Recent Work By Ben Loory

There once was a girl who was lost in a storm. She wandered this way and that, this way and that, trying to find a way home. But the sky was too dark, and the rain too fierce; all the girl did was go in circles.

Then, suddenly, there were arms around her. Strong arms-–good strong arms. And they picked the girl up and carried her away.

When she woke, she was lying in bed.

In order of inception and abandamnation:

I.

This one was about this time I went to the beach. (I don’t go to the beach very often.) I was dating this girl, she lived down in Hermosa. Hermosa is like, down by… the water.

I.

I ran into Owen Wilson on Cahuenga.
Owen Wilson, I said, stopping short.
Hey man, he said, how’s it going? Are there are a lot of cops around here?

Cops? I said.
I was kind of concerned.
Like, what do you mean? I said.
Cops, he said. You know, police. I don’t know if I can park my car here.

I turned and looked and Owen Wilson’s car was parked right in the middle of the sidewalk.
Oh, I said. Well, I don’t know. I mean, I wouldn’t do that.

The Book

By Ben Loory

Short Story

The woman returns from the store with an armload of books. She reads them quickly, one by one, over the course of the next few weeks. But when she opens the last one, the woman frowns in surprise.

All the pages in the book are blank.

Every single one.

There is no point to this. The point is that I’m getting sick. I just noticed it an hour ago. Suddenly I am blowing my nose. Out of nowhere. And now feeling a little wonky. So I took some vitamin C and ate about 14 pounds of sautéed spinach and now I am sitting here waiting to die. If the pig flu gets me tell them I was an okay guy. Kind of quiet and not very good at tennis, but basically decent.

Twenty Dollars

By Ben Loory

Memoir

When I was in fifth grade, I was in love with Shirlene DuJack. We used to draw pictures of TIE fighters together. It was the ideal relationship. The only problem was that the school bully, Wayne DeCourte, was also in love with Shirlene DuJack. A fact which I found annoying. Apparently he felt similarly, because one day he announced that the two of us were going to have to fight after school for the hand of Shirlene DuJack. This made sense to me, so I agreed, with one stipulation: I had piano lessons that day, so could it be tomorrow? Wayne said sure, and we shook on it. It was all very gentlemanly.

(A Helpful Guide)

Step Number One: Figure out what the story’s about. Try to have it not be about bears. No one likes bears; they’re big and stinky. Animatronic bears are even worse.

Two: When you’re done, write your story down. Try to make it about ninety pages. These ninety pages are your screenplay. Congratulations! It’s done!

This is a photograph of being in love.

It’s a picture of a feeling in a moment.

It’s a record of a time when the whole world came alive.

I took it from inside a girl’s convertible.

The bad thing about being in the mental institution is that everyone there is crazy.

It really wouldn’t be so bad if not for that: it’s clean, it’s quiet, the food isn’t bad, and on top of that, there are plenty of doctors, so if you choke on something or have a stroke or a heart attack your chances of survival are increased.

But then, on the other hand, everyone’s crazy.

And when you’re crazy, that’s not what you need.

I dreamed that I was walking through a graveyard with my girlfriend.

(I don’t have a girlfriend.)

But there we were, walking along. And then we came to this gravestone.

Only it wasn’t a gravestone; it was some kind of big stone sign.

You see, there was this poodle there, buried in the ground.

Well, it’s official: after 37 years on this planet– 37 years of being chased by homicidal maniacs, trapped in mazes, falling off cliffs, forgetting how to drive stick while the steering wheel comes off in my hands as I navigate particularly treacherous mountain roads, having my teeth fall out when I show up late for school with no pants on only to find my term paper was due the day before, falling into the ocean while clutching my computer which contains the only copy of the book I’m writing, oh and going back to college and finding that somehow I wasn’t assigned a dorm room and have to live on the street oh but I didn’t register anyway and all the classes are full and nobody seems to care about my predicament– um, stop here, sentence too confusing.

I finally had the most fucked-up dream of my life.

If I weren’t listening to Judas Priest right now (Sad Wings of Destiny) I would never have the strength to talk about it. But luckily I am!

So. I had this dream. And in my dream, I was in… Walgreen’s!

I wrote this today on line at Chipotle.
The girl in front of me tried to cheer me up.
“It’s okay,” I said, “I’m just working on a story.”
“I guess it’s not a funny one,” she said.

I don’t know if you noticed, but a few years ago Johnnie turned around. He used to be walking left; now he’s going right.

When pressed, the Johnnie Walker company explained that leftward leads to the past, while to the right lies the land of the future. And if there’s anything Johnnie stands for, it’s the future.