If you like to read, and enjoy quirky, welcome. There are about 30 random things here for you. After you read a short story you may even find some personal comments/insights! The main purpose of creating this blog is for writers. I see so much written about writer's block, and honestly, I don't have it. Occasionally, I write short stories, longer stories, books, plays, one act plays, monologues, and sometimes I even think one is good enough to submit somewhere. Of course, when you submit a story to a magazine that receives 200 stories a month and publishes five, you'd better enjoy the process of writing. I'm not suggesting that I'm a good writer, merely that I can sit down and just start writing.

It is important to write, to constantly be working on your art. If you are constantly plagued by writer's block, perhaps you are being too selective in what you write about. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some examples of my writing, from someone who can write all the time. Occasionally the topics are a bit strange, but I don't let that slow me down, I love to write and get to a finished product. Hopefully, by looking at some examples, you will say to yourself that phrase that all artists who visit MOMA in NYC say: "Well, I can do this!" That would be good, because you can! One of my posts is about a talking tomato. (You have to be able to do better than that!)

In part I'm trying to get some of my stuff in one place, so keep in mind I never claimed it was going to be an incredible read. You can decide that. I will tell you that occasionally I have a story in me that seems to fit the goal of a publication, and I try to write specifically with that goal in mind. Lately I've been considering publications that publish nonfiction memoirs, so some of the entries you'll find here will have that flavor. Perhaps this is a way to get past writer's block - find a publication looking for something that you'd like to write. It seems like memoir-based publications may be a good place to start, because we're all experts in our own families. I'm using a blog here to share some of the things I've written; the blog format is not ideal, so you need to poke around a little at old posts, to see if you can find a story or something else that may interest you.

Two last items. None of these are finished products. I usually get to a point where I have something written, and then stop. If it is something I may decide to submit for some reason, I'll finish formatting, following the specific rules of the magazine or organization (the rules are alwaysdifferent). If you do see something in here that you may be interested in using, don't hesitate to contact me.

So welcome to my blog. Welcome to my writing. Write, people, write! It feels good.

Please also consider getting a copy of my first book, Saturday Night at Sarah Joy's. All Royalties go to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Please check out the book's blog at:

Thank you!

© 2012 John Allison

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Last First Date

My male friend, former lover, and amazingly (still) good buddy, Alexander, has a way about him.  Every single scene of the play that we call my life is suspicious, not quite right.  Usually we just enjoy being together, but occasionally he gets like this.  On a good day, this leads to an interesting neural workout; on other days it’s annoying as hell.  Maybe it’s me, but it seems that his investigations often involve new males in my life.

FYI, if you’re having a problem-keeping track, my friend really, really wants to be called Alexander.  Since he wants it so much I tend to call him Al, Alex, or Zand. His other friends do the same.

Alexander found me on Facebook the other day and small-talk texted me, asking what I was having for lunch.

            JANINE:  I ran out to Ramone’s and picked up a coffee and a chicken salad sandwich on 20-grain bread.

            ALEXANDER:  Something’s not right.

            JANINE:  OK, a liver and onion sandwich with some blood on the rocks.

            ALEXANDER:  This is what I’m thinking. I’m trying to feel it all.  I’m ordering a coffee.  I’m thinking of that hot tasty drink, looking up at the board to decide which coffee I want.  I have all of that coffee experience in my mouth and nose, then I choose chicken chunks in mayonnaise on a hearty bread.  It’s just not right.

Isn’t this amazing.  I can’t have lunch in peace!  That coffee experience??

            JANINE:  WTF?

            ALEXANDER: Am I making you uncomfortable?

            JANINE:  Sighs.  OK, OK, I’m sooooo sorry.  I neglected to use the word ‘iced’.  I ordered an iced coffee and a sandwich.

            ALEXANDER:  Ah, I probably should have seen that one coming.

So now you know Alexander.

After he and I broke up, I had a semi-long relationship, which recently came to an end.  I decided to try an on-line dating service. I get several contacts a week, so it’s been an interesting time.  Every week I have yet another guy who goes through the same email conversation with me.  We exchange some basic information, including location.  Then, it goes like this:

            JANINE: I’m sorry but I think you’re a little too far away for me.  It would make getting to know each other difficult.

            NEAL: Well why don’t you just come over Saturday night.  We can relax and watch a movie together.

(I KNOW what this is code for, btw)

            JANINE: Well again, it’s a bit too far away for me.  Sorry.

            NEAL: Well come visit me, you can stay over. 

(wait for it …)

            NEAL: Most girls fall in love with my member.

            JANINE:  LOL. Well, Kneel, I’m sure they do but I don’t want to be another victim of member love.  Have a good day. Bye.

Every week I get one of these!  Horny guys are such dweebs!  Anyway … (just venting).

Dan seemed like a nice guy (i.e. didn’t mention his member through two emails and two phone calls) so I decided to do a lunch date with him.  I don’t know who he was having lunch with (it couldn’t have been me!) but he was really excited (“super excited”) to be with me (he said so 30 times). He really hoped that I would agree to see him again, and the lunch conversation was a solid ‘OK’ so I agreed.  He asked if I would please just stop off at his car on the way to mine after lunch. 

We walked to his car; he opened the back door and shoved me into a cage that was inside a black box.  Spikes pierced my silk dress from every side as blood flowed out the bottom of the door.  He took off the license plate, tipped over a gas can inside, casually tossed in a lit match, and quickly walked away.

Sorry, you looked like you were dozing off.

Actually, in his back seat he had a dozen red roses.  He handed them to me and kissed my cheek.  They smelled great.  It should have moved me more than it did, but roses!  I can’t complain.

He asked about dinner on Saturday, which was four days from our lunch datelet, and I said, “sure”. 

Then the torrent began.

It was around 4 PM and I checked my email from work.  There was one from a girl named Cindy.  The subject line was “Last First Date”. She explained to me that she was Dan’s girlfriend.  She had a feeling something was up, did something admittedly questionable, checking Dan’s e-mail, where she discovered that he had signed up for a dating service and found some of my emails.  It seemed to her that he was neglecting to tell me about her and “them” and while perhaps he has plans that she didn’t know about, she still thought she should contact me.  She emailed me again to offer to talk to me if I wanted to call her.  In the 36 hours after she informed me of their relationship, I had gotten a total of 40 emails from her.  Yes, that’s not missing a decimal point.  Forty.  They were interleaved with emails from Dan.  Dan wrote to tell me that a friend Cindy told him that she knew about me, but I should not be concerned.  They are friends but not seeing each other.  At least not that he knew of.  In the same day and a half after my first Cindy-gram, I had gotten 42 e-mails from Dan.  Back and forth they went, explaining each other, explaining their sides, in boring detail.  He explained that he’s not very computer literate and she helped him set up his email account.  Apparently she made a note of his login/password, and was using it to see what he was doing in his life.  I searched desperately for an email umbrella.  It was a drenching downpour.  Every little item she’d tell me about, he’d explain with his own spin, or he’d tell me something and she’d clarify.  I never did call Cindy, but my mailbox can’t take this kind of abuse so I politely told Dan that he was on his own, and told Cindy that I wouldn’t be seeing him again.

Alexander, Private Investigator of Love, thought it was peculiar.  What a shock.  I’m perfectly capable of handling my own relationships, but to him nothing is as it appears. He wears me out, although he tends to uncover a little something here or there that I wouldn’t, so I usually let him play.

He called me and said, “Something’s not right.  Can we talk this out?  Work through it?  I want to make sure I have all the facts straight.”  We met, as we usually do for his investigative work, at Beaner’s Coffee Shop.  He knows several of my weak spots.  We sat down and he ordered two chocolate shakes and two warmed slices of apple pie.  (Not for himself –for the both of us.)

I really wasn’t in the mood.  I’d spent the afternoon handing out roses, one at a time, to people at work.  But take a moment, dear reader, and Alexander me.  Do you think something’s up?

The timer just went off – sorry.  I hope you formed an opinion.  You can listen in, but you’ll have to order your own pie.

“So, Janine (my name, incidentally), what do you make of the flowers?” Alexander asked.  “He had them in the car, so he had already bought them, but waited until after lunch to give them to you.  What are your feelings on that?” 

Fishing for feelings so soon – I’m thinking he’s not made up his mind yet. 

“Well, perhaps he was being optimistic.  He thought he’d just get flowers, and if our lunch went well, give them to me, if not, well they were a secret in his car, “ I said.

“Not flowers,” he corrected me.  “Roses.”

“But its not unreasonable to have a really good date, and send someone flowers later that day or the next,” he pointed out.  “Why commit to buying them when you don’t know if you’ll want to use them?”

“Well, Al, maybe he just planned to give them to me!”  I said.

“Then he would have brought them in,” Alexander correctly pointed out.  “Or what else?  What other situation could be plausible?”

I shrugged.  Mmmmm, pie.

“Maybe it was a sure-fire thing,” he continued, “like if he didn’t give them to you he would have given them to someone else.”

“OK, maybe he was contemplating leaving his sweetie, but wasn’t sure, so if I looked like a good prospect I’d get them, otherwise he’d go back to working on the two of them, and start with roses.”

“But again,” Alex pointed out, “he could have just had the date, then sent roses to either or neither of you the next day.  Something doesn’t feel right.”

OK, game 1 to Alex.  It was a little weird.  But Dan seemed like a nice enough guy.

For some reason I didn’t mention it, but I had a good idea of what the real explanation was.  It’s one that a dating girl like me could come up with, but not a Private Investigator of Love.  If Dan is dating, meeting lots of girls, then I bet he bought them for some other girl who dumped him before he could give them to her.  Since he was stuck with them, he gave them to me.

“Lets just cut to the chase, here Janine,” Alexander said.  You were presented with two sides of a coin – he has a girlfriend or he doesn’t.  That’s always a bad sign.  You spend all your time trying to decide which is true, when usually life is not a coin with two sides, and there is at least one other option, completely perpendicular to these two opposites.”

‘Perpendicular,’ I thought, then was distracted by the pie again.

“And, Zand, you know what that third side of the coin is, I’m guessing,” I said.

“Maybe,” he said.  Then there was a pause – quite unlike yacky Alex.  Then he said, “I’m sorry Janine, but I want to stop for now.  Could you send me all of the e-mails you received from these two?  I want to read them before I say anything else.”

I sucked on my straw and my milkshake loudly proclaimed that the glass was empty.  Perfect timing.

When I got home, I did as he asked, and forgot about it for a few hours.

It was 10:30 PM, my bedtime, and I was dozing off, when Alexander called me and told me to get back on line to chat.  Of course it couldn’t wait, so I did.  Here we go.

            ALEXANDER: Janine, in your entire internet social networking life, how many people have ever sent you more than 20 emails over a two day period?”

            JANINE: Yes, I know, it was a lot

            ALEXANDER: Janine, answer this question.  How many people have ever sent you more than 20 emails over a two-day period?  What is your answer?

I know, if you were me you probably would have logged off by now.  Discipline, Janine, he wants discipline.  Just the facts, m’am.

            JANINE: One

            ALEXANDER: No! Who is your one?

            JANINE: Duh, Dan!

            ALEXANDER: Wrong.  The number is not one.  Read my question again
            JANINE: Well, OK, two.  Dan and Cindy

            ALEXANDER: Bingo!

            JANINE: Not now, I’m tired

            ALEXANDER: Funny girl.  So in the same few days you met two new people, and they just happen to both be the type who are capable of sending one   person 40 emails in a 36-hour period

            JANINE: Apparently

            ALEXANDER: You’ve never met anyone in your life who is like this, who would do such a thing, and now you’ve met two?  Comments?

            JANINE: Birds of a feather?

            ALEXANDER:  I learned something very interesting

            JANINE: What?

            ALEXANDER: With excess, people make mistakes.  This was excessive.  They told you more about themselves than they intended.  I read all of the emails you sent me.  Like you said, 40 from her, 42 from him.  But guess what?

“But guess what?” sounds simple, but I know where we are in the conversation.  I dread responding. He’s going to tell me something he discovered, something I missed.

            JANINE: What, Al?

            ALEXANDER: I went back and looked at the email addresses.  39 came from one email address, and 43 came from another.  There’s only one way that it could happen.

            ALEXANDER: I think Carol and Dan are the same person.

(Can you hear the Theramin in the background making a spooky sound?)

Alexander had completed his report.

            ALEXANDER: I think he’s a nutjob.  I think he is desperate to love someone    and no matter who you were, he was going to give you flowers and ask to see you again.  I think he goes into relationships being so optimistic, then realizes you’re not right for him.  Now what does he do?  Well he panics.  He creates an incredible web of deceit.  He goes through this elaborate ruse, creating a fake girlfriend, a fake argument between them that you get to witness, just to    chase you away, instead of having to say ‘no’.
            JANINE: So why did he buy flowers?

            ALEXANDER:  Because he’s crazy!

            JANINE: But Cindy said I could call her!

            ALEXANDER: And that convinced you she was real!
            JANINE: Ugh.

Maybe he’s right, maybe he isn’t.  I already dumped the guy.  Time to move on already.  Dan wouldn’t be the first crazy person I dated.
            JANINE: Alex?

            ALEXANDER: What?

            JANINE: I’m not Janine

            ALEXANDER: What? Where is Janine?

            JANINE: This is Dan. I’m afraid I can’t let her see this, Al

            ALEXANDER: Dan?

            ALEXANDER: Dan?

            ALEXANDER: I’m coming over

            JANINE: Oh, relax, Alex, it’s me.  I’m just kidding

            ALEXANDER: I don’t know who you are or what to believe
            I’m coming over

            JANINE: OK.  Bring pie!

            ALEXANDER: Damn you Janine!

            JANINE:   ;))


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