Out Came the Sun…

…and dried up all the blood,
and the little tiny Nazgul came out to feed again….
(Fufu’s preferred version.)

I hope J doesn’t mind that I made his tail a little less luxurious than mine. Breakfast at our house… ^__^ I drew something cute!! J: But why are we all crying blood? Me: Because the food’s so good!!

That is a pic of us eating my kid’s favorite food. He loves egg on top of rice with furikake (the japanese flavor-MSG sprinkle thing?!) basically more than anything. Since he often gets little pimples (that he then picks into full-blown sores) the dragon in law has expressed worry. “You need to stop feeding him eggs! I’m telling you, those sores are a reaction to eggs!”

I can’t seem to explain to her that the original blemishes are usually very tiny–it’s the PICKING that causes the sores–and that if we stopped feeding him eggs, he would have only souls to eat. Not very nourishing.

Crazy, but it’s been three years of Fufu-meat. Little sack of farts turned three this last week o___o. He can (sort of) use the toilet now. He can talk! Behold, this perfectly intelligent conversation we had last month, at three in the morning!

Fufu (wakes me up): R, wake up. Nazgul is sad.
Me (groggy): What? What are you talking about? Why are you sad?
Him: Nazgul is sad. Nazgul needs to go to the Nazgul doctor.
Me: Go to the doctor? Nazzie, it’s three in the morning. The doctor is asleep. Why would you have to go to the doctor?
Him: Nazgul’s butt is broken.
Me: O___O

[I may have broken my ass two months ago and I may have not always suffered the most graciously and silently.... hence his phantom broken butt....]

But look at how resplendent he is!!

Little Nazgul with sores

Portrait of Jazzie. WIP. Ink. My kid is ALWAYS covered in sores, which is great, because I actually LIKE drawing sores…!  But look at how cute he is ^^ He loves strawberries. He calls them Jawberries. and Christmas tree is chemistry. It will make me so sad when he can enunciate properly….

And one last watercolor sketch of the Fufu... ^^

And one last watercolor sketch of the Fufu… ^^


It’s been a great three years, Jazzie, so happy belated third birthday. ^___^

May there be many more breakfasts with egg and broken asses and may you live
to be 106!!!!!!

-your loving Ryszbag


Visibility Day

Sorry to be making too many posts this week??

But I realized today (March 31st) is International Transgender Day of Visibility (I like Visibility Day better, but hey. I didn’t name the holiday.) So….!

visibility new small

[WIP  but it fit for today ^^ Click to see the subtleties. It's pretty cool actually.... Can you hear my mom's voice? 'Those look like girls, but they're BOYS, aren't they?!?!' For this picture, it really truly does not matter....]

Why have such a day? Because the only other day dedicated to trans people before was the Day of Remembrance, to remember those who had died for being trans (mainly trans women of color). And I guess someone thought, hey, trans people DO smile now and then. Maybe we should have a day about smiling and celebrating, not only mourning.

So I’m here to smile and to be visible ^____^ And you know I’ve gone on a lot of gender rambles on my blog, but rarely do I talk about MY OWN stuff. I’m trans, but maybe not visible?

[Side note: the word 'trans' is actually pretty problematic, as it groups together a shitload of people who have nothing to do with each other other than being not-cis, but for the sake of this day and this argument, I accept the word trans and I sit under it.]

So why visibility? Why does it even matter?

Because while I’m no gender-abolitionist and I’ve made some (not all) peace with whoever I am, I see people who haven’t yet made peace, or people who are putting it together, and kids who are being taught who they are before they can decide if that’s who they even want to be.

I say ‘decide’, but it’s a Hobson’s Choice: Take the first horse, the cis horse (cis, ie, not trans) or nothing at all. Reluctantly, trans kids take that horse until they see that being who they are (trans) is actually an option. Hence the importance of visibility. If you don’t see it, you suffer in silence. And for non-binary (not clearly male/female) people especially, it can take much longer to find people they can relate to.

And people are being taught that being trans or being non-binary makes your life into an inhospitable environment. And that is sad, because it’s all too often TRUE. [Or has the potential to be true many many times.] Not because there is something inherently wrong with trans or non-binary people, of course. But because there is much distrust that trans people can lead a life like anyone else or be happy. Parents say ‘It’s not that I don’t want to accept you, but this will make your life so hard!’

Nobody says it’s the inherent and already accepted social pressure to CLEARLY and ALWAYS be the one and only sex you were assigned as at birth that’s the problem. ‘Transness’ is the problem.

Fuck Gender Rolls, Gimme a Gender Baguette

Are you trying to turn your son into a girl? Is that why you grow his hair long?

Nope, I just think it looks pretty. He’s not a girl, he’s a boy with long hair.

Or a pretty boy.

But while we’re on the subject of girls, I’d like to live in a world where people are not so  threatened by femininity or even the SYMBOL of femininity in an otherwise male being. I can’t talk about transness without rapping about misogyny and transmisoginy. Please bear with me.

99% of trans problems and actually much of homophobia, I would say, is based heavily on people fearing femininity cropping up in people not ‘forced’ by the circumstances of their birth to be feminine. So, a person assigned female at birth (in common nomenclature, a ‘girl’) is allowed to be feminine, because she can’t help it or something?! But a person assigned male at birth, a man who is feminine, or a pre-transitioned trans woman, is pressured away from such behavior. The pressure can range from teasing, all the way to beating, sexual abuse–and death.

And since sexual orientation is also all based on how people perceive your gender, and sexual attraction on how you perceive your own gender and that of your potential partner, you can see how the whole thing is very tangled and complicated and affecting of the rest of your life.

‘Just be who you want to be, man! Just be that person! Like, what’s with all these labels? Be whoever!’

Yeah cool, except be who you want to be only works as long as who you want to be corresponds with who everyone else thinks you are/wants you to be.

You are born, a doc glanced down and looked to see if you had a little piece of meat between your legs or didn’t (nothing else could give any indication to your ‘sex’, as children until four-five are totally androgynous and many remain so until 2ndary sex characteristics kick in) and yet, based on that information, the grooming starts immediately.

The clothes you wear, how people treat you, what you are allowed to do and say, who you are allowed to express attraction for and socialize with–who you will kill fuck or marry–every day, a thousand tiny influences channel your behavior as a child to correspond to how society at large believes someone with a one cm (or lack of) meat between their legs spotted by the doctor the day they were born behaves as. I don’t know about you–I find that pretty scary.

But what’s the alternative? The system is already there.

I can’t put my little boy into a tutu and a ‘fuck your gender rolls’ shirt and a long glorious side ponytail the first day of elementary school and tell him to give ‘em hell. As much as I would love to. By the time he reaches junior high, he’ll have more issues than Vogue. So, raise him definitively as a ‘boy’ to make sure he never gets teased or confused for the ‘inferior’ sex?

Fuck, I had a man tell me once it was wrong of me to let him wear an orange shirt. Not pink. ORANGE.

“It’s orange,” he said, like it was matter of fact. “That’s a ‘girl’ color. You trying to turn your son into a girl? You’re going to confuse him.”

Are you trying to turn your son into a girl?

Wait a minute, wait a minute, COLORS turn people into something? o_o

And please stop saying ‘girl’ like it’s a bad word. But NO, I’m not trying to turn him into anything.

He has a male name. I call him ‘him.’ Yes, his hair is long… But it looks pretty long. He wears red and pink and yellow and blue.

He likes cupcakes and Hello Kitty and Pixar Cars and sparkles, and police cars and tractors. He likes boy shit and girl shit, and people shit and no other kid he’s played with so far has cared. Kids will care only when people teach them that there is something ‘wrong’ with being at all like a girl when you were not diagnosed as having two cm’s of babywang between your legs the day you were born.

Sorry. ::sighs:: I’m ranting. But you see, it upsets me. It upsets me when I think of all the little boys out there who LIKE to be boys, but simply sometimes would want to play with a doll or try on makeup for fun without it MEANING something deep, demeaning, disgusting, ‘be a man, stop being such a fucking girl, stop being so fucking gay–all starting with, don’t wear pink or play with dolls or have long hair, because that’s what girls do (or kids who grow up gay). [Undertone: femininity is inferior and to be stamped out when it is not 'necessary'.]

I want my kid to be able to have long hair and still call himself a boy if he wants to. Omfg.

It upsets me when I think of all the little girls who will grow up hearing that who they are and what they like is second choice!! Steeped in this not-so-concretely SAID but palpably felt inferior feeling. And that no matter how much lipservice and sparkles and girl power, deep down, everyone still feels it and knows it.

A friend I respect deeply said to me once: “I know this is wrong to say, but between you and me, I think of women as inferior beings. Second class. You feel that too, right? It’s not that there aren’t individually strong women–but as a whole, you know?”

Because I am male, that was okay to say to me. The feminine parts in me screamed out though. No, no, no, no, no. Fuck you, Fuck you, for every girl, fuck you.

And as much as I hate the idea of ‘forcing’ my kid to be anything (especially since if he turns out gay or trans, its going to be like, oh yeah, because YOU”RE GAY AND TRANS AND YOU FORCED HIM INTO YOUR AGENDA!) , still, am I not obligated to raise him in the way I think is most right?

Teaching boys that little girls are shit and teaching little girls that they are second choice, actively or passively, is NOT RIGHT. To me, and I hope to many others as well.

And I’m like… hey, wait!  If it’s okay to actively raise a kid in the straight and binary agenda, it is equally okay for me to raise a kid mindful of the following things:

There is nothing wrong with being a girl. There is nothing wrong with being a boy. There is nothing wrong with choosing to be a gender, or gender combination, you were not assigned to at birth, but all that about what one is or isn’t is pretty arbitrary and as often as not, serves as a tool to make people feel like shit about themselves. As if there weren’t enough reasons. So! I’ll try to wrap this horrible ramble up and just say:

If you are a trans girl or lady, you are the strongest and the most beautiful. (◡‿◡✿) You fight the double fight.

If you are a trans guy or masculine aspiring person, you’re all the fox princes and mermen, and I hope you don’t ever forget what it felt like to be thought of as an ‘inferior’ being.

If you are in the middle, both, neither, switching around, genderqueer, what have you–non-binary fist pound!! (That’s me too ^^. Well, I’m a guy. And I’m trans. But I am probably not who you’d think of if I said ‘trans guy’.)

To all trans people, in and out of the binary, I hope you have a great spring, and rest of the year and to all the kids growing up, trans or not-trans, while I don’t know what to DO with all this gender shit, or how to combat it, I figure I can try to raise someone to be a respectful, open person, and keep my own eyes open and learn and be mindful of trans people who are having a rough time, and I can wave my hands and say on this one day, hey, I have a nice life and I have a kid, and I have people who care about me–and I’m trans. And I’m happy when I see children and teenagers who are so much more informed of this stuff than I was when I was a kid and teenager–they inspire me and they make me hope. So for them, I want to say, please fight, because I’m too fucking old to make any change, but hey I’m an adult and I (kind of) made it out okay? I see you today and you see me.

We’re visible. Po-to-weet!!


[Shit, now it's April 1st here, but hey. You get it. :D]

If you’re really into gender baguettes, here’s some more reading.

Of Course/But Maybe

“Of course children with severe nut allergies need to be protected at all cost! Of course!!!

…but maybe…..

Maybe if just TOUCHING a nut makes you die, you need to die…”

-Louis CK

‘Of course developing children need to be kept off the computer/hand held devices as much as possible… of course!!

But maybe….. maybe it’s fucking impossible when they see adults on the computer/hand held devices all day.’


I worry about how much time my kid (who is almost three) spends glazing into a screen. I do. Especially since I am not sitting there watching what he watches all the time (fuck that.) I would have to sit through hours of ‘Ducky Song’ and ‘Nyan Cat Techno Remix’ to make sure my toddler doesn’t accidentally stumble onto a horse porn site. Not going to happen.

Reader: God, you are a horrible parent. There is a special circle in hell for parents like you.

Dear ladies gents and lagents of the jury, allow me to defend myself.

It occurred to me the other day when I was worrying about just how much time my kid spends watching our little hand-held tablet, that my man J spends his whole life staring at a screen. He LITERALLY does! He is a programmer, which means it is his job to stare at a (actually, two) screens for eight hours a day. On the commute to and from work, and even as he walks from the train station to and from our house, he is looking at his smart phone. His hobby is to play video games, which he does on his PC. His social pastime is to play Ingress (a game involving your smart phone). He looks at his smart phone even when he is taking a whiz, and especially when number two. So basically, unless he is sleeping, eating or x-ing (and depending on whether he is alone for aforementioned activities two and three, maybe even then), he is looking at a screen.

Pretty grim, huh?

But let’s look at me. I am a technophobe, to a degree. Nothing makes me gnash my teeth harder than seeing a couple (or god forbid, entire family) sitting in a restaurant, everyone endlessly diddling their smart phones while their food goes into catatonia. Nothing annoys me more than the douche-canoe who whips out their smartphone after a half-second lull in conversation. And yet–

Both my jobs (translating and writing articles) involves looking at a screen. When I am writing/working on a novel or graphic novel, I will be using a computer to do so for upwards of 4-8 hours a day. I don’t own a smart-phone, but even if I am drawing, I will be (if not actively looking at a screen) at least connected to a computer so I can listen to music. And that does not include time I spend online chatting with friends, writing emails, skyping with my parents who live oversees, looking at blogs, reading shit online or porn harvesting. (Ahem, research, you understand.)

So. Even though I am a smart phone hating iTurd disdaining individual, I STILL spend… probably almost as much time near/on a screen as J. O__O

Which brings me to the question: How much time should kids, especially small kids, spend in front of a screen?

The National Association for Little Minion Control says little toddler minions should have preferably none (but no more than a daily thirty minute access) to hand-held devices. Another article I recently read said something like kids under twelve shouldn’t spend more than 2 hours in front of a screen per day. ‘Cause if they spent more than two hours a day, death, destruction and the annexation of Crimea would occur…

Of course! I mean, what kind of foundation would a childhood comprised of iPad stroking be?!?

Of course, the people who make these articles spent their childhoods out in Nature, shooting air rifles and Swimming in lakes and playing cops and robbers and being kids! Not learning sedentary habits and getting overstimulated and god forbid, looking at images of some guy distending his asshole, or the video none of us can ever forget: ‘Two Boys, One Cheeseburger’.

Of course! Of course, I say, children today are missing out on the childhood I had, which was exactly that–being outside, chasing a ball with a stick, crying into the body cavity of the deer I had just shot, and walking uphill bothways in the snow to school. I want my kid to have those lovely times too, the BI (Before Internet) times… Of course all kids should have that…!

But maybe….

But maybe….

I would love to limit my kid’s screen-time to 15 minutes a day or whatever time limit the sage people at Little Minion Control have deemed is appropriate to make sure he doesn’t end up morbidly corpulent and morally corrupt and intellectually stunted. Except that means *I* also would have to look at a screen only 15 minutes a day because kids are monkey say monkey do. “No Jimmy, you already HAD your 15 minutes of tablet time. You go play with Lincoln Logs while I watch this video of a bear mauling this lady, I mean, I mean, do my really important work.”

Nope. Does not fly.

I mean, sure, beating a ball with a stick and Lincoln Logs were good enough for us, ’cause we didn’t HAVE videos of ladies getting mauled by bears. Now it’s, ‘Okay Shushu, you can watch the bear eat her face, but then you need to eat your broccoli…”

//Note: I don’t actually watch animal mauling videos, with or without, my kid.//


I do try to set a good example. I honestly do. Sometimes, I pick up this weird brick-like thing, I think the Elden Peoples called them ‘books.’ I pick one up and read one, with real pages and my kid, yes miracles! will say “Nazgul read to.” (He calls himself Nazgul.)

Same with drawing–when I draw, as often as not, my kid will get near me, and ‘draw’ as well (or at least, fuck up our house more; today, little Michaelangelo drew a lovely mural on our freshly changed sheets >__<).

Yes, when I draw, my kid wants to draw; when I read, he wants to read. When I cook, he wants to cook–when I go on a walk, he wants to come with me–and when I am on the computer (which is essentially all day). he wants to look at a screen as well.

Makes sense.

So, I can either be a big stinkin’ hypocrite and force him to play with boring-ass blocks while I do awesome computer stuff like edit books on the screen and watch you tube videos–or I can find  his treasured Nyan Cat brostep remix for him on the tablet, while I hum ‘welcome to the new age, welcome to the new age… RADIOACTIVE>>> RADIOACTIVE>>>>!’

Gently initiate him into the practice of staring at a screen all day as adults already do, ’cause hey, that’s s how we live now, for better or for worse, so might as well not fight it too much and hope he doesn’t grow into the loozer who x’s his own computer, like that one movie.

(Little side-tangent though about judging people who have sex with tech devices, I mean, a computer can’t get impregnated, and it can’t transmit STDs, so you know… sounds actually like a pretty okay deal…. from the parental side… just trying to stay positive here….in case my kid does turn into That Guy… I’ll love him no matter what, that’s all I’m trying to say…

Hetero-, homo-, pan-, or technosexual…. )


Inky Void

::sigh:: I was just saying today to J, ‘I’m resting on my laurels.’

What laurels? He asked. You may very well be asking yourself, dear Reader.

girls in space

Lonely Star – My kid is currently obsessed with space, so I drew octonauts in space!!!!!
Brown ink. ^__^ [PS: Is this pic done? Part of me wants to add more space debris or something... but I also like the clean fear in space.... hmmm.]

The laurels (more symbolic than actual triumphs) I am resting on are as follows:

1. The operation got done. (And I spend a lot of time staring at the results and feeling stupendously happy.)

2. My publisher finished my bigass book and responded that he is interested and will get the wheels turning now regards it. O___O (::hyperventilates and falls over::)

Book and chest. Chest and book. Two things that had been weighing on me like a hairy sack of strawberry ice cream all of 2013, and now, both are in some stage of resolution.

And that’s good…. that’s wonderful! But…these last two weeks, the inside of my brain’s felt like this:

We're the fuckin' animals: Coffee time with Mr. Bear, Fox Boy and Mink Boy.

We’re the fuckin’ animals: Coffee time with Mr. Bear, Fox Boy and Mink Boy. Black and brown and red ink.

Book three sits patiently in the poorly ventilated waiting room of my brain, reading back issues of People, drinking cup after cup of cool coffee and not giving a bleeding fuq. I don’t have discontent to kick me into gear–*I* have to kick myself into gear…

A new sketchbook and a block of enormous inkable paper and an entire bottle of walnut-colored ink AND a little octonaut turning three in two weeks!!

Things to do now: 1. get shit done on book 3. hire a clown. 4. teach my kid the Way of the Toilet…

music listen

Learn how to count, lala lalalalala

Four Non-Blondes

Hey, hey! My previous post inspired someone to make something fucked up! ::dances::

Behold! An offering from our very own Dr. Fail:

family2_enhancedThanks, Dr. Fail <3 <3 <3 It was too good to not share.

Click below, you won’t be sorry :D

The Theme Song.

“And I said HAAA AAAAAAY, HAAAAAAY… I said HEY! What’s going on?!?”


This Post Will Make You Hungry

Warning: Pictures of food and butts ahead. Please abort now if you can’t deal with food or butts at this moment.

Forget the eviscerated fufu that passes for ‘Thai cuisine’ here in Germany… my god, the flavors–battering my tongue with Sriracha colored waves until they obliterate my mental barriers and completely overwhelm! The curries cavorting, the lemon grass ballet, the condensed milk brimming in the oily sea of the rich black Nescafe (I love Nescafe crystals and I always will)–

We’re back, but I miss the food already. Some pics of our Bangkok adventures.

IMG_7296boat noodlesBoat noodles– fragile rice noodles in a rich, primordial broth that will make you get down on your knees…toastPerversely thick slices of toast, cubed and avalanched in strawberry. O__O
currySay goodbye to your butthole: Green curry, simmered with succulent pork and green tomatoes, spicy as fuck, eaten right off the street.
foreigners‘What will these foreigners NOT take a picture of?’ …. There is only one man in Thailand not enchanted by small children—and we found him!
sores Adorable and covered in sores! That’s my kid…! <3  Fufu and J in the ball pit.
(The sores are not dropsy, just bug bites. If you were wondering.)

….soooo I got these undies at the night bazaar…..
butts“They will tell you the price for Boom Boom is 1300 to 1500 hundred baht.
…DO NOT accept this price. “
2014-03-01 13.23.55This tantanmen is my girlfriend…. Just look at her. <3 <3
2014-03-02 11.15.10Lost boys in the tuktuk. Nazzie is sad because one lost boy, Uncle Fail, is missing.
2014-03-03 12.09.53The world’s most dubious little sushi chef ^___^

(Is it me or have they modified the Colonel’s appearance to be just the slightest more Asian, to better appeal to the local populace…?) Whatever they’ve done, the Thai people have taken the fingerlickin’ goodness and elevated it to a level that is godly. If you find yourself in Thailand, YOU MUST try the KFC.
bananaThere is no food that cannot be improved by the addition of an egg–! An amazing banana pancake, cooked on the street, with an egg inside!!
And last, but soooooo not least…!
omfg, this is our next Christmas card, you heard it here first.

[Special thanks to paintblotch for suggesting the KFC and banana pancakes... they were as amazing as you had described!!!!!!]

<3 <3

Much Thai ii.

This much Thailand I have never.
//edited for J. :D//


If you only do what you always do, you will only have what you’ve always had.

-A bit of Thai t-shirt wisdom that I think about probably more than I should.


The gauntlet of nurses all seem to know only the vocabulary for whatever specific task they must perform on me and any attempts at further questions or conversation garners a broad smile, tightlips, head-shaking. Better not have any questions and simply submit to the process.

Please a-step a-heah. We take ah your temperature.
Please take off a-shoe. We take-ah your…. WEIGHT.
When is-ah lassa time you eat something?
When is-ah lassa time you drinking WATER?

My operation will be at ten: I was asked to show up at six in the morning. How will I kill the time between six and ten, I had wondered the night before. It’s easy: I spend it alone in my private room hooked up to an IV, staring at the obsidian colored flat-screen TV. Except for a nurse who comes in every hour or so to measure my blood pressure and take my temperature, I don’t see anyone. Just enough time to rethink everything once more, from every angle.

Some of my friends back home had questioned my sanity regards this issue. ‘How can you be sure?’ They had asked. I guess I figured… I can’t be? Nothing is sure but death and taxes? It’s funny, I think even if I had done the obligatory two years of therapy, it wouldn’t have become real until that hour when I lay hooked up to the IV; the hour the doctor is drawing figures on the chest, we will-ah make the incision here and a-hear. Until I heard the silver ping ping of the IV water drip into me; heard the doctor describe all manner of possible infection and scarring, it always seemed completely right. Now I waver.

Will it finally help?
Yes. No.
I don’t know anymore. Is it too late?

Seven in the morning, eight, nine, ten, ten thirty; they finally come to take me to the operating room; it looks like the movies do get it right. Lights flashing over my head, rushed urgency, even though the orderly is not pushing the gurney with particular hurry. The operating room’s double doors are thrown open; in enormous all caps it’s blared above them OPERATING ROOM. I can’t imagine what purpose this theatrical label serves. Does the staff tend to forget what this room is used for? Or is it more to drive home completely to the patient their situation? To increase the drama?

J cried a tiny bit the night before. I was very touched–he said, I know its a standard procedure, but they will put you to sleep… you have to… be strong. You have to be strong and remember us and not stay asleep if it comes to that. I’m thinking about my boys now while the nurses take off my hospital gown, my boys, my friends back home, my family; an older nurse tucks my hair under a showercap. ‘So beautiful,’ she whispers while she’s shoving platinum sucked tinges under the cap. I think, hey, that color’s fake. But thanks!

If I do die, at least the last thing I heard was a compliment.

A doctor who is probably Thai but whose features and rhythms of speech recall to me a Japanese person steps behind me. He looks down at a clipboard, booms:

“Okay, a-Mister Merey, I am here today to put-ah you to sleep and you are here today to get operation for….” He stares down at his clipboard, squints.

“_____________? Yes? That is correct?”

A brief moment of panic. The needle of the IV feels overly thick in my left arm. Everything bends irrational and dreamlike, I want to yell, no, this is a mistake, I need to go home, I’m healthy, I don’t need to get cut open, I don’t need to get put to sleep, I don’t need this, I want to go back to my boys, that is not correct.

“I must not fear.
 Fear is the mind-killer.
 Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
 I will face my fear.
 I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
 Where the fear has gone there shall be nothing……
 Only I will remain.”

“Yes, it’s correct.”

I nod, swallow. He tells me he will be my anesthesiologist, that when I wake up, I will remember nothing and the operation will be done. That the pain will be mild at first but it will intensify during the first night. Do I have any questions?

Yes, my voice is about 1 cm tall. Did the other doctor tell him to make sure to give me an anti-emetic after the operation? Cut me up, infections, scaring–just don’t make me throw up.

His brows furrow.

“Anti-emetic? No vomit medicine you mean? Oh yes, I give. Everything give before you ah-waking up, no worries. But no guarantees, ne? Even you take anti-emetic, sometimes vomiting, ne? I cannot give 100%. Now tell me, Mister a-Merey, where you a-coming from?”


“Ah yes, Germany. Good beer, ne? So tell-ah me, how you a-say in Germany…. good morning?”

“Guten Morgen.”

“Guten Morgen! Excellent. Okay, and how you a-saying good night?”

“Gute Nacht.”

“And good afternoon?”

“I don’t think anyone says that.”

“Not saying good afternoon? Okay. But saying good night, Gute Nacht. Yes, yes? Gute nacht, that is the time right now, time for you to go to sleep, Mister Merey. Time for a-night.”

My kid, who is half Asian, also can’t ever seem to say plain ‘night’ or ‘good night.’ He says ‘a-night.’

My eyes well up.

A-night, Ryszball.

Will they put me to sleep with a mask or a needle? I don’t have too much time to think about it. Three seconds later a cold the color of deep space spreads at the base of my skull and goes all the way down my spine. The consciousness rushes up through the spine, out the top of the head. My brain stem freezes; I hear the  Nazgul’s thin little baby voice:

A-night, Ryszball.

A-night, Mister Merey.

In 5

I wake up with my throat sore and my mouth pasted shut from the inside. Not feeling so fucking nice, but if I think about it, I’ve had tens of hangovers worse than this. Dried out, but no poison sloshing in my veins and guts; the nausea is abstract. I know it won’t materialize into actual vomiting. The pain in my chest is also abstract–it will get much stronger over the night.

“Water,” I croak. The nurse rushes over, I sip, close my eyes. Into sleep and out of sleep and into sleep… At some point, I’m wheeled back to my room, hours pass, I wake up concretely. Late Thai sun filters through the window. I have an urge to jump to my feet, look down when upward movement causes resistance–the ends of two tubes run under the extremely tight bandage on my chest. The other ends of the tubes end in a transparent plastic ball one quarter filled with disgustingly lukewarm liquid the color of diluted ketchup. I don’t want to touch the ball, but I have to take it with me if I want to get up. I hold it like a dead mouse, away from my body and wobble over to the window.

From the tenth floor, I see the hospital’s building roots down into a swamp. The black water glints with poisonous rainbows. It rushes out; floods shanty towns, little islands, finally crashing into a concrete mess of overpasses and eight lane highways. Far away, neon signs, not yet lit, glimmer. A late winter sun hangs over the smoggy horizon–a low radioactive egg yolk.

Every hour or so the nurse comes in again to take my temperature or bring me food, not that I could handle any food now. I determine the Thai people seem fond of crinkle-cutting all fruits and vegetables–the uneaten plates of crinkle cut apples, papayas, squash and carrots start piling up on my bedside table, like strange sets of organic, edible toys.

Around evening, I’m sober enough that when the nurse comes again, I ask her if it would be possible to make a call to my family. Her head cocks.


“A phone call, yes.”

I make a phone with my right hand, put it to my mouth and ear. She reaches down now with concern, moves the hair away from my ear where my pretend-phone touches.

“You have-a pain in the head?” She checks behind my ear for the source of my pain.

Despair x impatience.

“A call, a PHONE call. I’d like to call my family! They need to know that I’m okay!”

Her well-groomed eyebrows run together.

“Oh no, oh no a-calling family, very expensive. I think, very expensive.”

“It’s a local call,” I plead. “Thai number. I shove the paper feebly in her face. “Look, Thai number. Local.”

Was “local” the magic work? She nods, “haa...” Takes the paper from my hands. “I try to make a-local call for you, come back soon,” she says.

I don’t see her again.

I sleep, get up, walk to the window. Stare down into the iridescent swamp water. The private room is quieter than midnight. I wish it was midnight, then I’d be closer to morning, but it’s late afternoon at best. Finally, I take my plastic ball, filled (to my relief) with still the same amount of murky almost-warm blood and walk into the bathroom.

I look into the mirror for the first time. There’s some blood still on my neck, an extremely tight bandage around the middle of my chest. The IV end still in my arm. Dark circles under my eyes.

If you only do what you always do, you will only have what you’ve always had.

I go back to bed and sleep.