by Corin Reyburn 

I was 14 years old when I learned how the West was won. In a card game, of course. Nations around the poker table and the smallest guy with the biggest balls taking the whole pot. He was Japanese, of course. His hands never shook, he never smiled and he never touched a drop of alcohol. Machine-disciplined, bred for conquest and success. 

I lost all my money to him that night in Vegas. My identity, too. My credit cards, my social security number. The lease on my car and the lease on my apartment and my California driver’s license. 

If only I had learned not to drink so much. 

I started young because my dad drank a lot and used to sneak me sips of beer when mom wasn’t looking. It was another thing we had in common that she wasn’t in on. She couldn’t understand anyway, just liked watching “The Price is Right” and commenting on how bad people’s hairstyles were. Mom weighed 300 pounds. Dad weighed 250. I was really skinny and most people we knew started calling me SOP, as in String of Piss. 

I’m an only child. Mom and Dad both say I’m the best thing they ever did, but they’ve never done anything else. 

We don’t have any pets. We don’t like our neighbors. We don’t live in a trailer park, but our apartment is crap. The sink’s always broken and the paint keeps peeling no matter how many times dad paints over it. He isn’t doing it right. You have to strip the wallpaper first. 

I work in an old folks’ home and when they buzz me I ignore them. It’s not like they have anywhere to go, and when they complain, people say it’s dementia. Sunshine Estates isn’t the worst nursing home I’ve seen, but it’s still like a warehouse for old people, goods no one wants. They just sit there collecting dust. 

I’m nice to the old crocks if they’re nice to me. I’m mean to them if they’re mean to me. It’s that simple. 

I brought home good grades up until 7th grade when I started smoking pot. Mom used to say I’d be a state senator, or a lawyer or even a dentist—they make pretty good money, too. She’s only worked retail and customer service. She knows how to be friendly to people she doesn’t like. Right now she’s got one of those work-from-home cold-calling sales type deals going on. Also she takes surveys and sometimes gets as much as five bucks per survey. 

I don’t have a girlfriend. I watch porn whenever I’m not at work. 

I like “Family Guy” and “South Park.” I like Star Wars and I like Transformers ’cause Megan Fox is smokin’ hot. My best friend Mike is an asshole and I hate his guts most of the time, but sometimes you need someone to go to the movies with. 

I drink at least five Pabst Blue Ribbons a day. Breakfast of champions. Where did that saying come from anyway? 

Maybe someday I’ll get a houseboat by the Coast. I save a little when I can; I want to get out of this dump. Away from my parents. I’ll find some chick with a sweet personality and a sweeter ass. Go dirt biking again. 

I turn 30 next week. Maybe then. Maybe when I’m 40. Definitely by then.


Corin Reyburn enjoys single malt scotch and the use of unconventional instruments in rock ‘n’ roll music, sometimes together. Reyburn currently resides in Los Angeles, where sunsets take place indoors on 4.4 trillion-color screens, and her work has appeared in Clutching at Straws, MBRANE-SF, and Subtopian Magazine. More work can be found at
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