10 p.m., May 17th, 2012 

Q: Why is your name Bowie?

A: My mom named me after that stupid androgynous asshole because she loved his song “China Girl” and we’re Chinese. Somehow she thought it was a fucking cool song instead of a fucking racist song, which is what I think.

Q: Does your mother still like David Bowie?

A: I’m sure she would if she weren’t dead. My dad made my sister and I sing “Heroes” at her funeral.

Q: How did she die?

A: Cancer. It ate through her lungs, which isn’t all that surprising considering she smoked all the time. Idiot. Bad taste in music. Bad taste in life choices.

Q: Why don’t you change your name?

A: I’m not legally old enough, and my dad won’t let me.

Q: You could ask people to call you something else, couldn’t you?

A: I’ve tried. But everybody thinks it’s such a great name. So hip. Or at least that’s what they think now. When I was little they made fun of me.

Q: If you could change your name, what would your new name be?

A: Lynn.

Q: Why Lynn?

A: That was my mother’s name. 

Not James Dean: Seen in Lincoln Park at about 12:15 p.m., May 17th, 2012 

The text message said, “I’m out front,” but when she peeked her head out the door she didn’t see anybody.


Then she heard it growling up the street—a motorcycle. It pulled into view, and the driver waved. She felt like she was in some kind of 1960’s teen movie. Like he was James Dean, or something.

He didn’t look like James Dean when he took off the helmet. He was older, maybe 40, and he had one of those goatees that inevitably makes a person look like an asshole. He was dressed head to toe in black riding gear. She, on the other hand, was just out of the shower. With her wet hair, t-shirt, and short jean skirt, she felt sticky-fresh and exposed.

All in all, the encounter only lasted a few minutes. He showed her the tickets, she handed over the money. He counted it too slowly for her liking, as though she was not to be trusted. What could she possibly hide from him? The sun was too bright for secrecy, and she wasn’t wearing any make-up.

“Nice doing business with you,” he said as he drove away. She suspected he didn’t really feel that way. Still, she was glad he was not James Dean. 

Two stories, since I didn't update yesterday. Once I read a story by Kelly Link that was in Q&A format, so I decided to try it. Hooray for experimentation! Hope you like it. The second piece is actually sort of creative non-fiction, since that actually happened to me. But I changed some details--so does that make it fiction? I don't know. Blurring the lines. More experimentation.

Tonight is my good friend and fellow writer Gena's birthday party, so that should be lovely. For all those of you who also live in the city of Chicago, stay safe this weekend during NATO!  

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