The parade was long and he was almost last in the single file line of men and animals, but Amir walked on. Not that he had any choice in the matter. The last man to complain was chopped up and fed to the bulls. Granted, his death was no great loss, he was almost twenty and about to die from old age anyway. Amir was young and full of energy and super glad they won the day’s war. He was carrying big sacks of booty to present to the noble priests. Hopefully this time his efforts would not go unnoticed. Last time that jerk Rashad confiscated all his booty and gave it to the priests himself, taking all the credit. This time it would be different. Rashad had been maimed during battle and was being treated with hot fish oils and ox fat. Amir smiled to himself. Nothing would stand in his way of success. More than anything Amir wanted to tell his wife Lena they had moved up in the world. Right now they were part of the bottom level working class. Amir’s goal was to get somewhere in the middle level working class. He was very ambitious.
He walked and walked, and pretty soon he could hear the faint strumming of a harp and an angelic voice that could only belong to the long haired man named Elik. He was allowed to grow his hair long because the priests claimed it was what God wanted. Though Amir longed to grow his own head full of silky black locks, he did not envy the singer. Elik had to live his life in celibacy (also due to God’s will). Amir felt his pulse quicken and his heart beat faster. Music meant they were nearing the priests.
The receiver of all war booty was waiting at the entrance to the banquet. Amir handed over his booty sacks and waited nervously for the verdict. If he got a nod, he would be able to enter the feast and collect scraps from the floor. If the receiver merely grunted, he would have to go home empty handed. Luckily he got a nod and was permitted to enter. The feast was grand. Amir was careful not to look any of the priests in the eye, but it was impossible not to notice the giant king at the far end of the hall. He found a spot under the huge banquet table and positioned his war skirt to collect droppings.
The evening was a huge success. Amir gathered a bunch of booty and went home proud. Lena almost cried when she saw Amir carrying a spleenfull of ox blood, her favorite. She and Amir embraced and made sweet love after dinner. Amir hoped tomorrow’s war would go just as well.
I have been waiting to go back to school ever since they let us out on May 7th. And after a summer that in my opinion was way too long, I am finally getting my wish. Tomorrow is the first day of classes of the new semester. I start bright and early with Sculpture I. This will be the first sculpture class I have ever taken, and excited doesn’t even begin to describe it. I doubt I will sleep much tonight. First of all, I just ate a big hot dog piled high with jalapeños. Bad idea before bed, but sooo good. Second of all, I have already been losing sleep the past few nights due to the never ending questions running through my mind. Who will my teacher be? It is the only class on my schedule where under “instructor’s name” it just says TBA. That is so not fair! Who will be in my class? I already know that two of my friends who were supposed to be with me are in fact together in another section. What will we make? I wonder if it will be the same things I saw last year. Will I really get to use all the power tools or was that just faulty advertising to get us to sign up for the class? I really need to use those tools! You might think these thoughts would go on and then fade away as I drift off to sleep. Wrong. This is where the what if questions come in. Those are the ones that really don’t let me sleep. What if I suck? That one is pretty vague, but it is definitely the most recurring worry. What if my fly comes unzipped or my pants ride down so low that I show my butt crack? Both highly possible situations even with my new collection of colorful belts. What if I forget to go to class? I have my schedule up on the wall, on my desk, in my notebook and even in my diary. I am still not convinced I will remember. What if everyone hates me? This one I am not so worried about anymore because I have friends from last semester who don’t hate me. However, there are lots of new people which means lots of opportunities for hating. What if I can’t think of anything to create? That is the one that really makes me panic. I know that staying up late and not sleeping wont give me the answers to my questions. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t make me fall asleep any faster. I know it will be okay. It will probably be great. I will have an amazing teacher. I will work hard and make things I never thought I could. I am going to get in bed, read a little, and then have a good night’s sleep. I just need to figure out: What am I going to wear?
Maybe today Jenny will say yes. It has been “no” two days in a row now, but I have a good feeling about today. It’s Friday. Who doesn’t want to go out on Friday? Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one asking. I don’t usually go for the fatties, but it occurred to me a few days ago that if I lower my standards, I can raise my expectations. I’m hoping for some kind of sex soon. Preferably free sex.
You know how people always say prostitution is a win/win situation? Well, I have spent most of next month’s rent on hos and I don’t feel like a winner. I’m going to have to ask my mom to lower the rent again. I don’t really see why I have to pay rent anyway. If she didn’t make my food, clean my room, and do my laundry, she wouldn’t even know I was here.
It wasn’t always like this you know. I didn’t always live with my mom and spend my money on hookers. I used to go to therapy. I went for years. But then one day my therapist told me I was addicted to sex. I decided that if I were addicted to sex, it didn’t make much sense to spend my money on talking. That’s when the hos came into my life. And now I’m basically broke. I have just enough money to take Jenny to the movies if she says yes. I hope she says yes.
I woke up at 7 am and took a hot shower. I decided I wanted to feel good today, so I wore my cowboy boots. I walked to school and had coffee and homemade oatmeal with brown sugar for breakfast. I arrived early to my 8 am life drawing class. For four hours, I sat on a stool and drew a naked man with a mustache. I learned about proportion and how to fit the human figure on a page. I usually get to the knees and run out of room on the page, but not today. My teacher said I was doing well. I loved the class.
After that, I had an hour lunch break before my next class. I ate a chIcken salad and drank more coffee. I went outside and it was sunny! Real sunlight here in Seattle is scarce. It was actually warm. My next class was in experimental storytelling. My teacher knew everyone in the classroom except for me. When he took role, he told us that most of us were juniors or seniors. Then he looked at me and said “Well, everyone but you. I’ve seen your work; I’ve been to your website.” I was surprised. He then told us we were going to have to do presentations for the class on contemporary narrative artists and then he looked at me and said “maybe you’d like to do a presentation of your own work.” Now I was just plain shocked.
We talked about the course and the kind of work we would be doing. All of the content is self-directed. We can use any materials we want for our projects and we are starting them right away. As a class, we all went down to the library to look at slides of the work of some narrative artists. In the elevator my teacher told me that his class was too full, and a few days ago he had decided to drop someone — and that person was me. Then he said he talked to my advisor, looked at my work, and decided to let me into the class. Um… pinch me?
After class, it was much colder outside. I decided to hurry to the art store to pick up some supplies before it started to rain. I walked the 1/2 mile uphill to the store in my cowboy boots fast. I bought a cutting mat, a big metal ruler, two art supply boxes, a sketch book, charcoal, erasers, and a giant pad of newsprint paper that I could not even fit into the shopping cart. I then walked all the way back to my dorm carrying a huge plastic bag filled with all that heavy crap. I practically ran the whole way, but I made it without getting stuck in the rain. Now I am going to go eat dinner. I think I might have just earned myself another pizza.