Tag Archives: facebook

Mental Breakdown #2 – Writer



Date: 03/14/2013

To the ceaselessly trending you,

This morning I posted a single paragraph blurb about some pop-up gluten-free cupcake store in the Arts District, and two hours later posted a 1500 word satirical essay I wrote last year about technological developments being directly proportional to the gory death of masculine identity. The cupcake scoop presently has 34 ‘likes’ and 16 comments on the magazine’s Facebook page. The essay received two ‘likes’, one of which was from our tech guy in Bangalore, and no comments. At what point can one legitimately begin to blame the audience for one’s shortcomings?

I am presently being smothered in the clutches of a hateful relationship with myself. I work in an industry I thought that I loved for people that I loathe, for an almost-negligible sum of money. I worry that my boyfriend is fucking all his skinny actress friends, but I’m possibly just being all #overlyattachedgirlfriend about everything and that he’ll realize he’s better off without me. And despite the fact that this is going to sound like such an LA-thing to say, but I’m worried that I’m just a big ball of negative energy that people want nothing to do with.

A few days ago I could barely afford to make the repayment on my enormous school debt. It’s really beginning to sink in now that I voluntarily put myself into thousands of dollars of debt to attain a qualification that does nothing but feed itself back to itself. I have an MA in Creative Writing. So in order to find work that actually pays actual money I will almost certainly have to join the education system, and start teaching more kids to be teachers in order to pay off the debt that their silly little passion lumped on them. Perhaps as a result of my extensive online fieldwork with GRIT/SHINE magazine I will one day be considered the preeminent authority on Twitter Literature (#twitlit), and will be able to explore the bowels of minimalism, teaching undiscovered Hemingways and Salingers to consider vowels implied and punctuation frivolous.

There are lots of reasons I despise my job, but the biggest one at present seems to be that our priority has shifted from print towards the internet. This means gouging the bottom of the dried-up superlative well for more innocuous praise for ‘cool’ things we found whilst trawling Gawker, or Fader, or Hypebeast, or Pitchfork. But once we’ve declared something to be ‘super-sick’, it immediately becomes, oops, ‘super-[sic]’, and we’re, pfffft, over it. God forbid you should miss out on a ticket to today’s Super Rad Flying Lotus Circle Jerk because you were busy standing in line for yesterday’s Gnar Gnar Kendrick Lamar Pants Festival. We, the Damp Hype Journalists, armed with an ‘@vice.com’ email address and right-click button for synonyms, build careers to tear them down, and have smugly reinvented ourselves as ‘Trendspotters’. And I’m dreading the well-earned irony it would be if my work was one day fed through the ruthless system of fragile hype that I helped to facilitate for almost no reward, other than the initial weightless euphoria of my career freefalling the second after said epitaph was declared ‘of note’.

I guess it was last night’s party that really brought me to you. It was at some kitschy street art gallery in Hollywood. The art was by another purposeless stoner that found his calling in life wallowing somewhere on the surface level of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. It was a ‘VIP’ event, despite their being a large number of people in attendance that I knew to be anything but important. The all stood around, schmoozing and fawning all over one another, then moving on to the next. I watched conversations dip into awkward troughs as people blanked on names before being saved by the exchange of deceptively marked, Bateman-esque business cards. From my vantage point of the deepest corner, every single smile in the room seemed fake. I could see it in their eyes. I imagined every time someone looked at their phone they were wishing the hours away until they could be alone and curse themselves for falling for the gag again.

I slipped out of the party early. Darryl asked if I minded if he stayed. I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, but I did mind. I wanted him to come home with me. I said, ‘No. Stay, if you want to.’ He smiled, gave me a kiss, and walked off into the crowd. I left, and let the tears fall out onto the street. I took the subway most of the way home. I got off at Westlake/MacArthur Park and walked the rest. I just walked, dabbing tears, laughing and swearing at myself, looking like another crazy that came here and lost. But I didn’t care. At that moment I was far too worried about what I thought of me to worry about what anyone else thought of me. At least that’s a start.









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The Hierarchy of Facebook Approval

Based on real conversations I have every day with my friend Kyle.

It’s a numbers game.
What is?
You’ve got to get your numbers up.
Fucking nonsense.

You’ve got to get your numbers up.
For what? What do the ‘likes’ even mean?
They mean people like something.
What people? Like what? Like you?
No. Just like what you said.
But why? Why do you care? Likes are not currency. They never run out.

Look, I got 28 ‘likes’ on my last status.
I don’t care.
I got 28, and your last status got…
I don’t give a fuck mate. I makes no diff-
Seven ‘likes’.
What?! Who cares!?!

Yeah baby, 29 ‘likes’ and oh, Janine Woodford says ‘LOL’.
I hate Janine Woodford, she sounds horrible.
She is. But still, a ‘LOL’ is one step higher than a ‘like’.
This is the hierarchy of Facebook approval? Where does a ROFLOL fit into it?
It goes: ‘Like’ bronze medal, ‘Comment’ silver medal, and ‘Share’, gold fuckin’ medal, baby.
One of your acquaintances saying, ‘Look at this thing this guy I know said, on Facebook’ is as good as it gets then eh?

It’s a game we all play, just some of us play it better than others.
Bullshit. You know what I think it is, I have a higher caliber of friends.
Nah. That’s not it. My friends are on point. They reflect me.
Exactly. Your friends are clapping seals and your status updates are haddock.
And what, your friends are a bunch of scientists and your status updates are beakers or something.
I do actually have scientist friends, so go fuck yourself.

You try to hide your personality. You’re all miserable on there, like a wet sock on a Monday morning,
Cute, is that your next update?
I think it might be.
No one’s going to ‘like’ that.
…………………….Oh! Janine Woodford likes this!
Fuck Janine Woodford. Let me see her.



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8 Days – A new film from Sonny

Take a look and let me know what you think!


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Fake – Anniversary Story

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my blog.

So here is the last short story of year one

I knew a guy once. Dirty Harry. Like the Clint Eastwood movie. He wasn’t a dirty cop or anything. He was just a regular guy called Harry. But he owned a sex shop. I know right, what a weird job! I guess someone’s got to do it. He was in his late forties I reckon. Married for god knows how many years. No kids though. I don’t think he could have kids. Something about the whole situation made you think that was probably the case. He was a good guy. You could tell he was a looker in his day. He was still a handsome guy, but he wasn’t what he was. But then, none of us are what we were. What I’m trying to say is, he didn’t look like the sort of guy who ran a sex shop. He was, like I said, regular. Apart from all the sex shop stuff. People wouldn’t have called him ‘Dirty Harry’ if he was a panel beater or something.

I used to go to his shop on the reg, looking for stuff for me and the wife and the others. I got toys for them too. Well, ex-wife I should say. Dirty Harry and I used to get to talking. At first it was all business talk. I would ask which things to buy. Which handcuffs were the strongest, which bottle of lube did that tingly thing when you put it on. Sex stuff. But as we got better acquainted I started asking him about him and he started asking me about me. One day I brought up something that I had always wondered about.

“You must have the best sex life Harry” I said to him, looking up from the vibrator he advised me to get. He said it was the one that all the women bought. I was only half joking him around. But more than a little bit of me wanted to know how dirty Dirty Harry really was.

Dirty Harry turned away from me. He started putting these big brightly colored dildos in a straight line. They cast these big old shadows bigger than them.

“You’d think that, wouldn’t you Bill?” he said.

“Yeah. The ladies must love you coming home with all this stuff!” I said. I don’t know why I put it like that. I knew he was married. I’d seen the ring before. But he wasn’t wearing it that day.

“My wife, well, ex-wife, she hated all this stuff” he said.

“Really? That’s weird.”

He looked at me with one of those, ‘really?’ expressions. As if he was saying, ‘take a look around buddy. I work in a room full of big rubber dicks and blow-up chicks!’

“Well, maybe not that weird.” I said, taking that cue to correct myself.

“I sometimes wonder why I’m even in the business Bill. The money ain’t even what it used to be. People are buying their stuff on the internet these days. I don’t know…”

I didn’t say anything. I looked down at the vibrating thing in my hand. It had been vibrating the whole time Dirty Harry spoke to me. I looked for the off button. I was thinking about how much Janet would love this. Would love me for buying this for her. For me.

“You make a lot of people very happy Harry” I said.

He looked down at the floor. He brought his hand up to his face. He pinched the bridge of his nose between his eyes.


Dirty Harry starts telling me that he almost sold the place once. He had it on the market. Had a few folks interested in buying it. One guy wanted to use the space. He didn’t want to own a sex shop though. Who the hell wants to own a sex shop? Not me let me tell you. I mean don’t get me wrong. I love the sex shops. But where would be the fun in being around this stuff all the time? And I don’t want to be known as Dirty Bill!

So Dirty Harry’s in the shop one day, waiting for the clock to strike midnight so he can lock up and go home. This broad walks in. High end he tells me. Not his words, mine. Big thing. All tits and ass and hips. Again, not his words. He smells her perfume before he hears the little door chimes rattle. She comes in all confident like. He told me once that women usually had more confidence in sex shops than men. I could understand that. So she comes in, all confident like.

I want the best vibrator you sell, she says. As calm and cool as that. Dirty Harry gets a little nervous. Says she’s looking at him, right in the eyes, just throwin’ her cards on the fuckin’ table.

Okay, he says. He shuffles round the counter and plucks the best toy off the top shelve. She stands behind him. He can feel her breath on the back of his neck. He hears a lighter click. He hears her suck on the cigarette. He feels her blow it against the back of his neck. He smells the blue smoke mix with that perfume. His hands are shaking like mad. He ain’t even got the dildo switched on for the woman yet!

What’s the rpm? she asks. Just like that. Obviously, this was not her first barbeque. Holding the thing against her palm, looking Dirty Harry in the eyes. He sees that there ain’t a wedding band on her finger. He was still wearing his then.

16,000, replies Harry.

Anything stronger? she asks. Poor old Dirty Harry is just about bowled over let me tell you. She’s looking at him like he’s an engine. He can feel her wondering what his rpm is. He can’t look her in the eyes.

That’s about as strong as they make them, he says, moving a couple of dildos around, tryin’ do somethin’ with those shakin’ hands. They were probably about 17,000rpm!

She closes her eyes and licks her lips, subtle like. She’s moving the vibrator around her palm.

Do you know how to use one of these? she asks him, still with her eyes closed. When he was telling me this he was looking really uncomfortable. Sad almost. But if I was sitting down, I’d have stood up, I’ll tell you that. This was a great story!

No, he says. She looks at him that same way I did after he told me about his sex life. She didn’t believe him. Man working in a sex shop must know a thing or two about dirty sex. She goes into the little handbag she would no doubt be keeping that vibrator in. She sounded like the type that would carry it around with her at all times. She pulls out her card. She hands it to Harry.

If you ever want to learn, just give me a call, she says, with a little wink.

Okay, says Dirty Harry, hand still shaking, holding her card.

She pays and leaves, leaving that perfume smell in the empty shop.


“I sat there the whole night Bill” says Dirty Harry, “I thought about calling her. I did. Thought real hard.”

“Did you?” I asked.


“Why?” I asked. I probably would have.

“Because I was married. Well, then I was. I went home the next morning and told my wife I was leaving her.”

“Shit” I said. It was all I could say. “Just like that?”

“Yup.” he said, smiling. But it was off sorta. Not a real smile. “There’s more to it than that. It’s never a simple thing Bill.”

I said nothing. I looked down at the thing in my hand. I had found the off button about halfway through his story. But I didn’t click it. At that point though, I turned it off. I thought about my wife. And Janet. And the others. And this thing I held in my hand.

“How much is this one?” I asked him.

“$65” he said.

I handed him the cash and walked to the door. I heard the little chimes above my head. I turned to Harry.

“See you later Harry” I said. I knew that I wouldn’t though.

He smiled that fake smile again. It fit. Everything in there was fake.

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Stills from Sonny Side’s Latest Short Film


These are stills from Sonny’s latest video. It’s darker that a hole in the back of a head.

It should be online in a couple of weeks. I’ll let y’all know.

Ross x

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The Book, The Book!

Just a quick reminder to everyone to tell you that my first collection of short stories ‘They All Turned To Smoke’ is now available to order from http://www.anabasispublishing.com.

If you order between now and Christmas you can get a signed (listen to me, trying to sound all successful!) copy and a discount on international shipping.

If you enjoyed what you have seen on here then please buy a copy and help me get the money together to quit this day job bullshit and do what I really love with my life.

Thank you all so much for your support! I really appreciate it!

Lots of love

Ross x

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With Love – Part Four

“Sugar, we could steal their car and their clothes!” I shouted.

She turned to me and slid her glasses into her hair.

“Darling, if you think I’m going to spend my last day in this fucking world dressed as a cop, you don’t know me as well as I thought you did.”

I looked around at the raw desert. There was no one around but us. The two of us and two dead cops, bleeding all over the burning road.

“Baby!? We could-“

“I’m dying in heels and a Vivian Westwood dress. And you’re dying in that shirt and tie I love so much.”

She grabbed my tie and tried to pull me in to her lips. I pulled my tie from her hands. I looked at her. She was deadly serious.

“So we’re just going to die. That’s it?! No fight, no blazing guns. We’re just giving up and we’re going to die?!”

“Well, yeah.”

I slumped back down into the car seat. I thumped the dashboard. I grabbed the bottle at my feet and took three big gulps of the burning tequila. I wanted to cry. She slid in close to me. She took my hands and wrapped them around the gun. We held it together in our hands.

“Baby, we’re going to die. And we’re going to die together. I’m going to kill you and you’re going to kill me.” I looked into her eyes. They looked warmer than I’d ever seen them. “That’s how it needs to be.”

I looked down at our hands, together, wrapped around that thing that had brought us to where we were. I looked at the horizon in front of us, cradling that sun that was like our hour glass, counting down slowly.

“Okay” I said.

“So let’s get going then. I want to drive a little more with you.” She leant in and kissed me on the cheek. She put her hand down and started to rub at my dick again. I started the engine. The old bird roared to life. Raw Power by the Stooges kicked back in where it left off. I kissed the beads and hung them back on the mirror. She unzipped my fly and put her head down into my lap. I slammed my foot down and headed for the border. Moving our big red grave further into the sand.

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With Love – Part Three

The police stopped us after we left Deming. I’d seen them at the side of the road with their speed gun. They clearly didn’t know to look out for us yet. I put my foot down. We whipped the dust up as we shot past them, bills flying out behind us. We were both buzzing. She’d fired a couple of shots in the diner but didn’t kill anyone. We didn’t even take anything. We didn’t need to. What were two people laughing and jumping up and down on their death bed going to do with a couple of grand? We already left about thirty thousand dollars on the road behind us, burning in the evening sun. We decided that we were going to die between her daddy’s place and the diner. But we decided that we would die laughing, just as we’d lived.

“Is this it then?” she asked me, looking at the cop car wailing at us the rear view mirror.

“They don’t know about the diner. Or about your daddy.”

She looked at me and smiled. She knew there was still some time on our side.

“How do you know?”

I smiled at her.

“I just do. So what do you want to do sugar?”

“I wanna fucking kill them!” she shouted, laughing, all giddy like, checking the chamber of the gun between her knees. I laughed too. I put my foot down a little more. I narrowed my eyes and looked in the mirror.

“I wanna fucking kill them too.”

She whipped the chamber shut and leant in to kiss my cheek. I watched the car speed past us and slow down in front. I closed my eyes and exhaled. I clutched at the beads that hung from the mirror. I ripped them off and brought them to my lips. I pushed them to hers.

I brought the car to a halt in the middle of the road. The dust came over the car and covered everything. The cops came out of the car. There were two of them. One was fat. The other was all tall and lanky. The fat one was the superior. But none of that mattered.

They slowly walked towards the car. I reached down and held her hand. She looked at me and smiled. She clicked the safety off and held the gun out of view, next to the door. My palms were sweating. Hers were bone dry.

As the fat one got to the side of the car his radio started up. I couldn’t hear exactly what it said, but I knew it said something about a couple in their late twenties driving a red Cadillac convertible. It probably said we were armed and dangerous. But it probably didn’t say that we didn’t give a fuck.

I smiled as he looked at the car. And then at us. And then back at the car. And then to his partner. As he tried to pull his gun she shot him in the head. I didn’t even see her pull it out. The tall one started running back to the car. She stood up above the windshield and fired another shot. He flew forward and crashed against the back of the car. Blood burst all over the back window.

“Yes!” I shouted, slamming my hand against the horn. She started laughing hysterically. I looked up at her. Her long blonde hair was blowing in that desert wind. The orange light from the sun was all across her face. I stood up and kissed her. I could still taste that gravy, mixing with that raw tequila. I knew we could live a little longer. At least as long as the sun that day.

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Forget Me – Illustration

This is the first of what could be many illustrations I fire up over the next wee while. No story to go with him yet. If anyone can think of something for him, let me know and I’ll have a go at writing something short.


Ross x

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With Love – Part Two

We were stopped by two police officers about forty miles from the Mexican border just past Deming. We picked them up as we were leaving the town.


I knew I’d made her angry so we’d stopped in Deming to get something to eat. Biscuits and gravy. I grabbed a handful of the money from the bag and stuffed it in my pocket. I just looked around for cops the whole time. She just sat talking and laughing and eating. I hadn’t seen her that happy before. People were looking at us in the restaurant. In your head you tell yourself that it’s because they heard about what you did on the radio and they know you did it. But we were dressed like ‘city folk’ in a country town. And she was bouncing off the walls. And I was starin’ out every face, jumping every time the door opened. We stood out like a couple of Jews in a Mosque.

“Do you think we’re gonna make it to Mexico?” she asked.

“Probably” I said. I was sure we wouldn’t. Even if we could get there I knew we wouldn’t get there.

“I don’t. I think we’re gonna die.” She smiled this big goofy smile and kept chewing on her food. I started laughing.

“Yeah. Me too.”

She stopped smiling.

“Then why’d you lie?”

“Cause I thought you wanted me to.”

She kissed her fingers and reached out and pressed them against my lips. I closed my eyes. I could taste the gravy. It tasted really good. I was really hungry but far too wired to eat anything.

“You got your gun?” she asked me, looking over those heart-shaped glasses, swallowing a big mouthful of biscuit.

I looked around to see if anyone heard her. She was so loud.

“Yeah. Of course.” I whispered.

“Give it to me” she said, smiling at me.

“Why?” I asked, still whispering.

She took off her glasses, folded them and sat the down on the table.

“I’m gonna kill someone, that’s why.”

I looked into those eyes of hers. I could still see the young, broken girl I fell in love with a few weeks ago, but she was disappearing faster than our chances. When she stared down the barrel of that gun in my pants and pulled the trigger on her daddy, that little girl in her died without a corpse. She was someone I didn’t think I’d ever know. She was so beautiful.

“Sugar,” I leaned in, trying to throw a blanket over our conversation, “these people ain’t done nuthin.”

“You’re right.” She sat back, her smile disappeared. She looked down at her plate, all sad.

“Look, I don’t wanna kill nobody,” I took her hands in mine, “but, if you wanna rob the place, then I’m happy with that. You know, for kicks.”

She looked up and smiled.

“Really?! Like Pulp Fiction?”

“Like Pulp Fiction.” I smiled, rubbing her hands. “But no killing nobody. Not unless you have to.”

She looked at me from across the table. She blew me a kiss. I watched her shoulder dip under the table. I felt her hand slide up my leg. She moved her hand over my dick and started rubbing. I closed my eyes. In one move I felt the gun come right out of my pants.

“Everybody be cool this is a robbery!!!” she shouted, her chair sliding back across the diner floor. I smiled at her as I rose to my feet. At that moment, I’d never loved anyone so much.

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