Everything Zen

The Man Upstairs

A Fictional Series


I hear Jack’s been talking smack again. Don’t believe everything he says. I’m not high half the time – just once or twice a week, and that’s it. 

Hey, a man’s gotta unwind now and then, and cannabis works for me. Everybody’s got something you know. Yoga and meditation help me relax, but weed really opens my mind and helps me connect with the universe. 

Jack loves to embellish. It’ll work to his advantage once he starts that real estate gig he’s always talking about. “Location, Location, Location!” That’s what he’d say about Fourth and Main. 

I could never be in sales, I’m too damn honest. Besides, painting is my passion. It isn’t just something I do, it’s in my blood. I started when I was ten, but the good stuff – the pieces I could actually sell – didn’t start happening ‘til I smoked my first doobie. 

Plus I was living on the streets at the time. Talk about a starving artist. Dumpster dives and panhandling only go so far, you know? Back then, painting was just for fun, or to keep myself from going mad. Then one day this lady drives by in her shiny new Mercedes and she offers to buy them all – cash on the spot. 

That was January 10th – three years ago. I’ll never forget because it’s the day that I signed my rental application. A week later… I was moving in.

Jack came in about a year and a half after me. I couldn’t stand him at first, but now we’re pretty tight. It’s cool to hear him talk about his aspirations the way he does. He may be square, but he’s also a dreamer.

Everyone here’s pretty dope, except for Larry – the guy in 101. That dude exudes some serious negative energy. I sage the place twice a month, just to cleanse out the bad juju. I have compassion for him though. If I had to bet, I’d say he’s haunted by his past… there’s some gnarly skeletons in that man’s closet for sure.

Now we got that new cat upstairs, and he’s a total trip. I came home the other night – around midnight or so – and Carla’s baby Lucita was crying. Then I see this dude come down the stairs and I’m thinking to myself “uh-oh… somebody’s not happy.” 

He knocks on Carla’s door, and the two of them start talking – real low, so I can’t hear what they’re saying. Next thing I know, this cat goes into Carla’s apartment and shuts the door. So then I’m thinking “damn… you dirty dog.” 

I’m not judging! Like I always say, a man’s gotta unwind now and then, and everybody’s got something.


So, I’m happy tonight because I realized that – to make life easier – I could go back to some older artwork of mine and revise the pieces (ever so slightly), rather than creating brand new images for my stories.

For this particular segment, the featured image is supposed to be one of Stan’s latest creations – since he’s a painter and all.

The original (which was a bit different) began as a photograph that I took of my son’s arms. The artwork on his arms was something I added at the time – to alter his tattoos a bit. Not that I don’t like his tattoos, I just thought mine were a little prettier (haha!).

Stan’s story was fun to write. I think I traveled through time a little with the various slang that he used. It appears he’s not only a stoner, but a surfer, a hippie, and maybe just a regular guy from the 70’s or 80’s. I don’t know. I think it all suits his personality.

I’m finally getting to The Man Upstairs. Slowly but surely. For now, there may be some rumors going around the building about him and Carla hooking up… but we’ll learn more about that later.

I think that’s all for now. Thanks for reading or viewing… I hope you enjoyed!