birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


We met on the patio at La Cita, the divey Mexican bar downtown. The L.A. Lakers had just beaten the Boston Celtics in a shriekingly suspenseful final game: the new NBA champions! Everyone around me and my pal Hansen was going, as Frank Ocean sings, “apeshit crazy” from the win. Some girls were teary, dabbing their escaped eyeliner back into place into their waterlines...strangers were holding hands and screaming together with joy…overcome dudes in Kobe Bryant jerseys were hugging each other so hard they actually picked each other up…It was a euphoric freefall. We were all in it together.

I looked up through the pandemonium and at that moment a sandy haired man I had never seen before looked over at me. I saw him as though through a telescope; he was far away but somehow close to me. He was wearing a shirt with the letter “R” on it* and the “R” had a crown teetering on the corner of the letter. When our eyes met he smiled at me like he had been expecting me and finally just seen me at last, like Hi! There you are. Like Tony and Maria at the dance in West Side Story (don’t laugh! That’s what it felt like!)! As though the moment had been scripted for us. As though we were the only ones on El Patio. In fact, it was the wildest the La Cita patio had maybe ever been in its entire history, but we were so hyper attuned to the other from afar it felt like we were alone. We stepped toward one another. Even from five yardsticks away I saw his eyes twinkling.

Reflexively: “I’m Ramona.”

Warmly: “Hi, I’m Dave.” His handshake was the kind of handshake you always hope you’ll get—sure, firm, not clammy. We beamed.

“Why are you wearing that shirt?”

*see Day One prompt, aforementioned illogical vanity for my own name and letter


First Day of Class