#pnw zine
wormyorchids · 3 days ago
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New zine printed!
You can find it at Etsy.com/shop/wormyorchidsart or sign up for my mailing list for a zine every month at Patreon.com/wormyorchids :))
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krisfreedain · a year ago
Welcome to Portland, where the streets are paved with gold and the arboreal rodents espouse socialism in the Little Free Libraries
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I need to find a copy of this!
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elliephoenix · a year ago
Zines & the punk scene needs to make a comeback 😭
*** I know it’s not completely dead and there’s a scene in San Francisco and parts of Oregon and Washington but I want more of it
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cabbagefeet · 4 years ago
Hey anyone want a zine about anadromous salmonidae fishies? Send me a message and I can either send you an pdf or mail it to you
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wormyorchids · 2 years ago
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Olympia sketch pages 🏔
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attor · 2 years ago
if ppl are interested ive been thinking of compiling a west cascade/pnw coastal forest zine about common edible naturalized and native plants, if u already know ur stuff its a good time for scouting out spots to either begin tending or to harvest rootable canes/starts/cuttings from nearby to you to begin in ur own yard or the yards of loved ones. with the growing scarcity of food i am really regretting being away from my potted herbs and wild edibles and am getting very homesick for my patches i used to watch + tend since i moved and even though i dont know enough at this point to supplement an entire pantry its nice to have little things to fall back onto when certain things become harder to obtain 
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clockworklemon · 2 years ago
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Desert plants from my journal - 005 micron pen
I already put out a PNW plant zine, if these interest u lemme know and I may put together a desert plant zine as well!
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oilonh2o · 5 years ago
Here is the physical copy of my #zine , has some information here and there of interests. It has a #vegan recipe, a short ghost story. A few #original #illustrations made by me, and some #poetry . I will make this available on my etsy store if you would like to support. Thank you. #pnw #artist #art #comics
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heatherwitch · 3 years ago
Hey Mouse! For the book question, it might be nice to compile a full book but have individual sections also available: example all your information on herbs, gods, spoonie witchcraft can be an individual sections then that gives the opportunity for people who may just want an individual section 2 maybe download and e copy and be able to load it directly into their own binder of witchcraft. While others can just e-download or receive an in-person copy of your book. Kinda like prints on esty?
Hi! Interesting thought! I hadn’t even considered including everything in the book, haha. I was just thinking it would be spoonie/chronically ill witchcraft based. 
I could see myself doing a book for spoonie witches and then either a book or a zine with plant correspondences for ALL of the common native plants in the PNW. If I were to do something with my SDVAs, it’d probably be a zine!
Having the multiple sections is an interesting thought, and I like the accessibility of being able to download different portions. Thanks for getting the ideas flowing :)
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gildedhoneybee · 5 years ago
I kind of want to do a zine of native Oregon plants. Has that been done?
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arcadechan · 4 years ago
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another zine piece for @bnhatravelzine!! I did the teachers in a PNW gift shop. All Might is buying that shirt for Deku, because his shoes are just So Big
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theestuaryandthesea · 3 years ago
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Hello, #GradblrChallenge! I’m really excited to be joining this, even though I’m definitely one of the borderline gradblrs to have been accepted. 
Name or nickname: Vee
Location: Arkansas, USA (yikes)
Area of study: I’m in an English program, specializing in RhetComp and gender/sexuality studies. I’m primarily interested in discursive constructions of group identity in LGBT spaces, rhetorics of female masculinity, and ephemeral texts, so my thesis is on constructions of identity in zines by queer, mad women in contrast to their representations in legal and medical discourse.
Level of study: Second-year M.A.
A word on your thesis/dissertation: Nebulous
What has been your experience with graduate school/university thus far: Overall, relatively good. This is a small program, so its an easier entry to academia than most, I think.
What do you hope to accomplish with this challenge: I need to actually get work done. Summer teaching and a language course ate up all my time, so I need to finish prep for my fall courses and finish my thesis prospectus. If I have time, I’d like to begin work on PhD app materials. I’m also hoping to establish a work schedule that will let me prioritize my own research going into the fall semester. I love teaching, but sometimes it feels like my teaching responsibilities expand to fill all my available time, to the detriment of my own work. I’ll have three classes this fall, so time management and routine are going to be what carries me through.
Is this your first #gradblrchallenge: Yes! :)
Favorite film: Probably The Hours? I also really like Swiss Army Man and Arrival.
Favorite TV Series: Grey’s Anatomy hahaha
Places you wish to visit in a near future: Seattle/the PNW in general
Where do you see yourself in five years: Ideally, finishing my PhD and entering the job market.
Meaning behind your url: I like water and all the good handles were taken.
A random fact about you: I’m slowly migrating towards the southeast. WA --> MN --> OK --> AR --> ???
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olympiazinefest · 5 years ago
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OZF organizers field trip, "A Revolution You Can Dance To" exhibit, Tacoma History Museum. Zine making table, banners from International Pop Underground Convention.
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lids-flutter-open · 3 years ago
goth trans boy YA set in undisclosed PNW college town, chapter 2:
(content warning for: LGBT youth group, discussion of predatory grooming and stalking)
Chapter two
Group night was Wednesday, and that meant at seven in the evening I had to park my car by the library (because of the free parking) and walk down to Eighth Ave where the building for Compton House was. It was on the single street in downtown that was the bad part of town, or at least the bad part of town according to the Hollister set. It was just a block and a half, and it was where the homeless people and oogles liked to sit, but it was bustling with active commercial real estate, too. The gay bar was two doors down, and the same street had a show space and two Thai restaurants and a thrift store and a hair salon and a corner store. Compton House was on the fourth floor of a mixed-use building. It was accessible by elevator for people in wheelchairs as long as the elevator worked, but the elevator was the slowest in the world so anyone who could took the stairs. You had to get buzzed in the front door, because of the hate crime fears et cetera, and not even youth workers like me were supposed to know what the door code was, but I’d been going there so long I knew the code and just showed up. 
Tonight the adult facilitator was Spruce, who was nice and like, an old punk, but who I hated because she gave bad advice to tweens. I got ready to mentor the shit out of the thirteen-to-fifteen-year-old set. Ostensibly I was a youth like everyone else and this was my group therapy session, but sometime last year the formula changed and I realized that the shit I was having problems with was no longer anything that anyone in the group could help me with, even the facilitator. My pen pal who I’d had since I was fourteen had disappeared off the face of the planet and deleted his blog and then he resurfaced and it turned out he was schizophrenic and had a heroin addiction, and then he went AWOL again somewhere in Kansas. I didn’t have a way to contact him and his mom, who he had told me beat him, was messaging me on social media and I didn’t know what to tell her. What do you tell a sixteen year old to do about that? Or when Opal lost housing. Nobody was ready to deal with all of that shit and it just scared the thirteen-year-olds when I talked about it, so I stopped sharing the heavy stuff at group and just tried to take care of them. It was exhausting, but also good in a way that I knew would never help me on a college application but was somehow good for the community. Not that I could tell if I was giving good advice or not, but at least I was there, or something.
There were six kids in there when I got in, sitting on the orange couch and three folding chairs and single pink beanbag. One was my age, this lesbian named Gabby that I knew was fucking some dumb college student, or had been, and had issues with compulsive shoplifting that she brought up every time she was in group. Then there was this baby looking trans girl and three baby looking lesbians and/or theythems and/or transmascs, and one scared looking little gay boy. All of the latter set were somewhere between thirteen and sixteen, and none of them had been at the group very long. I couldn’t remember their names or pronouns. 
I got out the snacks, which Spruce had forgotten to do, and checked the coffee pot. It was grimy and I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had cleaned it, so I just hid it behind the snack cart in the corner and brought out the water heater and the tea and plugged the water heater in. 
“Hey all, have some chips,” I said. “Or tea.”
“Ooh, the tea, miss vanjie,” said the shy gay boy, very quietly. I laughed, to show him that he could in fact say that. He smiled. 
“I’m James,” I said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“I saw you before a few weeks ago at group,” the shy boy said. “I’m Don.”
“Sorry, Don, I’m like almost faceblind,” I said. “I can’t remember people very well. I’ll remember you now.”
We went over the rules of the group before people started sharing. Step up step back had been changed last year to move up, move up, because of the ableism inherent in talking about stepping like it was universal and also the need to emphasize that listening was an active skill and not equivalent to nonparticipation. The rule basically meant that if you were talking a lot, shut up and listen, and if you were listening a lot, you should talk. The other rules were, don’t yuck my yum, which meant don’t say you hated a neutral thing someone else liked, and confidentiality, which meant don’t gossip about this shit or name people by name if you were talking shit about them in your sharing, and “this is a racism/sexism/etc free space”, which was a rule that kept expanding forever and needed to be elaborated on but in general meant respect pronouns and don’t say anything racist or say anything shitty about fat people. There was oops ouch snap, which meant that you snapped your fingers to agree with something someone said and said “ouch” when you wanted to start calling someone out. You were supposed to say “oops” when called out and move on, though that never happened. Then there was the rule that was about mandatory reporting, which meant that if the people who worked at Compton knew your name, they had to tell someone if you were being abused. That meant that people could use aliases if they wanted. There were other rules, too, which got brought up as they came up but were too obscure for our rule poster in the corner. 
We always divided the time up based on how many people were in the room and then apportioned everyone blocks of time based on that. If there were a lot of people, time was always crunched. Some people shared for five minutes and got feedback for five minutes and were good, while others prattled for thirty minutes. One time when I was first coming to group a girl had read her diary for thirty minutes while a neutralized facilitator watched in paralyzed awe, unable to intervene. We were better at regulating tempo now, if only because people like me were there. Long timers. 
The first girl, who was like, thirteen, talked about how she had come out to her parents and they told her that she was imagining it, and then took her to a therapist that asked her to think very hard about whether she was actually gay. The parents didn’t know she was at the group. She had come with her friend, who was wearing a rainbow bracelet. Spruce knew what to do with that kind of share, and in general told the girl that people were here for her and we cared about her. I echoed Spruce, and the other kids in the circle said their bit about how there were other gay people in the world and things were real and we cared about her. The girl, whose name was Eve, cried. 
The other kids were pretty boring too, though the little shy gay boy was apparently having sex with his boyfriend, who was his age. Spruce forgot to do the safe sex talk in her feedback so I told Don about places he could find condoms and told him about the books and zines in Compton’s library that he should read about sex and STD prevention and consent. I also had him write down the times he could go get free STD testing. He was so young that there was no way he’d get on PrEP, and I couldn’t imagine he was actually able to get downtown to access testing, but at least he’d know it was a thing and think about correct condom use during sex and he’d think to get tested if he noticed anything off about his partner’s dick or got any cold sores. 
Gabby talked about shoplifting. She’d stolen six hundred dollars worth of stuff from Nordstrom Rack and was worried her mom would notice it in her closet, so she was giving it away to friends. She always talked about how she was guilty about it, but I knew really this was the only place she could come to brag. I didn’t really see a problem with shoplifting luxury items for yourself and your friends, though I wouldn’t have chosen Nordstrom Rack. Gabby didn’t mention the college student, which I hoped meant they had broken up. I’d met the girl one time and hated her. Probably because she seemed like she actually shopped and spent money at Nordstrom Rack.
The trans girl, whose name was Venus, was fifteen, and hers was the first situation where I had to actually get intense with feedback. She started out with talking about how her mom wouldn’t let her get a piercing, which seemed reasonable to me, but of course devastating to a girl who really needs snakebites right now. Venus was on puberty blockers, so she had a cooler mom than most kids who needed snakebites, but even trans kids whose parents try to be supportive in the hormone and medical treatment department miss some stuff. Venus’s mom, for example, was unaware of Venus’s romantic extracurricular activities.
“It sucks,” Venus said, “that I can’t talk about my shitty relationship with a boy with my mom because she’s so paranoid that I’m sneaking around doing drugs or getting piercings or whatever and would totally flip her lid if she knew I was dating this older dude. Like I want to ask her advice about it and because I can’t get it the whole thing just keeps getting pent up and I explode at her about stuff that doesn’t matter.” She twisted her head around the room and looked at all of us without making eye contact, gauging our reactions.
Don, the gay boy, snapped his fingers. I knew Spruce appreciated that he was respecting the rule about using finger-snapping to affirm someone’s statement.
There was a long silence while Venus rearranged herself on the orange couch. It went on for so long that Spruce finally said, in the littlest little annoying breathy soft lesbian not-taking-up-space voice, 
“You still have ten minutes in your share, if you want to say anything more, Venus.”
Venus nodded.
“This guy Alex is my boyfriend,” Venus said, ignoring the alias rule for talking about people, “and I love him, or I did, but I think I have to break up with him. Maybe not right away, but eventually. And it sucks because I’ve been hiding it from my mom because at first I thought it was going to last a really long time. But we’ve been dating two months and I feel like he’s only using me for sex.” 
Venus paused again. Some people did that, looking for affirmation like they would in a conversation with a friend. Compton’s group doesn’t work so great for that kind of affirmation because nobody is supposed to say anything during someone else’s share.
“Yuck,” one of the small lesbians said, nevertheless. She was quiet, so nobody called her out for talking.
“And he never listens to me when I talk about what’s going on in my school, or how I feel about my bisexuality or my podcast. He’s in community college, and he’s twenty-one, so he isn’t that much older, but my Tumblr friend Koko said it’s creepy we’re dating. I think partly as a joke and partly not. But like, he sees me as a girl. He says he really likes me. So there’s that. I guess that’s why I don’t want to end it, because I like that.” She paused, and twirled her dyed bright red hair around her finger. “He bought me a choker necklace, which is like, a horrible stereotype about trans girls is that we’re all goth and otakus, but I am, so like, I appreciated it. And I can talk to him about kink, which I couldn’t do if I was dating like a high schooler. We’re trying daddy/little girl stuff, and I kind of like it. Because I never got to be a little girl and talk to my dad. But also sometimes I feel really pressured into stuff, in a bad way, so it’s like, so fucking conflicted. And he showed me this blog that’s like, trans girls getting dommed, like, porn, and it made me feel weird. I don’t know if he sees me like that, like I’m a porn star? I’m more than that. Like, I don’t know. I play video games. I want to be a video game designer. I like sports cars. I really like comics, I like She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. I’m a teen slut, haha, but there’s more to me than being someone’s little girl and doing roleplay. And he doesn’t seem to see that a lot. He says he values me but I don’t see it. Like. I don’t know what I want to ask. How do I talk to him about that?” She sighed and ate a corn chip from the bowl in the middle of the table.
I couldn’t wait for the designated share back time, even though that was the rule of support group you were never supposed to break. 
“Sorry, but is this Alex who does civil war reenactments? His blog is unholyspacemachina?”
“Hey, hey, confidentiality,” Spruce said, snapping out of whatever trance she’d been in for the last dozen minutes. I had to hold myself back from glaring at her. Spruce and her fucking knuckle tattoos reading TEND and HEAL. 
“Yeah,” Venus said, looking uncertainly at Spruce and then at me.
“I gotta say this, Venus. Break up with him ASAP. Dude is bad news.”
“James, I need you to respect confidentiality,” Spruce said. “We don’t use this space for gossip. If you have something to say about Venus’s boyfriend, you need to take it out of this room.”
“Wait, I want to hear this,” Venus said. “If that’s chill. I kind of hate Alex right now. I wanna hear the dirt. I can’t believe you know him. Like, what?”
“Alex hit on me a ton when I was fifteen,” I told Venus, knowing Spruce wouldn’t have the chutzpah to kick me out of group or interrupt me if I talked loud and fast enough. “He was in this group. He was three years older than me. He would like touch my knee in group here and try to get me in the corner in the hall and touch me. One time he cornered me in the bathroom and stuck his hand in my pants. He asked me out a ton and I told him no. He’s really into sexually dominating young trans people. All kinds, but the people that look fem are his main thing. Before I went on hormones he stalked me for three months. Online and real life. He got banned from Compton for it. He kept sending me emails with weird poems about how I was a hermaphroditic goddess. He sent me a link to a password locked blog that was like six months of him journaling about how he wanted to fuck me. Before me it was this girl Katie who I was friends with, who was a trans girl who was also younger than him and who was really in a bad foster care situation. He told her he’d save her. I think some of it is like genuinely coming from a place of admiration and like, white knight sympathy, but it’s really weird and creepy and he acts like a Hannibal Lecter type stalker creep when you tell him no. Super rapey vibes. I can’t believe he’s still pulling that shit.”
Spruce didn’t seem to know how to respond to this information. “Oh shit,” she said. “That’s bad.”
“I didn’t know that,” Venus said. “Shit. Any of that. I didn’t know he went to this group. He told me that I was the first girl he’d ever fallen in love with. What a line, right?” She paused. “I guess I’ve been ignoring a lot of stuff he does.”
“It’s easy to ignore shit and pretend it’s not bad when it’s bad.”
“Shit. I’m stupid.”
“No,” I said. “Not stupid. Just, you know, it’s like the Taylor Swift song. You’re fifteen. By definition you don’t have a lot to compare this to and don’t have a ton of framework for this shit. I didn’t either. I considered going out with him a lot just because he clearly wanted me to so much.”
“I guess that was sort of what I did too,” Venus said. “He found my blog after we met in person and started sending me a lot of messages, and I was like, oh, I guess this is what feeling wanted is like.”
“Yeah. No. It’s him being a stalker freak. Which isn’t to say you’re not cool. I’m not saying you won’t ever have sex appeal or anything. But this isn’t about him being into you as a person, I can one hundred percent guarantee it’s about his weird fetish stuff. He’s not a good dude.”
Spruce was leaning forward with this dumbass concerned expression. 
“What should I do?” Venus asked me. “He seemed so nice. God. I can’t believe this. We met at the bookstore, near the manga. Like in June.”
“Yeah you did,” I said. This group needs a fucking new rule: warn every trans kid in town about Alex. Especially the under-sixteen, is-a-girl set. “Look, I can’t tell you what to do, but I would consider telling your mom about this. She seems relatively cool, even if she won’t let you get a piercing. She might be freaked out, or mad, or be like, you betrayed my trust, but just know that it really isn’t your fault, okay, this dude is like a serial predator and knows how young trans people’s minds work now enough that he’s reasonably good at manipulating people enough to get laid. If you tell your mom, she’ll probably have a handle on how to get this dude away from you.”
“Oh jeez. I don’t know. She’d totally ground my ass. This isn’t something I want to talk about to her.”
“I can’t promise she won’t ground you, but like, she clearly cares about your wellbeing, since she brings you to this group and is trying to get you care and medical transition stuff. And like, you said you wished you could talk to her. That tells me she’s cooler than my parents. You can think about how you want to proceed on this stuff, but my advice is to drop Alex like a hot potato and block him on everything and have your mom tell him you’re going to call the police on him over statutory rape. Which you literally could, he’s like six years older than you and you’re under sixteen.”
“I don’t want to call the cops,” Venus said. “I think I’m kind of anti-cop.”
“You don’t have to actually call them,” I said. “Just say you will. I said that. He backed off. Or if you don’t wanna use the threat of state violence say James Goldman still knows where he fucking lives and I’ll beat him up with a baseball bat if he pulls any shit.”
“What if he hurts me?” Venus asked. “He knows where my house is. He’s been driving to my house at night so we can make out. He shows up just randomly.”
I could see that Spruce was gradually registering that this might be a mandated reporter situation. Her gears were spinning. 
“Look,” Spruce said, and I took a deep breath and leaned back in the chair as her automated response started rolling. “Let’s talk more about this after group, okay? We can connect you with some resources. The main thing is that you’re feeling unsafe, and that’s not an okay thing to feel in a relationship with someone. That isn’t how you’re supposed to feel. You can absolutely find people who won’t make you feel scared that someone is going to hurt you. But look, come to the office after we’re done with group and we’ll go over your options for what to do. We want you to feel safe.” The options are a lot of pamphlets about the sexual violence shelter and recovery network in town, plus a referral to a therapist, plus the information that, since we probably have Venus’s last name and mother’s phone number, we have to tell her mom that she’s being groomed by a repeat sexual predator who’s been banned from Compton House and whose full legal name we also know. I knew that Spruce was probably not going to be the one to actually go over the options with Venus. That would probably be Natalie, who has been here longest and, whatever other issues she has as a person, is at least relatively good at having that conversation with kids in bad situations. 
I was kind of shaking. That happened sometimes. I couldn’t sit there for the rest of group without a break to pause and drink some water, so I went to the bathroom for a minute. Sitting on the toilet, I remembered when Alex had pushed me into a stall in the same bathroom and tried to kiss me and shoved his hand down my pants. I hadn’t had my bottle opener knife back then, and he got his lips on my face before I screamed at him and he jumped back. I was a acne-covered kid who wasn’t on hormones and had a bowl cut and bad glasses, and nobody had hit on me before. Before that moment, even with Alex’s rapey vibes and my utter lack of sexual attraction to him, I remembered seriously considering fucking him, just because I thought I wouldn’t ever have sex with anyone and because it would have been easy. I had realized that was bad after talking to Katie and hearing about her time with Alex and realizing that coerced, bad sex is in fact worse than no sex.
Shit like this is why I’m going to be a social worker. Compton House has historically also been pretty bad at dealing with abusers. They don’t train staff well on this stuff. Alex wasn’t the first and probably won’t be the last. One time a boy’s abusive dad showed up and tried to break down the front door and then tried to grab the boy by his hair and slam his head against the door frame when the kid went downstairs to try to talk to him down. Staff didn’t stop him or try to mediate until it was too late. We had to call the cops that time. It takes something like that or a sexual assault on the property to get someone formally permanently banned from Compton. The whole formula is pretty much, wait until shit already has gone down, then process it. But at least there’s a formula. It also isn’t like the nonprofit itself attracts specifically predators, or at least not more than any other gay youth nonprofit would. It’s just that wherever there’s LGBT teenagers, there’s gonna be someone around who really wants to rape us or hurt us or whatever, and that person is sometimes also an LGBT teenager, and whoever they are they usually get as close to raping us or hurting us as they can until someone stops them. Safety policies like doors with buzzers don’t get you absolute protection. You need people who are on top of keeping kids safe and actually care about them and get the training they need to know what to do.
I really hoped Venus would be okay. I knew I would end up giving her my number, even though I knew that meant learning about the new Homestuck or whatever slightly younger weird nerdy trans kids were into these days. I had to be her friend here, or she might get stuck with someone like Alex over and over again. Or like, maybe not, after this. She seemed smart and like she was on her way to figuring things out without me. But she still needed friends. And even though I didn’t really feel like starting yet another friendship with a potentially volatile trans kid who I knew was just getting started on probably the worst time of her life, who might potentially get raped or get addicted to drugs or die at any time, I also knew I didn’t really have a choice. We had both gotten fucked with the same way. 
I didn’t share anything important about my life when I got back to group and it was my turn. I talked about wanting to go to college, and I mentioned seeing a cute boy I was into. The shy gay boy, who had been absorbing lesbian and bi trans girl trauma narratives and shoplifting stories the whole night, looked heartened by this anecdote confirming that there were other gay men in the world who had sexual desire. I didn’t mention my friend Aaron, who was on heroin somewhere in the midwest, or dead, and I didn’t mention the fact that I knew some of my friends (Opal, but I wouldn’t have said their name) still cut themselves sometimes. Don’t lay that shit on people when they don’t have a way to deal with it. 
When group was over, I gave Venus my email and phone number, and told her to text or call me, and that if she had her phone taken away, she could email me on a library computer. She thanked me, and typed the number into her phone. 
“Thanks for telling me about Alex,” she said. “I think this is probably gonna be a shit hitting the fan situation with my mom, but whatever, I needed to hear that and know that. That’s the most useful information I’ve gotten on what to do about all this. I was just googling ‘wikihow fix a shitty boyfriend’ all the time.”
“It’ll blow over,” I said. “With your mom, I mean. Your safety is the main shit. I’m not a great influence personally and don’t tend to impress parents, but if you want me to talk to your mom about Alex I can do that too to try and speak on your behalf and explain what kind of person he is.”
“I’ll give my mom your number too,” Venus said. Then she went into the office to have the resources conversation with Natalie and Spruce.
I didn’t actually know if Venus’s mom would be cool, but I hoped she would.
When I got out of the building after group I smoked a stress cigarette and walked over to King David’s Diner to see if Goober was there. Her shift ends at nine thirty on Wednesdays. Sometimes I just wait by the bus stop for her to avoid stressing her out during closing, but I wanted to see her as quick as I could, to regain some kind of balance and remember that I was just a dumb teenager. Also to shit talk Compton. The twilight was setting in on Eighth Avenue, and the thrift store was closed, meaning the people who slept in the doorway there were already tucked into the tiny backpacking tent they put up every night. Overhead, the sky was plastered with peach-colored fluffy clouds. Goober was still working, thank fuck. She was just getting ready to go, wiping down counters and cleaning under the mats before the night shift people got there. 
“Hey James,” she said. She looked tired. “What’s kicking?”
“Not much,” I said. “Just talked to some teens at Compton for a while. Spruce is no fucking good at facilitating, as usual. Can I help with anything?”
“You don’t work here, buddy. Just stand there.” She used a paper towel to get the coffee grounds from under the machine. “And tell me about it. I was so happy when I realized my social circle wasn’t all Compton people anymore. It’s suffocating.”
“It’s all I’ve got until I’m twenty-one,” I shrugged. “And good practice if I ever become like someone’s case manager.”
“I could spill some shit on Spruce,” Goober offered, pushing some flyaway hair out of her eyes with the wrist of one hand. “Just petty dyke drama, but I don’t love the girl.”
Goober’s coworker Morwen emerged from the back freezer, taking off her apron. She’s a thirtysomething butch with prematurely grey hair. She’s the day shift lead at King David’s. “Dyke drama? In my establishment?” She asked. “Say it isn’t so. I’m gonna count tips, Goober, okay? It’s nine twenty and I am out. Rafi and Miguel are already here in the back anyway.”
“Morwen, can we give James some like, pie?” Goober asked, digging in the back of the display case. “This isn’t gonna look good tomorrow and I’m pretty sure we’re not gonna sell it all tonight.”
“I didn’t see anything,” Morwen shrugged, giving me a fist bump as she walked over to the cash register and started counting her tips. Morwen isn’t the real boss—he leaves at seven, or earlier if he feels like it—so she doesn’t care that a lot of the kids who come to eat at the diner don’t pay. Goober gave me a plastic container with some kind of key lime goop in it. I put it in my canvas tote bag without saying anything. Don’t ask too many questions when you get free food. I didn’t have any more cash to put in the tip jar, either.
“Her hand tattoos always make me fucking hurl,” I said to Goober. I wanted to get back to shit talking Spruce. “I guess you only get knuckle tats that say TEND and HEAL if you’re bad at doing both.”
“What does that say about people with KILL COPS knuckle tats?” Morwen asked. She handed Goober one of the two stacks of one dollar bills she had made. 
“God, are you talking about that guy Chris?” Goober asked Morwen, taking the cash. 
“He doesn’t fucking tip. He was in earlier and had a twenty dollar tab and gave me two bucks. I was like thanks, bro. You remember when he peed on the empty cop car at the station at two in the morning when nobody was around and took an Instagram video and was like ohhhh I’m such a sick anarchist. I was like man, you’re twenty-nine and a white kid with a trust fund back East. His fucking friends are always partying at the goat skull place down behind me and Betty’s house. Keep me up all night. I fucking hate punks sometimes.” 
Morwen’s house is really close to Goat Mansion. I’m definitely one of the punks she hates sometimes.  I grinned sheepishly at Goober. 
“Chris like, pushed a dumpster into the road one time on the Fourth of July and set it on fire and said it was anarchist praxis protest against the state,” Goober offered. “Which like, it might have been if he had coordinated with anyone and anyone knew what the fuck he was doing or why. But people thought it was just like, fourth of July frat boy whatever.”
“I kind of want to learn more about what effective anarchism looks like,” I said. “I feel like I’ve never seen it here. I don’t think I’ve ever known what’s actually going on. Besides the organization that runs the needle exchange and the food not bombs people.” I also didn’t know very much about those, but I knew they existed. I’d volunteered at the food bank last year every week and we’d save stuff like produce for the food not bombs people to take and make free hot meals with. They’d give them to people out of a food truck by the bus station. It’s a pretty good thing. I knew that some of those punks volunteered at the winter shelter down at the church by the library, too.
“Dude, real anarchism is just like, helping people,” Goober said. “I mean, and fighting Nazis and cops.”
“I guess I know that,” I said. “Which also, like, speaking of helping, thanks for pie.”
“Yeah, no problem,” Goober said. “Let’s split, I wanna leave this restaurant now.”
We walked to the bus stop together. There’s no predictable bus schedule or transit app, so you just have to stand there and have faith. The sun had set a while ago, and the streetlamp in front of the bus stop was broken. The world was totally dark. Me and Goober stood there a while and talked about how cool Morwen looked and what we wanted our ideal looks to be when we were Morwen’s age, or older. Goober said that when she turned thirty-five she was going to change her name to Rebecca and open a bed and breakfast in Connecticut and figure out how to get Michelle Tea and her wife to come stay there so she could break up their marriage and then marry Michelle Tea and then write a memoir about it. I couldn’t think of what I would be like when I was thirty-five. I tried to picture myself as a social worker with an actual facial hair beard. A purple beard? No, ick. A mustache? Would I dye it black?
“You’re gonna totally have like a cool co-op and a garden,” Goober said. “If the bees don’t die and we still have agriculture. But like a put-together co-op where everyone’s past their Saturn return. You’ll have like Le Creuset dishware and a well-maintained compost pile with the correct mishmash of alkaline whatever. And a bunch of very clean band t-shirts in one drawer and all your like, jam jars downstairs and a neurotic dog. I can envision exactly how you’ll be when you’re thirty-five.”
“Or I’ll be like, an emotional wreck who wears leopard print to work and tries to take care of druggy thirteen year olds and only gives them terrible patronizing advice because I’m so over it,” I said.
“Just don’t manifest that.” Goober shrugged. “Anyway, that’s not you. You’re way more likely to keep being super invested to an unhealthy extent in everyone else’s crises and give yourself cluster headaches from thinking too hard about other people’s problems.”
We watched a large black cat cross the empty street and disappear into the bushes.
“Did you hear that someone’s been killing and mutilating housecats on the West Side?” Goober asked. 
“What?” I asked. “What?”
“Like, there’s been five people within six blocks that have had their cats killed in five months. It’s a serial cat killer. The cats turn up near the owners’ houses with their hair singed off their heads on one side and like, these weird marks like they’ve been stuck with some kind of needle. And their spines removed. All the same. My friends are talking about organizing a community cat protection thing where we walk around at night and try to catch whoever it is. And also protect stray cats. I’m worried about Ozma getting out and someone killing her.” Ozma was Goober’s white cat.
“That’s so crazy,” I said. “That’s scary.”
“I bet it’s some druggy sociopath college kid from the state uni. Next it’ll be people.”
“Yuck,” I said. “Don’t say that. We had the Oyster House Arsonist just like, two years ago. I don’t want any more shit to go down here.”
“It’s a small town,” Goober said. “We have a lot of secrets and dark shit. Just natural.”
When Goober caught her bus, I walked back to the library and got my car to head home. The roads that late were pretty empty. Going anywhere outside after dark on a weeknight is like that. As I drove back I listened to a new release from this artist Nightspace who I like. It got me in the right mood—it’s kind of like Grimes, but from someone who isn’t a wacky capitalist shill and whose voice sounds like Robert Smith from the Cure. Nightspace has been around a few years but is just getting big. They used to live in Seattle. As I drove past the lake, I rolled the windows down so that the kids who were drinking on the dock could get a little flash of goth culture passing through the night.
My dad’s house is fifteen minutes outside of downtown, in a newer suburban development a lot closer to the farms and the cow shit stink. My mom lives a little closer in, but this week she was at a conference for work, so I was at Dad’s. He lives with his wife Kaylin, who he married when I was twelve. Both of them are okay people. Just okay. I don’t have anything personal against Kaylin, though I hate that she keeps the house looking like a Martha Stewart magazine. Houses aren’t meant to look like that. I also feel like a really smart, good person would not have married my dad, so I’m still trying to figure out what is wrong with her.
When I pulled into the driveway I shoved all my weed gear in my overnight duffel bag before getting out of the car. The lights were on so I knew they were both awake. Kaylin was in the kitchen when I got inside, looking at her phone. She smiled at me. I nodded at her. 
“Hey James,” she said. “How was group?”
“Same old,” I said. “I’m the one giving the advice these days. I think I’m probably too old for it.”
“That experience with planning workshops and stuff will be very good on college applications,” she said. She was drinking her Bedtime Sleepy Blend tea. It’s from the hippie mom yoga herb shop downtown. Catnip and meadowsweet and stuff. 
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m sure tooting my own horn about it on all the essays.”
“Did you eat dinner?”
“I had a snack.”
“There’s stuff in the fridge if you’re hungry. Oh, and I’m making some crepes tomorrow morning, if you’ll be around before school,” Kaylin said. 
“School starts early,” I said. “Seven thirty in the morning, remember?”
“I’m going to be up early to jog.” 
“Oh, cool.” I shrugged. “Yeah, if I’m up I can help with your crepes.”
“I like that collar,” Kaylin said, in a tone that let me know it distressed her.
“Well, first week of school, gotta come on strong,” I said.
My dad came into the kitchen, wearing boxer shorts and a T-shirt advertising the fact that he likes the band The Shins. 
“Oh,” he said. “You’re home. How was your day?”
“Just fine,” I said. “I’m applying to Berkley, so did some research on that after school before Compton and group.” 
My dad and Kaylin looked at each other in surprise. “Oh wow,” my dad said. “Well, that’s a big challenge. Good luck. Do you have any friends applying there?”
I shrugged noncommittally. I was not actually counting on applying to Berkeley. It was one of those things I said to my dad to shut him up from asking about why I smelled like weed. I was actually applying to a number of institutions I knew he would approve of, so it didn’t really matter. 
“Remember,” my dad said, “Make sure to emphasize all the different facets of your personality. Don’t focus on just one thing.”
“Totally,” I said. 
“Why do you want to go to Berkeley?” Kaylin asked me.
“I’d like to stay on the west coast but go to a prestigious university,” I said, “and I haven’t ruled out law school, so it might be nice to get a sense of the atmosphere there and to make friends on that track.” I went to the fridge and unloaded the key lime slime container Goober had given me onto the shelf next to the organic milk. 
“Good reasons,” my dad said. He was rummaging in the pantry. I heard the pop that signaled he had managed to pry open Kaylin’s Tupperware of carob energy cubes. 
“Yeah,” I said. 
“You need good grades for that,” my dad said through a mouthful of carob, agave and hemp seed. 
“It’s a good thing I get good grades,” I said. 
“I worry about that a little with your smoking, you know,” Kaylin said, though nobody had asked her. “You’re so smart. Do you feel like pot impacts your studying? I know the times I’ve gotten high I haven’t felt very…” she gesticulated primly. “Together.” Kaylin is the kind of person who wears gray linen and tidy Banana Republic ensembles to the beach. I doubt she has ever been untogether. 
“I have a 3.95,” I said. “As of now. And I do theater and used to do jazz band and I helped plan Gay Pride last year and was the only person under 18 on the task force. Frankly, I was the only person under 30. And I plan workshops on gay rights for nonprofits and do sex ed and canvas for local Democratic candidates and volunteered at the food bank for two years. I think I’m okay.” I filled a glass of water at the sink and drank it. “Speaking of, though, I have to do some homework before bed. I gotta go work on some chemistry. See you in the morning.”
“Nobody’s saying you’re doing bad, sport,” my dad said in that weird dry tone he has.
“Sure,” I said. “I know. Just practicing my shpiel.”
“See you,” Kaylin said brightly. “Remember, crepes!"
“Goodnight, kiddo,” my dad said. He replaced the carob Tupperware in the pantry and came over to me for a hug. I reciprocated awkwardly. “Love you.”
“Love you,” I said, leaving the room with my weed duffel. 
I don’t love my dad anymore—not since I was about thirteen, and came out, and he freaked out more than I expected and said a bunch of totally ugly shit and then kicked me out of the house to live with just Mom for a year while he “figured out what he was feeling” about my gender. He says he has figured out what he’s feeling and I know he read at least one of the articles my mom sends him, because he doesn’t say ugly shit any more and signed off on my top surgery with my mom, but he is still an emotionally incompetent moron who only cares about material success and shiny titanium kitchenware and gardening and like, Bjork. He has done nothing to repair our parent-child relationship. I resent him for things I would not resent a normal man for, like wearing a T-shirt for The Shins or eating carob cubes.  
Upstairs, I locked the door to my room and turned on the lava lamp my dad bought me when I was eleven. It’s orange and red and I still think it’s sick as hell. Between the lava lamp and the pink rock salt lamp Kaylin gave me for my birthday this year, my room at my dad’s house practically radiates the color pink. It’s good that it has such a comfortable glow, because besides the lighting situation it’s intensely impersonal. Just a big bed and a blank Ikea desk with some pens on it and a dresser filled with clothes I don’t actively hate but don’t like enough to keep at Mom’s. No books, no personal effects. It’s a guest bedroom. I don’t actually belong in my dad’s house. 
I could have used my vape to do my pre-chemistry smoke, since it’s less smelly, but the carob eating had annoyed me and I felt like reminding Kaylin and my father that I hated them in a subtle way, so I toked up and just opened the window into the September night. Most of the smoke left the room, so the fire alarm wouldn’t go off, but the funk would linger a while. I imagined Kaylin burning sage or nag champa incense or spritzing natural essential-oil cedar-scented air freshener when I left. 
It was early enough in the year that the stuff I had to do for my AP chem class was pretty limited, just ten problems, but I hadn’t been lying about the homework. When I finally got to bed it was past midnight. I had forgotten to check my phone for three hours. I had a text from Ian and another from Opal. 
Ian’s text read:
Should I break up with closet case? At the end of my damn rope.
Opal’s text read:
Just had a WEIRD convo with the trans man my roommate is fucking. He’s like a social work dude and he’s in law school. He said he’s maybe applying for the executive director position for Compton???? Because apparently NATALIE IS LEAVING??????? LIKE TO MOVE TO PHILADELPHIA?? DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?? 
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