The Thing of the Week: “My Friend Mike” – by Ryan Donahue.

Ryan Donahue.

Ryan Donahue.

Each week Ryan will pick a thing and that thing will be the thing of the week. It can be a person, a place, an occurrence, or an idea. The sky is the limit.

‘My Friend Mike’

He’s a three-job kind of man—a thirteen-hour workday kind of guy, sweaty, with a pack of back hairs and a closet full of twelve-dollar suits. A man who thinks too long and hard about how he shouldn’t think so long and hard; an audio engineer who loves noises more than those old-world sounds; a quirky, back-seat, easy rider caught in a trance, with a knapsack full of a future’s shepherd’s pie for his underground bunker—the last man alive in these United States, sipping cold creamed corn from a baby-blue oil funnel.


He’s a dedicated man, artless and alive, who is not afraid to talk of all the times he’s piddled in puddles of fear on his own little road to redemption. A man who hates how much he loves to drink, who loves how much he hates what he simply starts to hate; who really means it when he says it, until he gives it up. He is but one of Boston’s many fine Irishmen to throw up his hands and accept his fate; to take his rest deep inside a haze of busy bodies, for better and for worse.


Michael P. Kelly Jr. is a man who truly knows just how alone he is in this world, with a heart that pumps the blood of the American dream and the mind of an Irish bulldog in a pee-ridden Italian kennel whose drive for life resides in a fiery resentment of human beings and all the different ways they’ve cleverly disguised the beasts inside themselves. Each day Michael works himself deeper into a pit with no bottom, where monetary debt is the soil surrounding his livelihood, where the air is measured by the square-inch, and the slugs are salted with bits of granite that slip across the tongue with a tinge of old-time pine.


A banjo-pluckin’, what-should-I-eat-for-dinner-on-my-day-off piece of work-all-day-and-I’m-up-in-five-hours-I-wish-I-had-the-nerve sort of cat. A man who owes sixty-thousand dollars to an institution of higher learning which, after four glowing years, has taught him how quickly his cruel life-system would put him under. A man who merely wants to own a piece of land, and sit on it because he can. Living for today and for all days always, he is Michael P. Kelly Jr., heeding the same wake to the praise and the criticism, which is, and should be, zero.


He’s a dedicated man. He longs for a shot at The Life—pure and simple—even though he’s grown enough to know what money means. He knows its main ingredient is, in fact, blood—that its existence means a kill-or-be-killed world in which a simple life can never be so simple after all—and so Michael festers in a lonely nest of incredulousness, surveying a land of hypocrisy and sin. Balding like the eagle of our great nation, he swoops down from the branch of liberty only to devour the field mice of deceit, for the breeze on which he flies is that of truth.

You can find more stuff from Ryan Donahue at @ryanjaydonahue

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