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    November 24, 2009

    quomodo 8

    episode 08: selections, convection

    “mamma,” the slap summoned memories. dent’s head rose into clarity, colors flooded the room. ifa had him by the top three buttons. he could smell the soup spice from her food, the gas from her rye. he usually kissed women this close, but his mouth stung from the blow, and the fuck lobe of his brain was reaching for a weaning breast. ifa’s voice came through like charlie brown adults, mwah mwah, dent couldn’t make out a word. the windows allowed emanations from the abutting units, filling the rear of the room with white incandescent. he came to, eyes focused on her forehead scar, which ran from between her brow, to the left center of her forehead. what menance cut that, chain link fence, furious mother? her words made phrases, which begot sentences, and then thoughts. slow process. “i’ve been sitting in the same puke bar, waiting for your popcorn shrimp jock to wander through. eddy said it’d happen, as you’d left your pants there the night before.” dent’s life was a set-up, this adding to the parade. what was ifa okereke doing hanging ten at mars the day after mike dent blew a grand on his brother’s platinum? it had nothing to do with fate. the ripple of his week had been felt from penn to battery, and even over into hoboken. this was mike dent’s last week in his own shoes. he was a kidney away from bankruptcy, his family cutting, burning his line of credit, white out on the will, attorney messages. ifa okereke was the pass where in westerns the hero heads them off. she brought with her a folio of straight tricks, learned in queens, refined at fordham. it was her turn.

    renee gazed out the window, across the street to the neighboring offices, lights out, reflections from street traffic. her thighs read the court report from her insides, turned the language of her powder into something akin to memory, but not as precise. she’d begun, years ago, to clock fucks with numbers, letters, like a college outline. darby’d gone 1a, ii. was there need for another line? it’d been five hours since his head cracked the plastic of the phone booth. she had nothing to show for this time. it was unlike her to waste this kind of sexual, emotional energy on anyone but herself. she wasn’t generous, and never would be. generosity, she found, came with an agenda. she turned to olen, who’d sat back on the chaise, his glass up on his chest. “are you some sort of smart ass scandaknave in the wrong joint or what?” olen translated her sentence, built a slow answer, and spoke through his scotch. “my project is cratered in the office. the library, i was to direct building and materials. dent called me late, and left me for dead…vurrp, the airport. “looks like he’s fucked. you should get on home, stop following ’round that curly girl. she’s not a clue what you’re into.” ms. du lac part-time’d as a shrink, especially to strangers who had their shit together. olen was a soft target. he replied through a sip, “i’m compelled to remain, as i’ve yet to be paid, and it seems there’s plenty left. i’ve struck a vein. my ticket sends me off in three days.” renee hadn’t heard his response, for darby’d entered the room, back from shooting photos on the roof. “clear night, i say we hit it.” dent and ifa returned behind the painted man. dent called the shots, “we’re getting a car and heading to soho, all of us. i’m buying” this was an insincere directive, he had no money, his brother’s amex cut off this morning. that was the call he never answered, with his head in the basket. the desk phone rang in the other room, ifa drew an oval in the air with her jade pointed. “in the van, everyone.” renee pushed her left hip to say “fuck off” but ifa slapped her ass, and threw a look into her eyes that said “don’t make me tell them what I did with you did last summer.”

    the astro van was below how renee traveled, and she pushed heels into to the cobbles like a mule. “i don’t take the airport shuttle. get me a cab.” ifa grabbed renee’s right cheek with her left, “move it, baby.” darby took notice of this coercion, and made a note somewhere to be forgotten, ifa/renee, threez’um. the remaining bodies ducked head and headed into the white van, buckled up. dent rode gun and threw some cash at the driver, who was yapping persian into his bluetooth. “muji soho, double park out front.”

    10 minutes later:

    olen ragnarsson: no items purchased. spent time browsing this on his iphone.

    darby mcclure: historic city view handkerchief london comment: “for grazing my arsehole”

    tamar naser: welder raincoat freecut comment: “raining men, so you say. suburbs?”

    renee marianne du lac: beech brentwood chair brown comment: “sapporo underground burlesque mainstay”

    cloris archangeli: shrink wrap t shirt comment: “mother’s model keep it simple stupid”

    ifa okereke: silicon ice ball maker comment: “best whiskey accoutrement”

    mike dent: city in a bag tokyo comment: “today i lost a son, tonight i gain’d a brother”

    dumpling van, white van: the process, a homework assignment from ms. okereke, proved bountiful. thirty min in, thirty min out. small items, good for meeting discussion. tomorrow’s ifa’s ball, and she’s sending the crew topside to pull sail.

    quomodo does jerry lee lewis, shaking nerves, rattling brains. up on that piano stool dent reigns the crew into one via japanese centralist design. cloris finally covers her rack proper. olen prepares his metaphor. dent’s glad to have some macro-tecture in his hizzo, as he’d say it. darby and renee play it safe with opposites, yet weapons of the like. tamar thinks naked-side the box. quomodo, it’s post-organic.

    November 20, 2009


    episode 07: off to muji, two live crew

    “take the boy, which he’s not, and get him back on the plane,” cloris dictated, changing andy’s ice, pulling a shirt over his head. “quomodo is nothing but ruse, stuffed inside a prank, dressed as a girl.” tamar had seen two cocks in a night, and cloris was making this quomodo gig seem to be the third. three dicks in a room is a bathhouse, and this op was far from clean. i’m not here for quomodo, whatever a quo-mow-do is, olen’s got my eye, and i’m playing it out to the end. you’ve been kind to let us use your office. “subject change, let’s get him to a couch and in some clothes.” tamar and cloris lifted andy denemark to his feet, he didn’t speak, but took a long look at his red ryder, and frowned to his shoulders. “i my i why, did you do, i my, this?”, finding his words. “honey you’re wrong,” cloris said while pushing his rear into the sitting room, “you had a bad reaction to the blowfish.” dent and olen took the sight with silence, looking up from their glasses only to gaze at their catches, one a burberry’d 34c, the other, that repressed back-seat bj sort of bird. neither man had a clue what to do with either woman, and did like most men do when faced with such situations, tilted the bottle of balvenie to forty five.

    darby turned from the amazon, while she put her drawers together. the tryst had bruised his ribs, reswollen his eye, and his business couldn’t take another grind. marciano he was. “‘ ’bout time i tend to these wounds, so charming, and deserved.” renee gave a shit, patted him on the ass, and shoved him aside, needed a drink. “we’re square. you’ll have nothing more from this minx.” renee marianne du lac lied often, mostly to herself. this instance’s fib would reach two hours deep, nearing a record. she couldn’t be bothered by conscience to keep a ride like that off the rails for long. she was inspired, much like she was during that richardson shoot for vice when a street kid put his thumb in her ass, a first, come to think of it. the boy’d escaped a boston kitchen, brazilian, sported sharkskin and six rounded muscles under a tattoo of his mother dressed as v.mary. intense boy, dangling boy. she had him over plastic trash barrels outside his temp job washing dish. that was a long week. “darby,” she said, “you weren’t so good.” darby mcclure knew the sound of rocks at the glass, escaping from primary school in the same fashion. renee was throwing stones, and he’d climb the ramparts of her challenge, but first, “how about that drink?”

    only ifa, feet up, was missing from the sitting room pow-wow that’d mistakenly materialized over the jock of andy denemark. down to the bottom of her rice box, still nipping the rye, ifa took the rolodex, (seriously), and pulled the d section clean out, stuff’d the five cards into her strapless. standing, she cracked her neck in an ellipse, put her shoes on, left foot right foot, and made her way to the rest of them. she found it strikingly odd that there was no conversation coming from the room. it felt tense from a foot outside the door. ms. okereke was a blue ribbon ice breaker, “enough cock tasting tonight for y’all? it’s like a parking lot after an a.a meeting in here. what goes?” tamar spoke up, “that fuck’s darby mcclure. he’s responsible for the fucked library model you were keeping company. he also happens to be responsible for me destroying my viviennes, running from a ceiling. once i get done with this drink, he’s had it.” tamar had no intention of pushing mr. mcclure around that evening, but she figured that the beating he’d already received was enough punishment, that he’d get the message with only her words. she was wrong. “there’s enough jim in these jeans for you too, mizz,” darby spit while talking. “don’t think it was all me putting that meeting down. dent himself set it up. this whole herring has bugger’d itself. ask’im.” dent didn’t flinch, standing, unzipped his pants hung his business out to a reasonably shocked audience. “we’re all gonna, at some point, be gripping my balls for what i’ve done. so why not now?” ifa threw her glass spot-on at his jock. the glass made impact, the ice and whiskey falling on tamar. “put that misery back in the pen and get the fuck into your office. i have a proposal. you and your dick, no more excuses.”

    olen hadn’t seen an actual adult male present himself since his neighbor’s suit came off at the lagoon two years previous, the same moment he thought he was gay. olen was relieved that this episode hadn’t reflected that night in reykjavik. he was also relieved that he felt relieved, which wasn’t the case nearly four hours previous, when he sat sipping his doppio at jfk. if there’s ever a place for a norwegian, an optimist, it was right there, in the stolen quomodo sitting room. olen ragnarsson would soon transform this crew into a working unit, albeit with more intermittent head, some snorting, and a series of micro-demolitions. he watched ifa drag dent by the ear into his office, closing the door, and then the sound of meat on meat. the resulting silence let the rest know that business was being done. olen imagined ifa holding a snapped chopstick to dent’s jug, maybe his balls. tamar, stood wet, pouring herself a drink, staring down mcclure who didn’t bother making eye contact. cloris took a wrinkled v-neck from renee’s handbag, as she’d come back from her car in the lot wearing only the burberry, this before getting busted. poor andy, asleep in an old cross-colours shirt used mostly by the cleaning people, smelled of endust and champagne, surprisingly a nice combination. the quomodo offices slept soundly under the demands and finger-wagging of ifa okereke, knowing well that they’d soon be used, maybe even the conference room, for creation.

    in helvetica neue, the sign on the door read

    quomodo – the method of doing something

    work for that weekend, friends. quomodo returns tuesday, guest starring ice cube, we wish. next episode: the a-team rents a van, and heads for muji soho. dent puts it on his platinum. tamar admires renee’s ensemble sense. olen searches for a mug with his face on it. darby, well, he’s out in the van, a carlsberg, leica, and brown bag. dude deserves a break. quomodo, 404 error.

    November 19, 2009


    episode 06: andy’s dick, a bicycle kick

    cloris followed dent into the office hallway, towards his desk, and to the body which he wasn’t aware laid prone, cock up, and snoozing. for cloris, this wouldn’t be difficult to explain. she’d busted dent a handful of times with his business up, over, and across the various nite&nice girls of the lower east side. she didn’t mind dating an adulterer, gave her breathing room, never had to hold herself accountable, still had access to all the goodies: gym, concierge, weed delivery. “oh now that’s a first,” dent echoed to the crew, “dick kicking. what’d you plug him with, aggies and dudes at once?” michael p. dent had an associates degree in pharmas from columbia, not the country, although one could argue. furthermore, by degree, we mean he spent time trolling with the crack hos in harlem, and liked it. as was his pleasure throughout his twenties, dent hauled a vest full of greens, blues, and white smoothies from bowery to the east river. he wasn’t so much as dealing, more like capitalistic socializing. bennie friends, call it what you will. the mixture that cloris had thrown down this andy’s throat was palpable, probably lethal, and definitely not for the green jeans. viagra & ludes, plus chaser, was the sex on the beach of the gay circuit viagra & amyl/tina martini. basically, the busty cloris hadn’t recalled dent’s experiment with the pair, hard on, nod off, unless you threw in a white ginseng tonic, which dent found left the spacey feeling of the lude without the nod. you see, chemistry. dent’s solution to this predickament, was to pull this poor lad into the kitchen and put ice on his balls. it’d worked in college, and at orgies he’d frequented before wall street liquidated. michael dent went to work, with the help of his still topless under burberry girlfriend, dragging andy candlestick into the kitchen on a cardboard dell computer box. it could get more humiliating. it would.

    tamar stared at olen’s behind from two doors down in the hall. he was up in a ceiling panel above dent’s door. evidently, the alarm had fried the hardwired internet cables, what you get for stealing your neighbors optic fiber in new york. don’t ask how it’s possible. “there’s wireless in my office. check the closet in the back,” dent shouted, cracking ice in the process. “right. to the left, in here?”, “yeah. up on a shelf, should have little green lights. i never use it. slow,” dent could call shots while solving o.d. issues, but not sober/busy/while cooking. cloris took notice, checked another weakness off her mental dump mike dent list, and stared at her friend andy’s now ice buried cock, blushing. tamar followed olen into the office, and did a double take before crossing the threshold. “i know those tattoos. why didn’t i pick this up before?” can’t be him. this is too weird,” thinking to herself, and at the same time checking the temp between her thighs, as she was accustomed to do before dropping her drawers. a gameplan drew itself in chalk at the front of tamar’s busy mind. he reaches for the router, i pop my top, reach for his switch. seemed easy enough. she’d pulled this move before, on the copy mechanic she’d seen on off nights two years back, while he attached an extension cord to an outlet. he enjoyed the symbolism. she hoped olen would also find it apropos.

    on the footstool, arms up, olen had a fatherly thing about him, as if he was looking for a missing toy, or hiding a present. the door closed, blocking out the ambient light, tamar dropped her buttons to the waist, pinched the center of her victoria’s and then “what’s the light doing off?”, a misstep, olen crashing to the floor, taking down two shelves of tech material, paper, and packing peanuts. the water heater was also in this closet, but he missed it, the work of providence. tamar laughed, fumbled for a light switch, and knelt. “you alright? sorry the door closed behind me,” she said, reaching for his waist. “your shirt? did i do that in my fall? marvelous chest…wait.” olen’s words stopped short of tamar having at whatever business rested inside his selvage denim. she mixed a laugh with a purr, going through with this, which reminded him of his sister, and the way she cleaned the cake batter bowl when they were young. this did nothing for his hard-on. tamar persisted, out of practice, kicking the tension of the day with lips.

    darby faced renee in front of a conference room table, each on a side, a mashed model of a public library between them, taped in places, glued in others. the standoff had lasted long enough for them to hear dent smashing the cubes, and olen falling in the closet. it felt like an age to the man from glasgow. he clenched his fists, as he’d done by the phone booth, stared at her tits, which seemed to have grown since he saw her on the sidewalk. “put down your attache.” “not a chance, leggy. not with that bag of tricks still at foot.” “put it down or we don’t fuck,” a smart raise by the canadian. “what, on the table? what would the children think? their poor library, crushed under the arse of a leggy sniper gori with a mean free kick.” renee put one foot on the table, showing some ankle, stretching her hammy. darby lost his focus, and then another white flash, to a knee. she’d vaulted the narrow knoll reff, throwing her weight over the library model, making a bicycle kick to darby’s already swollen left zygomatic. she loved kicking men in the face. it was enough force to distract the lad, but not to throw him sideways. darby recovered, and robotically scooped the six foot renee at the waist, walking her into the bathroom, taking a smart blow to his right ear in the process. bells, church bells. into a mirror, which fell from the wall, into the vanity, which shook from its mounting, resting on the sideboard, using his weight to pin her. she still held her bag, and this impressed him. “enough, enough,” renee stated firmly with her hand gripping his red mohawk. “you owe me two things, a rubber on your jim, and a go at my behind. then we’re square.” “behind, you mean greek?”, said an inquisitively humored darby mcclure. “you choose the door, and don’t say a word,” renee urged through her teeth. her left went into the birkin, came out with a magnum. the gold foil fell, darby’s hands turned to claws, and the damn thing just wouldn’t unroll. renee turned, slapped his face with her right, and knelt. the rest, simply, can be said in darby’s post-coit copywriting, the kind which won him gold at the 2006 BTAA, “quomodo blows“, in mac’s ruby woo shade.

    “everyone’s a bitch tonight,” ifa stretched her legs on a poltrona chaise. “this fucking furniture. damn, dent must be stealing shit from ogilvy.” ifa had dug into quomodo‘s cabinet, in the sitting room off to the left of the entrance. dent found it cheeky to keep bottles in the front of his office, and he also slept there many nights, medicine, and dvds on the plasma. “everybody off icing cock, fucking, sucking. where’s ifa okereke, she’s sippin rye on the frau, sippin rye on frau.” sitting up, she stood and walked the halls of the darkened office. no art on the walls, no real evidence of work ever done. it was as if quomodo had been the stock scene for some t.v. movie. “dent’s gotta come from money. there’s somethin to this place that sure as hell ain’t success. i don’t smell work.” ifa wandered past the kitchen, where, wrapped in a throw rug, sitting on elbows, rested a groggy, naked man with a two bags of ice on his package. she laughed from her belly, and continued. the conference room shook, and out the door came the athenians, still warring, no blood evident. a shit-grin’d norwegian passed her left, saying nothing, sweaty, headed for the sitting room, followed by a swift, molasses curl girly, ear to ear with a grin to compliment her norway catch. in dent’s office, ifa picked up the phone, dialed, put her feet on dent’s desk. “wai, ifa. suan la tang, bai fan, yao, yao, shi. 42 bond, shi.” ifa okereke didn’t do shit for shorties without chinese food, and tonight she was into it.

    buck up and buy a round, quomodo returns tomorrow. ifa sets sights on dent’s desk. darby and renee quit locking horns for once. olen drinks away his gay remnants. tamar and cloris chat dick over andy, waiting for water to boil. dent joins olen for scotch & soda. the long night ahead will prove the end for what once was quomodo by michael p. dent. quomodo, even your mum tweets about it.

    November 18, 2009


    due to the observance of latvian independence day at the quomodo offices, our story continues on thursday morning. what’s dent doing with that naked body in the kitchen? what you got under that overcoat, cloris? will tamar realize that the darby mucclure in the office is the same bloke who cost her a pair of alexander mcqueen slacks, and her dignity? is olen, [nudge] well…is he? will ifa reach into her shirt again for something, a middle finger, perhaps? are darby and renee headed for a spit swap, if he can only get that thing on…” quomodo, approved by blondes everywhere!

    November 17, 2009


    episode 05: place your bets, painted man

    eddy stood to grab the bar phone ringing for the ninth time as he watched it for the first eight. nothing, not even gunfire disturbed eddy angine’s early dinner, especially on a closing night. couldn’t leave it off the hook, the wife’d think he was bumping, couldn’t let it ring. “ah-low,” eddy ate mid-greet, “ah-low, speak lou-da!” eddy had gulf war ears, making the guard cut to rake the kuwait sands in ’90. an oscillating, muffled voice came from the handset, eddy passed the phone off to ifa, who was still holding a long, mani’d finger at mcclure. “A! who’s this?”, ifa listened close, furrowed her brow in what the onlookers saw as disbelief. “yur lookin’ for mike dent? who the sweet jesus fuck is mike dent?”

    dent kinked his neck turning quick. years of adultery, deal drops, and a dying sibling had dent’s spider sense at a 10. he didn’t even need to know who it was, just that it was fast, bad news, the eastwood kind of bad news which came on rails, with guns. he took the phone from ifa, who wanted to throw it at him for good measure. “clor…wai,…on my way.” turning to the peanut gallery, dent asked for ten bucks into thin air, no budge. “can I get ten for a ride?” “i’ve got one for you right here, tween dick…” ifa wasn’t pulling punches. “my office’s been robbed, cops there. can I get some help?” darby still had his hands in the air, even though it’d been ten minutes. renee stood by the door, akimbo, thinking about montreal go-go. eddy was gone, smoking out back. ifa spit a semaphore, “I’m coming as collateral. got ten here”, pulling at her bra, “where we going?” mike dent couldn’t resist women who kept money in their underwear. he’d make no exception here, even though he knew this’d be an explosive situation in the end. darby lowered a hand, turned it over. “mind I tag along? stop at a chemist, get some aspirin?” renee headed out the door. darby limbered after his amazonian crush.

    cabbie relented, “no blood in here, not an ambulance.” darby pulled off his shirt, cracked open the ice bag, water plus cotton, on his face. “clean now mate, proceed.” ifa threw some cash at the man, which he noticed came straight from her decolletage, a warm compensation for a few blocks work. the cab was left lit for a turn when renee popped darby’s window with a palm, “push over.” she noticed he was shirtless, her left thigh twitched. she got in. he smelled like soap and fighting, her right thigh seized. the four spoke not a word, looking out into the evening light. heavy breathing could be heard and felt by all parties. an afternoon of extreme humanity had struck the four. a new york rookie would’ve folded, gone home to jersey, but these four did long hauls, and that’s what this was. darby opened his mezzi, pulled out a leica, took four shots without a soul noticing. he was collecting bones for the trophy, the giacometti of bodies who’d make it back to his studio in glasgow, glossy prints, alphabetic. even he didn’t know what it meant. it had to be done.

    42 bond wailed with cruisers and lights, some thought it was a t.v. episode, while other rubbernecks watched for a gurney. olen stood opposite the building on the sidewalk, upright, two hands gripping his case handle. tamar slouched to his close left, on her phone, negotiating a couch at home. she wasn’t about to let him go to a hotel. she’d never fuck a first day in a hotel, but home was ok. new york had blown her standards to shame. a cab halted quick with an inked arm hanging out of the right side rear window, shooting photos. a ragged man, two tall women emerged, all tight with anxiety and the buzz everyone gets from the presence of cops. the ragged man spoke with two blues at the entrance, while a thick brunette in an overcoat stood smoking at his arm’s length. olen took notes, saving this scene for an advantage not yet apparent. americans, he’d learned, spoke volumes in the presence of authority, showed their weaknesses. the ragged man seemed more focused on the tall black woman than the cops. the smoking brunette never took chin off her chest, which heaved in threes under the buttons of her burberry.

    renee marianne du lac held grudges, and the painted man, she was not through with him. to the common fiction snob, they were square, darby and the lass, but renee had used precious energy to foil his volley. he’d pay for this with his loins. this is how she exacted revenge on men, unlike ifa’s left hook, by screwing them into pastel powder. darby would make a nice puce on her color wheel. she plotted, arms folded. darby turned to see ms. du lac staring him down. he approached, camera in his right. “one more shutter and i’ll switch it with your colon”, she had a way with men, didn’t she? “your mouth should be hung in the toilets of scotland”, he said in retort. darby got nowhere with fists, and into palaces with his patter, warming up. “i’ve done things in scotland’s johns that’d shrivel your balls,” a nice parry. they stopped there, for now, and walked back to where the cops dispersed. dent held the hand of his girl, “cloris ifa / ifa cloris”, quick as cat. dent smelled the scene, intended to use ifa as closure. ifa gave cloris a nod, turned away, looking up at scaffolding. the moon was showing its face, pulling tide from shore. our crew was soon to coalesce in the upstairs office, where rested a man, out cold behind an alessi desk, out of his head on ludes and champagne. nobody mentioned this to the cops, who never made it past the entry, cloris stopping them with her i.d. and impressive midriff.

    holding hands, tamar and olen headed across the street, beeline to the ragged man and his crew, who seemed reasonably tight, considering the scene. olen spoke up, “i’m certain you’re mr. dent, left me for dead. olen ragnarsson, your architect. you’ve had a bad day, seems. may i use your toilet?” tamar took an odd exception to olen’s toilet request, sexed mind painting scenes, her hip into his, h&m slacks around her ankles – a filthy end to a miserable day with benefits. at least she’d have a smart turn to her story over drinks with roommates. dent led the crew into the building, tucking his shirt at the back, still without his keys. cloris marched ahead in bare feet. the scene ahead would stir the pot, for sure. what could a limp, naked body do to feather this murky scene any more than it was? nothing. quomodo’s walls had absorbed stories that larry flint would walk a mile to buy. the night was young, but not as young as renee marianne du lac, who was checking her purse for trojans.

    matt weiner hasn’t shit on episode five. stick around, pal. quomodo returns tomorrow. dent drags a body into the kitchen. darby scrawls ‘blow’ in lipstick on a mirror. olen and tamar “check the wireless router”. ifa sits back and plots her conquest of the operation, bourbon & ice. quomodo, italians dig it!

    November 13, 2009


    episode 04: in a toilet, she comes together

    renee’s feet were mounted on the toilet seat, her knees spread apart to the walls of the stall. the past tense of her shaking hadn’t subsided from gerunds, her knuckles white, gripping a pipe hanging low. breaths came in snare fills, sweat on her back where shirt met belt leather. no telling where she was, bleach odor doing nothing for her sense of place. dueling with the painted man felt mythical, athenian, like the aftermath of her first car accident. she’d rolled a friend’s ought six mercedes kompressor two summers back, walked a mile in a cornfield unscathed, shoeless. darby wasn’t yet a person, but his force was a reckoning, his resiliency, impressive. she’d seen her share of beatings, two years stripping in a st. catherine’s high-class, but nothing like this, and so wonderfully put together was the man that the spattered blood complimented his ensemble. renee had a thing for blood. she stepped off the toilet, centered her breath, pushed up her chest, and unglued her words, stuck out her tongue.

    approaching darby, rhino safari-style, feet perpendicular to his upturned hands, stepping over a tooth, dent’s oxfords squeaked on the clean floor. an odd, straightening sensation overcame michael dent upon seeing this bloodied man in somewhat of a ecstatical moment. “he’s alive”, thought dent, touching darby mcclure’s right hand, holding it, leaning back to lift the loser to his feet. years of board meetings, conference calls spent throwing darts at a portrait of julian barnes, dent was a dead man through to a defibrillator-free heartbeat. who could blame the man, raised by two charity gurus, straight out of the modern age, 60s l.a., o’keefe albuquerque – dangerous parcels of life lived under the ordinary guise of a baseball enthusiast and part-time hunk. this unbeatable freak in front of him, the tats, the rolled sleeves, was his mirror ideal – the bodice of an idol smashed to pieces by the peloponnesians. and even though darby mcclure would make it his life’s work to ruin michael p. dent, it would be worth the humiliation, avarice, and squander.

    two drinks & a bag of ice in hand, ifa okereke met the eyes of both men with skepticism and disgust. it occurred to her that some time had passed, looking out the door, the dented phone booth, trail of blood coming through the door. two men stood hand in hand, the ragged one familiar. she’d seen this man before, the bit-drill of her cerebral cortex spun wildly to find the ore storing the memory. “christmas part…you fucker! that pocked arse of yours plagued me for days. i’ve seen your dick, haven’t i? got thrown in the mandarin pool. came out naked, teenage girls covering your junk.” handing dent his drink, ifa desired a do-over, alone with her sloe gin at noon, eddy off doing dishes. she’d find no peace with this lot of strangers, but a good lay was in her future.

    ms. renee marianne du lac emerged from the ladies, heaving breast, on a quick line to the door, making no eye contact. “stop there”, ifa held out her free hand, “you owe this woman an apology”, pointing her jade ring index at darby, then back to renee. darby sputtered, minced words through his tunnel gap teeth, but was cut off. “way, i know you too, twilight zone, you two. now i’ve seen his dick and your tits – you’re the go-go from that ritzy gig in dumbo back summer. i can’t believe this.” renee found her stride, mid-step, she turned and said, “well, let’s just get on calling this the best orgy i’ve had since oh-six rio.” by eighteen, renne marianne du lac had done a heap of nasty shit. she was in good company, and chose to remain so.

    in arabic, olen chatted with the cab driver, who he learned was from oman. olen smiled as his repartee became personal, while tamar sat back against the door and tried to keep her mouth from making an o shape. they’d caught another taxi for the short block walk, as tamar’s heel gave way going over some grating. together in the back of the vic, tamar kept her left foot over the median of the seat, under olen’s right calf. he didn’t notice. olen was terribly focused on his conversation, yet this pasty boy from norway cut her lengthwise, switched her blood for bulbs, lit her like a slot machine. she interrupted, “stop, please”, stepping out into a stream of cabs, purveyors. turning their heads up at 42 bond street, home to empty offices, a small modeling agency, and the shoddily secured quomodo headquarters, 1,500 sq. feet of wasted space, borrowed furniture, and infidelity.

    “give it a push”, tamar shoved olen into the recessed frame of the quomodo entry. the lights were on in the office, music playing. the door, locked to the eye, yet ajar, rested open with a folded postcard holding a depressed button by the top right corner. olen wasn’t much for surprises. the jet lag had him by the scruff. he wanted a kronenbourg and some couch time in the dark with his numark, mixing tracks into undanceable waves of enoisms. now, with this pistol of a woman, he was about to violate the foreigner’s code, never surprise americans. the door swung into the office, the postcard fell, and a sharp scream came from a tiny box in the ceiling. standing with their fingers in ears, both of their eyes caught a topless woman running from behind a desk, out of sight. a distant door slammed, the alarm persisted. they looked at each other, proceeded without fear of police, recourse, or hearing loss. everybody loves trouble, especially when it involves a half-naked woman.

    don’t budge from that bean bag, hecklers, quomodo returns after the sabbath. dent bums a few bucks from ifa. darby keeps on bleedin’. renee recalls that go-go gig. cloris meets tamar & olen in a closet. hijinks prevail on the next episode of quomodo. your highbrow friends love it!

    November 12, 2009


    episode 03: southpaw, jawlines, and samurai

    the hand didn’t so much as feel, or jostle, but rest at the seam where her sleeve met in a double-tuck. it was an assured gesture of consolation, like one would show a struck deer, alone on a vermont road. olen hadn’t touched a woman since zurich, and that experience was purely mac-based, a teen from the genius bar, out with him for toddies, doing the charade thing like hepburn & grant. he wasn’t the sort to console strangers, nor was he accustomed to being looked at like a angel-faced rapist, which is the cocktail of expressions tamar pulled from her gut upon seeing his mug. olen felt a drop on the top of his head similar to shampoo. reaching with his unoccupied hand, he felt a small damp spot on his coronal ridge, bird shit for sure. two american firsts, he thought, a furious foreign woman, bird turds. looking up over his specs, olen saw an overhang coming off of a blackened pseudo-deco stand of units. the pigeons who shit on him fled the scene, hearing a siren or spotting some discards. tamar had him locked in her desperate reticule of interest, “you’re handsome”, it slipped, and her audience staring at the swarm of birds, oblivious. sirens, a strong jaw, perfect ears, and that was enough.

    a hooligan has limits, darby was nearly at his. two middle knuckles had swollen, gross mallows ready for ice. the loose, dangling left reacted on its own, coming at the girl in a wide arc, enough for renee to react as she’d been taught at soccer camp in sao paulo, side step and kick. a slip-on diesel spring 07 met darby’s jewels with unsympathetic recoil, sending him down to the chalk outline he’d left on the pavement moments before. with another swift pivot, renee let a corner kick go into high right ribs, pushing the venom from this shamed bruiser onto the fissures of the concrete. done. with the fractured kindle still gripped, she came down into his cropped mohawk, grabbed her birkin, and ran into the bar. darby rose to a knee, thoughts running through at least one lobe, “a regular glasgow hen. a gori!”. he reached for his billfold, out of which he pulled a polaroid of ibrox stadium, kissed it. smoothing down his hair with blood and spit, darby limped into mars with two hands in the air, yelling, “i’m french, i’m french”. he could hear laughter.

    dent stepped aside, took this for an odd stick-up, and hid behind a wooden indian covered with a black sheet, a spiked belt around its hooded head, a crude burqua, avant-unusual. crouched low and having no clue, he looked down the bar at two long legs uncrossing, planting themselves firmly at a shoulders with, the left a half-step back from the right. a dizzy spell, the pit of his stomach shooting red pain, and a flash, then the sound of meat on meat. “you iron man fucker, go back to the stables!”, shouted ifa standing southpaw. eddy, from dent’s perspective, held the phone, beet-colored, belly protruding under a t-shirt, probably from the laughs. dent came slowly to a full stand, his head spun as it had since seven, and he called out, “i want eddy and drinks. one for me, and for the lefty.” fiddling for his old coach money clip, usually in his right pocket, dent flushed white, the clip, gone. the day ended perfectly lou reed, sangria being the only part of the parade still making its way to the park. dent needed a break. darby needed a hand.

    ifa thought, “damn, i haven’t thrown a left like that since cote d’ivoire.” yet she had, thrown many of those lefts. her penchant for peat spirits complemented her unassuming frame, combined with a supple rear, and this made for lots of ass-grabbing retribution. it was frankly her fault for wearing the pants that she did, second hand viv westwoods, tweeds, gentle plaids. the patterns made her can into something of a trophy for down bar onlookers with dicks, and yet she’d met every gaze with a fuckme? , then a steady march. in the days following the brawls, ifa would wonder, whether in a draft meeting at an agency, or in a toilet at border’s, if she’d slipped, knocking her knuckles on the wainscoting. without friends in new york, it was tough for her to get an account of the action. ifa turned to look at eddy, who hung the phone mid sentence. who knew if he’d called for an ambulance. no matter. this world-class hooligan was pulling a marciano, coming to his knees, mowing the mottled words words “thurrender, brilliant” through two missing front teeth.

    “i’m lost”, wiping the turd with tamar’s jamba juice napkin, cleaning his head stubble. “there’s an office where i’m supposed to be, a man i’m to meet, but this misunderstanding’s happened. where’s this bowlery, bowery. how’d you say?” tamar clung to the –some of her comment on his looks. it echoed in her gut where, empty, no words seemed to remain that day. it filled her, superficially, like whole milk. “i used to work there, live there”, she replied in a flutter of sidewalk traffic, barely enough room to dodge the passerby. the two moved out of the stream like wading bears, his hand still on her shoulder, stuck to this woman who a moment ago had been swearing death on a stranger. if he let go, he thought, new york would absorb him like dye into wool, ash into ocean. “you’ve been helpful, getting me out of my fit. it’s not far, bowery, down this way.” tamar gathered her bag, strode into oncoming bodies, her hand on olen’s forearm. as they had now switched grips on each other, the tide turned, the moon back to white from red, and a path opened for them straight down to lafayette. the quomodo offices stood empty, alarm set.

    lock in this frequency, you hams, quomodo returns on friday. tamar goads olen into a b&e. darby shakes hands with dent. renee and ifa know each other from somewhere naughty. the six come together like samurai.

    November 11, 2009


    episode 02: in league, touch of ignorance

    after landing at jfk, in america for the first time, olen bought a doppio, took a seat,
    checked his cash. u.s. money felt, looked imperial, maybe the word was imposing;
    handsome faces, less regality than the krone. olen was raised on raw images, the
    cut of a lamppost shadow in a field of snow, which was a parking lot in the summer,
    or the outline of capped heads on a thoroughfare, shopping for christmas gifts, their
    wool colors mixing with each other chaotically. now, america was coming at him in
    coated, shirtsleeve’d blurs, gone were the blonde flight attendants, gone the smell
    of local food. american airports, cattle cars, no style, vast behemoths of glass, old
    plastic. zipping his cases shut, rubbing temples, exhale, and now to the baggage
    carousel where, unknowingly, there’d be no sign for “rangarsson”, nor a mopey
    driver wearing need-of-press trousers. welcome to new york. you’re on your own.

    dent clung to a crossing light post taped with no parking film set signs as the traffic
    spun around his cortex, crushing the ibuprofen he’d ingested, or at least tossing
    the drug’s limp carcasses into the moat, the dominance of a midday hangover. cloris,
    before departing for the day down the service elevator, had muttered something very
    un-secretary like as he held the lobby wall for balance: a man from norway, on a flight
    to jfk, but he’d bump into two ups drivers leaning into the elevator, missed the point.
    the human brain detests few words composed in simple english, but one of those few
    detested words is norwegian, something odd about it. dent, on the verge of a midtown
    meltdown let the norwegian go, flagging a cab. he’d not remember the significance of this
    norwegian fellow until he’d down his first stiff drink in little more than an hour. “mars bar, east village”, vurrp’d dent, “how long?”. the driver, eating
    what looked like crumbled paper, coated in brown oil, said “ten”, definitely farcical,
    however dent was asleep by the time the morpheme had floated through his right ear.

    rising from the pavement, the halo of objects amused darby to the point where he said
    the word ‘halos’ out loud, then rage overcame his angelic musings, and he sprung to his docs,
    making an eight inch leap, looking cartoony, as intended. “nucking right!”, he blurted
    through an aerosol of blood, “right, yeah, ok who’s up for it?”. renee stood steely,
    brutal brazilian football moves running through her frontal. fly, fly. darby drew a right
    fist to execute what he still couldn’t make out to be quite the damsel, myopic since eight.
    in a reflex last seen on an aged bruce lee demo tape, renee reached into her birkin, withdrew
    her kindle [early model], stopping darby’s sucker punch with break board precision. “yowl!”,
    the animal noises flew from darby’s tuna mouth. “what’s that judo, eh?” renee remained a pillar.
    the space between her legs where thigh met thigh quivered like a struck bird, and this
    was love, or an approximation of bundled nerves chiding the damsel into believing such.
    an empty, soundless street in an instant, eyes darting, meeting. a swollen hand, renee felt
    her molars grinding down on her gum. a mint world, a howling man in rolled sleeves.

    the scene out the window had eddy and ifa more amused than they’d expected. he took
    her bengaled left hand, still holding the hershey bar sap, and kiss’d the top of it lightly.
    eddy would’ve taken that meathead with a hook, but it was always much more sporting
    to let a customer get in the way. this ifa did with class, not breaking her ballerina posture,
    and never letting go of her glass. she’d cock the maniac with a swift roundhouse of the
    left hand holding the sap like she’d been taught, defensive tactics class at the Y, late night.
    the afternoon light died on the doorstep of mars, streets back to their flurry of moans. ifa
    pulled a twenty, twirled her right index in two small, upward circles. more drinks arrived.
    out of a leone western, a haggard man came through the last of the light, held the frame of
    the door with his elbow and palm, “eddy bartender, eddy”, he somewhat said. ifa opened
    her wide white eyes to her drink, paid no mind to the yapping fella at the door, sipped sloe
    gin fizzy. “eddy, anybody. this bar closed?” the man, shirt half-tucked, bleary-eyed, held
    no court, couldn’t even get a look from gracious eddy, who’d stepped away from the bar
    and sat in the corner, early dinner over new york post. his ritual was not to be disturbed.

    tamar sobbed into a jamba juice napkin on the corner of two blocks that seemed to
    meet at the crux of yellow sun coming down from the horizon on its last legs out of ny.
    her diaphragm and abs tired of all this moaning, yet continuing on at the behest of a mind
    not yet nurtured in america. she thought of her boyfriend in amman, who’d shut her out
    of his life on the last night of ramadan, her most painful sort of recollection. combating
    this ruin was a memory of the airport, as she’d arrived with her grad studies info tucked
    neatly in a logo’d folder under her arm. hope, perseverance, making somebody proud
    back in the heat of her jordanian neighborhood. thoughts warred over the territory of
    her high cheeks, and her curls veiled a pretty face which had previously turned tight
    at least two heads in the lobby of arden. “fucking saboteur!”, she cut loose from her
    film vocab, “fucking red-headed drip-dried sabotage! it had to be him!” the audience
    of onlookers waiting for the light hadn’t a clue as to what these lips were cursing, doing
    as every ny’er does, passing through. tamar had never used the word revenge in her
    post-grad tenure, heard it often from her father, but she was too nice for shakespeare.
    “darby mcclure, you will meet your maker before leaving this island. I swear on my
    mother’s…”, stopping, or stopped by a touch, tamar looked up from her napkin, and
    her vengeful words, to see a white bald-head framed with titanium specs, “a hand?”, he said.

    don’t turn that dial. the next heady episode of quomodo arrives tomorrow: darby takes another swing,
    renee echoes ronaldo, dent resigns to ifa’s chemicals, tamar calls a white boy handsome,
    while this white boy’s meanwhile off staring up at pigeons.

    November 10, 2009

    calquegood morning. today is the first day of the rest of your life! also, welcome to episode one of quomodo, an experiment in serial storytelling by divad q. nead right here on theaptBROADCAST. for those of you too timid to dive into this pool without knowing a little more, let me give you the inside book jacket blurb:

    exiled creative director takes a tuxedo-induced wrong turn –
    meets west african, dude-punching, jobless graphic designer
    in an east village bar, falls. outside, a pugnacious teen from
    montreal knocks a scottish boardroom hooligan, and semi-pro
    copywriter, unconscious on the pavement. hooligan slugs
    petite canadian. meanwhile, on a plane from oslo to meet
    the now sacked, slurring project director, the norwegian hero
    will instead fall in league with a half-jordanian marketing free-
    lancer. together, toiling with our shameful creative director, they
    will attempt to raise a decades-old design project from the soil
    of a suburban new york estate while combating populist urges,
    dry-humping, spellbinding hairpin turns, & a scottish boardroom
    saboteur. hijinks, design guff, and slapstick. chairs, ideas shall fly.

    better? ok, now strap on and board this adventure with our characters 4 days a week (except mondays) for the next few weeks. episode one starts below, good luck!


    episode 01: busted, in transit

    on the flight from olso to new york, olen had yet to see the grace
    of an alessi laleggera chair in a transverse vector over
    a group of upturned heads in a 4th floor bowery office,
    nor did he believe that jordanian women walked differently
    than the incandescent, norwegian maidens of trondheim –
    and furthermore, his company computer, recently back
    from the genius bar in zurich, well he never imagined that
    a macbook could be pulverized into so many elegant pieces.
    these events and instances, on his third day of negotiations
    at quomodo, would change his understanding of americans,
    supplant his ideas about human compromise, and redden
    his pubis to the point where a visit to a suburban new york
    hospital would be undoubtedly necessary before returning
    home, a journey which would suffer delays of great proportion.

    caffeinated, an american first, tamar ran from the plunging drywall and stucco without falling;
    a surprise, as she’d never truly run from anything dangerous
    in twenty-four years, even when living in amman, where her
    father had toiled for decades as the handy-man in an aging apartment
    complex, in which she also lived with her two brothers. the dash from
    the debris, witnessed by all in the lobby of arden partners, garnered
    awe and applause almost instantly, and forced her to cover the wide
    swathe of missing fabric in the center of her pants. all this in heels.
    all this while recovering from the most tenuous sexual experience
    in recent memory, or maybe just the worst. she’d try to sort this out
    over tears and gum in h&m, the clerk doing what most clerks do
    when their customers break down sobbing: check her iphone, wait.

    darby, in his own words, carried a “punk attache”, in that he’d used his
    mezzi aluminum to subdue at least one unruly ad skank after a pitch went south.
    the skank, a minor partner he caught chuckling from the third seat
    near the door, took the blow on the chin. subdue is a bit nice, so we’ll take a blithe nasa term
    and call it an “impact”. this impact, enough to knock the skank from his
    red louis ghost, cemented darby’s getaway: a sprint into the rivington rain,
    hooting like a baboon, flagging down a yellow, which attempted to speed
    off when it saw darby running towards it with his short orange mohawk,
    workshirt rolled to his biceps, showing two japanese koi, and a red sea.
    darby was now sitting in mars. it was six. the barkeep, he’d resolved,
    needed a pasting, adrenal back for his beer. however, ifa, sitting cross-legg’d at the bar,
    would stop this with a leather sap in the shape of a hershey bar. the sap, a prize
    from the last white man who’d patted her ass while stepping behind her
    for a drink. she doused the man with jameson, popped his solar pleuxs, and proceeded
    to rifle both rear pockets for i.d., in which she found both a badge and the sap. darby,
    the ignoramus, in his currently aggravated state, would get the same rough justice.

    renee hated her name, and had tried to legally change it twice
    during her teens, without the consent of her mother, who’d then
    flown the next day from greenwich to montreal in order to scold
    her daughter in the only way, after eighteen years, she knew how –
    with a black pair of bardot boots, moet & chambord, some xannies.
    renee was walking by mars, it was nearly quarter past six. her at&t
    account had yet to be paid, and therefore finding a phone would
    require her to do what a girl like her never did, touch a public object
    with her bare hands. she breathed deeply, reached for a dunhill,
    matches, stepped into the payphone. she cursed in french, encule.
    before her quarter would reach the lever just under the coin slot,
    the booth would shudder with a supple force, and a man’s head
    would fall at her feet. admiring what she thought were veneers,
    then screaming, renee completed the call in her usual manner, by
    smashing the handset, before the voice mail tone. she looked down.
    the man shook in seizure, or that’s what it seemed to her very untrained eye. then a belt of laughter came from his bloodied mouth. again, screaming, she kicked him full force in the left ear, a reflex learned from days on the pitch.

    dent dry-heaved heartily into the plastic bin under his brand new
    frederik desk by ikea. vomiting was a daily ritual this week, after
    his morning meeting at arden had been cut short by a load of
    falling plaster, which flattened a sixteen week and 164 hour mass
    of thorough work; a 1/3 scale model proposal of the new community
    library in peekskill, ny. eyes ruddy and wet, loose collar, dent felt
    his pockets for keys, which happened to be where he’d left them,
    at a bar in the east village, in his tuxedo pants, coated in glue.
    another tremor, and to his knees, bleating like a starlet into the bin.
    a knock at the locked door, his desk phone ringing. dent stood up.
    “dent spea…”, smacking dry lips, “speaking, vurrp, ‘cuse me.” he
    hung up, headed for the door. “a call for you, mike, at reception.
    eddy from a, uh, mars bar. he’s looking for you. sounds miffed.”
    “cloris”, dent leaned into her personal space, “cloris, call me a car
    and tell this eddy that i’ll be down there in twenty. got some water?”
    cloris didn’t directly answer dent in any recognizable way. instead
    she gave an about face in her louboutin knock offs, and shimmied
    her way to reception without brushing the mail cart, or the mail boy
    on a quick vector away from her presently loathsome boyfriend.

    tune in tomorrow for episode 02 of quomodo.
    dent meets ifa. darby socks renee. olen remains steadfastly norwegian, and tamar
    dreams about steadfast norwegians while searching for her dignity in public places.

    women-as-designfor some reason, women as design actually made it into the bookstore without inspiring as much as a petition from old school feminists for whom the mere mention of a table made from a sculpture of a topless women would have sent them into epilepsy years ago. not that i think that the author’s seeming hand washing from the whole affair by quoting blake’s “the nakedness of woman is the work of God” is not equally gutless. get this away from me!

    October 30, 2009

    59292_heidi_klum_heidilicious-16_123_455loi don’t know why photographers and models always have to take euphemistic verbal detours when putting out product that should unambiguously be simply titled, heidi’s tits… who’s with me?! these tasty pictures are from rankin’s new book heidilicious and could just as easily have been a compendium of the klums’ favorite children’s recipes. which it’s not. thankfully.

    October 29, 2009

    andyis there anything more to say about comic innovator andy kaufman? apparently, yes indeed. a new book entitled dear andy kaufman, i hate your guts chronicles the view of him, for a change, instead of his point of view. and it’s bound to be an interesting journey… see what i did there? no? bound to be? and it’s a book?… right, it’s subtle but that’s how i roll.

    October 27, 2009

    apologyhave problems saying exactly what’s on your mind? don’t quite know how to approach another human being that you’re interested romantically or need to profusely apologize to? the bureau of communication‘s got your back. a book of formal notices that stretch the imagination of everything you’ll never need to actually say from the airing of grievances to official invitations. don’t say i never did anything to help you come out of that musty cave you call home.