John Tang

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar: Rocket Fuel & Crossing the Street

Posted in Sketchbook by Jt's Item Roster on March 29, 2010

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar: Rocket Fuel

A Grown Man’s Tale

Three o’clock in the morning the four of us, a few friends of mine, finished Turtles in Time on PS3. Jump, special attack, and regular attack—punch, kick, sometimes, throw, headbutt and slide—for an hour, usually uncontrolled on the screen. In these weak states of consciousness the movements in the thumbs were called “button-mashing.” Our bodies functioned on cherry soda, chips, the emulation of fastfood-tacos was spicy on my tongue still to that morning. My body hunched, the head staring up at the television, while it rested on the rolls on my neck and shoulders—even how I disconnected my neck from the self in describing it as “the” was evident to how the game had taken toll over my mind.

Long story short: We travelled through enough eras, where we defeated Shredder on the top of the modern-day Statue of Liberty. We were a bit dissatisfied how rushed the game seemed. We wished the game followed a longer and thicker plotline; for instance, what machine did Shredder use to toss us into B.C. Why didn’t the producer’s follow the original verbatim, since the targeted audience were loyal fans when the game was first produced on Nintendo, then this specifically, off of Super Nintendo?

If I ran on consciousness rather than sugar, had more time to develop the sense, or rather, lost of sense, then something “fruitful,” as the classicist would say, would emerge tonight.  I could imagine being asked over a stone parapet: “What is left of you after a communal journey as hence?”


Sugar, sugar, sugar: Rocket Fuel


Crossing the Street

Trying to see Mistakes before I finish: Movement and Connection

Small things have their stories, too. Every morning there was an old man who aged well. A black man, perhaps mentally challenged as you saw in his slow reaction, bull eyes and shy demeanor. Sometimes I jogged in the morning, where I would wave and greet him. He would smile only, nod his ragged cap, while walking around our housing complex. I assumed these were routine exercises. He had good posture, as he swung those swollen forearms.

[Here’s how a fiction story would begin] Once, when the sun hid a few clouds in the summer, I had to catch my breath. I smelt the exhaust fumes smothering the main street. Because there was an elementary school close to home, the vans and midsize cars and busses congested Foxboro Street every morning. There was the old man doing the routine. Of course I greeted him, yet I said good morning.


His reserved tone dammed any conversation. I was curious about his route. I didn’t believe that question crossed any barriers, like how women could misconstrue a casual air. He was rolling a leather coat around the arms, putting a foot down on the curb but refrained before every car in passing—many of those who didn’t drive through this street we needed to cross. Many drives must’ve had missed him. His gestures were clear he wanted to cross yet was too cautious of each car, assuming many drivers never used their signals.

[The problem here is I needed a connection between the narrator and this guy. What is the point of my curiosity?]

I jogged across in small strides, lifting my knees higher every step. I didn’t want to walk him through, as if I was holding his hand, revealing some weakness. Awareness was an excuse to tap into anyone’s weaknesses, flesh or glass, personal or impartial. Although they bare a heavy veracity in the society, they were waged unfairly in assumptions. I turned around and saw the man stepped off the curb. My being there must’ve given him enough confidence to cross. When I stepped on the curb across, I turned around once more to see if he finished crossing, too. He did, and I waved goodbye. His body shifted side to side, walking, with that blank face of his, as if he didn’t notice any deeds were done. Who’d record this on my resume? Score it fairly? My eye lids fought against the allergies, twitching in the cold air beneath my little nose. I began to cool down before I finished the second mile, mitigating the effort developed after a heavy breakfast—rice and eggs and milk.



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