by Erica Singer
“Chris Schiappacasse and the Fountain of Youth”
by Isa Hopkins, editor-at-large
The first time I ever saw Chris Schiappacasse in action was in the back room of Annie’s Social Club, a small, poorly lit punk club in San Francisco’s SoMa district. I was one cider deep and trembling with nerves as I prepared to take the mic for the second time in my stand-up comedy career when the comic before me lumbered up beneath the lights.
“My name is Chris Schiapapapaaaaapapapaaaapapapa,” he began, popping the syllables of his last name with a rhythmic flourish, eyes indiscernible behind large, dark sunglasses. He wore basketball shorts and an Insane Clown Posse t-shirt, his girth reminiscent of the man I would later learn to be his comedic hero, John Belushi. “My last name is thirteen letters long,” he continued, uninflected and swaying back and forth. “It matches my thirteen inches.”
Chris Schiappacasse is an institution, a fixture on the San Francisco comedy scene, well-known by comics and bartenders and, for the audiences who stumble upon him unawares, impossible to forget. Although impressions are numerous, his style is, truly, inimitable, as much a vocal quirk as a consequence of his material. He trades in everything from insult comedy to chinchilla jokes. “Your mom has three c-section scars,” he’ll say to a show’s host. “That’s why I call her Adidas.”
What is most remarkable about Schiappacasse, however, is also frequently unremarked upon. He is heavy but boyish, with clear skin, round cheeks, and a mop of jet-black hair that frames an easy smile; he could be in college — hell, he could be in “Animal House” — but he turned thirty-eight this year. We were all shocked the night he got on stage, announced that it was his birthday and then, after much prodding, revealed his age. It seemed another stunt, a fabrication, a hyperbole on the order of his purported penis length. If scientists could isolate whatever it is that keeps his skin so smooth and elastic, rich women would pay thousands to inject it into themselves without a second thought.
Schiappacasse is of Chilean extraction, where he has lived for some time (he has also called Brazil, that ageless place, his home). His grandfather had hair the color of ink well into his eighties, so genetics are at least partially to blame for his good fortune; exercise plays less of a role. Interrogated about his physical habits, Schiappacasse admits to enjoying walking, as well as stand-up (“Does it count? It is standing up”) and masturbation. “I have enough shorts that I can stain them and still have another one ready to wear,” he says, labeling the sweat of his habit as his number-one skin-care secret.
Nutritionally, Schiappacasse is cautious. “Stay away from brown foods,” advises one of the very few stand-up comedians working today who manages to also avoid alcohol. So many clubs and bars in San Francisco pay their comics in free drinks that Schiappacasse is a rarity. He also recently gave up smoking marijuana. “Everything was funner on weed,” according to Schiappacasse, but further probing reveals a man with the self-confidence and spiritual principle to find drugs unnecessary.
This is what is most surprising about Chris Schiappacasse: his optimism. Perhaps it shouldn’t be. His popular web series “Hangin’ Out”, with Vahe Hova, features the duo hanging out and chatting with various other Bay Area comic personalities. It is a relaxed show that thrives on conversation and genuine human connection — what reality television once aspired to be (full disclosure: your correspondent appeared as a guest in the show’s second season). With other comedians, it might ring false, the warmth and ease of human connection lost behind one-upmanship and showboating. With Schiappacasse at the helm, however, it is joyful. He is a generous host, allowing — nay, encouraging — his guests to be funny. He delights in the jokes of others, content to be a backdrop to their wit, and that is a rare and wonderful thing.
“I think when things are going bad, you have to trust that there is a reason why. And that things will improve.” So many in comedy are cynical, hardened by the hustle, but not this one. “I am old. Not that old. So I have seen things. I used to be an atheist, but things changed me. Like running into people in weird places. Hearing certain songs walking by a store. That sends a message, after time. You just have at keep at it.”
To what else, beyond this zen life philosophy, does Schiappacasse attribute his enviably youthful looks? “I shave once a week.” Or maybe he just glows with pride from those thirteen inches.
by Rebecca Brown
Beneath the mountain
The wildflowers form a blanket-
I fucked your mother.
“Dave the High Guy”
by Chaim Johnson
I see you out my window
I notice you putting milk on my sidewalk
No, I can’t talk to you I am much too busy
Hey Ms. Female Jogger
I see you out my rearview
I notice your precipitation
No, I can’t talk to you I am much too shy
Hello normal looking bank teller
I see you with my eyes
I notice your well groomed manner
No, I guess I’ll have to talk to you, although I am quite high
Greetings to the children at the park
I see you on the green grass
I notice your Existence.
No, I will not talk with you that is probably considered illegal
Hello again female Jogger
I still see you out my rearview
I notice you noticing me
No, I won’t return glances. Why you might call the police
Hello Mr. Milkman
I finally say hello
What did you put in the milk of yours?
My mind is out of control
Why hello Baxter the Sheriff
I see you from my rearview
I notice you are a good guy
No, I found my car flipped from the sky
“I Am Not Greek”
by G. David Schwartz
I am not Greek
But I wish I was
Each and every time
everyone did discuss
Baklava, yes Baklava
My mom was short and my dad was talk
but each of them
enjoyed delicious Baklava
I was in the army
After I did high school
and before I went to college
I made Baklava the rule
Bakla this and Bakla that
I’d carry Baklava in my hat
Lava that and lava this
I’d love to eat bit before a kiss
I am not Greek
that is true
but neither are a lot of you
But I say this, your know its true
nothing but Baklava is able to do
I am not Greek
But I wish I was
Then Nora Kaparalas would be my cous
and we could just sit and eat
That tweedier and oh so sweet
“Schlock as easy as a hemorrhaging hyena”
by Michael Brandonisio
Be genuine be moral avoid complexity like the plague
hence no immoral Chicken Jones style action types
you are classic slick shoot ‘em-up romances
psychological yet uncomplicated
characters in conflict with conflict
do it like an Indiana metaphor
hence no moral enriched Istanbul
that sack of tragedy adventure
away with relative E=MC squared
a multi-lingual Eskimo once said,
“We are local family-friendly television soul-rot middle finger.
Dark hell is like beautiful haunted soup.”
Be a page of rot you can depend on
have relationships between people & places that have death action
likewise insights — but then you can even have it both ways
you are doing it any old way — draw pictures of in-depth characters
craft crock and you prune meaning
explore a page with evil in the head
skip uncommon inspiration not yet archived
the audience is uninspired yet fantastic in the head evil
trust your instincts make them seem true to life Golems
do the mysterious kitchen sink teletubbies fusion
or that great soul centered metahysterics
under the deep structure involve logical surprises
your psychobabble tricky SFX inspirations
those Chicken Jones style breaking kneecap scenarios
picture multiple scenes that involve chases & payoffs
most of all make Fatty Arbuckle seem like a nice guy
a preference is for inspired killing
and a large shipment of soda poop
think healthy diet drinks and aspartame
think like the evil head in a fake masterpiece
it makes everything go down easier that evil head
it’s the stepfather who whips his boys good
the stuff that grandma cherishes in her retirement home
“Oh My Goth!! (Gag Me With a Ruin)”
by John D. Rachel
The laughing worm in obsidian slime
Wraps around the leg of the goddess
The goddess points at a shreiking macaw
As five goats peek out of her bodice
The sentry at court relieves himself
From a gargoyle attached to his hand
Bubbling water splashes onto the head
Of the queen seated proudly on a man
This man from waist to toe is a horse
Head and shoulders of a Neanderthal
His tongue hangs out like a huge clot of meat
A gaggle of nymphs try to reach for his balls
The nymphs all dance in wild abandon
Lips stretched to the base of their fronds
One’s legs are spread like an archer’s bow
With a mushroom growing out of her mons
Adonis kneels before the Oracle at Delphi
While his slaves crouch chained to a cart
Egyptian crocodiles gnaw on his leg
A giant eel squirms out of his heart
Zeus is holding the world in his right hand
While the left gives Aphrodite a feel
A dragon-faced fish sticks out of his mouth
As he crushes a cyclops with his heel
Ten columns from Corinth stand in a row
Three virgins are carved in each arch
The one in the center has the head of a lion
The other two look like aardvarks
Over all of this grows ivy in stone
A sinuous limestone spaghetti
And if any of you doubt what I’ve described
It’s right there at the J. Paul Getty
“Beatrice Swenson’s Home Placenta Kit”
by Walter Flaschka
Dear friend, I am Beatrice Swenson, and I thank you for purchasing my Home Placenta Kit. With your investment you are supporting a woman-owned small business based in Skowhegan, Maine.
Because of Google, we are all familiar with the wholesome and life-sustaining practice of eating your placenta after giving birth, a practice known to scientists as placentophagy. The placenta’s nutritional benefits are endless- it is high in progesterone and has oxytocin, so it can relieve post-partum depression. It contains prostaglandin, which shrinks your uterus and restores it as a fertility vessel. The Chinese have used placenta in their homeopathic medicine for thousands of years, with a resulting large and healthy population. And the West is finally taking note of the effects also. In a recent study, the entire practice of homeopathy was discovered to be as good and sometimes better than the placebo drug! And who can forget Hollywood royalty like Tom Cruise, who publicly announced that he would be eating Suri’s placenta and umbilical cord in front of his dear wife, Katie Holmes.
Your Home Placenta Kit contains copies of these findings, which you can share with friends and family. It also contains numerous recipes, from placenta lasagna and placenta stew to a placenta pizza that is perfect for game day. As you dig into your Home Placenta Kit, prepare yourself for the most cleansing organic eating experience conceivable- especially if you ate healthy throughout your pregnancy. The placenta is a concentrator for what you eat (no transfats, ladies!), and is nearly identical to your child in terms of flavor and texture.
You might be wondering, what is a placenta, and where can I get some? The placenta is an organ that begins development when the ball of cells that will become your Dear Child implants into the fertile endometrium of your womb. The umbilical cord connects to it, and it feeds your child a rich blood stew of hormones, vitamins and minerals. The placenta is expelled
when you give birth.
In culinary terms, it is about an inch thick, and is big enough around to overlap a dinner plate. To prepare it correctly, you will want a clean cutting board and a sharp knife. Cut off and set aside the umbilical cord, and pull off the silvery membranes on the baby-facing side of the organ. Then, flip it over so the rich, almost purple organ meat that attached to your womb is facing up.
Some people might not think it is as beautiful as we mothers do. As I was unwrapping my first placenta, my Dear Husband passed through the room and kidded,”That is the most repulsive thing I have ever seen.” For my part, I had to force myself to stop admiring it and start thinking like a tough mammal in the forest! (Mammals are known to consume their placentas, a survival instinct that puts them in touch with their mothering instincts.) I knew that every other placenta-eating experience would pale beside my first mouthful, so I simply dove in au natural: no salt, no heat, and certainly no spices!The blanket of meat that had cloaked little Lindsey in the womb was firm and soft, and reminded me of her infant’s skin. It’s like biting into fruit. The life-giving blood rushes into your mouth!
You may have to explain to your family about boundaries. I turned just in time to catch my Dear Husband watching in the hallway. His eyes were wide open with envy. I’d explained to him earlier that there wasn’t enough to share, so I just gave him a loving (if slightly sloppy!) smile, communicating with my eyes the level of motherhood I was experiencing. In the
following days he was very good, and would always watch over little Lindsey as I experimented with different dishes.
Ladies, by being careful and following the recipes in this Home Placenta Kit, you can stretch your placenta for nearly two weeks! However, you will notice that this Home Placenta Kit contains more supplies than you could possibly need for a single placenta: multiple storage bags and 80 count capsules that you can fill with umbilical cord tissue and swallow whole. This is because, if you’re like me, you’ll be craving another placenta before you’ve even finished the first! Thus, it doesn’t hurt to share your new hobby with your friends and co-workers, for the simple reason that they will be more receptive when you ask for their placenta later. Because of my Facebook status updates (“Ask me about your placenta”) and some company-wide emails, I am now known as the Placenta Lady.
Even so, I still had long spells without access to placenta. And my Dear Husband didn’t think it was time yet for us to get pregnant again, even though my uterus was recovered and my body was ready to birth another placenta.
In this case, I recommend that you do as I did, which is to station yourself in the lounge outside the delivery room of your neighborhood hospital, and chat up the waiting family of a woman who is delivering. It’s best to be non-technical, and merely explain that you’d like to eat the afterbirth when it’s delivered. Hospitals wait up to 30 minutes for it to detach before they go in to pull it out, so make your request right when the family receives the news, before the celebration gets too rowdy. Simply stand on a chair and announce in a clear voice, “I’m so pleased (or saddened, as the case may be) to hear of your happy news. I’d like to have the afterbirth, unless you’re planning to eat it yourself.” You may get some questioning looks or an awkward silence- this means they were going to let the placenta spoil!
You can also try to cultivate friendships with the hospital staffers, and get access to the basement levels. This is not a quick process and you might need family help. I was lucky when my Dear Husband took little Lindsey to stay with his parents, which left my evenings free to hunt through the hospital disposal bins. You cannot leave a placenta in the bin for too long, or it might go bad from lack of refrigeration! A decaying placenta can be slightly off-putting to eat!
Wherever you source your placentas, you are in for a life-changing experience. From the first bite, a mind that might be preoccupied and even slightly sad will sharpen to laser-like focus. Being so close to the galactic pulsation of life clears your head, and your confusions and anxieties are put into context, and nothing seems impossible, and existence takes on a beautiful sheen. As I recently joked to my Dear Ex-Husband at an alimony meeting, it’s simply the closest you can get to eating your own child.
“Diary of a Fisherman”
by Lou Gaglia
Well, I says to the wife the other evening, if we was to ask your parents if we could live with them, say for just a year or two, then we could wind up saving enough money for that dream house we been dreaming about.
The wife she made a coarse gesture and then replied smoothly, Well, that is neither here nor there because we don’t even know if they are going to say yes or no, so there is not no use speckulating.
I ain’t speckulating, I says to her, I am just tired of living in this dam apt. with the kid screaming and yelling all the time and there is not no room for normal living. So if you was to just ask your parents, then we could save up some money and buy that dream house.
You ask them yourself, says the wife with a pompuss look. It is your idear in the first place to buy that one dream house–like as if no other dream house exists on the planet. Anyway, she continues after a snort, if it is such a dream house, don’t you think it will be gone in five or ten years when we finely have saved up enough $ to buy it?
That is neither hither nor thither, I says to her. Just ask them, stupid, so we can save up some money at last and get out of this dump.
The wife didn’t say nothing at this point. She was cooking on the stove. So I said, What are you cooking? and she says, Meatballs. I am sick of meatballs, I says to her. You’re the biggest meatball around here, she mumbles, so I told her to shut up and she didn’t have no more come backs. Stupid wife.
I have been trying to get out of this teensy apt. in a complecks that not even Elmer Fudd would be caught dead in. A man like I, who is 6 feet and 4 and a half inches in just my stocking feet and boots, cannot be roaming around in a teensy apt like this. A man like I needs a big old house where he can stretch his legs and mount his mooseheads. Where can I put my guns in this place? No where, that’s where. The kid keeps picking them up because there’s no place to hide them except in the toy chest. And if I had that dream house I could clean the fish that I catch in a special room that I could make up special just for fish cleaning, and not have to drag the fish into the kitchen or the bathroom where the wife has a fit.
We been living in this crummy apt. for 6 years now, and now that we have the kid taking up space and acting all silly all the time, it is time we get out and find our own place. But it seems no one wants to lend me a hand. My friend Butch wouldn’t lend me the 50,000 dollars we need, even though I told him we would pay him back every dime. So I ain’t talking to him no more, and after all I done for him in my life, like lending him things, and making sure he never got beat up when we were kids. Big thanks I get.
Then there was my wife’s brother who is independently wealthy as a school teacher out in NYC, and he don’t do nothing except put $ into the bank that he will not never use anyway except for hospittle bills when he gets old, and he is not married nor has no kids so all he does is sit around useless, but after I hinted around about needing 50,000 dollars, he acted like as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. He just says, And I need some tuffs of hair on my molting scalp, and I just looked at him like what was he changing the subjeck for. So I don’t talk to him no more neither.
Now I have struck on the idea of making my wife ask her mom and dad if we can stay with them for a while and save up the money, and personally I think it is a stroke of genius because we are not actually asking them for money but just to live there so we don’t have to pay no rent and can save up for a change. The last job I had didn’t pay no good money, and the job I have now working at the wear house pays even less than the last one, and the boss don’t let me take so many days off like the other boss let me, so now I have to do all my hunting and fishing only on the weekend. So how can a man like I spend time with his family if he has to do all his hunting and fishing on the weekend and has to work all week? In the modern error, a man can’t be a family man and still enjoy life. He is up a creek without no paddle.
Anyway, since my wife has not yet asked her parents if we could live with them, there is not nothing else to write about, so I will close for now and write again later when something happens.
This 5 A.M. at breakfuss the wife staggers into the kitchen and says to me, Before you go out fishing why don’t you say hello to your preshush daughter for a change. I bet she don’t even reckonize you.
I was slurping at my coffee at the time and minding my own bizness so I says to her, Go on back to sleep and don’t be telling me my own daughter don’t reckonize me.
Well, says my wife accusingly, last night I was reading to her before she went to sleep and I says to her, Maybe Daddy will take you fishing with him tomorrow because it is Saturday, but she looked at me like she didn’t know any Daddy.
The wife was flaming up her nostrils at me, so I got mad too and I says to her, Stop trying to get at my goats, telling me my own daughter don’t know me. And what are you telling her I’ll take her fishing for? She is too young to go fishing and she might get swallowed up by a guppy.
My wife gives me a hangdog look and yaps, Why don’t you just stay home for a change and get to know your daughter?
Don’t tell me what to do, I says to her. Now make me some toast.
She beat it out of the room at that point, so I made my own stinkin’ toast. Then afterwards she comes out of the bedroom again just as I am about to leave, and she says, Don’t forget your fishing pole. I won’t, I says.
Don’t forget your fishing boots, she says.
I got them, I says.
Don’t forget to pack some beer, she says.
I didn’t, I says.
And don’t forget to spend some time with your daughter later.
I wo–. Funny! I says to her, and beat it out to the truck. Stinkin’ wife.
Tonight I come home from a hard day’s hunting and I said to the wife, What’s for dinner?
Chicken cutlets, was her clever retort.
So I said to her, Why can’t we ever have anything else, like flownder?
Because we are having chicken cutlets, that’s why, she replied lamely. Personally, she continued horsely, I am sick of your fish. I found a dead fish rotting under the bathroom sink today.
What did you do with it? I said. I was looking for that.
I threw it out, she cracked brokenly. What do you think I do with a rotten fish, cultivate it? Maybe I should ought to have cooked it for tonight’s dinner instead of stinkin’ chicken cutlets!
That’s right, I says to her, and she didn’t have no comeback for that one so I beat it out of the kitchen.
Yesterday night my father-in-law calls me on the phone and says to me, Hey, Gil, since I heard you will be taking another day off from work tomorrow, you want to have a friendly game of pool down in my cellar?
So I said, O.K, Pops, right after I get done fishin’ in the A.M. I will hi tale it over there, so rack em up.
I thought to myself as hung up the phone, Wow, this is a great oppty for yours truly to ask about moving in with the in-laws so I can buy that dream house. (See, I’m always thinking) Since the wife don’t have no more sense than a chip monk and is ascared of asking her own dear mom and dad, I figure I will have to do the asking. Then I will surprise her with the good news, no thanks to her, and we will have our dream house in no time flat. I figure they can’t possibly say no to their own flesh and blood son-in-law besides witch I have always treated the wife civil and I can tell they know that because they cook special for me on holidays because I don’t want any of that Italian slop and all those meatballs they eat so they go out of their way and cook special for me, all though after all they should ought to do that anyway because I’m their own son-in-law, so to speak
After my fishing adventure I went over to the in-laws spacetious house and I says to my father-in-law, Hey Jerry, it is time for some serious pool. Break out the sticks because I’m going to destroy you.
Jerry answers me and says, Yes, you may destroy me at your lessure, but first let me finish my coffee and cake and have a few cigarets.
Hurry up, I says to him, because I have not got until the next millenium to wait for you and did not come here to watch you add to your waste line.
Hold onto your horses, says Jerry to me. In the meantime why don’t you wash up your hands? I don’t want my pool sticks smelling like fish guts.
Just then the mother-in-law waltzes in and she says, Jerry, don’t say fish guts while you are eating, it’s disgusting.
It’s only disgusting if someone else says it, retorts Jerry with his mouth full of lb. cake.
After a couple of hours of coffee refills, Jerry was finely ready to take on yours truly, so we beat it down to the basement and racked em up.
Stop playing Jap pool, says Jerry to me on the first shot when my stick slipped and the white ball only graced the other balls.
I am not playing Jap pool, my stick slipped, I says to him, trying not to get mad because he is a old guy and anyway I was going to ask him about living there as soon as he was feeling good and didn’t want to get up his gander.
Anyway, it was his turn, and he tried to hit the two ball but he missed it by a mile and all the other balls went flying all over the table whilst the two ball just sat there minding his own bizness.
You broke em all up for me, I remarked to him, and you have left me a nice layout. It is time for me to clean up.
At lease I am not playing Jap pool, he replied with a lordly sneeze, chalking up his instrument.
You may as well rest your tired bones, I says to him, because you will not get no chance to shoot for a while.
Oh contrair, he says to me. You will be choking on the first shot.
Well, on my first shot I would not’ve missed but he was not playing fare and let out a wooping cough just as I was about to shoot. My stick slipped again and the white ball went flying off the table and rolled toward the earl burner.
Told you you’d choke, says the old guy as he chased after the white ball.
It was his turn now and this time he got a few lucky shots in. One time I pretended to sneeze to throw off his shot, but he must of knowed it was coming because he shot the ball in anyway Â and as he was circling round the table he says to me, Bless you. You better take care of that cold or you will make my granddaughter a orphan.
He missed the next one because I crossed my fingers behind my back as he shot at the ball, and I tole him, Out of my way, Methuselah, it’s my turn.
It is six to nothing, Yewl Gibbons, he says to me. I thought you was going to destroy me.
The day is young, I says as I was lining up my next shot, but just when I was going to shoot he dropped his pool stick and my own stick went flying out of my hands and skidded across the basement floor into the laundry room.
This is not the javelin throw, coughs Jerry as he chased after the stick. That is a scratch and it is my turn.
What a cheater., I mumbles to him at last.
Stop being a little infant, he says to me.
I wanted to punch him in the head but he is too old and I might of killed him, so I kept quiet thinking that my dream house was more important than a game of pool so I may as well make him happy so I can pop the question after he wins. I was cheering myself up O.K. with words of wisdom like that, but he was humming to himself as he was knocking the balls in and circling the table like a dancer. So I says to him at last, What are you so cheerful about?
It is fourteen to nothing, that’s what I am so cheerful about. Now rack em up, Jock Coostoe.
The next rack was about the same. He got in six in a row but it was because I was being fare and standing still while he shot. Then it was my turn again and I thought he was not going to try nothing because he was just standing off to the side reading a book, but just as I was shooting he shut the book really hard and the popping sound made me flinch and two balls went flying off the table.
You are going to ruin my linoleeum, he cracked whilst he chased the two escapees. What are you so ascared of. I thought you was a fearless big game hunter.
I was going to say to him, Well, if you don’t shut up maybe I will hunt you down and mount your head in my living room, but I said no such thing and took it like a man.
Well, he won the game 50-5, and he said, Let’s stop now and go upstairs before you have a stroke, and I thought to myself this is a perfect oppty. to ask him the big question because he is so happy about my letting him beat me, so I says, Maybe we can have one more game but first I want to ask you a big question and I know you will say yes because you’re my father-in-law and just beat me fare and square in a game of pool.
He says, Yes, what is it, I am not getting no younger.
So I says to him, You remember that dream house I showed you, the one with the three levels and the big yard?
And the game room and the TV room and the fireplace? he says.
Yes, that’s the one.
The one for 550,000? he says to me.
Yes, that’s the one.
No, I don’t remember it, he says.
Well, all kidding to one side, I says to him. I was thinking if me and your preshush daughter could just live here for a year or two and not pay no rent we could save up enough money for that dream house and then you can come over any time you like and we can play pool in a real game room and you can beat me on a real pool table all you want instead of on this dinky old thing that don’t have no good cushions. What do you say?
About what? he says, lighting up a cigaret.
About us living here for a year or two so as we can save up some money to buy our dream house.
No, he says. That is not a good idear.
What do you mean no?
No, he says. No is no. No. What part of no don’t you understand, the N or the O?
What do you mean?
I mean no, that’s what I mean, he says, blowing smoke in my face.
You mean you will deprive your daughter of her very own dream house and make her live in scwalor like she is doing in that dinky apt. of ours?
That is neither here nor there, he says to me, and he begins walking up the stairs from the basement, leaving me in the darkness.
When I got upstairs to join him, the mother-in-law was there, too, and I could tell already that she heard the whole preposition from him cause she was looking at me like she was sorry. I says, You will both be sorry. You are not giving your own family a decent chance. That made the mother-in-law start to cry so I left them both there feeling guilty like they should ought to feel. Stinkin’ in-laws.
At home later the wife meets me at the door and she remarks simperingly, You have upset my poor parents with your stupid idear about moving in with them.
Your parents is both selfish, I says back to her, and I order you not to talk to them ever again.
She didn’t say nothing else. She just looked at a magazine without reading none of it, so I knowed I had got my pt. across.
This A.M. I had breakfuss which was toast and coffee and juice and cereal and the newspaper, and then I seen that the wife wasn’t even in the kitchen and I didn’t hear the kid neither. When I went in the two bedrooms I reduced that they was both gone. And then I came back and seen the note on the kitchen table right under my coffee cup.
We have gone to my parents to live there for maybe forever. They feel all guilty and stuff and says for me to let you stay here too. But I tole them no, your dream house is more important than your own flesh and blood wife and daughter. Don’t try and get any idears about trying to move over here with usbecause then we will go off to a hotel. Then if you try to follow us to a hotel, we will come back here, etc, back and forth, over and over again, and vice versa—add infant item.
Your “stinkin” wife
by Tyler O’Donnell
“The Jungle Gym Rapper”
by Matthew Dexter
I used to beat the crap out of little kids at recess and sometimes when they were waiting in the lunch line. Milk lady feared me. She had a mustache that terrified the children, but when the bully came over for some mashed potatoes and gravy she shoveled shit onto my plate with an ice cream scooper so quick you would have thought I was king of the cafeteria. I was the bully. I didn’t realize it at the time but I did some bad things.
Kids treated me with terror, handing over money, sling shots, half-melted chocolate bars with chunks of coconut warmed by their buttocks and the residual friction from the plastic slide on the playground. I would corner them at the top of the slide, concealed from teachers and the recess monitor by the majestic walls of the jungle gym and the madness of my imagination. Before all that global warming bullshit.
“Muchas gracias,” I would say, pocketing contraband fire crackers wrapped in red waxy paper that smelled like gun powder and tearing open a blue Almond Joy wrapper. Little boys wiping tears from their eyes, coconut melting onto my tongue, I’d become a coconut rapper, quietly and melodiously rapping my songs for flat-chested girls from the top of the jungle gym, coconut dripping down my throat.
The girls would shake their heads. They never understood. This was before text messages when my freestyle was fierce. Boys would pivot in mid-step horror when they climbed up the ropes to the slide to find me sitting there. They’d run away into the shadows–my rapping skills bloomed in the grass just beneath the surface like fresh tulip bulbs, when Public Enemy was singing Bring the Noise, with Anthrax. Way before Flavor of Love. We had this substitute teacher who was the mother of one of the musicians in Anthrax. That knocked my socks off. We were too timid to ask her about it (even me: the bully), but we would whisper about it all day, Anthrax gossip filling male corners of classrooms a decade before the halls of Congress were attacked with white powder, even when she hadn’t substituted for months.
Years later I’d be selling weed and cocaine to many of these same girls, the boys on the jungle gym their husbands, their children now play with my own. My son’s not a bully. He pulls me into his arms everyday after he gets off the school bus and kisses me on the cheek. He’s an amazing rapper. He’s destined to be the next Eminem–only pastier, preppy, and Italian. I always have a banana cake ready for him, already on the table by the time the yellow bus pulls away from the curb. The steam rises as my son unzips his Swiss Army backpack and takes out the personal possessions of his closest friends.
He’s a kleptomaniac. Don’t ask me where he gets it from. Not me. All I know is that I burn all the evidence–everything in one of the pizza ovens. We run a bakery and pizza parlor; so we always have an oven ready. You never know when the little rascal will show up with his booty. Or what: purple mittens, an iPod shuffle, 3-D glasses from Avatar, 3-D glasses from Alice in Wonderland, pencil boxes, pink erasers, magic markers, Miley Cyrus earrings, Hanna Montana stickers, candy wrappers, Vanessa Hudgens naked pictures (I keep those). I often use stolen candy for the chocolate surprise cake in the center of the display window; third grade frosting for the lucky family that buys it every morning. I’m a baker, proud of my son. Your daughter would be proud of him too, happy to have his hand up her blouse and his tongue down her throat. Does she like coconut?
by James W. Morris
–All right, let’s go. Where is it?
–Billy, you can’t just barge into my room like that.
–Mom sent me up to get it, Jimmy.
–She said we’re not to come downstairs without it.
–I have no idea what you’re talking about.
–The kidney. You’ve stolen Grandpop’s kidney.
–Yes, you did. He was minding his own business, eating supper downstairs, and he felt a sharp pain in his right lower back. When he turned around, his kidney was gone. Nice needlework, by the way.
–Look. I needed it.
–What for? I’m the one on dialysis. If anyone should be stealing kidneys, it should be me. Not that I’d want Grandpop’s, though. It’s probably pretty used up.
–Actually, it’s in good shape, considering. It’s his liver that really looks terrible. Cirrhosis, you know.
–Well, that’s what happens when you drink two gallons of gin a day. That can’t be good for him, even if he does mix it with Geritol. Hey, wait a minute- when did you see Grandpop’s liver?
–Uh, what do you mean?
–You said his liver looks terrible. When did you see it?
–I think I said it probably looks terrible, something like that.
–No way. You’ve stolen other organs from Grandpop, haven’t you?
–Shhh. Just a few things. An appendix. A bit of pancreas. Adenoids. Nothing crucial.
–But a liver. A whole liver. He can’t live without that.
–Well, then, that’s my bad. I should have known, I guess. It seemed like an important organ at the time. Lots of blood vessels and stuff. Mom’ll probably ground me now. No more XBOX.
–Jim, how did you learn how to do this?
–I’ll show you. There’s a book I got. I keep it under the bed. Here. Check out the title.
–“Naked Ladies: What You Can Do With Them When You Get Older. A Boys’ Adventure Book.”
–Whoops, wrong book. Give me that back. Here, this is the one.
–“Organ Transplants For Dummies.”
–But you can’t do this. A ten year-old can’t teach himself to be a surgeon.
–No, I wouldn’t call myself a surgeon. You have to be grown up and go to school for that.
–So what do you call yourself?
–A Junior Knife Enthusiast. I’ve been practicing. In secret. After school. Instead of going to band practice.
–I’ve been wondering why you’ve been coming home every afternoon from your oboe lesson soaked in blood.
–Right. Actually, I’ve been sneaking up into our tree house. That’s where I’m performing my experiment.
–But what is it? What are you doing with Grandpop’s organs?
–I won’t. I swear.
–I swear I won’t tell Mom about your experiment.
–Okay. Well, what I’m doing is, I’m building something.
-Out of old organs? What?
–A super-grandparent. My plan was to take little parts from all four of our current grandparents, not just the two we live with, and use them build one mega one, one that I can train, one that will really, really, really, spoil us.
–Great idea, huh?
–It has a certain insane beauty, I suppose, but- wait a minute! All four grandparents?
–Sure, the best of each. That was my plan, anyway.
–So, then, I almost hate to ask, but-what about Grandmom?
–Well, you know how Mom always says I have Grandmom’s eyes?
–Well, I do. Also her ears, her tonsils, and her left elbow. They’re in a coffee can on the back porch.
–Oh, my God. I’m telling.
–Wait! You promised you wouldn’t.
–I think Mom would insist on knowing why her parents have been cut to shreds. Oh no! Wait a minute! What about Dad’s parents, across town?
–They were fair game, as far as I was concerned. And you never liked them anyway.
–That’s true, but–
–They only give us five dollars for Christmas.
–Well, don’t worry. They’re safe. I ran into a snag there, had to start improvising.
–Snag? What kind of a snag? Your conscience kick in?
–Conscience? What’s that?
–Never mind. What was the snag?
–Well. Like I said, I had planned on using them. At first, I was just going to take non-essentials, work from there. Then I got to thinking. I was going to have to get a heart from somewhere, a brain from somewhere. Someone was going to have to be sacrificed. Grandpa or Grandma, Grandpa or Grandma? Then I realized that if they were both “harvested” I’d have a lot of back-up parts. I mean, who says I’m going to be able to implant a brain on my first try? And I don’t know how to hook up a human heart, not really. Miss connecting just one artery and the whole thing’s a waste. Plus, they’ve been married for, like, a hundred years or something, and if I just took one the other would really miss them.
–Thank you. So. I decided to dismember them both. You know- humanely. And the more I planned it, the more I started looking forward to it. I bought these.
–What’s in the box?
–The label’s on the side.
–“Kiddie Kutters Scalpel Set. Super-Sharp Fun for Youths of all ages.” My God Jim, this can’t be legal.
–Well, like I say, I never got to use them on Dad’s parents, anyway.
–I had it all planned. I had taken the key to their house from Dad’s key ring and had a copy made. I waited for a moonless night and dressed all in black. I packed my scalpel set, disposable gloves, and a cooler with dry ice. I was ready. I had myself all psyched up. I climbed out of my window. I jumped onto that tree branch and, using a small winch I’d made in shop class, I lowered myself slowly and silently to the ground. It was then, only then, that I realized that I had overlooked one small fact. There was a flaw in my plan. There was one thing, one insurmountable obstacle that was going to keep me home.
–I’m not allowed to cross the street by myself.
–So then I had to improvise. Use some parts from non-grandparents. Take advantage of opportunities.
–Oh yeah? Such as?
–I threw in Uncle Charlie’s spine. That’s what he gets for falling asleep on our sofa.
–I thought his posture was bad lately.
–And, uh, the postman.
–Now you are in trouble. I bet that slicing a mailman into tiny bits is against the law. A federal offense.
–Sure. Otherwise everyone would do it.
–Well, you promised not to tell.
–The paperboy donated some toes.
–And- Aunt Carol’s lungs.
–How exactly do you steal someone’s lungs without them knowing?
–I’d rather not say.
–Well, there’s you.
–Missing anything lately? No? Why don’t you check down the front of your pants?
–Oh, no. You didn’t!
–I did. Sorry.
–You know, I was planning to use that someday. A lot.
–I’ll make it up to you.
–I’ll give you Grandpop’s kidney. Implant it now, the sooner, the better. It’s recently removed, guaranteed fresh.
–Sure. It’s right here. I’ve been using it as a filter in the fish tank. See? It still has a lot of miles on it. No more dialysis for you. And when I finish the super-grandparent I’ll make sure you get that pony you always wanted.
–But what’ll we do about Grandpop?
–We’ll give him your old kidney. He’ll never know the difference.
–But mine doesn’t work.
–But if what you said about his not being able to survive for long without a liver is right, it won’t matter anyway, will it?
–Nah. I guess not. Okay. Implant it quick.
–Okay. Lie on the bed.
–Afterwards I’ll go down and tell Mom that you stole Grandpop’s kidney as a one-time prank. But she said you’ll have to return it and clean your room if you want dessert.
–God! She’s so strict!
“This Wacky Weather”
by Danger Slater
Dear Fellow Scientists,
Greetings from SkyFortress3000!
I wish I were writing to you today on more cordial terms. Since my banishment from the League of Extraordinary Pancakes [the world's preeminent scientific/pancake collective] our relationship has been a bit..well…stressed. In case you were wondering, the answer is yes, I recieved your death threats. I have edited them for grammatical errors and have sent them back to you. If you require any more proofreading in the future, my office hours are 9am-1pm, Monday-Friday.
I realize you all consider me a “loose cannon” of sorts. You claim my techniques are reckless. Unnecessary. Amoral, even. Listen, just because a guy clones a few dozen Sexy Hitlers’ and then declares his floating island-fortress its own private country, all of a sudden, I’m the one who’s being unreasonable. Let me tell you something – if my Sexy Hitlers’ had succeeded in their Final Solution, we’d all be wearing a lot less pants right now.
But I’m not bitter.
So I compose this letter not to publicly proclaim my hatred for you all – a hatred that is both all-encompassing and eternal – but rather, to extend an olive branch. A peace offering. My Fellow Scientists, I need your help!
I’m sure by now you’ve noticed the recent surge of bizarre weather-related phenomena we’ve been experiencing. It’s hard not to. The sky is in revolt and the weather is something that affects us all. It has the power to ameliorate or destroy. Revive and ravage. The weather is the ultimate unifier, pulling every living being under its big, blue blanket. So before you rip this letter up and use it as toilet paper or campfire kindling or tickertape for your sactimonious robot-orgy parades, please know, all I’m asking from you is to listen for a moment with an open mind and heed the warning I am about to relay. I’m speaking, of course, about global warming:
What is causing it and what are its implications?
* * *
I, like most of the scientific community, used to scoff at the idea of climate change. But all that changed a few months ago when it started raining amputated limbs outside of my Los Angeles body dysmorphia clinic:
At the time, body dysmorphia was all the rage in Hollywood after Jennifer Aniston, Matthew McConaughey, and their entire viewing audience had their brains removed before the premiere of their latest romantic-comedy crapfest Someone Else’s Finger. As it was reported in Us Weekly, proponents such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Sir Ben Kingsly could all attest – amputation is the fastest way to shed those extra pounds – and keep them off! Every trophy wife in Beverly Hills was rushing out to have their legs cut off or their hunchbacks removed. And I was making bank!
Then one typical level-5-smog-alert-self-righteous-liberalism-tiny-dogs-in-purses afternoon the sausage-like clouds above us started to gather. The sky grew meaty and sinister. Thunder clapped. And suddenly fingers, toes, arms, legs and torsos were falling from the heavens in a torrential downpour. The terrified screams of pedestrians echoed across Rodeo Drive as a meteorite comprised of condensed guts – appendixes, pancreata, and other assorted viscera – smashed into my solid gold Rolls Royce, evaporating it in a mushroom cloud of gore. The L.A. River overflowed with sweet and sour slime, washing away hobos and shantymen alike on its apocalyptic journey to the sea.
The corpse-shower shocked the newsmedia, causing Local 12’s weatherman Chip Branson to nearly mess up his hair. Luckily, his helmet of hairspray and perfectly straight teeth repelled the cascading refuse with tact and aplomb. Afterwards, he straightened his tie, looked directly into the camera, screamed, “IT’S THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD!” and then blew his brains out on live TV. The local Emmy was awarded to him posthumously.
Meanwhile, on the streets, in the thick of it all, knee deep in the mucous and severed limbs and bile stood I, watching the sun turn the color of blood. The ground shook as a very, very, very, very centralized earthquake nosed its way through Tectonic plates and rocked the lowest part of my lower intestine. Before I knew it, I – one of the greatest minds the world has ever known – was uncontrollably pooping in his pants!
Patients leaving the clinic were both confused and anxious. Were the body parts they had just removed enacting their swift yet austere revenge? And was I, their favorite doctor – one whom they had lauded and hailed as their makeshift Messiah; a title I humbly accepted because, in fact, I most definitely deserved it – suffering from a case of Fatal Diaper Failure? The shock of it all was too much for them to handle. One by one, they orderly took their own lives. I could only watch in horror as my friends, relatives, and lovers perished by their own [lack-of] hands.
* * *
[Personal note: I realize that performing elective disfiguring surgery on the rich and famous is not the noblest line of work a man of my stature could persue. Some even say it violates the Hippocratic oath that I, as a doctor, have sworn to uphold. But it takes a fuck-ton of money to keep SkyFortress3000 running efficiently. So judge me not, fair members of the Leauge. I'm just trying to make this world a more beautiful place, one severed organ at a time.]
* * *
I realized then that something was wrong. This type of extreme weather is usually reserved for the Armageddon. Never in the summer. And never in L.A. But the debacle at the B.D.C. was to be merely the tip of an ever-melting iceberg:
Reports of midnight sun, fire snow, reverse tornadoes, and banana tsunamis are pouring in faster than the election committee of Miami-Dade county can count the ballots. After a month of recounts, bake-offs and a few “lazy Sundays,” in an unprecedented act of nepotism and political bias, George W. Bush was declared the Supercell Supreme of the United States of America and Hell froze over. While many Democrats merely cried, a few began spontaneously lactating bees, prompting some Republicans to declare America as the new land of Milk and Honey.
As the Supercell destroyed cityscapes and countrysides alike [most notably, New Orleans. The mishandling of the situation by FEMA and ineptitude of the federal government had UNICEF up in arms and forced certain narcissistic rappers to proclaim "Cyclones don't care about black people!"] the social-economic infrastructure crumbled around us. The country slumped into a Depression. Obesity rates rose. Incidents of violent crime increased. And somehow I misplaced my car keys. Again!
All of this commenced in the winter of 2008 with the election of Barack Obama into office, promising to give us the “Change We Need.” The disenfranchised were hopeful. Finally a candidate who’s rhetoric didn’t seem like a complete natural disaster. But alas, on Inauguration Day, just seconds after being sworn into office, President Obama “changed” into a Katabatic wind which blew any chance of healthcare reform right out the window. Millions of people are still living in poverty and receiving improper medical care, ushering in a new era that many backalley abortionist are calling:
The Golden Age of Organ Theft.
Indeed, prices for black market organs have inflated, and nearly everyone is feeling the crunch. But until the auto industry can develop a proper electric car, the cost for a gallon of blood will continue to rise.
* * *
The economic devastation is just one of the many facets that global warming will affect.
The planet’s average temperature has climbed 1.4 degrees F since 1880.
While adversaries of global warming claim this statistic is bogus [as it was reported in the confidential intraoffice memo between Cargo shorts lobbies, entitled: The Future of Cargo Shorts: The Fallacy of Global Warming and How Exploiting the Lie is Going to Make Us All Very, Very Rich. Perhaps We'll Even Get a Blow-Job From That Girl at the Starbucks. Did You See the Tattoo of a Cheshire Cat She Has on Her Forearm? So Cute. I Bet She's a Tiger in the Sack. Me-ow! HaHaHa.]
But the Cargo shorts conspiracy is literally full of holes. Seriously, I put my cell phone in my pocket and it must have fallen out somewhere. It had all my contacts in it and everything. So annoying. By the way, I need your number. I know we don’t talk much, but just in case, you know?
The fact is, the increased sale of Cargo shorts is just a symptom of a much larger problem. All fashion trends aside, complete ecosystems are at stake. The Nuclear Reactor Coral Reefs are rapidly disappearing. Roman Emperor Penguins are being fed to the lions. Bi-Polar Bears have fallen into a funk. And Serial Killer whales have grown lethargic, no longer stalking and hunting the vulnerable young women on which they used to prey. The increased volume of vulnerable, young women has put an unnatural strain on their local environment as the demand for new-age self-help books and vampire novellas have risen exponentially, causing the continued deforestation of Amazon.com.
* * *
I realize the sheer volume of this information is daunting to you. To put it all in perspective, I have compiled a list of facts and myths about global warming which may prove helpful as you disseminate this material:
MYTH: Global warming is responsible for stealing my newspapers every morning.
FACT: It is your redneck neighbor that is stealing your papers.
MYTH: Global warming does not exist.
FACT: Global warming is very real. More real than you, even, as you, I suspect, are a hallucination brought on by a sentient supercomputer [see archived footage: sect. IIX, file 426: The Matrix.]
MYTH: Global warming will not affect me in my lifetime.
FACT: Global warming will affect you in your lifetime because it is happening. It’s happening RIGHT NOW! Oh wait, it just stopped. Okay, it’s happening again. Now it seems to be slowing down a bit. And…it stopped again. Hold on…oh, no it didn’t. My mistake. It just kind of looked like it did for a sec, but yeah, it’s still going on like it was before. Wait…okay, now it’s stopped. For real, this time.
Crap, it started again.
MYTH: Last night, global warming and Bigfoot thew eggs at my house and then toilet papered my tree. WTF?
FACT: While global warming and Bigfoot did both egg and toilet paper your house last night, they both did it of their own volition. The fact that it happened on the same date is coincidence. While global warming was only looking for some cheap thrills, Bigfoot’s agenda is still unknown.
MYTH: History shows us the planet goes through natural heating and cooling cycles. How do we know that global warming is the result of our anthropogenic influence?
FACT: While what you say is true, the rate at which our atmosphere is warming far exceeds the rate at which it happens historically. Natural climate change can take several thousand years. What we’re experiencing has only taken decades. Plus, what do you know about history, anyway? You barely graduated county college. Remember that class we shared? I saw you doodling in your notebook, like, the whole time. Don’t even try and tell me you were listening. Oh, that’s how you learn? By drawing a unicorn fighting a helicopter? Yeah, right. Listen, kid, your good looks and charm may have gotten you by in the past, but you’re in the big leagues now. What’s that? You’re only in college because your parents are making you go? Ya, real good reason to pursue an education. What are you studying anyway? Environmental science?!? Oh Jesus!
MYTH: Global warming is having an affair with my wife.
FACT: Again, the redneck neighbor.
* * *
The research facilities in SkyFortress3000 are vast. When the Sexy Hitlers are not busy committing genocide against their own bodies [an act they call "making love",] they are fastidiously at work, compiling data. Attached to this letter will be a spreadsheet, graphing their findings. Be advised, the sheet will only spread after a lobster dinner, a couple of glasses of wine, and some coy yet flirtatious remarks. WARNING: DO NOT PRESSURE THE SPREADSHEET. It’s been hurt before and it may take a while for it to trust you.
As the planet’s best and brightest, we have an obligation to ensure that future generations will be allowed to prosper. The world our children are to inherit is a dangerous one. Our pursuit of technology and convenience has poisoned the globe, almost irrevocably. Putting aside all the petty differences and tenuous pancake breakfast’s that we’ve shared, I am calling on you, my fellow scientists, to help me in reversing the folly of our selfish ways.
I have at my disposal an unlimited supply gorgonzola cheese, an as-yet untested DeathRay, and a paper sack full of illegal fireworks smuggled in from the next state over. I am willing to donate these resources towards whatever plan of action that we, together, can come up with concerning this impending plight. Please get back to me as soon as possible. The Sexy Hitlers’ are waiting by the phones. Call in the next 20 minutes and receive a second complimentary Snuggie – The Blanket That Has Sleeves
Thank you for your time.
Hugs and Kisses,
Dr. D. Slater, Carnival Barker and Mad Scientist
“Soccer is Stupid”
by Andrew Jett
A few notable exceptions notwithstanding, soccer is undoubtedly the most pointless activity mankind has ever come up with. This sport involves nothing but a bunch of dudes in short-shorts and ugly socks running from one side of a field to the other. There’s also a ball in there somewhere, but I’m too bored to find it.
Soccer is no fun to watch, it’s no fun to play. It’s just … there.
The concept is fairly straightforward: Two opposing teams try to get a ball into a net, resulting in a “goal,” which is how points are scored. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it’s not. In fact it’s so un-simple that a goal is only scored once every forty-eight games. Seriously, a soccer game not ending in a 0-0 tie is one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.
It should be super easy to score goals in soccer. The net is roughly the size of a semi trailer, and the only obstacle between a player and the net is the collection of skinny wusses on the other team. The reason it’s so difficult is because of soccer’s biggest downfall: You can’t use your hands.
Are there any other sports where you’re not allowed to use your hands? I can’t think of any, but if there are they probably suck as badly as soccer. Man was not built with this in mind. God gave us all two hands, and dammit we need to make use of them. Not doing so is bordering on blasphemy, like saying: â€œHey, God, I know you gave me four appendages, but I’m good with two. Thanks anyway, buddy.
Sure, we all need our feet. We use them to take us places so we can do cool stuff with our hands, like knitting and masturbating. Now that I think of it, what real good are feet anyway? Their only purpose is walking, and hell, you can use your hands for that, too.
Ya hear that, feet? You suck.
Another thing that’s completely lacking from soccer is the presence of noteworthy stars within the sport. I mean, can you name one soccer player?
There’s David Beckham, but he’s less famous for being a soccer player than he is for being the douchey pretty-boy husband of Posh Spice.
There’s that Pele guy, but I doubt that anyone born within the last ninety-seven years knows who in the hell he is.
There’s the chick who took off her shirt at the Olympics or wherever that was, but can you remember her name? No, it’s not Shirtless Chick.
That’s about it. Everybody else who plays professional soccer might as well be named That Guy, That One Dude, The Other Guy, etc.
Of course, I’m taking a very American view of this sport (and why not? America rules, everybody else sucks). The rest of the world loves soccer. They all go batshit crazy over it. Every time there’s a soccer game in Europe, the entire continent shuts down. Security has to be deployed in such numbers that the stadium more closely resembles a military occupation rather than a sporting event. “Soccer hooligans” line the stands, wreaking havoc and beating the piss out of each other regardless of what’s occurring on the field.
And this is the world’s twisted and douchey idea of entertainment? No, thank you.
“To Kill A Deer”
by Nathaniel Tower
On September 12th, 2011, the ban on deer hunting became official. Apparently, the hunting and killing of deer had become too cruel.
The ban had been a long time in the making. Ever since man began hunting deer way back in the day- somewhere between a few thousand years and millions of years ago, depending on whom you asked, there were people that tried to get them to stop because it was just too cruel.
The recent charge to ban the hunting of deer had been led by Sarah Grissom, animal lover and Democrat. She and her daughter had been at a state park when they witnessed, firsthand, the slaughter of an innocent deer just yards in front of them. The slaughter was so despicable that it even left the white tail of the deer soaked dark red. The red didn’t even look like blood. It looked worse.
“Deer hunting is cruel,” Sarah told the world. The world listened. Within two months of her daughter witnessing the gruesome scene that no child should ever have to see except in movies, the state officially banned deer hunting. No one ever investigated to truly determine if that deer had indeed been innocent. In a highly intelligent move, the nation followed just a few days later, and deer hunting officially became the equivalent of poaching and murder. Actually, if one looked closely at the new laws, deer hunting was worse of a crime than just a regular murder. It was like murdering and torturing children, and so the penalties could not be steeper.
Many people warned Sarah and the government of the consequences. None were more vocal about it then Tobias Freefort. Tobias, a lifelong hunter who had shot his first deer at the age of three, an age when shooting deer isn’t quite yet legal but somehow cute enough to not warrant any punishment, expressed his concerns about deer population explosions, which would lead to more car wrecks and less vegetation, not to mention more vandalism and more diseases. Yes, he admitted, deer were “cute” just like rabbits and squirrels, but they weren’t worth the trouble. They had to be hunted to save the balance of the world.
Not quite as vocal but even more passionate was a young lady by the name of Jamie Linn. Jamie Linn informed the world in a rather bold statement, “If we don’t hunt deer, then you’ll hit one every time you drive your car. Every time.”
Most people laughed at her ridiculousness. Perhaps she shouldn’t have worn the flannel shirt or the Confederate flag belt buckle when she made this announcement, but those items were part of who she was, and she wasn’t about to change who she was, not even for the sake of her beloved sport. Besides, she didn’t actually believe the statement herself. She just thought that it sounded convincing. Little did she know.
It only took a few days before the bodies really began piling up. And they weren’t just deer bodies. There were at least as many human bodies as deer bodies piling up on the roads. Apparently, the Confederate-loyal Jamie Linn was right. After just a few days, the deer had managed to double, triple, maybe even quadruple their population. It was as if they were spontaneously generating, no gestation period required. They just appeared out of the ground, emerging from holes and ditches that lined roads, and they even seemed to pop out of the trees. It was difficult to find a stretch of road that wasn’t blocked by the four-legged, antlered creatures. There wasn’t even a doe to be found. The bucks had come out in droves to protect their women. It was revenge time, and the bucks were indeed kicking ass and taking names.
The humans continued in their immense stupidity, not wanting to surrender the roads they had sacrificed much to build, instead sending semi after semi out to clear the way. Trucks equipped with snow plows constantly occupied the road in a season when snow did not fall. But the grounds were covered all the same. The white fur from their tails might have seemed like snow to some, but to others, this was the ominous sign of purity destroying their lives.
The world soon turned to Tobias Freefort and Jamie Linn for help, professing their hatred for Sarah Grissom, but not her daughter, at the same time. That liberal animal rights activist was entirely to blame, and suddenly the rest of the nation seemed united on a moderately conservative front.
“Bring back deer hunting,” they cried in storms of panic and rage outside of Congressional buildings that had taken month-long recesses for trips to exotic lands where the deer weren’t piling up on the streets. These cries went unheard except by those making the cries and by the deer that hid themselves in bushes as they waited to make their next move. Every state capitol in the country now had more deer than people, and unlike the people, none of the deer seemed afraid to lay down their lives for the cause. While many families fled to Canada to not only get away from the heaps but to hunt as well, the deer continued to multiply in patterns unexplainable by any scientific or mathematical reasoning. How deer population could rise exponentially defied every law of nature that man had ever created.
Jamie Linn didn’t know how to help, other than to suggest everyone take up hunting. Problem was that there weren’t enough shotguns or shells to go around. Furthermore, although everyone was now against the deer, not everyone was willing to hunt. So although the country claimed it was united, it was just as divided as during the 2008 presidential elections, a division that rivaled the Civil War, which to Jamie Linn was known as the War of Northern Aggression.
Tobias Freefort claimed he had a plan, but to prove the point he had made that his fellow countrymen had ignored, Tobias refused to share the plan until everyone that had been against him personally sent an email, letter or telegram telling him that he had been right. If Tobias Freefort played his cards right and wanted to, he could have become the next President of the United States. He didn’t want to though, figuring it would take away from his hunting.
The other problem Tobias revealed was that even if they could legally hunt the deer, as an ardent sportsman, he wasn’t about to break the sacred rules of the hunt that had been established both at the state and federal levels, legal limits would make it impossible to deplete the deer population back to a manageable amount. These limits would have to be lifted, but nothing could be done until Congress could meet again in a month. Meanwhile, seventy-five percent of the roads in the U.S. would become impassable. So the only thing they could do in the meantime was continue to plow the roads, which was somehow not objectionable even though it was obviously cruel to the deer, or send out the nonhunters of the world that didn’t care about laws or limits or types of ammo or weapons.
People begged for Tobias to reveal his plan. They cried out for his help, but just as quickly as the deer had emerged, Tobias Freefort disappeared. Conspiracy theories were in abundance. The people blamed the deer, but they were not willing to negotiate. They doubled the number of plows on the road, but the only affect this seemed to have was to triple the population of the deer. The creatures defied logic, at least human logic. Soon, mankind feared, the deer would completely take over the world that rightfully belonged to man.
The fear subsided when Wooly Swingline stepped forward. A lifelong degenerate, Wooly had no moral virtues to uphold, and therefore he made for a great leader in a situation as nonsensical as this.
Wooly spoke with his actions and then with his words. Armed with a box of twelve high-powered grenades, he successfully exterminated several hundred of the newly-deemed pests. When the grenades had all done their job, he spoke to the frightened people of the world. “I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let some freaky-ass spikey-headed animal take over my life. Let’s grow some balls and take care of the bastards the good ol’ U.S. of A. way. Wooly had never fought in a war or even really paid attention to one, but when he spoke, the citizens revealed him as their general and his words as their battle cry.
“A box of grenades for every family,” Wooly promised. And somehow, he delivered. The grenades appeared just as spontaneously as the deer, a box of twelve showing up on every doorstep by the next morning, each box engraved with the slogan, “Kill ‘em first, dispose of ‘em later.” By midday, not only did every American know this slogan by heart, but every American had said it at least once. Even Sarah Grissom had followed suit, her daughter with her as she blew up a pack of deer. Wooly, with a simple toss of a grenade, had united the nation both in spirit and action. Now that each house was equipped with the tools free of charge and almost ninety percent of the roads were blocked by deer, no one really seemed to give a damn about how the animals felt.
Each new morning, a new box of grenades appeared, just like a newspaper, and by midday, each family had cleared its share of the road. They would fix the potholes later. Now was just about defeating the enemy.
It took a little less than a month, just in time for Congress to get back in session and reverse the laws that had caused all of the problems. Balance was restored, the nation was once again divided on conservative and liberal issues, including gun control and hunting laws, and most of the streets were clear again. Taxpayers’ money was being used wisely to fix the potholes.
Underneath the piles of deer carcasses one day, they found the shattered body of Tobias Freefort. No one was sure whether the deer or the grenades had been his demise, but they all had their theories.
by Peter Gilbert
Chief Engineer Wertz broke the news to Captain Devlin as he played tennis in gym room. A panorama of stars glistened on the other side of the port window.
“The Nothing drive is failing.”
“What’s the problem?” Devlin asked.
“We’re running out of nothing.”
“How can we run out of nothing?”
The Chief Engineer shrugged his shoulders, “Everything runs out eventually.”
Captain Devlin squinted, “Even nothingness?”
“I’m an engineer,” Wertz said. “Not a physicist. All I can tell you us there’s no leak.”
“I thought the advantage of Nothing Drive was that it ran on nothing? Made for great savings on fuel costs.”
“Nothing is free,” Wertz explained.
“Precisely,” said the Captain. “Endless supplies of fuel at no cost.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Wertz explained. “Nothing, not even nothing, is free.”
“What?” the Captain asked. He sounded confused because he was. “You mean you have to pay for nothing?”
“Happens all the time.”
“That’s absurd. Why should we have to pay for nothing?”
“That gives me an idea,” Wertz said scratching his nose. “Have you ever paid for Nothing?”
“Of course not,” said Devlin. “You get Nothing for nothing.”
“When is the last time you filled the tanks?” Wertz inquired.
“Never,” said Captain Devlin. “The ship runs on nothing. That’s why I bought it. The initial cost was high, but when I calculated the long term savings, I saw it was a steal. Why would I fill the tanks? You can’t put nothing in a tank. You would have to put something. If you put something in, then there would no longer be nothing in the tank. If I had to put something in a tank I would have bought one of those old fashioned ships that ran on Martian hydrogen peroxide.”
“Cheap Martina fuel has run out,” Wertz said. “You have to pay dear for what’s left.’
“Listen,” Wertz added,. “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. I think that’s your problem.”
Devlin put his pinky in his ear to see if any of Wertz’s words had gotten stuck in there and not made it through the canal to his brain.
Wertz explained, “You have been running on empty for so long that there’s nothing left to go on.”
“You mean there’s nothing left in the tanks?” Devlin huffed, his eyes bulging in shock.
“If there was, we’d be fine,” Wertz said. “But there’s precious little Nothing there.”
“What is there?” Devlin asked.
“Isn’t void nothing?”
“No,” Wertz shook his head. “They’re nothing like each other.
“Well, Devlin said, “I don’t understand the mechanics of it, but if you say it is so, then I guess we need to find more Nothing. Where can we get Nothing?”
“I’m not sure,” Wertz said. He crossed his arms and pondered the question. “There are lots of places that sell Nothing in particular, but we have to be careful we don’t buy Nothing of value. That could get quite expensive.”
“Do we have enough Nothing in the tank to get to a planet or space station that sells Nothing cheap?”
“We might be able to find a place near Alpha Centuri if you have nothing else to do.”
“I don’t want to get stuck in this vast nothing between the stars,” Captain Devlin said grimly. “I think filling up on Nothing is a priority.”
“We will have to go slow to conserve fuel,” Wertz told him.
Devlin asked, “How long will it take to get there?”
Devlin was not happy with that answer.
“Can’t we get there any faster?”
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Wertz said. “It’s go slow or no go.”
“I guess we can go into hibernation,” Devlin concluded.
Wertz agreed. “I’ll prep the slumber chambers.”
Devlin had a concern.
“Do we have enough for the crew?”
The Chief Engineer did some fast calculations in his head, and then announced, “We will have to double up.”
“Then I guess for the next ten decades someone will be whispering sweet nothings in my ear.”
“I wish they were doing that now,” Wertz said. “It could save us a trip.”
“Musings of a West Coast Transplant”
by Randi Franklin
One of the many problems with pairing an individual such as myself with a locale such as West Virginia is the sheer abundance of things to be stared at. I do not have the ability to look away once something with the potential to be mocked has presented itself. This deep interest in the shortcomings of humanity also makes it impossible for me to interact with others while in the presence of the unusual, horrifying, or freakish. As a result, I only came to know a few individuals in my time there; namely, those people I saw at our home or theirs.
Those who dared to take me out in public could forget about any kind of conversation, as I was too busy gawking at the skanky teenager juggling a cross-eyed infant with a concave skull and a pack of cigarettes to do more than nod or reply to questions with a halfhearted, “uh huh.”
I blame my staring problem on genetics. Waiting in line at the airport in Frankfurt, my mother once became so enthralled in someone else’s conversation that she was actually leaning forward and nodding assent with key points. My sister had to forcefully elbow her and wave a travel brochure in front of our mother’s face to bring her out of the trance. The amazing part was that the people were speaking German, which my mother does not understand. At all.
While my interest is generally sparked by eavesdropping on conversations carried out in English, it being the only language I speak, the going into a sort of trance while staring is also a problem I struggle with. I routinely have to be shaken, or have a pitcher of ice water thrown in my face to get me to stop staring while I am in restaurants. Once, in Charleston, South Carolina, I spent the entire course of a meal with my head turned at an unnatural angle and my eyes rolled into the back of my head trying to covertly observe the diners at the next table over. Two of the three were foreigners, so I could only make out bits and pieces of the conversation. From what I gathered, it seemed that the foreigners had been given the American’s number by a friend of a friend and were now being duped into buying her meals and routinely giving her piles of their newly exchanged US Dollars in exchange for the pleasure of her company. I would have gladly ordered a second meal, and a third, in order to get in more observation time. I probably also would have followed them around town for the rest of the afternoon as they went sightseeing, possibly snapping pictures with my camera phone. Fortunately for the unsuspecting tourists, they were spared a stalker as I was eventually hauled out of the restaurant by my then-fiance. I spent the rest of the afternoon developing possible scenarios regarding the trio and running them by the fiance for approval. The people in question weren’t even that unusual-looking. What really short-circuits my social skills are the sorts of crowds that can be found at fairs, carnivals, and Wal-Mart. Charleston has an annual regatta, which used to be a week of festivities centered around paddle boat races on the river. This wholesome southern tradition, which I imagine once required the wearing of big hats and sipping of mint juleps has now degenerated into a cesspool of horror.
One Saturday night, we headed downtown to join the crowds in watching a free Puddle of Mudd concert on the street. Not being a music connoisseur, all I can tell you about this musical group is that their music is loud. If you were to buy a CD of theirs, it would most likely have one of those little stickers on the front that says, “Explicit language.” Apparently citizens of Kanawha County mistook the Puddle of Mudd concert posters for a Teletubbies appearance announcement, because at least half the crowd had brought the little ones with for a night of old-fashioned family fun.
The air downtown was thick with the stench of cigarette smoke, unwashed mullets, and sweating fat rolls. Most of the cigarette smoke was being produced by proud new mothers out for a night on the town with their infants. There were so many milling around that they all blurred into one image in my shell-shocked frame of vision. Thick black eyeliner, over-plucked brows, vegetable-deprived pasty white skin, and cheap sequined halter tops were in abundance. Many used the drink holder in the handle of their stroller to hold their cigarettes and lighter; others used it to hold their can of Natural Ice, occasionally pouring some into their babies’ bottles to keep them quiet. The crowd was so thick that the babies’ heads were lolling about and snapping back and forth alarmingly as their strollers were rammed into other concert-goers’ shins while the teen mothers trolled for possible hook-ups. The fronts of the babies, adorable summer outfits were flecked with cigarette ash and funnel cake crumbs.
The thing that is most unfair about these sorts of events is that someone I have just met inevitably poses the question, “So, how do you like West Virginia?” Expecting me to even hear anything they say, let alone come up with a socially acceptable response, such as, “Oh, thank you for asking. It’s lovely this time of year. I’m really enjoying exploring the cultural differences. Say, what would you call that mullet over there-a Kentucky Waterfall or a Squirrel Pelt?” is completely ludicrous. The unfortunate individual attempting to engage me in friendly conversation usually has to repeat themselves at least four times to be rewarded with an unintelligible gurgling noise from me as I gawk at the seven urchin children that are weaving through the crowd, each squirting Cheez Whiz into his or her dirt-crusted mouth as they follow their intoxicated baby momma to the corn dog stand.
Since the writing of this piece, the author has been safely relocated to a more habitable location.
by Katie Hackmeister
Itâ€™s two in the afternoon. I wake up to my phone ringing incessantly. My friend, Cayden, is desperate for someone to go to Ikea with him. He needs to buy a couch as well as another body to help drag the couch from Ikea to a minivan to his apartment. Since I enjoy buying poorly constructed furniture and household accessories, I agree to go.
While I wait for him to pick me up, I wander through my local Borders and ask myself why Nichole Ritchie wrote a book. Cayden calls again. He tells me to go back to my apartment to gather some CDs. The vanâ€™s radio had ceased to function. I run home, grab a few burned CDs that I recently acquired by bribing friends with treats (candy or CornNuts or pornography usually), along with a few CDs I legimately bought and jump into his borrowed Fag Wagon.
As we speed down Diversey to the expressway, Cayden and I discuss Chicago versus Los Angeles driving. We both agree that driving in Chicago is worse, due to the abundance of pedestrians and as Cayden racially slurs, â€œWhatâ€™s this Asian bitch in the Honda doing?!?â€ While Cayden thanks someone for flipping him off, I discover that the minivanâ€™s CD player refuses to play burned CDs. Our music choice dwindles down to three albums from ten albums for the next hour and half weâ€™re going to spend in rush hour traffic. General Motors thwarts my CD stealing scheme.
As we inch along 94, Cayden continues to bitch about traffic and yells at the Blue Line for speeding past us. To appease him, I pop in Madonnaâ€™sÂ ConfessionsÂ which seems to calm his homosexual nerves. Our conversation covers a range of important topics.Â From the difference of dating or seeing someone and if heâ€™d still be friends with me if I substituted the word dating with, â€œWeâ€™re going steady!â€ (he wouldnâ€™t), to whether the pickup covered in Harley stickers in front of us contains a retired Pabst drinker with a mustache (it did) and I muse that if I were to have a gay child, it wouldnâ€™t be a gay son, which I would hope for, but a butch lesbian daughter, since I have a problem with aggressive butch lesbians (I fear them). We drive through Rosemont and see a glowing sign that says OUTBACK STEAK HOUSE. Cayden gushes about how much he loves that restaurant. I reply with, â€œUgh. Gross.â€ Even though my stomach is growling from not eating the past 14 hours and Iâ€™m hung-over, I canâ€™t fathom gnawing on a grisle-tainted steak from Outback.
We canâ€™t find Ikea, which leads to multiple illegal U-turns. I mention this well-known fact to my friend. Cayden merely shrugs, â€œHope that cop didnâ€™t see me.â€ We make it to Ikea, which leads to over two hours of Cayden lying down on sofas, flipping through fabric samples to match the color theme in his Gold Coast apartment and flagging down a plethora of Ikea employees. I escape and find the items I came for: pillows for my couch and a CD rack that will surely topple over one night when I stumble through my pitch dark apartment trying to find the light switch, destroying all of my CDs.Â I should buy an Ipod. I return to Cayden standing in front of a couch, chin to hand in deep thought with multiple throw pillows in various colors scattered over the couch. After finally persuading him with my knowledge of design gained from community college art courses to go with the brownish-purple couch, steel grey pillows and the threat, â€œIâ€™m going to start dry heaving if I donâ€™t eat soonâ€, we begin collecting his various pieces of furniture, as I slump over a cart, weak from hunger and gin.
We doubt that we could fit the couch in the van and I suggest he pay the extra 40 bucks for delivery. But at the check-out we discover the delivery charge is 90 bucks. I stay with our items as Cayden goes back for the sofa. After eyeballing the Swedish Food Market for a moment, I break down and buy Swedish candy. I buy Jelly Rats, a jelly-ish candy in the shape of rats because it makes me laugh. They taste what youâ€™d imagine candy rats from Sweden to taste like: Swedish shit.
Cayden, with hat askew and sweat-beaded temples, comes back struggling with the couch. I feel like an asshole and run to help. He verbalizes my thoughts with a dry, â€œYeah.â€ We manage to cram everything into the van and decide to totally surburbize our day by dining at Outback. I would have eaten a corpse at that point. Again, we canâ€™t find the expressway, which leads to me wandering through the Schaumberg Renaissance hotel for 15 minutes trying to find someone to ask directions. That place is a goddamn mausoleum, but richly pretty.
We make it to the highway, see the Outback sign in Rosemont, cheer, get lost again, bitch, find the restaurant, cheer again, and finally park the car. We saw through a three-course meal in thirty minutes. After eating, we sit there and reflect on the day. I suck on an iced tea, smoking a cigarette and say, â€œYou know, this wasnâ€™t a bad day. We bought some shit, ate dinner and now weâ€™re going to Dog Bar.â€ Dog Bar is a hole in the wall our friend Jeff found in Bucktown. Actually called the Corner Bar, we dubbed it Dog Bar because itâ€™s always full of dogs from the neighborhood barflies (and because we think weâ€™re original). We love Dog Bar because of an older bartender named Ruthie, whom we refer to as Ruthless (original!), four dollar pitchers of Honey Brown and two dollar shots of Beam. Ruthie also has no qualms about pouring our beers into plastic cups and telling us to have a good night. Then we pile into a car with our to-go beers. Because weâ€™re smart. And original.
After dinner, Cayden and I climb into the van and pull out of the parking lot. We hear a weird sound and look at each other terrified. â€œIs that a flat tire?â€ he asks me with wide eyes. In complete denial, I calmly scream, â€œNo! No, it isnâ€™t! Keep driving!â€ He gets out, goes to the front right tire, and covers his face with his hands. I roll down the window, â€œSo itâ€™s okay, right?â€ He shakes his head. The tire is completely flat. He gets back in and decides to drive until we find a gas station to fill the tire up. We drive five mph, most likely bending the axle, or whatever the fuck holds a tire, in the process until we find a Jiffy Lube. We pull into the back parking lot, hoping to find an air pump. Nope.
We get out and Cayden calls his friend who owns the Fag Wagon, referred to as iKevin because heâ€™s Indian and gay. On Halloween, iKevin came out with us dressed in only teeny tiny white shorts, gold boots and angel wings. As Cayden explains the situation to iKevin, I overhear iKevin respond with a long pause and, â€œAre you serious?â€Â Which is the standard response from effeminate males and teenage girls when disaster strikes anywhere in the Northwest suburbs.
Since God hates me, iKevin and his Chrysler donâ€™t have roadside assistance.Â Cayden looks at me and says, â€œKnow how to change to change a tire?â€ I reply, â€œNope. But my dad does.â€ I call my father and ask him to give me instructions on how to change a tire. Which leads to a long explanation as to why I need to change a tire as my mother in the background completely panics, assuming Iâ€™m going to precariously jack a car up three feet in the air and dive under it, only to have two tons of metal and leather seating come crashing down onto me. Iâ€™ve seen my brothers and dad change tires enough to
know what to do. So Cayden and I grin and decide to get dirty. This should be easy.
Turns out, you need upper body strength to loosen lug nuts. Iâ€™m as weak as a kitten. In high school and college, I worked out on a regular basis. Now I suffer through an occasional Bikram Yoga class, where the temperature of the room is 105 degrees. The only health aspect I can deduce from these classes is sweating out the toxins I ingest on a nightly basis. Basically, I am utterly useless.
The vanâ€™s spare tire is kept underneath the car. We spend over an hour, AN HOUR, in the rain, attempting to get that free. My dad keeps calling in the meantime, repeating instructions: â€œOkay, make sure youâ€™re on level ground, the parking brake is on, and block the opposite rear tire so the car doesnâ€™t roll over you.â€ â€œDad, we still canâ€™t get the spare tire out.â€ â€œWhat? What do you mean?â€ â€œThereâ€™s this cable thing holding it, with this plastic-metal thingy and we canâ€™t figure out to get it through the center of the tire to free the tire.â€ â€œâ€¦..â€ â€œDad? How do we do this?!?â€ â€œI. Donâ€™t. Understand.â€ â€œâ€¦â€¦â€Â â€œKatie?â€ â€œI canâ€™t explain SHIT!â€ click! â€œKatie? Mary Ann, she hung up on me!â€
Completely frustrated and covered in grease, Cayden and I stop and smoke. He tells me that weâ€™ll figure this out without our parents; weâ€™ll ask our friends for help. Jeff calls. â€œHey, Iâ€™m done with work. What time are we going to Dog Bar?â€ â€œWell, Cayden and I currently stuck in Rosemont trying to change a tire.â€ â€œShit. Really?â€ â€œYeah, we canâ€™t even get the spare tire off, itâ€™s raining, weâ€™re totally screwed, I hate Ikea, and Iâ€™m losing my mind!â€ â€œOh. So should Rachel and I go to Dog Bar and wait for you guys or what?â€ click! â€œHello? I think she hung up on me.â€
I stare at the ground, thinking that Cayden and I are going to have to permanently relocate to Rosemont, when plop! Caydenâ€™s grinning and rolling the spare tire free. I squeal like a sorority sister, clap and jump up and down. Again, completely useless. As Cayden rolls the tire to the front of the car, he proclaims, â€œWho knew! A gay and a girl change a tire!â€ I grab a cement block, block off the rear opposite tire, put the parking brake on, and turn the flat tire so itâ€™s level. Cayden grabs the jack and starts to loosen the lug nuts. And tries to loosen the lug nuts. And tries to loosen the lug nuts. Theyâ€™re not moving. I call my dad. â€œHello?â€ He sounds dejected. Heâ€™s sensitive from the hang up and is now cranky. I tell him our progress and ask how exactly to loosen the lug nuts. He tells me not to jack the car up yet, because we need to loosen the lug nuts and to do so, we may have to jump up and down on the wrench. â€œIâ€™ve had to do that.â€ I remember
childhood memories of my red-headed frustrated father jumping on wrenches. I laugh and then I stop. My dadâ€™s fairly strong. If Iâ€™m a weak kitten, Caydenâ€™s a drugged puma. This does not bode well. I hang up and put the wrench parallel on the lug nut and try to loosen as instructed. It will not budge. So I put all 5â€™7 and 140 pounds on the wrench and stand on it. Then I jump. Nothing. Useless. Cayden tries the same method. One moves.Â Yay! Then we try the next one. And we take turns trying. Itâ€™s not moving. We look at the wrench. We stripped it- and the lug nut. We look at one another and he sighs. â€œNow what?â€ I say, â€œForget it. Letâ€™s call the po-lice.â€
With lowered head, Cayden goes across the street to the local Hooters to get the non emergency number for the Rosemont police. I yell, â€œGet me some wings!â€ He doesnâ€™t laugh. I try to loosen the lug nuts. After five minutes, I give up, sit down and smoke my last cigarette. Cayden comes back. â€œI have to flag down a cop car because the idiot in Hooters gave me the wrong address! Stupid Hooters!â€ I look at his hand. â€œWhy do you have a carry-out menu?â€ He declines to answer and walks back to the front of the Jiffy Lube weâ€™re parked behind to flag down a cop car. A cop car pulls up as Cayden walks back. It suddenly occurs to me to hope that iKevin doesnâ€™t keep any drugs in his car as Cayden says, â€œThis looks totally shady that weâ€™re parked behind this Jiffy Lube.â€
The cop gets out and doesnâ€™t look happy. Cayden chatters away to him as I stand sullenly next to the car. For whatever reason, cops make me nervous; I think Iâ€™m just naturally guilty. The cop hands Cayden a jack and flashes his flashlight inside the car and the neighboring bush. Iâ€™m suddenly aware that my hands are in my pockets and slowly pull them out hoping he doesnâ€™t think Iâ€™m pulling out a weapon. I nervously crack my knuckles as sweat beads on my forehead and smile in his direction. I see him nod to his partner, whoâ€™s on the radio. Five bucks says they were calling in the license plate number. After a few minutes of watching Cayden struggle, the cop goes to his trunk and comes back with a cross bar wrench and hands it to my gay friend. This does the trick.Â The lug nuts pop off with ease. The cop finally decides weâ€™re not high on crank and talks to us while offering assistance. Cayden tells him, â€œI was telling Katie that it probably
seemed really shady we were behind this Jiffy Lube.â€ The cop laughs and says, â€œYeah, thatâ€™s what I told my partner.â€ We all share a laugh. Isnâ€™t that beautiful. My sweat is slowly evaporating. Cayden continues to struggle with the tire as the cop looks at me above his head, looks at Cayden, and smiles at me. It dawns on me he probably thinks we are a couple who just spent the day shopping for a sofa and ran into some bad luck. I almost say, â€œOh, no, sir, heâ€™s gay. The last time he saw pussy was back in high school.Â Silly homosexuals.â€ But I donâ€™t.
Finally, the tire is changed and weâ€™re on our way back to the city. We agree to meet Jeff and Rachel at Jakeâ€™s to drink, so I can change out of my greased stained clothing and not miss last call. We still have to move the couch into his apartment at 12:30 in the morning. Again, useless. I drop the sofa multiple times. I scream, â€œIâ€™m going to do whiskey shots until my liver liquefies! Fuck this day!â€
Driving to the north side, to liquify our livers, the tire makes wobbly noises. The lug nuts have come loose. So, if you were on Stockton Avenue, just south of Fullerton at one oâ€™clock in the morning, November 15, 2006, you would have seen me, soaking wet and whimpering softly, tightening lug nuts on a Chrysler minivan, throwing my entire body weight into the process making sure those motherfuckers didnâ€™t budge a goddamned millimeter. Worried, Cayden asks, â€œUm, do you need help?â€ My head lurches up to the window, â€œNo! Iâ€™m fine!â€ I throw the jack into the back, slump into the passenger seat, take Christâ€™s name in vain a few more times and we drive to Jakeâ€™s Pub, which is followed by three more hours at Yak-zees, where I put some â€œsweet tunesâ€ on the jukebox that make my friends say, â€œOh, good song. Nice, Hackmeister. Nice.â€ Finally, helpful. But, fuck, useless.
by Hannah Reich
The love of the unattainable is well documented in many pieces of art/literature/cinema/tv/website/blogosphere/tweets/facebook, everyone is well acquainted with the teacher crush, the movie star obsession or the brooding emotionally unavailable average adolescent boy. However, being of the Jew community variety that I am, I have noticed a more recent unattainable craze sweeping up the good chosen people of my community;
The religious boy crush
These “hot kippah* boys” drive the secular girls wild. Their torah** loving milkshake brings all the heathen girls to the yard. These boys, so seemingly virtuous and incorruptible are the ultimate unattainable object that every girl needs in her collection. Many a secular girl has lusted after and pursued these boys, with little to moderate success. In modern society, where secularism is the status quo, these religious fanatics are the new rebels without a cause.
Wooing religious boys demands creativity beyond the basic pick-up line. A secular Jewish friend of mine got the number of a hot religo boy by informing him that she knows a girl who makes kippot, so you know… She could hook him up with one (and in the process hook in! booyah!). So ladies, get creative, talk about his local congregation, or maybe the great sermon delivered by Rabbi Yosef, and then shake them titties and you’ll be set.
Another tip about seducing hot religious boys : don’t tell them the secret. Don’t make the mistake of admitting;
“I’ve always fantasized about corrupting a religious boy.”
Though this type of forwardness can initially tantalize them, it is never, I mean NEVER, a good idea to start even a minor dalliance by admitting this sort of awkward, kinky, thing. It sets up an awkward kinky undertone for all your future interactions. Advertising this fantasy is just not the greatest idea- we all know they want to be corrupted but they also don’t want to admit it. And it paints you as the secular slut that you possibly are. And it all seems eerily and biblically familiar … like you’re Eve offering the tempting apple of sexy times and well Adam fucked it up like a bazillion years ago
(you know in biblical times) and they will surely resist it this time. Suddenly you’re a satanic character whose main aim is to destroy their faith and seize their virginity along the way. So yes, keep it on the down-low, perhaps even encourage their wayward ways. Perhaps you should try;
“Oh man, Moses sure was da bomb. He sure did exist. And that god guy, I LOVE him. He exists too. Oh cool, you’re praying now, I totally believe in that and think it’s a really cool pastime. Oh you keep the sabbath, I would never get in the way of that, I totally respect that. NO BACON? OMG THATS CRAZY. But all right. I understand. Anyway I’m so into your beliefs and not corrupting them … amirite?”
And then slowly take your clothes off.
* = Skullcap in anglosaxon ** = ye olde testament.
by John McFarland
First off, the version that has gone around as gospel did not come from Me. As You know, I was there alone, only I know how it really began. And I’m here to talk about that, and only that.
Since You’ve got to start somewhere, I chose light. No big deal. Now it’s a joke: Let there be light! So what! Let me tell you, it wasn’t that easy. Remember, this was way before the Boy Scouts of America. Nobody knew, including Me. There I was, alone in the dark. And I mean dark like You have no idea.
So! I managed to bring in some light. It took time, and it was tricky. I tried to explain it simply to Them, but I guess even that version was too complicated to let out. Maybe They were thinking the audience wouldn’t get it. My approach has always been to give Them as much rope as They need. Go ahead, ask any of Them if that isn’t the case. See what They’ve done with it. Look at what They’ve written in just this one book.
Anyway, trust Me, it was tougher than They made it sound. And once I had light, I wanted other things. You know how it is. You get greedy, nothing’s ever enough, and then all of a sudden, there’s not enough room. Anywhere.
Hence, Space. That’s why I came up with that idea. Plus, out in Space You can hide a lot of devils. Cast-off angels, excuse me. They move around. They can try to outrun shame. I gave up on making Anybody sign leases. Damage deposits, forget it. I’m not a landlord, I’m God!
Everyone keeps trying to pin Me down about the Days. Day Two. Day Five. The details seem to mean so much to Them. Or are They trying to catch Me in some big cosmic lie? In case, you know, I only claimed to be working on a project on a certain day, but was really at the beach. Look, there was no beach. There was nothing. It was chaos. Nobody was keeping score. There were no bean counters, just the Creator.
Details really do nothing for Me. What do They think I am, a Virgo? I’ve never concerned Myself with the Day-to-Day stuff. That’s why I made physics the law. I’m busy, there are plenty of big things to worry about, I don’t have time for fine-tuning. I have to trust Others to act for Me on that score. My advice is: Be a scary Boss, and They’ll do it for You. Or else. A good threat makes a good worker. Remember, I can send Them off into Space with the roving band of devils, excuse me, cast-out angels, as Their only neighbors.
One fine point that does get My lamb: the counting in this Book is so bad. Take the life-spans, for example. Now, I know everyone lies about age, but are We supposed to believe these inflated claims? 930? Come on! I make good skin, but I don’t think so. Consider what happens to your skin between the time You’re 18 and 35. Now extrapolate and roll in the effect of the brutal sun of the Middle East. Now picture Your skin when You’re 930.
After this kind of story, why should We believe anything They tell Us? And how about all that begat, begat, begat business? Are these people bunnies? Whoa’s tending the crops while all this is going on? Credibility has always been important, and none of this is credible, at least not to Me.
They say I know everything. Well, I know a lot. I also know Lot. But then Word gets out and Peter, Paul or Mary wants to know about the future. I established a strict policy on that way, way back. I don’t discuss the future. That’s why there are Prophets.
Of course, Prophets are not perfect either. Even the best ones can disappoint You. After all, They’re only Prophets, not Saints. Take the Commandments, for starters. I distinctly remember six. So, where’d He come up with the other four? My theory is heatstroke. And now We’re saddled with all ten of them. But that’s a whole other Book.
And, on that note, this as good a place as any for Me to make My exodus.
Until next time, obey any six Commandments of Your choice! Or else: Space!
“A Nice Organic Tomato”
by Karl Koweski
“I’m glad you were able to come out and visit me at the compound,” Cuntly said, raising his wine glass in a toast.
Yoshi McPish raised his own glass in salute. “Thank you for inviting me. It’s not every day two of the world’s greatest poets can share a ten year-old Bordeaux in the same kitchen. You’d have to go back to the mid-nineteenth century to find…”
“Mmmmmm,” Cuntly cut in, swallowing the wine he’d rolled in his mouth for the last two and a half sentences. “Can you detect the hint of chocolate and wild berries?”
“Indeed I can.” Yoshi stuck his nose in and swirled the glass a bit too vehemently, getting a nostril full of Bordeaux for his trouble. He hoped Cuntly didn’t notice. He’d done a lot of ass-kissing to replace BJ as Cuntly’s number one lackey.
Cuntly did notice, however, but hid his sneer of contempt behind his hand. The poor bastard wouldn’t know the difference between a bottle of pinot noir from a bottle of Listerine without Cuntly’s guiding hand. Nonetheless, without the talented wannabes like Yoshi and BJ in his corner he wouldn’t have much of an audience at all. The small press mouth-breathers seemed to rally around their own worthless peers. Mediocrity seeking out mediocrity.
“You know what would make this evening complete?” Cuntly asked.
“Writing a poem together about the absurdity of existence in such a futile world,” was Yoshi’s guess.
“I was thinking about a tasty tomato sandwich. With locally grown organic tomatoes so fresh and juicy, simply biting into the ripe flesh will cause one to weep. On two slices of bread baked fresh with natural ingredients by my very own life partner.”
“Speaking of which, where is Cath?”
“Oh, she’s visiting with her cousin, Etienne, visiting from France. He’s showing her how to construct some all natural French cuisine for when we open up our all organic restaurant “The Pompous Ass.”
“Teaching her recipes at 9:30 at night? Hmmm.”
“That late? Hot damn! The organic food market closes at ten and my crisper is devoid of tasty locally grown tomatoes.”
“Well, we can wait…”
“Nonsense.” I have a yearning for that fruit so often mistaken for a vegetable by the base plebeians. Quickly, Yoshi. To the poet mobile.”
Cuntly made it a point to play some Thelonious Monk on the Honda’s CD player, just to show off his unassailable taste in great music. Of course, Yoshi knew Cuntly possessed impeccable taste in music because Cuntly mentioned it in every telephone conversation, every email sent, every blog posted. What Yoshi wanted to do was talk shop. In order to do this he had to shout above the glorious cacophony as Cuntly guided the subcompact down the Georgia back roads.
“The PPP is really on fire, now!” Yoshi beamed. “Almost three hundred finds in a little over a year and a half.”
“Yeah, it’s fantastic,” Cuntly grumbled.
“It’s certainly benefitted me. My newest chapbook “Bleeding Religious Iconography Marks the Pretentious Poet’s Stigmata” is coming out from The Dog-Faced Gremlin Press. How cool is that? It’s number 87 in their line. You know a press is committed to excellence when it puts out 87 chapbooks in three years.”
“Yeah.” The press was rubbish. Cuntly allowed the press to publish a small collection of his lesser works as a sign of his benevolence. Cuntly knew his graciousness allowed the dimmer lights of the PPP inner circle to use the DFG Press as a platform for their own inferior work.
“It’s too bad Walt Whitman isn’t alive,” Yoshi said. “He’d totally want to be a PPP member.”
Cuntly smiled, thin-lipped. Surely Yoshi realized by now he sat next to the modern day incarnation of Whitman. A true poet of the people, a muse-inspired chronicler of the blue collar experience, better than all the other sad sacks who wrote working man poems because Cuntly’s poems actually came from the gut whereas everyone else just wrote bullshit.
“Yep,” Yoshi continued. “Any day now, someone like Quentin Tarantino will find a PPP broadside, maybe one of your finely-crafted gem-like poems, Cuntly, and we’ll all get famous.”
Cuntly refrained from commenting. This putz was almost as delusional as BJ. But at least BJ had enough sense to drop the pen when he realized his poetry was shit. Yoshi was they type of person who would keep writing garbage with fifty word titles through to Armageddon. Did he not comprehend Cuntly was all ready famous? That his blog got three hundred hits a month!
Cuntly needed a tomato, goddammit. A ripe, juicy organically grown, locally cultivated tomato that could make a sensitive man weep just biting into it. And he wouldn’t have to wait much longer. With three minutes to spare, he pulled into the parking lot of the Fresh Market.
“They still open?” Yoshi asked, eyeballing the rent-a-cop standing outside the door.
“You kidding?” Cuntly asked stepping out of his Honda. “I’m in here so much I practically own the store.”
Cuntly skipped the ten feet to the store’s entrance, mouth all ready watering. His dick was hard just thinking about financially supporting the area’s farmers. If only they could place the PPP poetry broadsides in crates of fruits and vegetables for the health-conscious to find. How brilliant would it be – feeding the body with fresh, uncompromised food and feeding the mind with raw, unfiltered poetry. Yoshi would spontaneously masturbate with joy to hear such a provocative idea.
Before he could explain his Muse-inspired vision to Yoshi, however, the security guard stopped him at the door.
“Sorry,” he said, “the Fresh Market’s closed.”
Cuntly’s vision instantly went tomato red.
“Closed? Closed? Are you out of your mind?”
The security guard raised an eyebrow. “No. It’s ten o’clock. The Fresh Market closes at ten.”
“Don’t tell me what time this place closes! I’ve been shopping here for three years. My life partner and I spend thousands of dollars a year here. I know the stock boys on a first name basis.”
“That may be. But it’s still closed.”
Cuntly looked at the man’s name plate. Lewandowski. Another goddam Polack.
Cuntly withdrew his cell phone. The digital numbers glinted 9:58. “Look at this,” Cuntly said. “I’ve got two minutes. All I want to do is show my friend here how delectably tasty the Fresh Market’s organically grown, locally cultivated tomatoes are.”
Lewandowski nodded. “I know. You just want to go in for tomatoes. Then, before you know it, you’re picking up bean sprouts and indian corn, and it’s five after ten and all those nice folks you know on a first name basis are pissed at me for letting your dumb ass in.”
“Don’t you know who I am, you fascist prick?”
“Yeah. You’re about two seconds away from getting my big stick knocked upside your head.”
“No! Wrong! I’m Cuntly Cunani! I’ve had poems published in the New York Quarterly! I’m a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee. And I assure you, I will have my organically grown, locally cultivated tomato.”
“Not from here, you won’t. However, there’s a Wal-Mart down the street. I hear they welcome multiple Pushcart Prize nominees with open arms.”
“Fuck Wal-Mart and their rock hard Chinese tomatoes. And fuck you… you… you Nazi. There I said it. Nazi.”
“Yeah. You think that rent-a-cop badge and that Batman utility belt makes you better than the little poets running around wishing to eat something that hasn’t been contaminated with society’s poisons. But it don’t. I see a time in the not-so-distant future where, thanks to the diligence of the operatives of the Poetry Placement Program, the poets on the underbelly of this fucked-up, Orwellian society will finally be placed on pedestals and given the respect and admiration they so rightfully deserve Except the poets who publish at Zygote. They deserve nothing but scorn and derision.”
A Fresh Market employee who Cuntly recognized as Lance, bassist for the local folk band Poot n’ Toot walked up to the door. Finally, Cuntly thought, someone has heeded my call to arms against rent-a-cop tyranny. Now Yoshi will know the mind-numbing goodness that is a ripe, red, organically grown, locally cultivated tomato.
Lance locked the door, turned around, and walked away.
Five seconds later, the Fresh Market sign blinked off.
Lewandowski glanced at his watch. “Well, boys, it looks like my day is done. You two have fun fondling each other’s ding dongs.”
The rent-a-cop walked across the parking lot to his big, ugly, fuel inefficient 1979 Ford Bronco. When the engine rumbled to life, gas pumps as far away as Cleveland shook. Lewandowski tipped a wave as he roared past Cuntly’s Honda.
Cuntly knocked on the Fresh Market’s front door but was roundly ignored, even when he called out his own righteous name several times. No one could be bothered so much as to say “we’re closed.”
Back in the Honda, Yoshi said “that was awesome the way you stood up to that fascist pig. When you cursed him like that my genitals tingled.”
Cuntly hunched over the steering wheel, sneering at the Wal-Mart as they zipped by.
“I’m gonna immortalize this scene in a poem,” Yoshi said.
“Shut the fuck up, Yoshi.”
“I think I shall title it “the last poet stands upright beneath the pedantic tyranny and egregious egomania of the Fresh Market security guard for the poetic flavor of a juicy organically grown, locally cultivated, sun-kissed tomato.”
“Just shut the fuck up, Yoshi.”
Cuntly couldn’t wait to return home and blog about this latest outrage. In the golden days before the Bush white house, he would have had his tomato. Several tomatoes. Lettuce, cucumbers, olives, mushrooms. A veritable salad without fear of police intervention. He’d have his day though. And it would start tomorrow with a phone call to the Fresh Market management. He’d give them one shot at a sincere apology. Otherwise they would have to go without the patronage of one multiple Pushcart Prize nominated poet. They might as well keep the doors locked forever after that.
“I May or May Not Have Fucked a Dirty Hippie”
by Amber Powers
He smelled like potatoes. In the beginning, I didn’t notice, or thought it was patchouli, or hoped it was from composting or rock climbing and not from sleeping on an oil-stained sheet of cardboard behind the restaurant after drinking too much Everclear. Or something.
I had just moved there. I had just had my heart broken for the first time. I had just begun to wonder if intentionally barfing to stay skinnyish meant that I had bigger issues. Whatever; everyone totally hated me anyway.
The kitchen floor was slippery and everything moved fast. Washing dishes was pretty much the shittiest work I’d ever done; the tubs kept coming and I had to pick out greasy napkins and creamer cups and wads of gum, but I wanted the guys to see that I could work hard, like a man, so I touched that crap with my bare hands and hardly gagged at all. The manager saw me, even; I bet he told everyone.
Once, I took a smoke break and sat on an upturned bucket in the alley. Marching band practice echoed against the brick buildings, across the pink and blue sky, and was cut by the “WOOO!” calls from bar-hopping Tunas and Jocks. DH came out of the kitchen and asked me a stupid question about my hair or something.
I smiled and answered him, then lit his cigarette. He asked me more stupid questions, and I made him laugh. His beaded dreads were pulled back and his jaw was square and tan and I could see his bare chest and smooth clavicles through the gaping neck in his blanket-shirt. He didn’t name a single book I hadn’t heard of, and I told him I read them all. I didn’t like his music, though. I only listened to classical music and Liz Phair.
The hours in the kitchen moved fast and DH smiled and winked when I gave him new clean pans to fry with. Then I went home to my cold studio apartment with only one lamp and saw my fat ass in the mirror and I wanted to die. I played my guitar. I smoked alone on the fire escape. I watched the town lights scatter across the river as it moved and I thought of how DH looked at me.
I wore a loose tanktop with no bra to work the next day. DH would totally pop one behind his station and burn a steak, probably, if he saw my side-boob. I let a strap fall down my shoulder and looked him in the eye every time I handed him a stack of clean pans. I reached for high things when I knew he could see me. Once I caught him staring at me through the stacks of stainless-steel tubs and I knew he was starting to crush.
I took a smoke break and stood by the dumpster in the alley. The ba-da-dum/ba-da-dum of street percussionists echoed against the brick buildings, across the orange inky sky, and was cut by the clop-clop-giggles from bar-hopping pledges. DH came out of the kitchen and kissed me.
His lips were messy and his teeth scraped the skin around my mouth and his tongue was too big and too soft and there was too much spit. But he breathed hard and touched my face and I knew he thought I was pretty. You taste like booze, I told him. Or maybe your kisses just make me tipsy.
What? Oh, I get it. Huh. Yeah, we’re drinking coke and Everclear. Hope the food tastes ok. Huh-huh. He laughed, and bit my face off again, squishing my boob with his short, square hand. He did not come to work the next day.
Everything that day sucked. The manager was being a dick, we were super busy, and the cleaning crew hadn’t replaced the floormats and I slipped on the wet floor and fell on my ass and it looked like I peed myself. The night dragged and the steam stunk up my clothes and my arms itched from the nasty pan-water. The manager handed me the kitchen’s cordless as I was finally fucking clocking out. That place was so retarded.
Hey. DH had called me. At work. He called me. He called me! Are you off yet? I smiled and my voice got softer and I said that I was. Wanna come over and get off again? I knew it! He wanted me! Ha! He’d probably been jerking off all day thinking about it. He needed me.
I stopped at home and showered and washed my hair with scented water and shaved everywhere (everywhere) and put talc on my skin to make it soft and wore nice panties and a front-loader push-up bra and put on a tiny bit of makeup and grabbed a 6-pack of good beer and went to his apartment. The hallway smelled like mildew and creeped me out. I knocked on his door. Nothing. I knocked harder. I could hear the TV inside, then a groan, and the pounding of bare feet on a wood floor. The door opened and his apartment smelled like onions.
What took you so long? He asked, and my chest grew cold; I felt like a stupid … late … GIRL. I held up the 6-pack. Oh, cool. Sit down. I’m watching this thing about lions. Pretty badass.
I sat next to him on the nasty crumby couch and sucked on my beer. Two female lions were ripping the shit out of a still-breathing zebra. They backed off when the male lion came by, and watched with blood-covered snouts as he ate. Then the male mounted one of the females and began pumping her and DH laughed. Huh-huh! Fuckin’ sweet, man!
He pushed his dreads behind his ear and slapped his hand on my thigh. We sat and watched a commercial about drugs and I parted my knees. He moved his hand up my skirt and sucked on his beer and didn’t look at me. A funny commercial for a movie with a fat guy and a dumb blonde came on and he laughed and he pressed his dry, rough thumb into my panties.
I got up and swung a leg over his lap, facing him, and let him gnaw on my face. He moved down to my neck and I told him not to give me any hickies. He leaned back and took his Phish t-shirt off and I took my dress off over my head and made sure he was watching as I snapped open the front-loader and let my boobs fly out. He told me my tits ruled. His neck tasted salty. I unbuckled his belt and moved my hand past what felt like a clown wig in his pants and gripped him. Haw yeah, he whispered.
He got up, took his ripped jeans off and I watched his flat hairy ass as he left the room to get a condom. I took my panties off and put them behind the pillow on the couch so that I could purposefully “lose” them and have to go home without panties. One of his buddies would come over and find them one day and give him a high-five, for sure.
He came back with condoms and a lighter. He lit candles and turned off the TV and turned on the stereo. Do you like Dave Matthews Band? He asked. Nope, but whatever. I giggled and turned my face into the pillow and said I did. Something smelled like socks.
He scooped me up awkwardly in his arms and I giggled and shrieked and we fell onto the bed behind the couch. You’re like, the hottest girl everÂ I smiled wide and we kissed hard and fast and he breathed in my ear: You wanna do it?
He sat back on his heels and tore open the condom wrapper with his teeth and spit the bits of plastic onto the bed and held the rolled rubber up to the light and started putting it on and took it off again and inspected it and put it on again. Huh. Put it on backwards. Huh.
Twangy sparkly acoustic awfulness spilled from the stereo. Oh shit, I thought. Is this that Crash song? DH kissed my stomach softly and rolled on top of me and pushed his dreads back behind his ear and his hemp necklace hung down toward my face. You ever hear of tantric lovemaking? It’s where you harness your sexual energy to make your orgasms last, like, ten minutes. You wanna try it? I said that I’d heard of it but hadn’t tried it. Close your eyes. Imagine you’re like, in the forest or in the jungle or something. Now breathe with me.
He breathed deep through his nose and exhaled with a “shhhh” sound. I closed my eyes and inhaled. There was that smell again. We breathed together and he started moving his hips, pushing against me. Hommmmmmm! Hommmmmmm! Chant with me now. Hommmmmm! I chanted with him, and did my best to make it seem like I was into it. He pushed into me and chanted faster. Homm! Homm! Hom-hom-hom-hom-hom-homAAAHHHHHGH!!!!!
He collapsed, sweaty and breathing hard. I beamed. He was so turned on by me, he couldn’t even last with tantric sex. He would fall in love with me for sure. And he smelled so manly, so earthy. He must have loved how I smelled.
Did you come? He asked. I lied. I didn’t want him to think I was frigid. Good. Next time, I promise to last longer. It’s, like, been a while.
It’s okay if you don’t last long, I said. It’s … actually better that way.
I woke up next to him at dawn and put on my clothes and left quietly without my panties and drove home. He would wake up and miss me, for sure. He would call me and call me and I would eventually break his heart but for now I would just let him fuck me for as long as I could stand him.
Potatoes, I thought as I drifted off to sleep in my own bed. He smells like dirty potatoes.
By Michael Frissore
One of these days I’m gonna learn how to fly. And not from the roof, flapping my arms, like Uncle Roy tried to do. I’m gonna get my pilot’s license. Then I can impress women with it at bars, and throw away that sheriff’s badge I made out
of orange construction paper. That hardly ever worked. The nice ones just laughed and told me to put some pants on.
Others either Maced me, stun gunned me, or kicked me in the crotch.
But not anymore. I’m gonna be a pilot.
by M.V. Montgomery
Kurt Cobain and I were catching some studio-like reverberations in a late-night convenience store. We sat down together and came up with three verses. They were joyfully morbid with a theme of the dead returning. The last verse featured
a swamp creature. He played through it while I drummed my fingers on a cabinet. It was a real rock anthem, Kurt said it was “good enough to get him knighted.”
“the daycare robber”
by M.V. Montgomery
A passenger train slows at a small town depot. Before it comes to a complete stop, a giant man swings aboard and begins to rob the passengers, easily fending off any resistance with a single hand, throwing people off the train. What is odd is what he steals: he seems primarily interested in baby strollers and children’s things.
Puzzled, the small town sheriff and his female deputy investigate the robbery. After asking around for the giant man and getting nowhere, she thinks of going to a new daycare in the town. They look around and see no one there, no workers or
children, although the place has been in operation awhile. There are kid’s toys that have never been played with, and cheerful posters that have never been hung up.Â Suddenly the giant bursts in and approaches them, threateningly. The female deputy grabs the sheriff’s arm protectively and croons, I hope y’all don’t mind us just looking around. We are looking for a place to put our little son.
Instantly the giant seems to shrink two sizes and tries to help them, awkwardly. He scrounges around until he finds an application form and a pen, then offers them two seats in the office. The deputy sits down to write, sees a photograph on the desk of a middle-aged woman seated on the giant’s lap. Another photo with a message scrawled over itÂ Thank you for helping me get my dream off the ground.
“The Funky Collection”
by Gabe Culberg
I’m in a Beatles cover band. I’m George. My friends Paul, John, and Ringo are the other members of the band. John is Ringo, Paul is John, and Ringo is Paul. We’ve usually just played the older Beatles stuff, the softer side of things. You know, such greats as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Eight Days a Week.”
At band practice last week Ringo (Paul) brought up the idea of playing some of The Beatles crazier stuff, “the funky collection,” is how he put it. We thought about it for a while. We weren’t sure if we had the vocal capabilities or the finger dexterity or the confidence for songs like, “One after 909″ and “Come Together.” But we thought we would give it a try.
We practiced these songs, 12 new songs total. We had a gig lined up last night at Johnny’s Tap, a real slick bar in Northwest Indiana. The place was packed. We came on stage in our costumes. We decided that each one of us would represent a different time period of the Beatles and we would dress accordingly. I wore a black suit with a skinny tie with a bowl cut hairpiece. Ringo (Paul) wore an Indian sari, John (Ringo) wore one of those fringy hippy vests and bell bottom jeans, and Paul (John) wore a white shroud.
We started with “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and we totally ruined it. It was horrible. We weren’t in tune, the lyrics were wrong, the CD was skipping, and the crowd was booing. We walked off the stage as losers – total failures. That was our last show – our only show. We’re temporarily disbanding.
Things come, things go. C’est la vie. Carpe Diem. E Pluribus Unum.
Check out more from Gabe at imonlykidding.blogspot.com.
by Steven Miller
“It’s not like it’s rocket surgery,” Walker says, and I laugh at this butchering of an idiom I know so well, even though he’s misremembering it on purpose just to make me laugh. I’m letting him make me laugh. There’s a decision, this letting, that supersedes the scientific, because while neurologists know that serotonin and norepinephrine should make you happy,
they don’t know why. Nor do they know why I’m laughing at this joke I’ve heard a thousand times before even after a shitty, shitty day like today.
“University of Arkensas Bachelor of Literalism — Elective Course Options”
by Becky Cardwell
HIST304-An Introduction To Jack Shit
Credits: 5- Humanities
Jack Shit is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest statesmen. His impact in the late twentieth century was profound, yet his name still generates controversy and even a certain level of antagonism. The aim of this course is to study Shit’s life in detail, assessing both his failures and successes, and to gain some insight into the personality of this fascinating historical figure.
PSYCH114- Scratching Your Arse Or Winding Your Watch – Making The Decision That’s Right For You
Credits: 3 – Psychology
While recognizing the need to make decisions, few possess the skill set required in order to ensure that both a non-biased and well informed one is made. This course will provide students with a portfolio of effective tools to assist them in reaching fair and impartial decisions, as well as enable them to trust their judgement after their choice has been made.
*The mathematical skills required in this course are at a very basic level.
CHEM112- Shit Or Shinola: Which is It?
Credits: 3- Science
Prerequisite: Background in Organic Chemistry strongly recommended
In this course, students will learn the distinctions between human and animal fecal matter, and a specific brand of wax shoe polish, popular in the early-to-mid 1900’s.
INVST103-Finding The Right Pot To Piss In
Credits: 5- Business
In providing a comprehensive grounding in the strategic aspects of investing. This module gives you the tools to determine “borrow, buy, or make decisions” and to conduct effective price and cost analysis. Some knowledge of Microsoft Excel is helpful.
GEOG101- Discerning Your Ass From A Hole In The Ground
Credits: 3 – Science
Class Format: 50% Lecture, 50% Field Work
An introductory course for those who have difficulty recognizing their posterior from a crater in the earth. Through a combination of field, lab, and lecture, this course this course will provide students with the resources necessary to successfully identify the difference between the two entities.
*Please keep in mind this course is not equivalent to GEOG1405- Sticking It Where The Sun Don’t Shine
Credits 3- Science
*Required Course Materials-Domesticated Feline
This course is designed to provide participants with the practical knowledge and acquire hands-on skills necessary to successfully remove the hide from a household pet. Topics include; ancient vs. modern-day practices, standard access route for scapular incisions, curing methods, among others .
In addition, the course will touch on the most current “best practices” of taxidermy, as well as feline post-skinning care.
“2010 Other Census”
by John Mark Calahan
How many people reside in your household?
How many people do you wish really did not reside in your household?
Who would you say is the person most responsible for contributing to society in your
How many dependants do you have?
How many dependants do you have that are able bodied but are apathetic, have very little
drive and feel that the shelter and food that you supply, will go on forever?
How many hours of television do you watch?
How much of what you watched do you feel that you retained a day later? A week later?
A month later?
Is everything you watched a year ago almost brand new to you?
Do the things on television have an impact on your consummation of non-essential items of your expendable income?
Do you find that you have blurred what is essential and non-essential and you have
DVDs for every work out program, weight losing methods, money making from home without investing a single cent schemes?
Are you more likely to eat Burger King due to the hip and humorous purveyor of processed food filled with fat and hormones?
Do you find that your female offspring are developing at the age of seven due to hormones injected into every former living thing that is possible to ingest?
Do you smoke?
Do you smoke only at bars, only when you drink, only when your other friends smoke?
Do you smoke cigars?
Do you believe that smoking cigars is a reasonable substitution for the desire to have a penis in your mouth?
If male, have you ever had a penis in your mouth?
If female, do you really want a penis in your mouth?
How often would you say you exercise?
How often would you say you go to a gym and spend the lion’s share of your time talking to that lonely person you befriended and since you only had thirty minutes scheduled to workout, you actually only average twelve minutes at best?
Do you wash your hands after urination or defecation?
Do you wipe until you no longer see anything on the paper?
How many wipes would that be usually?
How often do you have a bowel movement?
Do you notice corn or nuts the next day?
What race would you say you are?
Are you white and feel whiter than other whites because you come from Northern European stock such as Norway, Sweden, Holland, Germany, that one region of France that is really close to Germany, England, Wales, Scotland and the Shetlands, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania?
If you’re white but are Slavic, Italian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Spanish,
Portuguese, Greek and find that you tan without burning, have a lot of conventional sex without much thought to it, do you feel less white than the northern Europeans?
If Spanish or Portuguese from Portugal, do you feel you are white, Latin or Hispanic?
Do you feel the conquistadors really fucked things up by going to the new world and mixing with slaves and natives and then teaching them Spanish or Portuguese only to hear that they are Latino or Hispanic?
If from Spain, is the lisp necessary any longer?
Are you African-American?
Are you black?
Have you ever been to Africa or are you ever planning on going there?
Have you ever gone into a hair salon owned by Africans and had to endure phone calls and chit-chat with other Africans who were braiding your hair who seemed to be speaking English but you did not understand a word they said? Did it suddenly occur to you that you really were not like them after all?
Did it take longer than ten hours to get this done?
If you are the product of a white parent and a black parent, do you feel you are white or black or European/Caucasian or African/black?
What do you think the president really considers himself?
What do you think his live in mother-in-law thinks he is?
If you black and mixed with Aleuts, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians from the former regions known as the orient of Orientals or Asians from India, Pakistan, please just choose black … It’s just less complicated in the long run and Asian parents really get nervous about their children mixing with any race or ethnicity other than their own. Thank you inadvance for that.
Do you have a venereal disease?
What are the chances you believe that you could really contract a venereal disease?
Would you drink out of a stranger’s cup or eat off their plate?
Refer back to the question before the last one?
How often are you having sex?
How often is this alone?
How often with another person?
How often is it pleasurable?
How often is it just a mission of mercy and you’d rather be watching television?
If asked by the government, would you relocate to New Jersey?
What religion are you?
Are you really religious or just go because you feel that your kids need to fear something other than you and the police so that they don’t fuck things up later when you’re too old to stop them?
Did you know that the Protestant church in the United States continues to splinter and grow like the embryos that they are trying so hard to save?
How much porn are you viewing on a regular basis?
If you are protestant, it is okay to deny. If you are Roman Catholic, it is okay to lie about viewing young boys and this applies to men and women.
Do you believe that religion is the opiate of the masses?
Do you believe that equality is still possible and that you can designate a few people to regulate the equality among all?
Would you be willing to relocate to North Korea or Cuba?
Do you believe that 72 virgins would actually find you attractive in the afterlife?
Do you believe they could opt out because you did not read the fine print before you decided to forfeit your life to destroy great evil?
Do you find that you have an interest in flying airplanes but really don’t care to learn how to land them?
Do you believe it is possible for there to be any sort of great evil in Greenland or those
Canadian areas named after dead Englishmen that wouldn’t have bothered to have even visited Canada in the first place?
Do you believe it is possible for flying saucers to visit anywhere else except in Arizona and New Mexico?
Speaking of Arizona … Do you feel that it is possible for the United States to actually carry on without illegal aliens in the work force?
Yeah? Who will cook, clean tables, dishes, mow lawns, watch children, clean houses, pick up that old water heater that you wanted to throw away and the city told you that you had to pay to have it dumped?
If you answered whites of northern European descent or those other ones that tan, drink wine and are not hung up on sex, do you still believe in Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy or claims of Oral Roberts, Jim Jones or David Koresh?
Do you feel we should just give Arizona back to Mexico and let them sort that shit out?
Would you consider yourself part of the one percent of the nation that is insulated from all economic disasters?
Are you part of that next class that thinks they are part of that one percent and then they see what Oprah makes per year and secretly conclude that you have contributed to the making of a monster?
Are you part of the lower class but could never bring yourself to say that and so you go along with working class?
Are you unemployed and really don’t care to find a job because someone, somewhere is going to figure this out for you?
Do you believe that you are more affluent today than you were ten years ago?
Do you believe that there is less disparity among men and women, races, ethnic groups than in the past?
Do you believe that drugs may have brought us all a little closer than we might have been without them?
Thank you for your time. Your answers will help to make the future a brighter and more efficient place to live.
Nashville Flood Victim Uses Dogs as Flotation Devices
by Patricia Mitchell
In the violent May floods, many Nashville residents had to make difficult, split-second decisions to survive. Jason Whittier, 26, did just that when he fashioned a raft out of some twine, a golden retriever, and two Yorkshire terriers. The success of the raft depended largely on the compliance of the dogs. The golden retriever, according to Whittier, proved the easiest to coax into formation, but “the yappy little [terriers] did what you’d expect of [terriers],” he said. “They kept running off, and I couldn’t get a hold of them.” Asked to describe the pain of choosing between his life and that of his dogs, Jason Whittier said, “They weren’t my dogs.”
El Presidente Calderon Build Up That Wall!
by Paul Lander
Today Mexico announced it was going to build a wall to keep Americans out of its country. Mexican officials said the wall would be built before Spring Break, stating, “Those damn American college kids, they drink all our tequila, destroy our hotel rooms and puke all over our beaches.” In support of the wall, NADA (or “œNo American Delinquents Anymore”) cited a report that stated after a filming of “Gringas Gone Wild: Cabo San Lucas,” Mexican men were twice as likely to leave their girlfriends, not frequent church and try to sneak into the U.S. “Damn Gringas showing their breasts! Enough is enough!” said one angry NADA official. American officials said they’d have nothing to say until they finished reviewing tapes of “Gringas Gone Wild: Cabo San Lucas,” “Gringas Gone Wild: Acapulco,” and “Gringas Gone Wild: Tijuana.”
Scientists Agree Al Gore A Cause Of Global Warming
by Paul Lander
A major study on Global Warming sponsored by Coppertone has come to a startling conclusion. Although most scientists concur that Global Warming is occurring, all agree it has gotten worse since Al Gore began speaking about it. Professor Olaf Samuelson of the Oslo Institute reports in his study “Hot Air and Al Gore Go Hand and Hand” that each time Nobel Laureate Gore speaks, writes a book or releases a documentary Global Warming increases. In fact, when the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” was released in theatres, cities all over the globe reported their highest temperatures on record. According to Dr. Samuelson, the former V.P might be responsible for 120,000 severe case of Sun Stroke, 340,000 cases of overcrowding at beaches, over 1,000,000,000 BTU’s of Air Conditioning used, and the rise in stock prices for Baskin Robbins. The former Vice President was unavailable for comment.
Paul Lander is a partner in the website iJoke.com.
“Something About Sustainability”
by Kelly Anneken, managing editor
So I says to Isa, I says, “Look here, fucknut. I’m leaving the Bay Area, possibly forever, and I don’t care who knows it! Fuck you and fuck the online absurdist literary journal you rode in on!”
So Isa says to me, she says, “You damn well better have 600 words on sustainability before you skip town or I’m going to trade one of your kidneys for the freedom of a humanely trafficked Ukranian prostitute.”
Now. I’ll put up with a lot of horseshit in order to shirk my responsibilities, but those Ukranian pimps put a lot of time, effort and chloroform into securing their ownership of those sex slaves and I will not allow my kidney to have any part in negating their contribution to the international black market. So I’m going to chug this bottle of Tanqueray I bought with Isa’s debit card after I stole it and spin a yarn all about sustainability.
Don’t be expecting a whole bunch of facts, though, because right at the top, the Wikipedia entry on sustainability tells me “This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably,” and I’m very uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. Despite the article’s longness and my increasing drunkenness, I’ve managed to surmise the following. “There is abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably, and returning human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits will require a major collective effort.”
Stop the electronic presses. Effort? Good, old-fashioned elbow-greasing effort? Not on my watch. Apart from the impending loss of a vital part of both my endocrine and urinary systems, the only reason I’m writing this is because I can do it one handed, lying on my couch, swilling at will from a 750 mL bottle of imported gin. And you know what? If I dropped the bottle right now, I wouldn’t even clean it up,I wouldn’t even slurp it up off the floor with my mouth because it would require me to get up off my couch.
Unfortunately, it looks like achieving a sustainable human presence on Earth is going to require a lot of couch getting-up-off-of. We have to go back to old-fashioned, medieval-type farming. We have to practice sustainable architecture, which will undoubtedly lead to some dickheads bringing up Ayn Rand for no reason. There’s something called “permaculture,” which sounds absolutely terrifying for a commitmentphobe like yours truly. Where are we, as a culture, as a nation, as a planet, going to find the energy to perform all of the hoeing and architecting and permanenting we’ll need to do to change the world?
My vote is copious amounts of Adderall and cocaine. I’ve never done them simultaneously, but one time I sneaked one of my baby brother’s Adderalls and presto! I cleaned my room, did my homework and ground my teeth for six hours, hella fast! The time just flew by!
Imagine how much we could all accomplish under the influence of speed! It’s no wonder Obama hasn’t gotten anything done. He’s probably just trying to drink and smoke his way through this presidency like every other world leader in recorded history. I voted for change, so why can’t he just change from Marlboros to meth? Michelle won’t complain; her husband will finally have the energy to run the free world and still fuck like the stallion he is every night. In addition, meth makes people super violent and emotionally volatile. Obama’s going to need that if he wants to make any of this sustainability shit actually happen, because he is probably going to have to gun down a bunch of Republicans to even get to a cloture vote, which is something that Isa tells me I would know about if I went to a fancy college in our nation’s capital like she did. (Good thing I stole her wallet — that should help keep that uppity, Parliamentary-procedure-spouting bitch in line.) But the point is, it’ll take effort — just like me, those fuckers won’t get up off their couch for no reason.
As always, the answer is drugs. Just ask a Ukranian pimp.
WTF? You’re gonna give this twat his own weekly column? Who the hell is Jason Henry McCormick? I thought only serial killers used three names. You might want to keep your eye on that bitch, knowwhatimean? (familywatchdog.us) He is mildly amusing; I see why you might want him.
But who you need is Jennifer Hanna, with credits all over the internet, most of them worth the two minutes of your life you might otherwise never get back. Jennifer Hanna knows how to deliver the addiction-free lolz. You can probably trust Jennifer Hanna not to embarrass herself or your journal since she got that out of her system years ago, and anyway, had a different name back then.
Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll hook you up.
Person Who Knows Jennifer Hanna
Dear Person Who Is Totally Not Jennifer Hanna,
You can join the Hobo Jungle party, too; we know that you blog with the best of ‘em. How about some horoscopes? The people love their pseudoscience, we hear.
The Hobo Pancakes Team
To whom it may concern:
I am an anthropology PhD student, working on a dissertation that examines the lives of homeless breakfast and brunch foods. The focus of my research is on the so-called “boxcar flapjacks” of America: those bands of pancakes which travel from town to town by freight train, bartering odd jobs for maple syrup. I came across your website over the course of my research, and was delighted see that others are chronicling the tales of these vagrant but noble griddlemen. I am enclosing a photo with this message, which I took during my field research outside of Poughkeepsie, NY. The subject of the photo, who called himself “Boxcar Jack,” was hopping a train to New York City in the hopes of finding work as a Denny’s menu model. It’s truly inspiring to see a pancake travel so far, and fight so hard, for such a dream. I hope that it brings you inspiration for your work, and that you share it with others.
Excellent work, sir! We thought the noble study of “boxcar flapjacks” had been relegated to the dust heap of academia, like phrenology and women’s studies before it. Please keep us updated on developments in your research- we’ll be on the lookout for Boxcar Jack the next time we order a Grand Slam.
The Hobo Pancakes Team
Submit to this:
No pay- no play;
So, hey- go away!
DrGKovacsFL@[domain name redacted]
Unfortunately, your colorful epigram did not make the cut for this issue’s “Iambic Ixplosion.” We do hope that you will keep submitting–perhaps as you troll craigslist, looking for posts to flag, you will strike upon a more interesting conceit than the fact that we lack the resources to compensate our Hobo contributors. Good luck selling that scabies-infested mattress!
The Hobo Pancakes Team
To the Editor:
I can write coherent sentences and be humorous but can’t do both concurrently.
And I can’t sustain the humor, so sustainability is out the window.
Good luck with your magazine!
We are heartily sorry for your defect. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy humourousness schedule to coherently explain why you have never submitted anything to Hobo Pancakes. We won’t lie, we were kind of worried.
Thanks, also, for the good wishes. As Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So we’re probably screwed.
The Hobo Pancakes Team
I AM MR MIKE NASRI THE CHIEF AUDITOR IN CHARGE OF FOREIGN REMITTANCE UNIT OF CENTRAL BANK AND I HAVE HAD THE INTENT TO CONTACT YOU OVER THIS FINANCIAL TRANSACTION WORTH THE SUM ($4.2Million USD) FOR OUR SUCCESS.
THIS IS AN ABANDONED SUM THAT BELONGS TO ONE OF OUR BANK FOREIGN CUSTOMERS WHO DIED WITH HEART RELATED DISEASE ALONG AGO.
YOU HAVE THE ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY TO CLAIM THE FUND HENCE YOU ARE A FOREIGNER AS SOON AS YOU REPLY, STEP TO FOLLOW IN ORDER TO FINALIZE THIS TRANSACTION IMMEDIATELY WOULD BE DECLARED TO YOU.
I EXPECT YOU’RE URGENT COMMUNICATION.
MR. MIKE NASRI
Yes, we are urgent communication! You expect correct. We guess the only way to get your attention is to strike down one of your bank foreign customers with heart related disease and wait for you to notice.
Seriously, though, that 4.2 million USD would come in really handy right about now “we could pay our Hobo contributors and get that scabies-infested mattress we’ve been dreaming about. We anxiously await your reply for the step to follow to finalize the transaction. There’s only one, right? We’re really, really lazy.
The Hobo Pancakes Team