Friday, November 04, 2005

Ed's Day Off

"Sorry to scare you like that man," Ed says the next day. "Work was really getting me down, and I needed a day off. Did my boss believe your story?" He's whole, sitting on his couch in his Man-United t-shirt.

"Hell yes. People were freaking out. Why didn't you just call in sick?"

Ed sniffs, looking out the window. He's rested - he slept in. "I thought this would be more believable. The 'mental health day' story doesn't cut it. It had to seem real. Don't worry about work, they'll forget about it by Monday. The lemmings at work have the attention spans...uh, of lemmings."

"Well, it sure looked real to me."

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"Oh yeah?" he laughs. "I had all these leftover pumpkins from's not like I was going to eat them. What a useless fruit, or whatever the hell they are. Imagine, growing those things all year just so some kid can throw them at cars! What a waste. Anyway, it took me about four hours to paint it up to look like my head. Good thing I have a giant, pumpkin-shaped head! Did it hurt when you fainted?"

"Naw, I landed on your dirty laundry here. What are you going to do now?"

Ed smiles. "I think I'll sit around again today and have some more hot cocoa. Sweet, sweet cocoa. An exploding head merits a four-day weekend, don't you think?"

"Fucking-A, it does."

He tents his fingers. "Goooood. Good. I rented the Family Guy movie. Let's chill, man. I even have some oven-roasted pumpkin seeds to eat. Or as I like to call them, 'jack o'lantern lobotomy offal.'"

"Uh - I think I'll pass on those. I think they've been spoiled for me for good."

"Don't be a pussy."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ed Has Enough

"ED! Don't do it man! You don't want this!" I scream. But Ed is past that, past the entire after-school special melodrama. I see it in his eyes.

"Fuck it, man. I don't even hate myself. I just don't want to be here anymore," Ed says. The shotgun, it's muffling his words. Slobber trickles down the barrel.

"C'mon, man. Let's go get a beer."

"No. You might want to close your eyes. This isn't like pissing - I don't care if you see it."

I don't, and he pulls the trigger, as promised.

And the last thing I remember is wondering why detonating brain matter looks like moldy macaroni casserole. That, and hearing the patter of urine as Ed's slumping corpse pisses itself. Turns out Ed didn't care if I saw that after all.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Olive Mash

"Okay, here's what we're gonna do. I have the anal glands. You have the needles, right Tommy?"

"Yeah. They're for diabetes, but I think-"

"Shut up, Tommy, you don't get to think. They'll work fine. Austin, do you have that weird glowing fertilizer shit?"

"Yeah, but my dad's gonna kill me if he finds out I was takin-"

"Shut up, Austin, nobody cares if you get in trouble."

"Steve, where did you get anal glands?"

"I went to the animal shelter last night. They got all kinds of unwanted dogs there. No alarms. I just knocked a couple of em out and used my pocketknife to pry the butt sacs out. Dog ass smells real fuckin bad. Fuckin dogs. Their shit'll be lubed with blood for a couple days, but that'll win em even more sympathy. Mangy fuckers'll be adopted in no time. If I didn't accidentally cave in their skulls when I popped em. Now stop asking me questions. That goes for both of you."

"Why are we doing this again?"

"God, you really are dumber than a box of crayons, Tommy. I told you. We're gonna mix this doggy butt stink potion with this fertilizer. Then we're gonna go to the vice principal's house and throw rocks and smokebombs through the front window. When he comes running out, all we gotta do whack him on the head with a baseball bat. I dunno if he's got a wife or kids, so we all gotta bring bats. Then we shoot this stuff into his face with your sick kid needles, Tommy. That'll teach him not to give me detention again."

"I don't think this'll work. I think you're gonna get us in trouble. Big trouble. He'll see our faces."

"Fuck you Austin. You don't know shit. This isn't like the time I told you guys we could melt that payphone. This time I studied. I read through my fifth, sixth, and seventh grade textbooks, and I fucked around all week with that chemistry kit I got for Christmas two years ago. I'm an expert. I could probably work for the government now if I want."


"Austin, look. Do you or do you not want to see Mr. Hamlin grow assholes all over his body? I know I do. He'll be shitting his socks, pants, and shirt all at once while puking even more shit. He'll have to quit and go to the hospital or to Betty Ford. It'll be great. I can just see him squeezing guacamole ducksnot out a bunch of brown rubber vaginas where his cheeks used to be. Come on guys. Have you no imagination? Have you no sense of wonder?"


"So who's with me?"


"Good. Let's get to work."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bryce Laughs in the Bathroom

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"Argus! I didn't know you were here," Bryce says. He laughs the alarming goblin-like cackles I heard outside in the hallway. "It seems there has been a bit of an incident."

"What are you talking about?" I say. Bryce popped out of a stall when I came into the bathroom.

"I went to a barbeque this weekend," he says. "All you can eat. I must have put away a half-dozen big burgers on Saturday. Along with more than a couple beers. Well, I just laid the mother of all iceburg shits in the toilet. You're not going to believe it, but the toilet won't flush."

"That's great, Bryce. Do you want a medal?"

Bryce laughs, throwing his head back like a lunatic. I begin to wonder: Can people hear us outside? I hope not. I start to edge for the door.

"Wait!" Bryce says. "Do me a favour. This is the biggest dump I've ever seen. Can you get your camera and take a picture of it?"

"Jesus Christ, Bryce! What the hell for?"

"Please? This is historic - I really need this. Just one picture?"

Inspiration flashes through my mind. "Okay - but I want you in the shot, too. For perspective. Like when you take a picture of a mountain or something."

Bryce howls more laughter. "That's a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?"

"Probably because you're a moron," I mumble.

I'm back in a few moments with the camera. "Okay, get in close, now. You're not in the frame."

"God, it stinks! Am I in it yet?"

"No, get closer. Attaboy. Man, that log is as big as your head, Bryce! How did you manage this?" I say.

"Stop it, you're killing me! Just take the picture!"

"I can't wait to send this out on a group e-mail," I mutter.

"What was that?"

"Nothing, dude."


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Nobody Home

"Hello," I yell. My voice echoes from distant walls. I have the vague sense of beams, spiderwebs, and windowpanes painted black just beyond my vision. A bare light bulb swings above my reach.

"Hello! Anybody here?"


I hear a scuff of feet, and I shade my eyes to peer into the gloom. I see a slouching figure.

"I'm here, man. I stop by now and then. Not for a while, though," Bottle Rocket says. He kicks a piece of trash on the ground, and digs his hands into his pockets. "I get this feeling sometimes, like a worm digging through the hot sponge of my brain. I can't get at him with my fingers. I pry, and all I get are greasy fingernails. Coffee wakes him up. Booze makes him rowdy. Pizza is what he begs for. Loves pizza. And after a few drinks, I can't tell him from me."

"I have a worm, too," I say. "He tells me things. He says his name is Albert."

"He rocks and rolls, man. I woke up one morning, and he was there. I screamed. I cried. I reasoned. I moaned. Then I did it some more."

"After a while, you get used to it. It's like the ringing in your ears. After a while it's the sound of baby's breath," I say.

"The fancy way of saying that is, 'naturalization.' But there is nothing natural about it," Rocket says.

"I'm hungry," I say, pawing my belly.

"Let's blow, man. I know this great burrito place. I have a fearsome hunger for some burritos. I'm going to turn my 'innie' into an 'outtie'. And I want to listen to banjo music on the way."

"Deal. You got the lights?"

"Fuck it, man. Leave 'em on, and people will think things are going down in here. In cahoots and all."

"Nobody thinks anything," I say. "Nobody comes."

But Rocket doesn't hear me. He's already out the door.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Neopolitan Eucharist

Now that summer weather has arrived, I like to sit out on a lawn chair, grill steaks, chug beers, burp, fart, and spit at squirrels. Most neighbors have given me the evil eye and tried to avoid me, but I'm the gregarious type.

"Howdy neighbor! Kin I intrist yew in a brewski or p'raps a fahn juicy steak?"

The women scoff and powerwalk away with clenched asses and upturned noses. The men always amble over after glancing back at the homestead to see if the wifey is lookin'. We always get on well, and I feed them. In return, they lose their money to me playin' poker.

I was sitting out one afternoon when the schoolbus dropped off a load o' younglings. One sweaty little fatboy with thick glasses ran up the street wailing at the top of his lungs. The stinky little bastard was probably more desperate for attention than actually in pain.

"Now quit yer blubberin, my young frien'. What seems ta be tha matter?"

He stopped and looked at me, eyes leakin', chest heavin'.

"huh huh huh they took away my huh huh lunch an' they took my Cheetos my bologna mustard cheese sammich my"

"Whoa whoa hold it there pard. Who took yer chow, and why?"

"The nuns. They said I was a, a, a,"

"Slow down. Nuns? Nuns are horrible creatures. They're mad at the world cause Jesus don't give 'em no dick."

He laughed and breathed. He seemed a bit calmer after my sparklin' gem o' humor. I was now a friend. I was cool. An adult who would say such a thing to a child is rare indeed, and beloved by children of all ages.

"It was Sister Francine. She said I was an overfed little lardball. I know I'm chubby, but I can't help it. Momma says I gotta eat to be healthy. Sister Francine says I'm gonna eat fire with Satan and that Jesus don't love no gluttonous pig boys."

"It'll be okay, son. Yew go on home and have yourself a big-ass bowl of ice cream and forget about Sister Francine. She's just another bully. Yew go ahead and sneak some candies in class so yew won't be hungry come lunchtime, and when she sees the little lunch you brought, you'll have her right fooled that yer eating like she wants yew to. Say, where you go to school young man?"

"St. Michael's."

"Okay then. You go on home. Eatin's good for ya, don't let no damnfool nun tell ya otherwise. Jest lookit me an' mah bleedin' steaks here. I speak only the truth, God's honest to ya son."

"Thank you sir!"

Later that day I went drunken driving over by the school with my camera. Just down the street there's an ice cream parlor where I knew the nuns would go jumproping and cone licking on Wednesday afternoon. I got me a doozy of a picture. One for me, one for the young lad.

I gave it to him at the bus stop the next morning. I said:

"Next time she tries to feed ya any bullshit, yew give this over and ask if she wuz pretending that ice cream was Jesus. You won't git in any trouble, I promise, and you'll git to eat whatever you want, any damn time."

I ruffled his hair and then he got on the bus smiling.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Afternoon Entertainment

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“—Wino! You’ll never guess what’s going on around the block!” said Argus, who had left moments earlier on a beer run. The clatter of shopping carts I could hear in the background told me he was at the nearby grocery store’s pay phone.

“You’re right, since I’m not a fan of guessing games,” I replied. “Why don’t you just fill me in?”

“Well, I’m not too clear on what’s goin’ on down here, but it seems pretty serious! The SWAT team is outside the apartment building on the corner! And whoa!—two news vans just rolled up!”

“—This city has a SWAT team!?”

“Apparently. There are like, four or five guys with M-16s pointed at one of the balconies. You and Stogey should get down here and have a look! I have a feeling shells will be bouncing on the pavement before long!”

“Okay, we’ll be right over!” I said, hanging up the phone.

The building in question is like no other in the neighborhood. It’s like the Dark Tower in The Lord of the Rings, and ominously looms over the surrounding wasteland of projects and low-income housing. Unlike our walled, Shire-like community, which has the scent of fresh grass clippings and barbeque in the summer months, the apartment building is surrounded by drabness. The grass is brown even in the most fertile months, and the curb always seems to be lined with busted television sets, shards of linoleum and urine-stained mattresses.

“Stogey—feel like going for a walk?” I asked in a way that wasn’t really asking.

(Stogey Nightclub—fellow roommate, drunkard, and lay-about.)

“Where are we going?” he groaned from the other couch, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“No time for chit-chat!” I declared, standing up and accidentally knocking a few empties to the floor.

“That was Argus on the horn—some shit’s goin’ down at the apartment building, and if we don’t hurry we’re going to miss it!” I grabbed my Kodak Fun-Saver and crammed it in my pocket, because there’s nothing I enjoy more than someone else’s misfortune. But I suppose everyone’s like that to a degree.

We then departed, making sure to lock the door behind us. In a few moments we arrived at the apartment and weaved our way through the flashing cruisers to where Argus stood, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

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“Check it out!” he pointed. “These cops aren’t fuckin’ around!”

On the adjacent sidewalk a row of police officers leaned against their vehicles, pointing their weapons at a balcony two floors up. The porch was charmingly decorated in green, yellow and black, but there was no one to be seen.

Close by, a cameraman for a local news affiliate jogged about, trying to get a shot of his own.

“Maybe he can tell us what’s going on?” Stogey wondered aloud.

It was a good idea.

“Hey, Cameraman!” I shouted, successfully getting him to look in our direction. “What’s all the hubbub?”

“Gee, I don’t really know, fellas! I’m just here because somebody called the SWAT team!”

A blank stare.

No shit? We’re here because someone called the SWAT team too! You’ve been a big help, jackass!”

Just then, there was another voice. “If you wanna know what happened, I can tell you,” it said.

Behind us there stood a snot-nosed kid of about eleven or twelve.

“You know what’s going on?” Argus asked.

“Yup, I saw the whole thing!” the brat announced. “A few minutes ago these two guys wearing red bandanas on their heads hopped out of a car carrying guns, and they ran up into the building! Then, when I heard the sirens, I saw them run out one of the back stairwells and into the field!”

“Thanks for the bulletin, kid,” said Argus. “Now get the fuck out of here.”

As we all snickered at Argus’ comment, there was a commotion across the street.

Quit resisting, dirt bag!" shouted one of the cops.

“Yo, man! I aint resisting, yo! Getcho hands off me!”

It was one of the bandana-wearing young men, and he was being led to the cruisers with his hands bound behind his back. His dark blue jeans, which were far too large for his sinewy frame, had fallen to his ankles. This may have occurred when the officers tackled him, or perhaps, because his hands were no longer free, his pants simply dropped because he was no longer able to hike them up. In any event, the thug’s comic waddle did little to amuse the authorities.

“If you don’t stop resisting, we’re going to give you a dose of the Air Taser!” screamed one of the officers.

“Shee-it, man—I aint resistin’!” said the cuffed hooligan.

“Okay, I’ve had it with your belligerent attitude, motherfucker!” said one of the cops, pointing a gray box at the young man. Then, propelled by a blast of compressed nitrogen, two wire-tailed probes fired into the cuffed man’s chest. The other officers were quick to relinquish their grasps.

“Let’s see if 50,000 volts can teach you some manners!” the cop said with a smile.

He then pressed a button and the device emitted a steady pulse of electricity.


The man in the red bandana gyrated like a palsy sufferer. It was evident that he had lost control of his bodily functions, since urine and feces fell from his boxers and into his pants. What a terrible embarrassment this must be for him, I thought, snapping a picture or two with my camera.

Uh-Oh, Spaghetti-Ohs!” yelled Stogey. We then laughed uproariously, along with all those who watched from their balconies. The offender was soon tossed into the back seat of one of the cruisers

“Smell that, fellas?” said Argus, breathing deeply through his nose. “That’s the unmistakable smell of justice!”

“Smells more like fried bologna,” Stogey suggested, pinching a cheap, Indian reservation cigarette from the empty box of playing cards he carries them about in.

I shook my head.

“I just think this neighborhood’s degradation is downright shocking!”