White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Ryan Dilbert is the editor of Shelf Life. His work can be seen in FRiGG, Bartleby-Snopes, Red Fez and McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

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Ryan Dilbert

Kristen said I shouldn’t have started following the cream-colored Pathfinder that nearly crashed into us. But shit, he didn’t use his signal, he was on the phone and I could tell from his face that he was a douche bag. What was I supposed to do?

“Take me home,” she cried, clutching the door handle. It looked like she was contemplating jumping out into the street. I jerked down the same alley that the douche bag did. I stayed right behind him, my bumper sniffing his. I wanted him to know that I was following him. Otherwise, what’s the point?


For our first date Kristen and I went to a church-sponsored BBQ. An old, black woman stood on the b-ball court and sang hymns. The sky was covered in puffy, gray acne. I filled my plate with baked beans, cornbread and brisket. Kristen and I chatted as I eyed her body through her fuzzy cardigan. She told me about her recent trip to New York. She had a sister going to grad school there.

“I used to live in N.Y,” I told her.

She asked me to tell her all about it. She was hardly eating at all because she was nervous about being on a date with me.

“I was nineteen, just out of high school. I moved up there to try and be a reporter. My cousin Jerry let me stay with him for a while.”

She wiped some mayo from the coleslaw off her chin with a pink napkin.

“But it got complicated when I started sleeping with his friend, Elaine.”

“Wait, what? You don’t mean Elaine Bennis, do you?”

“Yeah, why? Do you know her?” Kristen didn’t talk to me for the rest of the meal. She just picked at her food with her plastic fork, shook her head and mumbled to herself. It was not going well. Never a good idea to bring up old girlfriends on the first date. My mistake.


An escaped tiger recently ripped out Thom

Yorke’s throat. He’s going to be fine, but he can’tsing for awhile. Radiohead has all these concerts booked already, so they called me up and asked if I could fill in. I know all the songs already. I sing them in the showers. It’s going to be awesome. I can actually say, “I’m in Radiohead” at least for the next eight months.

When Kristen demanded that I take her home, I told her about this. It did not impress her as much as I hoped. She sighed the longest sigh in the history of sighs and turned away from me.

“I have a lot of self control. I won’t succumb to the groupies. Not if I have you at home.”

She didn’t care. She was probably still thinking about Elaine. Who could blame her? I thought about her all the time. Her dark, curly hair and her buoyant smile would never fade from my memory. I will always treasure those three weeks we had.

Kristen’s myspace says she is an avid salsa dancer. She enjoys drinking appletinis.


The douche bag in the Pathfinder kept looking in his rearview at me. I gave him a knowing smile

and bobbed my head. I made a resolution this New Year not to let people like this get away with this kind of crap. He could have killed the first girl to go on a date with me in a long time. Back when I was captain of the Commodore I was practically swimming in tail. And he didn’t think he had done anything wrong. My job was to clear that up.

So when he turned left, I did too. When he sped up and got on the freeway, so did I. I told Kristen I wasn’t sure what I would do to him once I caught up to him, but I’m usually good at improvising. Kristen cried with her face in her hands. When was she going to get over this Elaine thing? She was no virgin either. Women are so fragile sometimes.


The first girl I interviewed for a crew position on my spaceship was wearing a pair of black shorts so tight, it looked like they were hurting her. Her toned legs dripped into a pair of suede boots. Rachel didn’t have any space travel experience, but she looked incredible in a tool belt. We ended up having a passionate love affair that ended badly. I thought of it this way, if I hire eight crew members,

the more of them that are hot chicks the better. It gets lonely in space. And the ladies love a captain.

I told Kristen to look in my glove box. My captain’s badge was in there in a plastic carrying case. I thought she might be impressed by that, but she didn’t bother to look.


My favorite Radiohead song is “Fake Plastic Trees.” I think we should play an up tempo version of it in some cities. They’d love it in Buenos Aires. We’re going to Buenos Aires, I can’t believe it. Sometimes I wonder how I’ve been so lucky. I mean, how many guys do you know have had an eightsome, in space no less? Yes it did ruin things with Rachel. I should have cum inside her, I see that now, but man, what an experience. I will never need porn again after having that memory floating around in my noggin.


Kristen said on her myspace that she loves all food but garlic. How can you not like garlic? I asked asked her as me and the douche bag approached 90

mph. She didn’t answer right away.

“Garlic bread? What do you say to garlic bread?”

Maybe she has oversensitive taste buds. She seemed overall very sensitive. In the few hours I’d spent with her in a non-online setting she had spent most of it sobbing and praying. I didn’t know if I could handle that 24-7. Maybe after the Radiohead tour, I thought, I could see if she was still interested. She probably just needed some time. She told me her dad died recently. I have found that girls with dead fathers give the best lay. But they are usually an emotional mess.


When the Commodore first set sail to planets unknown, I had one guy who actually knew what he was doing. His name was Fred. He was a fat guy with a bowl cut and an inexplicable love of puffy vests. The rest of the crew of the Commodore were big-breasted curvy ladies, most of whom wore Chanel No. 9. I thought long and hard about which one to fuck first. Rachel was the hottest, but she had those fake lips put in which weirded me out. They looked plastic. Amy had the best tits. Sophie was really

cute, but so young looking. It made me feel a little guilty to even be turned on by her. But during the eightsome, she was the all-star, the MVP. I’m thinking of selling my captain’s log as a book of erotica.


Kristen wasn’t as pretty as most girls I date and usually adult braces are a no-no, but I had a feeling about her. In the pic she emailed me, she was wearing a tight pink sweater that looked soft enough to be made entirely of peach fuzz. It was taken in front of dark coral curtains with bad lighting. She had her hands on her hips and she smiled really big and her eyebrows were raised a bit. She looked like she had smoke in her eyes.


Her myspace said she liked Belle and Sebastian, the White Stripes, and Camera Obscura. Her favorite movie is Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. How is that anyone’s favorite movie? We are both Aquariuses. Or is it Aquari?



The douche bag pulled into a Staples parking lot. He stayed in his car for twenty minutes before I realized he wasn’t coming out. Coward. I asked Kristen if I should pull my baseball bat from out of the trunk or just go bare fisted. She just screamed some inaudible junk. Her make-up smudged around her eye sockets. Her eyes were swollen. I noticed some acne on her cleavage. I decided then to refrain from online dating.


The Commodore once landed on a planet called Treim. The natives were all sedentary. Their limbs were jellified, their fingernails overgrown. They had no body hair and had skin the color of copper. They choose their mates simply by who was closest to them, because they found it difficult to move. I would have told Kristen all about this had we started dating. I would have filled every night of her life with a vivid, pulsating story from my life and she would have been a part of every story to come. But she couldn’t handle it, her loss.


My cousin Jerry’s friends were all very funny.

They were nice enough people too. But they had small, little lives. Their funerals would be attended by maybe two dozen people. They weren’t important or historical. They were just people. And I think they knew that and they knew that I wasn’t one of them. People with small lives do not win the IBF welterweight championship. They do not explore the unseen portions of space and have sex with too many women to count. You won’t find Jerry or George or Kramer or even sweet Elaine in statue form staying erect with a golden fist raised in the air long after the human race is only memory. But that’s where you will find me.


I decided to go unarmed to the douche bag’s window. I knocked on it using the drumbeat of the song, Karma Police. Bam bam bam BAM, Bam bam bam BAM!

“A lesson needs to be learned,” I told him.

He sat away from the window with his fists ready and he told me that he had already called the cops. Which is what I should have expected him to do, that prissy little dumbass. Who doesn’t fight their

own battles? He was bigger than me too, ex-military probably. But he must have gone soft, married, kids running around his ankles, a desk job, insurance, digital cable, a pension plan. Ten years prior we would have tussled on the asphalt. I would have swept his legs out from under him. He would have wrapped his arm around my neck and tried to choke the shit out of me. We would have punched each others mouths until there were teeth stuck between our knuckles. But that wasn’t going to happen now.

“I’ve seen alien beings made out of gas with more backbone than you,” I screamed through the glass.

I had. It was on the first planet we discovered. The douche bag refused to look at me no matter how loud I got. I wondered how he survived in the military.


Sometimes I think of Elaine when I am having sex with another girl. I have to be extra careful not to call her name out when I orgasm.

Several cops cars swerved around me. They came out with their hands on their guns and their eyes at the center of my chest. They didn’t know who I was or what kind of person I was or they wouldn’t have shouted so rudely at me. They would have also taken more care when putting me in the backseat of the squad car. I couldn’t believe the douche bag was getting away with reckless driving. As soon as I was hauled off, I knew he’d go right back to haphazardly changing lanes. Maybe I should I have run him off the road.

The worst part was seeing Kristen climb out of the passenger side of my car and blab something to one of the officers while pointing at me. She did not look impressed or overwhelmed by having briefly dated the temporary singer of Radiohead and veteran space traveler. She looked like she had jutted her head out of the water right before drowning.



Copyright © Ryan Dilbert. White Whale Review, issue 1.1


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