South of Heaven


No, Susan I would not like a milkshake to go with that order, what I really need is for fate to reach its massively unapologetic hand down in my favor, for this once. I had a constant fiery dialogue between myself and life on the subject of who held the managing partner role over control. Life usually won that argument, but in my comfort of disillusion I maneuvered through it as if that wasn’t the case. Silly me. I try to fancy myself as the king and not the pawn. Like I get to choose the deck of cards, and not make best with what the dealer has dealt. Us people are stupid that way. But, I'm not completely sure fate’s gonna answer my beck and call in this instance. The grave is dug, 6 feet deep, and the asshole took the ladder out too. Being buried alive was my reality, I guess. Or maybe it’s always been. Never wanted to end up like my father, while externally we’re nothing alike, internally and habitually we inhabit the same toxic tendencies. The type of shitty tendencies that routinely led to my absolute self-destruction. Cards dealt by the learned behaviors from my spotty childhood, what a dealer i had. All the mentally heavy mistakes, bad ideas; all those negative things, qualities, etc have just been piled upon me time after time. I’m drowning in this sea of mishaps, you could say. A mound of mental dirt dumped on my mind and spirit. Fate, allow me this once, lay your hand down in my defense.


As I finished my order, Susan gave me a smile that translated more attraction than her words ever could. How wild right? A person could see you in passing and be utterly attracted. Not knowing anything about you, falling for the pretentious image you’ve built for yourself. Buying into the best marketing scheme your mind, body, and soul could come up with for the moment. Heavily influenced by the societal norms, culture, and likes or dislikes you might have. Clothes methodically chosen to say things about your personality you don’t have to. Accessories like Raybans used to build a certain aura around who you are, whether you want to admit that or not. Air force ones certainly not worn for comfort.


See the thing is, we find ourselves enamored with the idea of people, then we embark in the relationship and become further intoxicated by their potential. Maybe it’s the task of figuring a person out that’s alluring. The prospect of seeing firsthand whether or not they fall into the initial assumptions we had over who they may or may not be. If they’re more than advertised or if they’re as bland as the next person. Truly intriguing, interesting people are so hard to find. Boring has become the shared reality for so many people that share this earth we inhabit. Boring being the defining factor of so many people and their lives. A tragedy really. Putting your seatbelt on is no way to live life.


People are so boring because they refuse to take their seatbelt off. They’d rather prioritize safety and comfort over growth and experience. How pathetic. How disrespectful to the gift of life we’ve all been gifted with. How dare you become a drone and follow in the footsteps of the drone in front of you? What’s the point of living if that’s your idea of a well-lived life? Passing off fear as a viable reason not to do something, as if we all aren’t scared of something. Although we shouldn’t be. There’s nothing too big for us to conquer, nothing too small that we couldn't enjoy.


I wonder if Susan wants to work here for the rest of her life. Taking orders and delivering food to tables with a false smile in the hopes of a tip, for minimum wage and no benefits. Is she a closeted writer? A photographer with a portfolio full of beautiful images? A struggling college student with dreams of revolutionizing the american school system, destroying the norms of the world of academia? An idealistic entrepreneur with dreams of disrupting one or the many industries ruled by our brand of capitalism? A person with unreached dreams and untapped potential? What is her thing, like her passion, the thing that drives her? Is there one?


If there wasn’t, how tragic would that be. The great things that could’ve been accomplished through her life. Maybe everybody won’t be great, but we all hold that gene. We all could be. Doing more, with the ones we love; having fun and enjoying deep experiences. What a beautiful thing life is. Maybe it’s the alcohol talking, it’s the middle of the day but alcohol and I are synonymous at this point. Maybe that intoxicating liquid has led me down this rabbit hole of thought.


Or maybe here, South of Heaven, the only things we’re left with are our thoughts.


Doing my best to stay secluded from the reality that awaits me at my apartment, right now, I found a bit of satisfaction in the idea of sitting in this diner lost in thought. Thought about a girl I don’t know. A waitress. I may be just as attracted to her as she is to me. She’s no slouch when it comes to beauty, but there’s some sort of aura around her and that’s a pleasant bonus. Her smile, although in a profession where it’s usually a ploy for a tip, seemed genuine. Not just with me, for the few minutes we interacted, but with the other three tables she bounced around to. One of the three tables she waited, had an elderly lady dining at it. Close enough for me to hear the conversation.


She asked about this Old woman’s day, and looked her in her eyes as she told her. Like this lady was the only lady worth paying attention to in a room full of potential tip givers. Putting the other tables on hold along with the other demands of her job, she stood there for at least five minutes going back and forth with this lady. By just watching her as she interacted with this lady, you could tell this was something Susan did often. Being completely present. You could also tell this was something this lady was thoroughly enjoying. The way her eyes lit up, as Susan told her about the trip she took to Nigeria was a nice thing to see. There was definitely some kind of connection between the two of them. Maybe the lady saw a little bit of herself within Susan. Or, maybe like most elderly folk, she relished in the idea of connecting with someone in the upcoming generation. The generation that would build upon or destroy everything that lady and her peers left behind.


As she grabbed the tab for the family of three sitting in the booth about two tables over from me, she waved that same old lady out as she left the premises. Little things like that are the reason the aliens haven’t laid waste to our planet yet. Because, even though we humans do stupid shit, we do wonderful shit like that. To you, a wave might not mean much, but to that lady, the wave along with the genuine interest Susan showed her, it might have meant everything. And for Susan, that might have been just enough to shove her into a lifetime of seeking out genuine connections in her everyday life. Trying her best to leave each and every person she may come across, better than she found them. Like, it was her duty.


Shortly after the elderly lady made her way out of the diner, and Rashon made his way in. I wonder if there was actually a spot saved for her in Heaven. I don’t think anyone saw what happened, but me. Susan was none the wiser either, she placed the whisky burger down in front of me, with the courtesy “Enjoy!” followed by another one of her late-2000’s to the early-2010’s Disney channel style smiles. The more I saw her, the more I realized there were so many untapped, and unrealized potential stars just walking amongst us. If Disney had any kind of sense, they’d spend a little more on research and development, in the hopes of finding the next star. So they could stumble across Susan, pulling her out of whatever hole her life had gotten her in that she doesn’t talk about and write her a 20 million dollar contract to win the hearts and souls of every kid across america.


Not too far off from being 6 years sober, Rashon looked at the pack of CBD cigarettes I had laying next to my clubmaster glasses as he sat down, and asked me a very stupid question, “You still smoke those?”, I responded, “Not at all, I found a mysterious button on the bottom of this table, I pressed it and they just appeared.” I continued, “I found it a few seconds after I saw your post on instagram and realized your head was still probably one of the biggest heads I’ve ever seen. It might actually dwarf the sun, that can’t be healthy, my guy.” In response, almost as quick as a sneeze, he said “Oh, right. Was that before or after you melted your screen with that hot ass breath of yours?”

I didn’t say anything after that, not because he shut me up or anything, the comeback was mediocre at best. But because, a wise man once said nothing at all.


The next few waves of conversation consisted of him talking about what he might want to do for his birthday, the gift he thought his girl might be getting him and how well it’s going for them living together. They just moved into an apartment not too long ago, and given my current circumstance, that’s a little ironic. Also, a little insensitive for him to bring up, selfishly that’s how i felt. But, taking a stepback and understanding how happy he is just to be having a good time with his girl, I reevaluated and drew a shred of happiness for my boy. It’s truly a beautiful thing to see your friends happy, and thriving for the most part. Especially Rashon, he’s been with me for so long and never wavered. I love him, and everything he brings to my life. From the --Excuse me for this gay term, but there’s really no other way for me to say it-- sleepovers we used to have in highschool, to the year we spent as roommates together in college, to the many ass whoopings I handed him on Madden, a bond couldn’t be stronger.


He did his best not to bring up what was going on in my life at the time, and didn't ask about how everything was going at my apartment today, because he knew how it was going for me. He knew. He could probably hear it in my voice, along with the cynical comments I laid like clay mines throughout our conversation. The self-loathing was strong in me today.


I finished my meal about as soon as he got half way, with his. And, figured it was about time I headed home and dealt with that reality I was trying so hard to escape. Gave him a good ‘ole brotherly goodbye and headed toward the Toyota Corolla that sat in the parking lot. She was a beaut, she had character. I’d had her for a year now, and a nice matte black on a car was always a sight to see. We often rode into the sunset with style. I had my receipt with me for some reason, I never keep these things. I wondered why, and then I remembered the best part of that diner left her contact information on the back of it, with a smiley face used as the punctuation. Susan looks like she might like my corolla, she probably drives a Mazda or a Camry herself. She left her number on the tab, I didn’t think she was the type. But, I guess all girls are as long as you’re the guy they wanna do something like that for. That’s about how all things work in the guy-girl relationship dynamic. Some guys are more blessed than others. Some guys don’t get the same treatment as other guys, and all girls don’t treat every guy they come across with the same leniencies. It’s a proven fact, almost common sense at this point. You don’t get ghosted for being a “nice guy”, you get ghosted for being boring as fuck.


I drove like that elderly woman probably drove back to wherever she came from: Slow, cautious, and like I was trying to appreciate every aspect of the driving experience. The windows down, music not too loud, but just loud enough. Taking my time. Biding my time is probably more of an accurate descriptive word. If someone were writing a book, or they were a great linguist, they’d probably use that one. The birds chirping added a sense of nature, the trees sprouted from the concrete sidewalk compounded that nature effect. Car motors battled against the music playing in my car, trying to emerge supreme over my ear drums. People walking along the sidewalk giving in to social media and it’s demands, allowing it to steal their attention from the people they walked beside. Making it to the light before my apartment complex, I went over my plan of avoidance. Straight to the bathroom? Should I go straight to the balcony? Wait it out in the car?


Parked and made my way up the stairs.


Entering the apartment wasn’t as bad as I thought, I brushed shoulders with one of the movers on the way in. Not the most hospitable host I could’ve been, but it be like that sometimes, and times like this happen to be those times. We all hit peaks and valleys throughout life, right? I was down in the mud and muck of the valley, right about now. I shot straight for the bathroom. Good thing, I had a bottle and a joint stashed in one of the cabinets in there. A bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey to be exact. So smooth. Those two substances in tandem, might make this whole ordeal a little more manageable. I Need all the help I can get.


The bottle of Jack rested between my legs doing its best to keep me company in my most unsure of emotional states. However, it didn’t last long, these bottles never did around me. They’ve been more of a consistent figure in my life than anyone or anything else, though. So to that, I raise another glass, my last glass as a matter of fact. I’d been in here for a while at this point. I took this whiskey glass in my hand out of the moving box, it might be the only thing that stays that’ll remind me of her. She got me a set for christmas, and I guess taking something that appeals to my alcoholic tendencies away from me would add some salt to the wound. Well played, Lady.


The door opening and closing is all I could hear, at the moment. It’s the most terrifying thing in my life right now. Probably ever, if i’m being honest. The joint in my hand was about done, and the whiskey bottle between my legs had already been mostly finished. I’ve got this last glass of Jack and i’m doing my best to savor it, so i don’t have to come to terms with what awaits me on the other side of that door. One substance after another eases things, that’s the piece of wisdom I've learned from all of my favorite musicians. Ask any one of them, they’ll tell you. Just never mix pills and alcohol, that’s a big no-no. Oh, and “Wine is fine, but whiskey is quicker. Suicide is slow with liquor” That iconic line was gifted to us by Ozzy Osbourne. Legend.


Coming to terms with what’s going on, on the other side of this bathroom door feels a little more like a wall being pressed against your back; Moving closer and closer to the door you don’t want to acknowledge or let become your new reality. A door you know you’re not ready for, or at least you don’t think you are. The floor beneath your feet not giving a fuck either way, sliding back behind the wall in complete communion with the wall. Everything in the universe feels like it’s out to get you somehow, your struggle itself allowing the universe to grow a tighter grip on your happiness and mindset like a snake strangling it’s prey. That lesson your philosophy professor went over discussing Camus and his idea on the absurdity of life, creeping in your ears and clinging to the back of your mind. Sitting there, reflecting on your situation, and every other situation you’ve been a part of in your life that's led you here.


Whether i want what’s on the other side of that door or not doesn't matter, whatever the reality is, I’ll have to deal with it. Finished my glass, my joint and this thought-loop; mustered any bit of strength I had left and opened the door.


I heard her screaming. We both did. “Stop!” she said. He didn’t give much more than two fucks about what she didn’t want happening. All that drew his attention was the idea of the pleasure that awaited him on the other side of this. He and every ounce of what he overcompensated for with his lifted truck was ready for something like this.

Me and my boy looked at each other just to acknowledge that we had heard the same thing. We’d just walked with them to her room and walked out for a little bit to get water. On the way back, we heard the screams. Frat boys weren’t usually the best patrons of consent. Walked in, well excuse me, ran in with our imaginary capes and saved the day like some sort of sexual abuse batman & superman. The scream acted as our beacon; something to let us know trouble was going on and that our help was the help that was needed.


As soon as we got in the room, we heard him saying weird shit and calling her a “freaky-freak”, that’s pretty lame. Problem was he had a pillow over her head at this point and how she thought her night might end wasn't the way it was turning out.


I’ll never understand why some guys can’t respect when a girl says no. This guy didn’t have an ounce of genuine chivalry and that’s why we had to toss him out of the room. It was a terrible thing to see, but it was cool to know me and my best friend wouldn’t let anything like this happen. She asked everybody to leave after that, except me.


This is the night, the night it all started. Way before the ups and downs, before the “fuck you”’s, and the temporary goodbyes. Way before I sat in that bathroom on that toilet doing my best to think about anything else in the world, anything else that might keep my mind off of thinking about a future without her. On this night you could probably ask any astrologist and they’d tell you the stars aligned. Like a princess finding her white knight, or vice versa. Maybe it was the investigation of each other’s minds that did it, sitting up far past 3am talking about all things in between life and death; that investigation for her might have been like the princess seeing what sat under the knight's helmet for the first time. Do you remember seeing the ocean for the first time? For me, that’s what it was like, it was like seeing the ocean for the first time. I’m lucky, I've had that feeling twice in my life. That’s almost unfair.



As soon as I locked eyes with one of the movers, I was sent stumbling out of that daydream and back into the present. No longer arrested by the night that brought us together, no longer could I seek refuge in our past, harboring emotions that were no longer mutual. But, sometimes all that matters are the things we leave behind, the things that make us who we are. The things, people, places, and experiences that we find ourselves lost in thought feeling every bit of nostalgia for.


Coming to the end of our relationship, that’s the only place I wanted to be. Lost in the translation of nostalgia. Life doesn’t really work that way, for the most part you get what you get and not what you want. We want happiness and sunny days, yet rain and pain fill significant parts of our lives. I’m no Guru or anything, but in my limited time traversing through this world, I’ve found that rain and pain leads to the best growth. It’s always important to try and not take these things we’re dealt seriously, because shit happens, it is what it is. And, for me, I’m more than deserving of the piece of shit circumstance I find myself in. A man can dream though, he can hope his current life situation is a little different from what it is. But it isn’t, and sometimes reality is the only thing we’re left to play with.


I guided the bathroom door behind me shut, and decided playing with the pieces I’ve been given might be my only way out. She wasn’t around in the apartment, I hadn't seen her yet at least. That’s a victory for me today.



That next day wasn’t the best. Waking up in the A.M., rolling over in the hopes that I’d wake up to her as my pleasant surprise. Ecstatic with joy to tell me, everything that’s been happening was just some elaborate scheme to fuck with me. To joke around, make me laugh somehow, get one over on me. That the valleys of our relationship the past few months were just a part of the script she wrote up for this plan. If that was the case, would that be better? I’d still have her, but she’d be someone willing to bring me to the edge of this emotional cliff just to dangle me over, have me fear for my life and then stay toxically attached to her for saving me from a danger she put me in. Stockholm syndrome is a widespread unrealized practice of people in relationships, whether we want to come to terms with that or not.


The apartment felt emptier-- emptier than something that’s very empty. Like some spacious interior, without whatever is supposed to fill itself. A stomach without food, or a page without words. A glass without liquid, or a country without people. An insane asylum room, with no patient. A relationship with no communication, maybe a heart without love. With the absence of the throw pillows she had all over the couch, as well as the pieces of art she and i had over the walls, oh, also the tv stand along with the tv-- the apartment was barren. I don’t know why I let her take that, but I did. If this was a divorce, the lawyer probably would have advised giving her that tv in the settlement, anyway. Like the tv stand was as much a necessity for a life well-lived; as much as the recommended daily dose of your water intake was in America. Mindless commercials targeted for me and me only, telling me why i should aid capitalism in more ways than i already do. Like I wasn't already the very backbone of it’s style of governing. Like any person that commercial was specifically made for, wasn’t that already. A mindless zombie being told when, how, and where to go with it’s money. A person without ideas is much like that spacious interior without things to fill it.


Or, the casket without your body.

A life without love.


After falling back into the backdrop that reality set for me in this second half of my life. I took the call with a potential client on the time she wanted me to send my crew to clean the exterior of her house. After that call, John Greene followed her next in the assembly line this morning, concerned about why his car wasn’t starting right. Like a mobile detailing fold onto an exterior house cleaning business could be the cause of his shitty car not starting. Like the soap instead, didn't abide by its pre-ordained purpose to clean the outside of his vehicle, but instead rebelled like most of us want to secretly do and eroded through that precious exterior until it made its way to his engine and caused it’s brief malfunction. Challenging the status quo of that car, and the future of what a soap's purpose could be. Furthermore, sending ripples throughout the automobile community.


As if one drop of soap held that much influence.


“There’s not much to say about that, sir. I understand, due to deductive reasoning you probably attributed the new denominator in this scenario as the culprit. As any reasonable person would. And, my crew recently cleaned your car, so that leaves us as the new denominator. However, soap does not erode, and there is no way we are the reason for your car not starting.”

His response didn’t much matter. There was nothing we were going to do as a business to accommodate him in this situation, besides offer him reason. Which I did. And, there’s far too much I have to get done today.


Stacy Frichin called next, we had a phone call scheduled for this morning. “Stacy, I see you’re moving these houses pretty fast.” she replied, “Yeah, Seran we’re doing pretty good over here. We’re just moving so many now.” I’m gonna try and work her into a deal. “Stacy, how about you let my crews clean these houses for y’all before each preview or tour. Then, I’ll share my bank property contact with you, and try to get you some more real estate.” With excitement she tried to conceal, “That sounds good, Seran. Make it happen. I’ve got a meeting in 10 minutes, I’ll talk to you later, keep me posted!”

I gave her a respectful goodbye, and immediately went into thought about this deal we just made and how exactly to accomplish it.

We’re going to have to set up a finalization meeting, to get everything on paper. More specifically what bank account is receiving and which one is sending. Then, swiftly after that the focus comes to me to see how willing my bank property management contact is for realtors. I should be able to put in a good word. I’ll give him a call tomorrow.


Right now, it’s important I go check on some of these crews while they work, then head to the office to figure out if we’re going to be selling this business or not. This investor is really interested in buying this water pressuring business. He offered upwards of $60 million.


One thing led to another, then I slipped, and somehow landed trippingly into her pussy. The odds weren’t against me to begin with, however. Genetics, and god played a key role in my success with the women, but especially this one. We shared the same birthday, all the way down to the year. Which meant the same zodiac sign followed behind our other similarities. Which obviously, for the most part meant that it would take me intentionally trying to fuck up this situation for something bad to happen. Whether we ended the night as friends or friends who fucked occasionally, didn’t much matter to me. Her presence was enough, probably all I could ask for at the time.


Reeling from the emotional beating I was going through in my own personal life, it was nice to see I could still make a woman smile so bright. Especially when i’m feeling like this emotionally, unstable to say the least. Because, women are the most beautiful creatures we have to offer, really. So much unrealized, and unrecognized beauty. Things that make them so supremely unique, they may see themselves as mishaps or shortcomings-- Fuck that! I could get lost in any conversation they want to guide me down. Smirking and smiling all the way through, just because getting closer to these women and what makes them tick is like finding a new treasure over and over again.


There’s always one, though. One that holds you captive, arrested by not only her beauty but her mind, ideas, hopes, and dreams. This one girl you might come across, sticks in the back of your mind wherever you are. Your mind constantly brings you back to the thought of her throughout your days. No other girl can hold your attention like her, and when you’re with them you think of her. The bar? She’s set that far too high and they have no idea. Just simply doing their best to live out their own movie scene. Chasing the happily ever after’s and picture perfect dates, weddings, etc. You give them the attention, because they deserve it, everyone deserves to feel seen and heard. Loved and understood, even if it just happens one time in their lives by one guy, who ends the night cap in the backseat because eagerness was an understatement for the two of you.


You see, they’re trying their best for a test that they aren’t equipped to pass. Because that girl that sits in your mind, the one that’s bought up all the land in your minds real estate; she made the curriculum for the test. She set the bar so high, no one should even dare attempt reaching it, that’s dangerous in and of itself. One or two things those other girls might do right, she does them all right.


Not because she’s the perfect woman, but because she’s the perfect woman for you.


Here, south of Heaven; perfect is a very hard thing to come by.

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