David and his cats, Fred and Barbra Streisand, were very sick. It all started when Fred began throwing up all over the carpet. Soon, Barbra Streisand got sick, and eventually, David Emami got it as well. He was convinced the virus came from his sick cats, and knew that the only way to get over this mess was to go to the doctor. He had been in and out of the bathroom all night, but when morning came, he weakly pulled himself out of bed, got dressed a little, then headed out the door. The wind chilled him to the bone, causing him to shake. Before he could even get to his car, he threw up.
“Nice, dude,” said a guy walking by on the sidewalk.
“It’s a gift for you,” said David, too weak to argue anymore.
He got into his car and eventually made it to the hospital. The waiting room was packed and nearly everyone was wearing masks. David, of course, had his own masks from home, so he placed his hand in his pocket and put on a Care Bears medical face mask and waited his turn after checking in.
“You sick too, huh?” asked an old man sitting next to David.
“What do you think, Einstein?” replied David rudely. “No, I’m not sick. I just like wearing masks surrounded by sick idiots like yourself.”
“You’re a real jerk, you know that?” The man stood up and walked to the other end of the lobby.
David pulled out a Zoobooks children’s magazine and began flipping through the pages. “Well, would you look at that! Those monkeys have red bottoms!” he remarked out loud. Soon after, his name was called, and David was in a back room waiting for his doctor.
When the doctor came in, he asked, “What can I do for you?”
“I think I have cat flu.”
“That’s not a real thing. What do you mean?”
“My cats got me sick. Please, is there anything you can do for me?”
The doctor ran some tests and determined that David did indeed have the flu.
“And sadly, there’s nothing I can give you. You just need to rest and drink lots of fluids.”
Annoyed, David left feeling weak and defeated. “Thank you for telling me what I already knew,” he remarked as he slipped out.
David was not a fan of unwanted guests. He enjoyed his privacy and loved spending quiet time with his cats, Fred and Barbra Streisand. One afternoon, he was busy reading a children’s book series known as The Kitten Kases to his cats while they slept on the floor by his feet and suddenly, he heard an unwelcome knock at the door. At first, he ignored it, but after the knocks continued, David Emami yelled, “Fine, I guess we won’t find out how Paws Jr. escapes the burning building!” as he threw the book across the room, nearly hitting Fred in the process. Fred and Barbra Streisand went running for dear life and David yelled sympathetically, “Oh, sweet children, I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intent!”
David walked up to the door and saw a little girl and her mother standing before him.
“Good afternoon! Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” asked the energetic brunette girl.
David stood there in his obscenely short neon pink running shorts, long striped tube socks, and an oversized knit turtleneck sweater and replied, “You realize you interrupted a pivotal moment in The Kitten Kases, and now Fred and Barbra Streisand probably won’t speak to me for the rest of the evening.”
The little girl looked up at her mother, confused. The mom said, “Sorry, sir. We’ll just be on our way.”
She nudged her daughter forward, but David replied, “But perhaps some cookies will help relieve the tension in this home. What kind do you have?”
“Well, we have all the classics, including our newest creation, Butterscotch Drizzles!”
“You had me at Butterscotch!” said David enthusiastically. “I’ll take every last box of those that you have.” Needless to say, David loved butterscotch.
“Wow, what an order,” said the mother.
They added up the total and as the little girl handed over box after box from the back of her mom’s minivan, she said, “Looks like the total is $474.”
David dropped several boxes at this remark, then replied with a smile, “What a bargain!” David could be quite frivolous and careless with his money when he saw something he wanted.
The little girl left, leaving David with just under 100 boxes of cookies. He stacked them high in his kitchen, made himself a Hungry Man rib shaped patty frozen meal, and had 3 boxes of cookies for dessert. He couldn’t have been happier.
David wanted to go for a stroll in Downtown Portland, so he got ready and headed into town on the MAX lightrail train. When he got off the train, he was confused by the amount of people crowded together on the busy streets. Thousands of people had gathered, so David Emami approached a man standing by the street and asked, “What’s going on?”
The man laughed. “It’s the annual Portland Nude Bicycle Race today! We’re here to watch the action!”
David’s heart stopped as a shot was fired, signalling the start of the race. Thousands of nude bicyclists zoomed by him, showing off all shades of skin, all types of bodies, and all sorts of privates. David’s jaw nearly hit the sidewalk. “What kind of awful thing is this? How indecent! How improper!” An old man zoomed past David, proudly exposing everything in the process. He rang his bell and waved at David while smiling. “You awful nudist!” he screamed as the man zipped by.
David tried his best to cross the street, but a police officer stopped him and screamed, “You can’t cross here! We’re right in the middle of a race!”
David couldn’t escape the flashes of indecency around him. He felt as if all morals in the world had been thrown out the window. Everywhere he turned, he blushed from what he was seeing. He couldn’t get away from the mostly awful and rarely pleasant sights.
David took another route, but again found that it was blocked. He ran inside a bakery shop and slammed the door behind him. He was out of breath as he screamed, “Please, let me stay in here until this madness ends!”
The baker looked at him with his hand on the phone, ready to call the police. “You scared me to death, dude!”
“I scared you? Try going outside! You’ll find an X rated display of immorality! I must stay in here or I’ll lose my soul!”
“Whatever, man. It’s just a nude bike race.” David peeked out every now and then, watching in horror as the nudity streaked by. At last, the madness ended. David ran to the MAX train, got on, then left as soon as it pulled into his terminal. When he arrived home, he locked the door behind him in a panic.
He looked at Fred and Barbra Streisand and yelled, “It’s a terrible world out there! You’re lucky you never have to leave this palace of safety!”
David wanted to get out of the city and go for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, which is just about 20 minutes east of Portland, Oregon. He packed himself a lunch consisting of diet orange soda, a peanut butter and jalapeno sandwich, and Lays Baked Cheetos. It was cold and dreary outside, so it was perfect for David. He preferred the rain over the sun because it kept people inside, leaving the trail relatively empty.
When David Emami arrived at the trailhead, he was pleasantly surprised to see that he was the only one there. He started his hike with lots of energy and breathed in the fresh mountain air with a smile on his face. David loved living in the Northwest.
After hiking for about an hour, David decided to stop for lunch. He found a log and sat down and began enjoying his food. As he was eating, he noticed an awful smell behind him. He looked back and saw a tennis shoe poking out from behind the log. David’s heart stopped. He peeked nervously around the corner and screamed, “Lord, have mercy!”
It was a greatly decomposed body of an old man with white hair. His skin was purple and blue and he was covered in maggots and flies. He looked as if he had been there for several months. “Why me? Why did I have to see this?” David began weeping, certain the police would frame him for murder and place in prison. He couldn’t stand the thought of being away from Fred and Barbra Streisand or not being able to watch The Lawrence Welk Show each afternoon at 5 pm.
David left his lunch behind and ran back down the trail, sobbing and whimpering the whole way down. When he had cell service, he phoned the police and waited for them to arrive. After only about 15 minutes, they showed up, and David walked them to the body. The local sheriff poked him a few times with a stick.
“What was that for? Isn’t it obvious he’s dead?” asked David.
“Just makin’ sure,” he replied.
“You’re not going to arrest me, are you?” asked David.
“Why would I do that? No way, sir. This is Charles Nash. His family’s been looking for him for months now. He was last seen around here going for a walk. Looks like you found him!”
David drove home feeling unsettled. He never wanted to go on a hike again. He was certain he would be haunted that night.
David Emami hated crowds, but when he found out that a new flat screen television was on sale for $50 during a doorbuster on Black Friday, David was determined to snag the deal in an effort to replace his pathetic 24” tube television. Sears opened at 5 am on the day after Thanksgiving, so David showed up at 4:59. To his horror, there was already an enormous line formed against the side of the Portland area mall.
David grudgingly found a spot in the back of the line, and soon, the line started moving rather quickly. Before he knew it, people were running, pushing, and shoving their way to the front, eager to get the doorbusters before they disappeared. Miraculously, David made his way into the store with only a few bumps and shoves, and suddenly he saw the mountain of televisions getting clawed at by hoards of zombie-like consumers. He ran as fast as his scrawny legs could take him as the pile got smaller and smaller.
When he arrived at the televisions, there were only 3 left. He reached his hand out to the one closest to him, but a hefty woman snatched it from him first.
“That’s mine!” screamed David.
“You’re full of crap; I got it first,” she yelled back.
David put his hands on the box and tried to yank it free, but she only pulled back harder.
“Get yer hands off my TV!” She ran as fast as she could to the next doorbuster, a pile of toasters for $5. David watched her as she disappeared into the crowd and his hope of watching The Lawrence Welk Show in glorious HD faded away. David bumped his way around the store, eager to find a similar deal, but nothing was around. He immediately regretted ever coming. Black Friday was the worst.
At last, David settled on a novelty popcorn maker in which the popped corn came out of the mouth of a terrifying clown. He really didn’t even want it, but since it was $5, he figured he should leave with something so his hassle wasn’t in vain. When he left the store, he saw the hefty woman walking proudly with his television and screamed, “You lousy oaf!” She was too happy to notice him.
David Emami was thrilled when he received a coupon in the mail for a free visit to the nearby newly opened gym. It had an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, state of the art equipment, and a smoothie bar. David looked down at his gut and thought that maybe it was time for him to pay the place a visit and perhaps, if he liked it enough, obtain a membership.
David arrived shortly after work, and the place was packed. He had to park on the street several blocks away. “Looks like I’m already starting my exercise,” said David optimistically. When he arrived, he showed his coupon, and immediately went to work on a treadmill. He played with the knobs and dials, and at last got the surface to start moving. “My goodness, this is just lovely,” he mentioned aloud. After working out for about 5 minutes, David began to sweat, and he decided it was time to move on.
“Hmm, maybe I’ll try that thing,” he said as he slipped into a leg machine. Weights were attached to tension cables that allowed the user to work their inner thighs by spreading their legs in and out. David got settled and began using it at the lowest possible weight. He spread his legs again and again in his short shorts, causing a few people to watch him curiously in the corners of their eyes. “Exercising is delightful!” exclaimed David as he finished his set in 30 seconds and moved on.
David felt a rumble in his stomach. “Time for a smoothie,” he said. He looked at the menu and decided to get a protein-rich peanut butter smoothie which was meant to help build muscle. David sat on a comfortable couch and slurped it up, wondering why anyone ever complained about going to the gym.
David felt full and lethargic, and figured that it must be the fact that he had just exercised so hard (and not because he had just consumed a 900 calorie smoothie), so he decided to leave. David of course signed up for the $99 a month gym membership on his way out, because he felt that the gym was his new favorite place to be.
David hadn’t gone swimming in a long time. After seeing an ad in the newspaper for Mt. Scott Community Pool in Portland, Oregon, David Emami thought it was time to put his trunks on and go for a dip. He grabbed his bright yellow Speedo and was off for a day of fun.
When he arrived, he was horrified to see hundreds of children screaming and splashing everywhere. So much for a quiet soak in the pool. He made his way over to the hot tub, which was crowded with adults and playful children. He looked at the sign, which read “Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.” He rolled his eyes. Hot tubs weren’t for children, he thought.
When he slipped into the only spot without a human in it, he was immediately splashed in the face by a large 5 year old boy with wild red hair and freckles. “Got you!” he screamed at David.
David’s glasses were covered in water and fogged over. David wiped them off and yelled, “You stop that! I’m trying to relax!” The other parents stared uncomfortably at David. David could see no parents with red hair, so he was convinced that the child must be breaking the rules. “Where are your parents?!”
The kid splashed David again and yelled, “In the bathroom.”
“You stop splashing me, or I’ll go get them!”
The kid pulled himself out of the hot tub, then did a cannonball right in front of David.
“Why don’t you leave me alone, you filthy brat?”
“Hey man,” said a calm father sitting near David, “chill out. He’s just being a kid. This place is for kids, anyways.”
“No, the hot tub is for adults,” he rudely replied. “Is there no place for an adult to find pleasure in this city?”
“A strip club?” he laughed.
David’s jaw dropped. “What a gross assumption. You are a vile man, that’s for certain!” The man continued to talk, but David slipped out of the hot tub, regretting that he ever came to the pool in the first place.
In the locker room, the redheaded kid came in with his equally redheaded father and stuck out his tongue at David. He then said, “That’s the man that was being mean to me!”
“Well, you’re a rotten little animal!” screamed David.
“Don’t you dare talk to my child like that, you Speedo wearing freak!”
David turned bright red, grabbed his clothes, and marched out of the locker room while still wearing his Speedo. He walked all the way to his car in his wet swimsuit, not caring that it was freezing out or that dozens of shocked parents covered their children's’ eyes. He was determined to never go swimming again.
David Emami loved Star Wars. He had watched the films over and over again and was thrilled when he heard that the newest film would be opening that night at the Lloyd Center Cinema in Portland, Oregon. He put on his Princess Leia shirt and put on his Chewbacca wookie slippers and was ready for the big premiere.
When he arrived, there was a long line of dressed up adults and children eagerly waiting to get into the theater. “What’s all this about?” David usually didn’t like going to the theater because it meant being around people. The last time he had gone was when he watched a new Tyler Perry movie and left after 10 minutes because of how terrible it was. After complaining to the management, they failed to give him a refund, which only made him despise Tyler Perry even more.
David parked his car all the way in the back, then made his way to the end of the line.
“What’s your favorite Star Wars movie?” asked a skinny man with adult acne.
“The Phantom Menace! I just love Jar-Jar Binks!” David was being serious, though Jar-Jar is commonly held as the most hated character in the franchise.
“Huh? Really? He’s the worst character of all!”
David was deeply offended. “Well, that just proves that you are uncultured and know nothing of class or refinement.”
Another man joined in the conversation. “Did you just say you love Jar-Jar?”
“I am not engaging you ignorant fools anymore. Please leave me alone!” David folded his arms and turned around, awkwardly facing the people behind him. He didn’t speak for the rest of the time waiting.
After nearly an hour, David made it to the front of the line. They flipped a sign which read, “Sold out for all of today’s showings.”
David felt enraged and screamed, “Sold out? How is that possible? There’s still people in line! What about us?”
“Dude, tickets for these showings went on sale months ago. Most people already had their tickets to begin with. We only had like a dozen tickets left, and now those are gone.”
The skinny man with adult acne looked back at David and yelled, “You can always go home and watch The Phantom Menace!” David had had enough.
“You’re just a skinny nerd!” he screamed at him as he ran back to his car. He was done with theaters.
David had always believed in Bigfoot. While others dismissed Bigfoot as a myth, a hoax, or something that crazy people believed in, David Emami didn’t just believe: he knew that Bigfoot was real and he wasn’t afraid to admit it.
David got dressed for his annual sojourn to Mt. Hood in the fall for his Bigfoot hunting trip with a local group of fellow seekers. It was one of the rare occasions that David purposely socialized with other people. He would go alone, but deep down inside, David was terrified of the thought of being attacked by Bigfoot or some wild creature, so he felt a sense of comfort in his comrades.
When they arrived at their usual spot near Rhododendron, Oregon, the group chatted about tactics, mapped out their day, and decided to meet back at the spot for lunch. David was thrilled for the day to begin. Today, he was with Pete Meester, a large man with a red beard. Pete was a logger that had seen Bigfoot numerous times, but he had a terrible speech impediment, which made it very hard to tell his stories clearly.
David and Pete hiked deeper and deeper into the brush, and at last, they heard something. “You, you, you, you, you, you, you, hear that?” asked Pete.
Annoyed by Pete’s inability to speak clearly, he responded, “Why don’t you just hush?” David’s blood ran cold when he also heard a large movement in the bushes, which quickly started running toward them.
“A big, a big, a big, uh, uh, uh…” Pete couldn’t quite get it out.
“Bigfoot!” screamed David as ran like a little girl with Pete back down the steep trail they had just climbed. They ran all the way back to the car without stopping. Behind them, a small raccoon poked around where they had once stood, and to its delight, it found a dropped granola bar. It wasn’t Bigfoot at all.
When the group got together for lunch, David told them, “He was there! Just ask Pete! Okay, well don’t ask Pete because it will take you all day,” Pete glared at David, “but yes, it was Bigfoot! I saw him with my own two eyes!” Immediately after lunch, the group returned to the spot, but were unable to find any proof. Still, the story fascinated David and solidified his status as a believer.
David Emami hated using technology, but after his flip phone broke, he decided it was time to finally get a smart phone. While at the Sprint store in Portland, Oregon, he browsed around, pretending to blend in, but looking obviously lost. He had no idea what kind of phone he needed.
“What kinda phone you want?” asked the perky, energetic millennial man.
“The kind that makes phone calls,” said David bluntly.
He laughed. “These can all do that! And this one,” he pulled one off the shelf, “this one actually has a 3D mode that you can toggle on the side. When you look at it straight on, it turns everything into 3D! Pretty cool, huh?”
“Not at all. I just want something simple.”
“Oh.” He put the phone down. “Well, here’s this guy.” He pulled out a sleek black phone. “This is about as simple as it gets.”
“Where are your flip phones?!”
“We actually don’t carry those anymore. No one really uses them anymore.”
“Well, I do!”
“Well, you might want to try a company called Phones for Seniors. They still offer them. My grandma used them and seems to like it.”
David turned bright red and screamed, “Do I look like a senior to you? I’ll have you know you’re speaking to a very capable, intelligent person! Don’t you dare talk down to me like that!”
The man stepped back. “Sir, I apologize. I was just trying to help.”
“Well, then help me set this stupid phone up. If that’s all you have, then that’s the one I’ll get.”
The employee helped David get the phone set up for him, then tried to show him how to use it.
“Nevermind that. I’ll figure it out, I’m sure,” said David rather annoyed.
David left the store with a frown on his face. To be honest, he had no idea how to use the device in his pocket. Suddenly, a phone call came through, and David frantically tapped and clicked to get the phone to accept the call. Nothing seemed to work.
David Emami is Alone in Portland is a collection of stories that peer into the life of a middle-aged curmudgeon with a fondness for cats and antiques.
Playfully illustrated with Bitmoji characters, his story comes to life as each day brings a new adventure.
He was obsessive compulsive and mad about antiques. The apartment was covered, top to bottom, in decor that would be more aligned with that of an old woman that peaked in the 1960s. david-emami-takes-on-portland.html