Free Wine


I watch as red wine splashes down the front of my white button-up shirt.  For some reason I giggle maniacally. Freedom, I guess.  Then I remember that red wine will never come out and I no longer own a work appropriate shirt.

I work at the restaurant in 7 hours, so I strip frantically and scrub maniacally.  My shirt is definitely ruined.

Now I cry. I need my job, but not enough to buy an extra shirt.

That’s freedom, I laugh, as I open a second bottle of red wine stolen from my ex-boss.


313DayI grew up just south of Detroit. It wasn’t a place I got to go much, but I wanted to go there.  Every time I went, we ended up some place fun: The Science Museum, theatre, the Detroit Institute of Arts, a Tigers game. Detroit was a place you went to go somewhere and DO something.  The good bands played there in the coolest venues. I knew it was where Motown was, because I saw it on the labels of my Jackson 5 45s.

I wasn’t from Detroit, but I claimed it.  Like Motown, my dad said, Berry Gordy moved it to LA years ago.

Smile for Me, Baby

I am 12 and sitting in a front row desk in my advanced English class.  A fellow student sits down at the desk next to mine.  I ignore her because experience has taught me that my fellow students do not want the social scourge of the 7th grade to speak to them.  She appears upset by something and focused on her books anyway.

A few moments pass and I hear something unusual—a friendly voice saying “Hello?”

I look up and find my classmate smiling at me.  A big friendly smile I return. For a brief shining moment, I see our similarities.  Long brown hair, hazel eyes, we are both overweight and boyfriendless.  We’re in the Seitz Jr. High uniform in 1989:  French-rolled jeans, turtleneck under a sweatshirt, gold necklace dangling.  I am beaming at someone, maybe a new friend?

She opens her mouth to speak and I lean forward with a bit of excitement.  She speaks clearly and with great precision.

“You have the stupidest smile I’ve ever seen.”

I can’t believe what I’m hearing.  All my life people have complimented my smile, how friendly it is, how kind.  It is one of the few things on my body that I can unequivocally say is AWESOME. “Excuse me,” I sputter.

“You have the stupidest smile I’ve ever seen.” Remarkably, this is said with even greater precision.  Not bad for a tween with a mouth full of marbles.

I can’t help it.  As I stare at her now victorious eyes, I laugh and laugh and laugh.  I can barely choke out, “No, no, I don’t.  What is your damage?”  I laugh so hard I have tears streaming down my face.  I snort.

I watch as this girl who was so puffed up a moment before, deflates and slides deeper and deeper into her chair.  I kinda feel bad for her in that moment.  I mean, how lame are you when the social outcast of your entire grade thinks you’re a ridiculous loser?

Marissa’s monologue, 2014

(This is from my first play with some editing, and updating. This is the first thing I ever wrote that I fell in love with. I would change it so much more if I knew where it belonged.  This is delivered to a character who is considering suicide and may be a bit of a drama queen. )

My brother OD’ed. My family’s whole relationship to each other to changed completely.

My brother OD’ed on pills and some hard ass shit liquor. He figured visually this would be the least damaging thing to see for whoever found him.  That’s what his letter said.  He was wrong.  I found him. I walked through the door and there laid Dan strung out on the couch. Nothin’ unusual.  He was a user. So I said “Hey, bro.”, and he muttered some incoherent thing back to me, and that was that.

I turned on the TV, and for about a half hour I watched a dumbass  sitcom. I was watching a stupid, motherfuckin’ sitcom, and my brother lay there dying. I don’t know when, he just started moaning—apologizin’ left and right for somethin’. So I reached over to wake him up—I figure he’s having a nightmare—and I don’t remember how he felt or anything spectacular—I just remember thinking, “Oh my god, he’s dying.”

I remember I called 9-1-1. I remember the ambulance came, and I remember my parents running into the hallway demanding to know how Dan was. My brothers and sisters came—all the family. No one talked to me, no one even noticed me, except Dan. I was the first person he asked about when he came to, first damned thing out of his mouth.

Later, when we’d left his room, my folks yelled at me for not getting an ambulance sooner. They blamed me because they didn’t wanna blame themselves, and they still do. But I’m not gonna kill myself as punishment. I don’t consider it punishing myself to kill myself too. Or settling the score, or whatever else is floating through your lunatic mind.

When you tell me your suicidal, it tells me you don’t have a shitload of respect or concern for anyone, and maybe too much interest in the somebody who already fuckedyou over. So, you just keep wallowing in your self-pity because it’s easy. It’s so damned easy. And keep on hurting people friggin’ care enough to fight for you. Cause you are worth fighting for. So, fuck you.