You and Me and Thoughts and Talk with Doug

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Comedian Doug Culp was cool enough to invite me onto his podcast, You and Me and Thoughts and Talk with Doug, which dropped today!

We talked about The Survivalist, writing, storytelling, politics, Morgan Freeman, Lyme Disease, and The Unified Theory. Y’know: typical Hollywood stuff.

Episode is available on iTunes and on Doug’s site.

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Fear, Loathing, and Redemption at LAX

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Another day, another piece up on Medium: this one about the #NoBanNoWall protests at LAX yesterday. It’s me doing my best Hunter S. Thompson impression.

I’m thinking about writing a follow-up piece for the blog, about something a little different, but related-ish. Check back by the end of the week.

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Paul Ryan and The Republicans Have Failed America

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Photo credit: Gary Cameron/Reuters

A new piece is up this morning/afternoon on Medium, talking about my new crush, Speaker Paul Ryan. He’s such a stud that doesn’t seem to care if people have health insurance and die.

Links to my other work is here and here.

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Thank you, President Obama

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Photo credit: http://bit.ly/29yzefy

As we sit waiting for… Trump to become President, I wrote a new piece about President Obama over at Medium. Give it a read if you get a chance.

Also, a link to my first piece from a couple of months ago.

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Pre-Order The Survivalist by Matt Fried Today!

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People of Earth:

After 4 long years, my novel The Survivalist is now available for pre-order!

For paperback or Kindle, go to Amazon.

For iPad, iPhone, or Apple devices, go to iBooks.

Fun fact: if you purchase the Amazon paperback, you can get the Kindle edition at a discount.

Audiobook will be available on Audible, iTunes, and other audiobook platforms in December 2016.

 

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Just For One Day

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Inspired by David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Stranger Things

“I have to go back.”

Mel sat on the edge of the bed, palming her coffee cup. She wore Stu’s shirt from last night. After uttering the words she dreaded, her head bent down and she took a deep breath from the collar. His aqua fir cologne still held the cold air prisoner. The chill slipped her back: to last night, to Times Square, the confetti dancing, the joy, the smiles; him holding her in his arms, his hand splayed on the small of her back. Her body went limp. For the first time, in many months: she felt safe from everything.

“Back…?”

Stu picked himself up out of the bed and rubbed his eyes. He could smell the coffee as it bubbled and popped on the hot plate a foot away. The morning light peaked around the edges of Mel’s head, giving her a crown. Her long, brown, wavy hair trickled down her back, adding balance to the white of his shirt.

She didn’t turn around when she said the dreaded words. She just stared out the window. That must’ve made it easier.

Mel sipped her coffee – light and sweet – “Yeah. It’s time.”

The way she said, “time”, echoed in Stu’s brain. Its warm finger pressed itself into his frontal lobe and pushed through electrodes and synapses, and it pointed – all the way – to Reality: at the center, where it chew and blew bubble gum.

“We’re happy here.” Stu got out of bed to pour himself some coffee.

“I’m not, Stu.”

“You could give it a try.” Stu poured a black coffee into the .95¢ Conway mug.

He walked to the edge of the bed – naked – and sat opposite of her. Mel sensed a stiff defense in his demeanor. He didn’t look at her, preferring instead to peer out one of the two windows that faced West 44th Street.

The wind kicked-up snowflakes outside; Mel watched two pigeons dance and coo on the sill as they warmed each other. Coffee steam glowed from their cups. The January cold invited itself in to their rented room.

“Happy New Year,” Stu said, “Here’s to 1960.” He raised his cup to the window.

Mel looked at him, “What’s so scary about 2016?”

Stu paused before his first sip, “Nothing.” He drank.

“Then why not go back?”

“We agreed to move forward together. Here.”

“I can’t. Not with you. I have to go back to my time.”

Stu chuckled. He took another sip of coffee, and began to look around for his underwear. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me, again.”

He got up and hunted for his briefs.

Mel watched him stalk and sulk. She felt a lump in her throat tighten – the physical manifestation of worry. He knew how to control the wormhole, not her. Stu could be small sometimes, but not vindictive. He was always that way in college. He would get so wrapped up in professors playing favorites – anointing certain students and ignoring him. Not being special back then bothered him; she never heard the end of it. But she never knew him to want revenge. At least, she hoped: want revenge on her.

“This has nothing to do with our past.”

Stu found his underwear, “Doesn’t it though?”

“You have a wife and daughter. What are you thinking?”

“That we should be together!” Stu looked up as he slipped his legs through each hole, “That’s the way it should’ve been for the last 15 years! And now: look at what I can do!”

Stu waved his fingers in a circle, and the room seemed to twist. Lines on the floor warped. Air turned empty. Time became a blanket an angry mother pulled off her toddler’s head. It could bend and bleed, all in the palm of his hands.

Stu’s eyes glowed with something: power, maybe malice – he seemed possessed. Mel worried that he was gone, and they would be stuck in 1960 forever. The thought of permanent trespassing chilled her.

“You’re afraid.” she said.

“No. I’m not.”

“Yes, you are. You need to accept things as they are, Stu. I have to, too. I buried my husband a week ago.”

“Exactly! You’re so worried about – what? – formality? We’re in love! We’ve always been in love, Mel. Now I have this power – we don’t even have to worry about a divorce, or what people will think of us! We can go anywhere, and be us! Finally!”

Stu sat down on the bed next to her, and kissed her. She touched his face; they kissed, as though nothing could fall. He tried to push her down onto the mattress, but she pushed back. She pulled her lips from his, and looked at him: his thirtysomething face, still youthful but hurt. He was the talky, funny boy she met in acting class freshmen year. But as she looked into his eyes, she saw the loss. To be honest, she recognized it. In Stu’s eyes were the feelings she carried in her guts: the uncertainty of it all.

They broke-up.

They drifted.

They met other people, life moved on.

It was all fine and happy.

But first love… there is something about it.

“We fit here.” Stu said. “And if not: we can go somewhere else. The 80s, the 70s – we can go to the 20s!” The Great Gatsby was Mel’s favorite book.

“Stu…” Mel appealed. “I’m not telling you what to do with your life. But I have to go home. We had our time. I’d rather it stay that way.”

Stu felt his heart drop. His grip on her eased, and he slowly recoiled – his tiny dad gut pooching over his waistband. He fixed his gaze back out the window, and got up to see how the city wore its new year.

Only a few blocks away – through flecks of snow – he could see the rays of flashing neon, whale song car horns, people below crunching powder under their boots. 1960 was a good year to be an actor, he always thought. There was all the theater downtown, not mention the cafes on MacDougal. Bob Dylan wasn’t even there yet. He could make a life in this year. But he’d hoped Mel would feel the same.

“You remember when we talked about being born in the wrong year?”

Mel nodded her head.

Stu kept staring out of the window, thinking about Meryl and Mary. Meryl was turning four in 2016. She liked making snowmen with her daddy. It made winter special – even though Christmas always came and went too fast. Her laugh: it was filled with surprise, the kind you have when the world is so discoverable. Stu would chase her – lumbering as the abominable snowman, bearing teeth, howling at the clouds – before scooping her up. She would squeal as her feet danced amongst the snowflakes, her daddy helping her touch the sky. Mary watched from the porch, so pleased he was taking to fatherhood.

Life is wonderful.” He always told himself, “Life is wonderful. Try to accept that.”

“Stu…?” Mel got up from the bed. “I want to go home. Please take me home.”

Stu didn’t turn around.

He stayed quiet.

He thought.

And thought.

And thought.

“I love you.” he said, still not turning to face her. “I should’ve said that more.”

“I love you, too.” she replied, “You didn’t have to.”

“It was all easier, when we were younger.”

“It was.”

The silence sat for a little longer. Stu finally took a deep breath, and turned around.

“Okay,” he said, “get dressed. I’ll take you home.”

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Dear Internet Dating…

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Hey Internet Dating, what’s up?

Uh-huh.

Uh-huh.

Uh-huh.

Yeah, that’s – Well, maybe – No, you’re right… she’s probably a bitch. Probably nothing to do with you.

Listen: that’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about.

I don’t think we should be friends anymore.

No, dude, I… Can you please stop screaming? We’re in a Starbucks.

Why? THIS. This is why! You’ve become an asshole. You think you’re God’s Gift To Humanity. But you’re this toxic thing that makes people hate each other, and then you act like, “Oh! Well that’s just the way it is.”

You and I have known each other for 13 years, Internet Dating. I’m sure that’s nothing to brag about, but it’s a fact of my life. When we started hanging out, we needed each other. I didn’t know how to talk or relate to women of my age. And you needed a friend because you kept starting fires in the middle school parking lot.

That’s our origin story. That’s what we based 13 years of friendship off of.

I was lonely. You needed a clean police record.

And for a long time: it worked. Through algorithms and personality questions, you kept introducing me to a lot of other cool, lonely people. When those people would ghost on me, you’d help me find someone else. Plenty of times I would get cynical, or bored, or straight-up apathetic. And you were always like, “Come back when you need to, dude. I’ll always be here for you.”

And that was nice. It was nice to know that if things ever got stale, you were there for me.

You matched me with women that – through a lot of my twenties – it would’ve been really hard for me to talk to without you.

But, right around the time I turned 30 and I moved to L.A. … something changed.

I mean: maybe you always were this way, and I just missed it. Maybe I kept you around because moving to L.A., and starting all over again, was weird and really uneven for a while.

But… I don’t know: something changed.

You lost a lot of weight. And instead of personality questions, you just asked for 5 of my hottest pictures. And instead of putting all this effort into matching me with other like-minded people, you just told me: swipe right or swipe left.

So all of a sudden: I’m meeting a lot people that I have nothing in common with.

And on top of that: you’re encouraging us to put in the least amount of effort into talking… before we inevitably fuck, because that’s the only thing we can think to do with these limited resources.

AND: if someone suddenly doesn’t feel like fucking (or actually: just talking) you would tell the person to sidestep me like a piece of roadkill. “Don’t worry, miss: I’ve got 20 hotter options than him.”

Now, I’ll be fair. Maybe, Internet Dating: you had nothing to do with this. Let’s say: you did change, but you changed in the name of trying to be better. You were trying to be a good friend, so you gave me – and millions of other single people – a lot of options. With very little bullshit. And you said, “Here! I’m just trying to help!”

So maybe the failure of this friendship is my fault. I certainly got selfish with the multiple hook-ups with women who reminded me of high school and college friends I never had a shot with.  There were PLENTY of people where I was just like: “Thank you for the good time.  Let me call you an Uber.” And, a choice few times, I would lie to myself about how I really felt, so that the whole pursuit didn’t feel so pointless.

But if we’re being honest: you’re still kind of a shitty friend.

Because, as one person was rejecting me, you were putting another person in front of me with no criteria required. And you were telling me: “Just keep at it. I got tons of ‘em.”

And options are great. But I feel like the whole system is now broken. And you’re okay with that. You’re okay with making people feel disposable, so there’s no real point to wanting anything more than a hook-up.

I don’t know, man.

The more I think about it, the more I see places where we’re both at fault.

So I probably am to blame as well. I’m sorry. This isn’t all your fault. It was me, too.

But what I do know is: I don’t like myself when we hang out now. I don’t like that you make me feel paranoid, or insecure, or even more lonely now as a grown-ass man who has no problem meeting women versus that self-serious twentysomething.

I don’t like that I’m now part of a culture where everyone is dating with one foot out the door, with no real respect or decency if there’s no interest or chemistry.

I miss the days when both of us made a bit more effort. Even if it was fleeting, it still felt better than what you and I have now become.

So, yeah… I don’t think we should be friends anymore. I think I need to go on my own again.

If anything changes in your mind, give me a call. CALL ME. Please don’t text. Call me, like a friend would.

But until then: best of luck. Thanks for the fun decade and change. It was good. It really was.

I’ll see you around.

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