Tag Archives: syria

Ring! Ring! Kurdistan’s Calling!

I knew my brother was out of town. I’d seen the pictures on Instagram. It looked like he was somewhere hot, dusty, crowded, and with tents—like Coachella, sort of. I kept scrolling: waves in Peru, dogs in grass, craft beers and cuticles. I meant to send him an email, but soon the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into catching up on “Breaking Bad.” Things came up.

Insta

Then my brother rang in the middle of the day. I was lying on my back, staring at the ceiling fan, wondering if I had ever disappointed anyone as much as my fan was disappointing me. I figured, nah, but I applauded myself for asking.

the other iraq
Below is a transcript of what was said the second time he called. I missed the first call.

DT: Hey, how’s it going? Where are you?

Unnamed Brother[1]: It’s going well. I’m in Belgium. Just got back from Kurdistan last night.

DT: Iraq, eh? Nice.  How was that?

UB: It was really interesting. 70,000 refugees poured from Syria last week and we were working with U.N. to set up various  camps in 130 degree weather, so–

DT: 130 degrees? Damn. It’s actually disgustingly hot here in LA. Too hot to even drink coffee. Can you imagine that?

UB: Um…

DT: Anyway, I’m trying out a new system to deal with the heat. By the way, do they have A/C out there or did you guys just set up the refugee camps in caves?

UB: There’s electricity in the camps and air conditioning units in every tent that the Kurdish—

DT: Lucky bastards! I’ve only got a window unit myself—that and an underperforming ceiling fan that might be the death of me. Silver Lake has never been more unlivable.

UB: Sounds rough.

DT: You can’t imagine. How was the food?

UB: Awful.

DT: That sucks. How were the chicks?

UB: Bundled up.

DT: Interesting. I gotta tell you. I had a hell of a long couple weeks at work. I’m sitting around all day listening to people pitch jokes and talk about their dogs, cars, diets. It’s exhausting. How was the work there?

UB: We started at six in the morning and usually finished around midnight. It wasn’t so much the hours that were hard, but the heat took its toll.

DT: Wow. Brutal. I can relate. As you may recall, I went to college in the desert. Sometimes it got so hot that literally the only thing we could do was strip down to bathing suits and drink tequila at an impromptu pool party. Anyway, I’ve gotta run. Great talking to you!

UB: Okay, but re—

CLICK.  Do cell phones have a dial tone? I don’t know. I was the one who hung up. I just remembered that my neighbors said I could use their pool, and this heat and that pool, wait for no man.


[1] Although, I don’t know what my brother does or where he does it, most of the time, I’d like to believe that it’s a necessary courtesy to not attach his name to anything I claim on his behalf without his permission.

1 Comment

Filed under Formal Correspondence

All Of My Favorite Women Are Arsonists

There comes a time in every man’s life, when he takes life by the horns and the horns turn to Don Julio Anejo.

For me, that time was last night.

The place: Thai Angel

The time: Afterhours

The reason: N/A

There are two things you should know about Thai Angel: They don’t serve tequila and their food is intolerable.

But Thai Angel serves a purpose. To my knowledge, it’s the only place where you’ll be offered cocaine, pad thai, and a hand job in the same breath.  I don’t recommend dabbling in all three at once.

I don’t go to Thai Angel so I can put a tug job on my Amex. I don’t go there to eat. And generally speaking, I don’t go there to blow lines with guys who look like they’ve borrowed their eyes. I go to Thai Angel for conversation. I go for spirited debate. I go because I value the jumbled version of the truth that spills out of a Thai hooker’s mouth as the sun’s rising and I’m her only hope for another fifty USD.

Last night there was little in the way of conversation to be found. I met Hugo on the corner of Tamarind and Franklin. He had a girl on his arm that couldn’t decide if she was from New York or New Jersey. We rode in my chariot. A commandeered Datsun truck I’d won in a lively game of pick-up basketball on Yucca.

At Thai Angel, Hugo and Ms. NY/Jersey really had something going on. And it really didn’t involve me. Left to my own devices, I struck up a conversation with Greek Cypriots who were visiting from Florida. We talked ornithology. We talked island-life. We talked bloodshed. We talked Arabic. We talked English. They didn’t speak either.

Cyprus12stamp

From what I could tell, they wanted to dance. There were three of them. As you well know, it’s very difficult to dance with three people. The intimacy is lost. You stand in a circle watching each other’s hips gyrate. They wanted me to join. They wanted to pair off.

The problem is, after talking bloodshed, I was ready to spill some. They bought me a whisky. I stared into the Styrofoam cups and waited for the truth to surface. I found nothing but Jim Beam and ice.

The sun started to rise. Deep house music was putting me to sleep. I ate a hot bowl of dumpling soup, which tasted like recycled urine and mint. And then it hit me.

The Cypriot men, there were two, and the Cypriot woman split to their respective bathrooms. I ordered them to smuggle as many paper towels as possible. The men came up empty handed—the bathroom was all out. The woman, whose name I didn’t catch or care to remember, fulfilled and surpassed expectations.

On my way to the Datsun, I passed Hugo. He was whispering something patriotic to his date. I waved; he winked. The Cypriots and I hit the parking lot where the bouncer told us to get the fuck inside or go home.

Sure thing, boss.

We stuffed the paper towels into my gas tank. I get horrible ear infections so I keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the center consul. I drizzled the torn seats with the stuff. I ejected my Tony Robbins self-help tape and pocketed it. ( Tony has really done great things for my self-esteem.)

The lady Cypriot lit the wad of paper towels. All my favorite arsonists are women.

When a car burns it’s not like in the movies. This was hugely disappointing. From across the street we watched the car light up. It was mainly smoke. Not much of a flame. It never blew up. BANG!!!… never happened. It just smoked out. I realized those goddamn Cypriots are good-for-nothing arsonists. If you’re wondering why their economy is shot, it all comes back to their inability to properly blow up a car.

I caught a cab and left the Cypriots to their three-way dance party. Next time, I need to blow something up I’m going to get a Syrian.

Leave a comment

Filed under Formal Correspondence