Categories
fiction fragment

Void Vicious 0

I can remember… the cold steel gray of that warm rainy day. It was drizzling outside. I don’t know where it was, but I remember the pool and the fountain, stone that had turned gray with age.

I was alone, only the rustling of tropical trees in the near beyond to keep me company.

I remember running, years later, tearing off my shirt in inexpressible agony. I had always thought to myself that people were the most important things in life, but that day, I had begun to realize, people come and drift away… like leaves upon a breezy day.

So when I bought my first handgun and felt its weight in my hand, I think that was the day I made my first true friend. Finally, I had found someone who would not leave me, not then, not ever… even as all the shadows about me had faded into the creeping darkness of dusk.

The arms dealer I bought it from, a scrappy smuggler on the outskirts of Centra City just by the slums, was grinning, a metal tooth glinting in the dim 40w glow of a shanty, rundown room in some trashy tenement building.

“That’s a real beaut’. Walther PPQ 45, used by law enforcement agencies… got some real kick.”

As I grew accustomed to its balance and feel, the dealer seemed to see the green on my ears and his tone changed into one of slight nervous apprehension. “Say, you ever own a gun before?”

I shook my head.

“Well, how about a smaller 22 cal, probably easier…”

I shook my head. I wanted to feel the recoil in my hands. I wanted to make every shot count.

The dealer shrugged. “So you know how to use this thing?”

I nodded.

“Don’t talk much, huh?”

I shrugged, putting the cash on the table. Two-grand, well above MSRP. The dealer counted it out. He whistled jokingly like he was surprised. “I’ll be damned, how’s a kid like you get that sort of cash?”

He must have noticed that look in my eye, because a moment later, he chuckled nervously and said, “forget I asked. I probably don’t even wanna know.”

He was right about that.

“Well, just for kicks,” he reached into his case, and I heard the slight clinking of bullets. He placed a pack of Remington 45 ACPs and a spare cartridge.

“I take care of my clients.” He winked.

Decent guy. Good businessman. Made up for the overzealous pricing.

“You’re going to want some cleaning supplies to keep that thing in shape,” the dealer informed me.

“I’m all set there.” I finally spoke. I had procured all the necessaries for maintenance well in advance, including knowledge of how to disassemble and reassemble the gun.

“So you ain’t a mute after all.”

I shrugged. I had a lot of practicing to do. No point wasting energy on words.

The transaction complete, I nodded in grateful acknowledgement and showed myself out.

Categories
fragment

These Words Are For You

Let not the world and its ways weigh you down.

Do not take your anger and frustration out on others, but forgive them of perceived injustices with charity and kindness.

Take responsibility for your faults and flaws that you may grow.

Take bad fortune with the smile of those who strive to know.

Let not your pain hold you back with guilt and a leaden chest filled with regret; learn from your mistakes and walk towards a brand new day.

Own the faults of others that you may become wise.

Find that last inch of yourself: a dignity none can take away. Learn to live in this last inch, fight with your rawest survival instinct, and carve a monument of your strength as a human being.

Solere deficere, victorias vanitas, successu tentasset. Accustomed to defeat, emptiness in victory, success in failure.

You are the beginning and the end and all that is in between. You are your own heaven and hell and best well-wisher.

You are the alpha, the beta, the gamma and delta; the kappa, the theta, the omicron and omega; tau sigma phi, epsilon psi.

Everything comes from Nothing. And Nothing comes from Everything. Struggle is the root of all existence.

Proelium ad infinitum. Struggle forever.

Et quia amor est infinitus. My love for you is infinite.

Non je ne regrette rien. I have no regrets.

Categories
fiction short story

Gitar

Mah pa loved his gitars. Maybe more’n he loved me’n momma, ne’er was too sure. Cert’nly more’n he loved other people, that was indisputable fact. Ne’er boddered me much. I loved plenty o’ things more’n pops ‘n momma, cert’nly more’n other people.

He tol’ me once, “folks who hurt me most are alwus those I care for the most.” So’s I guess he decided maybe not to care for folks at all, put all his carin’ into his strummin’ ‘n pluckin’. Ne’er boddered me much. But then, folks ne’er hurt me. Not like I think they hurt pops, anyhow.

Ma’d complain ’bout his “mean machines” ‘n then sum. He’d come home ‘n go straight to the basement without so much as sayin’ a word to me or momma — she’d usually be makin’ dinner right ’bout that time. She ne’er liked that, I ne’er saw no issue with it.

I mean, I git it now. She ‘spected him to take a vested interest in her. An’ maybe he did, at some point. But I don’t think ma e’er took a vested interest in what pa loved, ‘n that’s why he had no qualms ’bout holin’ himself up like that.

He di’nt drink. Di’nt do nothin’ else asides playin’ gitar, alone. That was his escape, his cay-tharsis. Momma ne’er did much to comfort pa ’bout nuthin’, jes’ made his life more troublesome or quarrelsome without much ta show for it. Even as a boy, that much were clear ta me. But she ‘spected him ta go outa his way to make her comfortable, I guess.

I think now, ma felt threatened by these gitars, felt like she was alwus competin’ fer his ‘tention, ‘n that’s why she’d ne’er listen ta his music, treated music like it were the devil. Now, I know when they got married, she knew he loved gitar, hell, he wooed her with gitar, but she ne’er ‘spected him ta love gitar so much.

In her jealousy ‘n insecurity, she’d keep ‘spressin dislike ’bout his gitar playin’ habits, makin’ comments ’bout how he loved ’em more’n her. No doubt ‘n mah mind that drove a wedge between ’em more’n anythin’ else. She were jest a shallow creature in the end, mah pa were a fish o’ some depth. Honestly, it’s a miracle the two of ’em e’er got hitched when’s ya think ’bout it, but I think it’s cus there warn’t many people ta settle down with hereabouts, ‘n pa never considered movin’ to find someone or some place more suited, where his playin’ mighta takin’ him somewhere.

Nah, pa warn’t one fer risks, he was content livin’ and dyin’ on the same plot he’d been born. Like I said, he warn’t a people person. Ne’er wanted fame. Jest a quiet life, tha’s all. But, I think he coulda had a quiet life ‘n still gone far with gitar. He was jest too beat up inside. If momma had been able to fix his banged up heart jest a bit, rather’n stressin’ it more, maybe…

Naw, more’n maybe, I’m sure pa would’ve got up the gumption to take us somewhere else, maybe California, and taken his music somewhere it coulda been heard.

Bein’ married mahself, I think it were momma’s insecurity made things go south that way, like a self-fulfillin’ prophecy, ya know? Ya think ‘n say somethin’ ’nuff ‘n it becomes real. She di’nt seem ta get that. Di’nt seem ta get how much she hurt him sayin’ mean things ’bout the only thing in the world that eased his sufferin’ when his pa died, when he was eleven, and later when his ma came down with the cancer when he was seventeen.

Momma jest couldn’t relate. She was an ordinary gal with well-to-do parents, ne’er suffered no hardship to speak of, save her marriage I s’pose. She lacked any real ‘magination ’bout life. I’m sure pa saw that, ‘n he was okay with it. I dunno why.

When’s I asked him why they got married, why he fell for a girl like momma, he jest told me. “Sometimes, it ain’t about love. Sometimes, it’s jest about goin’ on livin’.”

It took me a long while ta get what he meant.

I heard the way mah pa played. Tunes so sad or angry, swept me to tears e’ery day o’ the week. Gitar was his voice. That was how he ‘spressed hisself. But ma, she jest saw it as somethin’ kid-like, cute, but she cou’nt git it.

If she had, I think their marriage mighta ended mighty different. Makes me think o’ the sayin’, behind e’ery great man is a great woman. Wish momma were a great woman. Pa deserved that. He shoulda been somethin’ great when he was alive. But momma was content keepin’ him caged in the basement ‘n strapped with pointlessness.

Momma’d alwus be talkin’ away at dinner ’bout some nonsense he di’nt care nothin’ for. Alwus somethin’ ’bout the neighbors, the church, or the goin’-ons ’bout the community. But he warn’t a people person. Didn’t care ’bout them, didn’t go to church none. Church Sunday was alwus jest me’n momma so long as I kin remember.

He’d jest be noddin’ when momma got ta talkin’, goin’ through the motions, sayin a few words here’n there. Most I seen ’em bond was when he took ’nuff interest in her ramblin’-ons to strike up conversation. Momma’d get this light in her eyes, like some fire’d been stoked.

Too bad she ne’er got that light talkin’ ’bout his music.

I asked him once why he loved gitar so much.

“A gitar will ne’er leave you, ne’er betray you.” He told me. Simple as that.

Thing is, and I kin say this now, I think pa was always content with his lot in life. And momma, she di’nt make his life no better, but he di’nt fault her none for it. He had a clear notion who he was and who she was. I think tha’s why he was so relieved when she finally divorced him and remarried, ‘cus he was too beat up inside ta do somethin’ like that himself.

That he were content with his lot is the real reason he didn’t care none about movin’ to pursue music.

I care, ‘cus… I dunno. I loved mah pa, I think he deserved better ‘n what life gave ‘im. But, pro’ably, tha’s jest selfish.

I’d see ‘im regular afore he died, a number o’ times through the year. As time wore on, I saw how happy he became, alone, with jest his gitars.

I asked him why he was so happy, and he told me, simple ’nuff. “Life ain’t got no winners, but one thing’s fer certain: happiness ain’t somethin’ ya find. It’s somethin’ ya choose.”

— Eulogy read at Thom Delancey Walker’s funeral

Categories
cosmic self-reflection fiction Uncategorized

Sharksin Bait

“Sair, I heard you’re leaving,” Atwani said to me in that passive tone of voice of his that was reminiscent of a wounded animal, something you take pity upon. It was a manner of speaking I regarded as a foible of his character, that he lacked the demeanor to be assertive because he was afraid of being told off, so instead he snaked his words in such a way that none would have the desire to tell him off.

Well, none save me, I suppose. “Yes! Yes, and yes, I’m leaving to get away from your way of speaking!”

Atwani seemed hurt by this as I laughed mercilessly. “Yes, I’m trying to escape you, Atwani.”

“Come now, Sair! It’s not fair to make fun of me so.”

“No? Not fair, you say? But Atwani, you will meanwhile try to undermine my courage with your words of wisdom. You will tell me hurtful things I know in my heart with that meek voice of yours. Then you will fall asleep at night thinking you have done right, that you have made me wiser by making me to think of things I would else have been ignorant of.

“Tell me, who is then truly fair? The snake that bites and bides his time as poison seeps, or the mighty lion that swipes in one fatal brush and fells his prey?”

Atwani grew quiet at this, for he knew in such play who was snake, and who was lion. I roared with gusto, I slept with depth, I did not mince my words or plot my craft. I was the king of the plain. I walked, afraid of none. It was others who feared me.

Even Atwani feared me. He feared to ruffle my mane while I feared the bite of his words, and we had played at this game for years. I would roar at him, and he would slither; he would constrict about me in my moments of weakness, hissing whispers into my ear at night.

But Atwani, like the vizier, the shadow master, he sowed words in hearts. Wise words, often enough. But he lacked in conviction to act on his own words. That was why he was venomous.

When he had turned this way, I did not know. It was a time before my own, for Atwani was much older than I. He had not become the way he was from lack of courage or a seditious nature. Of the two of us, Atwani was the more selfless. He cared more for others.

Of the two of us, I was the more selfish. But I had learned to be this way from Atwani, because I had seen how Atwani depended upon those he cared for. In his selflessness, he had forfeit his own being; in that forfeiture, he needed to live vicariously through the successes of those he loved.

Thus, for all that Atwani gave, he took as much. And this, I did not perceive as selfless. He took in the form of spirit, in the form of quiet recognition for his wisdom. Those like me, those who roared loudly and saw through his act and did not confer upon him jubilation, he shunned those in his own way. He called beings like us arrogant.

I was arrogant, it is true. But my intent in arrogance was never self-grandeur. I always looked up to Atwani in his selflessness, the way he gave to others. But I thought to myself, I would rather give and not expect anything in turn. Not even respect.

How then, does one give so unconditionally? All nature, the world, even the universe is built upon give-and-take. How could one give, but not also take? This was a Godlike feat, not befitting us mortals.

The way that Atwani supports his family and the ones he loves, I supposed I needed to find my own way. But I am a brusque being; insensitive, blunt, callous. I say things that often hurt, and only after the fact do I realize how badly I have wounded.

I sever relationships relentlessly, because I see through their facades and deem them not worth my time. I have no fear of hurting others, for others have viciously hurt me.

So how does someone so dense, so monolithic and violent, ever help others?

I look to the hyenas that assemble about the kill of the lionesses. The fertile lands that form opposite the mountains. Creatures like me, we are best caring for ourselves, in blatant selfishness. In that singular drive, we pave the way for all other creatures.

I would do far less good being concerned with the well-being of others, than I would simply being concerned for my own well-being. And that is the difference between Atwani and I: he does not have the courage for even that degree of selfishness.

I am unsure who is the better man, if such a thing exists. I think Atwani is a good man.

“I’m leaving, Atwani,” I answered at last, “because perhaps I can bring some good out of it. I have not brought any good, either for you or myself, during my time here. That much is clear.”

Atwani nodded. “Do you have a plan for your new life?”

I smiled. “I do, I do,” I assured him.

“Tell me,” Atwani said, challengingly, as if to see through my bluff.

To which I grinned, and began talking. “I used to be a smart man, Atwani. I gave up my genius because I realized: I could think and think and think all day. I could draw up plans, scrap them, and draw them anew. But for all my plotting and scheming, I could always consider an angle beyond my control. Something far out of my reach. This would cause me to shrink in fear and uncertainty, paralyzed.

“In such planning, I realized why geniuses often accomplish so little whilst the idiots so much. To quote a smarter fellow than I, ‘the intelligent are unsure of themselves whilst the fools are cocksure.’

“Thus, I opted to learn from the fool. Let me too, be a fool. Let me to stop thinking, and start acting. So for awhile now, I have acted the fool. I have told myself I am stupid, an idiot. And you know what I have learned?”

“What?” Atwani asked, smiling, humored. “What have you learned, Sair?”

“It is not so easy!” I laughed. “Believe it! Being stupid is not easy when you’re smart!”

Atwani laughed.

“You see, men, smart and dumb alike, are as Nietzsche described: they are ever in aspiration of a certain accomplishment. When they have attained it, they are satisfied awhile, but then they invent something new to aspire towards. They are never content.

“But you see the conundrum: how does one attain happiness if one is never content?” I asked Atwani, seriously.

Atwani pondered upon this awhile. “I’ve a notion, Sair, that it comes from the journey.”

“Exactly!” I enthused. “Forget the endpoint. The endpoint is always in motion. The only thing that matters is the now. Not the future. Nor the past you leave behind. The moment of now, within your cosmic journey. Even as the horizon slips away, ever beyond your reach, you love every step you take. It is not because you’re trying to get anywhere. It’s because so long as you’re trying, you’re exactly where you belong.

“Sounds frustrating,” Atwani commented. “I would probably give up trying, do something less challenging, more attainable” he laughed. “Something where the rug isn’t being pulled out from under your feet all the time.”

I shrugged, not having a particular response. “You’re not wrong for doing that,” I affirmed.

“No, of course not,” Atwani winked.

I nodded. “But do you know why I try, even as the rug is perpetually pulled out from beneath me?”

Atwani shook his head. “Tell me Sair, what makes you tick?”

“Because, there are moments I have, when it all falls into place.” I smiled.

“That everything happens for a reason?”

I shook my head. “I’m sure it does, but that’s not the point. Everything I have done with faith and confidence, in search of myself, it begins to paint a clear picture. None of it was in waste. It becomes apparent that all of it was amounting to these moments of crystalline purity… where my entire life is laid before me, and I can see all the directions and ways in which it can flow.

“The universal energy, the flow of all things, the tao, I see it and perceive it. It is not a pathway to success. It is not a conduit to material being. It is a stairway to being precisely what is needed by the world, when it is needed.”

At this, Atwani’s head nods in dreamy accordance. He does not say anything at first, but then he tells me, “you still have not told me your plan for your new life.”

And I tell him, “Haven’t I?

“I will continue to play the fool, to have faith, and love the journey. My Lord is gracious: assuredly, He will guide me the rest of the way as He has always done.”

Categories
cosmic self-reflection

Clarity 0

It all becomes clear. All the pieces fall into place. The mistakes and pains of the past. Everything makes sense. You see the path that you have tread. You realize it was because you chose to walk off the beaten and worn trail, to find your own way.

Sticking to the tried and true was never what you wanted to do. You never wanted to have it easy. Rather, you wanted to become stronger. Finding your own way and fighting for it. That’s the best way to attain the strength you sought.

Most people want outcomes. You never sought a particular fate. You wanted something deep inside. A glimmering truth. A beautiful jewel. Something to believe in.

Your parents wanted to keep you on the straight and narrow, leashed to society’s status quo. They groomed you to succeed within it, they made you believe in it, but you came to question it and disbelieve. Eventually you receded, disenchanted. The easy path was not what you wanted.

They only wanted what was best for you, they raised you to the best of their ability with all their imagination and heart: they gave you that best start. You tormented yourself to wish you could have been that perfectly simple kid, who didn’t question and defy, and made their lives alright.

In the end, both of you were right. They showed you the light, and you showed them your might.

***

You began in tenuous abstractness. A dark cloud, a pall. A vision, a dream. Ideality not reflected in reality, it seems.

Disillusioned by the distance between what you dream and what you see, you buried your deepest beliefs. “It could never be,” you told yourself, repeatedly.

But in your own ways, you tried. Tried to make reality reflect that dream. Every little stroke, every small act. Every word spoke and wrote; every note plucked and strummed. Through gentle motions you made, fragments of that vision became real. In efforts subtended by quiet of early morning and night, you honed your crafts.

Diligence and discipline followed naturally from the passion within.

You watched as many, far more gifted, were seduced by life’s beautiful lies. Meanwhile, your gaze sought the truth and pierced the haze. “Let them live their contrived lives.”

You would have too, if you could have. What was it in your heart, in your being, that set you apart? What was the division between you, and those so much better?

You suffered the role of the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the fool, the unloved. In these experiences you found your smoking gun. But most of all, you never stopped believing in a unity that most deemed day-dreaming.

Maslow’s pyramid was but a contrivance you disassembled with dissatisfactory emphasis. Such a thing is false and faded, a simplistic construct of a simpler time.

You know the truth now, as telescopes peer into the darkest holes in the cosmos. Gravity from the absence of light is what drives the greatest of the universe’s constructs.

Stellar objects with immense mass, their childhood fusion past, collapse in implosions of supernovae, vast.

In adolescence your intellect stretched, but beneath its own weight, imploded. You became that black hole, sucking relentlessly, but also, giving endlessly.

Then, in the fulfillment of individual needs and the starvation of social ones: in that niche did you find the space to breathe and become this supermassive singularity.

***

There is nothing to fear. Everything will be fine. Tread now, along your self-made line. You have worked hard to harden, to develop this pull for all things. Let them now come to you, as is fated to be so.

Read and grow, love and glow. Others are but planets and suns spinning in your evanescent darkness.

Categories
cosmic self-reflection poetry

Scribbles on the Wall

Categories
poetry

Adenine Thymine

Strange sea in perturbed dreams
Smoking guns between gloved seams
Wolf calls and owl hoots
Clouded moon hidden in rain

Running between, scene-to-scene
Laughing, crying, but never asleep
Smoking, drinking, feeling weak
Get up, get up
Shoot up, strap down

She sits in your arms, silent but alive
Isn’t this reality, and the rest is a lie?

Unbuckle that belt boy, time to drive
Turn off the alarm, let it slide
Hit the shift, drop the clutch
Pump the pedal, it’s never enough
Swerve and curve, dodging holes
Feel the rush of knowing
How thin the line
Between death and life

Blow the engine, crack the block
Kick the curb, stop and drop
Blown head gasket, chrome exhausts
Smoking like semi-nines
This is vacation from paradise
Your heart works fine
But you’re dead inside

Eat paper to become lucid
Smoke paper to become placid
No liquid to ease the pain
Just a never-ending rain

Pop the pills, pour the juice
Mix the creatine, get loose
Hit the mill and pump the bells
Kick the bag, punch it to hell

The doctor says you’ve got
One month to live and all you
Think in your head is how
You wanted to be dead but now

Practiced smile, read the script
Try to memorize despite the dread
The heavy metal leadenness in your head
Then once you’re up, it all flows
Like crystal clear glacier streams
From those hours on set you know
This is how you wanted to go

Lost in an art
Clear sky in desert dark
Immersed in a sea of make-believe
Where paradise isn’t a lie

Dreams mean something.

Categories
fiction fragment short story story

My Tea’s Gone Cold

Jack Coultre sat at the counter of his go-to bar, Hidalgo’s, a small spot tucked discreetly into an alley in the well-to-do North district, right off Ninth Ave. It was well-kept, quiet. Clean. Jack had been a regular at that spot for a couple years, ever since starting his job along nearby Forbes Ave. That particular night, Elena was tending the bar. The old man, Carter, was wiping down tables and serving customers with his characteristic serious-but-jovial and not-too-uptight demeanor.

“What’s it going to be tonight, sweetie?” Elena asked, tousling her wispy dirty blonde hair with a dreamy look in her eyes that was her hallmark.

Jack smiled gently, tired. “Got anything new and interesting for me? Something sweet and tropical maybe, but doesn’t matter that much.”

Elena smiled. “Always amazes me, a straight whiskey shooter like you doesn’t think twice about ordering girly drinks.” Then she thought for a moment. “Oh, I know. I got just the thing. Something I’ve been playing around with. Sweet spot tonight, huh?”

Jack nodded.

“Manager being a numbnut again?”

Jack shook with some mirth, smiling. “He’s always a numbnut. I gotta stop running my fucking mouth, the dumb twat doesn’t really have a clue but thinks he’s empathetic and knows what’s going on.”

“Plus, I bet those senior asshats calling the shots are no good,” Elena commented as she began to prep his drink, familiar with the tirade she’d heard from hundreds of other guys.

“They’re never any good. Think they’re hot stuff. Buncha fuckin’ guppies. Probably couldn’t last a day outside their cushy jobs.”

“Hon, most types couldn’t last a day outside their little chipmunk cages, not like you. White-collar, or not. You look at those tough-and-tumble guys, most of them are just angry pricks who grew up in one town, drive the same route to work every day, eat the same food at the same time, like clockwork. They eye all the pretty women, but go home and fuck the same girl the same boring-ass way. They don’t have an ounce of color.”

Jack sighed. “I shouldn’t be griping. You’re right, most people are the same washed-out shit. That’s what adult life and a steady job do to you. Get washed and dried enough cycles, you’re just a terry cloth waiting to be tossed, fraying at the edges. Suppose that’s what kids are for, to bring some of that color back.”

Elena smiled as she skillfully measured some combination of liquor and liquers. “Funny to hear you talking about kids. You gettin’ washed out or something? Finally getting fed up with this stability you’ve landed yourself in?”

“Sure getting close,” Jack conceded with a distant look in his eyes. “But at least I never drive the same route or eat the same foods. I’d shoot myself before I ended up like that.”

Elena paused a moment with a mischievous smile. “But you still drink at the same bar and sleep with the same woman.”

Jack raised his hands with a smirk. “Guilty as charged.”

Elena winked as she shook the mixer. “You should come by more often. Remind me how not everyone’s a moronic, self-deluded sack of shit.”

“Not counting the old man,” Jack corrected.

“Right,” Elena concurred. “He’s too quiet though.”

Jack nodded. “Yeah, and I’m a little too talkative, even without any drinks.”

“Nothing wrong with that. Better than being all bottled up.”

Jack sighed. There was a minute of silence as Elena poured his drink and garnished with a peel of lime. It came out to be this pinkish, delectable looking thing.

“Voila,” she said as she laid it before Jack.

He raised the glass. “Here’s to you.”

Elena raised an invisible glass. “Here’s to friendship.”

Jack took a sip and immediately smiled. Hints of guava and grenadine, a touch of juniper from gin, just the right amount of dry and tart all swirled together into something fantastic. “You’ve really outdone yourself this time, Elena.”

She winked, sticking her tongue out at him playfully. “You’re my inspiration.”

Jack had no choice but to chuckle. “Some inspiration.”

Elena grinned, then walked away to tend to some other customers on the opposite end of the bar.

Jack sipped his drink quietly. A few minutes passed before the door opened, gently ringing the bell, and a jacketed Russel walked briskly up to the bar and took a seat next to Jack.

“Howdy, pardner,” Jack directed towards Russel, taking another sip of his drink.

“Evening, Rudy,” Russel replied.

“Rudy?”

Russel shrugged. “Just tired of calling you Jack.”

Jack laughed. “The hell?”

Russel smiled his usual askew smile. “Eh, forget it. Just beginning to think it’s about time for a change.”

“You and me both, buddy.”

Russel took a deep breath, held it, and then exhaled loudly. “Agh!” he exclaimed at nothing at all.

“That bad of a day, huh?”

“Worse. Some girl at work had a fucking meltdown today. Came in trying to report some kid in engineering, saying he sexually harassed her.”

“Well, did he?”

“Hell no. The kid was innocent as fuck. Not a bad bone in his body. I knew him personally too. Awkward, but in that wholesome way. Reminds me of myself, maybe twenty years ago.”

“Well if he didn’t harass her, what did he do?”

Russel began to laugh. Then he laughed some more. Finally, he broke down into a full-out, hearty guffaw. “Good god. He sent her a love letter. Innocent letter too, saying he’s had feelings for her for a while, just wants to get to know her, maybe be friends, no pressure.”

“What? You’re shitting me. That’s harassment?”

“Ah, shit, I feel bad for the kid,” Russel conceded. “Falling for a lousy, scummy, stupid, stinking piece of ass like that.”

Jack laughed. “Calm down buddy.” He gestured towards Elena. “Sounds like you need a drink.”

“More than just a drink,” Russel said. “I had to let the kid go.”

“No fucking way,” Jack’s face contorted. “For something that harmless?”

“Zero tolerance.” Russel shrugged. “Meanwhile, pretty sure that bitch is shagging at least a few of the studs in marketing.”

“Ah, fuck,” Jack scratched the back of his head. “What’s the world coming to, eh?”

Elena walked up. “Hey there, long-timer. What’s the damage today?”

Russel just lifted up four digits.

“Four!” Elena exclaimed. “Good god. This better not be like Valentine’s day. Any preferences, hot stuff?”

Russel thought about it for a minute. “All tequila. Different tequilas. Gold and clear, doesn’t matter.”

Elena clicked her tongue and did a double-shooter gesture towards Russel. “You got it, boss.” Then she immediately laid out the shot glasses into a wooden shooter and began pouring. It took her all of half a minute, then she pushed it towards Russel, who instantly took one. Waited maybe ten seconds, then took another. Thought it over, and took his third.

“Damn, buddy,” Jack commented, whistling.

Elena shook her head. “You better not get trashed again, Russ.”

Russel laughed, glancing suggestively at Jack, then punching him playfully in the shoulder.

Jack rolled his eyes, and punched him back, a little harder. “I’m gonna toss you out into the alley and let you find your way home. Just sayin’, buddy.”

Russel took the final shot, then violently shook his head. “Some pal you are.” They both knew that Jack would never do that.

“So keep going,” Jack encouraged.

“Nothing to go on about,” Russel commented, starting to feel the liquor. “I let him go… end of story.”

Tch. Jack clicked his tongue. “How do people do this kind of shit, affecting someone else’s livelihood so ruthlessly?”

“It’s the women,” Russel commented. “Most guys wouldn’t pull this shit, except maybe psychos and those bastards in management who think they own the damn world. Most guys are relatively decent. Women, on the other hand… just about every woman has zero qualms about abusing the shit out of the system to get their way. It’s in their blood… manipulative bitches.”

Jack patted Russel’s back. “I hear ya bud, but not all women are bad.”

Russel rolled his eyes. “Not for you, but then, you’re smart, you never got married. Hell Jack… don’t be so fair to them, not around me. I don’t think I can ever be unbiased, not after Annie.” He was referring to his divorced wife who had taken full-custody of their two children. That, and the house in the glades, and half Russel’s paycheck. Now he could barely afford some shitty getup in the West side, especially with his drinking habit.

Jack sighed, and Russel stared absently down at the counter.

“Look Russ, I know you don’t want to hear it. But I think it’s probably the most important thing you can hear. At least until you find it in your heart to forgive her, and move on.”

Russel toyed with one of the shot glasses. “Forgive her, huh… Only God forgives.”

“It ain’t healthy, carrying around this much hatred for anyone, much less the entire opposing gender.”

Russel nodded. “I know you’re right, Jack. I know it. I tell myself the same thing. But FUCK!” He yelled a little too loud, and both Elena and Carter turned their heads towards them. Jack gave them the thumbs up and they returned to what they were doing.

They were silent for some minutes. Jack raised his glass for another. Elena came back and started mixing his next drink.

“You good, Russ?” She asked in a pseudo-concerned voice, knowing that this was well in the realm of normal for him.

Russel raised his hand, his head nodding a little. He opened his mouth as if to say something, and then receded back into himself without a peep.

Elena glanced at Jack, who discreetly shook his head.

Once she’d mixed Jack his next drink and he’d begun sipping on it, Russel broke out of his silent spell and started up again.

“You know, technology these days,” Russel began. “It’s so fucked up. Social media and the goddamn syndicated news networks. They’re fucking everyone up. Media conglomerates trying to rig elections. The constant stream of noise, that deluge of data that overloads people’s brains… they tap in for these dopamine shots from likes or retweets or whatever the fuck. But it’s a lie. They’re just living in some fantasy land where they drum up their own hopeless closed-mindedness, forming these… mob-like tribes.”

Jack nodded. “No kidding.”

“Most of them don’t think. Most people can’t fucking think for themselves. They don’t have an ounce of critical thinking ability. They can’t make real conclusions for themselves. They’re more like asses, they learn from their mistakes the same was an ass knows how to not get whipped. But they can’t question things and come up with their own conclusions with their own god given faculties. That’s why you see all these fucking self-help books, these ass-clowns and pundits getting up on their pulpits yelling out recipes and lists and lifestyles and prescriptions for how other people can live a better life. Most everyone out there wants some convenient, pre-digested formula for success. For fuck’s sake. Don’t people get it? If you can’t figure it out on your own, you’re never going to figure it out. Think for yourself, and all that self-help bullshit becomes common-fucking-sense.”

Jack chuckled. “Preach, brother.”

“That bitch I was telling you about? I checked her twitter. God, what a fucking whore. What a fucking… goddamn… when did society become so fucked up?” Russel suddenly grew quiet.

Jack grimaced, pondered it over a moment, and finally said, “Pretty sure it was always fucked up.”

“Oh yeah?” Russel egged.

“Well, yeah. Going all the way back to prehistory. You look at the chimps for a snapshot of 20,000 years ago. Violent little twats. Don’t think twice about raping or eating each other. Mankind’s not so different. Even in recorded history, mankind has mostly endured violence and primality. That story’s echoed, over and over again, everywhere you look. Societies where rape, ritual sacrifice, and slavery were the norm. Where lords and kings exploited their subjects.”

“You almost make modern society sound good.”

Jack shrugged. “Modernity’s not ideal. Probably never will be. But things are definitely better now than they ever were, certainly than they were at any known point in the past. You and me… we’re just used to taking everything for granted. Virtue of living in the best of times.”

Russel chuckled, then laughed. “Best of times… I believe you, but best of times my ass. I think I preferred it when women knew their place, running the goddamn household instead of running around out of their fucking minds. You see women these days, fucking aggressive monsters acting empowered and trying to emasculate men. It’s no wonder toxic masculinity is a thing… it’s because most women are internally deranged as fuck, and feminism just gives those bitches grenade launchers and tanks when they should be left with kitchen knives or sock-em-bop-em gloves.”

Jack broke out into raucous laughter. “Good god, Russel. Sock-em-bop-em gloves?” He kept laughing, and Russel joined him.

When they’d had their laugh, Jack took a moment to stare into the bottom of his empty glass, and flashed his eyebrows. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe all these aggressive females running around acting like they own the place are going to fuck society up, and we don’t even know it. But then again… maybe all this progressivism and equality is a good thing, it’s just that we’re in an era of such change, it’s bound to get ugly. Just look at the civil rights movement, white people were resistive to it because desegregation shook things up so much. There was a fuck ton of violence. But things got better.”

“Better?” Russel retorted. “You call niggers on welfare acting like it’s their goddamn right to take money, tax money I give, and then act all self-righteous, give me attitude and lip just for being white… you call that ‘better’?”

Jack shrugged. “There’s always going to be abusers and users. Horrible human beings. Because fuck, humans are pretty horrible, disgusting creatures in general who live in perpetual delusion and do anything they can to prop up the lies they love to live in. Just like these women you’re talking about. But consider it, our first black president: what a stand-up guy. The guy after that? What a racist, misogynistic, white pig. What a fucking sock puppet and piece of work.”

Russel chuckled. “Yeah, I’ll give you that.” He laughed. “Sock puppet. He does kinda look like that, don’t he?”

Jack smiled softly. “My point is. Maybe all this progressivism will fuck everything up. But we don’t know that. The only real thing we can do is be better people ourselves. Try and move the world in the right direction. God willing, everything really will get better. Or, maybe we’ll all go extinct in armageddon. Either outcome is fine by me.”

Russel laughed. “Yeah, it’d be great if this pain-in-the-ass existence just came to,” he slammed his fist violently his open palm, “an end. I wouldn’t even feel bad about dying like that. Not like I’d miss anything about being alive. I’m just scared to death of death because I’m hardwired to be scared of dying. Living is easier than getting up the guts to blow my brains out, or slit my wrists, or shoot up til my heart stops.”

Jack sighed. He hated hearing his friend talk like this, but he’d been this way for awhile. “You really should try and look the other way… forget women.”

“What, and become gay?” Russel laughed. Jack didn’t. When he was done laughing by himself, Russel nodded, melancholy. “Yeah. I know. Just, days like today are tough. All I see, all I feel, is how bad everything is. How wretched this earth, and the people in it.”

“Well, if you really want wretched, think about thousands of years back, as humanity evolved past the hunter-gatherer stage of civilization. As agrarian cultures and villages began sprouting, so did bands of bandits and raiders. Nomadic tribes that existed by roving the countryside and pillaging villages, killing all the men, raping women, taking the children to sell as slaves, leaving nothing and no one: just taking as they pleased. A life of constant murder, violence, and death.”

“Sounds kinda nice, if you ask me,” Russel said seriously. “Taking whatever you want. Leaving no one to come after you. Maybe that primality is a better state for humanity to be in. Shorter life expectancy. No time to be tormented by philosophical quandaries and misery. No time to think, really.”

Jack shrugged. “I get what you’re saying. I’m not sure I agree, but then, I’m not sure I disagree either. I can’t tell what’s worse, living in fear of having your head lopped off, or living in internal torment, afraid of damnation and going to work the next day.”

“I’d say they’re about equal, but what do I know,” Russel grimaced. “Okay, okay. Maybe going to work is just a tad better.”

“Just a tad,” Jack echoed.

“But keep going. So how come there are no nomadic rapers and pillagers today? Where did all the Huns go?”

“Hmm…” Jack pondered, glad Russel was taking an interest in the topic. “Pretty sure the rise of nation-states, kingdoms and fiefdoms and the like, shut down these bandits. Although, admittedly, I think it was those same bandits who established said nation-states.”

Russel chuckled, nodding. “Makes sense. The robbers got smarter. Rather than running around, they settled down.”

“Good way of putting it,” Jack conceded. “I never thought of it that way. Those initial nation-states were little more than glorified daylight robbers. They gave the farmers and villages security. Established laws and order, even if their laws were still mostly unfair and violent. Essentially, they made violence predictable. Then they took from the farmers and villagers as much as they could, in taxes or what have you, leaving the working class with just enough to survive. At that point, I couldn’t tell you how history went… maybe that was the origins of the nobility, and these rulers banded together to form kingdoms against larger armies and territories of people, leading to royalty as it’s known. I’m just speculating here, I don’t have a modicum of fact to back anything I’m saying,” Jack disclaimed as he ventured far beyond the scope of his own knowledge.

Russel waved his hand, unbothered. “Sounds good enough to be fact for me, even if it’s all hypothetical. But here’s the million-dollar question: you think life today is that much better than it was back then?”

Jack smiled, and flashed his eyebrows. “Sure enough. I actually think it is, only because of the level of mobility and freedom people have to pursue their own dreams. I mean, heck, I get it. In the end we’re all imprisoned by the system, by government, economics, society, people. There’s no escaping that. But at least we’ve got some leeway, ya know? If you’ve got the balls, you can go from nothin’ to top of the world. Bang a different chick every day, or two or three. Do drugs that make you king of the cosmos. Party like a boss.”

Russel shook his head, rolling his eyes. “Or just live a shitty, regular family life, doing a normal 9-to-5 with dirtbags you don’t care about.”

Jack nodded, and Russel continued. “Honestly though, I couldn’t tell you which lifestyle I’d want. My life’s boring as fuck, sure, but at least… I got some semblance of my soul, my integrity. I know who I am, and I’m not just the husk of some hedonistic fuck doing fuckall for a good time.”

Jack grinned. “Yeah, I think I like this boring-ass life too.” He slapped Russel’s back. “You’ll find someone. Or something. Maybe a hobby, a car. Things are going to get better. Women are going to get better. They’re going to look back on the feminism of today and think, ‘how could we have been so barbaric?’ They’re going to wisen up.”

“And if they don’t?”

“Well, I’ll bitch-slap the fuck out of ’em ’til they do,” Jack grinned, making slapping motions in air. “Yah bitch, yah.” He laughed, and Russel shook his head with a smile.

They went silent for a while, both of them staring into their empty glasses.

“Aight. So maybe modern life isn’t so bad. What decade would you say was the best in recent history? Because I kinda think we might’ve peaked, as a society.”

Jack pursed his mouth, furrowed his brow, and pulled air in through his teeth. “Whoo. Tough question.” He stared off for a bit. “I honestly couldn’t tell you. I’m sure all the decades since the war have been great in their own way. But I was only really around in the 90s. If we’re talking about peaking here, then I’d say the dot-com bust was the beginning of the end. So… 80s and 90s. And if we’re talking drugs, then definitely the 60s. Life just hasn’t been the same since they took away LSD.”

Russel cracked up. “LSD. You haven’t tripped a day in your life, you goon.”

Jack chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Sure, yeah, let’s go with that.”

Russel suddenly squinted his eyes. “Makes me think about the Native Americans. They were like the prehistoric hippies, trippin on ayahuasca and peyote and shit. Opening their eyes to the universe. Trying to live in harmony with the land. Living in peace and communion with the animals and trees. Goddamn, what I wouldn’t give to be able to experience that.”

Jack smiled. “I got a thing for the Native Americans too. Talking about it, maybe that was the peak of human society.”

“Then the fucking brits and spaniards and prick french got here, fucked everthing up righteous. Goddamn westerners.”

Jack nodded. “Fucking westerners.” A pensive expression formed on his face. “You know, we’re westerners.”

Russel waved his hand. “Yeah, yeah, we don’t count. We’re just their descendants. They were the dirty slimy cunts that killed off or enslaved two whole continents.”

Humored, Jack shook with mirth. “Pretty sure if there were any Native Americans around now they’d, you know, live on welfare and give you lip for fucking their people over.”

Russel laughed. “I’ll be sure to avoid the reservation, then.”

Elena finally made her way back around. “How’re we doing, boys?”

Russel drummed on the countertop. “I think I’ll go for whatever Jack’s been having.”

Jack raised his glass. “One for me too, hon. Oh, and pour yourself one too. On me.”

Elena winked, and got to mixing.

Categories
poetry

Emma 1

How fine the line between
Love and a lie;
Her hair floats in the air like:
A scene from a dream;
The only subject worthy
Of photographic eternity

The rest of them, but passerby
Molecules of water within
A dirty ocean, drenched in
Slow decay, perfumes of saline spray
Whores of Poseidon, gloating
Asphyxiating, throat-choking

I will murder them
With knives fashioned of my bones
I will smother them
Beneath seven feet of burning words;
I will drown them
In red fountains spilt from slit wrists;
With religious conviction, relentless
And zealous resolve, endless

Bit by bit, I will rend them
Digit by digit, I will tear them
Atom by atom, I will decompose them
Until all that remains
Universalis eternus “emptiness”
Ita est fatiae
Those whom I hate

Come Apollo, burn them away
Limn in the night of day
A scorched earth fertilized with their corpses
That I may plant upon it
Words glorifying Aphrodite’s beauty
That these seeds might sprout into
A beauteous reminder of that dream
And all the goodness I once believed:
In boundless hubris shall I fight
Jupiter, king of mankind’s vanities
For but a moment of her light
Content with my struggle’s recompense:
A throne within the hellish depths of Styx

Though I know it to be a lie,
Such is the love for which
I’d gladly die.

Categories
article essay

Subaru WRX STI versus Honda Civic Type-R

Foremost: I wish to take a sentence to glorify both Subaru and Honda for creating these most excellent vehicles. Thank you.

Next: to qualify why I can make any sort of reasonable comparison between these vehicles, it boils down to the fact that I owned both simultaneously and drove them interchangeably, depending the weather and my mood. I drove both vehicles exclusively in north-western upstate NY, in a region close to Canada where we get plenty of snow and there is a lot of opportunity for testing all-season performance.

Even if you live somewhere notably warmer with more temperate weather, I wouldn’t say the locale where I drove affects the overall conclusion of this article.

For those who want the tl;dr lowdown: the stock STI is hands-down the superior vehicle but the Type-R is an amazing piece of machine.

In the end, I sold my Type-R because of my perceived superiority of the STI. (I’m not actually wealthy enough to own two cars, just single and really stupid.)

There are many nuanced reasons why I tout the STI as being better. These reasons are mostly technical, and I will attempt to touch upon as many details as I can.

To start off, let’s lay down some base specs.

Subaru WRX STI
MSRP: From $36,995
Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder Boxer EJ25 (EJ257)
Horsepower: 310 hp
Torque: 290 lb-ft
Drivetrain: Symmetric AWD with driver controlled C. Diff (DCCD)
Curb weight: 3,450 lbs
MPG: 16 city / 22 highway
Wheel size: 19″ 245/35 R19

Honda Civic Type-R
MSRP: From $36,300
Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder Inline K20C1
Horsepower: 306 hp
Torque: 295 lb-ft
Drivetrain: FWD
Curb weight: 3,117 lbs
MPG: 22 city / 28 highway
Wheel size: 20″ 245/30 R20

Already, you can get some insights. Honda is able to squeeze some serious performance out of a smaller engine with roughly the same horsepower and torque of the STI, but noticeably less curb weight. Honda deserves tremendous kudos for such feats of engineering.

The Honda Civic Type-R: A Marvel of Modern Engineering

Its lesser weight combined with roughly equivalent torque gives the Type-R a theoretical edge in terms of low-end acceleration.

But these numbers aren’t fully telling. In fact, it is precisely because the Type-R has so much low-end torque that it is the weaker vehicle. It boils down to the fact that the ridiculous oomph that is applied to only the front two wheels make it pretty easy to lose traction with the stock tires in first and second gear. It is possible (if not likely) that better front sport tires would help the Type-R retain its traction, but this is not a problem the STI has with its stock tires, so I have to dock the Type-R here.

On top of that, these numbers don’t take into consideration the differences in the boost systems. The STI has the bigger and overall better turbo at lower RPMs. The Type-R’s turbo is smaller and takes more RPMs to kick in full-force.

(Aside: This is an area where RWD vehicles like Mustangs and certain BMWs also have an advantage over the Type-R: because these cars often come stock with wider rear tires, the RWD cars are capable of doing a better job of maintaining traction despite the same problem of high torque output to only two wheels. However, on the flip-side, the front-engine RWD configuration makes it easier to spin out, compared to a rear-engine RWD car.)

Since I mentioned RWD vehicles, I have to note that the Type-R’s FWD front-engine configuration is more intuitive in a physics sense. The mass of the engine pushes the tires down, helping to maintain traction. The car “pulls” the driver forward, which makes it easier to maneuver.

In comparison, a front-engine RWD configuration like a Mustang or muscle-car that “pushes” the driver and has less mass on the power-wheels makes it a tougher overall vehicle to handle in numerous cornering situations. On top of that, it doesn’t feel as natural to most people who typically start their driving journeys with front-engine FWD cars.

At higher speeds, (70–110 mph) the Type-R has some solid acceleration, but the STI’s turbo system again gives it a noticeable advantage.

(In this comparison, you should take my word with a grain of salt — these high-end acceleration comparisons are subjective. The Type-R acceleration is good, but the STI is downright impressive. To quote Tony the Tiger, it’s gr-r-r-eat!)

Having discussed all these things, the Type-R’s consistent loss of traction with an open throttle at low-end acceleration is apparent and detrimental to the whole experience. It happens on turns. It happens when you drive straight. It especially happens when you’re racing the car next to you.

With the Type-R, you can really only half-throttle when you’re initially accelerating. Still, even with this caveat, the Type-R feels great when you manage to accelerate without losing traction, which is pretty easy to accomplish in most situations and doesn’t take much experience.

Subjectively, the Type-R’s acceleration feels more impressive than the STI’s because of the G’s you feel. The Subaru’s AWD provides the driver with a sense of uniform acceleration. On the other hand, the Type-R’s FWD causes the driver to be pushed into the seat. The feeling is like what you get from RWD cars; it’s a bit more exciting.

On top of that, when the Honda’s turbo kicks in, you can start nailing down on the accelerator to get some sweet oomph. The kind that gives you butterflies of joy in your stomach. Good stuff.

That’s how, despite the issues with loss of traction, the Type-R still provides an amazing experience. (See how I’m not biased?)

But overall? The STI provides the better experience. For starters, it has zero loss of traction problems at low-end acceleration. The engine’s torque is propelling all four wheels through the AWD drivetrain, doubling the amount of angular momentum it must accelerate. The engine’s large amount of torque is much better applied to the increased angular momentum of four wheels.

If anything, you’re more likely to drop the clutch incorrectly and have a jarring experience with the STI’s acceleration. But this is easily cured by experience. And remember, I’m assuming you’re an amazing driver, because you probably are.

The Subaru WRX STI: It’s Just Better

Oftentimes, the Nürburgring Nordschleife records held by the STI and Type-R are used as talking points of comparison. The incredible thing about the Type-R is that they used a consumer vehicle for their 7m 43.8s record for FWD vehicles. Now that’s something.

In contrast, the STI record of 6m 57.5s was using a heavily modified 600bhp Subaru WRX STI Type RA NBR Special. In case anyone ever touts the Nürburgring records as a reason for the STI’s superiority, you can counter that the comparison isn’t apples-to-apples, and the Type-R record might in fact be the more impressive of the two because the vehicle they sell is the vehicle they used.

Aside: Other modifications to the Subaru Nürburgring RA vehicle included a completely removed interior with a welded roll cage (reduced curb weight); a lower splitter; a massive rear wing and carbon-fiber diffuser fans. Oh, and the carbon-fiber roof, which was a selling point for the limited edition Type-RA sold in the USA.

Subaru WRX STI Type RA NBR Special

(It is cool to note that the Subaru Nürburgring record is faster than Ferrari’s 599XX and a half a second slower than Porsche’s 918 Spyder.)

So, in my humble opinion: while Subaru’s Nürburgring record is downright impressive, I’d qualify the Type-R record as being more significant for consumers.

Winner: Type-R.

(I highlight this because the STI wins at nearly everything else.)

Before you write me off as a Subaru fanboy trying to belittle another great vehicle, let me try to convince you that I’m not biased at all. I sincerely gave the Type-R a fair shot. I drove the Type-R more than my Subaru by a large margin while I owned it, in order to really get a feel for it. At numerous points it struck me as the worse of the two.

In the long run, I’ve driven more Honda than Subaru. My first car was a 5-speed Honda Civic. I am, insofar as I’m concerned, a Honda enthusiast. I would never knock one of their vehicles because of some perceived favoritism. Besides, there isn’t anything about the Type-R that’s bad. It’s just that the STI is better in places that count a lot.

The only other area where the Type-R feels like it supersedes the STI is in the smoothness of the shifter and the car’s rev-matching system that makes it much more intuitive (read: easier) to sweet-spot on shifts. In fact, it’s so good, I swear the Type-R made me better at shifting in my STI.

Another weak point: the Type-R has much softer suspension tuning in its typical driving modes (Sport and Comfort). This gives it a much cushier ride for your typical daily-driving situations. I’m not completely sure I ever felt much of a difference in the R+ mode in this regard.

Thing is, this has technical disadvantages when it comes to handling, which I feel is a considerably important aspect of the driving experience. Sure, you will feel the bumps and potholes on the road significantly more in an STI. But is that so much worse than the Type-R’s cushiness that it’s worth the tradeoff in handling? Absolutely not. Or, so I’d say at least. You should formulate your own conclusion about what you prefer.

These two things combined may make-it or break-it for many consumers split between an STI and Type-R. You should absolutely test-drive both vehicles if possible to get a good feel for what sort of ride you enjoy more. After all, that’s what matters the at the end of the day.

Switching back to the STI side, let’s discuss the STI’s superiority in handling and cornering. Its stiffer suspension gives the wheels more down-force and grip. The boxer engine’s naturally lower center-of-gravity further decreases the car’s tilt in tight cornering situations. This makes the vehicle feel more responsive than the Type-R — you can perform tight weaves with ease, a key reason the STI is such an amazing rally car—though the Type-R still does a wonderful job with its handling.

The final advantage I want to mention for team STI comes down to something non-technical: its community. I assume that because the STI has been sold extensively in the States for much longer than the Type-R, it has a more matured community. (That isn’t to say Subaru drivers are more mature, it just means the community has been around longer.)

The Subaru community is pretty incredible. There are a great number of tuners, tweakers, and modders who share a real camaraderie in helping one another out when it comes to wrenching on their STIs.This translates on the road to a lot of fellow WRX and STI drivers peacing you out as their Subaru brother-in-cars.

None of the Type-R drivers I’ve seen have ever peaced me out.

It goes even further than that. I’ve had entire conversations with WRX and STI owners, complete strangers, at intersections and stop-lights. It always brings a shine to my day when something like that happens.

Heck, I’ve done short and sweet street races between lights with fellow owners. If you see a Subie in a parking lot, be it a WRX, STI, or BRZ, you know you’re gonna park next to your bro and hope to strike up a conversation to compliment his vehicle. Now that’s a community.

Now, I have had a number of conversations with strangers about the Type-R, but never with other Type-R drivers. Probably that is because there are so many more WRX’s and STI’s on the road. What strikes me is that the Type-R seems like it is better recognized amongst the average consumer. But that doesn’t translate into the sense of brotherhood and belonging you get with an STI.

That might not make any difference to you, but it’s actually super nice. You begin to genuinely appreciate it over time.

So okay. The STI is better but the Type-R is still pretty great. Fine. But which car should you buy?

Dude. Why are you asking me? That’s up to you.