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Posted on July 26, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

I am Schmuel.  Bad news.  Never anything but bad news I read! My wife, Golda, says I shouldn’t read.  I become too verklempt and the doctor he tells me it’s no good for my blood pressure. “Think happy thoughts,” he says.  Happy thoughts?  That doctor he doesn’t know from my pain.  40 years I worked in the diamond exchange on 47th Street.  My own small shop.  My son?  Not interested in jewelry, he says. Won’t go to college.  He left schul one day when he was 17, and for two weeks we heard nothing.  Then he called. Met a girl, he says.  Now he is 18, in a rock band he’s playing and all night he schtups a shiksa.  Oy.  What did I do?  Why are you punishing me? Which of your laws did I break?  Happy thoughts?  I have no happy thoughts, only pain.  I am worse than verklempt.  God, if you are listening, please find Joel a nice Jewish girl. Amen


Posted on July 5, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

Je m’appelle François.  Je suis Artiste extraordinaire.  ‘Zey say I have talent, but, me, I just put my easel in a place very conspicuous, several brushstrokes, et voila, I meet ze women and sometime i get ‘ze sex.  Is that how you say?  C’est encore plus effective ‘zan it is to walk my precious little Lhasa Apso, “Princesse”, in ‘ze Jardins de Luxembourg a Paris.  Today I am in Venise on the Riva degli Schiavoni.  Many of ‘ze sexy women they stop to talk to me.  I feel que Venise c’est my lucky place, et que cet endroit c’est parfait!  Wish me une bonne chance, s’il vous plait!


Posted on July 2, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

I am Carmela.  My face?  I am happy, no?  Forse you cannot recognize my sguardo di total felicity (is that how you say?). Non importa, I am having a very important business today and my family’s entire inheritance is in jeopardy so i go to see the avvocato but the perfect modo per confrontare adversity is to approach with a bello sorriso.  My dress?  Is too chic?  I think maybe my seno might be to old and pesante to go around senza “boob holder.”. Is that how you say “regiseno?”. I don’t care.  Today is important, and I will face it with fortitude.  “In bocca al lupo, Carmela!” dico io a me stesso.   CREPI CREPI, screams my heart, sending positivity into the Universe.  


Posted on June 26, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

My name is Winston Wellington Worthington van Cartier Johnson.  Yes that really is my full name on my birth certificate and my passport and every other official government document.  I think my mother thought that my name would somehow shape my future.  She’s just plain old Karen Johnson, but my brothers are Basil Barrymore Johnson and Aloysius Rothschild Van Cleef Arpels Johnson.  I must say that in a way she had a good point.  Our names alone have opened many doors for us.  If anything they’ve draw lots of attention to us.  Mom worked multiple jobs and spoiled us badly while we were growing up, but she made sure we got full scholarships to the best prep-schools on the East Coast: Exeter, St.Paul’s and Groton.  I’m the oldest so I’m supposed to pave the way for my brothers which is a pretty tough burden.  In a way, I feel like my mom considers the three of us like lottery tickets and expects for one of us to eventually pay off the mega-millions jackpot.  We’ll have to see.  I’m home on break from Yale, and I’m heading out to hang with some of my old gang.  I feel myself growing more distant from my old friends, and that makes me kind of sad.  Continue Reading →


Posted on June 15, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

That dude with the iPhone is taking my picture.  Every now and then he looks like he’s playing a game, but the eye of his camera lens keeps pointing straight at me.  Here he goes again.  I’m going to give him my nonchalant, bored-with-life-don’t want to go to school look.  I’ve been told I have a great “look.” I mean one time this guy stopped me on the street and gave me his card, he followed me for a few blocks, but he totally seemed like one of those creeps who is into kiddie porn or something.

My name is Isaiah.  If you couldn’t tell, I am mixed race.  My father is a Sephardic Jew and my mother is half African-American and half French.  Apparently, I have a look that can range anywhere from ghetto-fabulous to Urban Trustafarian Hipster Preppy Chic.  I plan to work it, baby.  I may only be 14, but I know I’m going to be a star.  Oh wait, there goes the dude with the iPhone again.  Let me give him my bored-pout.  There.  I’ll bet that comes out nicely.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, I’m going to be famous.  Remember the movie “Fame?”  I don’t!  Too young, duh.  But whenever I tell people that I am going to audition at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, everybody’s all like:  “Ooooh, just like in Fame!!”  I guess I should watch it on Netflix or something.  So, whatevs, I’m going now for my big audition. Continue Reading →


Posted on June 12, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

Francesca bolts out of her loft on Broadway near Union Square.  Dizzy from a month of dieting on nothing but wheatgrass shots and Cinnamon Lifesavers. Everything goes black for about 2 seconds as the blood rushes out of her brain as she swerves to miss colliding with the giant inflatable rat that the Custodial Services Employees Union had erected in front of her building sometime in the still of the night.  They’re pissed because the building hired some non-union peeps to do something.  Whatever.  She’s late.  It’s the casting at FORD for which she has been waiting an entire month.  She just finished a spread for Vogue, and there was the Victoria’s Secret Catalogue, but fashion week is coming and she needs runway work.  How could she be so late? She shouldn’t have stayed out so late the night before at  Les Bains at The Standard, but the puffiness under her eyes is nothing a little hemorrhoid cream can’t fix. Continue Reading →


Posted on June 9, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

See that guy selling pretzels?”

“Who said that?”

“It doesn’t matter.  Listen to me.”

“Where are you?”

“Shut up and listen, this is life and death stuff I got for you here!” Continue Reading →


Posted on June 6, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

Hyacinth is speechless.  She stands there in a daze.  It’s a Saturday like any other.  Earlier that morning she texted her fiancé, Hank, to welcome him home from his business trip to Hong Kong, knowing his phone would be on vibrate, but hoping they might get together later.  Hyacinth continued on her merry way browsing the stalls at a street fair in Little Italy, anxiously awaiting the loud “DING” from her iPhone. 

“Was that my phone?” suddenly thought Hyacinth as she was sure she heard the ding come out of her bag.  Yes Yes!!  A Text from Hank,

“Can’t get together today, but I have a really big surprise for you!  A big life changing surprise for you!” Continue Reading →


Posted on June 1, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

My name is Constance and I live in Nassau County, Long Island.  My husband, Vinny, is Brooklyn Italian and every year we visit his cousins in Italy.  I am going to be very frank with you and tell you that in this photo I am extremely unhappy and very humiliated.  My dog, Penelope, who is pictured on my lap, is my therapy dog.  She must be by my side at ALL times or else I risk flying into insane, violent anxiety attacks.  After years of therapy, I know.  Its an illness.  I’ve been diagnosed by multiple physicians.  Believe me!  Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, every benzodiazepine in the book, I’ve tried ’em.  Nada!  Penelope is my drug.  I have a note from my doctor explaining the situation, but not everyone understands my need for a therapy dog, well primarily because I’m not blind.  I even bought a full fare ticket for Penelope which is allowed in cases like mine.  Vinny, Penelope and I are very lucky to be on this plane, because we came very close to being removed just minutes prior to our departure from JFK.  We’ll land in Pisa, Italy in about 20 minutes.  Well that’s what the stewardess just said. Excuse me.  Now they like to be called “Flight Attendants.”. She was the same “flight attendant” whose nose I almost broke with my heavy camera bag about 8 hours ago. We’re friends now, thank the Holy Lord in Heaven! Her name is Irene. Continue Reading →


Posted on May 30, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

I’m Bruce.  I am staring at page 72 of Dostoyevsky’s “The Double: A Petersburg Poem.” On my lap are the “Complete Stories of Franz Kafka.”  I’m very smart. That’s what my teachers used to say, but as I stare at page 72, I don’t really see the words at all because in my mind’s eye I am reliving my morning in my mom’s basement in Newark alone in the dark playing “Grand Theft Auto.”. God I love that game!  People criticize it for its violence, but look at me?  Do I look like someone who would assassinate a hundred innocent strangers because I play too many video games?  In my room I keep a collection of My Little Ponies (because Friendship is Magic.). My best pony friend is “Pinkie Pie” because she is hyperactive and loves throwing parties.  Like me.


Posted on May 26, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

My name is Svetlana.  I come from the Belarus.  I am here seven years, and I am legal. Yes.  I am not sad today.  My eyes, they itch from the allergies.  Pollen.  My ankles are swollen from Dropsy and Edema.  Such pretty names for such an ugly thing that makes my walking to hurt. If so much pain they didn’t cause, I would suggest as names for my daughter’s twin babies.  Today is very happy day from my life, because I go to a live taping of Regis and Kelly.  I am loving Regis many years now, and my eyes they were filled with tears and my throat closed and wouldn’t speak when I heard he had a heart attack back in 2003. 

Thanks to God he is OK now


Posted on May 21, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

I’m Dorothy.  My surname is of no consequence, but its Davis.  In fact, Dorothy Davis is now officially dead.  In my town, the one where I grew up in Arkansas, everyone is named Lisa, Amy, Britney or Tiffany.  I never knew those girls.  I never cared to.  I just watched in fascination from the bus stop as they each screeched off shrieking from the passenger seats of the TransAm or Camaro belonging to some random Kevin, Brad, Brian or Kyle.  I was invisible to them, but at least my name had character.  My mother had named me after Dorothy Parker whose literary prowess, sharp tongue and stinging sense of irony she admired.  My mother loved to read.  When I was young, we’d sit in the backyard while I dug holes and tunnels in the dirt while she reclined on a blanket deeply immersed in some important looking volume.  “Someday Dorothy,” she used to say to me, ” you are going to do something important and everyone will know you! I can feel it in my bones.  You’ll leave this pathetic town, and you’ll be someone.” Continue Reading →