Grady (joined almost 12 years ago)
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Writer and editor at a global public relations agency, living in Portland, OR


"Can you believe it?" she breathed, eyes wide enough to take in the whole panorama.

Venice was empty. The sun hazed behind a gauze of clouds, glinting off the bows of the gondolas that knocked rhythmically against their moors. As we walked across the worn cobbles, I pointed out the bridge of sorrows. Years ago, prisoners were taken from some sort of religious court to their plight, and their wails left echoes that hadn't quite dispersed yet.

The plaza was magnificent, rid of all people - and the pigeons were scarce too. The bell tower was mighty and the palace...

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"You know what 'fuck' means?" said Dean, almost skipping. Behind porthole glasses, David couldn't avoid looking bewildered.


"It means you put your penis," gesture, "in a girls vagina," gesture, gesture. "And you go uh uh uh uh!" More gestures. David felt awkward, but had to laugh a little bit. Maybe middle school in England was different than it was in America, he wondered.

Dean cheerfully stepped along, singing the word "fuck" in just about every melodic interval he could think of. Maybe this was normal, David thought, and his conservative Christian upbringing hadn't prepared him for what life was...

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He pushed open the thin metal handle on the fingerprint-streaked glass door and the din of the bowling alley got cranked. What the fuck was he doing here? Three or four pieces of jailbait giggled past in a rush and he tried to avoid looking.

Mallory was always late, he thought. Couldn't get ready to go out without at least one girlfriend to help. It was almost pathetic if it wasn't true that she was way, way, way the hell better at being social than he was. Why else would he be at a fucking bowling alley on a Friday...

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MLIB by Grady

Two were playing Halo, two were watching and drinking cans of beast.

"Fuck," said Clint as he got owned. Lost by one point. He gingerly threw down the controller (these things cost money). "Way to be a nerd," he said to Joe's grinning face.

Easy to follow up: "Raise your hand if you didn't practice halo and actually got laid last night" offered Clint. Brian raised his hand and Jake didn't. Fist bump with Brian.

"Tigerblood," said Brian with a smirk. Thanks, Charlie Sheen, for making the world a little crazier.

"We need to hit up Blitz tonight," said Jake....

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She glanced demurely across the two-foot circle of a table at him. What a catch. His work shirt was only slightly ill-fitting, his hair feigned casualness. He couldn't stop looking at her. It may have been the needless extra half-inch of cleavage she had allowed.

There really wasn't any need to try. His work-weary eyes and somewhat hunched shoulders showed that he could use some fun. His seemingly lackadaisical approach, charming smile and the comfortable way he asked her out meant that he'd taken girls here before. The Portland City Grill, 30 floors up in the highest building in Portland....

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One person shouldn't be able to change your life forever. I think we all know people who have been affected outside of their control - torture, rape, molestation... it's a little fucked up to put love in the same category, isn't it?

Maybe the crucial difference is that it's a sweet anguish. That's why I feel sick to my stomach, I can't sleep at night, my conscious is fixated on one person and one event. It makes me smile when I don't feel like crying. This seems like such a high school thing. Aren't those the cuts that make the...

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It wasn't one of those baby swings, with a back and leg holes, safe and sturdy; it was a real swing and he had no idea how to make it move.

"Move your legs," said Daddy. "Forward and back, just like that, forward and back."

It felt like the swing was starting to move. Not much rhythm, yet. The light grey sky didn't do much to encourage, and he looked back, hoping for a push like usual.

A few minutes later and he was soaring, smile as wide as the arc the swing made from apex to apex - velcro-laced...

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