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|Thursday, August 18th, 2016|
|For blacknarcissus2 — Requiescat in pace
Ron stared out at the grey-on-grey San Francisco city-scape. It was beautiful — it had always looked beautiful to him, even when he'd had to go out to frost-bitten Candlestick Park to cover Mets-Giants games back in the bad old days. But it sure as hell didn't look like summer. The coldest winter I ever spent....
"Are you going to read the Journal," said Heather with a smirk, "or just use it as a coaster for your coffee?"
He shook himself and handed her the paper. "Sorry, babe." They had gotten the NY Journal daily ever since they'd moved to the City by the Fucking Bay. Nostalgia, mostly. Partly for the malignant, fabulous tumor of a city that had spawned him. Partly because the year he'd spent working at the Journal had changed his life. Had made him who he was. Hell, had hooked him up with Heather, in all her grey-on-grey, kinky-ass glory.
They'd been getting the paper delivered daily for over a decade, but he barely read it these days; some of the names were still familiar, but a bunch had moved on.
Newspapers were dead anyway.
Ron spent most of his time fucking blogging. And fucking tweeting. And fucking not giving a shit, but hey, it was work. And the Giants were a fun team. In even years, anyway.
It was funny. Most of his memories from the papers he'd worked at — the Chronicle and, years ago, the Sun — had to do with games he'd covered, or players he'd interviewed. He still had the signed 1972 Willie Mays baseball card framed up on his home office wall.
But the Journal? His memories from his brief time there — as a fucking book reviewer, for fuck's sake — were about the people.
Foster and his shoes. And his god-awful romance novels.
Playing cards with Anne.
Getting into a fist-fight with Ferguson, protecting... What was her name? The redhead? Yeah. Caley. Protecting Caley's fucking honor. Like an idiot. Like she needed his protection, or wanted it.
He blinked at his whatever-the-fuck-she-was. She looked as if she'd been hit in the stomach. "Babe?"
Her face even paler than usual, she slid the Journal across the table.
Open to the obituaries.
Long-time Journal Editor Found Dead
Martine Véronique MacNamara (née Brereton), editor at the New York Journal since 2003, was found dead in her Kips Bay apartment. She was 37.
Hired as a proofreader by editor-in-chief William Foster following her graduation from Columbia Journalism School, Marti rose first to become head copyeditor for the Journal at the young age of 23, and then to become Metro editor in 2011. She improved every page of every edition of this newspaper for over a decade. Her grace and warmth made the news room feel like home.
A strong supporter of animal rights, she volunteered at and served on the board of Pet Rescue, a New York-based not-for-profit animal rescue and adoption organization.
She will be missed by her parents, Stephen and Véronique Brereton, by her husband, Noah MacNamara, by her daughters Anna and Yvonne, by the staff of the New York Journal, and by everyone who ever met her.
A private memorial will be held on Saturday, August 20. No flowers by request, but donations may be sent to Pet Rescue (www.ny-petrescue.org).
Ron stared down at the paper. Stared at the picture of Marti, staring back, older than he'd seen her last, with a starched collar and just the hint of a smile.
No. No fucking way. No, no, fuck, fuck... "Fuck."
"I... Yes. Fuck."
Ron was vaguely aware that tears were spilling down his face. Fuck. He hadn't cried at his mom's funeral. Fuck.
"Ron." Heather's tone was even as always, but sounded choked, and if Ron could have looked up from the picture, he was sure as shit that he would have seen her crying. "I... I messaged her on Facebook just last week. I can't believe it. I was teasing her about her taste in music."
"Her taste in music sucked," he said — or tried to say. Fuck. What came out didn't sound intelligible even to Ron's ears. Her taste in music was my fucking taste in music.
"She was telling me about the new dog they'd just adopted."
Heather touched his hand, and all pretense of conversation stopped.
Love is a funny thing. An intense connection over a relatively short period of time — purely fucking platonic, at least on her side — followed by a decade-plus of occasional emails and bits of news passed on by Heather, and yet Ron felt...
"She was..." sobbed Heather. "I know you... I'm so sorry, sweetheart."
"Fuck." He took a deep breath. He looked at Heather now, anywhere but at that picture. Her face was soft and wet and anything but pretty, yet beautiful... "Let's donate to the fucking dogs."
Alison Coulthard made me a friend in 2004, pulling me into this wonderful, silly online RPG. Alison wrote marti_b. My character Ron fell in love with her. And no surprise.
Alison passed away on August 4, 2016.
I was always sure I would get to see her face to face, to meet the dogs and the daughters she loved so dearly, but now I will never get the chance, and my life is the poorer for it.
I was not her closest friend, but we shared so much — common age, common careers, common taste in music — that the news of her death stunned me. Her family and the folks who truly knew her best left an outpouring of grief across a wide swath of social media, and I felt utterly inadequate in expressing my own sense of loss.
So I let Ron do it for me.
|Sunday, September 12th, 2010|
|Across the years, across a continent.... For blacknarcissus2
Ron stares out the window at sun-soaked San Diego and wonders why the fuck his mind is drifting back to his stint at the Journal
. Tomorrow would have made sense—9/11 and all that crap, you’re going to think about New York. But why the Journal
? And why today?
His life is good. Well, good-ish. He’s back covering baseball, even if it is the annoying fucking SF Giants instead of his beloved annoying fucking Mets. Hey, they’re in a pennant race. How fucking bad is that?
And San Francisco isn’t so awful, even if it isn’t Nueva Jork. The sushi is fucking amazing.
At least he hasn’t run into Sachiko and her fucking you-think-the-Holocaust-was-bad?-try-Hiroshima-you-Jewish-putz
Sachi. Dolores. Tiny. Fine-featured. Short, black hair and...
Then an image floats through his mind: a gamin face with a pixie haircut under a party hat. Shit
. Pining over a copyeditor he worked with for a few months five years before... Pathetic.
Wistfully watching the boats in Coronado Bay, knowing that the sailors must feel as if they were going much faster out there than it looked like from here, he thinks, Hope you’re on a yacht somewhere, Mrs. McNamara....
Heather finishes adjusting the strap that binds him to the curtain rod and nibbles on his ear. His body responds to her familiar lavender scent as much as to the contact and certainly more than to the ridiculous fucking... fucking position she's got him trussed up in.
Not who he would have chosen. Never tiny or gamin or fine, and with grey hair and grey eyes. And into games that bewilder Ron, even now.
Still, no one could ever describe Heather Bugger-ass as fucking boring.
“You ready for me, lover?” she murmurs, adjusting the last of her own buckles.
He grunts, “Yeah, baby.”
Sachi. Dolores. Marti.Eat your fucking hearts out. Current Mood: Nostalgic
|Friday, October 20th, 2006|
I hate the fucking Mets.
Only payoff is Dolores doesn't get to shove her I-get-to-watch-from-the-press-box-instea
ook-reviewer tits in my face again until next spring.
|Sunday, October 8th, 2006|
|YANKEES LOSE, YANKEES LOSE, DUUUUUUUUUUUUUH YANKEES LOSE!
The seven sweetest fucking words in the English fucking language.
Improved only by these two: METS WIN.
Take that, Steinbrenner, you arrogant fuck!
Today, my mood cannot be spoiled, even if my fucking sister has apparently been talking to my first fucking ex. And even if I've got to finish a stupid fucking review on some weird fucking book about the end of the fucking world.
And Heather says she's got something "special in mind to celebrate the Met's victory."
Okay, so that last does have me a bit scared. Current Mood: ecstatic
|Wednesday, November 9th, 2005|
:standing in his cubicle, Ron peers over at the sports department:
:shakes his head. Why is he looking for Caley? She's a big girl. She can take care of herself:
:stares at computer:
:daydreams--not without pain--about Sachiko, the first wife:
:a scent of lavender brings him back to himself:
:glances up to find Heather smiling at him:
Hey, sweetheart. Chinese for lunch? Current Mood: DefCon 4
|Thursday, November 3rd, 2005|
:stumbles out of the elevator into the newsroom, looking distinctly disheveled:
:makes a beeline for his cubicle, avoiding Anne's attempt to talk to him, Will's raised eyebrow and even Marti's frank, curious stare:
:looks absolutely NOWHERE near Ben or Caley's cubicles:
:sits, coffee cup trembling against the desk:
I should have kept working at night.
Fuck. Current Mood: DefCon 2
|Saturday, March 5th, 2005|
|Email to Will Foster
: RE: Hey, stranger...
Um. Nothing's exactly... wrong. And it's very nice of you to say people there actually like me, though why the fuck they would do that is entirely beyond me. At least in your case I know it isn't my manly looks, 'cause I've seen the other Mr. Foster and I'm definitely not your type. Which I think we will both agree is a cause for celebration.
I'll come in if you insist. It's been sort of... peaceful coming in with the vampires and the city desk. But, you know, if you miss me that fucking much, hey, what can I do.
See. Here's the thing. I know you were kind of... busy... at the holiday party. But something happened that's kind of humiliating between me and Ms. Griffith and Dr. Ferguson (is he really
a doctor?), and I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't both kind of relieved that I wasn't around.
I'm enclosing the Laurel Hamilton review. How the fuck am I supposed to keep a straight face reading a fucking murder mystery starring a detective who's a fucking fairy... uh, sorry faerie
princess? I mean, come on!
From: email@example.com Current Mood: DefCon3
Subject: Hey, stranger...
...is something wrong?
Are you going to start coming in during work hours again?
You do know you don't have to lurk about in the shadows like some bad-tempered little Dracula. People actually like you here, believe it or not.
Seriously, now - I'll do the good-boss thing and help you sort things out if there IS anything wrong. I have trouble doing my job with you missing, though.
|Sunday, December 19th, 2004|
:begins to rouse at light through heavy curtains:
:winces--not only at severe headache, but at what seems to be a badly swollen left eye:
:tries to sit up, is blinded by throbbing pain, falls back down:
:scent of lavender shocks him--makes him open his eyes anyway:
Oh, shit. Current Mood: Agony
|Wednesday, December 15th, 2004|
|Secret Freaking Santa
Okay, so here's where I say I hate the whole fucking Secret Santa thing, okay? I mean, I'm a fun-loving guy, right? I'm happy to play along with the whole holiday thing, even if it is a bit strange to me--my mom thought gift giving was just a way to weigh us down and make it harder for us to move quickly when the SS came to our door.
So why the fuck am I getting so wound up about this FUCKING gift exchange thing?
It's not that I don't know what I want to give.... I've already got the fucking thing. BUT I CAN'T POSSIBLY GIVE IT. And I'm having a fucking ANXIETY ATTACK trying to figure out what the fuck else to FUCKING GET.
Oh, and I got a phone message from Heather Fucking Bogaras asking me what I was up to on Fucking Friday.
It's a good thing I'm BUSY that night and... Foster, you haven't invited her? Tell me you haven't invited her. Current Mood: Defcon 2
|Monday, December 13th, 2004|
|Don't Step on My #$@)($*#@)* Shoes
So. I now own a $400 fucking pair of shoes.
Don't fucking step on them.
Oh, and Caley, thank you. My life is in your debt. The guy at Gucci had that "I'm gonna sell this sucker three suits" glint in his eye.
Do they even sell suits at Gucci? Current Mood: DefCon 3
|Wednesday, December 8th, 2004|
|Happy fucking Hannukah
So I go over to my fucking Martha Stewart sister's fucking apartment for to light the fucking menorah for the first fucking night of fucking Hannukah.
And Jennifer the Blonde Fucking Banker greets me at the door wearing a fucking yarmulke like it's a fucking beret and drags me into the living room. Apparently Carol's picking Mom up from the subway station--why the old bat can't be trusted to get herself to the building, which is two blocks away, without eviscerating some poor son of bitch mugger with the cleaver she carries in her purse, I have no idea--and Jennifer's slaving away in the kitchen (microwaving fucking latkes), and why the fuck am I wearing sneakers? but their other guest
is due any minute and could I let her in?
The other guest
Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more, say no more....
I know at this point that I'm being set up again, and, if I'm lucky, it's NOT HEATHER FROM NEXT DOOR WHO SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME ONLY I DON'T KNOW WHY.
And then the door rings, before I can even scarf down one fucking bagel chip with chopped liver and Jennifer yells at me to get it and OF COURSE IT'S HEATHER FROM NEXT DOOR WHO SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME ONLY I DON'T KNOW WHY.
And she looks at me with those colorless eyes and wishes me a happy FUCKING holiday and brushes crumbs from my FUCKING collar and I want to jump out the FUCKING window only it's the fifteenth FUCKING floor and I'm afraid of FUCKING heights.
So she starts talking about Foster's fucking book like it's the best FUCKING thing she's ever FUCKING read, and Mom and Carol come in and Mom makes a point of not talking to any of the women, since Carol and Jennifer are gay, which for some reason bothers her today, and Heather is clearly NOT JEWISH. And so Mom is dumping about FUCKING BUSH and giving me crap about my Converse fucking Hi-Tops, and Heather is going on about flying teenage gay FUCKING heroboys AND we light the goddamned menorah and eat the motherfucking potato pancakes and FOSTER I GET TEN FUCKING PERCENT OF THIS BOOK DO YOU HEAR ME.
And I need a new fucking pair of shoes.
CALEY? Current Mood: DefCon2
|Monday, November 1st, 2004|
|Email to NY Journal Staff
Dear fellow employees:
1) Whomever has been circulating the pictures of me with guacamole all over my face, ha ha. Cut it the fuck out.
2) Whomever has my shoes, hand them over. Now. Tawnie has said that she doesn't have them, and from the look of disgust on her face when I asked, I believe her. I'm not like our beloved Arts and Leisure editor. I don't have a hundred pairs of shoes. I need those Florsheims.
Ronald Bloom Current Mood: DefCon 2
|Friday, October 22nd, 2004|
She's selling the fucking home run ball on eBay.
Jesus fucking Christ.
I GAVE HER THAT FUCKING BALL.
ARGGGHGHGHGHGHGGHGGHGHGHH! Current Mood: DefCon 2
|Thursday, October 21st, 2004|
|Last Night Was the Happiest Night of My Life
So I get a phone call as I'm wrapping up at the office yesterday. It's Dolores, and her friend John in the Yankee's press office has thrown her a couple of ducats and do I want to come?
Hell, yes. Even with my cuntwad ex-wife.
So I get there, and of course they're fucking third row seats--in the right field bleachers, but still. Fucking beautiful. And we're the lone island of royal blue and orange in a sea of navy and white and navy and red. Go fucking Mets!
And the Red Sox proceed to deliver the kind of humiliating ass-drubbing the Yankees so richly deserve, and all those damned, smug Yankees fans are sitting on their hands, getting that glum, Mets-fan, hang-dog face on. Beautiful.
And Johnny Damon's grand slam dagger in the throat of Yankeedom? I caught the God damned ball.
And gave it to Dolores, like a chivalrous son of a bitch, cause she got the seats. ^.^
This Yankee-fan idiot starts yelling at her to throw it back onto the field, and I tell him if he doesn't shut up, I'm going to throw HIM onto the field. Shut him up pretty good.
So Doll and I are sitting there, drinking beers, cheering on the Sox, laughing at the Yankees and their fans. When they cut the beer off after the sixth inning (which was probably a good idea, 'cause if the Yankee fans had gotten much drunker it was gonna get ugly), Dolores breaks out her little flask of Bacardi 151. Damn, that woman is fucking dangerous.
The stands are emptying out through the last couple of innings, and she's talking about how she's been thinking. Thinking. You know.
What about Arnold, or Helmut, or whatever his Nazi fucking name was? I ask.
Oh, he's gone. And she's been giving the thought of kids some serious attention. And thinking. You know, thinking.
And there she is, in her Mets blue-and-orange, cute as hell, if no longer quite so young as she was when I married her, batting those black Puerto-Rican doe eyes at me, getting teary about the mistakes that she's made.
When Ruben Sierra grounded out weakly to second base to end the game, we barely noticed. Well, I mean we DID notice, because the hundred and fifty Sox fans left in the bleachers with us were going ape-shit and...
YANKEES LOSE, YANKEES LOSE, THEEEEEEEEEEEEE YANKEES LOSE!
And then we're stumbling out to the subway, and she's hanging on my arm, and we shuffle into the train--less crowded than I would have expected, 'cause most of the Yankee fans are long gone and most of the Sox fans are still celebrating--she kisses me, and FUCK, it's been so fucking long, and we start making out like a couple of horny teenagers all the way down through Washington Heights and Harlem. And as we get close to the 81st St. station, she leans over to my ear and very wetly invites herself up to my place.
And I tell her to fuck off and go die.
HAHAHAHAHHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHHA.:-D Current Mood: DefCon5
|Saturday, October 9th, 2004|
|Thursday, September 30th, 2004|
So, class, today I had the strangest fucking lunch of my entire fucking life: the two women not named Bloom who most scare the crap out of me happily chatting about bands I'd never fucking heard of while munching away on matching fucking Rubens.
The Specials? Who the fuck are the Specials?
I think I need to lie down. Current Mood: Confused as fucking hell
|Friday, September 17th, 2004|
|Email to Will Foster
I've got somewhere to go tonight, right? PLEASE tell me I have somewhere I've got to go!
Bloom Current Mood: DefCon 2
|Thursday, September 9th, 2004|
|For marti_b on the occasion of all of her various birthdays...
Ron stood up from his laptop, ran a hand through the fine fuzz on the top of his head and scanned the cubicles around him.
Beautiful, he thought. Every fucking one of them, beautiful. Whose dick had he stepped on in a former life to get him get himself stuck in a middle-aged man's Purgatory like this? A palette of pulchritude spread out before him like a shellfish buffet at a kosher restaurant. Blondes. Redheads like Foster's fucking daughter
for fuck's sake, which didn't bear fucking thinking about. Brun…
Ron closed his eyes so as not to gaze across the office to where Marti was working in her pointed pink party hat, quietly redefining the word 'gamin'.
And Anne. That long, drunken card game, swapping war stories, flirting like something was actually going to fucking happen
, which he knew it never would, but he couldn't remember how the evening ended at all, and he was torn between agony at what he was afraid he might have said or done, and the niggling, adolescent fucking hope that he'd actually said or done it.
Opening his eyes again, Ron gazed over to the reception desk for the thirtieth time that morning, trying to see if Anne was looking at him--though why the fuck would she be doing that? She was twenty-something, for Christ's sake, and like everyone else here, she was fucking beautiful.
Amazingly, Anne was
looking at him. A slightly bemused expression on her face, she was pointing towards Ron's cubicle. It was only after Ron had stood there, caught in the distant enchantment of her dark eyes, that he realized that the directing finger was for someone else's benefit. That a woman with graying hair and a gray, ill-fitting suit was following the path set out by Anne's gesture towards Ron's cubicle.
She stopped at the entrance to Ron's workspace. "Yeah. Heather, right?"
"Yes. Hello, Ron, so nice to see you again." And she smiled mildly. Mild. That was the word. Not beautiful--not fucking beautiful at all.
Geeze. Her eyes were gray.
|Wednesday, August 25th, 2004|
|I Fucking Love Family, Pt. LXIX
So Carol and Jennifer had a dinner party last night. Not in their apartment--oh, no, of course fucking not. In Bloom's. Surrounded by fucking orchids and bamboo. Right where Lexington Avenue could see us just fine.
Give me a fucking break.
Mom wasn't there, so we were spared chapter fifty-eight of "That Anne Frank Girl Could Actually Be A Real Bitch." Which is something, I suppose.
Carol was flouncing around making banging noises with platters, like she was actually cooking this crap, instead of pulling it out of a fucking Zabar's box.
Who eats fucking plantain fritters? (Well, except for my ex-wife Dolores's family--but they're from from fucking Puerto Rico, so that makes sense.)
So aside from Carol--who's doing the Martha Stewart-before-jail thing to the hilt--and her girlfriend Jennifer--who I guess was at work at four in the morning trading Taiwanese bonds or some such shit, and is therefore falling asleep in the Merlot--there are two couples--a pair of elderly lesbians in matching flowered dresses and, amazingly, a straight pair of yuppie fucking bankers who work with Jennifer--and this mousy, middle-aged dame who they seat, of course, immediately next to me.
So I get it.
I'm being fucking fixed up.
I'M FORTY-FUCKING-FIVE YEARS OLD, and my baby fucking sister is trying to get me laid. Absolutely fucking perfect.
She looks as if she hadn't slept in a decade, and her hair isn't so much grey as fucking colorless--it sort of fades into her face, and into her dress, which also looks as if someone's sucked all the fucking life out of it. The scary thing is that I realize that I look just as shitty as she does.
Middle-aged and divorced. Lifestyles of the Tired and Fucking Damaged.
Her name is Heather and she tells me she's an acquisitions editor at Scholastic, which gets me excited for a minute--I tell her I used to read all their sports stuff when I was in school--The Boy Who Batted A Thousand
, the Roberto Clemente biography, Brian's Song
. Damn, that story still makes me fucking cry.
Anyway, she gets sort of goggle-eyed and says, actually, she works mostly with YA fantasy, whatever the hell that is.
?" I ask.
And she nods and starts going on about getting to work with people like A. K. Rolling and Cordelia Fonk and all of these other folks I happily tell her I've never heard of. And she looks over at Carol and Jennifer--she lives next door to them, apparently--and says they're starting a new line of fantasy books for gay teens--apparently this is like the Last Great Untapped Market, or some such crap.
"Sounds great," I say, as charming as I can manage. "Elves and fairies."
Carol snorts and tosses an arugula leaf at me, which is taken by the table as a Retort of Great Wit.
So this Heather asks me what I do for a living, so I say, "I'm a Fucking Book Reviewer."
That earns me the goggle-eyes again.
I fucking love my life.
Oh, so, no, I didn't get laid. But I did get her business card. I clearly impressed the hell out of her. What the hell I'm going to do with that, I have no fucking idea. Current Mood: DefCon2
|Friday, August 20th, 2004|
Who the fuck is Tool?
And do I look like a fucking Eastern European barbarian?
I ask you. Current Mood: DefCon 3