Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Useful Techniques"

When did I know I was a ladies man? I think I was seven, maybe eight. I rode my bicycle up and down my street with a baseball card lodged in the spokes that made me sound like a real tough guy. The first time I rode past the Malley house, Mrs. Malley, Jim’s mom, called me inside and I railed her for twelve hours. That was the turning point.

Since then I’ve developed some techniques, some infallible ways I can get women to sleep with me, and I have decided to share them with you.

Method One: Tell your woman that you own a stable of mules in Peru. This, of course, is a lie. Then tell her that you have a sack of thirteen oranges in the trunk of your car. This is not a lie. Show her your oranges. The combination of these statements will cause the woman to sleep with you.

Method Two: Perform incredible acrobatic stunts for her at a fancy eatery. Book a reservation at her favorite place months in advance. Use the time between now and then to take up an internship at a local circus and learn several aerial maneuvers. Between the second and third courses of your meal, stand up from the table and announce to the restaurant, “Attention, everyone. I am about to blow my lady’s mind. And in return, hopefully she will blow me.” This last statement may seem a bit forward, perhaps in poor taste. But being a ladies man is about taking risks and occasionally offending an entire restaurant or even losing your job. Once you have announced your stunt, take a step back from the table and do a thrilling backflip or three-hundred and sixty degree spin. Upon landing, stare your lady dead in the eyes and whisper, “I am an astounding acrobat.” She will immediately bed you.

Method Three: Learn to speak with animals. This technique may take months, if not years, of training. But it will be worth it, for you will be rewarded with a glorious round of high-octane intercourse. I learned this skill by living in the Cambodian jungle for six years. A mountain man literally took me under his wing and taught me all there is to know about jungle life. How to murder trout, how to convert your own blood into gasoline, and how to speak with animals. Once you learn animal talk, make your way into your lady’s house. Approach her pet (it does not matter if it is a bird or a dog or a fish. All animals are eager to chat) and strike up a conversation in its native tongue. Ask it how its family is doing, what its favorite food is. When the lady says, “Why are you tweeting at my parakeet?” say, “Your parakeet just wanted you to know that it enjoys peaches.” The woman will then unquestionably nail you.

These are just a few of my pointers. If you would like more, ask any of the women in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, or Connecticut. I have laid them all.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"The Postman Rings Several More Times"

One

I blew into town on a Thursday. Thursday? Or Wednesday? I don’t know. You lose track of the days when you float around the country like I do. I hopped off the jogger I had been riding for the last eight or nine miles.

“Thanks for the lift.”

“My back hurts so bad.”

Just up the road was a big diner, the only building I could see. Looked like I could get a decent meal in there. I walked inside and the place was empty. Dead as the man I killed in Poughkeepsie. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t be saying that. Well, I am a drifter. Who’s gonna find me? So yeah, the place was as dead as the train conductor I murdered.

“Hello? Anyone in here?”

“One sec, darling.”

When she stepped out of the kitchen I passed out for a minute. This woman was gorgeous. As pretty as that woman I met in Pittsburg, the one who slept with me after I told her I was a famous European basketball star.

“Wake up, sweet thing. Come on, wake up.”

“Oh. Thank you. I don’t know what came over me.”

“Don’t you worry. Men like you do that all the time in here. So what can I get you?”

“Whatever’s the house special would be great. I’m sure you’re a hell of a cook.”

“You’re too kind. One deep fried horse heart, coming up.”

“Actually, I’ll just have a coffee.”

She went to pour a cup.

“You work here alone?”

“Today, yes. My husband is in town working up some contracts.”

“Oh.”

“Oh?”

“You’re married.”

“Well, technically, yes, but I’ve wanted to murder him for two years now. I just don’t love him. He’s old and dirty and he talks during movies.”

“What do you say me and you kill him? Right when he gets back. We’ll off him and ditch this town. Just me and you. What did you say your name was?”

“Cora.”

“Just me and you, Cora. We’ll see the sights, roam this country like the vagabonds we are.”

“Yes!”

“We’ll have great times. We’ll laugh it up at the Grand Canyon!”

“Yes!”

“We’ll smooch at Mount Rushmore!”

“Yes!”

“We’ll fly through the skies propelled by a trash bag full of bees!”

“What?”

“We’ll dance at Niagara Falls!”

“Wait, did you say something about a trash bag full of bees? Flying with bees? I don’t understand.”

“I love you, Cora.”

“I love you, too.”

“Now let’s kill that husband of yours.”

“Oh yes!”

“Where do you keep the bagels around here?”

“What do you need bagels for?”

“Why, to kill your husband, of course.”

Two

He came back about six that night. He was old, maybe sixty. At least as old as the barber I tricked into giving me a free haircut in Cincinnati. And he was dirty. Dirty like the underside of a car, like the one I stole from President Hoover. He had some Eastern European accent.

“Guess whozhe back?”

“Hi, Gustav.”

“My zhweet Cora. Come! Here! I have new partnership with big farm. We get our eggs very cheap now!”

“That’s great, Gustav.”

I was hiding in a booth. I don’t think he could see me. I was holding a bag of six bagels. They were pretty firm, the kind of bagels you could really use to kill a guy. Gustav turned his back for a second and I leapt from the booth.

“Oh, look at zhis! A customer!”

Before he could protect his face, I smacked him with the bagels. Whap! Right in the nose. It wasn’t as effective as I had hoped. He stared at me.

“Why? Why are you hitting me with bagels?”

I didn’t really have an answer. What was I going to say, ‘To kill you’? I couldn’t do that. So I kept hitting him. A few more in the face, some in the ribs, one or two in the kneecaps. “Thwap, thwap, thwap,” the bagels said. I realized then that maybe a gun or a crowbar or a pipe would have worked better. But I kept at it. I followed him around all day, hitting him while he restocked the kitchen.

“Could you pleazhe shtop that? I am trying to get work done and here you are with the bagels and you hit me! Always hitting me!”

Right. He was pretty much correct there. I had been at it for a couple of hours. So I hit him some more and some more and some more and some more, until two of the bagels were reduced to crumbs. Finally, around midnight, Gustav choked on a piece of steak and died. Was I jealous? A little. That piece of meat had been more effective in three seconds than me and my bag of bagels had been in six hours.

Three

“Cora, get in here. I did it.”

“He’s dead? You killed him?”

“Um, yeah, I totally killed him.”

“He doesn’t look real dead.”

“No, trust me. He’s out like a light.”

“Vhwy am I on zhe floor?”

“See? He’s alive.”

I broke a plate over his forehead.

“Ouch! Whoze gonna pay for zhat plate?”

I broke two Coke glasses on his chest.

“Zhose glasses aren’t free!”

He was right. This murder was getting pretty expensive. And there was a lot of glass to sweep up.

“Christ, Gustav. You’re making this hard on me.”

I picked up the Tommy Gun Gustav kept behind the counter and shot him a hundred and eighty-eight times.

“Zhose are my bullets!”

This whole prefect crime thing was starting to seem tougher than I thought.

“What’s it gonna take for you to die, Gustav?”

Always the businessman, he said, “For five hundred dollars, I die for you.”

Cora and I emptied our pockets. Just barely five hundred.

“You make a great offer I can not refuzhe!”

Gustav died there. I wish I had bargained him lower. I wonder how he spent the money.

Four

We had to clean up the body. It stunk up the place. It smelled like the Hooverville I incinerated.

“What are we gonna do?”

“We have a few options, Cora. We could dig up a big hole and bury him.”

“That’s no fun.”

“We could drive out to the harbor and dump him.”

“That’s not very creative.”

“Or we could turn his carcass into a go-kart and ride him away.”

“That’s it!”

So we emptied the register and bought some parts from the auto shop and got to work. We replaced his heart with an engine, his legs and arms with tires, and his intestines with the transmission. Looking back, it was gory, disgusting, and insane. I don’t know why we did it. It’s the kind of stuff psychotic killers do. But I am glad we did it, because once we got him started up, Gustav got sixty miles to the gallon.

We strapped on our riding goggles.

“Ready to go, Cora?”

“Where are we headed?”

“Wherever the road takes us, darling. New York, Chicago, Dallas, Cuba.”

“Cuba is an island.”

“What?”

“You said Cuba.”

“Wherever the road takes us, darling! Just you and me.”

“Just you and me.”

“Don’t forzhet me!”

“Jesus Christ, Gustav.”

Five

I’ve been holding Gustav’s head underwater for the past eleven hours while I’ve been writing this story.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"The New Big Thing"

“Hey, I think that’s him over there.”

“What, that guy? That can’t be him.”

“Look, come on. Hey, are you—“

“Yeah, yeah. I am. Keep quiet, okay? You trying to get us arrested?”

“Oh, no, my bad. I’m new at this whole thing, I just—“

“What do you want?”

“Oh, yeah, right, right. I just want a little weed.”

“Weed?”

“Yeah. Do you have any?”

“Oh, I got some weed. I got a lot of it.”

“Okay, cool. I’ll take some weed. And do you have any, uh…”

“Any what?”

“Do you have any ecstasy?”

“Yeah, yeah. I got some ecstasy. But that stuff’s no good, man. It’s no good.”

“No good?”

“Trust me.”

“Should I get something else?”

“Yeah yeah yeah. Come here man, real close. Is anybody watching?”

“Um…No, no one’s around.”

“Okay, good. Get your friend over here.”

“Hey, Rick. Get over here.”

“Okay, boys. I’m about to show you guys something crazy. It’s insane this stuff, completely off the hook. The hottest new thing on the scene. Everyone’s dying to get some. Are you ready for it?”

“Yeah.”

“Bam! Check em out they’re called strawberries.”

“What?”

“Strawberries. Look at these sweet things. Red as roses and juicier than Biggie. These things, man, these things will blow your mind.”

“You’re talking about strawberries?”

“Have you heard of em? They’re South American. Imports. Pure stuff here. Twelve bucks a pound.”

“Twelve bucks? Strawberries aren’t even illegal. I can get them at the grocery store.”

“Say what? These babies are top of the line, man. Primo stuff. Look, and I’m only doing this cause I like the looks of you two, ten bucks a pound.”

“Ten bucks? They’re like three dollars a pound at the store.”

“What kind of insane discounts are you getting at the store, man? Trust me, this is a steal. These berries, man. Mmm mm.”

“Are they really that good?”

“Try one.”

“Oh man, these are really good. Alright I’ll buy a pound. I’ll take the weed, too-“

“Stop it right there. Lieutenant James Thompson, Hamilton County Police Department. You two are under arrest for the attempted purchase of strawberries.”

“What?”

“Save if for the judge, dirtbags.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"College Essay"

This was my first draft of a college essay. I decided not to turn it for fairly obvious reasons.

If you were to delay going to college by one year, what would you do with that time? And, what would you hope to gain from that experience?

If I were to delay going to college by one year, I would get to work immediately on setting a list of goals for the next 365 days. “A day wasted is a day wasted,” my one-legged neighbor used to say, and he was a millionaire so I take everything he says as fact. So I would sit down with a pad of paper, a number 2 pencil, and a box of Nilla Wafers and start to think. What do I want to do with my year? I remember a time not long ago when “Play Pokemon” would be a satisfactory answer to that question, but now I’m an adult and if I said that people in the community would probably look down on me and not permit me to see R-rated films.

Here’s the real goal I would sketch up: I will stand on a level surface, 200 meters above sea level, and leap to the moon. To do this will not be easy. I will have to hire a Soviet coach to train me. Not just a Russian coach, but a true Soviet, an obese man with a mustache who honestly believes in the merits of Communism. His name will be Vlad. I will endure excruciating pain during our training sessions. Such pain that women across the world will say they would rather give birth to fifteen sets of twins at once than endure the hardships my muscles had to endure. I will do squats with heavy objects on my back. First I will use barbells and weights. Then I will use cars. Then I will use trains and roads and planes, advancing my way up through an infrastructure until I am finally squatting with an entire civilization resting delicately on my back.

After two months of preparation my legs will resemble Roman columns and I will be ready. I will alert the news media (both wings), and set the date. I will do it on a Wednesday because that is the day of the week new DVDs are released on the moon. The night before I will feast on Oreos and geese. When a crowd of at least one million has gathered, I will await Vlad’s signal. The moment he shouts, in his accent that is as thick as my thighs will be, “Do it now, you moron, before these people leave!” I will jump. With the concentration of a thousand Buddhists I will focus on the jump until I have gathered enough force. Then, in a sonic blast, I will leap to the moon.

My jump will be majestic. The entire world will watch in awe. It will momentarily unite Shiites and Sunnis, the Chinese government and Tibetans, and David Letterman and Jay Leno. The most difficult part of the jump will be holding my breath from the time I leave Earth’s atmosphere until I return to it, but last summer I held my breath at the pool for almost a minute, so I should be okay. When I am on the moon I will do three things: a handstand, a summersault, and a crossword puzzle from the USA Today. An alien may ask me what I’m doing and I will tell him, “It’s a crossword puzzle. We have them on Earth.”

Upon reentering the Earth’s atmosphere I will spend fifteen minutes allowing my ears to readjust to hearing things, because in space I stubbed my toe on a moon rock and I tried to yell, but those rumors about there being no sound in space are true. Once my ears are good to go, I will embark on an around-the-world publicity tour. I will befriend scholars, scientists, writers, and bounty hunters. With them, I will sit in a dark and stuffy Irish pub to discuss my projects for the next eight months.

First, I will plan to volunteer so hard that the definition of volunteer will be changed to “To behave like Matt Burns.” I will then spend months answering life’s most difficult questions: If a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? What is the meaning of life? Who shot J.R.? I will devote at least two months to the most important debate of our time: Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? With revolutionary research techniques and instruments such as beakers, centrifuges, and guitars, I will find that the tomato is neither; in fact it is a meat.

My discovery will be influential and controversial; it will spawn new debates and cause entire species of dissatisfied birds to leave the continent forever. In the wake of my breakthrough, I will have an intellectual dinner with a colleague of mine named Doctor McGinty.

I will ask him a series of hard-hitting questions, including, “If you were to delay your next clinical study by one year, what would you do?”

Doctor McGinty will finish his mozzarella stick and respond, “What’s the point of that question? Can’t I just make up anything? It’s not like it matters what I say because your situation is completely hypothetical.”

I will look at Doctor McGinty and say, “Oh, now na├»ve you are, Doctor. If you will excuse me, I have to be going now. I begin college in a month and still have to work at a soup kitchen, hit 75 home runs in a season, and eat one hundred pounds of lettuce.”

Monday, October 13, 2008

"A Down-Under Break-Up"

Dear Sir Hops-a-Lot,

It pains me to say this, but I think our relationship should come to an end. We’re just too different. I like the White Sox; you like the Cubs. I enjoy Megadeth; you prefer Metallica. I am a human; you are a six foot-tall Australian Red Kangaroo. Please don’t take this the wrong way. It’s nothing you did. You were great, you really were. All the hopping and bouncing was a joy to watch. You are a very speedy kangaroo. And thank you so much for allowing me to store my makeup and hair accessories in your pouch. That was a real life-saver at the pool. We had some real fun together, like when you took me to Australia to graze on your favorite patch of grass, or when you invented that international dance craze, the Ranga-Koo. The main reason I wish to end what we had is your hobby. I do not like it when you go out late at night to the bowling alley parking lot to beat up Costa Rican midgets for money.

Sincerely,

Linda

Dear Linda,

I do not care. I do not care. I am a kangaroo. I am a large kangaroo. You are a human. I could beat you up. I could beat you up real easy. But I won’t do that. I will not do that. Because Sir Hops-a-Lot is a gentleman. I do not beat up women. I do not beat women. Unless they are also Costa Rican midgets. But other than that I do not beat women. I’m glad you liked my dance craze. I achieved international fame and fortune. Last November I slept with your sister. What? I didn’t say nothing.

Keep hoppin’,

Sir Hops-a-Lot

P.S. I am a male kangaroo so I do not have a pouch. You put your makeup and hair accessories into my butt crack. At the time I found that disgusting. Now it is very humorous to me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"The Baron of Torture"

"Baron, may I have a word?"

"Oh, yes, please come in, Duke. I can always spare a moment for the King's top adviser. What would you like to discuss?"

"I am afraid you are not going to like what I'm about to say."

"Oh, please. I have heard it all."

"Your performance lately has, well, left a little to be desired. The King is not pleased."

"Not pleased? But I have been doing my job! I have been here day in and day out, fulfilling my royal duties as the Baron of Torture!"

"There is no question of the frequency of your work. It is the quality which must be examined."

"The quality? What on earth is the problem? Just last week I tortured six of the King's enemies! Six!"

"And how successful was the torture?"

"It went well. I was satisfied with my performance."

"Your methods, sire. Your methods concern the King."

"My methods? While unorthodox, my methods are a time-tested trademark of my tenacity for torture!"

"How did you torture your last subject? Did you strap him to the royal stretching device as requested by the King?"

"No. I prepared a feast for him."

“What sort of a feast?”

“It included pies and fruit. The meal was centered on a turkey.”

“Was it poisoned?”

“No, it was broiled.”

"Was he tortured?"

"The turkey? I suppose, but that depends on your views of animal cruelty and-- Oh, you mean the subject? Of course. Actually, now that I remember, he seemed to rather enjoy it. He licked his lips and even said thank you."

"And your next victim? How did you do him in?"

"Oh yes, his torture was a treat. I took him down deep below the castle, where the air seems locked in a permanent winter. I locked him up in a cell, the dirtiest, dingiest cell we've got."

"Excellent."

"Then, right when he wasn't expecting it, I threw money at him! Lots and lots of money! I hurled coins at him until I was all spent, then I ran upstairs, withdrew two handfuls from the royal depository, and returned to throw more money at him! I said, 'Take this, you miscreant! Take all of this valuable coinage! Keep it all! It's all yours!'"

"His reaction?"

"Confusion, mostly."

"And then?"

"Sheer joy, it seemed."

"Right."

"Well, look. Do not be so quick to discard my methods, Duke. I performed a torture just two days ago on the Count of Noyon that was absolutely devilish. My mind is delighted just entertaining the memory! Would you like to hear the tale?"

"Please."

"In the dead of night I mounted my steed and rode to the Count's estate. Disguised in my cloak, I abducted him from his bed, bound his extremities, covered his face with a hood, and sat him atop my horse. We rode twelve furlongs deep into Sperry's Woods! Deep enough for his cries to be rendered silent to the townspeople!"

"Excellent. And then you tortured him?"

"Oh, yes! Of course I tortured him! I am the Baron of Torture, after all. My methods that night were particularly extreme. I hope you are not easily shocked."

"Not at all. So now you tortured him?"

"I pulled the Count from my horse and stood him against a fine birch tree. With the moon glowing atop the night sky, the torture began!"

"Oh, superb. And how did you do it?"

"I assaulted him."

"Physical assault? Brutality? Excellent. You really had me worried for a moment. Perhaps the King will rethink his opinion of you."

"Allow me to finish, Duke. I assaulted him with compliments. I stared him right in the face and shouted, 'You have beautiful eyes! Your eyes are gorgeous and I could gaze upon them forever!' He said, 'What is going on?' but once I started that torrent of encouragements nothing could stop me. 'You are a very humorous individual!' I yelled. 'Many of the things you say are witty! I wish I were as clever as you!' I could tell it was hitting him hard. 'I don't understand,' he said. I took a deep breath and, in my most grizzly, horrific voice, screamed until my lungs were drained of air, 'I am jealous of your muscular legs! The reason you are so successful is because you are incredibly intelligent! You have impeccable fashion sense and your bed looks very comfortable!'"

"How did he take it?"

"Well, he asked me back to his estate afterwards and we stayed up for hours drinking ale and telling stories."

"Baron, I must be honest with you. I think the King is right in his decision to remove you from your position. It seems you do not understand the basic nature of torture."

"Duke, Duke, Duke. You are an impressionable man. I did not want to do this, but it seems the circumstances have arisen. The door behind you has been locked; the tables have turned and I am in charge. There is nothing you can do but submit to me, the Baron of Torture. The horrible torture that will occur in this very room will haunt your every waking hour for as long as you live, and your slumber will be plagued by constant, hellish nightmares. It will begin as soon as my positively torturous chocolate chip cookies finish baking."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Big Bill's Barbecue"

Hey, everyone! Come on down to Big Bill’s Barbecue tonight for a great meal! We’ve got the best ribs in town! Get a whole rack of ‘em smothered in our signature sauce, prepared fresh every day by our sauce master Roger! We’ve got great pork sandwiches, homemade cornbread, and shrunken children. What? Did I say shrunken children? I didn’t mean that; I meant beef brisket! Yep, tender beef brisket, not shrunken children! There’s no shrunken children here. Well, actually we might have a few shrunken children in the back. Just two or three, not a dozen. Wait, what? We have six dozen? Okay, we might have some shrunken children. I suppose you could say our kitchen is full of shrunken children. They’re about eight inches tall and will work for pennies an hour. We got ‘em in bulk from a Polynesian witch a few years back. You know, it was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time but it didn't really work out. But, yeah, anyways, come on down to Big Bill’s Barbecue for slow-roasted ribs, signature sauces, and maybe some shrunken children! Bring the kids, they’re free on Tuesdays. Just don't let them in the back!

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Why I Don't Write History Books"

This essay originally appeared as an assignment in my College English class.


“Helen of Troy: The Hoax that Launched a Thousand Ships”

Just like those supposed Bigfoot catchers from Georgia and the moon landing, Helen of Troy was nothing but an elaborate hoax. She did not exist but in the fantasies and imaginations of ancient men. She was a ruse, a lie, a deception, and a con. Men in Greece of the nude-Olympics era would often parade through the streets shouting for her, “Helen! Helen! Come here, Helen, I’ve got some olive oil and cheeses and wine and other Mediterranean foods for you!” But she never responded. Because she didn’t exist.

So here’s how Helen’s story goes. Her dad, the almighty Zeus, took up the form of a swan for a few days. Why? I don’t know. Maybe he wanted elderly women to throw bread at him at a park. An eagle started chasing him and instead of just, you know, killing it easily like he could have because he was Zeus, he ran away until he came upon a woman named Leda. While still in the form of a swan, he impregnated her. Weird? I know. But hey, that’s how it was back then. There were no paparazzi to instantly throw pictures on the Internet captioned “Leda Sings a ‘Swan Song’?!” or “Are Large Birds from the Anatidae Family Now ‘In’?” and it took painters decades to get any work done, so people could do whatever they wanted.

Anyway, Leda gave birth to an egg. (Don’t think about it too much. It’s like the plot of Space Jam: it falls apart as soon as you think, “Wait a minute, cartoons can’t play basketball.) From that egg hatched Helen, who wasn’t “of Troy” quite yet. They didn’t keep very tight records of births back then, so who knows where she was born. I’ll assume it was Decatur, Georgia.

When Helen was about ten years old, two fellas from Athens named Theseus (brother of Opening-Paragraphius and Closing-Sentenceius) and Pirithous set a goal, American Pie-style, to wed daughters of Zeus. Theseus decided he wanted Helen, so he did the smoothest thing he could think of to woo her: he kidnapped her. Pirithous chose to marry Zeus’s other daughter Persephone, who was already married to Hades. Here’s a tip for all the boys out there: when selecting a woman to steal from her husband, don’t choose the one who is married to the King of the Underworld. Theseus and Pirithous headed down to the Underworld to snatch Persephone and, what a surprise, they were captured by Hades, because he’s King of the Underworld. That’s a pretty serious home-field advantage.

Helen was rescued by her brothers Castor and Pollux and taken back to Sparta. Once there, a whole bunch of dudes from all over the world came to ask her hand in marriage. It was like A Shot of Love with Helen of Sparta. She married Menelaus because he could do a handstand for like forty seconds, which was really impressive. Some time passed and Helen sat around doing crossword puzzles and wondering why her mother would let a swan take her out to dinner, much less take one to bed with her. Eventually a Trojan prince named Paris showed up. (Interesting fact: The modern fictional character Paris Hilton is based on this prince!) He and Helen fled Sparta for the sunny shores of Troy. Some scholars believe she went willingly, but others believe she was forced. But then again, some scholars think Lyndon Johnson was really a twelve year-old boy named Petey Marx, so you can’t trust scholars.

Once Menelaus called for a sandwich and, upon not receiving an answer, realized his wife was missing, he got a little angry. Not like “Oh, man, they put mayo on my cheeseburger” angry, but “You know what? I think it’s time to start a big-ol’ war” angry.

Thus began the Trojan War, the main result of which was that Brad Pitt movie. Menelaus pledged to kill his cheating wife when he found her, but once he got a moment alone and held a knife in the air, she dropped her dress and he was all “Oohhh yeah,” so he didn’t kill her.

Helen and Menelaus went back to Sparta and spent their days eating exotic species of birds, kicking it old-school by the pool, and doing cartwheels. They also invented the sport of wakeboarding.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How Not to Write a Research Paper, or A Bunch of Unedited Nonsense Written in Ten Minutes

Are Tomatoes Big, or Are They Small?

By Richie McAdoo!

Since tomatoes were invented in 1921 by German physicists Marco Rogers and Craig Biggio, people have been wondering, are tomatoes big or are they small? Sometimes people put them under microscopes, which indicates that they are small, but other people put them in front of telescopes, which means they're big. It's literally a question that has caused me to sit awake late at night, sweating and reading old issues of Everyday with Rachel Ray. Have you ever read that? It's okay.

So the question is about tomatoes. I think they're small, but I'm just a tire salesman. What do I know? Besides how to sell a tire, not much. So I looked in a magazine and saw that someone once said, "I think tomatoes are big," but in the next issue there was a little thing about that quote and it said it was a mistake, so I don't know what to think anymore (1).

Yesterday, I swear to god, a sausage came out of my computer's USB port.

I figured I'd have to take the research into my own hands. For six bucks I bought two pounds of tomatoes from the grocery store, but on the way to my car I thought I got ripped off, so I returned them. You know what the return policy is on tomatoes? As long as they look okay and you haven't eaten them, you can return them. I thought that was a pretty fair policy.

So, in conclusion, when it comes to the question Are Tomatoes Big, or Are They Small, my answer is, "I don't know."

WORKS CITED
1. Tomato-Based Chowders Weekly

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Martin Luther's Other Lists

His 95 Theses get all the press coverage, but Martin Luther was perhaps the most prolific list maker of his time. Here are three of his other, albeit less popular, lists.

"Five Women Who Have Refused to Have Intercourse with Me Due to My Smell"

  1. Edith Dudley
  2. My wife, Katherine
  3. Elizabeth Sutton
  4. Mary, whose last name I have forgotten
  5. Joyce Langley

"My Three Favorite Appendages"

  1. Left arm
  2. Left leg
  3. Right leg

"Seventeen Names People Have Called Me at the Market"

  1. ML
  2. Marty
  3. Dirtbag
  4. Stink-Face
  5. Turd Shoes
  6. “Farty”
  7. Dick Lips
  8. Thief
  9. Scammer
  10. Two-Eyed Pile of Crap
  11. Sack of Crap
  12. That guy who doesn’t wear underpants
  13. Heretic
  14. Fatso
  15. Bird Seed
  16. Beans for Brains
  17. Tiny Ballsack O’Henry

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Haiku Written by My Dog

Bark bark bark bark bark
I have to go poop real bad
Bark bark bark woof bark

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Mystery of Rogers Street

Another murder. It was just like any other Monday in Baltimore.

“Why Monday mornings?” wondered Lieutenant Jeff Pesh aloud. “Can’t they wait until we’re awake?”

He was assigned to investigate the scene. At the corner of Lock and Rogers lay a body, shot twice in the stomach. “This won’t lead anywhere,” said Pesh when he saw the corpse. “These things never get solved.”

He kneeled next to the body and found a handgun, the murder weapon. He dusted it for prints and found two exact matches, which led him to Peter Melden, a man who calmly admitted to committing the murder.

Jeff Pesh went home that night and slept soundly.

Wow. I honestly though there was more to that story. You know, my publisher probably isn’t going to be pleased. We agreed on 350-400 pages and this thing is maybe a quarter of one page. I just assumed there was more to the story; that it would have several interesting twists and turns, clues and leads and interesting characters and red herrings and all that stuff. But then I sat down to write it and, what do you know, the whole mystery was solved in one night. You know, a lot of people have told me I should have some sort of an outline planned before I start writing and I always tell them to mind their own business or “shut your face,” but now I think they might be on to something there. It’s just like when people tell me I shouldn’t eat soup out of my shoes. But what do they know? It tastes better like that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Ruined Plans"

Dear Best Buy,

I regret to inform you that I will not be purchasing the Spider-Man 2 DVD this Saturday as per the original plan. I noticed you are currently advertising it at the sale price of $6.99 and wanted to purchase it immediately, but my father suggested I use the “24-Hour Rule” in order to decide whether I wanted it because of your advertisement, or if I actually needed it. After much deliberation, I have taken the former side. I realized that I would not want to re-watch Spidey’s battle with Doc Ock or his on-again, off-again relationship with Mary Jane very often. And whenever the urge hits, it is on television frequently.
Thank you for your time. I will be using my allowance money instead to purchase two bottles of Sunny Delight.

Best wishes,
Mikey Thompson

"Why Mel Doesn't Work at the Tattoo Shop Anymore"

“Hey there.”

“Oh, hey. What brings you back to the shop?”

“I’m sorry to say it, but I want a refund for this tattoo you gave me.”

“What? Why? It’s a great piece.”

“I know. I really do enjoy it. It’s just that the response to it hasn’t exactly been what I had expected.”

“Really? What happened?”

“It just seems the people in this town aren’t as open to art as I thought. People just can’t appreciate a good old-fashioned tattoo of a buffalo’s scrotum across a man’s face anymore.”

“That’s strange. The tattoo is so perfect. When you close your eyes it looks like your face is the buffalo scrotum.”

“Thank you. That’s what I was going for. But people just seem to stare or scoff disapprovingly. Even at work they don’t approve. I thought I worked in a fairly liberal school district, but apparently the superintendent considers it in poor taste for a third grade teacher to have an animal’s scrotum on his face.”

“I’m so sorry about that. We just emptied out the registers to cover rent so we can’t give you a refund. Would you want us to turn it into something else?”

“I suppose that could work. How about something nice? Something everyone could enjoy?”

“Sure. We could stick to the animal theme. What about a cute puppy?”

“Maybe. I was thinking more like an image of a grizzly bear.”

“Okay, I can do that.”

“Could the grizzly bear be assassinating Abraham Lincoln?”

“In a tattoo on your face?”

“Yeah.”

“Honestly I do not think that is a good idea. In fact, I really don’t think you should have gotten that tattoo in the first place. You are aware of what a buffalo’s scrotum is, right?”

“Your employee Mel told me it was an international symbol of friendship.”

“That is not true.”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"An Unusual Diet"

“Thank you for keeping the food journal. You know, most clients don’t stick with it.”

“Oh, it was no problem. I really want to lose this weight.”

“Great. I want to help you lose the weight.”

“Thanks.”

“So let’s take a look at your eating habits. You started on Monday, right?”

“Correct.”

“Okay, so for breakfast you had an apple and some oatmeal. That’s great. And for lunch you had a salad with some chicken.”

“Yep. It really wasn’t so bad.”

“Good, good. Now you had a snack of carrots after lunch. You seem to have this diet thing down.”

“Thanks. You know, it’s really not as bad as people make it out to be.”

“Now here’s what concerns me. Your dinner on Monday.”

“What about it?”

“It says here that you ate two Puerto Rican men.”

“I had the dressing on the side.”

“That’s not the part I’m worried about. I’m more interested in the cannibalism.”

“It’s a family thing. It was my cousin’s graduation.”

“Okay. Let’s move on. It looks like your eating habits started slipping on Tuesday morning.”

“How so?”

“Instead of an apple and oatmeal it says here that you had a dozen Roman candles. I don’t think you should consume those.”

“I’m sorry. I caved into my craving. They were so delicious.”

“And for lunch you had a gross of bottle rockets and a mousetrap?”

“Yes.”

“What is that? A hundred and forty-four bottle rockets? And a mousetrap?”

“Right.”

“Did you light the bottle rockets?”

“I did.”

“How did it feel?”

“Explosive.”

“Why did you eat the mousetrap? Because there was peanut butter on it?”

“No, that’s ridiculous. I ate it to trap a mouse.”

“Had you eaten a mouse as well?”

“Not yet.”

“Are you going to eat a mouse?”

“As soon as I find a tasty one.”

“Okay, fine. And for lunch on Wednesday you’ve written that you ate a million tomatoes. That doesn’t even make sense. Why did you eat a million tomatoes?”

“They were on sale.”

“Get out of my office.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"A Blind Romance"

“I love you, Brenda,” said Tom.

“I love you too.”

“I think we should take our relationship to the next level.”

“Oh, absolutely!”

Tom unzipped his pants and tripped several times trying to get them off.

“It’s okay, baby,” he said. “I’ll be alright.”

“Come here, Tom,” said Brenda. She reached for him and knocked over a lamp.

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll find it later. Now where’s that pretty face of yours?” Tom swatted the air four times before finding it. “Ah, there it is.”

“Wait,” said Brenda. “We should turn on some music.”

“Of course, of course.” Tom stood up and walked into a wall. He spun around, fumbled with the stereo until it turned on, and fell through his glass coffee table on the way back to the couch.

“I’m fine, Brenda. Let’s get back to it.”

Brenda’s arm shot upwards and knocked down a picture frame. “Was that a picture frame?”

“I think so.”

“What is it a picture of?”

“I have no idea.”

For a few moments neither of them broke anything. They were really into it. Brenda reached for Tom. She was surprised with what she found.

“You never told me you have five penises,” she said.

“Those are my fingers, Brenda,” said Tom.

They got back into it. Tom thought Brenda was the girl for him; that they would be together forever. But then he felt her back.

“What is that, Brenda? What is that I feel?”

“What? There’s nothing on my back.”

“Brenda. I can feel your Braille tattoo. I felt those dots and they say Brenda Loves Mark. As in my best friend Mark?”

“Stop, Tom. It’s not like that.”

“Brenda, I can not believe this. You need to tell me straight. Have you been seeing Mark?”

“Not exactly.”

“Right.”

They got back into it.

When they were done Tom looked to where he thought Brenda was and said, “Brenda, I think it’s time. You’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever heard and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

“Of course.”

Fifteen minutes later they finally got the ring on.

Their wedding was held that June and when the decorator found out whom his clients were he didn’t bother showing up. No one noticed his absence.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"A Great Friend"

The summer of 1994 was the best time of my life. It was a classic American summer; I was twelve and every morning my friends and I would meet up in our neighborhood’s empty lot. We never had any sort of plan, but once we showed up there was always some sort of adventure to have.

My friends and I were as close as could be. There was John, Bill, Steve, Mike, and Jamarcus “T-Bone” Willis. We had known each other practically our whole lives. Well, except for T-Bone. He was a twenty-eight year old African American recently escaped from prison we had met behind the movie theater. He was a great guy, that T-Bone.

Our adventures were incredible, or at least they seemed so at the time. We would explore the woods or swim in Lake Mohawk or let T-Bone hide in our treehouse. T-Bone always was sprinting into that treehouse with sackfulls of what he called loot. "Those are my other friends," he'd say of the blaring sirens. "We're playing some cops and robbers." Whenever we let him stay in there he'd reward us with a car stereo.

You know, T-Bone always would suggest some crazy things for us to do. Every day it was, “Let’s break-in here,” or “How about we torch the sheriff’s office?” What a character that T-Bone was. He always wanted to light government buildings on fire.

Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not so sure we should have been hanging around T-Bone. He may have been a bad influence on us kids. But I know we all remember the last time we saw T-Bone. He had been shot by the police eleven times after stealing one of their cruisers and leading them on a three-hour chase. His clothing tattered and his mouth gushing blood, he looked us right in the eyes and said, “You guys were the best friends I ever had.”

I’ll always remember that summer of 1994. No matter how many purses he snatched or grams of cocaine he sold, T-Bone was a great friend.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Always Check the Receipt"

“Excuse me, sir. Did you know that the highly anticipated release of the Chooper DVD is available in both regular and special editions?”

“Yeah, I’m just going to get the regular.”

“But did you know that the special edition includes a second bonus disc for only four dollars more?”

“I’m going to stick with the regular.”

“How bout this: I’ll throw in fifteen bags of popcorn with the special edition.”

“No, thanks.”

“Okie dokie. How do fifteen bags of popcorn and some sort of illegally imported marsupial sound?”

“Like a kangaroo?”

“Yeah.”

“You know, I think I’ll just get the regular edition.”

“Wait just one second, mister. How about fifteen bags of popcorn, one illegal marsupial, and a gallon of Pete Rose’s blood?”

“It’s tempting, but I came here for the regular edition and I’m just going to stick to the plan.”

“Alright, here it comes, the final offer: Fifteen bags of popcorn, one smothered kangaroo, one gallon of the finest Pete Rose blood, a jumbo jet, and an army of Puerto Rican jugglers to entertain you at all times. All for just four dollars more than the regular edition.”

“Thanks for the offer, but I’m going to have to pass.”

“Okay, sir. You win. But just out of curiosity may I ask why you turned down that astounding offer?”

“It’s because of your penis. I didn’t want to mention it, but your entire penis has been hanging through your zipper the whole time you’ve been talking to me. It’s offensive. Had it just been the scrotum I would have considered the special edition. But the fact that I saw your penis made me think, ‘This is not a person I should be dealing with. I do not want to purchase something from him.’ My recommendation to you, from one human being to another, is to put your penis back inside your pants. You will be a more successful salesman that way.”

Doug purchased his regular edition of the movie and walked out of the store. He looked at his receipt and noticed that the store was called TJ’s Wholesale, the Only Store in the County Whose Employees Must Hang Their Penises Out of their Pants At All Times!

Then Doug felt like the idiot.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"The Attracting Power of Beehives"

Mick had known Sarah since elementary school. Actually, Mick had loved Sarah since elementary school. But he never had the courage to tell her how he felt, and by the time they reached middle and high school they were so involved with their separate social circles that it seemed impossible to him that they could ever be together.

She was an attractive, popular girl. He was quiet and kept to himself. His greatest passion was the enormous bee hive he kept in his backyard. He tended to it with loving care and studied up on bees as much as he could to ensure his prized possessions were as comfortable as could be.

One day after school Mick was at the local library reading the B volume of the encyclopedia when he saw Sarah walk in. “Oh, she’s just here for homework or something,” he thought. “She won’t even see me.”

He carefully observed her from behind the encyclopedia. She walked back and forth, up and down the aisles, until she finally found what she was looking for in the magazine section. She picked up an issue and headed for the check-out counter, which was located right in front of the table Mick was sitting at.

Mick mustered up all his courage so that when she walked by he said, “Hey, Sarah.”

“Oh, hey. Mick, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I-“ He stopped. Mick was stunned. No, it couldn’t be. Not possible! He had to ask. “Is that Bee Hives Weekly you’re holding?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“What, is it for a project or something?”

“No, it’s for me.”

“I didn’t know you like beehives!”

“I don’t,” she said. “I love beehives.”

With those words their romance took off like, well, a bee in flight. They attended bee conferences, hung bee posters on each other’s walls, and nursed each other’s stings.

The next time you think a beehive is worthless or a nuisance, remember Mick and Sarah, two fictional characters who fell in love thanks to a mutual admiration for beehives.

Just because they’re fictional doesn’t mean…I don’t really know the point of this story anymore. Something to do with beehives and love. But, hey, it was touching, wasn’t it?

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Corporate Sponsorship"

This is an excerpt from a grammar textbook titled Glencoe Grammar and Composition, Grade 8. Presented by Papa John's.






Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Grandpa's Secret Hobby"

Thank you all for coming. Peter would have appreciated this. Peter Loramie was a great friend of mine and his passing has touched us all. He was a loving and devoted father, grandfather, brother, son, and friend. He worked with me for twenty years at Robinson and Co. Insurance, but we beyond being coworkers, he was always there for me whenever I needed him. He was the nicest man I ever knew and always was the first to suggest helping others in place of himself. We all mourn our loss. Before I finish, a few months ago Peter asked me to read a poem of his at the funeral. He knew his days were numbered and wanted to relive the best times of his life. Here is the poem, titled “Murdering Homeless People for Sport.”

Back in nineteen sixty-two

There wasn’t a thing more fun to do

Than get some friends into the car

And drive real fast, and very far

We’d cruise to the city, in downtown

And look to see who was around

We had our tools: a club and bat

We'd search to see where the tramps were at

They usually stood at a trash can fire

From far away we’d look and admire

“I want the tall one,” said my friend Ted

“I’m going to bash in his head”

They would run, scared out of their pants

While we would laugh and do a dance

My favorite tool was a medieval mace

I used it to get them in the face

When the job was done, I had to smile

I hadn’t had that much fun in a while

To think of those deaths is a little sad

But it was still the best time I ever had

Now here I lay, dead as well

Maybe those hoboes will beat me up

When I see them in Hell

Wow. I don’t think anyone expected that. I…You know…I…Wow. This, uh… I suppose this explains his medieval mace.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"A Horrible Ending"

Five years ago I was the smartest detective around. Nothing could get past me. I could solve a Rubix cube in eight seconds and do a crossword puzzle with my eyes closed. I solved case after case without any problems. I was a city hero; the papers always had my name in them: “Craig Phillips, Hero,” or “Man Solves Crossword with Eyes Closed; Doctors Confused.”

I never had much trouble with a case. That is, until one September night when my office got a call that reported a horrific decapitation. Decapitations made interrogating victims tough. I preferred talking to victims with their heads still on. It seemed someone was going around town committing grizzly murders. As we always did, me and my team sprung into action immediately after we stopped watching television.

My team was legendary. There was Unlucky Eddie, a guy whose nickname wasn’t ironic at all. That guy was seriously unlucky. “I’ll start the car,” he said right before a bookcase fell on him.

Then there was Penny Pasta. She swore it was her real name, but no one would have even cared if it was fake because it was so hilarious.

Paul the Punster took the keys from Eddie’s hands and said, “How do you expect to solve this case when you can’t even get that one off you?” He smiled and passed around a tip jar. I gave him a quarter. It wasn’t that great of a pun.

I followed Paul out to the car, carrying Mutt, our spaghetti-sniffing dog. A lot of other detectives used drug or bomb sniffing dogs, but Mutt was just so good at sniffing spaghetti we had to have him. He was essentially useless, except for in the Case of the Strangling Spaghetti. He saved all our lives there.

Penny and Eddie got into the car. “We should call Barry Bonds,” said Paul, “because this case is going to be a home run.”

“What?” I said. “Shouldn’t we call Mark McGuire?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. You see, being incredibly smart had its drawbacks. My brain became so stuffed with knowledge in 1999 that I haven’t learned anything since. Sometimes it’s embarrassing in conversation when people mention bands that aren’t 98 Degrees.

Paul drove our car out to the movie theater, the scene of the latest crime. We already knew who the killer was. He was Bodyless Ned, a notorious madman on the loose from prison. Formerly he was Headless Ned, but his goons found his head and in the process lost his body. Rumor had it that he was murdering innocent people in search of a good body. It was pointless, though, because his two goons had a combined sixth grade education and poor hand-eye coordination, so their chances of actially attaching the head to a body were slim. What they did have, though, was a terrifying grizzly bear that they would dress as a human, sneak into a movie theater, and unleash upon the moviegoers.

When we pulled up to the theater people were running for their lives. Amid the chaos arose Bodyless Ned, held up by his goons. “Excuse me,” he said in that nasally voice of his, “but has anyone seen a body?”

He cackled with laughter as the grizzly bear horrifyingly pounced on a man and ripped his head off.

“Talk about a bad hair day,” said Paul.

No one laughed.

“What? That was a decent pun.”

“Not now, Paul. Not now.”

We had bigger things to worry about. Specifically the grizzly bear that was thundering towards our car, its demonic eyes set on Unlucky Eddie.

I stepped on the gas and we got out of there. We drove to Tennessee, changed our names, and became a traveling band called The Detectives Formerly Known as Craig Phillips, Unlucky Eddie, Penny Pasta, Paul the Punster, and Mutt the Spaghetti-Sniffing Dog.

The name was bad for two reasons. First, it wouldn’t fit on our album cover. Second, it gave away our identities so Bodyless Ned and his goons found us in a matter of days. They dressed their bear up like a record label executive and he tricked us into signing a 50 year contract.

So that’s how Bodyless Ned got us. Not by ripping our heads off, but by using a wild animal to trick us into signing away all the rights to our music.

Never sign a contract written by a bear.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"The Best Vacation Ever"

The Stevens were having the best time of their lives. It was the middle of summer and they were on a cross-country road trip from South Carolina to California to visit Disneyland for Rick’s ninth birthday. The trip had been absolutely perfect so far; no lost luggage, no speeding tickets, and no bad weather.

Mr. Stevens pulled the car into the parking lot of an ice cream store and told the kids to get whatever they wanted. “Can I have a banana split, papa?” said Julie.

“Have two, sweetheart.”

When they had all finished their ice cream they arrived at the hotel and Mr. Stevens went to check in. After a brief confrontation with the manager he spoke to the family.

“It looks like there’s been a mix-up. They booked us for a room that was already taken, so they’re giving us a suite for the night!”

The suite was fantastic. It had three separate beds, a billiards table, and a big-screen TV. Everyone was in heaven. They called up room service and, when the waiter saw the two kids having so much fun, he couldn’t even think of charging them for the high-priced meal. It was on the house and absolutely magnificent.

The next morning the Stevens packed and loaded up the car to head to their next destination, but the car wouldn’t start. Mr. Stevens called a rental company to try to find something to drive. “Actually, Mr. Stevens,” said the man on the other end of the call, “we’re in the process of replacing our inventory with newer models. Would you like to have one of our Cadillacs? We need to get it off the lot as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Stevens picked up their new car and the family was thrilled.

“Wow, dad,” said Rick while he rubbed his hand over the smooth leather seats. “This is the best vacation ever! How did all this great stuff happen to us?”

“Well, Rick, I was meaning to talk to you about that. You see, your father sold his soul to the Devil for this vacation. The red-horned beast proposed the deal in the men’s room of a Denny’s last week, and, well, I thought of how happy it would make you guys, so I just had to accept. I reckon you won’t see much of me after this trip. I’ll probably be taken far, far away, to toil under Satan’s reign. Who knows what I’ll be doing? I bet it won’t be as great as this trip, that’s for sure. In fact, I bet it’ll be pretty awful.”

“Well thanks, pop! I hope there’s waffles at Disneyland!”

There were waffles at Disneyland and the family had a great time eating them. It was truly the best vacation ever.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"A Ridiculous Man"

He wore a green sweater over a pink shirt with a purple bow-tie and a rainbow belt. And why shouldn’t he? He was a ridiculous man. He was riding his horse as fast as he would gallop straight down the interstate highway. This was nothing out of the ordinary for him. He was, after all, a ridiculous man. The horse was running into oncoming traffic while the man shouted, “Tomato soup is on sale! Tomato soup is on sale!” It seemed very normal to him, for he was a ridiculous man. He stood up on his horse, crouched down into a squatting position, leaped sixty feet into the air, did three backflips, read David Copperfield, and landed in a garden seated next to a white tiger. The tiger looked at him and said, “Would you like a slice of pizza?” This, to him, seemed odd. He was a ridiculous man, but that was just too ridiculous. White tigers don’t like pizza. They prefer snakes and water buffalo.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"An Expensive Diet"

Todd Koberg came from a long line of money eaters. The Kobergs were an elite family whose skill in the money eating trade could be traced back to the 16th century when Boyd Koberg would dazzle crowds by scarfing down shillings, pennies, sixpence, and farthings. Todd Koberg made his living in New York City, eating money on street corners, piers, in waiting rooms and office buildings. Eager fans would take the train from all over the city to see him wolf down a quarter or nibble a dollar. He came to be somewhat of a tourist attraction; visitors would stop by saying, “There’s the man who eats money. I wonder if he likes nickels?” Any time someone would offer him a quarter he’d smile and eat a dollar.

He always set down a hat in front of him for tips, but once the crowds formed and he got into the show, a nice rhythm of swallowing fives and devouring dimes, his tips were no longer currency; they were dessert. He loved his job, the thrill of the crowd, the smiles on the kids’ faces, the way his belly jangled with each horrendously painful step on the way back to his apartment that was three months overdue on rent.

What his father and grandfather and great-grandfather had failed to mention to their boy was that in order to succeed in the money eating business one must be mindful of his or her savings. Todd hadn’t saved a dime. He had eaten them all. He was sitting on his sofa, which he had found in a dump, one day when the mail came. In it were four overdue bills and a credit card statement saying he was six thousand dollars in debt. He could barely move to get the mail, he was so stuffed. Someone had tossed forty half-dollars into the tip hat that afternoon. When he picked up the bills he stared at them for a long time. He didn’t know what he would do. Could he ask his dad for a loan? Get a second job? He couldn’t decide on a solution, so he did what he did best. He got out his best fork and knife and ate the bills, licking his lips just as his grandfather did after a Thanksgiving dinner of one hundred dollars.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gas prices are through the roof. Food prices are so high I had to feed my youngest daughter birdseed last week. At this rate we’ll all be dead in a month. So come on down to my warehouse and buy an Apple Dip-Dappler. What is an Apple Dip-Dappler? I have no idea. It’s probably got an apple in there somewhere. But I do know I’ve got a warehouse full of them and I need to buy a new pair of shoes for my dog. I promise satisfaction is guaranteed but I do not promise anything regarding the quality of the product. My uncle Vincenzo dropped them off last week and told me to get rid of them, so that’s what I’m doing! Six for a dollar or one for six dollars! I’m no math man but that doesn’t mean I can’t sell you Apple Dip-Dapplers! And if you’re not in the mood for those, buy one of my Dolphin Roni-Tonis! What are those? Who knows? I checked the crate and there’s no dolphins in there. A lot of wires and a timer that’s counting down. Get these quick! Get them today! Get them before they blow, because I’m pretty sure my uncle Vincenzo is trying to kill me! I shouldn’t have told the whole family he wipes standing up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Purpose: The purpose of this experiment is to observe the reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

Hypothesis: When the vinegar and baking soda mix bubbles will form.

Procedure:

1) Prepare the materials.

2) Measure 10 grams of baking soda and 5 mL of vinegar.

3) Mix the baking soda and vinegar.

4) Record observations of the reaction.

Conclusion: The results did not support my hypothesis. I think I did something wrong, though. I mixed the vinegar and baking soda and everything seemed fine until I felt a pain in my stomach and I looked in the mirror and saw that somehow this experiment turned me into Benito Mussolini. It’s just weird. I mean, when I signed up for the honors chemistry class I expected to do some tough labs, but I wasn’t prepared to be turned into an Italian dictator. Every time I walk down the street people yell at me for World War II and I say, “Hey, I’m just a 15 year old kid,” and they say, “No, you’re Benito Mussolini!” and I look at my reflection and say, “Oh, yeah, I forgot.” It’s easy to forget about my new body. My parents won’t look at me the same way anymore and I don’t fit into my bed. I look ridiculous when I go skateboarding with my friends. This whole thing is just too weird. My recommendation for this experiment if it is performed again is to not perform it at all. Maybe my baking soda was bad, but it’s not worth the risk of becoming a fascist dictator. Maybe I should have measured the vinegar better.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It was Ron’s first session with his psychiatrist, Phillip H. Peters. The shrink prided himself on his unusual methods.

“Imagine you are an 18th century Italian spice merchant.”

“I’m sorry, but I have no idea what that would be like.”

“Okay, okay. How about this: Imagine you are a Brazilian chimpanzee wrangler with three legs.”

“I really don’t know anything about Brazil or chimpanzees. Or superfluous limbs, for that matter. Could you maybe come up with something a little more close to home?”

“All right, fine. Imagine it’s 1921 and you are the world’s fastest man. The police are after you because you stole all the sugar in Louisiana. In order to escape, you run so quickly and with such determination that you arrive in the future.”

“Okay, I got it.”

“What? That was probably the most ridiculous situation.”

“No it wasn’t. You described my story exactly. I am the world’s fastest man, it was 1921 last time I checked, and I need to find a place to put all that sugar.”

“I think I know why you came to see me.”

The psychiatrist laughed at his own joke, but he shouldn’t have because the patient’s story was entirely true. The 1920s police were outside the building with sugar-sniffing dogs.

“I gotta get out of here, man,” said Ron. “I gotta get out of here.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. I went to school for ten years and I’ve never heard of anything like this. Could we eat all of the sugar?”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why don’t I just run into the future?”

With a flash Ron was gone, somewhere in the 24th century. The psychiatrist did not know what to think.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

This recently discovered letter is most likely the direct inspiration for Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Dear Abe,

Long time listener, first time writer. Anyways, I’ve got some stuff I want to get off my chest. So here’s the deal, Abe: This whole slavery thing is a big downer. Seriously, ask any slave and they’re pretty bummed out about it. I don’t know if you’ve ever been down south and seen it, but jees, I mean, this is some heavy stuff. I did a quick poll and it seems like 100% of blacks are pretty against it. Just thought I’d let you know.

-Ted Phillips

Dear Ted,

Holy crap, seriously? I mean I had thought it probably wasn’t a good idea, but woah, I didn’t know it was such a big deal. Lately I’ve just been hanging out. You know, wrestling Hannibal Hamlin in the nude and insulting my wife Mary Todd. So, yeah, I mean I’ll get on that slavery stuff. I just didn’t know it was such a big deal. I thought it was just a hobby or something.

-“Honest” Abraham “Wet Fingers” Lincoln

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Man, I am glad I waited. Everyone was pressuring me to break the rules but I stood strong and waited until I was 17 years old to watch an R-rated movie. All my friends were trying to get me to watch one last Saturday, the day before my 17th birthday. They kept insisting it was no big deal and that nothing bad would happen, but I left before I saw even a single frame of it. I watched the movie the next day, once I was 17, and boy oh boy, I can safely say I was not prepared for it the day before. I found the blue language in the film funny that Sunday, but I know that if I had heard those words when I was 16 I would have been emotionally destroyed. I would have been a different person. And the movie included a scene of marijuana use. On Saturday that would have influenced me to immediately try some pot and spiral into a life of methamphetamine addiction, but thanks to that extra day of maturity I was able to realize that it was just a movie. I mean, seriously, back when I was only 16 I couldn’t tell the difference between entertainment and real life, but then I woke up on my 17th birthday and all of a sudden, Wow, I can totally tell the two apart. I'm like, Woah, that's just a screen up there. And when the film showed a brief scene of nudity I managed to restrain myself. Up until that point I had never seen any sort of nudity. I hadn’t even looked at my own penis because I knew it was against the MPAA’s guidelines. If I saw that naked breast at 16 who knows what would have happened; I probably would have ended up stealing lottery tickets for a living, but because I waited until I was 17 to see an R-rated movie I’ll probably get into a good college and maybe even land a nice job. I’m grateful for the ratings system and very happy that I waited. I only wish I had the chance to tell my brother Nick, age 15, to wait. He was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis after viewing Final Destination 2.

“Are you proud of what you did?”

“I am, sir.”

“Do you think it shines a positive light on this mission? On this organization? On this country?”

“I am unsure, sir. But I do take credit for what I did.”

“And you thought it was humorous?”

“I did, sir. Hilarious, in fact.”

“Are you aware of the danger you put upon not only yourself but the entire crew?”

“I am, sir. I understood the risks and believed my action was worth taking that risk.”

“I have the record here of what you did. Let me read it to you and tell me if any of it is untrue.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You, Tommy Trombone, were aboard the Apollo 11 mission with Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr.”

“Correct, sir.”

“You set foot on the moon immediately after Commander Neil Armstrong.”

“Correct, sir.”

“You then said, ‘Hey, is there something on my back?’, turned around, unzipped the rear hatch of your space suit, positioned yourself in front of Commander Neil Armstrong, bent over, and flatulated.”

“Correct, sir. I farted right into Neil Armstrong’s face.”

“Commander Armstrong reports that you then said, ‘Smell that, Armstrong! Who is the Commander now?’”

“No, sir, that is not correct. I said, ‘Smell that, Armstrong. I am the greatest in the Universe!’ Then I pulled off Neil’s helmet and made him smell it.”

“And you thought that was humorous?”

“It was perhaps the most I have ever laughed. I look forward to going down in the history books as having the first fart on the moon.”

“You are aware that removing Commander Armstrong’s helmet could have resulted in his immediate death.”

“Sir, I fully believe the greatest threat facing Neil was the stench of my fart.”

“You are an embarrassment. I regret ever speaking to you. I promise that your name will never be mentioned in the same sentence as NASA or the Apollo 11 mission. No one will know of Tommy Trombone. No one will ever hear of your fart.”

“I’m surprised no one on earth heard it. They say sound doesn't travel in space, but man, that thing was loud. It sounded like a freight ship honked its horn. I seriously think you should rename the organization GASA.”

“I hope to never see you again.”

Tommy Trombone was escorted outside by NASA security and smothered with an official NASA sweatshirt.

That is who no one has heard of Tommy Trombone, the fourth member of the Apollo 11 space crew and the first man to flatulate on the moon.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do you ever doubt your entire existence? Wonder, Why am I on the earth? What is my purpose? I used to be like that. I was stuck in a rut; I just couldn’t figure out what I was meant to do. But it all changed when I tasted a regular sized Five Meat Stack sub sandwich with no mustard or mayonnaise from Quizno’s. As soon as that first bite fell into my warm, welcoming belly, I knew that my life was forever changed. From the salami to the pepperonis, to the cheddar cheese and that spice crap they sprinkle on top, it is a very good sandwich. When I finished my first sandwich I immediately purchased another. I finished that and purchased one more. “You know you could have just bought one footlong and saved, like, four bucks,” said the cashier. I didn’t care. The sandwich was so delicious I immediately called my boss to quit my job so I would have more time to devote to Quizno’s Five Meat Stacks. It is my purpose; my divine calling. I was put on this earth to consume the turkey, ham, salami, capicola, and pepperoni that constitute a Quizno’s Five Meat Stack. I have no idea what capicola is, but it’s on the sandwich, so I’ll eat it. After quitting my job my daily schedule sets aside the hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for eating Quizno’s Five Meat Stacks. Six days into my new life I ran out of money and had to sell my house in order to continue eating Five Meat Stacks. I was happy to do it. I sold the house for eight dollars because at the time I was eager for two Five Meat Stacks. Currently I wander the streets, constantly thinking about Quizno’s Five Meat Stacks. I was put on this earth to consume them and I pledge to do so. I just can’t believe how they manage to make a vegetarian sandwich so delicious. As a lifetime vegetarian I have suffered when my friends ate with me and enjoyed food containing meat while I had a salad. Quizno’s has performed a miracle in making a vegetarian sandwich so great. The Five Meat Stack is…Wait…Oh no. No, no, no. This…Oh my God. Is this…Could I have…I am just now realizing that the five meats referenced in the title of the sandwich likely refer to animal meats. I don’t know what I thought before. I must have assumed they were vegetable meats. This is a disaster. My consumption of Quizno’s Five Meat Stacks probably resulted in the deaths of thousands of animals. I don’t know how I’ll live with myself. The only thing that can lift my spirits is a Quizno’s Five Meat Stack. Man, that is one tasty sandwich.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dear Mr. Gordon,

I apologize. What you saw me doing was the result of a terrible misunderstanding on my part. I absolutely realize what I did and do not wish any harm upon the company or any of its employees. Please do not fire me. I can explain my actions.

From the time I could hear and speak, I have suffered from a condition known as TB Switchies which causes me to mishear the sound of the letter T in words as the sound of the letter B. It caused me great suffering in school, especially when I had to read aloud from what I thought was A Bale of Boo Cities. The children laughed at me and called me names like Bales, Baley Boo, and idiot.

I began to get a grasp on my condition with the help of a sound therapist in college and haven’t had a relapse in months. Again, I am sorry.

That is why you walked in on me having sex with the copier after you told me it needed more toner.

Sincerely,

Alex Jefferies

Here's a high school newspaper article.


Just Because They’re Goths Doesn’t Mean You Have to Spit on Them

By Michael P. Bock

Hello, kind readers. Time for another exciting journey into the lives of the members of one of the cliques at our very own Roosevelt High School! In this issue I’ll give you a peek at one of the shadiest groups lining our halls, the Goths!

I first met up with junior Phillip Rosenthal on a Tuesday afternoon at his house. He showed me around his room, which included all sorts of disturbing imagery. Then we had some Bagel Bites. His favorite kind is pepperoni.

We then met with some of his friends and talked about what it’s like to be a Goth. “I like expressing my true inner self,” said sophomore Steve Jameson after drinking some blood. “I don’t care what the world thinks,” said Josephine Taylor, a senior who works at the local Applebee’s and says her favorite after-school activities are exercising, reading, and casting spells.

After listening to some horrifying music they pulled out some razorblades, which was lucky for me because I had some of those hairs around my nipples I needed to clean up. I quickly snatched a blade and thanked the group for their acceptance and hospitality. Then they told me that they often hurt themselves in order to see if they can feel. Interesting, I thought. So to test it we went to the interstate and I jumped in front of a bus.

“Ouch!” I called from under the rear axle. “Your method works! I sure can feel! I can especially feel my protruding tibia bone touching my neck!”

That was my experience investigating the Goths. My opinion of them is, Hey, at least they like Bagel Bites. Stay tuned for next issue, when I dive head-first into the swim team! Also, be aware that the aforementioned pun shows exactly why I have no friends. Now you know, mom!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh my god. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. To my fellow researchers, I’m so sorry. If my body and this note are ever found, I wish my family and friends the best. I love all of you. How did this happen? It was a routine experiment and now I’m huddled over in a closet trying to preserve the last fleeting moments of my life by scribbling on a cardboard box. The experiment was simple: To observe the effects of various levels of stress on people’s hand strength. We would just apply gentle stress to our subjects and then test to see how easily they could hold an object. It’s the kind of boring experiment we could all do in our sleep. We selected as our test subjects six convicts awaiting the electric chair for murder, on average six feet eight inches tall and 375 lbs. We placed them all in a controlled testing environment and applied the first level of stress: Calling them names, ranging from generic playground teases to very specific references to their mothers’ armpit hair. Next we applied another level of stress by attaching electrodes to their nipples and giving charges of 2,000 volts until the subject requested we turn it off or his nipples were completely blackened, whichever came last. We then applied the third level by slapping their genitals with a ping pong paddle for six minutes. Finally we tested the subjects’ ability to hold objects by giving them standard household items: a knife, a stick of dynamite, a handgun, a circular saw, hedge clippers, and a flamethrower. Instead of performing the requested exercise, the convicts instantly used the items to kill all of my fellow researchers. That behavior was not covered at all in the scientific method. I hope our research will not completely go to waste. It seems we found that convicted murderers are likely to continue to murder if provided with weapons after having their genitals slapped. What’s that? I hear a knocking on the closet door. And it feels very hot out there, as if someone has a flamethrower. I hypothesize that I am about to die.

Monday, June 23, 2008

“Don’t get mad at you? How could I not? I’m furious, Margaret! Do you realize how this makes me look?”

“John, look, I said I’m sorry. What more do you want? I can’t erase the past.”

“So why did you do it in the first place? This is embarrassing! Don’t you know what this’ll do to my career? Everyone in town saw you in those pictures in the paper!”

“It’ll blow over. Just give it time. Please, John.”

“Time? I don’t have time! The harvest season is almost over! Who’s going to buy my vegetables at the market after they’ve seen my wife with a couple of fruits?”

“Please, John. Everyone will still buy your vegetables. I’m just friends with that apple. It wasn’t anything serious. I didn’t even juice him.”

“Juice him? I hadn’t even thought about that! I don’t care if you’re just friends; it’s disgusting to see you hanging around a bunch of repugnant Seeders! And how do you explain the pear?”

“He’s the apple’s friend. Seriously, John, this is not a big deal. I was merely dining with two acquaintances.”

“But the pictures, Margaret! Everyone in the county will see the headlines: Farmer’s Wife Befriends Fruits. Why couldn’t you have just gone with a cucumber or carrot like you usually do?”

“John, I’m telling you it was nothing serious. I declined when the pear proposed a skinning session. I told them I only peel vegetables.”

“You did?”

“Yes, John. I can be friends with the fruits but I’d never do anything to deliberately hurt your reputation. You’re the best vegetable farmer in the area and I don’t want to ruin that just for a peek at a fruit’s seeds. My heart lies in the vegetable section.”

“You mean that?”

“Of course.”

“I love you, Margaret. But please assure me I won’t see any more photographs of you with fruits in the paper.”

“Yes, John. I—“

“What’s that in your pocket, Margaret?”

“Oh, it’s a…”

“A what? A gift for me? Let me see it.”

“No, don’t. I can explain.”

“Are those leaves? Is that…? Dear God, Margaret! Have you brought a strawberry into my household?”

“He’s new to town. I was just showing—“

“I don’t care! You have committed a cardinal sin of vegetable growing! Take that filth off of this property and never return! You, too, Margaret! If I wanted a flip-flopper for a wife I would have purchased one at the shoe store! If you ever choose to return you better be seed-free, Margaret! I swear if I find one seed on you it’s to the courthouse we’ll go for a divorce! I cannot stand even the smell of those fruits! Their taste is so tart and…fresh and delicious on a summer afternoon. They are so refreshing and…Oh no. What have I done? Margaret! Come back Margaret! I have realized the error of my ways! You can return, and bring as much fruit as you’d like!”

It was too late. By the time John finished talking Margaret was married to the apple and had traded in her vegetable scrubber for a fruit peeler. When John found her a week later, she was in the middle of her honeymoon. John opened the door to find Margaret with the apple’s seeds in her mouth. They would never reconcile.