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Archive for November, 2009

David S. Wills

Meeting a Messiah

November 11th, 2009
by David S. Wills

DAEGU, KOREA

His name was Daniel and I think he was a paedophile. Whether he was or he wasn’t, he certainly was a violent and delusional man, and his brief stint in my life was alarmingly full of coincidence and fear.

(more…)


Slade Ham

Silent Warrior

November 10th, 2009
by Slade Ham

HOUSTON, TX -

It started at 3:00 am and it didn’t stop. It was relentless. It’s the second attack in as many weeks and my sanity may suffer for it. I am under siege from the most well trained, mosquito assassin on the planet.

I have forever been aware of the buzzing annoyance that describes most mosquitoes. This one though, this one is a special breed. With a regular attacker, you can isolate it by its sound. You listen to it as it gets closer and closer and then slap the last place you heard it. I’ve killed them by the thousands over my lifetime, and I’m afraid that’s why they’ve sent this demon warrior after me. The Uruk-Hai of the insect world.

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TNB TV

TNB 3.0 - Coming Soon!

November 9th, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Brad Listi, author and founder of The Nervous Breakdown, issues a brief video transmission to officially announce the imminent launch of TNB 3.0 on Sunday, November 15, 2009. Like all TNB contributors, Mr. Listi is very excited about this new development, but it may not show as well as it should, because he is heavily sedated somewhat sleep-deprived. Regardless: Exciting times. Stay tuned.


TNB Photo of the Day

TNB 3.0 - Coming Soon!

November 9th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day



TNB 3.0 - Coming Soon! 
The Nervous Breakdown is proud to announce the impending launch of a brand new and greatly expanded version of the site. It’s all happening sometime this Sunday, November 15th. Please stay tuned. This should be interesting.


Kip Tobin

The Athiest and the Believer

November 8th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

LA RIOJA, SPAIN

The atheist and the believer walked together on the path that followed the highway, looking for light.

Everything visible was dampened gray, as if some colossal waterlogged blanket was thrown on top of their sky and hung there, dripping. Incessant raindrops had been pricking their faces for over two hours, and the cutting wind foretold the road ahead without visible end. The others had gone ahead, and they couldn’t see anything except for the highway to their right, the miry path directly in front and the snow-quilted fields to the left that were melting reluctantly in the cold rain.

The panorama was muddy, leaden, soppy.

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Simon Smithson

On Change

November 8th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

A friend of mine doesn’t meet new people easily. It’s possible he may be suffering from a touch of Asperger’s (if there is such a thing as a ‘touch’ of Asperger’s). In familiar situations, he likes to dominate - by putdowns, by attack, by withholding attention. But as soon as a random, unknown element - a new person, for example - is introduced, the strength and the bluster vanish from him. He goes strangely quiet; backs down like a loudly-barking Chihuahua suddenly confronted with a pit bull. The more distinct and different a stranger, and their appearance and lifestyle, is from my friend and his, the more difficulty he has meeting their eyes. In the absence of common ground, my friend becomes unsure, and intimidated. He has no way of bridging the gap, and suddenly his confidence in his own position collapses like a house of cards. Those of us who know him well can see the uncertainty and the fear creeping up in him until, finally, when we are alone, he will confide in us ‘I didn’t like that guy.’ (more…)


Rebecca Schiffman

This Happened Yesterday

November 6th, 2009
by Rebecca Schiffman

NEW YORK, NY-

Yesterday, early evening, I went to the Strand Bookstore on 12th Street and Broadway.  The store is just slightly overflowing with used and new books presented on tables and in aisles of shelves that almost reach the ceiling, reminding me of a school library.   “Eighteen Miles of Books” is their current motto.

Upon entering, noticing there is no longer a bag-check, feeling the size of my stuffed, giant tote bag wedged under my arm and its weight pulling down on my shoulder, I made eye contact with the security guard.  A small wave of sheepishness and fear came over me as it always does.  Shoplifting was one of my main after school activities during eighth grade until I was nearly caught by The Gap.  Still now, fifteen years later, I feel constantly under suspicion while shopping, as if the security guards and clerks can sense that my conscience is not clear. (more…)


Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Richard Cox

Add Intensity, Subtract Limpness

November 6th, 2009
by Richard Cox

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

The other day I was walking down Market Street, enjoying a rare day of calm winds and clear, sunny skies, when a stranger approached me. His hair was brown and coarse, like horsehair, which he clearly hadn’t washed in weeks. Maybe months. He was short and swarthy and wore a thick, bushy moustache and a black trench coat that was too big for him. I tried to walk around him, delete him from my life, but he swerved to intercept me. This is what always happens. You can’t get away from these guys.

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D.R. Haney

The Dark Undone

November 6th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

The thought came to me when I was fifteen and trying to sleep on New Year’s Eve. Nothing I recall had happened to incite it. I’d spent the night babysitting my younger siblings while my mother attended a party, and she returned home around one in the morning and everyone went to bed. (My parents had divorced, though they continued to quarrel as if married.) My brother was sleeping in the bunk below mine, and as I stared at the ceiling and listened to the house settle, I thought: Why don’t you go into the kitchen and get a knife and stab your family to death?

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Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)


Autumn Kindelspire

Unbreakable

November 6th, 2009
by Autumn Kindelspire

BROOKLYN, NY -

When I was four, a bottler rocket blew up in my face. When I was ten, I swan-dived into the street, knocking out a tooth and damaging the cartilage in my nose. Over the course of my life, I’ve fallen twenty-feet from a tree, had a rusty nail go through my sneaker and most of the way through my foot, and been in more car accidents than I can count. But, I’ve never once broken a bone, and I only have three noticeable scars on my body.

My friend Neil says I’m unbreakable.

“Like the Bruce Willis movie?”

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Thomas Wood

Why I’m Allergic to Mint

November 5th, 2009
by Thomas Wood

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

I used to tell people the simple truth:  that I just don’t like mint.  The ensuing conversation was never simple.

“What?  Wait—you mean, like, mint, like the leaf?”

“Yes.”

“How can you not like mint?” (more…)


Matt Baldwin

Six Chambers

November 4th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin

SAN DIEGO, CA –

On a late spring day in 2001 my sister’s drug-dealing ex-boyfriend crashed the pool party she was throwing at our house in the suburbs and shot two people on our front porch. He used a small, snub-nosed revolver from a distance of less than ten feet, firing off all six rounds. Five of them hit their mark.

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Megan DiLullo, Erika Rae, and Lenore Zion

Girl, You’ll Be a Bond Woman Soon, or, Happy Birthday Rich Ferguson, TNB Style

November 3rd, 2009
by Megan DiLullo, Erika Rae, and Lenore Zion

THE DARK RECESSES OF OUR MINDS-

Rich Ferguson, because it’s your birthday and because you just make being a Bond Girl so insanely cool, we’ve run a little contest in your honor: Who Makes the Best Bond Girl?

As you will see, several of the TNB guys have slipped into something a little more comfortable in your honor. So, quiet your inner Wai Lin, have a martini and leave your briefcase tear gas canister and testosterone at the door.

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TNB TV

Irene Zion, Live in Chicago

November 3rd, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Irene Zion reads at The Nervous Breakdown’s Literary Experience in Chicago on 09.22.09 at The Whistler. Video by Michael J. Weldon.


TNB Photo of the Day

“Self-Portrait, with Noise,” by Irene Zion

November 3rd, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day



Self-Portrait, with Noise 
Irene Zion looks into the mirror of her imagination and finds two large hands preparing to crush her head. Irene recently performed at The Nervous Breakdown’s Literary Experience in Chicago (video below).


Dawn Corrigan

Where’s Dom?

November 3rd, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan

GULF BREEZE, FL -

As I’ve written about here on TNB previously, in August my 89-year-old grandmother fell and broke her hip. She had surgery, during which her hip was pinned, and did a month of physical therapy. At the beginning of October she returned to the assisted living facility where she lives with her husband.

Yesterday she fell and broke her other hip. I’m sitting in the ER waiting room right now while she has surgery on her other leg.

Since the surgery was scheduled for late afternoon, we had the whole day to kill. “C’mon,” she told me earlier in her hospital room. “Let’s get out of here.”

Then: “Put this down,” indicating the bed rail. When I ignored her–my new strategy for anything short of pulling her IV out–she said, “Come on! Put it down and let’s go. Don’t make an ass of yourself!”

Then she offered to carry my laptop if we could leave. Even with severe dementia, her negotiating skills remain formidable.

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Ronlyn Domingue

My Horrible New York Times Review

November 3rd, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue

NEAR 91 DEGREES LONGITUDE-

Here’s the good news. My first novel was reviewed by the New York Times.

Here’s the bad news. It was a horrible review.

I do not hyperbolize. It was really bad. So that you understand how terrible it is, I’ve included it entirely as the next full paragraph. Please feel free to gasp, snicker, or laugh aloud at any time during my cautionary tale, even if you think you shouldn’t. Release the humours. It’s healthier that way.

Fiction Chronicle, Sunday, November 20, 2005. The Mercy of Thin Air (Atria Books)

Domingue’s first novel is like “The Lovely Bones” minus the lovely prose;

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Zara Potts

Fraidy Cat

November 2nd, 2009
by Zara Potts

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND -

My very first teacher was Mrs. Brady. She was a tall and handsome woman with a severe haircut and coke-bottle glasses. She wore modest calf length skirts with comfortable cardigans and she taught numbers and letters in a furious cloud of chalk dust that was at odds with her restrained, no-nonsense attitude.

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