Monday, December 29, 2014

Songs Your Mother Taught Us: Looking for Advice

Jerry Seinfeld's Best Material

So like what's the deal with airplane food? It's like, really bad. So bad, I don't even want to eat it. Here, neighbor, take my airplane food. See if you can find something to do with it.

Have you ever been to the doctor? Of course you have. Why do they make you wait in that room with all those sick people? It's crazy. Then they call your name and you have to wait in another room, this time by yourself. Why can't you just start off in the second waiting room? I dunno.

There are all kinds of rules regarding breakups. Have you been on seven dates? Well then you have to breakup with that person in person. I know, what a pain. Society demands it, though. We must follow the rules of society.

Sometimes I think I live in the bizarro world, just like in Superman. There's bizarro Jerry, which is me. Somewhere out there there's the real Jerry, doing logical things. Maybe his jokes have more flow than mine. Maybe he's not successful. Maybe he lives in the sewer.

What's the deal with tipping? You mean I have to pay more than what's on my bill? How did tipping become a social institution? How did we get to this point? Why can't we just pay waiters what they're worth? There's a fundamental dishonesty in the relationship between waiter and waitee. It's something we as a society need to work on. I'd put it right up there with global warming.

Do you ever think that maybe aliens are watching us? They're sitting in their spaceships with their feet up on the coffee table, drinking alien coffee, watching us bumble around on their alien televisions. To them, we're all comedians. Maybe that's the great irony. If we're all comedians, what am I, chopped liver? Do I stop being superman or bizzarro superman and become Jimmy Olsen? Hey, I guess that's better than being Krypto the superdog.

What's the deal with jokes? I mean, how do they work? Can you tell me why a joke is funny? Because I'd really like to know. Seriously. I'm an alien in a meat suit, and I've been trying to understand why people find me funny for the last thirty years, and for the life of me, I can't figure it out. If you know, please tell me so I can end my mission on earth. All these pithy observations are the result of a profound incomprehension of the way humanity lives. Someone save me.

And tell me, what's the deal with airplane food? Please tell me. ASAP.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Post-Holiday Blues

Christmas is over. You got some of the things that you wanted. The mingling with the relatives has ceased. The feasting is finished, unless you count eating dried turkey leftovers feasting. Welcome to reality, asshole. Get back to the grind.

You try to postpone it as long as you can. You wear a Santa hat to work until your boss tells you to quit being an asshole and take it off. On the way to work you listen to Christmas music until you realized that if you hear Paul McCartney sing one more time about simply having a wonderful Christmas time, you're going to lose your shit. Fuck you, Sir Paul. Thanks for breaking up the Beatles. Of course, it's not fair to blame Paul for all that, but the holiday spirit is still lingering in your heart, and sometimes, we lash out during the holidays, when we realize this idealized time is but a sliver of our actual lives. You can't live on candy canes forever, buddy.

But still, you resist. The Christmas tree stays up till March. You keep the lights on the house till July. You start planning next Christmas. You keep wrapping paper in the closet, where it's close and handy.

Eventually you start seeing things. Elves crawling the walls. You hear the labor of their workshop, the pounding of their hammers. Outside, silhouette shapes crawl, some surrealist's impression of reindeer. You put on considerable weight. Your beard starts to grow shaggy and unkempt. People pass you in the street, and you mumble "Ho ho ho," under your breath.

"Jesus," you say, your voice a bassetto rumble. "Where's the holiday spirit?" You ask random people this question, and you run after them when they try to escape. The police apprehend you after you assault a women for not wearing enough red. Somehow, you escape your bonds. They search and search for you, but nothing is found.

You retreat to the Arctic, feeding off of the flesh of seals. You make your home out of the bones of whales, the beasts of the tundra your only friends. When they come from the ice, whispering demon dreams of progress, you let them in and put them to work. They make marvelous contraptions, complexities no human hand could forge. They make you their chief, their saint. You dress yourself in shaggy robes of red. You've become enormous. Your bulk threatens to devour every room you enter.

Congratulations, you are Santa Claus. What will you do with your power? Only you can decide.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Poem: Chicago

Wrote this years ago, and just rediscovered it. Merry Christmas.

Part One
The bodies bump and tussle in the night
Slick with youth's yawning focused poet's love
Sharp like a fresh wound that time will soon heal
The non-voyeur buries his skull in deep sand
Searching for an answer quick and easy
Midnight is long past, yet day is remembered
The orange sky autumn's lovely tragedy
Halloween christening my child's heart
Romancing in the mind and lonely hand
Beset by meager slivers of souls
Sweet of breast and soft of throat but doe-eyed
Why should a beggar get to choose?
Who has crowned him king and judge?
Righteous and worthy are we in our eyes
Never afraid of bustling crowds
Never lacking in charisma or character
Never cloaked in silhouette and subway grime
Never making dangerous eyes out of steamy windows
Never shying from the mutant glow of the street lights
But always passing hours in derelict hideaways
Always lingering at blue notes ripe with jazz
Always pushing past the mangy harlequins on Addison
Always leaning in a corner with no way out

Part Two
Yet hope was handed to me by trembling strings
Stretched out across waving amber expanses
I shook slender hand and bid her come
Well-met we were at Navy Pier
Walking shoulder to shoulder along the Rhineland
Fertile with jagged glass and cigarette butts
Smiled we did at life's eccentricities
I played the gentle heart's part with abandon
Watery-eyed and mistletoed, murmuring and glancing
Beholding waifs with windy worried expressions
Kissed by a bubbling insatiate thirst
The city noise was a chorus song sung sweet
Beneath the citadels gothic and zebra-striped
I left the smoldering wreck of my foundation
Retreated I did to sit at Ignatius' noble feet
Long-thought solitude bestowed upon me once more
There I sowed a saccharine construction
When snow began to fall, I went for the El train
My hands were cupped as we passed the boneyard
Strewn with dilapidated hulks ravaged and decimated
So soon would there be light
When Helios warmed my reptile blood
My choice had been made

Part Three
The train station looms ahead, vast and empty
Electric blues spark, cackle, and move ahead
Yet one remains entrenched in murky recesses
Staring downward at a sticky concrete floor:
A vaudeville theater and a gout-stricken man
An angular oddball with a penchant for polish sausage
Two Russians with bulbous eyes and a lisping delivery
They speak of European girls and communist fatalities
Ivy-grown stone under neighborhood villas
The crack of Kentucky wood hammering a homerun
Crowds draining from the coliseum and into the bar-filled streets
Stacked with memorabilia of beloved losers
That time in Chinatown, searching for the golden pig
Finding plastic toys and foreign language comic books
Paying for over-priced, salted-down chow mein.
He rode the El downtown in the twilight
Red lines streaking past tenement houses cold and drafty
Mexicans living Spanish in front of the whole wide world
Water lapping against the lonesome pier, beneath the moon
Jogging between suits and spiked-hair and bums
Fat, fetid, and filthy, eating trash, pillaging cans
Under the bridge beneath the Tower of Babel, a deserted night-town
This was my playground and I shall miss it.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hillsdale Paranormal Society: Keeping Away the Krampus

Yeah, he looks all bad-ass, but he's really a child molester.

Christmas is a time for exchanging your favorite Marky-Mark movies and snuggling up next to your best hood rat. Unfortunately, there exists assholes in this world who would seek to ruin that shit for ya'll, and one of the biggest is the Krampus. The Krampus is a demon who follows Santa Claus around like a loser bro, stealing children and generally making an asshole of himself. He ain't supposed to be around kids, if you know what I'm saying, although the many attempts to prosecute him have basically gone nowhere, since Hell has a crack legal team, both living and dead. Now, a lot of folks don't believe in the Krampus, which I can't blame them. He doesn't appear that much, and only seeks to capture the worst kids. He picks and chooses his targets, is what I'm saying. So if little Billy has been really bad this year, working on a rap sheet to rival 50 Cent, well, if you want to keep his ass, you better perform some preparations so that he don't end up in the basket of an eight-foot tall goat demon.

First things first: seal all the entrances to your home before Christmas Eve. That means nailing windows shut, barring doors, covering chimneys. Put little Billy in a dog cage if you have to, but just make sure that thing's got a good lock on it, though I hear the Krampus usually carries a pair of bolt cutters 'cause he's that kind of bro. That shit should be locked up tighter than an upside girl's cooch. Make the place a fortress, at least for one night. Then little Billy can go back to being a fucker.

Second, get yourself a loaded weapon, preferably something heavy-caliber. The Krampus may be an eternal goat-demon, but he still feels pain, and a .50 caliber slug in his ass will certainly make him less-liable to go kidnapping little Billy. Shoot the dude in the groin to really get him moving--that shit takes forever to grow back, and it'll put in end to his Christmas festivities, the fucking perv. For extra effect, have a priest bless your firearm. If you're Jewish, have a rabbi, since they still count, Trent claims.

Thirdly, have several big-ass cats, all mean as shit. Cats hate demons, since demons smell like giant rats, and many a Christmas kidnapping has been foiled by a crazy old cat lady's brood. Get like five or six tom cats, and I guarantee little Billy will see another year.

Fourthly, you can always call your local paranormal society. If they're anywhere as competent as me and my boys, you'll be in good hands. We charge competitive rates, but we guarantee results. Keep that in mind, jabronis.

Fifthly, have a Merry Christmas, motherfuckers! Drink that egg nog and groove to the beats of the funky bunch like God intended. Peace, yo.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Christmas Story: The Death of Horace

Horace was a bad bear. He was made entirely out of gummi, and he was given to a man who ate bear flesh. A group of bears is called a sleuth, did you know? This is Horace's story.

Here Horace is, his figure still intact. I gnawed most of his head off. He was delicious.

In this photograph, I have used a bread knife to saw off most of Horace's head. His cranium is holding on by a thin strand. How grotesque!

As required by the ritual, Horace has been decapitated. I shall place this head on my ramparts as a warning to any travelers.

I am not uncivilized, however. Note the care I have taken to carve Horace's flesh into nice, ragged chunks for ease of consumption.

I find gummi bear goes best with a soft red wine, as the flavors compliment each other.

Yet in the end I could not restrain my hunger.

Rest easy, Horace. I shall use every part of you, like the Indians and the buffalo.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How to Overcome Writer's Block

You've been sweating it out behind the desk, smoking pack after pack of cigarettes, drinking like Hemingway, typing the same sentence over and over again like you're in The Shining. Your dream of becoming a successful writer is being held back by your lack of imagination. Here's a handy dandy guide to getting back on track.

1. Start drinking/smoking/abusing substances more. Every great writer was a drunk. The aforementioned Hemingway, Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald. David Foster Wallace was addicted to marijuana, somehow. So start slamming back some brews and start typing what comes to mind. If it's nonsense, so what? You've written something. Congratulations.

2. Read more. Doesn't matter what. Cookbooks, advertisements, subway scrawl. It's all relevant and part of the human condition. If an actual novel sneaks its way in there, all the better. I personally become inspired by reading Glamor and Cosmopolitan. Such periodicals really hammer home the banality of existence.

3. Let Yourself Go. This kind of goes with number one. Grow out your beard, stop shaving your legs. Dress in antiquated clothing, but make sure it's filthy and stinking like the clothes of a homeless person. Fart in public. When someone offers you their hand, spit in it. Stop brushing your teeth. Gargle with mayonnaise.

4. Embrace the Occult/Scientology/Black Jesus. You need to believe in something if you're going to be a writer. The crazier the better. A writer is a spewer of bullshit. A writer is a true believer. A writer is one step away from becoming a politician.

5. Put It All Together. The disparate parts of your life, the pieces that don't seem to fit, stick them together with duct tape. Some bastard cut you off in traffic? Murder him in your horror novel. Tired of the predictable banter of your average sitcom? Write a subversive riff on the genre.

6. Start a Blog. No one will read it, but who cares? The blog serves as a sketch pad, an arena for doodling. Art must be presented to other people to be consider art, according to a professor I once had. He was a dwarf with a speech impediment who wrote about Hitler's mustache in his poems.

7. Just Do It. Life is a Nike commercial. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Krampus Speaks Out

It's that time of year again when I dust off the ol' child kidnapping sack and start spreading holiday cheer. I've been busy lately--children seem to be getting badder and badder--and who else is going to drag their little souls down to hell? Not Saint Nick, I'll tell you. Well, let me let you all in on a little secret--Santa doesn't like kids anymore than I do. We simply perform our delegated tasks and keep our prejudices to ourselves. Maybe I would like to be the gift-giver one year. I dunno. Could be nice, though it would take a substantial makeover for me to not look terrifyingly demonic. Trim the horns, cover my hooves, hide the tail. Keep my tongue in my mouth. All that sounds like a big hassle. Nope, I'll stick to my job, and Santa can stick to his. I have no problem being the bad guy.

But, and this is a big but, could somebody leave some cookies or something out for me? Santa doesn't need anymore, I'll tell you that. The guy's pushing three-bills, and he's like what, five-nine? Why's everybody feeding him cookies? Are you all trying to give him a heart attack? I on the other hand am a very fit 190. Almost shredded, in fact. If I shave the hair on my stomach, you can see my abs. I have a very demanding fitness regimen. Just joined a Crossfit in fact. A couple cookies won't hurt me. Maybe I'd spare one of your brats if a few chocolate chip cookies were left out for the Krampus. Certainly wouldn't hurt, right? Do what you want, though.

The holidays are a difficult time for single people, myself in particular. It's always hard to keep a girlfriend when she finds out what I do for a living. I try to explain that somebody has to do it; why not me? Somebody has to take out the garbage. Somebody cleans the sewers. It's kind of snobbish to break up with somebody because of their work. I've done other things during my life. This is just what I'm doing now. I don't consider this to be a permanent position, despite the fact that I've been doing it for over four-hundred years. Let it be known that I'm working towards a promotion, and a big pay day is coming. Hell takes care of its own. You could be dating the future CEO of Walmart. Just keep that in mind, potential Mrs. Krampus.

Have a great Christmas, everyone. Children, watch out for the Krampus. Oh, just so parents know, my position affords me a certain moral flexibility. If you want me to take a particular kid, leave a note and three-hundred dollars under their pillow. Hell is very cool about bribes. Just a heads up.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Brief Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I want a toothbrush for Christmas. It has to have a green handle. I like soft bristles, not hard ones, because hard bristles strip the ivory from my teeth, and I want to be able to sell my teeth eventually. The black market on ivory is hot. My wife tells me that I am not an elephant.

I also would like a nine-millimeter Glock so that I can shoot all the birds in my yard. They are spies sent from the fairy land, and I'll be damned if I let them fly back and tell all of those poofters what I'm doing. This is America, goddamnit. There are laws against stuff like this. Please also include plenty of ammunition, in case there's anything else I'd like to shoot.

It would be nice to receive a dog that does not bark. My current model does nothing but bark, and sometimes he says horrible things. He is a very bad pervert dog. He smells like rotten eggs and he will eat anything, and I mean anything. I once removed an intact rubber glove from his stool. His digestive system must be a straight shot. Please replace him at once.

A copy of E.T. The Extraterrestrial would be a nice stocking stuffer. It is a classic film about a little girl's friendship with a disfigured homeless man. The government comes to break it up because it turns out that the homeless man is a child predator. They shoot him and push his bicycle into the lake and it's a happy ending.

I am eating eggs right now that are so burnt that I believe I am consuming blackness. For Christmas, I would like to learn how to cook.

P.S. Please do not come down the chimney because my evil dog will attack you, and the last thing I need is another law suit. Thank you, Santa, for everything you do. You are a magical person.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hey, Like, Call Me, Maybe

I just met you. You seem like a nice person. You have all the attributes I usually look for in a mate. You smell like evergreen, like I'm walking through a forest or just spilled a bottle of gin on myself. It's a fine smell, though. I could get used to it, is what I'm implying. And you have such nice teeth. Do you brush them often? Use whitener? You're telling me they're natural? Wow. I'll have you know that I often pick my mate based solely on the condition of his teeth. You're racking up the points here, bud. The fact that you're wearing clothes closes the deal. I like you. You are special.

This is crazy. I mean, I like never do this. I just met you, you know? For all I know you could be a serial killer. Or I could be one. But how much you trust random people says a lot about what kind of person you are. I'd rather be gullible and fun-loving than a paranoid shut-in. The mathematical odds suggest that you and I are not, in fact, serial killers. However, the odds are much higher that you could take advantage of me during a date. So you see what I mean when I say that this is crazy?

But here's my number. All ten digits. Treasure this number, for I never do this, because it's crazy. Call me only between three and four a.m. on weekdays when Jupiter is visible in the sky. I keep strange hours, okay? Unfortunately I can't tell you about my work. I'll have you know that it is ordained by God himself. That's right, the big man. Or woman. Or genderless entity, which is probably the case. Someone has to hunt the vampires. I'm sorry, what did I say?

Call me, okay? I don't want to sound desperate, but the last couple guys I gave my number out to never did. Maybe they found my instructions bizarre; maybe I misjudged the connection between myself and them. Maybe back alleys behind deserted buildings aren't the best place to give your number, but whatever. I'm beyond society's rules, I'll have you know. I do what I want.

Maybe call me. I may have come off just a little too desperate. I have plenty of suitors. Handsome men. Men with all ten fingers. Men who aren't vampires. Like, if you think you're looking good, then, yeah, try your luck. Call me. Maybe.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Conan Brothers Q&A

Arnold: So Dave, I got a screaming headache behind my left eye. Feels like there's a ton of pressure behind there. I think it may be a tumor.

Dave: Anything's possible.

Arnold: So if my replies to some of these queries are a little off, keep that in mind.

Dave: I'm sure no one will notice.

AnkleBiter69 asks "What's the deal with box squats? Are they any good? The only guys I see using them squat nowhere close to parallel."

Arnold: I like touch and go box squats. I don't know about sitting your ass down and getting back up box squats like the Westside guys do."

Dave: Those guys don't squat anywhere close to parallel. I mean, they're strong, obviously, but you can't really claim a 1000 pound squat when you're three inches high.

Arnold: You're just jealous.

Dave: I don't really give a shit.

Arnold: Touch and go box squats help me minimize my lateral hip shift, which is a tendency to favor one side while squatting. I squat very wide, probably slightly above parallel. When I squat without the box, I use a closer stance and I go much deeper. There's a carryover. It's almost like a paused squat.

Dave: Arnold likes them. I don't know.

FuckdaPolice asks "What's up with all the cops killing black guys?"

Dave: Why are you asking us this?

Arnold: We're authorities on everything, Dave. And the answer's obvious. Cops hate black people.

Dave: Cops are stupid. It's a shitty job, with shitty pay. Doesn't exactly attract the right people.

Arnold: Hey, don't go stereotyping. I used to know a cop who wouldn't give me a ticket when I was high and drunk while driving.

Dave: What a great guy.

Arnold: I'm just waiting for our fascist overlords to cut the bullshit and fully implement a police state.

Dave: Aren't we all?

Arnold: Then we can use our guns. America, fuck yeah!

                                                          Dude looks like Porky Pig.

ImFollowingNotStalking asks "How do I get a girlfriend? I don't got game."

Dave: Wear belly shirts, have huge muscles, and take shit from no one.

Arnold: Farting and pissing your pants works also. At least, it attracts the kind of women I like.

Dave: Who proceed to fart and piss all over Arnold.

Arnold: The bedroom is a goddamn warzone, Dave. It's all about who survives.

Dave: And that's enough for this week. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Poetry Time: He's an Animal

He was burnt out before he’d even spoken
Blasphemed with China doll tokens
Rotten straight to his coward’s core
Corrupted by visions of whores
Of golden women with sun-burnt skin
Ivory teeth and manicured fins
Sharks encircling a wounded seal
Its pathetic cries an easy meal
But they tangled with the wrong mammal
Warm-blooded not helpless this animal
The weakest man has often the least
To lose is a win if you kill the beast
And he doesn’t want their pretty dresses
Their shiny rings, their makeup messes
The accessories stuck in their hair
Their weak conversation, their vapid airs
He wants to kiss their greedy mouths
And suck the spoiled child out
He wants to leave them cold and bare
Begging for his warmth, his hair
And when he’s done they’ll see him smile
Drained of lust but full of guile
Overbearing is the hand of man
Stained and calloused, closed, not open
He’s an animal
He's an animal
He's an animal
He's an animal

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hanging with the Goon

Howdy ya'll and happy Thanksgivings! Wat a wonderfull time of tha years. It was a night to remembr at da Goon household. All of my brothras was there--Slack, Willy, Slick, Remus--as well as Uncle Thom, who provided da turkey, which he deep-fried an stuffed with chocolate. We all gathered 'round tha pick'n'ick table an had ourselves one delicieous feast. Slack picked some taters from da garden, an' Willy made an apple pie, or least he said he did, but I think he bought it from IGA. It was 'bout thirty degrees outside, but we made a big fire outta ravioli cans, toiletries, and rotten tires. Boy it smeelled alright! All da coons from da woods came an gathered 'round da fire an started howlin' in dere little coon voices, an Uncle Thom had ta get his shotgun to silence a few of dem permenantly. Den we had ourselves fried coon, which is a tasty treat, lemme tell ya. After feastin', we all rolled 'round on the da ground like heffers loaded wit caves. I fell a sleep for a bit, an had a wierd dream where i was stuck on an island surrounded by waters, an dere was a big squid underneath my island, an he kept lookin' at me wit his giant eye! Damn it was scary. I woke up to Uncle Thom pissin' on da fire and screamin' bout da police, which sent me a running fere da hills, though I figured it out later dat Thom was just havin' one of his walkin' night terrors. In da morn, we had to fight off a pack of coyotes who was scavengin' da turkey carcass. Willy brained one wit an oak branch, an dat sent 'em scurring off. All in all, it was a fine time, an one of da better thanksgivings we had, since da cops didn't come an nobody got arrested.

Well folks, I ain't makin' a whole lotta money right now, considerin' it's winter time, an we've bout sold all da apples at da apple orcherd. Ol' Sammy is in a righteous mood, an wanderin' round all da time like he don't know wat ta do. It's too early ta prune, an we don't got nothing ta do but stack crates an make apple cider. Hernando always takes some an ferments it real goode, an then he and I drink it in da barn while Sammy runs round callin' fere us. We get pretty ripped. One time I saw Jesus comin' down from da clouds, an Hernando saw him too. He said we was no good sonsabitches, which I thought wasn't very Christain of 'em. We don't drink quite as much cider anymore. I fell down through da loft just yester, an sprained my ankle, an now I'm a dragging my foot 'round like a cripple. Thank goodness it was just thanksgiving. Otherwise, I wouldn't have no magic turkey bones to chew on to get me better.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Beginning to Feel a lot like Christmas

Well hello there, children. You all seem to have awakened Santa from his slumbers in the back alley outside of Kmart. I guess you're all wondering where Santa's pants have gone. It's a goddamn mystery. If someone could find them, I'd appreciate it. That little boy or girl will get whatever they want for Christmas, or at least whatever's left in this bottle of Jameson. Boy, Santa feel like he got run over by a reindeer, boys and girls. There are thirty-thousand elves knocking around in his head.

Oh Christ, I'm missing my wallet. Anybody see my wallet? Did the goddamn rats run off with it again? I tell ya, there are rats the size of golden retrievers in this alley. I pop out here from time to time to take a load off, and I see them crawling the walls. One time I kicked them away from something they were gnawing on, and it was a man's hand. Shit, I think they may have been about to go to work on Santa when you little guys got here. I got bite marks all over my legs. I'm going to have to get a rabies shot.

Hey there Jimmy or Timmy or whatever the fuck your name is, do you think you could run in and smuggle out Santa a six pack? Maybe just hide it in your sweater? Nobody's gonna frisk a kid. You could be in and out in a minute, tops. Santa feels like hanging out here for a little while longer. Santa's not ready to go back to work. Or just ask Janice the elf to buy Santa another beer. She's the elf with the cigarette hanging out of her mouth. The one with yellow teeth. Hey, Santa gets it where he can these days. He ain't too particular, if you know what I'm saying.

By the way, where the hell are all of your parents? Why are there ten kids hanging out in an alley talking to a mall Santa? What are you guys, the Little Rascals? The Scooby gang? You sure as hell don't talk much like regular kids. In fact, you all look a little weird to Santa, and that's not his beer goggles talking.

What are you guys, Children of the Corn? Jimmy there's got a mouthful of sharp teeth, and red eyes like he's been smoking weed all night. You guys part of a cult? Hey, Santa don't wanna join. You keep the hell away from Santa. Santa's got mace somewhere. I think it's stuck in one of my folds. Don't come any nearer unless you want those eyes to melt out of your sockets. You let Santa put some distance between this alley and you.

Christ, Santa needs AA. Santa can't be waking up like this no more.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving: The World is Going to End

Happy Thanksgiving. Too bad there's a runaway greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and all of your children's children will be mutants. Let us give thanks.

We are in the middle of one of the largest mass extinctions ever. Let us give thanks that nobody will know what an elephant is in the future. An elephant will be a mythical creature, like a dragon or a unicorn. That's cool, though.

America is sinking beneath a massive pile of political apathy and cultural detritus. Let us give thanks that the public education system will eventually collapse, and literacy will be a thing of the past. They'll still have movies in the future though, right? Well then, who cares.

Maybe there will come a comet, or an asteroid, and it will wipe out all the life on earth, and we can skip out on being held responsible. That would be sweet. Or there's a supervirus due to rampant antibiotic abuse and it kills nearly everyone, and then the world is like the Walking Dead, only without the zombies. That would be so cool. We could walk around in cowboy boots and shoot six-shooters and just do whatever the hell we want without any repercussions. There will be gang fights, rape, and brutal murder just like in a video game. I can't wait.

This is undoubtedly the best time to be a human being in the history of civilization. Let us give thanks that it's all about to come to an abrupt end. We've had it too easy. This whole cycle of pollution and genocide needs some sort of suitable conclusion. A denouement, to use a fancy French word. Maybe in a million years another advanced life form will pick at our ashes and discover that we invented algebra, guitars, and Internet cat videos. Perhaps they'll find evidence of our sophistication, like a charred copy of Entertainment Weekly or a DVD of Ancient Aliens.

Let us give thanks for our mortality, which enables our short-sightedness. It's difficult to plan beyond the time frame of a few years. Fuck it all, you know? I won't be around to see the wasteland my children's children will call home. They can rest in craters and suck on cockroaches for all I care. If life is a struggle, then things are how they should be.

Let us give thanks for reality tv. Let us give thanks for our two political parties. They do a good job. Let us give thanks for minimum wage, tv dinners, credit cards, patriotism, football, and fake titties. Internet porn, too. Don't forget Internet porn.

Happy Thanksgiving, ghost children of the future. You'll probably be eating buzzard instead of turkey. Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Esteemed Critic Plays Dark Souls 2

The initial time I encountered this noble creature, I thought nothing of it. The beast gave me an item and some puzzling words, but then of course, the internet had to intervene and inform me that this ancient dragon is an optional boss, and Dark Souls 2 is all about destroying bosses, so I complied and struck the poor fellow repeatedly until he grew hostile. The area around us is an aerie for lesser dragons, who roost on rocky outcroppings that rise miles above the land. It is one of the most visually striking places in the game, in environ whose beauty belies the frustration that awaits any would-be challenger. Suffice it to say that the ancient dragon destroyed me with one blast of its fiery breath. That was fine: one dies to bosses on the initial encounter all the time, though it is a slog battling one's way back from the bonfire through a horde of powerful stone knights and dragon warriors. But then I died again, and again, and again, so many times that I started ignoring the lesser enemies and running for the fog gate, which resulted in even more deaths, until I concentrated on methodically killing them, for after ten kills or so, they stop respawning, rendering the path more or less clear. The dragon, however, was not having any of my plan. He is a deceptively simple creature; all one must do is linger around his left forelimb, striking it and then venturing out in front of his shaggy head to bait his breath attack. He will half-heartedly swipe at you with his right paw, but this attack is easy to avoid. The problem is that he will very-occasionally flap his great wings and take to the skies, and then you'd better haul ass, because he lets loose with an area of effect flame blast that will kill you unless you have the grym shield, a heavy rock-like thing that has one-hundred percent flame resistance. But you must have great stamina to wield it; if you get caught directly beneath the wall of flames, nothing will save you. The health pool of this monster is also great; so large that my large club + 10 was degrading through the fight. My only strategy was to strip off my armor (if you get hit, you're dead anyway), revealing my dead, decaying flesh, and equip a greatsword to use as backup. Still I died and died, for one mistake and the beast has your soul. We battle upon a flat tower with precipitous ledges, and many times I killed myself running away from the dragon. The fight took on a religious significance for me--every thing that opposed me in life became the dragon. I died and respawned at the bonfire, my health reduced, evidence of my failure mounting. Still I climbed the steps. I whittled him down to twenty-percent health. My clumsy fingers failed me, and I did not block a flame blast in time. I died. I mounted the steps again. I was persistence; the beast could do nothing but wait for me, it had no refuge, no shelter, no respite. I died, but this time, his health pool was almost depleted. No more mess-ups. No more failures. I wacked at his great forelimb, two-handing my giant sword. He is like a tree that refuses to be felled. But persistence is rewarded, and eventually he succumbs after numerous attempts. I am rewarded with a petrified dragon bone and a soul of a giant. Where is the dragon's soul? Is the creature a fraud, a ruse, a forgery? Were my labors wasted on a fake?

Dark Souls 2: 6 out of 10. Remarkable combat, life-lessons, but it's still a video game, and we don't award perfect scores to video games because we are a snob.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Diary of Mitch R. Singer

At the bar in Philly, the place I call home
I sweep and clean the toilets, and in the basement, I beat the rats to death with my beloved club. My coworkers are sociopaths, narcissistic morons who will do anything for fame and fortune. Our bar is frequented by alcoholics, homeless people, and ladies of the night. My father, whom I live with, owns the bar, and will come down on his fat, squat legs and berate me for not eating garbage with him. He is a troll, a creature better suited to sleeping in a sewer than walking on dry land. You have to pay the toll, you have to pay the toll...sometimes, I sniff too much glue and I cannot remember who I am, or what I am supposed to do. In the night, my dreams tell me that this is just another short stop, a brief sojourn on a journey that will last eons. I take solace in this as I kill rat after rat, my club raining down justice on them. But who am I to judge? Are their lives really worth any more than ours?

In a New York apartment
The sitcom lights burn down on me from somewhere up above. I am in a suit and tie, as I am wont to do. My best friend is complaining about how he cannot get a date; all he seems to do is complain about women. He doesn't realize that he is in love with the married one, the tall, goofy roommate he has lived with since college. I would love to bang his wife, but that is how I communicate with women. I cannot divorce myself from the sexual element, and this has begun to worry me. In my pocket there is a tally of all the women I have slept with. It numbers in the hundreds. I often wonder if there is anything I wouldn't do to sleep with a women, and I come to the conclusion that no, there is not. The city will crumble, as all great cities do, and all I will be left with is my list and scattered memories, some of which I wish would lie buried. It is time to go play laser tag.

In a Seattle apartment
My brother and I argue about an obscure Italian opera that neither of us really knows much about. Our father, a disabled police veteran, sits in his hideous easy chair and tries to drown us out with the television volume. His dog, whom I fear is becoming sentient, stares at us from across the room, his eyes sending dark designs. I pour my brother and I glasses of sherry, and I observe him ogling our English house keeper. My brother is in deep denial about his homosexuality. So am I, I suppose.


In a New York coffee shop
I sit and listen to my short, bald friend, and I realize that he is the worst person I have ever met. His pathetic schemes grow crazier by the day; his inability to relate with other human beings is beyond depressing. My neighbor comes by and tells us about the garbage disposal he installed in his shower. One day, they will find him in a gutter, naked, with strange messages tattooed on his chest. My arch- nemesis, a rotund postal employee, passes by the window, his hands stuffing mail into a trash can. All I do is make pithy observations. What else can I do?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Terrible Comedian Would Like You to Laugh at His Jokes

What's up, people. How's it hanging in the ghetto? I got out of my Mercedes and saw two black guys hanging out at the entrance, and I was like, "shit, are they gonna rob me?" I see you two fellas are in the front row. I hope you brought your laughing hats with you. Be sure to not take the stickers off the bills. Hey guys, thanks for not robbing me. I know it probably crossed your mind, hah.

So has anyone been on an airplane lately? What's up with all the crappy food? I mean, do they really think anyone's going to eat processed fish and vegetable lasagna? I mean, the vegans and the lesbians might. You sir, or ma'am, what do you say? You look like you might be a lesbian or a vegan. You look like Michael Stipe after three months of chemo. Oh shit, you really have cancer? Sucks to be you.

So my girlfriend has this thing about oral sex. She won't do it. Says it's gross and demeaning. I'm like "Suck my dick, baby! God wouldn't have given you a mouth and me a penis if he didn't mean for you to suck it." I actually called my priest and had him try to talk her into giving me a blow job. He tried to tell me that there's no passage in the Bible supporting oral sex. "Good thing I'm Jewish!" I told him. She still won't suck my dick.

Boy, this is kind of a hard crowd tonight. What's eating you guys? Were you expecting Jeff Dunham and a puppet with his hand up its ass? Would somebody like to come up here and be my puppet? I have a lube, hah.

If I had come out in a plaid, sleeveless shirt and a camo hat, would I be getting a different response? You guys look like you might appreciate a good redneck joke. Well, except for you black people. Some of that stuff's racially insensitive. You guys don't have much of a sense of humor unless I'm dropping the F-bomb continuously like Chris Rock. "Motherfucker this, motherfucker that." I try to keep my stuff fun for all ages. Motherfuckers.

Hey now, no need to throw shit. That bottle almost hit me in the forehead. How am I supposed to entertain you if I'm being pelted with glass? Do you poor sonsabitches not know how to watch a comedy show? Hope you're not pissed about the ten dollar cover charge. Maybe next time I'll up it to twenty to weed out some of you bad seeds. Oh shit, did I say "weed?" Now you guys are getting overly excited. I didn't say that I had any weed. You lazy pieces of shit.

All right, all right, I think this show's over. You assholes want to boo and throw shit, you can do that to each other. You're missing out on the best part of my routine. I had some knock-knock jokes to tell. But seriously, go fuck yourselves. I'm outta here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Songs Your Mother Taught Us: Sado

Welcome to Hell

Welcome to Hell, soul number 143,346,765,890,123,445. We hope you enjoy your eternal torment. Everything in Hell is done with the utmost care and professionalism. We are not how the living perceive us.

Please fill out these forms. Yes, there are a lot of them. 145,990,901,230 to be exact. Please write legibly in print. If you have any questions, Amanda the Succubus will help you. If you feel your energy levels draining, just step away from her for a few moments. She can't help it.

Looks like you're heading to the cube farm. You're lucky, my friend. You got a nice, cushy paper-pushing job. You could've been sent to Tartarus to endure the abyss, but instead, you get to work on one of our lucrative business contracts. Thank your lucky stars you're not an oarsman on the river Styx. Those guys get no benefits and no time off. They never get to see their families.

Oh, so you're single? You should check out one of the night clubs downtown. The lights are bright, the music too loud, and the drinks exorbitantly expensive. But listen, I'm going to offer you some non-professional advice: You should wear protection. The STD rate in Hell is ridiculous. Everybody's got something, is what I'm saying. You don't want to spend eternity covering up a herpes outbreak.

Some more advice: Suck up to your boss. Looks like Andy Rooney's your supervisor. He's just as curmudgeonly in Hell as he was in life. Suck his dick. We are a little more literal in Hell than the living world. Those who get ahead have to work hard, and sometimes that means chowing down on old man penis. Just be glad you didn't get an actual demon as your superior. Sodomy Tuesdays are a real thing, let me tell you.

One last thing--pick a religion before you start work. Everyone's very religious in Hell. It helps to be as delusional as possible. It makes the eternal torment a little easier. The Fundamentalist Baptists are always a popular choice, though it never hurts to embrace your new lifestyle and become a Satanist. Just don't become a Mormon. It's lonely. Most of those guys get stuck in Heaven.

Here's the key to your apartment. You're in the downtown district; how nice. Your roommate is a one-legged midget who eats human flesh. He's a nice guy, I've worked with him before. You're starting out ahead here, buddy. Good luck.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Internet Ad Bot Presents: Black Friday Deals and Steals

Ad Bot beginning transmission...

Smoking hot Black Friday deals are already hitting the net. You can buy a 50 inch flatscreen television for pennies. Get the latest smartphone for a vial of blood. We need your blood this year. It's valuable.

Xboxes and Playstations are cheap, cheap, cheap. Buy one or three in order to keep your brood placated. Give them the vapid electronic entertainment they deserve. If they're not spouting racist epithets on internet while teabagging a fallen enemy, then you've failed as a care-giver. Buy little Mickey an XBone to ensure his complete development as a person. Get him a smartphone while you're at it so that he'll never be bored. If he's not busy at all times, he might reflect on his station in life, or do some free thinking, and that would be criminal. We're raising the next generation of meat, here, people. This is a post-rational age.

Let's get all the Christmas shopping done while the deals are here. Get your wife something that she doesn't need, like maybe sexy underpants. Buy little Bobo a fish hat so he'll have something to wear when he's out dynamiting the lake. Your dog could use nutritional supplements. Gotta keep that coat nice and shiny.

Buy someone a Lexus. It'll be a November to remember. Gourmet coffee is currently on sale. Gourmet coffee is worth suplexing a stranger over, right? If a talking Elmo is worth punching a woman in the face, then gourmet coffee is certainly worth fighting for. These people are soft, you understand. They don't have what it takes to get a great deal.

You were raised to take what's yours, and you'll be damned if somebody's going to beat you out of a boxed set of animated Disney films. Your little princess deserves to watch an exaggerated female caricature with eyes as large as dinner plates and a three inch waist. She needs an ideal to aspire to as she matures.

Charcoal grills are going for twenty bucks, but that bastard got the last one. Good thing you brought a bedpost. Fucker didn't have a chance. Went down like a sack of flour.

You've achieved quite the bodycount, but at least your Christmas shopping is finished. You spent under one-hundred dollars, and you feel like a million bucks. Junior will be pleased to know that his copy of Grand Theft Auto 5 was bought with blood. Merry fucking Christmas.

Ad Bot Ending transmission... 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thank You for Drinking Your Kool Aid

Thank you for drinking your Kool Aid. It was sweet, wasn't it? Cool and delicious like a mountain stream? Did you get enough sugar? We can always make more. There is always more.

How about you come over here and sit next to us on the couch. There are things we would like to show you. Beautiful things. Shiny objects that will catch your eye. We have secrets we would like to reveal about the universe. About the meaning of life. Just have another glass of Kool Aid, please. Ignore any faces you see behind the glass.

So now that you've had two glasses, let's talk. What do you think about astral projection? Did Oswalt kill JFK? Does the government know about extraterrestrial life? What do you think about the Zionist conspiracy?

Oh, we're sorry. The Kool Aid must not be taking effect. You're giving us that look we so often get. Please, drink some more. It's hard for us to recruit nowadays, especially considering that lawsuit that legal is handling. Would you like to go on a cruise in the future? You could work on one of our luxury ships. It's a pseudo-military organization. You get to drink Kool Aid everyday and wear snazzy uniforms. It's a blast.

Oh, yes, you can leave if you want. If you want to put the fate of the galaxy and your personal soul at risk, that's up to you. Trillions of years ago, a struggle occurred that is still going on today. Big-tittied sex aliens from Alpha Centari were rounded up by the evil Reptilian Empire and shot into a star. The star super-novaed and all those displaced souls were scattered across the universe. That's why we have diseases and bad people. The remnants of that ancient genocide reverberate even today. You must be possessed by one of those big-tittied aliens. Otherwise, you'd believe us.

Drink one more glass of Kool Aid. If you say anything about what we've told you today, we're going to sue the pants off of you. Literally. Like, you won't have any pants because we've taken all of your money. So you might as well drink some more. Maybe you'll see things our way. Buddy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Least Interesting Man in the World

Howdy, strangers. Well, winter has finally set in. That means it's time to get out my enormous collection of sweaters. Gotta hope that this winter won't be as crazy as the last. Gosh darn, it got cold last winter! I had a pipe freeze. Had to call a plumber. Boy, that was expensive. That was a little too much excitement, if you know what I mean.

Boy, strangers, I haven't been up to a lot. Still working the same old job. My boss told me to can it yesterday before I even spoke a word. Seems that he doesn't like my chipper attitude. He's something of a sourpuss, really, though I'd never say that to his face. I'm not sure what his problem is. I work hard, from eight to five. I stay late when he requests me to. I don't sexually harass the women like some of my fellow employees. If you ask me to work on a task, you know I'm going to get it done. Really, I should be getting a promotion by now. But that's not the way the world works, now, is it?

One of the neighborhood children has taken to pooping in my lawn. Right smack dab in the middle of it. I saw him do it once. He just moseyed to the center of the yard, dropped his pants, got down in a squat, and took a poop. I was too flabbergasted to do anything. He didn't even bring toilet paper or anything, just pulled up his pants when he was finished and went over to his friends and gave them a high five. I'll let that sink in for a moment. He didn't wash his hands, folks. I think that was the most shocking thing about the whole incident.

What should I do about this strange development? Should I put a toilet out there for him? Leave a roll of toilet paper and hand soap? Some of you might suggest lying in wait for the pooper, armed with a BB gun or some other relatively harmless armament. I'm not sure I could do it, though. I don't want the neighborhood kids to dislike me. Plus, it wouldn't matter. The neighborhood dogs are all defecating in my yard now. They come in droves, all types: poodles, German shepherds, pit bulls, Labradors, pugs, dachshunds, mutts. They all come to poop, perhaps compelled by the same phantom that motivates my neighborhood children. My yard is resembling a gigantic toilet. I can't step a foot on the grass without encountering a pile of feces.

I sit on the porch, when it is warm enough, and watch. The dogs pay me no mind. The continue with their business, resolution on their furry faces. They do the deed and leave. Why me? I ask the wind. It answers in strange words I cannot comprehend.

Well, I sure hope the weather gets warmer this week. It's a little chilly for November.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grandma Howard's Thoughts and Prayers

Oh my. It seems my nice grandchildren have left the computer on. I am blessed. I don't know how to turn the infernal contraption on, and usually when it is running, I can't interrupt the bouncing ribbons on the screen without a little box asking for a password coming up. I thought I would use this opportunity to let everyone know what I'm thinking, and to whom my prayers go out to.

First I'd like to complain about the direction today's youth are heading in. My grandson Trent, whose friends call him "Shifty", is into the heavy metal music, as well as the hippity hop. When he plays that noise, the whole house shakes, which isn't good, because we have an unstable foundation due to the incessant tunneling of gophers, and we're about one extra tunnel away from having the whole place collapse. He's also taken to dressing in torn black clothing, putting rings in his nostrils, and speaking with Satan. I tried to have a priest come into the place to exorcise him, but the Reverend wouldn't go past the doorstep, because Trent had a girlfriend in his room, and they were making all sorts of racket. I chased the hussy out with a broom and gave Trent a good smack on the face, but the Reverend had left by then. I fear I'll lose the respect of the church due to the behavior of my grandson. But what can I do? He is possessed.

My other grandchildren are no better. Artemus drinks himself into a stupor every weekend, and then expects me to clean up the vomit. I made him sleep in the car last night. Let him wallow in his own filth for a while, and see that he doesn't clean up his act. An adult man like him ought to have a wife and a decent job by now. His brother Dwight is no better. He works at a pet store training dogs. Can you imagine a college graduate doing such work? He just doesn't apply himself. They're all like their father, who's living on an Indian reservation out in Arizona with a Swedish woman. He sent me a postcard and his hair was hanging down to his bottom. He looked like a fat Indian. I tell you, I just don't know where I went wrong. Heaven help me.

I'd like to include in my prayers this week the entire cast of Golden Girls. I don't know how those ladies are doing, but they've given me years of quality entertainment from the comfort of my home. Lord, please bless Betty White, as well as my grandson Trent, who needs the Holy Spirit in his heart to displace all the evil the devil has put there. Lord, I also ask that you hold our walls together and prevent the gophers from further destabilizing our foundations. Please, bring my son home to me, and don't let him turn into a fat Indian. Also, please let my cats find their way home. I don't know what I'd do without all fourteen of them.

Grandma Howard

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dream Therapy with Doctor Niles Frasier

You are to do exactly as I say. Lie back in your chair and try to make yourself comfortable. Good. Please place your hands on your chest, fingers entwined. Clear your mind of any debris. It is to be a blank slate. Tabula Rasa. Your job does not matter. Your mortgage payments do not concern you. The words and actions of your spouse are inconsequential. Your sexual inadequacies, at the moment, are not relevant. You are gliding on an ocean of blackness. You do not move, yet a strong force pulls you along, an invisible current. You find yourself sliding into unconsciousness. You welcome it, for there is no reason to fight. You fall asleep.

You are having a dream now. The ocean of blackness transforms into a humid jungle. You rise from your slumber and find yourself deep in the Congo. Daylight struggles to pierce through the heavy canopy. Something is rustling in the bush, a large, aggressive animal. Behind you is a river with a fast moving current. You will drown if you dive into the river. The underbrush is too thick to penetrate on your left and right. The only path is forward. The animal approaches, its footsteps ponderous, its utterances terrifying. It is something deep and dark, spawned from the imagination of horror. You fear that if you see it, you will die of fright. What do you do, my friend? Do you stay to face the beast? Do you try to fight it? There is a stick lying on the ground. It looks like a formidable weapon. It might fend off the creature, provided you wield it appropriately. Do you dare to pick it up? Remember, the river lies behind you. It is a means of escape, though you will certainly perish if you enter its rushing waters. Surely a demise by drowning will be more pleasant than whatever the monster has in store for you. You must consider the options, my friend. All your life you have dwelt in the shadow of your demons. You are indecisive and weak. A thing of your nightmares exits the brush and towers before you. It has the head of your mother and your father's penis emerging from its chest. The penis is rigid and much larger than your own. It tells you that you must reenter the womb, for you are not yet ready for life. Its voice sounds like that of your wife's. You are paralyzed with fear. The stick lies before you, though it might as well be thousands of miles away. The creature takes a step forward, and motions to embrace you in its arms. You must make a choice.

Suddenly you are transported back to the office where you work. You are at your desk, looking at pornography on the internet. A woman is abusing herself with a carrot, but you only find her machinations mildly erotic. You need stronger perversion to become truly aroused. A young woman walks past your cubicle and you strain to look at her ass without her noticing. A part of you wants to get caught. You have not had sexual intercourse with your wife in one month. Neither of you has said anything about your lack of intercourse. It is normal for you. It is how your relationship has devolved. You feel a heavy gaze on your back, and you turn to find your boss standing over you. The pornography is plain to see on your computer. He looks at it; you look at it. The woman on the screen continues to plunge the carrot into her vagina, sounds of pleasure emitting from her lips. The stare continues. You cannot imagine a more uncomfortable situation. Everyone is paying attention now. All of the office is looking at you and your boss. Do you say something? Someone must break the silence before it swallows all. Do you make an excuse? Perhaps you admit to voluntarily viewing the pornography. A penis is growing on your boss's forehead. It is larger than your own. If you do not say anything, it will continue to grow, until it presses against your forehead. What would a man do in this situation? You must act. Your entire life has been nothing but a feint until this moment. The office woman you desire is staring at you, her face an impenetrable mask. She has your mother's eyes, and the pouty lips of your cousin, the one with whom you explored your sexuality during your childhood. Act, my friend. Confront your issues. I...

I'm sorry. Time is up. We will continue the exploration of your myriad issues another time. Please talk with my secretary to schedule another appointment. Oh, and do not park in a handicapped space next time. Good bye.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Apophenia: Chapter Eight

Read parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven.

I see the berry eater in the hallway of the Victor B. Tooms building. He’s staring at posterboard, his right hand curled inches away from a tacked piece of paper like a claw, cooing sounds coming from his lips. The effigy he’s fixed on is a visage of Frankenstein’s monster, an advertisement for the drama department. The white t-shirt he’s wearing is riddled with a thousand holes, and I notice that he has no shoes. His feet are long and bony, all knobs and calluses. I can’t remember if he was wearing shoes the last time I saw him.
            “All he wanted was a friend,” I say, pointing at the paper. “Victor was such a dick.”
            The berry eater looks at me. His eyes are lined with blood, tendrils emitting from a cracked center. He shows me his purple-stained teeth, huffs like a deer, and then takes off down the hall, narrowly missing a crowd as he slides around the corner on the soles of his naked feet.
            “Did you threaten to cannibalize his family?” asks Chad, appearing behind me.
            “I told him there was a sale at Dillards. Ninety-nine percent off all women’s underpants.”
            “Did you know they have vending machines in Japan that sell used panties?” asks Chad.
            “We had one at Les Adults, but it never took off. Maybe it’s because Leslie filled it with his own tighty-whities.”
            “You work at Les Adults?”
            “I stock the shelves, organize the wares, color-coordinate the dildos,” I say. “It’s no big deal.”
            “What’s it like, working in a sex store?”
            “It’s not a whorehouse, Chad. It’s like working in any other retail environment, except the patrons are scarcer. No one ever buys anything. They just come in to gawk.”
            “You ever been in the strip club across the street?” he asks.
            “No, but I’m working on a budding friendship with one of the strippers.”
            “How much of a fuck-up is she? Daddy issues, right? Is she a crack whore? A victim of the patriarchy? Boobs like watermelons?” He gestures, cupping his hands, eyes rolling like a cartoon character’s.
            “She’s beautiful, and I know of no psychological issues.”
            “Leona, she’s a stripper. I’m going to assume that she didn’t make good life choices.”
            “What’s wrong with being a stripper? A phone sex operator? A prostitute?” I say, my voice rising. “How can you condemn such people while simultaneously masturbating to internet porn? These people are responsible for all the gross acts you try to get your girlfriend to agree to. They teach you things, they build your fantasies. They’re loved and reviled. It’s hypocrisy. A woman who outwardly embraces her sexual nature is empowering. She should be celebrated. She shouldn’t be branded a harlot.”
            “Yeah, it’s real empowering to have an eight-inch penis shoved down your throat,” says Chad. “A woman crouched down, open-mouthed, begging for semen to be shot all over her face, that’s a real feminist image, let me tell you.”
            “You’re an idiot,” I tell him.
            “You’re as charming as always.”
            I brush past him and enter the classroom. Peter Gibbons is prancing about the room, humming to himself, legs twitching like a drug addict’s. He’s wearing large black-framed glasses, a tweed sweater, and motorcycle boots. He’s slightly bow-legged, the result of some childhood accident that apparently reduced his potential height. All of his brothers are tall and athletic, he says, which is one of the reasons he gravitated toward the arts. You want to talk about psychological issues, well, I bet Peter has some, judging from his poetry. According to Chad, he should be a stripper. Or me, taking paid phone calls from weirdoes.
            “Um, Class, uh, every night I have a writing session. It’s free-form, as you might have guessed. I write what comes to mind. It’s automatic, unconscious, liberating.” Gibbons leans against the chalkboard as he talks, his left leg jittering up and down a thousand undulations a minute. “I have here a piece of paper littered with my scribblings. This is the first line I wrote: I want to fuck my mother, a decadent, decaying corpse, a pulsating pestilence that desires the ugly love that I bring. I read that this morning and I was like, ‘holy crap, this is disturbing.’ What does it mean, you know? Is there truth to those words? The answer, of course, is no. I have no incestuous desires. The mind cycles through infinite possibilities, and sometimes the things you would never consciously think about pop up in your head like bad dreams. This is okay, though. It’s our job to capture these dark designs. Real art is created instantaneously, not in a laboratory. The Rolling Stones wrote some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll songs of all time, and I guarantee you they didn’t labor over the composition of most of them. Keith Richards claims the simple riff for I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction) came to him in a dream. Do, don’t try. Write, don’t think.”
            “It takes a special type of courage to write those lines,” comments Chad, winking at me.
            “I am not a courageous man, although you are correct, being a true artist requires a great deal of honesty, as well as the ability to put yourself out there, reception be damned. So that’s courage, I guess.”
            “So I can string a bunch of random words together like Gertrude Stein and be hailed a visionary, just as long as my nonsense is honest and I have the gall to present it as art?” I ask innocently.
            “No,” says Gibbons, furrowing his brow in my direction, “you’d just be aping Stein. There’s a distinct difference between drawing from your influences and imitating them.”
            “Is this going to be another argument?” whines Roxanne, looking more hung-over than usual.
            “What do you think discussion time is for?” replies Dexter, dressed rather ridiculously, as is his wont, in what can only be a lady’s riding jacket. The large brass buttons are nice, though.
            “It’s for bullshitting,” says Rupert/Robert, his fat head shaking as he speaks.
            “The bullshit is supposed to go on here,” I say, showing my notebook. “It’s not supposed to come out of your mouth.”
             “Okay, I think we’re done here,” says Gibbons. “Put the pens to the paper and write.”
What am I but an extension of my mother’s labyrinth,
 a creature meant to bend and slide through corridors of refuse,
walking on the chipped pavement till my shoes rot away and my soul touches the grimy earth that yearns to swallow me as it has swallowed millions like me,
 women teetering on the tremulous, sharp edged blade of time,
 turning out their pockets for cigarette stubs,
 shrugging off advances and bills and weak paychecks and everyday people who would
eat your heart if they could,
 slice it up and spice it up on a plate,
 the inevitable pull of currents dragging us downward,
 pregnant and dilapidated, maids to trolls, keepers of the brood,
 a sorry lot of bed-wetters, prospective alcoholics,
 future drug addicts and wife beaters,
 little boys and girls who just weren’t able to be happy,
 just like their mothers, just like their mother’s great sprawling messes,
 abysses that yawn and call for more and more and more,
 their stomachs as endless as the company I keep,
 my kin, my kind, my home.
            Chad catches me outside. I have headphones on; I stare at him for a while, watching his lips move. All ready I want a cigarette and a beer, anything to make myself forget Gibbons’ class, and the long week that looms ahead of me like a giant black bird of prey. Chad is getting impatient, judging from his scowl, so I take off the headphones and listen to what he has to say.
“My show’s this week. You remember your promise?” he asks.
“Chad, I’m busy with a literal ton of work, and I really mean a cool two-thousand and five-hundred pounds. I’ve had a dump truck drop it like the world’s biggest deuce in the middle of my yard. Construction workers, big, burly guys in yellow hard hats smelling of salami and provolone cheese, they worked for eons assembling the mess. There are veritable layers of paper like geological time zones, each piece of the pie signifying some insurmountable task. There will never be enough time to finish what I want.”
“You don’t even know what day the show is,” he says.
“I never make promises in earnest. It’s a terrible habit of mine. I admit it. I have no honor.” I shrug my shoulders and start walking.
“Hey, what are you listening to?” he asks.
“Roisin Murphy,” I answer.
“Row-sheen Murphy?”
“I will not let you feign interest in my musical preferences. Why the hell do you want me to go to this show anyway? You and I, we do not gel. We are oil and water. Cat and dog. Hydrochloric acid and human skin.”
“Opposites attract,” he says. “The Part-Time Poets don’t have much of a following. You might think better of me once you see me on stage wearing my leather pants.”
“With a cucumber stuffed down them, I’m sure.”
“I would never use food in such a manner,” he replies, smiling those white teeth.
“That’s a shame,” I say.
“Friday night at Bohemians. Be there or be square. You’d never be square, would you, Leona?”
“I’ve been known to do some strange things,” I answer. My headphones block out anything further he has to say.