All posts by pawel kowaluk

Another Misunderstanding

We were out in a waffle house, all of us, and it was hard to talk to her because everyone would hear. Luckily, I caught her on the way to the bathroom.

“Alice, we have to talk,” I said, “About us. Our relationship.”

She blinked at me twice. A very bad sign. People do not blink twice for no reason. “What are you talking about?” she said with a cute serious face, “What relationship?”

“I know the way you’ve been trying to get my attention. In the park. All those times. I know you care about me. And I care about you.”

She freed her arm from my grip. That was when I realized I was holding her and I felt silly. “David,” she said, “Look. I like you. As a friend. Can’t we just be friends?”

I nodded and smiled. She smiled back and then walked away. I knew it was on now. A new chapter in my life.

Keep a Record

On Jim’s birthday we all went bowling. He looked at me three times the entire evening. The first was when I asked him what he wanted to drink. The second when I scored a lot of points. The third when I was really loud and crazy. I felt silly afterwards, but the third time he smiled.

We went to the park on Sunday, a big group. He looked at me four times. The first was when I tripped trying to catch a Frisbee. The second and third when I was telling the story of how my grandma lost and found her car. The fourth when I was handing him a sandwich.

I keep a record in my head for when we are old and sitting by the fire together. I will talk about all the times he ignored me but I knew he secretly loved me. And we will be together for an eternity, and for another eternity, and another one on top of that.

Mosby’s Guitar

Mosby was relaxing in the sun when the Rag Tag Gang stole his guitar. The feathery little creatures picked up the instrument by the strap and lifted it high above his head before Mosby could react. They flew away, laughing and chuckling as Mosby, a slow old man, tried to catch up.

He found it funny at first, because he thought youth was incapable of evil and all they did was play, which was true, but then he was faced with the daunting reality of his mortality. Ever since Jack the Dreammaster cursed Mosby years earlier, our troubadour had to play a tune each day, or he would die.

Mosby, huffing and puffing, reached Constable Grey’s station. The creature lifted its heads and looked at Mosby.

“Constable Grey,” said Mosby, “You need to help me. The Rag Tag Gang took off with my guitar. I am in dire straits.”

“I would love to help you, Mosby,” said the constable multilabially, “But I am need of my flowerpot which I loaned to Betsy Berkeley the Bee Behaver.”

Oh boy, thought Mosby, here we go. Why is life always so predictable? And he embarked on the first of a chain of quests to retrieve his invaluable instrument.

My Dream

“My dream?” Jack put out a cigarette and lit up another. The place was empty, a retarded boy was cleaning the tables.

“Yes,” she said, “What was your greatest dream when you were 18?”

“When I was 18, it was all ‘support our troops,'” he pretended to shout, “You know? ‘It is a just war.’ All the tough guys were talking about volunteering. Me, I wanted to make music.” He rocket back and forward a little bit, pursed his lips.

“And here you are?”

“I don’t know if this is real. What if in another reality I am sitting behind a desk, filing TPS reports, you know? I dunno. Maybe it is real. But can this guy be real?” he pointed to the boy with the blue rag, “I read about him in a story last night. Or was it somebody else,” he let out a puff of smoke, “I dunno.”

She looked at the piece of paper for another question, but she realized she could not read. The letters were all jumbled up and twisted into a spiral.

So Dark

I sit in my cubicle, and I am bored. These tasks are too easy, a monkey could do them. It is a good cover though, for a man like me. I get up and take a walk to the copy machine, just to shake this feeling of boredom.

I look at people on the way. Melinda is a redhead with a pale face. I would love to cut her scalp and see blood run down. Her eyes would look good surrounded by streaks of red.

Jen is a strong woman, a boss. I would love to chain her down in my basement and torture her for months. Finally, when her spirit was broken, I would skin her alive and wear her like a suit.

This new girl, I do not know her name, is so cute. She is nothing like the rest, she would understand. I would take a little slice of her every day and eat it. And she would cover it up and go to work anyway, pretending like we do not know each other.

I am back in my cubicle. I close the spreadsheet and go to YouTube to watch a gruesome video. I am unaffected. I watch horror films all the time and I am not scared. I also love those real videos of people getting hurt. I live for that. I have no human emotions. I am so fucking dark.


She was sitting on her bed, talking into a camera. She stopped when I came in.

“Hey, Amber,” I said, “Didn’t mean to interrupt you. What are you up to?”

“Hi Michael,” her voice was deep, the hormones changed it a little bit, but when she forgot to modify it, it still came out a little masculine, she corrected it quickly, “I’m making a video about all my different personalities.”

“How is that coming along?” I asked.

“It’s going good. On the one hand, some of them are difficult to lure out, but on the other, I think I discovered I may have schizophrenia.”

“Bummer,” I said.

“Yeah, know how sometimes I suddenly change the topic mid-sentence? That is dissociative psychotic behavior.”

“Okay, I’m gonna leave you to it, just wanted to say I fixed the boiler and I’m gonna be on my way to pick up the kids.”

“Aw, you’re not gonna stay, sweetie?” she pouted, “But I understand, you need to go. Be a good father,” and then she switched to a dark tone, “Kids need good fathers.”

I tried to smile with understanding, nodded, and then said my goodbyes. When I stepped outside, I realized the smell of incense inside had been a little annoying but I only noticed when I got a breath of fresh air.

Never a Shame

It is always a shame when you are rejected, I thought as she started talking.

“I would love to, but I don’t think this would be good for our friendship. I don’t date guys from my circle of friends because I don’t want it to get awkward later. You know, all of us going on a Christmas skiing trip or something and people go like ‘Is Dave coming? And Felicia too? Well this is going to be… awkward.’ You know what I mean? I just don’t want that. I will talk to you tomorrow though, okay? I gotta go now.”

It is never a shame to see a beautiful woman walk away, I thought and felt like a film noir detective. “See you around,” I said, touching the rim of an invisible hat and smooth music began to play in my head.

Ancient Love

He looked her in the eye with love and smiled brilliantly. He touched her shoulder and there was electricity. He kissed her and she welcomed it. He started making love to her passionately.

That is what it felt like to him. To her, he was drunk and they had broken up a few months before. But she also did not want to be alone that night. It was cold and windy outside the bed and breakfast, everyone else had gone to sleep. Now she was lonely and desperate, and “Hey, maybe it won’t be that bad.” And he was all “I love you baby.” She should not have come to this trip, not after she found out he was coming.

He slipped inside her and pounded unevenly. She put her hands on his back uneasily, only very slightly touching it. Then he remembered they had broken up and realized she was not into it. And also he figured he was too drunk to come anyway, so he started getting soft.

She felt him going limp inside her and she came quick and strong.


Ben was jogging. He was dressed well, although he was way past the “I need to look good to impress the guys” phase. He was focusing on keeping his form and breathing right. He had had a good stretch and he was planning a good stretch when he was done. All manner of modern technology was tracking his route, distance, speed, time, and heart rate. He was all set.

But somehow, he felt hollow. He passed the bench where he first saw Mark. Then he passed the two trees where they had a picnic one Sunday. Then he passed the gazebo where the had “the talk” before they broke up. Now he was with David and they were married. Love was no longer a thing he would chase after, it was no longer even important. Neither was sex.

So why did he work out? To be healthy, that was the obvious answer. But health, just like love and desire, were fleeting. His body was degenerating, he could already feel it. Despite rigorous training, his results were getting worse and mornings when he woke up without pain were scarce.

He passed the little pond and reached the open space. The sky was enormous, its blue cloak tearing into his pupils. He had to stop. The sky broke apart and he saw the universe, its inner workings like clockwork, with only one possible sequence of events, leading towards one inevitable conclusion. Then the universe broke apart to reveal endless other universes and in each he saw God fighting the Devil. Millions upon billions of Gods and Devils were fighting a pointless blood feud. Then it all started shrinking and shrinking until it became a rotting apple and a giant octopus reached out one of its tentacles to grab the apple and eat it. Ben looked into the octopus’s eyes, begging for some words of direction, begging for an answer, but there was no response there. The octopus was primordial, mindless. It devoured the fruit without a single thought having ever crossed its mind.

“Excuse me, are you okay?” somebody said.

Ben snapped out of it. A handsome young man was standing in front of him.

“Yes, I just got lost in thought,” said Ben and the man smiled with relief.

“Good, you did not look too well just a second ago. In fact, you looked like you were having a stroke. I was ready to call the ambulance.”

“No need for that,” Ben laughed.

“My name is Robert.”

“Ben,” they shook hands.

“Ben, that means ‘son’ in Hebrew.”

“Is that symbolic?” Ben asked.

Robert shrugged his muscular shoulders.

An Unquiet Mind

Jim was cooking up some franks and patties at a barbecue. He was wearing one of those KISS THE CHEF aprons and whistling along with the music on radio. Around him people were having fun and he was having fun looking at them. Unfortunately, the longer he looked at the people, the more patterns his brain began to form.

The first pattern was that most people were joined into couples. That was slightly sad, as Jim was currently single. But, he thought, some of these people were alone.

Jim focused on a girl. She was tall and beautiful, her eyes alive and full of joy. Jim knew her and she was a proud single, much like himself. However, she was good looking, sociable, and cheerful. She would not have a problem finding somebody. Which was the opposite what Jim could say about himself.

That made him sad, because the pattern forming in his mind was now the following: everyone either had somebody, or could easily have somebody. Except for Jim. He was disgusting and he would die alone.

This moment of self-loathing led him to self-destruction. Thinking “look how gross I am,” he let out a very loud burp.