Five hundred words.

This is the daily quota that JohnnyGoodYear reminds us that Graham Greene suggests we writers try and meet to stay in shape. And--good God!-- who would want to argue with Greene, possibly the most prolific and compellingly readable author of the prior century?

It’s just that . . . well, does it apply to playwrights? And does it apply to playwrights who often fervently wish they didn’t write at all? It seems to me this discipline that Greene demands, and GoodYear promulgates, presupposes a devotion motivated by . . . what? That one’s writing betters the world? Oneself? More often than not it seems to me that this sort of devotion requires a faith that I long ago forswore. I cannot abide a God that insists I believe in Him any more than I can dedicate myself to a vocation that demands I ante up all my dutiful attentions whether or not it feels meaningful to me. And yet . . . and yet . . . Here I am writing.

I promised I’d keep you all posted on the progress towards my second child’s birth ever since my wife lost her mucus plug three days ago. But now, with so little progress to report, I’m starting to regret it, in a way not unlike my regret of the vow I made to myself some decades back to be the best playwright possible.

We get caught.

We get caught in these ideas of ourselves and what it is we’re supposed to be doing. It’s all so noble I could be sick if I focused too long or too hard on it. We get into this writing business because we’re convinced that our minds might make the world a better place, and then we discover that the wisest men understand that the world needs no bettering.

We bring children into the world because, let’s face it: it’s fun— both to make them and then to be with them once they’re here. Only a fascist fool could honestly believe he has anything to teach a child, except maybe how to blow a bubble or use a kazoo.

So for now, I’m going to stick with this, through downvotes and upvotes, through your boredom and mine, through frustration and occasional elation, until I become a better playwright, a better writer, a better husband and father, a better man . . . or . . at least until the baby comes.

Okay, so about that, here’s the nitty-gritty: Heather went to the doctor today and was told that she’s dilated to 4 centimeters, and that her cervix is 50% effaced. And what does that mean in bottom line layman’s terms? Well, that she’ll be having a baby. Some time soon. How soon? Only the Credophage knows.

And I know yesterday I said I wasn’t anxious— but dammit!—it’s creeping up on me.

Come on, baby. Come on! You’re almost here.

And I am almost there . . . five hundred.

By next week, my girlfriend will be living with me in my own house! This is a major step in our relationship and in our lives. Along with it comes many more responsibilities as well as more freedoms. We are both working different shifts at different jobs, so we really do not see that much of each other. We have also divided the household duties between ourselves.

My chores: Her chores:

Okay, so I have a few more things to do than she does, but it really is equal in my eyes. You see, general house cleaning, is a very big job. It includes sweeping and mopping the floors, vacuuming the carpet, etc. And there are certain things that we do together, like washing dishes and walking the dog.

I am really going to enjoy living with the one person I love more than the rain that turns the sky to such a beautiful grey.

11:20 AM
With the hot Tijuana sun burning my neck, I squat in the dust and eat my breakfast. Corn flakes and tequila. Tenderly, I roll up my vomit-encrusted sleeve to admire my new tattoo. There on my raw and scabby arm, Lady Luck, entwined by a leering rattle snake, poses with a pair of dice.

I wish!

Gray light oozes through the blinds. Gray walls, gray furniture. Who knew it would come to this? Well, I did. I admit it. But what's the difference? To a LOSER like me, it's all the same. God, what's it been, five, six days since I've posted anything? It feels like a year. A goodyear. The self-recriminations, the shame. Work piles up, untouched, as I wrack my brain.

11:30 AM
I'm startled from my morose self pity to see a pair of sinister eyes peering at me from the corner of the copier machine. A pygmy with a blow gun! Before I can react, the bamboo tube goes to his lips, and with deadly accuracy, a poison dart sinks into my neck just behind my right ear. I writhe on the floor, searing pain coursing through my body. Desperately, I lunge for the phone, struggling with numb fingers to call the help desk . . .

Yeah, right.

I can't stand another day of this! Yet tomorrow, I'll sit here, enveloped in grayness, and I'll say it once again. And again.

Like a piece of rotting fruit,
I await the fall from the branch,
to rupture on the hard earth,
where I am consumed by vermin.

11:37 AM
A cold chill runs up my spine. I attempt to focus on my work, but I'm nagged by a sense of an all seeing eye upon me.

Jenny, the perky temp, stops at my door.

"Hi, Jenny! Yes, you can tell Bob I'll have those layouts for him by Thursday. Yes, Thursday morning. Bye bye!"

11:39 AM
Having completed the corporate security scan of employee 168-67-366, Jen-Jen-9, secret cyborg spy developed by the NSA, returns to its cubicle. Cycling through its program of young American female mannerisms, the cyborg feigns a sip of diet soda. Flipping back its blond fiber-optic hair, it keys in the special code into the work station. Attaching the data link cord from its simulated navel to the USB connection, the flagrant corporate protocol violations by employee 168-67-366 are downloaded to Corporate Human Resources and Security. The reply: Terminate. With malice.

11:42 AM
Shit, If I don't deal with those layouts I'm gonna get fired. Still, all I can think about is posting. I'm an empty vessel. One write-up shy of voting, for crying out loud! If only something, anything, would bubble up!

Oh, Jenny's at my door again. "Yeah, Jenny, what is it?"

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