A journal of narrative writing.

So my parents sell the place we call home since I was four because the economy takes a shit and my father can’t find work. This is 1989. Long Island. Somehow they believe Florida will be the answer to their prayers, and the next thing I know the moving truck is pulling up to the house and purging it of its contents.

Although my mother begs me to come with, I politely decline, since I am in my freshman year as a film student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and there is nothing for me in Florida. It is a place of sunshine and beaches and palm trees, where postcards are plucked from convenience store racks depicting large women sitting in their ill-fitting bathing suits, sporting sunglasses, soaking up the sun, while above their heads, floats a dialogue bubble with the words, Having a whale of a time. Wish you were here.

On the day my parents get set to depart, my mother takes my face between her hands and says, “Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?”

She gives me a peck on the cheek and presses me close to her, as though I am journeying off to war in a distant land.

It is my father’s turn. He embraces me and the familiar scent of English Leather after shave wafts into my nostrils. “We’ll call when we get there,” he says and pulls out a hundred dollar bill from his wallet. “Here. Just in case.”

I watch the taillights of their Ford Taurus recede into traffic.

This is the first time I will be living on my own. I am officially an adult now.

Later that evening, as I am exiting the grocery store, I realize I’ve locked my keys in the car. I phone a locksmith. He charges me one hundred dollars.


I take the job because I am broke and because I am fortunate enough to be hired on the spot. An up and coming video chain, spreading across the country like a plague, with its vibrant blue and yellow logo, staking the hearts of the mom-and-pop shops, leaving the dead piled in great, heaping waves.

“Are you closing tonight?”

This is Claire Laskins. She is five feet six inches, slender with auburn hair that falls past her shoulders. She is nineteen, mild-mannered and has difficulty maintaining eye contact with me for more than a few seconds. She nervously plays with her hands.

The store closes at midnight. Every night. Weekends too, including holidays. By the time we are done counting out our tills, vacuuming and shelving the returned video tapes, it is almost 1:15 A.M. before we walk out.

It is cold and Claire hasn’t brought a coat. We stand outside the store, small white puffs of vapor leaving our mouths. She has her hands stuffed deep into the front pockets of her loose fitting khaki pants.

“Where’d you park?” I ask.

“My boyfriend is picking me up,” she says.

I glance at my watch.

“You can go ahead,” she says. “You don’t have to wait.”

“I don’t mind.”

Claire shrugs. “Suit yourself.”

“Do you like it so far?”

“This job?”

I nod.

She thinks about it for a second or two. “It’s a job.”

A police cruiser strolls past and the cop inside nods in our direction.

“You want to hear something funny?” Claire says.


“When I first saw you, I thought you were one of the managers.”


“I don’t why, but I did,” she says.

“Do you go to school?” I ask.

Claire shakes her head. “I want to though. One day.”

“What do you want to study?”

“Anything,” she says.

Fifteen minutes later a green Chevy Nova pulls up to the curb. The windows are tinted making it difficult to see the driver.

“Gotta go.” She pulls open the passenger door.

I catch a glimpse of the “boyfriend”, the small patch of a tattoo on his forearm, his wrist resting limply on top of the steering wheel; his eyes focused on me, boring into me like lasers.

And then the door shuts. I feel like he is still looking at me through the one-way glass.

The car screeches away.


My apartment is located precisely twelve minutes and thirty-seven seconds away from the video store, give or take, depending on traffic. I know this because I’ve timed it several times. It is a one bedroom with hardwood floors and reeks of stale cigarette smoke. I do not smoke.

I have trouble sleeping and I write in my dairy until the red digits of the alarm clock flash 3:56 A.M., and as of today I dropped out of film school because I am convinced that it will not contribute in any way toward my career as a screenwriter.

The telephone rings.


No answer.



It takes me another thirty-five minutes before I succumb to sleep.