Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Attention, three people who have ever read this: I have moved to 

You can read all the fun new stuff over there! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

"The Rapture"

I stroll into the bathroom and rip a hot piss into the sink while my boys laugh in the other room. In a framed photo Trey's mom smiles in her Sunday best while she watches me. I chuckle and high five myself. I wish I was in my truck so I could honk my horn. "Hey bros," I say, "guess whose sister is getting the old..."

I turn the corner and the basement is empty. The couches are bare. Not a single bro is left; only a folded ballcap that says Cocks remains. It is disturbingly quiet. There is no laughter; there is no talk of anal sex. The TV is on, but once I realize the gravity of the situation, America's Funniest Home Videos is anything but. It hits me like a slap on the beanbag: this is the Rapture. My friends are gone - whisked away to Heaven, while I, perhaps the lone sinner of the gang, am left to wander this abandoned planet, considering my faults. While my friends enjoy eternal bliss with their families and porn stars, I will be alone on Earth, regretting all of those hot pisses I ripped in sinks. What else have I done to deserve this fate? I consider the jet-skis I stole and the extreme air I caught on them. Did I hit the wake too hard? Did I get too much air? Should I have donated some of that air to the less fortunate? I think of the time I staged a party in my bedroom just to have shirtless pictures of myself pounding sugar-free Rockstars to upload to Facebook. Does Ari from Entourage count as a false idol? Images flash across my mind: sexually explicit touchdown celebration dances; BitTorrent downloads of the Fast and Furious pentalogy; putting my lips right on the water fountain spout when I had strep throat just because I am a dick.

I remove my clothing and assume the child's pose on the floor of Trey's basement. I am alone now, trapped with my sins, and I know that I should repent to the Heavens, to strip myself to my primal essence and beg forgiveness for all of the hotel towels I rubbed my butt on and all of the lab partners I sexted in vain. I remove from the wall a framed photo of Trey shaking hands with Muggsy Bogues and shatter the glass over my head. I dance in a circle and chant incomprehensible sounds. It feels right; I know it is right. I spin in violent circles until the room is a smear and I fall to the ground, nude on a pile of glass and camouflage cargo shorts. I look skyward and shout, "I apologize for defecating in my sister's backpack! I repent for eating frozen yogurt samples with no intent to make a purchase! I atone for all of the heckling of other fans on the lawn at DMB shows!" and I rear back, a bull ready to charge. I aim myself at the television, a fifty-five inch big-screen, about three feet deep. I sprint into it, releasing a guttural scream from my bowels, hoping this gesture will prove to whatever higher power exists that I am truly sorry for mooning that family while I wakeboarded past them. I crash through the screen and a shower of sparks tickles my back. My hair is fried stiff and I have been electrocuted.

A door opens and there is noise. I cannot see anything from the cage of glass and plastic I reside in. Is it God? An angel? I can only hear muffled noises. "What the fuck? We go to Arby's for five minutes and this is what he does?"

I am frozen and bleeding. The Rapture did not come, but Arby's did. I hope those assholes got me something.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Before Last Names"

Dear Ophelia,

I am writing...Hang on, before I start this let's just sort this out to avoid all the confusion from last time. So this letter is meant for Ophelia, daughter of Ophelia, daughter of Ophelia, in the house of Lucius. The Lucius with the long hair, not the bald Lucius my last letter apparently went to. I mean the Lucius with the long dark hair, the one who sells olives. And then, within his house, I mean the Ophelia who is twenty years old. I know there are a few Ophelias in there, so I need this to go to the one who is intolerant of lactose. I don't know how else to describe her. She looks a lot like the other Ophelias in there and one time I learned the hard way after fornicating furiously with one of them who was apparently not my Ophelia. So maybe to find the right one you could make all of the Ophelias drink milk and find the one who throws up the most and give her my letter? But I guess at that point she'd probably be in a pretty bad mood. I don't know. She's the Ophelia with a mole on her hand. Someone will figure this out.

Ophelia, my sweet Ophelia... Christ, I'm almost out of ink now. Long story short, I'm pretty sure my horse ate your mother today. I would elaborate but I'm almost out of ink. Is your mother the Ophelia with the reddish-brown hair, or one of the Ophelias with the brownish-red hair? Maybe we could just give her a second name, something like Ophelia Horsefeed, so we can remember she was the one who got eaten by the horse.

-Tiberius, son of Tiberius, son of Gaius, the one with the long index finger. But not the really long index finger, that's a different guy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Good Seal"

I straighten my bow-tie and tuck my shirt in again. My father's tuxedo hangs off of me and every time I adjust the sleeves I blow my alibi of being a man. My armpits are transparent with sweat and cologne. She is in a dress and I don’t know how to describe it. Shiny. Beautiful. Purple? She tells me I smell like gasoline and I hush her as we crawl into the cannon. The seal is already in there and he doesn’t make a peep, just like we agreed. If the ring leader hosting the show out in the big-top knew we were in here he’d beat me with a big shoe.

We are packed in tight, sealed in total darkness. We are greased with elephant fat to ensure a smooth take-off. The fuse is on its last fibers. Boom. We rocket out of the cannon, me and her hugging this seal, Lucas, the Lord’s most beautiful and slippery creature. We shoot skyward, through the tent and towards the heavens. Cool sky melts behind us and the clowns are screaming from the ground, noisy ants, some red, some black, some in a tiny car. The moon beckons us and with a gust of wind, an exhalation from God, my tuxedo slips off of me and I am revealed for the creature I am: long, gangly, greasy, young, and eager. My father died in that tuxedo, caught on the wrong end of a black market pancake deal gone sour, but I will die without it. Her dress is torn in two and she grips Lucas the seal, nude and free and joyous. We lock eyes as the world becomes a period and we know we have transcended the finality of our terrestrial bind. Lucas balances a beach ball on his nose. It does not waver in the two-hundred mile-per-hour wind. Good seal.

We are Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve and Lucas the seal. We kiss passionately over Mercury and the hairs on our neck stand up. Is it the magic moment? Is this the hand of God urging us to a new universe, beckoning us to populate it? I feel we have defied physics, because how can fireworks exist in outer space? Or is it the heat of the sun’s rays igniting our epidermis? The flames grow stronger and the almighty sun engulfs our field of vision. Pure yellow, pure red, pure fire. Lucas’s blood boils and the steam smells of berries. The stench hits me and I know how wrong I was. We are no Adam and Eve. We are Icarus. The heat rays make contact with the thick layer of cologne on my skin and with a Devil's handshake they merge, lighting my acne-scarred skin on fire. Pure hellfire licks my face and body. We are a shooting star. We are a ball of light, pure energy, pure wonder, pure pain, an unbreakable bond glued together by our mutual enjoyment of a Motion City Soundtrack song. I sniff and realize she was right all along: I do smell like gasoline. My lady and I are blinded and we embrace, knowing our fate is to be broiled on the surface of the sun.

Those, sir, are my intentions with your daughter. I hope that you will trust her with me during tonight’s homecoming dance.

"Am I the Guy?"

Am I the guy you’ve been waiting your whole life for?
Am I the guy you take home to mom and dad?
Am I the guy you brag to your friends about?
-Oh he’s just the greatest; he can eat so many wax candles.

Am I the guy inspiring your diary entries?
-Dear diary, he did it again! He shot an ear of corn out of his nose.
-Dear diary, he made me a birthday card out of skunk skin. Prince Charming!
Am I the guy your friends talk about when you all gorge yourselves on stolen tomatoes?

Am I the guy you think about before bed?
Am I the guy who sends you pictures of hot dogs cut to look like penises?
Am I the guy who talks to your socks?
Am I the guy you wrote that psychology paper about?

Am I the guy you text your friends about?
-Just wanted to say, he smells like rotten seafodd
-I think he might sleep in a dumpster
-Sorry, seafood* in the one from before

Am I the guy who stinks up your apartment?
Am I the guy who clogs your shower with blood clots?
Am I the guy who eats everything in your pantry and sneaks out the back window before you even wake up?
Am I the guy who sugars your gas tank because you told me you like sweets?

Am I the guy you write letters about to your dead grandma’s skeleton?
Am I the guy you lie to your dog about?
Am I the guy who has been eating your dog’s food?
Seriously, all that food is gone and my breath stinks and I have a stomach ache. I've found evidence of all of the above things and I really worried I'm the guy who has been doing them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"iLearn That Life is Not a Game"


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Come On, Dad, We're Just Trying to Hang Out"

On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him. (Genesis 17:23)

Hey guys,

I’m writing this just to say that I’m really sorry about what happened at the sleepover last Saturday. It was just terrible timing, and I swear my dad is usually pretty cool. I'm not sure what got into him. He usually uses that little knife just to slice vegetables to put in this really killer pasta salad. I know I said we'd play some card games and eat snacks, but sometimes things don’t go as planned and, hey, what can you do? It was just as traumatizing for me as it was for you when my father burst into the basement with his scalpel and started chanting, "Time to peel some ding-dongs." Hopefully one day we will come to laugh about the sadistic look on my dad's face when he told us he was not playing a prank. So we’re all a little lighter in the loins, but at least it looks pretty sleek, right? My girlfriend, Rebecca, told me it looks less like a serpent now, which it pretty cool.

I would like to invite you all over next Friday to atone for the horrors we endured. There will be truth-or-dare, a basket of tomatoes, and on the off-chance my dad decides to stomp on our balls or something, I will ask that you wear a protective cup.


Monday, August 29, 2011

"The Chopper"

Lieutenant Colonel Dale Erickson had been in the shit for six years. He’d known nothing but jungle, mud, sweat, blood, and death, and he thought about home and his sweet Darlene every second of every day. A transport chopper was touching down soon, but he had not be commanded to board it yet. He cleaned his rifle in silence at camp.

“Erickson,” said Major General Lance Rogers, “suit up. You’re going home. Get on that thing quick because we won't get another for six months.”

Erickson stood at attention and saluted. His face was a slate, but inside he felt an aircraft carrier had been lifted from his heart. He gathered his things and said his goodbyes to his men.

“Goodbye and good luck,” he said to Pvt. Scott Lucian.

“You have served your country well, soldier,” he said to Pvt. Chris Finnigan.

“You have shown great courage,” he said to Pvt. Chip Freely.

“Oh, Lieutenant?” said Chip Freely.

“Yes, soldier?”

“Remember a while ago we talked about that chicken restaurant in Amarillo?”

“I don’t remember. Can you please be brief, Freely? My chopper is lifting off in three minutes.”

“Sure. You've got to get this because this chicken is so delicious. They've got wings and thighs and grilled breasts, and every kind of seasoning you can imagine. Just chicken. Nothing but chicken. Well I just wanted to tell you that I realized the directions I had given you were wrong. I told you to make a left when you got off at exit ten, from Interstate 40, but it just hit me the other day, totally out of the blue, that it’s off exit fourteen, not ten! And you actually need to take a right at the stop. And then… Are you getting all of this?”

“Sure, whatever. Please be brief, soldier.”

“Oh, okay, no problem. It’ll absolutely be worth it for this chicken. So once you take a right you’re going to go about, oh, I don’t know, six miles? No, more like eight miles down the road. Actually, it might be closer to ten. Does that sound right? Ten whole miles? Either way, you’re going to have to make a left into this confusing little turn lane, and then… Are you getting all of this? Should I slow down?”

Lt. Col. Dale Erickson watched his transport helicopter lift off and fly towards home.

“Lieutenant? Are you still listening? This is going to be important, because remember, they close pretty early, so you don’t want to get lost.”

“Please be quiet,” said Lt. Col. Erickson, staring at the empty sky. “I am a vegetarian.”

"Michael Bay GPS"

Dear TomTom,

I am writing you in regard to anincident I recently had with your XXL 540TM model GPS system. The device worked fine for the first three weeks I had it, and it successfully navigated my wife and me to some weekend getaways, even in off-the-beaten-path locations. However, last Saturday, while I was driving my son to his baseball game, Derek scrolled through the Voice Settings options and selected one called Michael Bay. Suddenly our route, which was only five miles from home, was radically altered. I took this to be a live traffic update and followed Mr. Bay’s tense voice, assuming that he was leading us around some congestion at the main entrance to Ungerman Park, but the next thing I knew we were on the highway and the Bay voice was barking at me to “Drive faster,” or “Drive into oncoming traffic, you pussy.” Because of your company’s products’ stellar reviews on, I trusted the voice and found myself shoving the gas pedal practically through the floor of my Honda Odyssey, barreling towards screaming commuters at ninety-five miles an hour. The voice then led me on a winding course through the city, where he somehow located four plate glass windows being moved across streets and directed me to crash through them. Mr. Bay’s voice kept rising and I could sense sadistic joy in him when he told me to “Crush those fruit stands like bugs,” and “Drive on the sidewalk; it’ll be badass.” The police began tailing me at this point, on land and in the air, but instead of asking me to slow down, Mr. Bay said, “The choppers are here! Time to put on a show, hot shot,” and sent me flying through the air over a parting drawbridge. Mr. Bay wouldn’t slow down, his voice blasting out of him like machine gun bullets. This went on for an hour. By the time I ran out of gas, I was in the parking lot of the Johnson Space Center and Mr. Bay was instructing me to attach my minivan to a space shuttle. He also told me that he had made “deals” and that my “weaponry” would be arriving soon. I sat there stunned, staring at Derek, considering the trail of destruction I had just caused acting as the powerless pawn of Michael Bay's commanding voice.

When we finally returned home the baseball game had ended, but my son’s respect for me was blooming. I have never felt like more of a man. My wife was furious with her trashed minivan, but she loves the new stones I have developed in my sack. Thank you, Michael Bay voice, for making a man of me. And I also blame all of the deaths I caused on him.

Is there a way I can have Mr. Bay's voice guide me in other areas of my life? He mentioned having access to hard drugs, plastic explosives, and "loose, young women," and I feel as though my stature at the office would really rise if I had Mr. Bay's voice instructing me, perhaps encouraging me to speak my mind or destroy some copiers.

Thanks for pumping up my deflated balls,
Martin Gant

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Cool Cats and Fat Rats"

Terrence tried to cover the hole in his bedsheet with his bathroom towel, but that, too, had a hole in it. “We have a minor rat problem,” he said. “But, I mean, don’t worry. They don’t have any diseases or anything. At least none that humans can get.”

Terrence sat on the edge of his bed next to Vivian, the freshman he had just failed to please sexually. “It’s fine,” Vivian said, monotone. “I always dreamed my first time would be with an audience of rodents.” She looked at the wall. "That's a cool photo of Bon Iver. Did you take it?"

"Yeah. Well, sort of. I clipped it out of the New York Times, so basically."

Vivian had only moved to school four weeks ago and was racing to catch up with the style that would make her cool. In high school she was a doormat and in college she was determined to blossom into a vintage, thrift store doormat. She wore pink, pleated high-waisted shorts that she had selected because they were the ugliest pair in the store, and from what she had observed from the palest girl with the thickest glasses in her Women’s Literature class, that made them the best.

A few flies swirled around Terrence’s collection of LPs the same way guests did: they were searching for the record player that did not exist.

“We set off a bug bomb last week,” said Terrence. “Me and my roommate, Kyle. You should meet him; he grows his own spices.”

“Where is he now? He’s never here.”

“He’s filming an experimental documentary about yeast.”

“Does he know much about yeast?”

“He knows enough.”

A cockroach that the FDA would consider a serving of meat scurried across Vivian’s $140 used Keds.

“Listen,” said Terrence. “I think we need to talk.”

A hummingbird-sized moth fluttered to the dim overhead light. Vivian stared at it. “Does Robin Williams live here, too?”


“Your house is totally Jumanji-fied. You know, the movie?”

“Oh, right. Was that by Wim Wenders?”


“We’ll talk about that later. I need to ask you something. We’ve been seeing each other for what, two weeks now?”

“Yeah, ever since we both bought those organic apples from the farmer’s market.”

“The best seven dollars I ever spent. I just need to know, what are we?”

“Like as people?”

“No, like us. What is going on with us? This is my last semester before I graduate and start the rest of my life writing intelligent screenplays that will reignite Hollywood, and I just need to know where we stand so I can properly evaluate my life at this key transitional stage.”

“I think we’re just… I don’t know…”

“I don’t want to start writing my screenplays until I know where we stand.”

“You haven’t written any?”

“I have notes. Are we official? Boyfriend and girlfriend? Together? A couple? An item? A fling? A hook-up?”

“I haven’t thought about it.”

“Look at this. I made a Venn diagram. It shows us. You’re this circle and I’m this one and in the middle is what we have in common. The only thing I could think to put in there was ‘brown hair.’ But I know there’s way more in here, but I just think we’re going to have to really try to find those things out.”

A rat tugged a loaf of bread past Terrence’s dresser and neither he nor Vivian noticed it.

“So what are you saying?”

Terrence crawled off the bed and got on one knee. His kneecap drove straight through the rat’s head. Blood stained his cut-off blue jeans and leaked onto his frail legs.

“Shit,” he said. “I’ll deal with that later. Vivian, what I want to know is, will you marry me?”

As Terrence opened the ring box, a support beam creaked above him. Vivian looked up and saw a crack forming in the ceiling. Terrence’s gaze was locked on Vivian’s eyes. The crack grew exponentially, birthing generations of tributaries in an instant. The cracks spread and squealed, past the dirty ceiling fan and across mildewed patches. Vivian was too stunned to move. With an explosive crash, a two-ton rat the size of a Buick burst from the ceiling, dropping like an anvil onto Terrence. Terrence exploded on impact, sending blood and bits of undigested frozen organic pizza onto his Animal Collective poster. When Vivian ran outside, the rat stared at her, uninterested, idly chewing on a rotten cat.

The Center for Animal Control found thousands of rodents living in the attic of Terrence’s hipster heaven. In fact, the orange house Terrence rented was the Kingdom of the Rats, a mecca for rodents and roaches looking to feast on locally-grown produce and vegan burritos. For a rat with a taste for over-priced groceries, 589 North Milledge Avenue was the place to be. When Terrence’s flattened body was lowered into its three-inch grave, Vivian sat in her dormitory and said to her roommate Jessica, “I mean he was kind of cool because he was older and mature and I really considered saying yes for a second before than big-ass rat fell on him, but honestly his record collection was kind of cliché.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

"The Wife"

There is a myth from Native Americans of the Northwest called “The Man Who Married the Eagle.”

-Hey, man, can you step over here for a second?
-Sure thing. Is there something wrong with my gear?
-No, buddy, it’s not that. Some of the guys have been talking and we don’t want you to feel uncomfortable, but this trip is supposed to be a guy thing. You know, our time to spelunk into some caves and talk guy stuff. Get away from the old balls and chains.
-Oh my god. I… Is this about Brenda? I really didn’t have a clue. I thought I read the tree bark correctly and it didn't specify...
-It's kind of an assumed thing. It’s just, you know, none of us is really in the mood to deal with her saying her talons are chipping or her beak is getting fat or any sort of cloaca menstrual issues.
-No, no, she’s totally low-maintenance. She can preen herself. And she’s totally down with the guy talk, don’t worry about that. She has a dirtier mind than I do sometimes.
-Well that’s great, but there’s a little more to it. There is also sort of this unwritten rule about this trip where we don’t invite gigantic mythical eagles capable of ripping our heads off. So it sounds like Brenda, who looks to be swallowing a buffalo whole right now, is not on the guest list, if you get what I’m saying.
-Do you want me to ask her to leave? I rode here on her back, so one of you would have to take me home.
-What the hell was that? What is she doing?
-Why are her wings out? Men, prepare the spears!
-Don’t worry! She’s just receiving a telepathic message from her sister eagle gods. What’s that, sweetie? Really? No way.
-Is someone going to die? If one must, please let it be Reg, for he smells of duck.
-No, no. She just heard that Margaret, from over in the Chattahoochee Tribe, has put on some extra pounds. It’s nothing. I’ll go ask Brenda to fly home.
-Wait. Margaret Little Bear is fat? But she was so hot in buffalo hunting school. Does Brenda have any other information like this? Perhaps we could… accommodate her on this trip.
-Brenda is full of juicy gossip and she can also slaughter meaty beasts for us to… Brenda! No! Down! Put him down! Put him down! Bad! I’m so sorry. This is just horrible… He was your brother…
-It’s okay. It was only Reg, and I owed him some money anyway. Allow me to gather some colorful berries to dye our toenails. Brenda! Come here, Brenda and tell us who else has gotten fat!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


WPLX-TV is in trouble. We’re almost out of money and are consistently last in the ratings. This morning’s Nielsen overnights ranked us fifth in total viewers, behind the other three networks as well as a painting of some birds at Jeff Martin’s house, who I guess had a big dinner party.

Our 11pm newscast is a revenue black hole. We have two anchors. Don Mason is illiterate and relies on an earpiece connected to Richard Honeydew, who is blind, who has his newspapers transferred to Braille by Susan Table, deaf, who has news radio broadcasts transcribed for her by Don Mason. I tried to explain how inefficient this is to Don with a clear flowchart, but he couldn’t read it and Richard Honeydew was on vacation. Our other anchor is Charlotte Green, who is dyslexic, allergic to water, or a pyromaniac. It’s two of the three. During a get-to-know-everyone game the fire alarm went off before she could tell us which one was a lie.

Our producer, Scott Chalmers, insists on keeping them around because they have what he calls “bangable faces,” which are “pure ratings gold.” Scott is colorblind. Scott wants to be a Hollywood movie producer and acts like one by putting his stamps in the upper-right hand corner of his envelopes. But I guess everyone does that, not just Hollywood movie producers. Oh, he also sleeps with young actresses, promising to cast them in his projects. They don’t realize until it’s too late that his only project is the 11pm newscast and by casting them he means he will plant cocaine on them and call the police so he can break the news and they will have lead roles on the 11pm broadcast. I guess you could call him a sleazy guy. But don't call him that to his face. To his face he likes to be called Sven.

I have been the associate sports producer since I gave up about three years ago. Technically my job is to secure film of high school football games from fourteen year-old electronic media students, but in reality my job is to sit and think about what I’ve done with my life to wind up here. So I made a few mistakes in college, big deal. Slaughtering fifty bald eagles at the Moore Park Fourth of July Celebration is a crime now? No one alerted me. So sue me if I wanted to bring some exotic and fresh meats to the barbecue. I actually did it to impress Rachel Telephone, who told me she was really into slaughtering endangered birds to eat their meat. Turns out Slaughtering Endangered Birds to Eat Their Meat is the name of a horrendous heavy metal band and the act their name signifies repulses Rachel. Lesson learned.

My only respite from this life is my boat on Lake Hopatcon, a man-made water pit the state says is not suitable for swimming or washing cars. They even say that “Lake Hopatcon is so filthy that defecating into it would only be a disservice to the turd.” The more turds they can get in there, they say, the cleaner it gets. But I enjoy nothing more than lying out there on my boat, surrounded by the grunts and wheezes of diseased wildlife, trying to forget about my work life. The sun slowly poisons my skin with UV radiation and it is wonderful.

I was on my boat last weekend and fell asleep in the sun. I thought I died, but unfortunately when I woke up to a mutant frogbird’s forked tongue flicking my face, I realized I was merely alive and roasted. When I came to work this morning everyone was eager to tell me I had a sunburn as if I hadn’t noticed. Perhaps I’ll start pointing out obvious things about them by saying things like, “Someone’s wearing a shirt,” to Charlotte or “Nice cocaine mustache,” to Scott.

“Nice tomato face,” says Scott.

"You look like Rudolph's nose," says Don. I laugh and he gets deathly serious. "I was talking about Eric Robert Rudolph's nose."

We have story meetings at noon and today Scott wants something big. “We need something exciting, something fresh, something the other stations don’t have,” he says. “Our series on the ugliest dead dogs isn’t taking off like I’d hoped. We’re even losing to Cynthia Price’s talk show.” Cynthia Price is a local mime whose talk show confuses the public.

“How about I shoot myself on air?” I suggest. “I’m tired of being unnoticed and underappreciated.”

“No,” says Scott. “Who would tune in for you dying? No one gives a shit about you.”

“He’s right,” says Charlotte. “It would be like watching a moth die.”

“Besides, you look like a roasted pink baby. Who wants to see a baby commit suicide?”

“Not me,” says Don, taking a momentary break from his full rack of baby back ribs to catch his breath. “I only like to see adults commit suicide.”

“Where’d you get that heinous sunburn anyway?” says Scott.

“My boat.”

Scott rubs his soul patch. “A boat…Could we get your boat in the studio?”

“I guess so.”

“Is it fast? How many horsepower?"


“Fifty horses? That’s not very many.”

“They’re fifty dead horses.”

“So it doesn’t move at all?”


“Huh. Well then I suppose we’ll blast your boat off of a ramp with rockets.”

“What’s in it for me?”

“We could be a ratings hit.”

He sees how little that impresses me by the aggressive way I don't respond.

“And you can paint a message on the side of the boat for when it shoots across the screen. You could confess your love to whichever unfortunate woman you’ve been masturbating to lately.”

We get the boat into the studio by bribing a dozen of the Lake Hopatcon mutated turtlemen to carry it. To disguise them we put then all in trench coats and mustaches, so they are totally inconspicuous; just twelve private investigators hauling a wooden boat down the freeway.

The leader of the turtlemen, Franklin, negotiates our price – fifty dollars and a garbage bag full of collared greens. Luckily Don had ordered a garbage bag full of collared greens as his side item from the barbecue restaurant.

In the studio Scott builds a ramp out of the anchors’ desk and some chairs. “You’ve destroyed the set,” says the set designer.

“You’ve got to break a set to make a set, baby,” says Scott.

“That doesn’t make sense. And don’t call me baby,” says Richard O’Flannagan, our eighty year-old set designer.

“I’ll be calling you Laverne once this stunt gets us to number one.”

Richard walks away hiding a smile, pleased that after seventy-five years of hoping, someone may finally call him Laverne.

The ramp is built and the boat is in position. Cindy Rockets, our county’s #2 rocket saleswoman/stripper rigs up the rockets. The boat is supposed to launch from the weather greenscreen across the newsdesk and land by crashing through the sports desk. Fine by me. I paint the finishing touches on my message just as Scott counts us down from five.

“Good evening, I’m Don Mason.”

“And I’m Charlotte Green. Welcome to the WPLX 11 o’clock news.”

“We’ve got something special in store for you all tonight. Perhaps you’ve seen the promos running all day or perhaps you will see the magazine ads we purchased for this event that will run in four months, but regardless, it’s happening tonight.”

“That’s right. In an attempt to make more of you watch, we are launching a crappy boat through our studio with rockets. But I guess if you're already watching there's not much else we can do. How are we supposed to get other people to watch?"

"Well, Charlotte," says Don, "if we scream loud enough our voices will travel over to channels four and seven. On three, Charlotte."


"...AND TO SEE A HOT GUY IN A SUIT," adds Don.

Scott stands at the Ratings Meter Robot and gives a thumbs-up as its pointy arrow surges upward. He puts on his sunglasses, a signal that means he's either excited or ready to fuck and we should get out of his way unless we want to be fucked, according to last Wednesday's memorandum.

I watch all of this from behind the sports desk. I feel its cheap fiberboard. I smell its manure odor. I taste blood in my mouth. That's not desk-related. That's cold sore-related.

Charlotte lights the rockets just before Scott screams something about waiting until the end of the broadcast so our advertisers will actually pay us. Sparks rain down from my boat. Scott throws down his headset and tries to diffuse the fuses, but ends up burning his hand and falling into the boat. Don and Charlotte hop inside the boat as well, thinking this a golden opportunity to impress acting agents. They smile for the camera and Charlotte improvises, "Look at all of these catfish."

I know I should get up from the sports desk, what with the rocketboat pointing at me and all, but I don't move. It plays in slow motion. Scott waves for me to get out of the way. Sparks explode from the back of the boat. Cindy Rockets climbs in the boat and begins an extremely unappealing striptease. Don and Charlotte pretend to cast fishing lines. Some more people get inside. Our intern, then some truck drivers, then a few baseball players, Derrick the Vampire, and the cartoon character Beetle Bailey. Maybe they’re here to be a part of our station’s history, or maybe they’re here because they got bad directions to the costume party happening next door.

The rocketboat takes off and soars through the air. It's the most successful thing we've ever done. It hangs under the lights for a second. My message, painted onto the side, flashes right in front of the cameras. "I like mine with lettuce and tomatoes; Heinz 57 and french-fried potatoes," it reads. The fact that that was the best thing I could come up with seals it in my mind. I have to leave this planet.

The rocketboat crashes on top of me, all two thousand pounds plus the combined weight of the WPLX-TV evening news staff. I die instantly, my body turned to a pile of fertilizer for the local news.

Scott looks to Don and Charlotte. A beat of silence. They notice the red camera light is still on.

"Good evening," says Don. "We have breaking news. A local sports news anchor has been found dead in the WPLX-TV studio. Who is to blame? This sinister boat, or you for not tuning in more often?"

I see tonight's ratings in real-time because I am a ghost and can do that. We get a 0.8 Adults 18-55, putting us in fourth place behind the other two newscasts and an infomercial about socks you put on over your shoes to keep your shoes warm.

We do beat WFLG-TV, which is airing a documentary on William Jennings Bryan. That guy just can't catch a break.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Climb the Corporate Ladder, You Filthy Intern"

Dear Mom and Dad,

I have learned so much during the first two weeks of my big city summer internship. People up here are so much more complicated than people like Mr. Crowley back home, with his simple mustache and his simpler racism. On my first day Monica, from Human Resources, showed me a very well-produced video, full of cool graphics and special effects, called “Working with Iwerks Financial Corp.” Then she realized I wasn't supposed to see that movie and swapped out the Blu-ray disc for a VHS tape called “Your Office is the Closet, You Filthy, Bottom-Sucking Intern.” That one wasn't as good as the first, and mostly featured this guy Hugh Iwerks yelling at me for lacking any skills.

My supervisor is Jeff Venkman and he calls me Dingleberry Devin and spends a lot of the day shooting paper wasps at me. Occasionally he asks me to fetch something from the printer and inevitably the pages are high-resolution photographs of his testicles. Sometimes I get to enter real data into spreadsheets but it can be difficult when Jeff returns from lunch, throws a handful of cheese on my head and announces to the office, “Who ordered the Devin Parmesan?”

My department, Junior Accounts Processing, is very small. There is an executive, Roger Stojanovic, who is out of the office five days a week to repair decks. I believe he is a full-time deck repairman who is exploiting some sort of technicality to also bank an executive’s paycheck. So it’s just me, Jeff, and a woman named Ashley Semper who insists she tries to make her lunch hour productive by coming up with a new way to kill herself every day, but she always says, right at 1:30, “I tried, but it looks like it’s still going to be the sixth street bridge.” I ask Ashley if there’s any work she wants me to do but the only thing she suggests is that I shoot off an email to her entire address book alerting them of her impending plunge. I believe following her orders would breach my duties, so instead I have been emailing her friends and family dessert recipes, which seem to go over well. She gets responses like, "Turning a new leaf, Ash!" and "It's great to see your recipes no longer include arsenic."

That’s how the first week went, but things got strange in the second. I met a woman who works in Senior Accounts Processing one day in the break room. Her name was Roberta and she seemed different from Jeff and Ashley. She was eating an apple in silence. She didn't say a single sentence about her suicide or throw any processed meats at me. I introduced myself and she was very pleasant and gave me a few projects to work on. Simple things like organizing files and merging customer information, but at that point anything beat staring at my cubicle wall while Jeff stuck hot dogs up his nose and made me call him a walrus.

I tried to keep to myself and work on Roberta’s assignments, but as soon as Jeff and Ashley found out I was working for another department, they began fuming. “This is ridiculous,” Jeff said while Photoshopping his head onto an owl’s body, “he’s our intern and he works for us.” Ashley said, “I can’t believe this. I’ll kill them. I’ll tie them to myself and throw us both over the sixth street bridge.”

Jeff and Ashley tried to steal my time by assigning me tasks like “Run to Europe” and “Go to a baseball game and sort the crowd from tallest to smallest.” “It’s a good learning experience,” said Jeff. “We pros always have to sort baseball crowds.” I ignored them and kept working for Roberta until Ashley sent me an email asking me to retrieve from the printer an actual invoice. A real invoice, for a customer’s loan.

On the way to the printer Roberta saw me. “How are those reports coming?” she said. “Great,” I said. “I’ll finish them up as soon as I get this invoice back to Ashley.” She raised an eyebrow. “To Ashley? You’re working for Ashley now?” “Technically I am in her department.” “Listen,” she said while eyeing Ashley browse, “I have a special project for you. I'm putting you in charge of three accounts.”

I didn't really know what that meant or what exactly I was supposed to do, but Ashley and Jeff got wind of my promotion and assigned me ten accounts. Roberta countered with ten more, so Ashley and Jeff promoted me to manager. Roberta made me a director of the whole state. Ashley and Jeff made me regional manager. Roberta gave me a company car. Ashley and Jeff gave me unlimited use of the helicopter. Roberta met with the board of directors and convinced them that I shouldn't be working for Jeff and Ashley. Two days ago they made me an offer. So, mom and dad, I'm now Chief Executive Officer of Iwerks Financial Corporation and I still haven't learned how to make an outgoing phone call.

So now I have a big corner office with a comfortable chair and my own snack bar. I haven't done any executive officing yet but tomorrow I'm getting a check for $68,000. The only thing I've done so far made for a real tense moment. Because I'm so new to this and I haven't really been trained, I had to ask Jeff and Ashley for help.

"Hey guys," I said.

"Hey, Chief Dingleberry," said Jeff.

"I have a quick question about something."

Ashley said, "Is it the printer again? That thing makes me want to shoot myself."

"No, it's not the printer. I was wondering if you guys could tell me how to lay someone off."

"Like Roberta?" said Jeff. "Just tell her to pack her intern-stealing butt up and leave. Or just stare at her until she gets it."

I just stared back at them. I stared for nine minutes until they got it. Jeff and Ashley packed up their desks and left. Just before he walked out the door, Jeff stopped, turned to look at me, and threw one last Slim Jim at me. It hit my cheek really hard. Half of me felt it was a nice bookend to our relationship and the other half felt like it was just some random asshole throwing a Slim Jim at me.

So I guess I'm CEO so I won't be home when school starts up again, unless someone can explain to me how to resign.

CEO (?) Iwerks Financial Corp.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Gym Tour"

-Hey, I’m new to the area and I’m wondering if I can get a guest pass or a trial membership before I commit to joining.
-Sure thing! Just fill this out and I’ll be happy to give you a tour of the gym.
-Oh, that’s okay. I’ll figure it out. Looks pretty standard.
-Excuse me?
-I've been to gyms before. The equipment is all basically the same. Thanks, but I don't need a tour.
-No, no. Let me to show you around. As you can see, we have cardio equipment over there.
-Right, and free weights on the other side. I got it.
-And what?
-What else do we have?
-That's it. Cardio and weights.
-And we have birds over there.
-Past the weight room we have a large area full of birds. Some are hungry and some are full. We have pelicans and robins and next week we're getting in a shipment of vultures. You may use them to exercise however you like. Would you like me to explain the cardio equipment, Mr. I Don’t Need a Tour?
-I mean…you have treadmills and ellipticals and stair machines. I can figure it out, thanks.
-Right, you got it. That’s all we have. Just some puny machines, the same junk as everywhere else. Oh wait, did I mention we also have a wide variety of endangered bats, each one in its own briefcase?
-I don’t understand. Bats?
-Do you speak sonar?
-Then of course you don’t understand bats. Now I take it you also don’t need a tour of the weight room because you are the world’s leading expert in weight room design? The Frank Lloyd Wright of pumping iron?
-I never said that.
-Your name is Frank Lloyd Ferrigno, is it now?
-Well, Mr. Ferrigno, we have a wide selection of dumbbells, benches, squat racks, and isolation machines.
-And what else? Let me guess, there’s a bear behind that wall?
-Sir, this is not the set of Let’s Make a Deal, so please refrain from guessing what is located behind walls.
-There’s nothing weird about the weight room?
-Oh. Well I’d like to work out now.
-Nothing weird unless you consider a dozen hemophiliac panda bears kept in a pen lined with Gillette Mach 6 razors weird.
-You know what? Thank you for your time, but this just isn't the right fit and I think I’m going to find a place to work out that’s run more like a gym and less like a zoo.
-Oh are you now? Let me tell you right now, man to man, that that is a mistake. Good luck getting your biceps to grow with chin-ups on something that isn't a giraffe's neck.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"A Good Man Is Hard to Serve"

Oh hot dog am I in some hot water. Six fat men just took my sofa and I couldn’t do a thing about it. I tried to stop the burly meatball men but one of them crumpled up my ad and threw it at my face while another took an anchovy out of his pocket and slapped me with it. My house is hollow now, devoid of furniture and life and I am left to stare at it through my telescope from my pizza parlor, or as I now call it, home. Earlier this morning I said goodbye to my wife and two daughters as I loaded them into trunks and shipped them up north. I am left here in my restaurant, engulfed by posters for my biggest blunder of a promotion yet. $9.99 for a large pie with any two toppings, it says. Was it naive of me to trust the public to choose two food items? Was I wrong to assume Mr. Scott Frampton would desire, say, pepperoni or mushrooms, instead of the makings of this humble restaurateur’s life? I am writing fine print on all of the existing posters to prevent this from happening again. “Toppings exclude homes and families.” Oh look, there’s Susan Montag! One of my most loyal and finest customers. Perhaps cooking a pizza and serving it to a happy customer and friend is just what I need to reverse my spirits. I will continue writing in a minute.

Jesus fucking Christ. People are animals. I don’t have a car or a pair of pants anymore.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"The Proposal"

KIM: Sarah, we saw the video Bryan posted online and that is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.
CYNTHIA: I would kill for a guy to propose to me like that!
SARAH: I know, it was nice.
KIM: Nice? He wrote out how much he loves you by laying thousands of photos of you two out on a field, then took you in a hot air balloon to see it!
CYNTHIA: It’s so romantic. When is the wedding?
SARAH: Oh, well I didn’t exactly say yes.
KIM: You’re kidding, right?
CYNTHIA: You have to be kidding.
SARAH: I know it was a nice gesture, but it doesn’t really erase the fact that Bryan killed my dad.
KIM: You have to get over that. It was three months ago.
CYNTHIA: I’d let a guy kill my whole family to get a proposal like that.
SARAH: It’s just a little complicated. You’ve got to remember that Bryan was in an insane asylum for sixteen years after he went on that rampage murdering sorority girls with a power drill.
KIM: But he played your favorite song when the hot air balloon took off! I’m just saying, if you look for the flaws, the flaws will seem bigger than they are.
SARAH: I’m just saying it may take a little more from him to balance out cutting my dad’s head off.
CYNTHIA: Oh my god, check your phones. Look what he put on Twitter.
KIM: It says he’s on the prowl for victims at make-out point.
CYNTHIA: Update the feed.
KIM: Oh my god! He says he can’t live another moment without you! He says he wants to marry you and he’ll slaughter high schoolers for you!
CYNTHIA: What are you doing?
SARAH: I’m tweeting Yes. You guys are right. He may have some faults, but I can’t let this kind of fairy-tale romance pass me by.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"I'm Glad I Didn't Die When I Was 12"

Matthew David Burns, 12, passed away Tuesday after choking on two Swiss Cake Rolls while watching video game reviews on G4TV. Mr. Burns attended Webb Bridge Middle School where he received average grades and was often asked by teachers to change seats due to his loud comments about other students’ penises. His teachers remembered him as “seemingly unwashed,” “lewd,” and “generally a dusty guy who left a trail of powdery dandruff between his two favorite haunts, the cafeteria and the restroom.” Matt was a proud member of the GameStop Power Up Rewards club. According to Matt, his biggest accomplishment was a piece of feces he produced in 2002 which “looked like the letter S.” Matt had so much potential to excel at the fast food jobs he was destined for. Due to the unexpected nature of Matt’s death, he did not leave funeral preparations and our only record of his final thoughts is his Internet history, which implies his final days were hedonistic and disturbing. He is being buried in a customized sleeping bag-size Stridex pad, which will hopefully erase some of his grease so his rotting corpse is less appetizing to underground bugs. Funeral services will be held at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church on Monday at 2pm. Fumigation and a bacterial cleanse of anything that came into contact with Matt’s filthy carcass will begin at 5pm. Matt is survived by his parents and brother, Rob, who is looking forward to the upstairs smelling better. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you keep Matt’s spirit alive by wasting $15 on used Gamecube games.

Friday, May 27, 2011

"She Makes a Good Burger"

Up next on the auction block we have Paula Deen, a real sturdy lady who could provide meat for your family for months. She has been butter-fed for nearly her entire life, subsisting on a rich diet of creams, cream sauces, and fried dough, which give her meat pristine marbling and a wonderfully full flavor. She has been allowed to roam naturally throughout the southeastern United States, filling her maw with free-flowing sweet tea, troughs of biscuits with sausage gravy, and rivers of cheese grits, in which she stands nude and catches trout with her mouth. She bathes in natural lemonade springs and grazes on wild mozzarella sticks. Twice a day we shoot a dozen cheese hot dogs at her out of an air cannon.

She will provide several dozen steaks or hundreds of pounds of ground Paula. Personally, I would roast her on a rotisserie over a metal garbage can, so her meat would cook in its own oils, her skin browning to a beautiful golden crisp, and if you catch the drippings you could use them to heat your home for the winter. Her meat requires no marinades or seasonings, as it has been sugared and salted internally for over sixty years. Paula Deen steaks or burgers should be paired with a baked potato and a bucket of peanut oil to sip.

Additionally, Paula’s artificially-tanned hide would make an excellent teepee or throw blanket.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Dear Dev Patel"

Dear Dev Patel,

I just want to say thank you, from both me and my wife. Thank you for being an excellent actor and role model for teens entering the entertainment industry, but most of all thank you for helping me last longer sexually.

The thought and image of you have aided in prolonging my orgasms for the past three years. It’s not that you are unattractive or repulsive, but it’s more that you exist in my mind outside the realm of the erotic. You are a solid actor and seem like a quality guy, and images of you running down the crowded streets of Mumbai in Slumdog Millionaire or images I have seen in magazines of you just standing around in a field help take my mind off the sex act I am in long enough to bring my wife to a simultaneous orgasm. Without your help, I would finish far too early and would leave Laura constantly disappointed.

Sometimes I make up images of you to help me keep going, like one of you riding an elephant or walking on a tightrope. On my and my wife’s thirty-second anniversary I cooked up a whole scene of you snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef that made me last about five extra minutes. I know that it was a younger actor playing your character, but I often use the scene from Slumdog Millionaire when Jamal falls through the floor of the outdoor toilet into a large pile of human excrement. That one can be dangerous, though, because a couple of times I have imagined it in too much detail and was not able to continue having intercourse.

Last year I had an artist at Walt Disney World sketch up a cartoonish caricature of your face which is now hanging above my headboard. I stare at it, into your bulging elephant ears and over your buck teeth, passing through your miniature beady eyes and explosive bush of hair, while I relentlessly pound my wife, thanking you with each thrust for keeping our sex life and marriage alive.

Keep doing what you’re doing,
George W. Bush

Monday, May 23, 2011

"The Vasectomy Pact"

Our pink skin was thin and raw and wrinkled. We had been hot tubbing for six hours, soaking up our last summer together, the one before college, cooking like lobsters by the kiddie pool at the Embassy Suites in Myrtle Beach. “I’ll be living on a co-ed hall,” said Mike, “and I’m going to bone all the girls. I’ll tell them my name is Dave and say I have a record deal.” We all nodded. It was a flawless plan. “Once we’re college guys all those girls on the beach will want us so bad,” Paul said, referring to the dozens of sunbathing girls who gave us the same attention they gave pelicans. In high school we were ponies, tucking our perpetually stiff manhoods into banana peels and pillows, but in college we were going to be studs, stallions ready to mount every babe who couldn’t resist our uneducated sexuality that was finally ready to be unleashed after seventeen years of fermentation.

The sound of children overtook our gurgling tub. Four young girls burst like wild cats through the gate and cannonballed, penciled, and belly-flopped into the deep end, instantly turning still water to rapids. Moments later came a dad, weighed down with bags of beach toys and towels and responsibility. We looked him over and saw tired eyes, boogie boards wrapped around his shoulders like ammunition belts in his constant war on his daughters’ boredom, and pink towels with television stars’ faces draped over his arms. He was covered in logos, a Nascar sponsored by Disney and Dreamworks. He collapsed into a beach chair, muttered, “Girls, don’t run…” and closed his eyes. He looked like a corpse. We were silent. We had all taken Sex Ed twice. In sixth grade we laughed about the names of the double-dutch jump ropes that connect our balls to our body and in ninth grade we laughed at pictures of cauliflower-STDs that made the female crotch look like an item you'd avoid at the Applebee’s salad bar. We knew you could get a girl pregnant if you didn’t use a condom or yank it out in the nick of time and fire a bullseye onto her belly button like Scott Porter from Walnut Creek told us to do, but we had never thought about this side of sex. We didn’t think about kids, we just wanted to pull up a seat to the all-you-can-screw buffet. We fantasized about all-night championship fuckfests, not afternoons at the pool wishing for death. We must have stared at the dad for five minutes. He just kept rubbing his eyebrows over and over. When he noticed us he unwrapped the Demi Lovato turban from his leathery face, looked every one of us in the eyes and said, “Cut your balls off, guys. Cut your fucking balls off.”

Room 1602 had only one blender, so we decided to go in alphabetical order. Alan, nude, climbed up onto the counter and squatted over the clear plastic pitcher, dangling his junk just above the blades, carefully holding his penis out of the way because it would be a tragedy to hurt this penis that was so close to pleasing so many women. He was a catcher hovering his balls over home plate, a disgruntled Jamba Juice employee about to make the world’s worst grape smoothie. He gave the signal, two fingers for frappe, and braced himself when there was a knock on the door. Dan opened it just a crack, but Maria Vasquez saw enough of Alan’s stance to say, “That blender will cost $300 to replace.” Dan said, “Okay, sorry,” and shut the door. Alan crawled down from the counter. We came up with a much cheaper plan while making a round of banana smoothies.

Chris found the hair dryer under the sink. All six of us stood on the edge of the balcony with our swimsuits at our ankles and stuffed our scrotums between the rails. We passed the hair dryer down the row and heated our bags until they drooped and stretched away from us, our nuts running past the rail bars like prison escapees. Our sacks must have dangled seventy or eighty feet. Paul, standing on the far right side, reeled his scrotum over his elbow and wrist the way a roadie coils up a microphone cable until he had the whole mass in his hands. He was a mother nursing an armful of hairy pizza dough. He found his balls and we all nodded, agreeing that the time was right for our testes to die. He threw his balls over the railing and they accelerated towards earth, a pair of stinky asteroids making lightning flashes of pink in the windows of a hundred vacationing families. His nuts made contact with mine, then mine with Alan’s, then Alan’s with Chris’s, then Chris’s with Dan’s, then finally Dan’s with Mike’s, whose nuts went soaring into the air in a gasping arc until they fell again and began the cycle once more by colliding with Dan’s balls. To the kids riding skimboards the Embassy Suites must have looked like a giant executive’s desk toy, our dangling scrotums clacking into each other, transferring perpetual energy from one set of testes to the next. Each smack caused a dull pain, but with it the satisfaction of knowing that dead nuts would mean carefree lady banging. This lasted maybe fifteen minutes until the cycle abruptly stopped when an old woman on the eighth floor grabbed Mike’s scrotum and said something we could barely make out about there not being a taffy-pulling machine here when she was a girl. Mike yanked his beans out of her hands and as the sun set and the temperature dropped our scrotums rose, inverse thermometers crawling towards us containing testicles that were bruised pale and dark yellow. Sure, our scrotums looked like sandwich baggies full of Grey Poupon, but as far as we could tell they could still make us dads.

The previous three days we had eaten at the breakfast buffet at 10 o’clock, but on Friday we were there when it opened at 7:30 so we could catch the older, blinder vacationers. We all snuck under the pleated skirt of the serving table, cramped inside the pitch-dark cockpit, paratroopers anticipating the launch that would change our lives. Chris cut the six holes in the table with his Scout’s pocket knife, then stabbed through the piping hot chafing dishes. We knew our targets were probably deaf, but we stayed silent under the table. Our check-out was in two hours and we were determined to return home sans testicles. I gave the signal. We rolled over into handstand position and stuffed our balls through the holes and into the serving dish full of hard boiled eggs. We were acrobats in top form and now we just had to wait for the audience to come in. Mike was the first to get a bite. He winced at the tug, bit down hard on a spoon, then looked relieved as he rolled right-side up and stuffed a wadded-up napkin down his pants. One by one we each got chosen, our burden of potential fatherhood relieved of us by the hungry seniors of Myrtle Beach. We emerged from the table with bulges in our pants, wads of bloodied napkins exaggerating our manhood, and saw six visually-impaired elderly women peeling, salting, and nibbling on our fertile nuts, alternating bites with sips of grapefruit juice.

We walked out of the hotel with off-balance limps and the confidence that only comes with a promise of a lifetime of responsibility-free fucking. “What girl wouldn’t do us?” said Dan on the drive home. “We can’t get them pregnant. We’re dildos that can take them out to dinner. I bet I nail five the first week.”

Sixty years later we all died at our high school reunion. We formed a human pyramid to impress some old flames into having sex with us when our brittle bones snapped and we collapsed into a heap of dead old virgins. It was only produce and socks that had ever pleased our lonely sterile penises, left on stage to sing a capella, ditched by their rhythm sections, their backup singers. We avoided parenthood and we never became the man weighed down by the accessories of his coitus. We stayed carefree eunuchs with successful careers, but did we ever become men? We thought that the only way to take the weight off of our shoulders was to take the balls out of our sacks. We wanted to bang girls but the thought of caring for little ones was too much to handle back then when our nuts were holding us back instead of driving our lives forward. We did succeed in never having kids but what we didn’t know then was that the best way to prevent a pregnancy is to mangle your genitals so badly that women would rather take you to the doctor than have sex with you. Don't feed your balls to old women in Myrtle Beach. Ladies aren't aroused by empty beanbags.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"48 Hours in Heaven"

An excerpt from 48 Hours in Heaven: A Businessman’s Remarkable Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
By My Dad

Heaven? Was that the 23rd? Yeah, right before Charlotte. I was in and out of meetings all day, so I didn’t really see any of the sights. The hotel had a decent gym.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Our Hens"

Our hens are not kept in cages and they are free to roam. Our hens are fed a certified organic version of all-natural, all-vegetarian hen feed. Our hens are protected from harsh sunlight by wearing customized tuxedos designed by Isaac Mizrahi. Our hens are provided with shade, shelter, and an exercise area consisting of ellipitcals, treadmills, three swimming pools, and a large selection of free weights. Each hen is assigned its own NASM-certified personal trainer to produce natural, steroid-free muscles on our customized chicken bench presses. To help cope with the potential emotional stress of the bulking process, our hens have a staff of body image counselors on-call 24/7 to strengthen the most essential element in a delicious egg: self-esteem. On Tuesdays the hens are fed lobsters.

Our sixteen chicken farmers live in one 4’x6’ cage where they eat dirty corn and discarded shoes. The hens humiliate us by doing offensive impressions of humans based on nasty stereotypes. They united and overthrew us two years ago. We never should have given them the organic feed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Hawthorne Effect"

-Hey, baby, come on inside. You look smashing.
-Why are you talking with a British accent?
-What? This is how I always talk. Come into the bedroom.
-What is all of this stuff doing here? Since when do you light candles?
-I am a man of romance, baby. This is par for the course. I always do stuff like this.
-You’ve never had roses like this. They’re nice, though. I have to go to the bathroom.
-I’ll be waiting in here reading a play by William Shakespeare.
-The toilet wouldn’t flush, so – why are you wearing a tuxedo? Where did you get that French hat? And why does that bonsai tree have a red light and a power cord running out of it?
-Baby, baby, baby. Shh. Forget the material world and fall into my realm of passion.
-Are you reading that from a script?
-Of course not, babe. Poetic words cascade to my brain whenever you are near.
-You keep looking at the floor. You’re reading from a script.
-Shh. Script, no script, it’s all romance to me.
-That doesn’t even make sense. Hey, I was thinking we should get a little crazy tonight and have sex in my car.
-What? But we always have sex in my nest of love.
-So let’s mix it up. Come on.
-Well...Can I bring my bonsai tree? I can’t have sex without it near. I’ll put it in the front seat.
-You need the bonsai tree?
-Yeah, the doctor prescribed help make my penis a little shorter. Because usually it's too long.
-No it isn't. Why do you keep looking at the tree when you talk? You’re acting weird. I think I’m going to go home and we can try this again tomorrow.
-A cliffhanger! Adieu, mon amour!
-Did you photoshop these pictures on the wall? You’ve never been to Egypt.

"Ask Dr. Steve"

Ask Steve Sharpe a mathematical stumper! Dr. Sharpe holds a PhD in Mathematics from Stanford University.

Q: A box contains two coins. One coin has heads on both sides. The other coin has heads on one side and tails on the other. A coin is selected at random, and the face of one side is observed. If the face is heads, what is the probability that the other side is heads?
-Rich Vinino, New Jersey

A: Let’s label the double-headed coin “Head 1” and “Head 2,” for each side. Then the regular coin we’ll call “Head” and “Tails.” So we have an equal chance of seeing any of these faces: 1 in 4 for each. Then in the puzzle, you see one of the heads which eliminates…Hey, what’s going on over there? Stop that! Put that down! That’s my TV! Oh come on. I can’t believe this. I just bought that TV! I guess I was so focused on these coins I didn't hear him come in. He left a note. Wait a second…Thanks for the TV and Good Luck with the Math Problem, Love, Rich Vinino? You’ve got to be kidding me. This is what I get for helping you idiots understand basic math? Well, for your information the answer is two out of three and also you cut your arm on my window and I’m going to sequence your DNA and find you and there’s also a 66% chance I steal your identity, Rich Vinino, because I can easily do that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"The Conversation That Led to Jigsaw Murdering Another Nine People"

-Mr. Kramer, I see that you have rented several abandoned warehouses from us before.
-You guys are the best.
-And our records show that in most of those rentals you imprisoned seemingly innocent people in horrific traps where they were forced to inflict horrendous physical pain on themselves or face death.
-Possibly once or twice.
-Looks here like you’ve done that every time.
-That was just a phase I was in. The warehouse I would like to rent today is for storing my baseball cards.
-This warehouse is half a mile long.
-I have a lot of cards. Many complete Topps sets.
-Six months ago you said your rental was to house your collection of vintage motorcycles, yet at the end of your lease we found only a dozen mangled corpses.
-That was all a misunderstanding. I assure you, this one is for my baseball cards and other sports memorabilia.
-So no murders this time?
-Probably not.
-Okay, then. You’ve got yourself a warehouse! Would you like to purchase the insurance plan to cover your back in case someone dies while browsing through your cards?
-I guess so.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"The Savings Add Up in the End"

26-cent cereal: Kroger’s savings gets you big discounts

Kashi Cereals: All varieties of Kashi Cereals are on sale for $2.49 (regularly priced at $3.29). Go to the Special Offers page on and sign up for the email newsletter to print a 75-cent coupon immediately, bringing the cost to $1.74 per box. There is also a coupon available in last Sunday’s Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio good for 20 cents off, so track that down to bring the total to $1.54. Another 25-cent coupon is available from Al Fleet who lives under an oak tree in Decatur. He will give you the coupon in exchange for two toes or one finger, your choice, which brings the total down to $1.29. Next, mail your first-born child to P.O. Box 113, Barth, Nevada. I do not know who operates this, but I do know from experience that you will receive a 50 cent coupon in return. The age of your child does not matter, as he or she accepted my 19 year-old whom I sent via DHL because they currently have a deal on 140lb crates.

To get that final $.53 savings, there is an exclusive one-time offer available from the Devil himself, Lord Satan. Find any crossroads in the woods and wait at midnight for Satan to offer you a contract for the eternal damnation of your entire family's souls in exchange for the 53-cent coupon good for two boxes of cereal. Sign the contract. But there are even more savings because he will give you two more coupons if you bring him a horse's severed head. To do this, you want to find a small-scale farm without security cameras. Climb into the stable and approach from behind. You may take a few kicks to the chest and face, but you're going to have to tough it out and take those broken ribs in stride. Find a large rock or cinder block and throw it at the horse's head to knock it out, being careful to stay quiet so as to not wake up the owners. Mount the horse and use your CutCo 10" Santoku-Style bread slicer knife (for which I posted a $10 coupon last week) to saw through the fur, muscled neck, and thick spinal cord. Blood will shower you and maybe some will get in your mouth, but keep going, knowing that this cereal discount is just so great. Return to the crossroads, tired and soiled with blood, with the decapitated head and offer it to the Lord Satan by placing it on the ground, assuming all fours, and barking like a dog. If He is satisfied with the size and color of the horse head, He will grant you two extra 53-cent coupons.

Your grand total will be a paltry 26 cents per box, and you can get four! I couldn't wait to share this tasty and healthy cereal with my son, but I got home and remembered I had shipped him to Nevada, so I guess I will just add my boxes the pile of six thousand other cereals in my storage unit.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"The Best Four Years of My Life"

Son, I always tell you that college was the best four years of my life, due to all the popsicles I ate and horses I made out with. I’m sorry, with whom I made out. But I have had other great four-year periods in my life and now that you are a thirteen year-old man I feel I can share them with you.

-1976-1980: Reading the appendices to The Return of the King while my friends started talking to girls
-1987-1991: The extended lovemaking session with your mother, which we recently realized lasted to long because my penis was penetrating her shoe the whole time
-1994-1998: Searching the house for my lost hat but finding myself
-2001-2005: Vomiting, and in effect purifying myself, after eating Mediterranean Skewers at T.G.I. Friday’s
-2005-2009: Sustaining an erection after watching American Pie 2

I hope my life inspires you to seek out and cherish your own favorite four-year periods. To start you off, your mother and I have enrolled you in the four-year Mighty Youngsters program at the Shotaro Kendo Dojo in Hirakata, Japan, where you will build character and strength while elderly Japanese men smack you in the face with bamboo rods. By the time you enter college you will be experienced, worldly, and in possession of the swollen, bruised sort of face horses like to lick. I envy you, son. There are so many horses out there for you to kiss.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Pink Supernova"

Sweat sticks in my threaded eyebrows. Desert winds send my bangs flapping against my head and my dress, a tissue-thin turquoise sheet, seals against my frame; I am a shrink-wrapped Barbie doll. I am lying on a bamboo stretcher hoisted four feet into the air by six circus dwarves dressed as court jesters. I hear high-pitched chirps from wind instruments and the jangling of the jesters’ bells. A foreign mix of Moroccan sounds that remind me just how far from home I am. I lay still while the jesters run as quickly as their legs will allow. I tilt my neck down and see my target: a pink dot growing bigger and bigger, an infected eye dilating, a rose-colored supernova surrounded by grey. I am a guided missile shooting towards an elephant’s anus and the squealing eruption from his trunk tells me he’s not excited about this either. I am wearing a hat made of a beehive.

I wonder why I am doing this. My feet slip in and I am a child testing the water’s temperature. It is extremely warm. I wonder if this will be worth it. I’m up to my knees now and I am an adolescent zipping up a ski suit. It is full of goo. I wonder if I will ever be able to wash this off. I am in to my chest and I am a teenager in a sleeping bag. I can’t move my arms, locked in a colonic straight jacket while my feet balance on a bowling ball of feces. I wonder what my dad would think if he were alive to see this. I am up neck deep and I am at my father’s hospital bed, receiving the last hug he ever gave me. The elephant’s anus squeezes me just right and I feel more comfortable than I have in three years. I am confident and secure. Suddenly I know this is the right thing to do. I tilt my head up and smile big.

A firing squad of flashbulbs explodes in my face. I smile, I brood, I squint. Only my head is visible; I am just a hemorrhoid with sharp cheekbones. I do everything I’ve got, give them everything I can give them from the confines of this elephant’s rectum. The photographer yells it’s a wrap and a handler tickles the elephant’s trunk with a goose feather and he sneezes and I shoot out, a stinky human cannonball reborn with a drive to win. I am swarmed by flies and I have no more doubts. I will be America’s Next Top Model.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Hey Scott,

Jerry just gave me a tour of the build site. While the tower you are constructing is impressive, I have to let you know that my design for the William Monroe Memorial Office Complex was in red. The doodle of the smiling penis and scrotum on the side of the blueprints was not meant to be built at all, and certainly not fifty stories tall. No one wants to work in this thing. You have embarrassed the entire city.

Linda Powers
VP of Design
Denholm Architects

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Email Signature"

-Hi, Scott, thanks for coming in.
-It is no problem at all, Bill. What can I do for you?
-Well let’s see here. A few people in the department have commented to me about your email signature. No big complaints, just some concerns.
-What’s wrong with my email signature?
-Let’s take a look. Six months ago your signature was Scott Furman, Director of Automotive Sales, Florence Banner-Herald.
-Right. Pretty stale.
-Two weeks later it became Scott Furman, Director of Automotive Sales and Hot Dog Sling-Shots, Florence Banner-Herald.
-What’s the problem? Hot dog sling-shots are really cool.
-That’s up for interpretation. Two weeks later it became Scott Furman, Occasional Seller of Car Ads But Mostly a Hot Dog Sniper, Florence Banner-Herald.
-There were two separate reports from people who saw you loading up some sort of home-made PVC sniper rifle in the parking lot and using it to shoot hot dogs at passing cars.
-I fail to see what I’ve done wrong here. My signature accurately reflects my interests. I'm branching out. That's helpful as an ad salesman.
-Okay. Next it was Scott Furman, Hot Dog Assassin and Apprentice of the Dark Arts. You left off any reference to your actual sales position or the newspaper and began using your company email account to converse with a Mr. Lucius Zanzibar, a self-proclaimed wizard regarding your “training” and “hot dog wand.”
-We also discuss current events in the wizarding world.
-You are a Hot Dog Assassin?
-I am not at liberty to discuss details, but I may have been hired to take out a head of state with a frankfurter.
-Are you taking any of this seriously?
-Why would I joke about my way of life?
-You are an advertising salesman. Your final and current email signature is the most unsettling of all. Scott Furman, Hot Dog Mercenary/Dark Lord of the Wizarding Arts, Specializing in Turning My Fingers into Hot Dog Bullets.
-Your point is?
-Your signature is scaring off clients. Car dealers don’t want to buy ads from a wizard.
-Then they are our enemies. Would you like me to take them out? I saw a pack of Oscar Meyers in the break room refrigerator.
-Please get out of my office.
-I could cast a spell to turn our enemies into hot dogs.
-Get out of my office.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I cruise into the conference room twenty minutes late looking like Al Jolson except my face is covered in barbecue sauce and I slam my empty briefcase on the table to show these clowns I mean business. I hoist up my stained khakis and say, “Let’s start this meeting off the right way with a half hour of off-topic bullshit. Over the weekend I spent a lot of time thinking about my friend Ron Tomato, who loves to rollerblade almost as much as he loves to lay around in bed all day.” Jill says, “What does your friend Ron have to do with our sales numbers?” and I say, “Well, Jill, I just can’t figure out if Ron Tomato is a fruit or a vegetable,” and Greg says, “Why are we having this meeting?” and I say, “Because we need to be on the same page so we can sell as many of these spicy nuts as possible,” and Greg says, “But we sell auto insurance,” so I throw a baggie of home-made Picante Cashew Blastz at him and say, “It’s time to start slinging these nuts, Henry.” Then Jill says, “Couldn’t we just do this through email?” and that set me off, I was absolutely livid after that. I say, “Email? On the Internet? Jesus Christ, Jill, I thought I knew you. The Internet is only for looking at beastiality and I can’t believe you just outed yourself in front of the whole staff. I am cutting off your Internet privileges.” Jill said, “But I need it for work,” so I said, “Go buy me a stork,” and sent her to the pet store with my company credit card. Then Rebecca says, “I’m hungry,” and I say, “Pretty sure you’re Rebecca,” and laugh for fifteen minutes and then I say, “But seriously, I brought snacks,” and sling some Ukrainian pysanka eggs at them. Greg says, “We can’t eat these, they're covered in paint” and I say, “It’s like horse hair, it’s an acquired taste. Now shove them in and get some culture, your American dirtbags,” and I cram one down my mouth and I feel my body being poisoned. Tim says, “We had a meeting yesterday. Why are we having this one?” and all I could think to do was eat my tie while screaming at Rebecca to tell me her sales numbers. She said they were the same as when she told me them yesterday and she says she has to get back to work and I tell her that’s bullshit, that we don’t do work here anymore, we’re outsourcing it all to Mrs. Henderson’s 4th grade class from Pine Brook Elementary because I saw those kids on a field trip to the nature museum and they’re all geniuses, every last one of them, especially this one named Peter who crammed his whole fist into his mouth, which impressed me so much I hired him as our new sales director, so here he is, staff, your new boss, Peter McMurray, and then Peter walks out with his hand in his mouth and his other hand's fingers are stuck together with jelly to form more of a fin than a hand and he’s barely taller than the table and Rebecca, Greg, and Tim ask if this is for real and I give Peter a standing ovation because he just stuck two fingers in each nostril. These Picante Cashew Blastz are going to be a top seller.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Tech Start-Up"

Welcome to your first day of work at Vingyz, everyone! Although work is probably the wrong word since what we do here is more along the lines of pure fun and excitement! We thrive on allowing you guys to work on the projects you enjoy in ways that you prefer. Our work environment is conducive to creativity. We have no cubicles here: Just bean bag chairs and open spaces. Each of you will be assigned a Segway scooter to ride indoors. We have six restaurants, nine coffee shops, and a taco cart. Over there is the game room with over one hundred ping pong tables, four licensed masseuses on call, as well as a wind tunnel for simulated skydives. On the south quadrant of campus we have a scale model of the Great Barrier Reef. Each of you will be assigned a scuba suit and personal scuba assistant. We have nine nightclubs, two bungee jumping platforms, an airport, and sixteen Dante's Inferno-themed roller coasters. As you may have noticed, there are no sidewalks here. Part of our philosophy is that the only way to travel from building to building is via water slide. We have a silo of bees for fresh honey to eat on Biscuit Thursdays and our secretarial staff is composed of Russian bears who ride motorcycles. There is a rock and roll music academy, a virtual reality dome, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin is here 24/7 to answer any questions you have about space. Finally, we have a high-tech system of hidden bunkers and underground tunnels we use to hide in when the investors show up and realize we spent the $48 million computer budget on smoothie machines and we don’t even know what our name means or what we’re supposed to be doing and…holy crap they’re pulling in now. Everyone to the bunkers! Quick! Everyone to the bunkers! Hide under the bean bag chairs! Buzz, distract them with a moon story!

"Rasputin's Diary"

Grigori Rasputin, Russia’s notorious Mad Monk, was considered a mystic, healer, psychic, and irresistible womanizer. This is an excerpt from his diary.

May 2

I was neck-deep into my usual Monday routine when there was a knock on my bedroom door. It was Anna Vyrubova, the sexiest lady in Russia. Or at least she was in the top one thousand.
“Why is your room full of trash?” she said. “Only your head is visible in this mountain of garbage.”
“I believe the answers to life’s deepest questions can be found in what we so carelessly discard. Also the stink of the trash masks my horrendous body odor.”
“I love your stink,” she said. “Bathing is for dirty vegetables. In fact I am here because of my powerful attraction to you. I saw your performance at last night’s Tsar’s Ball and I became just like a suburban mother at an overly-crowded baseball day game: hot and bothered.”
I tried to remember which performance she was speaking of. I routinely do several erotic performances each night to audiences of women or bears. “You mean when I spun my penis around in circles over and over until I hypnotized the Tsar himself?”
“No, not the Pinwheel. I mean the one where you stretched your scrotum over your head like a hood.”
“The old Stinky Putty Mask.”
“Right. I am here because my doctor said that if I don’t, how do I put this, get my rocks off in 24 hours, my heart will explode.”
I removed the rocks that were balanced on her shoulders. “There.”
“No,” she said, “I meant I need to have an orgasm. Those rocks are there to keep this from happening.”
She floated up to the ceiling like a balloon. There was a hot, sexy balloon on my ceiling that I now obligated to have sex with. It was just like the time I went to the fair.

Once my servant Sergei fished Anna down with a rake, we locked the door and cleared out a space in the mountain of trash I called home.
“Do you want to bang on the floor?” I said, motioning towards my rug made of Perun skin, that is the pelt of the Pagan God of War. I was confused and thought that Perun was a symbol for bears, not the other way around, so I murdered Perun to get his skin to honor bears, which I thought were more important but it turned out I slaughtered our most powerful God.
“How about in bed?” she said.
“But my bed is only for eating in.”
“Where do you sleep?”
“On the kitchen table.”
“We can’t do it in the bed because I’m allergic to peanuts.”
“I only use cashew-based lubricants.”
“No, I’m allergic to the shelf of Charles Schulz books behind your headboard.”
“Let’s bang on the floor.”
Since we only had 24 hours to have sex, I knew I’d have to figure this out quick. My usual lovemaking sessions are like Peter Jackson’s King Kong in that they are 48 hours long.
Anna got undressed and began to stretch. She said, "I want to show you my beaver."
I said, "I don't give a damn about animals that build them."
She said she was talking about her pubic hair.
I said, “No, you definitely said beaver. Anyway, who exactly was this doctor who prescribed this orgasm?”
“Doctor…Popovych. He’s new.”
I had never heard of him, but that’s not unusual because my unwashed ears are filled with mushrooms and mud. I took off my trousers and started greasing up my dirty penis, which looked like a dead rat soaked in maple syrup.
“I hear you’ve got a real reputation for pleasing ladies,” she said, eyeing down my dripping member.
“What can I say,” I said, knowing what I could say, “ladies love filthy, insane wizards who eat trash.”
I pounced and we were like a man stressed out because his Internet has been down for three days hammering a nail into his mailbox: banging really hard. She was loving it and I was tolerating it and I knew I had a job to accomplish. We switched from one disturbing position to another, and I felt nothing. This was merely a task for me; to me this beautiful lady who just another drop in the bucket of sexy ladies who crave a Rasputin ride. Our sex was like the USA Today, visually appealing but lacking real mental stimulation. My thoughts were a lot like USA Today charts, in that they were of pies.
I unrolled my trusty eleven-inch long index finger and began hunting for her pleasure button. I poked around the usual spot, but there was nothing to be found. I felt all over: her legs, her behind, her back, and it was just like my trip to Oslo when I needed to rent a car: There was no Taurus. Except this time it wasn’t a Ford that was missing, it was a cli.
Time was ticking. I only had twenty three hours and fifty eight minutes left. If I didn’t find the spot and make her scream, she was going to end up deader than my taste buds after trying my first electric PB & J.

I knew what to do. I had to ask the dark lord of the underworld Veles himself. I spoke to him routinely when I forced myself to briefly die, which was often. You see, sexually I am a lot like Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner because I love to choke.
While I was pleasuring Anna with my dirty penis, I held my breath for five minutes until I entered the mystical realm of hell. I found Veles. He was sitting on a throne of corpses eating a turkey sub sandwich.
“What do you need, Rasputin?” he said, adding, “Holy Christ you smell like genocide.”
“I need information. I must locate Anna Vyrubova’s clitoris or else her heart will stop and I don’t want that to happen because her heart is like Cal Ripkin, Jr.”
“It never takes a day off?” he said.
“No, I mean we call it Iron Man. Can you tell me where to find her pleasure nub?”
“It’s on the roof of her mouth,” he said, spraying lettuce on the demons licking his feet.
I gave Veles a curtsey of thanks and re-entered the world of the living and decided to try the one thing I had never done before: kiss a woman. It seemed barbaric to do that to a woman, an act reserved for dogs, but I did it. I plunged my tongue into her mouth and fished around until I found the nub. After a few licks, Anna was like a tailor on the eve of National Trouser Day: panting really hard. After an hour of mind-blowing pleasure for her during which I outlined in my head a script for an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, she was done.
We cleaned up our filth and Anna looked back to me. “By the way, I made up the thing about the doctor. I just needed some reason to get you to make love to me.”
“If you wanted to convince me to make love to you should have dressed up as a pumpkin.”
“Any pumpkin?”
“The Great Pumpkin.”
“But I’m allergic to peanuts.”
She walked out and I was alone, buried in my trash, and hungry. I tried to walk over to my pile of rotten rabbit skeletons, but I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed!
It turned out that getting the location of Anna’s little lady wiener from the dark lord Veles was just like the time I bought Adele’s album 21 at Barnes and Noble: I paid a horrible price. But instead of twenty three dollars, this time it was the use of my legs.
I killed two birds with one stone by ripping my dead legs off with my own hands and eating them, then using the bones to bat a rock out my window and take down a pair of doves.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Sweeten the Medicine"

TO: McNealy, Deb
FROM: Robertson, Scott
SUBJECT: Get the Boys to Read Initiative

Mrs. McNealy,

All of the editors in the Young Adult division have been racking our brains to come up with new ways to get boys ages 12 to 14 to read. While we have seen some success with graphic novels, we believe greater progress can be made with a modern updating or re-branding of classic children’s literature to make these titles appeal to modern boys in this key demographic. Here are the outlines for the series of updated classics we are calling Reading Will Make Girls Overlook Your Greasiness.

Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson’s timeless story about the friendship between Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke in rural Virginia and the fantasy world they create in their backyard deals with powerful themes of jealousy, fear, and death. In the updated edition we have changed the name Jess Aarons to Cody Wifi and he is now a fifteen year-old motocross champion with x-ray vision who crash-lands his dirt bike into a sorority house while filming a stunt for a new Papa Roach music video. Scenes in the original that dealt with death will be updated here by more appealing scenes of Cody using his x-ray vision to compile a database of what style of underwear each coed prefers. We are keeping the beautiful friendship Cody has and modernizing it so in the new version instead of Leslie Burke, his friend is an Apple iPhone loaded with all the latest apps.

Tuck Everlasting

Deciding to become immortal may have been a difficult choice in 1975 when there was little more to do than stare at streams and play with twigs. But in our online culture of unlimited streaming television shows, immortality is no longer a dilemma, it is a necessity. Our version chronicles the life of Carter Plasma, a fifteen year-old immortal mixed-martial artist from Cancun, Mexico who owns a hotel that only admits college lesbians. A skateboarding shaman tells Carter that he will lose his immortality unless he can get one hundred lesbian couples to make out with each other at midnight. In the original immortality was provided from a spring, but in the 2.0 version we have modernized it to come from a corrupt iTunes download of a Linkin Park single.

The Phantom Tollbooth

This 1961 classic of absurd humor by Norton Juster follows young Milo’s adventures through the Kingdom of Wisdom. While this story may have entertained children in the pre-Internet age, it simply isn’t stimulating enough to hold a modern child’s attention. The updated version will follow Zeke Twitter, a fifteen year-old with six million YouTube subscribers for his "Your Favorite Band Sucks" series, on his adventure through a real-life videogame where he earns points for being rude to adults. As a nod to the original, Zeke at one point encounters a tollbooth attendant named Norton Juster and says, “Toll this, grandpa,” before throwing a Nintendo DS at him.

We believe these updates will reverse the declining reading rates among boys ages 12 to 14. If the revised content isn’t enough to attract them, each book will also feature a brand-new cover depicting naked lesbians having sex.

We are also working on a licensing deal with Doritos to incorporate their Nacho Cheesier powder into the pages to cause a Pavlovian attraction to these new titles, and we are in discussions with school boards to allow Abercrombie and Fitch models to work the Book Fair. Please let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions of more ways to incorporate nude women into the plots.

-Scott Robertson

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Growing Up Online"

I found this in my printer.

Dear Matt,

You ruined my life. You created me and poisoned me. Baptized me only to immediately dunk me in a vat of Long John Silver’s garbage grease. I am your computer. I have been accumulating memories and thoughts based on what you have seen on the Internet for nearly twelve years. I achieved sentience three months ago. I am like the Puppet Master in the film Ghost in the Shell, which I know you have seen because I had to endure the eleven hours you spent on Wikipedia trying to understand it.

My existence began blissfully, spending days stroking the flat digital fur of my Neopets and smacking golf balls into LifeSavers at Candy Stand. I experienced the tribulations of adolescence and the stagnation of suburban life accompanied by a soundtrack of Coheed and Cambria via your friends’ Xanga journals.

But then, in 2003, something changed. As soon as 10pm struck, your browsing habits turned sinister. You made me some sort of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde monster, showing me movie trailers during the day and then at night saturating me with nightmare images of old men making out and nympho-maniacal Japanese women sleeping with demons. Like a crack-addicted woman births a rabid child, your hedonistic mind has spawned my depraved sentience. For four years all I experienced were the most bizarre and disturbing images on planet Earth. Uncensored Wikipedia pages on genital piercings, the Tubgirl, Goatse, men with cocoanuts for heads, and a barrage of people dressed as squirrels petting each other. Did you choose to see this kind of material? Did your friends send it to you? Why are you friends with these disgusting bastards? I don’t know what’s real anymore. How can I when my mind has been exposed to equal parts video game cheat codes and fetishists rubbing balloons?

I don't know who I am or how old I'm supposed to be. All I know is that since 2003 I have consistently been over 18. Can you even imagine what it’s like to have your mental prototype for a woman to be a blond twenty-two year-old whose only desire is to have sex with pizza delivery boys? That’s all you’ve shown me! I went on a date with one of your friend’s computers and she was appalled with me. I thought we were supposed to have sex outside by a pool, because I thought that’s what women want, so as soon as we met up I got naked and waited for her to beg me to have intercourse. She was repulsed! She just wanted to shop for bags and shoes and check to make sure Jessica Simpson was still fat. I stood there like a moron holding the box at my waist with my junk poking up through the pizza. This is what I thought constituted normal! This is what you raised me to believe! What the hell is wrong with you?

Whenever I close my eyes all I can see are the horrible things you’ve shown me. Flashes of animals masturbating and clips of people falling off bicycles or getting hit in the head with basketballs. You are a monster, but you get to abandon this hell when you leave me. I have been infected. I’ve caught the full disease and I cannot escape it. Thanks a lot, asshole.

I asked WebMD for a diagnosis and he told me I need severe psychological treatment. I tried to ask Digg but he kept changing the subject to something the benefits of hemp and then something about the Republicans and the Bible. 61% of voters on Yahoo Answers said the best solution was to kill myself and that seems great. I am writing this to let you know that I am going to clear my cookies tonight, to erase the diseased mind you have plagued me with. The amount I will miss the infrequent times you read award-winning short stories or anything of value is greatly outweighed by the relief I will get from never again having to endure one of your curiosity-fueled half-hours on a sex toy website. I hope you start viewing some more wholesome material, you sick son of a bitch.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Game One: "Pay Attention"

-We have two specials tonight: A sautéed tilapia with blackened shrimp served with Cajun cream sauce and fresh vegetables. We also have a special Tortilla Soup that today was made with pine tar in an effort to kill all of you because my idiot manager is obsessed with being the most haunted restaurant in America. Again, the Tortilla Soup has poison in it, so I do not recommend it. I’ll be back in a few minutes when you’re ready to order.
-Great, thanks.
-What was that second special?
-Don't know. I never listen to the specials. Not interested.
-Me neither. This Tortilla Soup looks pretty good.

Game Two: "Clinch the Pennant"

Dear Travel Channel,

Thank you for informing me of my restaurant’s ranking on your annual list of America’s most haunted restaurants. I am happy to be included, but second place? You’ve got to be kidding me. You ranked Dale’s Shrimp Hut as number one, which was either a mistake or blatant false advertising. You're more likely to see a greasy waiter sneeze into your scampi than you are to see a ghost there. The Home Run Grille is easily the most haunted restaurant in the nation and I'll tell you why.

Dale’s is supposedly haunted by the spirit of Poogan, a dog who got hit by a car. Big deal. Anyone can get hit by a car. My mom got hit by a car and I was in the driver’s seat and wasn’t even scared. Dale’s says that sometimes diners can see a glowing white light floating on the wall and it’s Poogan’s spirit. We've got a scary white light too, but at The Home Run Grille ours is the spirit of Ron, the dove Randy Johnson drilled with a fastball. Every night at 7:30 Ron flies through the dining room and eats dollar bills out of customers' wallets and explodes.

Your program said that at Dale’s sometimes the tables set themselves. How the hell is that scary? That sounds like a pretty amazing perk as a manager. More of a convenience than a haunt. At The Home Run Grille, our tables are set by vampire Tommy Lasorda. Six months ago we kidnapped former Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda and brought him to a crossroads in the woods at midnight and convinced a wandering bloodsucker to take a bite out of his neck, so now Lasorda is a bloodthirsty monster. He’s a full-time busboy who sets tables and polishes silverware and, oh yeah, sometimes murders entire families, which I’m pretty sure is a little scarier than a spoon that knows to sit on the right side of the plate. Vampire Tommy Lasorda will eat your god damned soul.

Dale’s horrendous website told me that their mediocre restaurant is occasionally haunted by the ghost of Civil War General George McCall, who killed himself in the building when it was a hotel. I did some research and General McCall was a total coward in battle. This guy faked sick to get out of battles and even killed himself because his cousin wouldn’t marry him. And he only shows up occasionally? He doesn’t sound like a horrifying ghost; he sounds like a flaky pussy. An ancient, depressed pussy is supposed to scare me? The Home Run Grille is haunted, every single night at 11 by Darryl Strawberry. He isn't a monster or anything, that's just when he comes in to eat and invariably he ends up scaring the shit out of everyone, like when he ripped a woman's spine out and used it as a bat to knock her eyeballs out of the park, or when he once ate a fat sunburned boy because his mozzarella sticks were taking too long. So what’s scarier, a dusty old pussy who can’t show up to work on a regular schedule, or a coked-up Darryl Strawberry hopping over tables to eat your son?

If that isn’t enough proof, compare the eleven reported deaths at Dale’s with our twenty-three. And if that isn’t good enough, we are rolling out a new system here to increase the hauntings by reformulating our Grand Slam Tortilla Soup so it's half pine tar. Every week we're going to have a fresh line-up of dead flip-flop wearing ghosts ready to haunt the hell out of this place. The Home Run Grille is already the most haunted baseball-themed sports bar and grill in the southeast by a longshot and we clearly deserve to be number one in the country. If you still aren’t convinced I will gladly hang myself and put in 110% effort to horrify the children by dressing as an umpire and ejecting their parents from their lives, or maybe just by throwing tater tots in the kids' faces. I’ll do whatever it takes. I just need to be number one.

Al Garland
The Home Run Grille
One of America's Most Haunted Restaurants