Isaac The Ineffable: Part Four


Speed dating


3:30 PM

Sarah: So I am thirty five and don’t have time to play games: are children on the menu for you?

Isaac: Like, do I eat children?

Sarah: Funny. I’m asking if having children is something you are up for, in the hypothetical mid to long term.

Isaac: Oh, No.

Sarah: Just a hard no. Why not?

Isaac: If I had to choose between eating a child, and raising one, I’m not sure where I’d fall on the issue.  

Sarah: I’d appreciate it if you’d take this seriously.

Isaac: Ok.

Sarah: Do you think you would be a bad father

Isaac: I have no idea. Probably. There was no real parental behavior to model growing up, I’ve never enjoyed the company of children, and I had a vasectomy when I was 22. I probably should have started with the third point.

Sarah:  Bullshit. What kind of doctor would give a 22 year old a vasectomy

Isaac: An orthopedic surgeon who is bad at Yahtzee.

Sarah:  You gambled for a vasectomy, with an actual doctor, using a dice game for children.

Isaac: I mean, it’s an all ages game. And it’s not all luck, the strategic elements are very underrated.

Sarah: What would he have won?

Isaac: I was going to fight his teenage son.

Sarah: You were going to fight a child?

Isaac: He was at least 19. Maybe a big 17. Either way I didn’t fight him.

Sarah: But you would have?

Isaac: A bet is a bet.

Sarah: I cannot believe that this horrible person exists.

Isaac:I didn’t say he was a good father, but he did a pretty good job on my vasectomy for someone who mostly does hip replacements.

Sarah: I was referring to both of you.

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Isaac The Ineffable: Part Three

Malcom Hanish didn’t enjoy fieldwork. He was a big picture guy that had long ago decided that the connections between things were far more important than the details. The specifics of one circumstance, however, required that he put aside higher pursuits and ground himself in the minutia of a practical investigation. He lit a cigarette, sacrificing some part of his health for the fire and theater of the act, and began his questioning.

“I would like to say, upfront, that this needn’t be adversarial. Quite some time ago you took a thing that wasn’t yours, a small red book about as thick as your thumb, and while we understand that it is no longer in your possession, we have some questions”.

 Malcom Hanish could tell the young man was unsettled by this line of inquiry. He sought to reassure him.

 “ Of course the young woman that you took it from is no longer with us, but no one blames you for that.  Accidents happen”.

Malcom Hanish paused to let this generous interpretation of events settle. The young man stared at his hands, as if his gaze could fill them with answers, or release them from the cuffs that bound them to the metal table. Neither could happen, at least for the young man, and his silence was beginning to wear at Malcom Hanish’s patience.

“Still, we have every reason to believe that you were made aware of the contents of the journal. and it would smooth things between us tremendously if you could recollect them to the best of your ability.”

Malcom Hanish counted to one hundred and then offered a small easement.

 “Feel free to paraphrase.”

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Isaac The Ineffable: Part Two


I lived in a largish house that my foster parents left me. It was run down and stood close enough to the overhead rail-line that dishes rattled when a train passed. The neighborhood was sketchy, but so was I, so I felt a certain peace there. There were two bedrooms upstairs, the master where I live, and a guest bedroom that my roommate had claimed as an office. I had bolted the door shut and done what I could to secure things, but I suspect he roamed around when I wasn’t home. Still, he paid his share of the rent and I hadn’t seen him in years so the arrangement was somewhat workable.

May, who was not my roommate, was on the couch when I got home. She’d shown up hammered dunk a while back insisting that she’d been invited to a party at my house. I was the only one there, had never met her before, and had been sleeping when she knocked, but when I pointed all of this out she claimed the party was dead “because I was such a dick all the time” and that she’d get things banging. We spent the next four hours watching YouTube videos and drinking fortified wine with no shirts on. If she had dug men at all I would have married her and ruined both our lives. At some point she declared herself my protege, but I wasn’t doing a whole lot. I assume she had a job and a home, but for someone who read my email to make sure I wasn’t talking shit about her she was remarkably tight with the details of her personal life.

“ How was work?” May asked.

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Isaac The Ineffable: Part One


 I was born seven years early, or five years late. Everyone agreed on this. And on most things, save what to do with me. Had I been conceived a day later, or a day earlier, or on any other hour on the day in question, I would not have persisted. But I had, and I did. Generations had been laid out in mathematical precision and I was a rude drawing on the corner of the blackboard. I was mostly ignored, and largely untaught, so when things ended around me it mostly made sense. I had gone to the store and returned to find my family a garden of statues. Well, most of them were scattered around the compound, not in the garden proper, but they had turned to stone and it was a traumatic enough moment that I feel I’m due some artistic liberty. 


The Hospital

  His name was Leonard. He was the longest tenured resident at Autumn Valley. He’d been dropped off in the mid eighties when luxury assisted living had just become a thing. In the time that I’d worked there Leonard he’d never had a visitor, no flowers, no cards, no calls from skeevy grand-kids sniffing after the will. He had the best room in the place and the bill was always paid, but if there was anyone outside the residence that even knew he existed I’d never met them. He was my easiest patient and most trusted confidant so I tried to spend the extra time with him that my duties allowed.

  Occasionally, on night shifts, I’d play a sort of Power of Attorney monopoly with him. I’d roll and move the pieces for us both, but when it came time to buy things or build motels I’d try to intuit what he’d do in that situation. Given the indifference of his deadbeat family, and the high quality of his single room and medical care, I figured he’d been successful and ambitious in life, the type to court risk and make aggressive moves. It’s a testament to either my fairness or poor karma that he generally won. Without exception he acquired Baltic avenue 2nd trip round the board and Mediterranean on the 3rd. I couldn’t stay out of his goddamn slums! The smug bastard wouldn’t even bother buying Boardwalk because he knew no one would land there, but he’d still buy Park Place just to screw me. 

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Serialized Weekly Fiction

 I have fallen off of posting my writing for a variety of reasons. Pandemic stress, creative doldrums, and a desire to focus more on longer fiction. I miss the social reinforcement and performative buzz of sharing creative things with the world at large. A long while back, on my old blog, I’d write radio play style serial fiction. An episode was whatever I could write and edit in a week, and the fact I was sharing as I went forced me to commit to a direction and stand by a moment’s impulse.

 I am going to try this again with a piece I’ve been fumbling with from a long while, about a dude who grew up a latch key kid in an elder-god cult. The results may vary, but it will get me back on the writing horse.  Part one will be on Monday. I am announcing this in advance to shame myself into not bailing.

Adjacent to the moment

 Anxiety is a byproduct of being fully present while projecting your current situation forward. I spent most of my life living adjacent to the moment, right now but barely there. I had preferences and tendencies, but not much in the way of goals or expectations. I was rarely proud or disappointed and made a  point of not examining my life too closely. It was a small life, but I rarely felt stress or anxiety.  My needs were so basic that it was difficult to dislodge me from fine. The closest I came to ambition was the stubborn, but largely unchallenged, belief that under the indifference was something extraordinary. 

 I am married to someone with goals and needs who has worked hard to fulfill both. At some point she was swayed by the glimpse of something extraordinary, but it is difficult to grow and plan with someone perpetually adjacent to the moment. It took a long time, and a global pandemic, to properly understand this, but I get it now. I am attempting to change. I read some books on my Attention Deficit Disorder, realized that much of my defiance and oddity were the function of a misfiring brain, and set about having proper goals and expectations. I am just moving past the point where my goal is to have goals.

 But here is the problem. I am not fine. Decades of organizational and motivational debt, that was previously the sort of thing that other people worried about, have become personally problematic. I feel like I quantum leaped into the life of a shittier version of myself and I am denied better circumstances until I resolve an unreasonable amount of back story. The stress and anxiety that was previously, curiously, absent has arrived full force. I do not enjoy them and I am unpracticed at separating cause from effect.

 I dislocated some ribs recently. It’s happened before. I used to snap them back in and continue to workout. This time it rattled me. The recovery was slow, and for the first time there were goals that were disrupted. It wasn’t the pain, it was the opportunity cost. It happened two days before gyms and my muay thai club reopened. Two days before I could go back to things that I had used to prop up my identity, and that loss at the end of a series of losses shook me. I had a panic attack for the first time, and then again whenever my ribs would twinge and remind me of the things I could no longer do. I understood that this was a problem of the moment, but I was stuck in that moment…and if I escaped the old way I worried that I might not find my way back. So I projected, included my sudden frailty into my future plans and obligations, and I realized how useless the well intentioned advice I’d given my anxious friends over the years actually was. 

 I am feeling better. My ribs are still tricky, but I feel an appropriate amount of annoyance and much less panic. I am still planning and goal setting, inexpertly and with some panic, but I am steering into it. I am a better partner. I do more chores. I listen better. I have some perspective on the emotional tax present in most adult activities. I think my life will be richer because of this, but I am not fine. I miss being fine. Growth is painful and I am behind in many ways, but I realize this is the consequence of withdrawing from adversity, so the only way out is to move forward. I am moving forward. I can’t tell if that reads as hopeful or desperate, but whatever gets me there I suppose.