Tag Archives: Dakota

Argument (unfinished)

“Tell her I died. She’d be happier that way.”

Chev was sitting at the edge of his bed, sulking, but Dakota was having none of it.

“That’s not true. The whole gang needs to be back together. You included.”


“Chev. You told me not a month past that you’d be willing to do anything for me after I took you in and sobered your ass up…”

“Not this.”

“Yes. This. This or nothing. It’s the only thing I’d ask of you. Isn’t this part of your twelve steps? To apologize to people you’ve wronged.”

“Don’t have to do it in person.”

“Yes. You do.”


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Hockey (unfinished)

Chev felt like a truck ran over his chest and then shat on it, so he had little fight in him when Dakota and his buddies decided to take him out to play hockey.

“I’m American. We don’t even play hockey.”

“It’s okay,” said Dakota. “You’ll be on my team. I’ll show you the ropes.”

One of Dakota’s friends was a hawk-faced bastard named Dean. “You going to drag that Yank around, Dakota? I feel sorry for ya.”

Chev ground his teeth together. “How does it feel to be America’s hat? Thanks for keeping us warm.”

“Oh?” Dean had a shit-eating grin plastered to his face. He looked to his guys and they started smiling too. “I was under the impression that America was Canada’s bitch, eh? We’re bigger and on top.”

Their muffled mitten hands slapped together in celebration. Chev always thought that America was a bigger country than Canada, but he hated this guy either way.

Dakota nudged him in the ribs. “Just a little pre-game banter. No worries.”

Chev coughed from deep in his chest. He was exhausted.

“I haven’t skated since I was fourteen years old.”

Dakota smiled and shrugged. “Should be exciting, then!”

After some deliberation, Chev decided not to strangle Dakota. He was too tired, anyway.

* * *

The hockey game went splickety-splack. Stuff happened.

* * *

Chev passed out when they got home but woke up to the sound of drumbeats. Bump. Bump. Bump. It was monotone but consistent, like a heartbeat. He felt drawn to the rhythm just on the other side of his walls. He opened the door and a flood of light washed over his eyes. It felt like some tiny man was punching the back of his eyeballs. The drumming had stopped. Chev rubbed his eyes, blinked out the light, and saw Dakota and his buddies in a drum circle, getting high as kites to the point where they couldn’t even play right.

“You fucking hippies,” Chev grumbled. He pushed Dean out of the way. “Hand me the drums.” They stared at him. “All of them. Now, please!”

He patted one drum, tightened it up, patted another and loosened it. This went on for a good fifteen minutes. The Canadians simply watched this strange, strung-out American tooling around.

Then Chev paused, took a deep breath, and began hammering at the drums. He could feel his muscles protesting. They weren’t used to exertion, especially after getting owned out in the bitter cold in a game of hockey. Chev was in no condition to do anything much, but the music quickened with his heartbeat and he felt a rush of energy like he hadn’t felt since he was first getting high. The drums made a semi-circle around him and he beat on them all in a rapid progression. He started to breath heavily and leapt out of his sitting position. His hands came down like thunderclaps. His deep inhalations caught in his chest and he suddenly began coughing so hard he was heaving on the floor. Everyone came to help him, though the crowding only made him more nauseous.

Dakota tucked him back into bed. He had no dreams that night, but if he did, they would have been about music.

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX


Dakota had been telling Chev for years to come out and find him if he needed help or a place to stay. Of course, the only catch was he couldn’t use anymore. So, it came as a shock when he heard a raspy, shivering voice over the phone.

“I need a place to stay.”

Dakota paused. “Chev?”

“Yeah. Who’d you think it was?”

“I’m sorry. You just sound… are you all right?”

At the end of a trail of coughs, Chev says that he’s not.

“I just tried to hang myself with a shoelace. It snapped”

Dakota wanted to laugh and cry all at once. He sounded so embarrassed. Chev was always impulsive but at least he wasn’t dead yet and for that, Dakota was thankful. The girls, and Seamus too, had all given up on Chev after what he’d done to Dizzie. Dakota kind of hoped he could salvage the old Chev.

“I’ll have a plane ticket ready for you if you want it.”

The line was quiet and Dakota thought the call had been dropped. “Hello? Chev?” He heard a sniff, like the person on the other line had been crying.

“Can I leave tonight?”

“Sure. I mean, but don’t you need to pack or something?”

“I don’t have anything. My dad kicked me out months ago.”

“Where have you been living?” Dakota asked, though he kind of guessed at the answer but it still surprised him when Chev spoke.

“Nowhere. A shelter.”

Dakota weighed his next words. “Do you have a way of getting to the airport?”

“I’m in walking distance.”

“How long?”

“Two hours, maybe three?”

Dakota sighed. “I’ll see what I can do. Can you call me when you get there?”

“Yeah. Don’t have a charger for this phone, though. It’s, uh, not mine.”

“Turn it off while you’re walking, then,” Dakota said, but he remembered something. “Chev! Promise me  you’ll go through with this. You’re going to go straight to the airport, right?”


* * *

After their talk, Dakota had called everyone he knew. It would take a lot more than just one friend to take care of and keep an eye on Chev.

Dakota shifted from one foot to the other. Chev finally came out of the airport and he looked like Hell. He was dangerously thin and painful to look at. He’d always had some weight on him but now it wasn’t even the same Chev. Dakota was worried that the Chev he knew had been peeled away.

“How was your flight?”

“Landing was a bitch. Security practically buttfucked me.”

“But at least you’re here.”

“Yeah. Fuckin’ cold, though.”

Dakota handed Chev a coat.

“What’s this?” Chev asked, eyeing the garment suspiciously.

“Just a jumper.”

“A what?”

“A sweater. You know, to keep warm.”

Chev took it without saying anything. He put it over his shoulders. It was too big but he kept it there.

“I’m tired,” he said.

Dakota wanted to laugh. Or cry.

“Let’s get you home.”

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Kira is worried. She slides out her discount office chair and hops onto her laptop. She sends a message:

“To: Dakota Long

Subject: worried

Have you heard from Chev or Diz? I’ve tried to call them both and no answer. Starting to worry a bit.”

Kira goes out to her classes. She has Guitarmony and then her Jimi Hendrix lab. She has coffee with friends and then goes home to check her messages. She doesn’t have a cell phone. She doesn’t believe in cell phones as a useful tool in everyday life. Kira logs back into Myspace to check out band info she heard from her classmates. She has a new message from Dakota:

“To: Ashkiran Chopra

Haven’t heard anything from them, Kira. I’ll be doubling my efforts, though. I tried Sadie’s phone but I’ll give parents a call tomorrow. Don’t worry. What once was lost will soon be found 😉

 – Coda”

Kira feels a little better, but something is still nagging at her. She goes to sleep listening to Black Sabbath. That night she goes to sleep and dreams of pigs charred from napalm fire. She can still remember the smell of burnt flesh when she is awake.

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX

Lady of the House

Dizzie Catalano wakes up to Joey Ramone’s unintelligible angel voice blasting on her phone. Joey serenades her from her bedside. He’s coming through a tight wind. The kids are losing their minds. So says the voice of Joey Ramone. She reaches out to put an end to him.

After shaking off the cobwebs in her head, Dizzie realizes she had the most fucked up dream in the history of dreams. “Hey, Sade!” She throws a stuffed octopus at her friend. She is lying on the floor, halfway out of her sleeping bag. “Sadie! I had the most fucked up dream in the history of dreams!”


“You were, like, crawling around with no legs. And then you started popping everyone with a needle!”

“I’m sorry.”

Dizzie clicks off her “Blitzkrieg Bop” cell alarm. “No, it was pretty cool! Pretty f-ed up but awesome!”

“That’s good, then. I guess.” Sadie lets out a power yawn. “What do you think it means?”

“Means? I didn’t know dreams were supposed to mean anything. Just random firings in our brains—blammo!”

“My mom says dreams are God’s way of telling us stuff.”

Dizzie slips a Tank Girl t-shirt over her tousled purple hair. “Whoa. God must be dropping acid, like, all the time!”

Kira’s the first to show up. More than anyone, she’s dead serious about her art. When she’s playing guitar, she’s like an Indian Carrie Brownstein, the guitar alive and wriggling from her fingers like a live snake. Dizzie respects the fuck out of her, but she’d never actually tell her. That would be super gay.

“What the fuck are you doing entering through the front door! Go through the slave entrance, bitch!” She smacks her ass. Kira responds with a headlock and a noogie. Dizzie’s scalp burns with retribution.

“Ah! You’re like an angry giraffe!”

“I’ll enter through the front door if I want, and you’ll like it!”

“It burns!”

“It burns like what?”

“I don’t know!”

“Yes you do!”

“Like herpes-infected glass on a trampoline!”

“Good. Your brain’s all fired up for the day,” Kira smiles. “What about you, Sadie? You need a brain charge this morning?” She holds out her fist. She still has a couple strands of purple hair sticking out of her knuckles.

“Uh… n-no thanks.”

Kira laughs, a sound which Dakota once compared to a flash flood pattering on the roof. “I was just joking. Don’t be so jumpy, mate. You’re part of the band now, right?”

“I don’t really know too much about music,” Sadie grimaces.

Dizzie claps her on the back. “Don’t sweat the small stuff, Sadie Lady. You’ll find your rhythm. Or die trying!” Dizzie and Kira exchange a nod. It was no joke. For them, failing at music is a fate worse than death.

“I didn’t eat breakfast this morning,” Kira says. “Got any food?”

“Please, Kira. Does the sun rise in the morning? Do Koreans have an insatiable lust for waffles?”

This time it’s Kira’s and Sadie’s turn to exchange glances. They both shrug.

Dizzie tongues her lip ring in anticipation. Like all of Dizzie’s bad habits, it helps her focus on the here and now.

Chev and Dakota rolls in a little after lunchtime in Chev’s Mazda RX-7. Contrary to popular belief, the band didn’t actually name Chev after Chevrolet. After all, he hates American cars and he’s definitely not built “like a rock.” but after the character Jason Statham plays in Crank. Dakota actually came up with the name. He said that Chev is just like the character. He’s always amped up, like his heart would also keep ticking after getting knocked out of a helicopter.

Dakota’s from Canada. He has a funny hat and says “eh” and “aboot” sometimes. Dizzie figures this is what every Canadian is like. She’s decided never to go there.

“Yo,” Chev kicks off his shoes unceremoniously. “Parents gone?”

“Yeah. The family’s out in the city today. Little bro’s skulking around somewhere.”

“No interruptions, huh?” He raises an eyebrow.

“In your dreams, Martin.” Chev hates it when people use his real name, which is the point. Dizzie back-kicks the door closed much harder than intended. The crash shakes the chandelier a little.

“Seamus!” Chev yells. “Bro!”

It takes a moment before Seamus peers over the upstairs balcony. “Hey, Chev. What’s up?”

“Get down here, man! We’re seriously lacking in testosterone over here.”

Seamus’s head darts around like a trapped mouse. “ ‘Kay.”

Seamus looks like a little dweeb. He has bad posture but not the kind that makes you look cool. He keeps looking over at Sadie and looking away.

“Oh, Seamus. This is Sadie.” Dizzie jerks a thumb back to Sadie. “Sadie, Seamus.”

“Nicetomeetyou,” Seamus sputters really fast.

“God, you’re so awkward,” Dizzie laughs. “Hey, Sadie. This guy does a good Eeyore impression. Do your Eeyore impression, Seamus!” She jumps up and down.

“Woman!” Chev huffs. “He’s a man, not a toy. Don’t emasculate my man, Seamus.”

“Not your brother! Step off, punk!” Seamus look down at a spot on the floor.

Sadie shifts from one foot to the other. “Uhhh, Dizzie? Shouldn’t we start… practice?” Chev and Sadie meet eyes for a moment. Sadie nods her head toward the garage.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Chev mumbles.

“Heh. First time I didn’t have to force you,” Dizzie laughs.

“Hey! I’m always ready to wail ass on the drums!”

Chev saddles up to his drums. “Has she been taking good care of you? Has she?” he purrs, rubbing his hands around the base of the drums.

Dakota starts plugging in the amps, turning up the volume. Chev tests out the tightness of his drums, banging out an improv rhythm. I turn up the volume a little more, so Kira’s playing will drown out his drumming more. Not that he isn’t good. He’s just… well, he’s Chev.

Kira stands well over six feet, a girl of Amazonian proportions. And that’s not just the height. The girl would probably chop her right breast off if it got in the way of her playing guitar. As soon as she enters the garage, her faded, once-black sweatshirt comes off. She’s sporting a charcoal tanktop with a tattoo of a phoenix on her shoulder. She got it as soon as she turned eighteen last month.

“All right!” Dizzie screams. “Let’s bring down the house!”

Chev opens by tapping on his cymbals. He drops the beat down and even Sadie who’s seated in the corner is bobbing her head. Out of nowhere, Dakota comes down hard on the bassline. Kira drives her pick down hard while Chev’s sticks flash across the drums. Her fingers dance across the frets like a squad of angry pixies.  Dizzie pumps up her voice for a siren’s maleficent shriek.

She’s confident now as she’s ever been. The Bayside Sex Deviants are going to work the shit out of the Battle of the Bands. Record labels and eternal fame is ahead. This moment now is all there is, all there will ever be, and it will only get better.

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX

Band Meeting

“So, is she cute?” Dakota was chewing on a stick of Pocky. He and Chev were trying to unlock the last songs in Rock Band. He liked to chew on stuff while playing bass. At first, Dizzie guessed he thought it made him look cool, but he probably just needs it to focus on something. Dakota always seems distracted.

“She ate lunch with us, Dakota! What, did a zombie moose swallow your brain?” Dizzie shouted.

“Heh. Zombie moose.” Chev chuckled, eyes locked on the screen. Dizzie hated the way those toy drums sounded. The tapping blocked out the music coming from the game.

“So, she’s cute?”

“It doesn’t matter.” Dizzie pouted. “No band romances allowed.”

Chev chuckled again and Kira held Dizzie back from charging over tackling him. “Not worth it,” Kira said.

“Oh, come on. I wasn’t that bad, was I?”

“Let’s not go there, Chev,” Kira cut in. “You’re a decent drummer but we don’t need things between you and Diz getting in the way of the band.”

“Only decent?” The song ended and Chev paused to glare at Kira. She glared back, her gaze unwavering despite the rabid Dizzie prying and gnawing at her arm to get loose. “Fair enough.”

“There isn’t a huge pool of talented players at the high school level, Chev. If we don’t stick together, there’s not even a chance of having another band. Let’s play it cool.”

“I’m always cool. Like a motherfuckin’ cucumber. Let’s tear this shit up, Coda.” Chev was the only one who called Dakota that name, though he seemed not to care either way.

“F this!” Dizzie had pried herself away from Kira. “Let’s get some real playing in.”

“So, what does she play?” Dakota asked.


“The girl.”

“What… oh, Sadie? I don’t think she plays anything. We have all we need for the band. She’s just going to be writing for us.”

“It would be cool if we had a keyboard player.”

“We don’t need a fucking keyboard player.”

“Yeah, but it would be cool…”

“Dakota! She doesn’t play keyboard!”

“So, what is she, our mascot?” It was Chev this time.

“Chev, I’m only going to say this once. March your ass into that garage or I will kick your ass so hard, your spine will curve right into your cock.”

“So… then she’s your pet project?”

Dizzie screamed, leapt over the couch and started beating on Chev. Dizzie and Kira stood nearby.

“Help!” Chev screamed to them. “Heeelp!”

“You know, I think he enjoys this,” Dakota said to Kira.

Kira stuck her hands in her pockets. “…yeah. Let’s go set up.”

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX


I think I learned the meaning of life that day. I just didn’t know it yet.

It was the week after graduating high school. We figured we had all the freedom in the world now but we weren’t even sure what to do with it. So we just dicked around in Boston Common, laid about and stared at the sky. Given all our options, it seemed like the best choice.

I used to stare at the clouds a lot when I was younger. Dad used to love looking at the sky. He’d say, “That one looks like a mastadon!” I thought he’d made that word up. He liked to make up names for constellations too. To this day, I still remember where to find Pac-Man and Titania. And Dad’s star.

So it surprised me when Dizzie said, “That cloud looks like Pac-Man.” She pointed and sure enough, the cloud looked like a cheese wedge with a piece cut out. Even as we spoke, though, it was breaking apart into something unrecognizable. Clouds were like that. At first glance, they just drift along, boring and white. But as soon as you focus on a cloud, try to learn it like a painting, then it’s already halfway gone.

“I wonder where the ghosts are?” Chev joked.

I thought about it for a moment.

“Maybe we’re the ghosts,” I said without thinking. Everyone laughed. I smiled.

“Hey, Dakota,” Dizzie nudged him. “Better watch out for clouds when you’re flying off to Canada. Don’t want to get eaten, eh?”

We all knew Dakota was going back to Ontario but now it was finally dawning on us. I think it was hitting Dizzie the hardest because she rarely let the subject drop. We didn’t even see Kira much since she’d gone to college and now another bandmate, another friend was completely gone.

“That’s okay,” Dakota pulled out some grass from the ground. “Didn’t you know? Canada’s got mounties with flying moose that shoot lasers out of their eyes.”

“The Canadian airforce? Well, I guess you guys need something to protect all your maple syrup. I still don’t know why you want to live in America’s hat. Is the view that good up there?”

“From the top bunk? Yeah. It’s not bad. How is it being our bitch?”


Chev chuckled. “Yeah. They’re bigger and on top.” He and Dakota made an awkward high-five from the ground.

“You’re not supposed to defend him, douchebag! You’re American.”

“As apple pie, Diz. But the man’s got you on the ropes. I gotta reco’nize that.”

“Screw you!” Dizzie rolled over to look at me and I stayed frozen. “What about you, Sadie lady? You’re always so quiet!” She ignored Chev who whispered “you’re always so loud” so that we could barely hear it.

I’d been looking at the Pac-Man cloud the entire time. It was just three small wisps now and even those were turning into vapor. “I’m just looking at the clouds.”

“See anything interesting? Flying moose?”

“No. Just regular clouds.”

“Hey!” Chev said. “Look at that one!”

“What is it, Chev? Is it your mom?”

“No! That one looks like a dong!” He laughed.

Our eyes immediately looked to where his finger was waving. He’d sat up in his excitement. But very clearly, just above the treeline, was an erect cloud penis, complete with two balls. We stood up to get a good look and were knocked down by laughter again.

I think I learned the meaning of life that day. Then again, I’m not sure how much meaning life really has.

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Filed under Novel, Session XIX