Friend On The Fringe

Thursday, July 28, 2011

wednesday night

It's one of them nights, you know? Refrigerator buzz, coffee table whiskey, some papers and pens and smokes and shit. A walk around the block, and then again but the other way. And just where is the moon? Which brings us back to the beginning; one of them nights where we're free from the pull and the grand scheme, the creepiness of how we all fit in together and show up at certain times in certain places and say hello and sit down. Come tomorrow the weight will be back, the refrigerator buzz will mesh with the grid, the whiskey will be dry, the smokes will be trashed, the papers will be torn and the pens will begin to tease. But tonight, with words written and conscience cleared, I will lay in bed, suspended from it all, my dick in my hand.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hotels and Highways

I was asked to review an album, so i did:

I woke up this morning in somebody else's bed, and I didn't know this person all that well. We lied naked and twisted; talk was sparce, forced and the headaches splitting.

Hey, I told her, would you put on a band called Hotels & Highways?

She did. "Work It Out" filled the air. This is really nice she said. We breathed easier and cozied up again. We began to do what got us there in the first place.

And the album played on.

The long walk home was fine this afternoon. "Work it out, work it out. . . " hummed the hot air. It didn't matter that I could only find one of my socks before leaving her house.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

no good comes from seeing that house again

What makes me sick is the remembering. But still sometimes at night, when I'm riding home from the VFW, I turn seaward down the old street instead of crossing the tracks. It's silent mostly. I pedal slow and take a look at the homes. Newer trim and fences, doors have been repainted, trees have been managed and driveway basketball hoops dismounted. I get closer to 354 and tap the brakes. I roll slowly by and make sure i still recognize our old home, to be sure that it was the same childhood home that enveloped my dreams. Then I ride along, distant and hazy, those silly dreams far flung into the galaxy.
But tonight I stopped coasting by, and stopped in front of the house. I planted my feet on the ground. I took a long hard stare.
This life is a parlour trick.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You left me alone with this bottle, so fuck you

Shove. I'll even fucking scream this time. Let you see what they're after, and what it does to me when its out. What is this freedom I read about? So what if i write these words down. Does it matter to me? Not at all. I'm still half-drunk, near-crazy and full hard-on.
Does it make you feel good?
Does it make you feel good?
Do you like it?

Tilt your head back now and I'll speak to you.
I don't know when i saw the moon last. Or where I was.
i'm still jet lag from july. i ate fried chicken and mash potatoes tonight.
Take that, depression!

It's what you want. Test me. with my pull. Jerk left as i bite right
And what about the rain. I

At this point, if i write "I'd rather just fuck and pass out and do it some time again soon, maybe later," I'm 101. But if i tell you i am afraid

Friday, April 9, 2010


Doing a reading tomorrow in Los Angeles. If interested, email me for details.

Been writing for newspapers the past few months. Just straight journalism about city council meetings, childhood obesity, school policy, etc. . . .

I think I'll be starting blog again soon . . .stay tuned

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Word Riot

A very short piece is published in Word Riot. It's the same story of a previously published piece but told in a different way. You can also listen to a podcast of the story.
Check it out at and scroll down to Flash Fiction. Or to go directly to it, click HERE

Monday, January 4, 2010

Published in Print

Below is the beginning of an acceptance letter in a print publication. Besides the newspapers I have worked for, this is my first literary print publishing. Awesome.

Dear Shane,

Thank you very much for your patience during the selection process for Vol.1, Issue 1 of The Wanderlust Review. We would like to inform you that we chosen your piece, Loam, for publication in our print edition. . .

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Story Published

Two stories out there. One was the seed for the other. . . Happy Holidays!

Fringe Indie Magazine published this story which spawned into a greater story. I'm still working on it. Doesn't feel quite right yet. But a girl who works as a publishing assistant liked it and wanted to put it on her blog. Read here

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Until Next Time

Sitting here at my desk, straightening thoughts out, and the lightning cracks like a shotgun. The rain is now steady, much more than I have been lately. Lots of crazy thoughts going round. It gets like this upon the eve of change. Taking inventory and such.
I'm leaving soon for the States. Coincidentally, or perhaps consequently, I have decided to stop the blog here. For now, at least. I will keep it open and post any updates about my work getting published. I started the Blog at Syd's urging. He said it would open a long dormant voice. It did. And now I want to scream it.
I now have 50 something short stories or sketches for a story. I think it's time build on each, or make them one. Stateside unemployment will be good for this.
I have two stories being published next month. Like I said, I'll be sure to post a notice when they are ready. One story will be in Word Riot, which I am very proud of. An editor at Word Riot read one of my stories and really liked my voice. We went through one hell of an editing session to create a more literary feel. Honestly, I always like the originals better, but the experience was invaluable. Word Riot has published many incredible writers, so again, I am very happy to be making this kind of progress.
Thanks for supporting a friend on the fringe.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Humans Can Turn Demons Into Art

It was a Neil Young/Bukowski kind of night. A night where she cooked and I read old Bukowski aloud, sipping cold beer and laughing. Music about rivers, rainbows and cowgirls in the sand shot through the evening, ricocheting from wall to wall, marrow to mind.
It was the kind of night where humans don't let you down and the taunting totality of the past carries cadence and finally fits to rythyms.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lasers, A.K.A Lazers

In response to a question I had about lasers and their importance to the late 80's and early 90's, Brandon J. Conaway responded with this brilliant letter:

At it's height, a laser was an extremely effective and scary weapon. Jonny 5
had a laser mounted on his shoulder and the Predator wiped out all of
Arnold's guerilla warfare unit by primarily using his laser. I don't know
what started the fall of the laser but it has gone from the penthouse to the
outhouse. The lasers demise has been historical.

As far as I'm concerned, the laser started losing momentum with me when they
opened Lazer Star in Oxnard. I realized then that to be good at lasers, you
don't need to be cooler or faster than the next guy, you just have to be a
massive dork. Lasers started becoming associated with dorks and started
becoming a lot more harmless.

From that point on, lasers lost a lot of steam, I think it's like, lasers
had a really bad Publicist, probably the same chick that Tom Cruise had.

Let's review:

Lasers were cooler when they were spelled like Lazers. Lasers' publicist
made an error here to go with the s over the z. It made the word laser sound
less powerful and more Euro. After lasers became ineffective in the weapon
and destruction market, they became laser pointers. This was a big blow for
lasers ego. These were pretty cool at first but lasers' publicist was
worried that it made the laser look too wussy. They had to say that even
though the laser is small and hand held, the laser would blind you if shined
directly in your eye. This theory became disastrous for laser when everyone
realized this to be false. The straw that broke lasers back was when the
only relevance laser had was for laser eye surgery. At this point, laser was
an alcoholic and very depressed and didn't even take the initiative to take
the name for it. It became Lasik eye surgery.

I don't see any way for laser to make a comeback at this point and regain
its once ferocious reputation. Put it this way, I don't think we will see
any more soccer teams called "The Lazers". Unless it's in a gay men's soccer

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I spoke with Dylan today. We both confessed how we are living in horrible states of depression. The worst part of admitting you're a writer, we decided, is how low you feel when you are not writing: The damned dregs of the earth; slovenly in appearance, hazed in thought and habit.
We went on about suicide and Celine. And I got to thinking about the last time Dylan and I met. We were living on separate continents coincidentally reading Henry Miller and equally wild about cunt. We arrived in the hotel lobby out of shape and licked by booze from spending the past months writing words, columns and chapters. We were each working to create our own Tropic. Not sure where that idea went. It vanished during our stay in the Village Amoedo. Maybe it went up our noses, or inside our gullets. But when the weekend was over we admitted the Tropic we wanted was a Tropic already had by greater men. So when we spoke today about our state of being, we briefly wondered if we should get into the rhythm of our time and meditate on inner monologues of self-loathing and existential worry and get bent on Dave Eggers. I guess it was just that kind of day. Hope not to have it again soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Story Published

Fringe Indie Magazine published another story of mine, and apparently this issue will be available in print. I'm happy they thought of me for their publication. I wasn't aware that they were going to use "More Lives Than You'll Ever Know." It's too bad because the story has changed a bit over the past few months. Not many changes, but a word can make as much of a difference as a wrong note. If you want to check it out, click HERE

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't Talk About The Good Old Days

I liked waking up in the Riviera. It wasn't of my concern how Caitlin made her money. She kept a good house. Her 2nd floor flat was atop a Mediterranean villa. It was clean, white-themed, and I had my morning coffee and cigarettes on the attached balcony that overlooked Santa Barbara and the Pacific. She stayed up through most of the nights. Her pills were time-released and she often took them well into the evening to get her through work. So she stayed up during the nights cleaning and keeping the place in order, and by the time I lit my first cigarette she was finally asleep. But I liked waking up in the Riviera. Santa Barbara was new to me, though I had lived in the next city over for 20 years. Santa Barbara wasn't a place I cared for. Ventura was harder. It had street cred. Santa Barbara seemed pussy to me. But atop the Riviera I felt good, regal. After the smoke and coffee I'd often walk to her desk and look at my band's CD cover framed on her mantle, then look back out over the Pacific, then at the naked girl in bed and back at the CD. Those were hot times for me. Just like Uncle Rico had his '83 and Osborne his '03, 2005 was mine. The band had just played Vegas for New Year's, we put out our first album, my girlfriend was a stripper, and most importantly, I went deep for the first time--Left-center, Carpinteria High School, against the Gigantes. I was playing hardball in the Santa Barbara Mexican leagues, a sort of resurrected dream. I had been a good ballplayer throughout my youth: a scrappy leadoff batter, sidearm pitcher type of player. I hit the gaps plenty and rattled a few off the fence, but never in my career did I take one deep. But I was hot in 2005, and at 25 years-old I put one over against the Gigantes. The greatest thrill of my life. My team, The Carrillos, mobbed me at home plate. "Chano! Chano!" they cheered. It was easier to say Chano than it was to say Shane. And in the dugout a little Mexican boy had already retrieved the ball and presented it to me. The ball was holy, and it had the mark of my beast. Caitlin was the only Anglo in the bleachers of Mexican wives, and she was smiling at me. She was the only stripper there, or maybe just the only one who worked at the Rhino, and the only one with ape-head implants for a chest. But I didn't care. I was hot. I walked to her as my cleats crunched the gravel and pulled her in. She said the homerun was the hottest thing she had ever seen. I then looked at the ball in my hand, then at her and back at the ball. Yes, I gave it to her.
That night I went to the club and sat V.I.P. courtesy of Caitlin. She told her stripper friends about my band and my homerun, and that they should sit with me when they weren't busy rubbing their snatch in front of strangers. So I drank red bulls and soda with strippers for a few hours. Sometimes they'd rub up on me and say that Caitlin said it was cool. And I watched Caitlin walk around in nothing and go into private rooms with scum and come out smiling.

I wanted my ball back.

I didn't see her for the next few days because she was busy with beauty school classes and my band was practicing in Ventura at night, but I knew where the ball was. It was on the mantle next to the album. Kind of a creepy Shane shrine. She kept telling me on the phone how cool it looked and when was I going to come over and why was I acting so weird. She wanted to know if it was another girl, and actually there was. So I took my eye off the ball for a moment and told her about Lela. She called me names and hung up the phone. I laid down on my bed, and before calling Lela, I relived the homerun. I was locked-in and crushing it.
I woke up the next morning to a very angry woman in my room. Caitlin was standing there spitting ugly words at me, while holding a brown grocery bag full of things I had forgotten at her house. I tore through that bag, tossing clothes, CD's and pictures, but no ball. "Where's the ball? Where is the fucking ball!" I was screaming as I rummaged through the bag. She called me more names, and then reached in her purse and pulled it out. I snatched it from her hand and I began fondling it, caressing it, whispering sweetly to it. She continued with the disgusting words and then finally pouted out of my life.
I was so hot in 2005.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Speech At The Locklear Wedding

I gave a speech at the Locklear wedding. It was captured by an iPhone and now resides on the worldwide web. The best part about this video is you can't see anything,; the darkness preserves the speech. Otherwise you'd be distracted by the glory of my mustache. Check it out HERE

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I saw a touch of senility in my grandfather, wrinkles around my mother's eyes, acne on my brother's face and a ring on my sister's finger. My friend's have become husbands and fathers, entrepreneurs and laborers, drunks and addicts, bald and pudgy. At 29, I am now noticing that those I have lived my life with are finally growing older. My grandpa was always about 65, mom about 40, brother about 9, friends around 18. But Time has finally happened to the generation of people I have loved.

Monday, October 5, 2009

When Men Hold Each Other

Sam awoke to the sound of murder. He was dazed and dizzy in a dark bedroom. He quickly reached for the nightstand to aid him upright, but missed and tumbled to the carpeted floor. Then, murder again.
"Dave!" Sam hollered. "Dave!" Sam reached out to Dave's bed, but it was empty.
He squabbled to his fours, a jackhammer suddenly throttling the inside of his head as he tried to get his bearings. A weak, feeble voice squeaked from down the hall in the bathroom, "Sam." He recognized the voice as Dave's. Dave wasn't dead but he was surely dying. "Dave," he cried out in the dark, still helplessly paralyzed on his fours and absolutely bewildered. "What's going on? Where are we?" Dave gasped, "I think I'm dying."
"Is this hell?" Sam asked, now breaking sweat. Dave began sobbing, almost crying, "Oh fuck--" Then deep from primordial bowels, Dave bellowed and screamed, vomit splashing and splattering the porcelain toilet. The vomiting sound triggered Sam's gut, and from his fours he heaved his insides onto the carpet, fell over next to his pile and passed out.

Earlier that day Sam and Dave had arrived to the stunning Buzios, the St. Tropez of Brazil. The two Americans were traveling the Brazilian coast, and upon arriving at Geriba beach in Buzios the two young men celebrated with Caipirinhas on the beach. Dave went to buy the second round and returned to Sam with two more drinks and an older Irishman named Tom. Dave introduced Tom to Sam. "Heard him speaking English trying to order a drink. I had to help him out, " said Dave, motioning a cheers to Tom. "He bought these for us. He and his family are renting that palace up there." Dave turned and pointed to a beautiful place on a cliff overlooking Buzios. Tom chimed in, "You boys would love it. I been with the bloody wife and kid all weekend. How about you boys join us for lamb tonight."
"Lamb? This is Brazil, man. The beef is the best in the world," said Dave playfully. "What do you think Sam?" Looking up at the gorgeous cliffside architecture, Same replied "Oh fuck ya."
And feast on lamb they did. They washed it down first with a bottle of Talisker and Merlot. Everybody was drinking hard. Tom, his wife Aideen and their 16 year old daughter, Orla. The more this family drank, the louder and redder their Irish faces became, cursing everything not Irish. Sam and Dave loved every minute of it, trading looks of disbelief and surprise from what the world had offered to two intrepid travelers. Soon after the meal, the dining table was covered with wine and whiskey bottles: Talisker, Jamison's, Glenlivet, and Macallan's. They were playing dice games and whenever Orla tried to tell them they were playing wrong, Tom and his wife yelled at her to shut up. "Can we tell her to shut up too?" asked Dave excitedly inebriated. In slurred drunk speech, Tom proclaimed "In this family we abuse the shit out of each other and see what comes of it!" He and his wife collapsed in laughter. Orla pushed away from the table, telling everbody to fuck off and die and ran away crying. As she was running from the table, Dave and Sam simultaneously yelled "Shut up Orla!" and joined Tom and Aideen in whooping laughter.

Sam awoke once again not to the sound of murder but to the buzzing of flies. He moaned in disgust, hitting them away from his face. He rolled over to push himself up and was faced with the buzzing flies in his rancid puke. "Ugh," he moaned feebly and sauntered carefully to the bathroom to rinse out his acrid mouth. Dave was passed out cold on the tiled floor, vomit splashed on the toilet and the surrounding tile. Sam stepped over his friend and washed out his mouth. He nudged Dave with his foot. "Dave, Dave, wake up. Come on. We got to get out of here. Wake up!"
Dave slowly wakes, groaning remorsefully. "What the fuck?" He continued groaning, now clenching his stomach. "Listen man," said Sam. "We got get out of here. We fucked this place up. Come on. Get up. It was that fucking lamb."
"That fucking lamb. I told you. What kind of asshole eats lamb in Brazil. Irish bastard." Dave slowly rose to his feet. He saw the mess he made and became sick once more in the sink.
"I'll get our bags," said Sam and dashed out of the bathroom. He return to the bathroom with both backpacks. Dave was on the floor again looking miserable and holding his stomach. Sam grabbed Dave under the arms and dragged him from the bathroom. Dave's feet dragged through some vomit and trailed it on the carpet exiting their room. Sam pulled Dave to his feet and aided him quietly through the dark house. They made it out the front door just as dawn was arriving.
Sam continued pulling Dave along until they reached the cobblestone street. The house was on top of a steep hill, about a kilometer up from the rest of the town. Behind them the sun was rising over the hills.
"Sam, my stomach is fucked. I can't walk this hill."
"Just hold on to me."
Dave wrapped his arms around Sam's shoulders. Sam held Dave tightly around his waist, and the two friends slowly descended the hill into the dawning day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some Kind of Update

September vanished. A few beers, and some long naps and like that it's gone. It seems that no matter where I am in the world October makes its entrance with a crisp chill. Today the temperature plunged about 20 degrees with hard rain. Supposed to be a warm spring now in Brazil. October, and it's hidden little mysteries. The boys are wrapping it up now. Yankees are in. Red Sox too. Nobody cares about the Angels, and the wounded Tigers are fighting off the Twins, which is never easy when there is blood pouring in the hallways and the twins are catching up to them on tricycles. All work and no play. . . In the National Leauge, Cardinals are in and Mugger says they are the best team in baseball. But Mugger also said the Dodgers would clinch last night, yet they only mustered one hit. So while the Dodgers limp to the finish line, the cocksucking Phillies will be awaiting. I'm probably supposed to mention the Rockies.
So, now we know October is here packing mystery and dramatics. In a week I fly back to California for a few days. I'm looking forward to get to those golden rolling hills not because I miss it, but because I am eager for the perspective into what I can do there. For the past year I could have been in Brazil or Timbuktu (nobody really knows where that is) and it wouldn't have really mattered to me. Just needed a place to get my head straight. I'm better now. Healed. Recovered, whatever the word is. Anyhow, not sure how the job market will treat a writer there. I am aware its tough. I am also aware I may have pigeon-holed myself into a career as an international teacher. It's nothing I am too keen on. Its exciting, but a lonely existence without friends, language and family. Very heady.
About the writing. A while back I sent "Loam" to a bunch of publications to get a feeler on it. Based on what I wrote I was asked by a travel rag to submit more and turn it all into a travel feature, to ultimately have it scrapped. Editor didn't like the Hemingway aspect of the character, kind of crying-in-the-beer hero. I like these types of main characters (maybe they are crying in their beer because they couldn't live up to the heroic ideal, but did the best they can. If anybody wants to read it, shoot me an email). Then a few simple "no" replies from others, then today--October-- another personal letter from an editor. She really liked it and either wants me to develop it more or send her some more stuff. It's never just right for them. Loam is fucking good. She said it just needs to be longer. Why? So, I have an idea about how to extend it, and I'll work on it with October.
I'll finish this post by letting you in on what I do for a living, and why I am looking forward to ending this life chapter. In an international classroom, my new American student--my only native English speaker--though he is from Houston, turned this piece of work in as a response to religious conflict in the Middle Ages:

"The interaction bettwen the faith juadisom and cristianity in islam wasen't favravel to the Jews. It all manly started seens some jews had important government and and schorlarly posts, so the christians"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notes--'To Be Young'

Two 13 year-old kids, Pedro and Luci, sneak under the school's chain-linked fence and into the shambled construction lot where a new playground is being built. They quickly pass through the lot and hide behind a tree in the mango grove. They embrace and tongue-kiss for maybe 40 seconds. Pedro says they should get back and that he'll walk ahead of her so it doesn't look strange.

They make it back safely. Pedro tells Felipe. Felipe gets pissed because on Friday Luci agreed to be his girlfriend and on Sunday he heard she was at the mall holding hands with Kevin on Saturday. Pedro can't believe it and apologizes to his friend. They agree that Luci is a bitch and a slut, and they will spend the rest of lunch telling the school.

Word gets around quickly that Pedro and Felipe are bad mouthing Luci and writing about her in the bathroom. Luci starts crying. Gabi and Ana console her, rubbing her back and stroking her hair. They go and tell.

Pedro and Felipe get called into Mr. Aeillo's office. They vehemently deny everything in a panic: "It wasn't us. It wasn't us. They're lying. It's not true!" Mr. Aeillo tells them how disgusted he is with their behavior, how their parents will be getting a phone call and how could they say such things about a young girl. Pedro becomes sweaty in defending himself, but Felipe has shut down. He is quiet and brooding in smoldering rage. Pedro is getting louder, his voice quivering until Mr. Aeillo says he has had enough. Felipe awakens from his darkness and screams, "BUT SHE IS A SLUT AND A BITCH! SHE IS!"

"Excuse me!" Mr. Aeillo hollers back. "She is a young girl who--"

Felipe hostilely interrupts,"Is a bitch and slut!" His hands and body pleading for Mr. Aeillo to understand.

"How can you say these things, Felipe?" asks Mr. Aeillo

"She said she was my girlfriend and then she goes and holds hands with Kevin at the mall," Felipe's quivering voice finally cracks. " Then makes out with Pedro behind a tree!"

Calm and cautionary, Mr. Aeillo says, "She is just a young girl trying figure out who she is, Felipe. It is normal for young adolescents, especially your age to explore their sexuality. I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it, or intend to hurt you. This is a confusing age for young people."

Now sobbing, his hands making one final dramatic plea, Felipe wails, "But she is those things! She is! She is!" and his wet face collapses into his hands. Pedro put his hand on his friend's back.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tom Waits

Today I read an interview with Tom Waits. Here is what I took from it:

Q: What is a gentleman?

A: A man who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.