Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sleeping Spiders

Some time in the afternoon, my roommate Geoff awoke from a dead sleep and stumbled into the living room, where I was hopelessly engaged in NHL 2K5.

“Leggs is gone,” he imparted.

“Oh no. Leggy?” I sighed, “No. . .”

A few days prior, Geoff had found a spider taking up residence in the corner of his bedroom. Decorated rather sparsely, the room was the work of a hyper-minimalist architect, and we all felt, upon spying the daddy long-legger while he slept, that the spidery presence livened at least one corner. And it seemed that Geoff had enjoyed the company. He’d even taken to bed an hour earlier, as to not disturb his guest. He was really playing host.

“I’d like to think he’s moved on to a better place,” Geoff said, becoming rather choked up. A sinewy tendril tickled the back of his throat. He swallowed and the sensation died forever. A unsettling reality shook Geoff’s foundation. “Dude,” he uttered, “I think I ate Leggs.”

“Leggy?” I whimpered, then yelled, “Where the f*ck are my wingers?” My attention had drawn back into the hockey game. “Sorry man, I gotta go.”

I considered the statistic that any given sleeping person swallows an average of eight spiders per year. A recent sinus infection had rendered Geoff as one of those disgusting agape-mouthed sleepers. Their slack-jawed gasps have been known to drive roommates to insomnia. I know this because Geoff frequently chided me for keeping him up all night with my snoring. I blamed allergies.

Apparently, Leggy had become possessed by whatever primordial mechanism drives spiders into a sleeping person’s mouth. That one last thrust at Geoff’s throat was Leggs’ realization of his fatal folly.

That evening, I found a tree spider casually sipping water from my bathroom faucet. I watched his right front paw come down and draw water into his mouth or fore pincers or whatever. He seemed a lot less docile than Leggy, and, as I was feeling intolerant toward freeloaders, I decided that he had to go. Despite my better judgment, I gave him a name, Butch, and covered him with a tissue. Offering a reprieve, I unmasked Butch on the outside windowsill and shut the screen. No harm, no foul, I thought

A few days later, I sat on my bed and folded laundry. Butch crawled out from the crevice between mattress and wall and came to rest next me. His beady eyes sparkled with affection—or rage, I couldn't really tell. Either way, I scooped him into a sock and deposited him off the balcony.

Now, I tolerate spiders to the best of my ability; in their presence, I an not paralyzed with fear, nor driven to violence against them. I am happy to say that I have never drowned a spider. I try my best to appreciate their gifts to humanity (what with the insect-eating and all) and live in harmony. Still, upon seeing Butch nestled comfortably in my bed, I factored in my tendency to sleep with ‘bass mouth’ and Geoff’s gruesome spider-eating statistic. I deemed it mutually beneficial for Butch and me to never see each other again. If I had to take his little life, then so be it, as an exception that proves the rule. Something told me I had already reached my spider-eating quota that year.

Friday, March 23, 2007

(Certain to Be Unfulfilled) Goals for Spring Break

Yes, I realize I am no longer in school, and thusly, have no Spring Break (or as I like to call it, Spring Brake). Still, we all need some leisure now and then. And it's like Peppermint always says, "Nay, what is life for but a list of certain to be unfulfilled goals?"

1. Go to Florida
2. a) Begin short story: "Untitled"
b) Begin novel: Love in the Time of Facebook
3. Work on The Postmodern Experience: Season II
(By the way, I'm doing that for you, Parsons.)
4. Go drinking with mum
5. Come into ownership of 1983 Buick LeSabre
6. Drive Jitney back to Ohio
7. Have Parsons wire me gas money in North Carolina
(As compensation for my work on The Postmodern Experience.)
8. Arrive 13 days late to Cleveland
9. Find that Shelia-5 has once again disappeared, this time for good
10. Discover that the problem really did take care of itself
11. Begin new life driving around with, you know, my home boys
12. Do taxes
13. Get married and start a wonderful family

One of the benefits of being out of school is the potential for an infinite Spring Break. Now it's off to bed for me; I've got work at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

(Unfulfilled) Goals Archive

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Journal Excerpt


I am 22.
I am only 22 once.
I am irresponsible.
I am artistic.
I am goal-oriented.
I am a baby.
I am messy.
I tend to forget things.
I tend to forget people.
I ignore problems until they go away.
I have confrontational issues.
I am working on it.
It is one of my goals.
I love making radio.
I have been distracted lately.
She is beautiful though.
I need to focus.

This will come.
I am also becoming better at lying.
To myself and others.

--Done, in part, as a response to a poem by Charles Parsons.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Shelia-5: RETURNED

She's back in my life again, sans body work, sans oil change, (still) sans muffler, sans gas. . .

At 3 in the morning on Monday, I received a phone call from an Officer Hatrick of the CHPD. He informed me that my car had been found at a place called The Boneyard in Mayfield
Heights, roughly 10 miles away. Assuming that he meant the car had been found in an actual boneyard, I could not contain my glee at essentially having my car troubles worked out for me. O. Hatrick was quick to explain that The Boneyard is actually an entertainment venue much in the same vein of Dave & Busters. These car thieves really were on a joy ride. He then recited a laundry list of damage to the car. Somewhere near the bottom, he reached the affectations done by the assailant(s).

"They punched the passenger door lock and stripped your steering column," said Hatrick.

"Huh," I yawned, "sounds like a lot of work."

"Not really. Late model American cars are very easy to steal."

"Well go figure."

The intrepid police officer gave me directions to the Mayfield Heights PD and the impound lot where Shelia had been secured. I needed to procure the vehicle's title in order to receive a release form to give to the impound.

The next day, my roommate Ted graciously provided me a ride to the Mayfield Heights PD, where I informed the officer behind the desk that said title lay in the glove box of said stolen car.

She, in turn, informed me that, "Keeping the title in the car is basically writing a blank check for the thing."

I replied, "Maybe, subconsciously, that was the point."

She smiled and phoned the impound lot to see if the title could be located in the vehicle. It was, and following a gracious fax of the document in question, Ted and I made our way to the impound lot. The vehicle release form told a narrative of the status of my car. My eyes collected on verbiage like 'poor' (as in, 'condition') and 'no' (as in, 'muffler').

Before leaving the police office, I asked the officer what would have happened had I neither reported the car stolen nor came back to claim it. She said that the vehicle would be filed as abandoned and after a few months, I would have been sent an invoice for towing/storage fees as well as criminal charges for having abandoned my vehicle. It seems the system is built as a preventative measure against easy disposal of your car. All this time, I had no idea.

Ted and I reached the impound lot and after some failed negotiations, I provided $100 in full to have my car released. It felt like I was bailing Shelia out of the clink. She hadn't been driven in five weeks, and during that span, she had behaved magnificently. Maybe I had trusted her a bit too much, for as soon as I turned my back, she was off gallivanting with a bunch of dirty crooks and owing money all over town. Who is left to pick up the pieces? Me.

Someone from the impound lot showed me how to start the car, as the column had been stripped and the key no longer worked.

"Just finger the little latch on the left hand side," the guy said, "and she starts right up."

"To think, the last thing I had replaced on this thing was the starter," I said. "Do you know of any junk yards between here and Cleveland Heights?"

He did, but they were a bit out of the way, so Ted and I decided to head home directly. After we put some gas in Shelia, she started like a dream. The AM/FM radio was tuned to a rap station. The floor was littered with cigarette butts and empty cans of Colt 45 and Icehouse. Something told me Shelia had had the time of her life.

Later, I called my mom to inform her of the car's condition. She seemed taken aback when I told her the police had no suspects in the case.

-Do you guys have any promising leads on this thing?

--Leads, yeah. We just added three guys last week. They got us working in shifts. Haha! Leads!?

I was a bit disappointed at the lack of vagrancy left behind. Shelia has returned to her spot on the street. I have placed a CLUB (which, ironically, was under the front seat this whole time) across her steering wheel, to act as a deterrent in case the thieves should return and decide to do it all over again.

The albatross is back and she's squawking loudly. Does anyone know of a junk yard around here?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


On Friday, March 9, the weather broke. The sooty, aggressive snow piles were seeping slowly toward clogged sewer drains. The relics of a Long Winter were slipping back toward the earth. The sun shone upon me as I walked home from work.

Shortly before leaving, I caught my coworker Angela staring out the front door as families and young couples frolicked along the sidewalk.

“It is so nice today,” I said. “It’s about time. I can’t wait to go out and enjoy it.”

“I know,” Angela beamed. I wanted to launch into my spiel of feeling more alive on wonderful electric days like that Friday, how I would take a long walk around the neighborhood, maybe find myself in the window of a Little Italy bistro while furiously filling pages of my comp. book. This was walking weather. This was writing weather.

“I love days like today,” Angela said. “This is the kind of day that just makes me want to drive around. You know, all the windows down, listening to your favorite music, not really going anywhere. Not really doing anything.”

“Yeah,” I said, “driving. Or walking.”

“I just love driving,” Angela said. “It makes me happy.”

Enjoy every single second of days like these.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Shelia-5: MIA

As I walked to work yesterday and passed the spot where my car normally sits, I noticed an odd vacancy. Someone had stolen my oft broken-down and underappreciated late '80s sedan. Shelia stuck out like a sore thumb in the more elitist realms of Cleveland Heights, and I think she may have been the target of a kidnapping. Or some kids decided to go on a joy ride and knew that an old Chevy would be easier to break into than the dozens of Passats that line the street.

Either way, she's gone. Immediately, I felt a great weight lift from my shoulders. With increasing frequency, Shelia has been described as an albatross. Over the year that she's been in my possession, she's been out of commission longer than she's been running. Oh well.

Shelia will be missed. . .but I'm sure she felt gratified to have been stolen.

Finally, someone appreciates me!

I was lighthearted with the cop who took my report. She said stolen vehicles usually turn up in parking lots with an empty tank of gas. I said I'd be surprised if it made it a full tank without breaking down. I also told her to keep an ear out, as the car's lack of muffler resulted in a very abrasive engine drone.
She asked me if there was anything of value in the car.

--Uh, tape deck, some tapes, Credence tapes, uh, my briefcase.

-And what was in the briefcase?

--Papers, business papers, my business papers.

-And what business are you in, Mr. deBiase?

--I'm unemployed.

I'd like to think that Shelia, regardless of her situation, is in a better place. Maybe her new owners are cleaning her up, patching up those rust holes, replacing the muffler, vacuuming the velour, changing the oil. I only hope they leave the NPR presets on the AM/FM radio.


The Shelia-5
1987 - 2007
The albatross flies high once more.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ode to Wife

Wifey, oh wifey,
you are my tuna casserole,
my chicken parm.
A bottle of Bud Select,
rolling closer and closer
to the roof's edge.
our terrace
our house
our wine
our cheese
Utopian vision,
this marriage.
Your bedroom
and mine.
but together.
The way a marriage should be.