Bullies in your Mailbox


I sat in my apartment wondering what the dumbest face I’ve ever made was. My phone rings.

“What’s up Hank?”



“I need you, help!”

“Where are you?”


“On my way.”

He doesn’t live far. Five minute drive. He opens his door in a sweaty panic.

“They took my car,” he says.


“The insurance people.”

“Why did they take your car?”

“I didn’t pay them.”

I sigh. “Alright. Well, first let’s get to the lot. The longer it’s there the more you’ll pay.”

Hank puts a jacket on over his bare chest and closes his door behind us. We drive.

“You know, like, when you’re in school and bullies come to you and tell you to give them your lunch money?”

I turn down the music.


“Well,” Hank fidgets with the window controls. “It’s like that. Except that the bullies are far away and they are just sending letters.”

I light a cigarette and crack the window.

“So you didn’t pay them? That’s not how bills work Hank.”

Hank sighs. “I know. I’m useless. You know, I grew up too privileged.”

We sit at a red light.

“When I was younger my Dad was a doctor. But, then he cheated on my mom and so my mom died. Then he lost his practice, started getting stoned all the time and moved in with a Rastafarian man named Bo. So, then, I had nothing, and no clue what to do.”

He rolls the window all the way and sticks an arm out into the cool air.

“It’s alright Hank, we’ll figure it out.”

He nods. We get to the tow company. I look up some car insurance agencies and get them on the phone. Hank scrambles around in his brain for the information they need. Eventually, he is insured.

Before going in, I stop him.

“Hank, you have to pay now.”

“I know.”

“Every month.”

“I know.”

“They’ll take it again.”

He nods.

“Alright man, I’m gonna go,” I tell him.

“Thanks, I wouldn’t have been able to figure that out alone.”

He turns and starts walking.

“And Hank!” I call after him.

He turns, “yeah?”

“Remember, it’s just how life works, they aren’t bullies.”

He frowns. “Yes, they are.”

I pause a moment.

“Well, yes, they are. But they are bullies you have to pay.”

Hank shrugs.

“Some things never change,” he says before walking into the office.

*For more conversations with Hank, click here.

Ambidextrous Pornography



Hank and I sat at the Chinese restaurant near our place.

“This place got closed down three times for serving minors,” he tells me, drawing a picture of what looks like an egg.

“How does that even happen?” I wonder, tearing a chicken wing in half. Hank shrugs.

The waitress passes.

“Excuse me?”

She turns.

“Can I get a mai-tai?”

She nods an walks off.

I frown after her. “Unbelievable,” I mutter. I look back at Hank. He has chopsticks in one hand, pen in the other.

“I want to be ambidextrous,” he informs me. He starts drawing with one hand and eating with the other. A couple of three legged dogs dancing the waltz would have been more elegant. He doesn’t seem bothered.

“I don’t think that is something you just choose, Hank.”

He looks up. “Why not?”

“Well, I don’t know. Just one of those things.”

Hank thinks about it. “Piss on that,” he decides. He goes back to his dance. After a bit, he holds up the napkin he’d been drawing on.

I squint at it; lines and circles.

“What is it?”

He looks at it then at me. “Its people having sex.”

I look closer. “Right.”

Hank smiles. “You see, this way I can draw my porn and masturbate at the same time!”

Something clunks down on the edge of the table. I look up, the waitress looks at me, then at Hank. He smiles. She looks at me again, then scampers off.

Hank goes back to drawing. I take a sip of the mai-tai, it’s strong.

“Dude, I really don’t think you’re just going to be able to make yourself ambidextrous.”

Hank looks up at me, pen still moving, mouth full of noodles.

“And you’re not old enough to drink in bars,” he informs me.

He looks back to his stick figure porn. I think about it. I know it doesn’t make sense, but I can’t find the words to argue.

I decide to go looking for them at the bottom of my glass.

*For more conversations with Hank, click here.

A Sock With a Raw Egg in it


I sat on the floor of Hank’s apartment picking up change.

My phone rings.

“Hey Hank.”

“Hey, are the cats okay?”

I look under the desk. One cat is sleeping on a pile of old chip bags, the other is on the window sill.

“Yeah, they’re good man. Hey I have a question.”


“Yeah,” I stand up and walk over to the desk. I look down at the sock. “So there is a sock here with a raw egg and cigarette box in it. What do you want me to do with it?”

“Leave it.”

I pick up the sock and swing it in front of my own face.

“You sure?”


“Right.” I put the sock down.


The phone clicks. I go back to cleaning. Hank didn’t ask me to clean. Just watch the cats. But, leaving his apartment in the condition I found it would be tantamount to high fiving an arsonist in an orphanage.

It would be easier to clean a Denny’s bathroom, I think, in Detroit.

I manage it. Every corner, every drawer, every orifice of the apartment held some new secret disturbance. The last step, collecting the change. The floor, carpeted, is littered with change. I collect it all in a bag. I take it to the store and change it into cash.

Hank returns.

I stand in the center of the room, genuinely proud. The door opens. His face falls.

“I cleaned!”


He looks around.

“Where is all my change?”

I hand him a stack of bills.

He frowns at it.

“You wouldn’t believe how much it was. How did that much change get on the floor.”

Hank takes the bills slowly, looking at them, wounded. I sense something is wrong. He looks at the floor.

“When I get home from work I throw all my money on the floor,” he says, not looking at me.

“Oh, uh, why?”

He shrugs. “That why I don’t know how much I have, but it’s always enough. If I need coffee in the morning or want a beer, I just pick up the money off the ground and go.”

I hang my head.

“Oh, sorry man.”

He scratches his head.

“No it’s okay.”

He drops the stack of bills on the ground. It sits there, alone. We both look down at it.

Hank sighs.


*For more conversations with Hank, click here.