John Tang

Jay Day

Posted in Sketchbook by Jt's Item Roster on April 8, 2010

Jay’s Room

Lying down on Jay’s bed, the window sill had a blue pen. That was boring, and by now Jay finished downloading a Japanese game on the desktop. A fighting game similar to Guilty Gear. Jay hunched over. Matching buttons to gestures, gestures to grunts and foreign words, he never figured how he won, but he did. There was an electric guitar rift following well with the colorful design, shimmering like an Alaskan aura in winter solstice. Each character fought over pond, rippling on every step. The water fall fell over a few chestnut rocks, down elephant eared plants, where Jay’s animated character fell after a swipe across the ribs. The opponent, a woman sighted for her maroon hair bouncing over the chest, played the final seconds crouching down. She pulled the win.

A pair of Castros arrived at eight o’clock. Gabe came in, said ‘sup’ to John, who was struggling against a woman with a pole shoved into the ground. They brought five burgers in a brown bag. On the television screen in the corner was Ultimate Fighter. A boy in Green and black hair, spiked down the skull, lost in a grapple. He cried, and the trainer tried encouraging him: “One minute, one minute, please? One minute, one minute, please? Just one minute.” The boy turned around the column, and the trainer said, “Growth comes after lost.”

Talking to Gabe

What has Gabe been up to? “Just feeling good, I guess.”

Doing anything exciting? “It’s really exciting. I don’t I have a starter. A gentlemen don’t kiss and tell.”

Talking to James

Anything happen to you James? “Nope. Just working out. Do you want to join us? 24 Hours work out. Fifty percent is fitness. I heard you can…”

Talking to Jay

“I talked to the recruiter today.”

“How’d it go?”

“It takes one to two weeks to get a reply from the surgeon general. Hopefully they don’t make me do the whole medical part. I felt like a piece of cattle. They put you air a cold room they make you got through a metal detector. They have a room with all the branches. You to different sections. Blood test. Ear test. Piss test. You stand in a line.  There urinal was angled. You can’t see an “Piss.” You give it to them. You go to another room. There’s seating all around the room. You’re all waiting for the doctor. One o f the doctors make you od the test. The duck walk, test your knees. Test ankles. From knees to toes.” Jay stopped because John couldn’t record everything said. “The doctor is different. My doctor was this old jewish dude. His name. like Doctor Wienstein. They check you balls. They check your butt. They make you turn around and open your cheeks. For reals: They tell you, turn around and spread you cheeks.”

“I’m turning off the light,” Jay switched the lights off. They were playing two different games from opposite corners of the room: One was competitive against the automated character, and the other game was a adventure, where a man was ditched in the desert. He just learned that he had a hook shot and flew over the dunes, as the shot pierced the wooden board.

“Wow. That’s a pretty huge map. This game is pretty tight.”

“Did you beat it,” James turned to Gabe, “or just stopped?”

“I died.” Gabe said. “There’s like shotguns or pistols.

“This game is like Grand Theft in the desert.”

“Look at this combo.”

“Did you…”

“Look at that, that was tight. The game is unreal. It’s hella tight. Open parachute. ”

“What.” James laughed. “Then grapple on it.”

“That was amazing.”

What are you doing, asked the enemy in the game.


Cold in the Guest Parking Lot

Jay stopped by the house for music programs. A mistake in downloading a program in photo design, he assumed the computer contracted a virus via the internet. Summer’s evening was only a bend in time. Cool night. Open sky. The air seldom fell below in the housing complex, where Jay and Matthew spoke to each other in the guest parking lot. Jay finished his second cigarette off a new pack, as he also fished out a black jacket from the back seat of the white truck. He lit one burning dimly tonight.

“I need to leave.”

“The military will do you good.” Matthew said.  “It sounds like you have your mind made up.”

“It will.”

“Did you talk to your professor?”

Last week Matthew watched a strong performance online, a boy playing bossa on the piano. He told Jay he could perform better than ninety percent of the “jive turkeys” on the internet. The strong players were only those recorded on stage under a glow in a black backdrop.

“Spring break.” Jay tugged on his jacket. “That’s why I’m here. I’d be in class now.”

“So what do you think?”

“I spoke to my pastor.” Slowly, the cinder phased the stick into ash. “He doesn’t have an idea about life.  It’s not like meth amphetamines. I experienced how it can throw away lives.”

“Experience goes a long way. Does he know you’re responsible when smoking? Because some are rude, aggressive, in just a hit of meth.” Matthew said. “You’re parents told him, I assume.”

“They did. In church he asked if I use it as escapism.” Jay paused. “He’s a pretty smart pastor. He’s observant. Out of all the pastors in my life, I’ll say he is one of the better ones. This man knows my dad’s family. He also knows my mom has uncles, brothers, on meth. He knows. I don’t know why my mom never told me about this before I did this.”

Matthew’s nodded in agreeing Jay came from a family line of successful relatives, who were doctors as well as musicians, the tragic past down the matriarchal line.

Jay leaned against the truck, chuckling.

“It’s because when he sees me in church, I’m alone, quiet—I don’t sit with the other kids—Why don’t I hang with the other kids? Because I’m a bad influence.  Last sermon, Easter Sunday, he gave out three cards for people to pray for. You put these cards in your wallet, so when you open your wallet you know who to pray for. I knew he was staring at me the whole time—by this time my parents already told him—he was waiting for me to step up on stage with the others. So every time he sees me, he has this preconceived idea of me. Its’frustrating. Every time I’m at church, I’m that guy who’s quiet. That’s why he believes I have this drug problem. I thought he was a smart man. Observant. He did ask, have you ever considered being a pastor? I considered being a pastor.  What I told him was I wanted to be a musician-pastor.”

“What did you want him to ask you?”

“What did I want him to ask? I wanted him to ask about what I thought of all this? My faith. The creation story is something. I see contradictions. I see holes. I know the Big Bang might be an explanation for how God made the earth. Did I believe God put animals here for us to name? A woman came from Adam’s ribs? I remember after every sermon, my parent always quizzed us on Genesis. I knew Genesis. Read every part of it. That’s why I’m leaving. I have to figure it out.”

“It’ll be good for you.”

“Because I was born into this—does that make sense? Religion was indoctrinated. My whole life I went to church with my parents. Religion can be used for control. To help others. To lift others. The Bible has a structure for a good life. Those are the right morals, but the person behind it can have the wrong intentions.”

“Control the masses. Like those mass suicide in San Diego.”

“I never refused.”

“Never missed church? What about a test in school?”

“I have, of course. But every time I’d go to church it was with my parents. I never knew it for myself.”

“I’ve been down it. If you want, it’ll always be there. It’s not simple as sleep.”

“I’m ready now.”

“Have you loved anything more than yourself?”

“No, I can’t say I have.”

“Some have art, like Tim. A girlfriend, maybe—Arian. This may perhaps be God you’re looking for. Purpose is a tangible.”


Matt’s thoughts are a crutch for context, and it shouldn’t disrupt the pace.

Frustration might be a jarring story, so it’s not always wise to enter Jay’s mind. Plus, this is Matt’s perspective.

I cut a few things because in reality there is a lack of music, sometimes, stubbing the rhythm. Point being: I prefer to avoid the little digression in life, if it disrupts the retelling of the shift in one.


May be the One

Debris of orange blush fell on his wrist. Each cheek was defined, while her friend figured that a couple of pulls around the neck would get the golden hooks to his fingers. Finishing the loop. A pause in the mirror. She said the necklace was bit loose. Until she played with her hair. Falling on her thin shoulders, it faded away the ensemble in her mind.

[It has a nice dream quality, but sounds a little forced. We’ll see it unfold into a story. Also, I might want to be in the friend’s perspective]



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