Uzodinma Okehi: Buck Rogers Ring Tone

Live to Relax!


Maybe I’d told Teena so many times that I convinced myself! Over and over on the phone, or as we strolled the East Village, I depicted myself to her as a kind of great civil rights hero. She could laugh, but the way I chose to combat the evils of the world was by being just sincere and deliberate about everything I did. Maybe the clarity of this was easy to overlook, given that I spent most of my time sleeping, and of course it was a ploy to get her into the sack. On the other hand, I thought: what if, what kind of world could it really be if in fact the ideal was to live to relax?



Buck Rogers Ring Tone


I can’t even remember that girl’s name. Hope maybe, or some kind of flower. Nor could I tell you what, if anything was all that different about it. I remember the pulse like bass heartbeats from truck windows. I was sitting in the gravel, drawing circles all over the back of a spiral notebook . . . That girl I’d already struck out with, she was from San Francisco, and Stasiu had been on her friend India all week with his usual schtick—calling, calling dozens of times, then pretending he wasn’t calling and now some house-party was looming. And his schtick was a kind of Byzantine, multi-tiered labyrinth, caked with bullshit, with little bits he’d culled from the I-Ching and books by Ezra Pound, and the way it worked, you had to wonder why the guy wasn’t a closer. Valdez was a closer. Valdez fucked plenty of girls, but it never seemed to end well, nor did it ever come off smooth, and if I had to guess it was that distance that kept him an arm’s length from Stasiu, in this case standing way past the fence, out on the sidewalk, hand in his pocket, staring down the line of stalled traffic on seventeenth street . . . What else?! India was best friends with Lindsay, and a few weeks back both of them made out a little with Mike Yeoh, same night, at some bar, which was our ticket, even though you could tell there was no chance of that happening again. For the record, you always need a ticket. If anything that was the most I knew about any of those nights, because me neither, I wasn’t a closer, just a striver, because it was only ever about someone who knew someone’s roommate’s brother, then before you knew it we’d be back in the thick of it; couches, music, those girls dancing—same shit, but I still wasn’t immune to it, none of us were, and that nth degree of separation was Goezman, who might have only been there because he was the first of us to have a cell phone, and this was 1999, that open lot between Broadway and 5th avenue, and because we weren’t animals we were playing it cool, the four of us, pacing, milling around, but also like animals, like slaves, air-conditioned chimps, waiting for that jingle-jingle to set us free.



— by Uzodinma Okehi


Copyright ©2012, by Uzodinma Okehi. All Rights Reserved.


Uzodinma Okehi lives, breathes, writes, and draws comics in New York City. For issues of his zine, Blue Okoye, find him at:


Uzodinma Okehi: Buck Rogers Ring Tone
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