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ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: SEX DRUGS AND JERK CHICKEN   Leave a comment

I’m happy to announce my first novel, Sex Drugs and Jerk Chicken which will be available worldwide on Amazon starting July 22nd, 2012. I’m doing a Campaign to boost first day sales, so please watch the video and join the mailing list to get your copy on day one! You can go directly to the mailing list site here:

wwww.sexdrugsandjerkchicken.com

Thanks in advance,

– Marcus

From Russia House, With flubb   5 comments

207977215_ed94bb97cb1On Thursday night I went to Russia House with a girl I met recently. I tried out some dark Russian beer, and chatted about life. Before I left, I saw my ex-girlfriend downstairs sitting with a group of people at a table. When I saw her, her face was animated and she was obviously talking about something of importance. It looked like she was at the tail-end of a campaign speech, or in the middle of proving a major point. Either way, I walked over, and waved at her. In her peripheral vision, she noticed me, but she looked shocked. Actually she looked exposed, but I don’t know why.
“What are you doing here?” she said.
“I can’t even tell you right now.” I said with a smile.
“We’ll talk later.” She said somewhat abruptly.
I left, and ended up partying in Dupont for the rest of the night. But the next day, her statement knocked around my skull like a loose screw in a car engine. We don’t talk. We don’t even gchat. I’ve probably received one unsolicited call from her in the last two years. Why would she talk to me after running into me at the Russia house? Her expression weirded me out a bit. She almost seemed frightened to see me.
This made me think about the nature of things people say, and what they mean. We are so tied up with the way we communicate; people act weird around people they like, most women are afraid of the men they love, but an interesting stranger is always a good bet eh?
This is on my mind for a little bit on Friday night as well. Its cold and I don’t want to stay home. Staying home alone on a Friday night reminds me of too many past relationships. Too many winters were I had someone warm to keep me happy as bitter cold raged outside.
Earlier in the evening, I had another awkward moment.
I was near Howard University, eating a chicken sandwich. For most of the day I’ve felt light-headed, and the sandwich isn’t helping. I’m sitting there, watching a re-run of Smart Guy on a flat screen a few feet away, and my phone buzzes. It’s a text message from a girl I know, Q.
We were supposed to go to a bar for some early drinks, but I guess the cold killed that plan. The text reads:
Why don’t you come to my house. I have Gin, but no Tonic.
.This request seems reasonable, because its God awful cold outside. But moments after I arrive at the house, I realize a few things were off.  The first thing she asked me was if I’d been to the house before. I said no (her roommate is a friend of mine). The second thing that happened was said roommate, D, came home roughly eight minutes after I arrived. When he saw me in the kitchen drinking a gin and ginger ale with his roommate, I could see he didn’t expect me to be there.
As time passed, I didn’t even feel like I was there. They talked amongst themselves about little things; a missing sponge, some smoky chicken that was cooked a few days back; getting drunk on a Thursday, typical stuff.

It was almost voyeuristic, watching the cute yet intimate interaction of roommates on a Friday evening. Occasionally I tried to say a few things, but I didn’t think I had much to contribute. I started to wonder if I was intruding in some way. Even though I was invited into the house I felt as if I had strolled in of my own accord, loud and insistent, violating space.

My social intuition told me to leave (by now I’m sure D assumed I was trying to hookup with his roommate, but later I’d find out he didn’t even care) but the cold kept me inside. I popped out my laptop at some point and diddled on the internet.
D started watching the Jim Lehrer news hour and Q started using her laptop. I was a few feet away, sitting in the kitchen.  Then I also realized I’d never seen Q in a calm social setting before. I had only seen her at wild parties, where we gave each other drunken hellos and sprinkled random statements over the moment like beer foam.

The evening progressed into a strange dialogue that made me feel as if I was spiraling into and old yet  familiar place. Even though we chatted about normal things; something wasn’t clicking. Whatever good intentions had brought me to the house, it was backfiring fast. Conversation lagged, and I tried a little harder to make things work. This didn’t work;she look bored and a little frustrated. With all my life experience, for a little while I fell back into a childish naiveté. I wanted to know where the dark cloud came from, what was happening and why the early evening was quickly slipping into darkness. This didn’t happen, and I sensed it was time to leave.

“I have to meet someone else pretty soon.” she said.

I nodded. I felt this was an indirect (albeit polite) way to say it was time for me to go. This didn’t bother me. As adults when we are in socially awkward situations, we don’t have to talk about them, we just nicely tell the person to leave. Problem solved.

I started putting my winter gear on. I was still curious about what happened. I paused in the doorway for a moment as I headed out. (Like I said, childish naiveté). Like a young psychologist, I wanted to know what was happening. Was it bad energy? Body language? Something else? I asked her. So I said, “I feel awkward. Is something wrong? If so, please tell me. I’m very curious.”
She stood up for a moment, and sighed.
“You are a cool and interesting and all that, but maybe I’m just not a nice person.” She replied. I paused for a second. I would have scratched my head but I had my gloves and a hat on.

I didn’t really know what this meant. I’m not sure if anyone has ever told me something like  that. I thought she was cool, the statement made things a little more fuzzy. I thought she was a nice person. We were supposed to hang out at a bar. I think it was the house. Something about being there made things weird. Bloody cold weather!

As I turned to leave, I felt slightly worried. I wondered if my friend thought I was trying to hook up with his roommate, and what the subsequent fallout would be. As I walked down some cold dark steps towards the street I heard her voice behind me. “ Have a good night.” She said.
I walked towards Georgia avenue, heading back home. In my mind I wondered, “what just happened?”
I wasn’t upset, because I know that some groups of people just can’t communicate. They are like fire and ice. Oil and water. We must have been like that.
I thought about how happily D and Q had chatted to each other. It was like watching a sitcom, minus the Prague laughter. I thought of my living situation. My house is quiet, and my roommates are all but invisible. There is no happy morning greeting, no laughs about a missing sponge or a smoky pot, no outings on a Friday night. The house like many in DC; large, empty and cold. Every now and then I might hear laughter upstairs, or the sound of a television from a room downstairs. Sometimes, there are breaks in the silent moments. I might play some music, or I’ll hear the blare of a siren outside. If it’s windy, the shutters will rustle. My space heater hums. When my micro fridge resets itself, I hear a little clink. That’s about it.
Maybe at D’s house I had stepped into that little comfort space that people normally don’t see. That intimate side of people who live together, only seen by the clock on the wall. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to see it. Maybe that caused the cloud.

*  *  *
I go home and drop asleep for a few hours. When I wake up, there is a text message on my phone.
Its from a friend, Liz. My roommates and I are going to Wonderland, the text reads. I see it as a good sign. I head to wonderland, doing a light jog in the freezing weather to the metro station. I have a six minute wait at the train station. When I reach the bar, as usual its packed. I go upstairs and grab a drink. I’m still mulling over a few things in my head. I’m worried that I’ve somehow put a dark smear on my relationship with two people I thought were cool, and I keep thinking about what my ex-girlfriend said at Russia House.
.Its possible she saw the girl behind me and felt awkward, or maybe one of the guys at the table was her boyfriend and she didn’t want him to see me, I dunno. But something about what she said seemed rushed, and dismissive. I wondered why she looked so surprised to see me. I do live in DC after all.
.I grab a beer and stand watching the crowd. Tonight is not a night for dancing. The makeup of the crowd is a little odd. Mostly guys and girls with short hair cuts dressed like guys. It dawns on me that it’s a gay night.
The lesbian couples are semi-obvious. For the most part there is one girl dressed like a guy, then a cute (more “standard looking”) girl dancing with her. On nights like these, I feel as if I’m doing something fundamentally wrong. These women are happily making out, hooking up and going out. A girl who dresses like a man can get laid, but a guy who is simply a guy has to fight and cajole and twist things around to even get a half decent hello.
I feel like leaving, but Liz sends me a  text. (They actually went to Local 16 on U street). We are coming to the Wonderland now.
I chill for a bit and the music gets better. Somewhere on stage, a person hits the light switch, and the entire dancing area is cast into shadow. On cue, people start making out. A tall mocha-looking guy is making out with a short brunette beside me. On stage, a girl dressed like Andre 3000 is making out with another girl while they dance. More girls are kissing girls, and couples are kissing each other. I feel empty watching these people embrace. I would leave, but it’s so cold outside, and all I have is my quiet room to go to.
The DJ starts playing some reggae music, and I amuse myself by singing along. A scruffy looking guy comes over and hands me a flyer. “This is my party, we’ll be playing a lot of 70’s reggae music. You should check it out.” He says. I smile and say “Respect.” But I can’t bear to tell him I don’t really like 70’s reggae music. I find it depressing.
Liz and her two roommates arrive. They are both gay. It fits the theme of the night. They dance energetically to the music and disappear into the folds of the crowd. I see a girl come upstairs. I recognize her as Anna. There was a night last year she was all over me then gave me her number. I saw her the next day at a house party and she pretended not to know me. She is with her boyfriend. He looks like John Heder.
Guys in the bar are working hard to get laid, but I see that most of them will go home alone. We are such awkward creatures; we go to tiny spaces to consume chemicals that dull our senses, then stand in close proximity to other people to get a sense of community.
Freaky.
At some point, someone touches me. It’s a girl I recognize. She says a quick hello and disappears. A part of me wants to dance with Liz, but she’s betrothed to someone else, so I leave her alone. Her roommate is dancing very intimately with her, but he’s gay, so that’s cool.
After standing by the water cooler for ten minutes, I decide to bounce. I tell Liz goodbye and head downstairs. I see my friend. “I could really use a cup of tea.” I say to her. She lives a block away. “I have a long walk ahead.”She opens her mouth and makes the sound you hear when someone is feeling sad on 70’s Tv: “Whaap, whaap, whaaaaap.”
“You don’t have any tea?” I ask her.  She nods no. “No coffee?” she nods no again.
I realize she thinks I’m asking her to come over to her place using tea as a bogus excuse. “Hey its not like that, I’m just cold.” I say to her.
“Whaap whaap whaaap.” She says again. “I’m going to find my friend upstairs.” She says, and walks away without saying goodbye.
Whatever, I tell myself.
These things don’t sting me anymore. I don’t think people are inherently mean, confused or bad. I just think that as you grow older you care a lot less about things. Everyday you hear that people die, get shot, are raped, murdered, starving, bankrupt, homeless and ill. Can you really spend time caring about a negative statement? A random run-in? Or even think about someone you once loved? Probably not.
All you want on a cold night is someone to snuggle with. Someone to wake up naked with and smile at in the morning while you make tea and eat waffles after morning sex.
I walk back home, and surprisingly its not as cold. The wind has stopped and the blocks go by in a blur.  A few weeks ago on a night like this I would feel as if I wanted to escape, as if the events around me were a representation of who I was, but I know this isn’t true. Its just one of those Friday nights, when you have a few drinks, listen to a little music, and think about life.
Then you go home, crawl into bed and sleep.

Salty drinks make Salty kisses   Leave a comment

Its funny how broken things can still be used.Sometimes I walk around myself, feeling like a sad, emotionally broken creature, who still has use. I sometimes meet an attractive girl, smile with her and spend moments worthy of any number of Dawson’s Creek episodes, then she might flake, and act strange. In moments like these, we broken individuals realize that even though we are emotionally winded and a bit jaded, we still have some use. We pick ourselves up, head out into icy winds and go to bars. We drink and entertain idle conversation, sometimes we don’t mind when strangers look at us with lascivious expressions, lecherous gazes and leering eyes. So in a way, we are broken, yet functional.Like my bike.A few days ago I almost crashed my bike. It was a dangerous affair, with me almost falling face first on the street going at thirty miles per hour. The back wheel was bent out of shape and I was pissed. I was heading to the Giant to get some ice cream for an achy stomach and I almost ended up breaking a collarbone. Long story short, the bike still works. Its broken, yet functional. As I ride through the city I realize the bike isn’t in such bad shape. It creaks and groans like Tony Soprano’s mother, but it gets me from point A to B.Broken yet functional.I wonder sometimes if this is a theme for a lot of people I know. They are injured through circumstance, edgy from limited expecations and a bit frazzled by fortune. They are effectively wading through the marshes of daily life with their nose out of the murky water praying that a Crocodile doesn’t make mincemeat of them.

Today was a day of traipsing. First I traipsed around Chinatown regretting my Alfie-isms. My thin French connection pants, sports jacket and scarf couldn’t save me today. The wind chill brought temperatures down to the twenties and I felt like I was walking in a cloud of ice.

Later I would reach Adams morgan, stopping by Adams Mill for the first time. Even though I consider myself an open-minded equal opportunist, this bar seemed much whiter than any bar i’ve been to in a while. This had to do with the song selection more than the makeup of the patrons. As i’ve stated in a few blogs before, most bars I go to are 98% white. Tonight that statistic was 99.9% until seven or eight black guys walked in, (adding on to me being the 0.1%) and then became the 2%.

Regardless of the math, for about an hour, about 80% of the songs played I didn’t know. When I heard the songs, I immediately thought of wheat field and people in large Suburban houses singing along to these songs as they played through a large, black radio. When the songs played I no longer felt like I was in the confines of a major city, I was out in Connecticut in the boonies, where anywhere to your left or right you were liable to run into a deer, get touched by poison ivy, or get bitten by a tick. I recognized a few key tracks, which populate what I call the “white DJ” list. I’m saying this with no bias. There are certain songs that are played in certain bars that are never played in other bars.

Songs with choruses like:

“Pour some sugar on me!”
“Oooooh! Living on a prayer!”
“I’m not here for your independennnnce!”

And the list goes on. Those are the ones I recognized. For a few minutes, I had a spirited conversation with two friends about not knowing that the last song was not sung by Kelly Clarkson, but by formerly hip-hop-ish punk starlet Pink.

I didn’t mind the music either way. If I was in a bar with 99% black people, I’m sure i’d hear:

“…my drink and my two step”
“this is why we hot”
“i’m a upgrade yah!”

and the list goes on an on. Quite like a broken record. Broken yet functional.

It was Chrissie’s birthday, and she was learning a hot pink shirt with the word “DANGER” emblazoned above the right breast. There was text on the back, but I never took the time to read it. I didn’t feel like dancing, and spent most of my time watching three LCD screens flash
“Tom Brady’s mystery injury continues.” I like watching people drink themselves into supreme states of confidence. A short guy with an interesting haircut had been walking around with a smile all night. I nearly fell down laughing when he literally accosted two blondes.
“Why are you ladies so FUCKING tall??” he said in perfect pitch.
The girls laughed and they started talking.

I sighed. Only in a white bar. No, only in a bar this white.

I’m sure if I was to walk up to random girls and say that I’d be liable to get slapped. Especially since i’m not a short person that can use such profane declarations to my advantage. Eventually some Justin Timberlake started playing and I felt like doing my pop-n-lock routine, but alas, I had no energy.

After Adams mill, I took a quick run to Dupont circle. At this point I really loved my bike. Dupont always sounds like Africa distance wise when I think of walking there on foot, but on my bike it was only five minutes away. I went to Cafe Citron. I was a tad intimidated at first. I was the only black person in line, and everyone had tell tale Latino features. Jet black hair, off-white skin and spanish accents.

Inside, there was a mixture of latin-pop and latin-club music. It was a lot of fun. the place was packed, lots of people were dancing and I had a eight dollar margarita that tasted like a cup of salt water. Even though the DJ was playing remixed latin songs, I heard at least three popular songs remixed to latin beats:

“….I like to move it move it.”

I can’t remember the others, but they were there! Playing like a broken record. Broken yet… you get the idea.

Cafe Citron exposed more of the segregation of DC clubs. It seems everyone can find a place to group up everyone that resembles them, and sweat together as they walk past people that look a lot like them. I need to go to more latin clubs. I felt unnaturally tall in there, as the average person seemed to be no more than five foot six. At six one, I towered over almost everyone. I stood at the bar and beamed a smile at ladies dancing near to me. In my mind I was saying:

Come with me if you want to live.

In my best Arnie voice.

After Cafe Citron, I rode home, listening to FutureSexyLove for what seems like the tenth time in the last four days. I ride, navigating traffic lights, crazy cab drivers and the occasional pedestrian, singing words to high-pitched songs. Its too late to draw any stares from any passersby. Its too cold for people to be on the street gawking at this Jamaican guy riding a bike and singing along to “Sexyback”.

I received at text when I was in Cafe Citroon, a Serbian girl I know told me to come to last call at Bossa–In Adams Morgan–which was a nice 18 blocks away. I shoot a reply.

After party?

She tells me there is something on 18th and Belmont, but then she says not to come. The party is wack. I pop into my room and feel a wave of heat cover my face. I toss my clothes onto my bed, flop into my computer chair and stare at the screen. Maybe I’m not broken and functional.

Maybe i’m just functional.

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