Tacky Goblin

T. Sean Steele

Homeless, February 20th

“Let’s open a joint checking account,” I told my sister.


“Then let me borrow eighty bucks.”

“What for?”

“I cannot for the life of me remember to move my car for street cleaning.” I had just received my third parking ticket in three weeks.

“Just set an alarm, idiot.”

The truth was, I had chosen not to move my car. On street-cleaning day, I’d wait until five minutes past noon, then rush outside in my shorts and berate the parking official writing the ticket. I’d unload a week’s worth of frustration. I’d never been so mean to anybody in my life. It was fantastic. Of course, the downside was I was hemorrhaging money.

“What you need is a day job.”

“Stop saying that.”

“Then you wouldn’t be struggling to leave the apartment by noon.”

“A day job…” I said. “That’s not really… I have to keep the apartment tidy… and I like to read books. I don’t have time to… you know…”

She shoved me out the door. “Don’t come back until you’re employed.”


Hiatus, March 25th

“Where the heck have you been?” my sister asked.

“I was applying for jobs,” I said.

“For a month and a half?”

“What? No. Like a couple of hours.”

“I thought you were dead,” she said. “I even called the cops. There was an investigation and everything. I was their primary suspect. I spent two days in a holding cell.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was gone for an afternoon. You kicked me out and said, ‘Don’t come back ’til you find a job.’”

“Did you?”

In truth, I’d spent the afternoon at the library, killing time reading comic books. “That’s not the point,” I said. “You’re telling me I somehow lost thirty-five days in a few hours?” I sat on my futon. “Did I miss anything?”

“Sure did. I got pretty jacked. I can do one hundred push-ups in a row now.” She flexed a bicep. “Also Laurie came back looking for you. She stuck around for a couple of days but then sort of gave up on you. I let her stay here. Dude, did you know she only wears sexy lingerie to bed? Even I was getting hot and bothered.”

I handed Kim a pillow. “Please smother me to death.”

She patted me on the head. “You can’t kill anybody with a pillow, you dope. Believe me, I’ve tried.”


Incensed, April 3rd

“This place reeks of incense,” my sister said.
 “I’ve been feeling aggressive lately,” I said. “I’m trying to calm down.”

“Well, yeah. You’ve got a month’s worth of emotions to catch up on. Have you tried cleaning the bathroom? That usually helps you relax.”

The bathroom was as clean as it was going to get. I’d re-caulked the tub and the toilet, and spent the early afternoon tweezing goop out of the sink drain. Nothing helped.

Kim sniffed the air. “This smells familiar. Where’d you buy it?”

“I didn’t. I pilfered it from a wooden chest with a lock. A busted lock. From your closet.”

“My artillery chest?” She smacked me across the back of the head. “You idiot. That’s special incense. It doesn’t calm you down. It amplifies your mood.”

“Well, shit.” I went to my closet and dug around. “I guess it’s time to put all this aggression to good use.”

“Oh, no.”

“Oh, yes.” I tossed her my basketball. “We’re hitting the courts. I’ll loan you a tank top.”

We went to the Poinsettia Community Center and played two-on-two against two teenagers who looked exactly alike.


“No, asshole,” they said. “I’m the Multiple Man.” One of them blew by me for an easy lay up.

“We’re losing,” Kim said. “Badly.”

“It’s hard to keep track of who’s guarding who,” I said. “You’re basically cheating.”

“At least I didn’t drag my sister to play with me,” they said. “She doesn’t even want to be here.”

“Yes, I do,” she said.

“No, you don’t,” they said. “You’re five-two.”

“Five-four!” She bounced the ball o one of their faces.

They both collapsed to the ground, clutching their noses. Kim looked at me. “Wow. I thought he was kidding about the Multiple Man thing. Should we take one of them home, for experiments?”

“Please, not again,” they said. “We’re the only two left.”

Tacky Goblin is T. Sean Steele’s first book. Find him at tseansteele.com.