Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Shop

Note: This piece is my response to a challenge issued by Scot Young at Be Not Inhospitable To Strangers . The challenge was to interpret Charles Bukowski's poem The Bluebird in either poem or prose. If you'll visit Be Not Inhospitable To Strangers starting Sunday, you'll be graced with all the responses to the challenge... as well as a whole lot of other good poetry.

The Shop

The shop, tucked neatly between a haberdasher and a candle maker, nearly escaped my attention as I walked by. This particular neighborhood seemed foreign somehow, even for San Francisco, an eclectic blend of old and new, foreign and domestic. Even the modest sign, crafted from poster board and scripted in a simple blend of India ink and water colors with a sprinkling of glitter for effect, offered only the vaguest reference to the business: Woolgatherer’s Emporium.

Briefly, I considered the name, nearly walking past, figuring it to be just another head shop run by aging hippies hoping to network with yet another medical-marijuana user intent upon obtaining a quick score. However, seeing no bongs, rolling paper ads or psychedelic drug paraphernalia of any sort in the window, I allowed my curiosity to overcome common sense and pressed the weathered brass thumb latch holding the door in place. The heavy oak door yielded immediately, offering me a glimpse inside.

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves covered every inch of available wall space and the tiny enclosed floor space within held only a small table covered with a brocaded linen tablecloth. Sitting placidly atop the silk, a bi-fold sign boasted “Sale Today!” I assessed the sign as well as I could, given my present state of confusion. Nowhere did I see a cash register, attendant or even a sales counter. The books appeared dusty and unkempt, with nary a single book jacket protecting the contents within. Used book store… Carefully, I put my index finger on a handsome leather-bound edition, tipped it toward me and tried to slide it off the shelf. A shadowy image appeared before me, a woman’s face that I’d seen before, although I couldn’t identify her. She mouthed some words that I could not hear, her eyes imploring me to listen. The book remained in its original position, unfettered by my advances.

As I looked around the room, the shelves seemed to blur slightly in the low light, as if someone even now turned down a rheostat. Presently, a woman of indeterminate age stepped from behind a shelf and timidly asked me, “Do you see something you like?”

Rather an exotic-looking woman, she wore a loose-fitting garment that chastely covered all visible surfaces of her body save her arms and face, but she emanated an air of attractiveness in her stately countenance. Were I to speculate, I’d guess the fabric to be silk, but I know little of such things. It could just as well be satin or some lesser form of knock-off for all I knew, and I’d be none the wiser. Frankly, I didn’t care one way or the other; if she felt the necessity to convey an image so important that she was willing to perpetrate a visual fraud upon my retinas, so much the better, I could respect her for that… first impressions are important to some folks. But that color— a lustrous shade I could only describe as purple—shimmered haughtily, emanating its own vague light source and compelling my gaze.

“I’m just looking, thank you. What do you sell here?” Given the surroundings, the question immediately sounded stupid and I wished I hadn’t asked it.

“That depends…” she shot back, her eyes fascinating as they not quite engaged me head on, “what are you looking for?”

“I see books… are they for sale?”

Judging from the spirit in her voice, this amused her. “You see books because you choose to see books. You see, everything is for sale, my darling, it’s all a matter of cost, isn’t it… and the ability to assess if the price is fair?”

I said nothing momentarily as my mind raced to decipher her meaning. “You don’t sell books?”

“Do you want me to sell you a book?”

Well, she had me there. Did I sense a certain peevishness in her voice? “No, I don’t believe I’d like to buy a book today. But since all you seem to possess is books, I guess I should be going and stop wasting your time.”

Turning away, she thrust her arm into the air, dismissing me with a passionate flourish. “Well, if books are all you see here, be gone. Time is the master we all serve.” And she glided as much as walked toward the back, assimilating with the bookshelves.

Ordinarily, I’d have merely walked out the front door, but as I stood there stupidly scratching my balls and wondering what I failed to understand, a voice said, “She’s right, you know.”

I blinked and the books, along with their shelves, disappeared. In their place, a verdant meadow unfolded as far as I could see. The shop no longer existed… gone, right before my eyes. Presto. Poof. Vanished.

Now, I guess I should tell you, at this point, that I’m not particularly a ‘meadow’ kind of guy, be they verdant or otherwise. I live in San Francisco for a reason… I like the order provided, I think. Oh, I don’t mind the occasional day trip to Muir’s Woods if the breeze off the ocean doesn’t remind me that I’m about to have to run for cover and I’ve been known to sit and feed the pigeons in Golden Gate Park… hell, I even took the ferry out to Angel Island once. But, given the choice, I’d rather spend my time at The Swig or The Hemlock or any one of a number of little watering holes in North Beach. At least there, I don’t have to worry about anything being verdant, with the possible exception of the urinals, and I’ve personally witnessed quite a few that qualify, if color and that certain methane-rich barnyard odor are the standards of comparison.

And the only voices I hear come from Twila, the loud-mouthed whore who hangs out at Clancy’s, or the assemblage of pseudo-poets and/or junkies who wile away their fog-beset hours begging someone to listen to their crap. I don’t spend a lot of time with verbalizing my wants and needs, either. Give me the back booth anywhere on Geary Street, I’ll even settle for the Edinburgh, and I’ll be content. Just don’t invade my space uninvited unless you bring a tumbler of Weller’s, preferably with a splash although I’m not picky, or I guarantee you’ll hear my voice as someone extracts my boot from your ass.

I spread my hands out in front of me to make sure I wasn’t getting the DT’s. Steady as a rock. There was no particular reason for them not to be, the only place I’d been this morning was the bank. I didn’t even stop in to see Jaime the Spic this morning, so no reason existed for me to be hallucinating.

Then, it happened. I felt a flutter of wings on my shoulder and the sharp prick of bird feet trying to gain a foothold. Instinctively I reached my hand to grab it, but I was no match for the creature’s agility. Again fluttering, it came to rest before me, sitting on top of the table I’d previously identified, collapsing the bi-fold “Sale Today!” placard. Eyes much too large for his bird-skull stared at me… blood-shot eyes, at that.

“Okay”, I shouted in a voice much louder than some might have thought necessary, “I think this little farce has proceeded just about far enough. Frankly, it’s mid-morning and I’m beginning to teeter on the brink of withdrawal, so if you’ll kindly return me from The Twilight Zone, I’ll be on my way. I’ve a powerful thirst and three days’ pay!”

“Go if you like, it’s up to you… there’s no anchor on your ass,” the bird said, in a voice that I can only describe as annoyingly similar to my own, “I’ll catch up with you later on.”

“That’s enough. Later, asshole!” I turned to walk away, but meadow extended as far as I could see, with no shop, no door, no San Francisco anywhere. Panic forced its way to my forefront. Stopping abruptly, I closed my eyes and put my hands on my knees, hoping my little mirage might fade. It did not.

Now, a padded booth replaced the table and the bird (a bluebird, I think, although I’d never be confused for an ornithologist) sat contentedly atop, body covering feet as though nesting. “Care to sit? Perhaps we could chat a little, maybe understand one another a bit.”

“You want to understand me.”

“And you, me”, he replied, his answer a bit smug, in my estimation.

This called for considerably more consideration as I felt his intimidation drizzle under my skin and come to rest somewhere between my conscious and my subconscious. “What if I just grab you and wring your scrawny neck, right where you sit? How would that be?”

“Your threats are nothing new to me. I’ve dealt with them for more years than I’d care to think about. Take your best shot, but why don’t you have a drink first? I wouldn’t want it to be said that you made a decision without your medication.”

Admittedly, the bottle of Weller’s and glass looked inviting, but I didn’t like his tone. “Who are you and what do you want?”

He didn’t speak right away, so after deciding that one little shot wouldn’t hurt and would, in all likelihood, snap me out of this delirium, I poured a shot into the glass.

After a time, he stated “I want only what is rightfully mine.”

“And I’ve got it?”

“You’ve always had it. You’ve even written about it… perhaps not eloquently, but I’m not here to judge you.”

“Let’s review, just so I don’t miss your point. You’re a bird, and you’ve come to claim that which I’ve withheld from you… for my entire life?”

“Now you’re making sense.”

The second shot cleared my head and made my nostrils bulge a bit, but I was now on a roll. “Boogity… so help a veteran out, would you? What, exactly, is this precious gift I have to give you?”

The bird looked at me once again with those big, cow eyes with intensity that threatened to penetrate me and impale my soul. “I want you to recognize me, and admit I exist.”

The voice, soft and dewy, was little more than a whisper, yet the words hit my brain like a blow from a lumberjack’s maul. I felt rage rise from my stomach and proceed to fill my lungs. “Recognize you? Who the fuck are you?” My fists pounded the table and I felt my chest heaving with each breath.

He didn’t move. “Charles, I am only a part of you, apparently the part you’d like to pretend doesn’t exist, as though acknowledging you have a bluebird in your heart would make you less of a man. Then, you’d be like them and who’d buy you drinks while you warn the world of sentimental whores and alley fights and knives at your throat. So you deny my existence. Well, no more. I now recognize that you don’t need me, so I’m now dead not only to you, but to myself. Now whom will you bully?”

Bluebird of my heart? Yea, I vaguely remember, from back in the days when a person could afford such extravagances. The little bastard left and took the bottle with him. Well, good riddance, I say, I don’t need him or his sugar tit. I’ll be drunk before midnight or my name isn’t Charles Bukowski!

Damn, look at the time… if I don’t get to Clancy’s I’m going to miss Happy Hour… bluebird, indeed.

Bob Church©6/26/08

The author is not much to write home about. In fact, his existence is an anomaly of nature, proof that God has a sense of humor. It is recommended that you ignore him at every turn.

"Oh, alright then... but just this once"

Feeling pretty secure about your life? Is everything swimming along at a constant pace? Trust me when I tell you, you're the exception to the rule.

Anyone who has read more than one of my rants knows that I live an existence filled with constant amazement regarding my specie's refusal to die out despite exhaustive evidence that extinction should be the consequence. I'm convinced that sheer numbers alone ensures our survival-- 'cuz it damn sure has nothing to do with intelligence.

Dateline Switzerland:

A Swiss man died when he fell from a hotel balcony during a spitting match with a friend, a Swiss newspaper has reported.

The daily Blick said the 29-year-old man took a run-up from inside the room so he could spit further, but lost his balance and plummeted 6.4m to the street below.

He died in hospital.

The man had suggested the contest when he and two friends returned from a disco to their hotel in Cadempino in Switzerland's Italian-speaking Ticino canton in the early hours.

One of the men went to sleep, but the two others decided to see who could spit furthest from the balcony of their room.

Dateline London:

A Polish building contractor working at London's Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital was given his marching orders after a security guard caught him having sex with a Hoover vacuum cleaner, the Sun reports.

The Hoover's unnamed assailant was supposed to be locking up the site, at hospital administrative offices, but was instead discovered in the staff canteen "naked and on his knees with the smiling vacuum cleaner".

The "horrified" guard told the chap to "clean himself and the Hoover", then ejected him from the premises. The unnamed vacuum-molestor later told his bosses he was actually cleaning his underwear, describing this habit as "a common practice in Poland".

His employer, HG Construction, was having none of it. The company said: "That behavior is not acceptable, though it gave a few people a laugh."

Imagine that... The Hoover declined comment, although a follow-up test revealed no discernible performance anxiety.

Dateline Germany:

One man's extraordinary effort to eradicate a mole from his property resulted in a victory for the mole. The metal rods he pounded into the ground and connected to a high-voltage power line, electrified the very ground the man stood upon. He was found extremely dead at his holiday property on the Baltic Sea. Police had to trip the main circuit breaker before venturing onto the property.

And finally, one from a little closer to home.

Dateline Texas: (The 2007 Darwin Award winner for improving the human genome by accidentally removing themselves from it.)

Michael was an alcoholic. And not an ordinary alcoholic, but an alcoholic who liked to take his liquor... well, rectally.

His wife said he was "addicted to enemas" and often used alcohol in this manner. The result was the same: inebriation. And tonight, Michael was in for one hell of a party. Three 1.5 litre bottles of sherry, more than 100 fluid ounces, right up the old address!

When the rest of us have had enough, we either stop drinking or pass out. When Michael had had enough (and subsequently passed out) the alcohol remaining in his rectal cavity continued to be absorbed. The next morning, Michael was dead.

The 58-year-old did a pretty good job of embalming himself. Toxicology reports measured his blood alcohol level as 0.47%.

(In order to qualify for a Darwin Award, a person must remove himself from the gene pool via an "astounding misapplication of judgment." Three litres of sherry up the butt can only be described as astounding. Unsurprisingly, his neighbors said they were surprised to learn of the incident.)

Anecdotal, you say? Maybe... but the next time you see some guy hooking up the ends of battery cables to his nipple piercings, just remember... dead is forever.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Excuse Me, Ma'am, Are You Using Those Cranberries?”

Seahorses are creatures I know very little about. I do know they seem to stay alive longer when constantly immersed in an aqueous solution other than pickle brine, Coors beer or gasoline.

Don't ask...

It is my understanding that they are normally captured in the ocean, hence, the name seahorses, rather than pondhorses or the generic form, waterhorses. While I can't actually prove that seahorses aren't native to smaller bodies of water such as beaver ponds, reservoirs, etc., I think they prefer salt water, primarily. The reasons for this are unknown to me, but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it would most likely have something to do with chemistry or possibly biology.

In junior high, we didn't study seahorses much, maybe because I grew up in the Rocky Mountains. We had a lot of beaver ponds, but no real oceans to speak of, unless you include that gravel pit over by Lochbuie, which I always thought tasted kind of salty when I swallowed some. Myles Nuttall and I snuck in there often to swim. Myles was a year older than me and knew almost everything, since his father was in the Air Force. He assured me that if we got caught, we wouldn’t go to jail, although the same couldn't be said for our fathers.

I remember thinking that might be neat.

I dove down to see if I could touch the bottom, and I think I may have seen a waterhorse once, but it may have been just a piece of glass or duckweed or something, I'm not sure, the water was pretty murky. Plus, I had to concentrate on avoiding all those sunken barrels. Our parents tried to discourage us from swimming in there, since so many kids had drowned. That eight-foot fence around it was hard to climb, too, but that's another story. Personally, I think the warning signs they put up were just to keep us kids from having fun.

What exactly is hazardous waste, anyway?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Brother, We Hardly Knew Ye

We lost another legend on Sunday. Dead, at age 71, is George Carlin, clown prince of my generation and comedian to the masses. George was a cultural renegade. His irreverent potshots at religion and politics, his open admission of his use of drugs, and the edgier, more biting comedy he developed cemented him as the “comic voice of the counterculture”. But we didn’t think of him as counterculture at all… he was us.

Who among the group commonly referred to as ‘boomers’ can ever forget the revolution George started with concepts such as the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, Sister Mary Elephant and the Twelve Words You Can’t Say On Television? His affection for language and never-ending search for truth earned him the love and respect of an entire generation.

The penultimate stand-up comic, George stood on any stage that would have him, right to the end. And every performance yielded the master’s touch, leaving audiences wiping their eyes and holding their stomachs.

Many will eulogize him and rightly so, all more eloquently than me. I just wanted my readers to know how much I admire him and how much I’ll miss his humor and humanity.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

At The Root Of The Matter

Prentiss Calder Biff. The name held refined dignity. Certainly Prentiss' parents took great care in selection, given their abrupt surname. Biff didn't have the euphonic flow of McVicker, mother's maiden name.

Prentiss’ father died in a freak accident during the harvest prior to Prentiss’ birth. Apparently a combine with stuck blades shouldn’t be hammered with a crowbar—especially not by an inebriated driver.

After her husband's untimely demise, Freda McVicker Biff, by necessity, moved in with her inlaws. Her insistence on re-assuming her maiden name, along with her dogged resolve that the boy be called the formal 'Prentiss Calder' caused division within the family- there was a riff at the Biff's.

The controversy raged, until one day Prentiss ran in from playing in the fields, covered head to toe in cockleburs and screaming in pain. The boy suffered mightily each time his mother extracted a bur from his blotchy red body.

After supper that evening (and several liters of elderberry wine), the boy's uncles decided that Prentiss Calder Biff was not a name for a lad who could withstand an attack of killer nettles. In a ceremony worthy of an apprentice knight, he was christened Sticker McVicker.

Cosmic kismet had spoken and the subject was not mentioned again. What goes around comes around… a sense of humor is a lethal weapon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And we had such high hopes...

Where did it all go wrong?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Golden Corn For The Old And Worn

Of course, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, time’s undaunted and merciless passage spawns memories of innocuous boyhood deeds and misdeeds more often than actual earth-shaking events that others might presume to be important. For example, I can’t remember a single detail about my high school graduation ceremony (I assume I was there, there are photos of me in cap and gown), yet I can still tell you every turn necessary to get from 23rd and Florence to 4th and Chester, while navigating the storm sewer running beneath Aurora, Colorado. Thinking back on it now, with the editorial distance reserved for old people, those adventures might explain some of the mysterious illnesses that three eleven-year-old boys from the same neighborhood contracted in the summer of 1958. Then, by extension, I suppose I owe our neighbor across the street, Mrs. Weaver, an apology for telling the doctor that her dog had licked my face. Yes, they euthanized the poor thing, but it shook most of the time anyway… Sorry, Mrs. Weaver.

Did the house that you grew up in have a basement? Mine did, and metal window wells formed a semi-circle around the basement windows, serving as a boundary against the yard. Not only were these window wells a great place to hide during a twilight game of hide-and-seek, but the rocks dumped at the base to keep the well in place served as a ready source of ammunition, should the urge to toss a few suddenly strike a guy. As I recall, Mrs. Weaver had a few choice words for my father, too, when a stone roughly the size and shape of those sitting at the bottom of our window wells found its way into her yard and took out the undercarriage of her mower when she ran over it. In fact, when he presented me the small sack of rocks she’d removed from her front lawn, no amount of temporary memory loss on my part could have saved me the ass-whipping that I remember to this day.

I suppose it goes without saying that those same basement windows provided a prime location for easy home invasion, too. The details are sketchy, but I seem to recall one such late night excursion into Mrs. Weaver's basement, as well-- after FiFi received her eternal reward, of course. We didn't take anything, that would have been wrong... but I recall seeing equipment that remained unidentified until ten years later when I sat in a crowded room with a dozen or so frat guys and watched an S/M movie from Singapore. No matter, it’s all water under the bridge at this point… or perhaps running through a storm sewer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

My search for understanding could be properly compared to Peru—mysterious, varied in its landscape, inaccessible as Machu Picchu, and politically volatile as the neo-socialist government of Alberto Fujimori. One minute I’m reacting to the latest nonsensical act of an American administration dedicated to destruction and the next I’m concerning myself with a particular brick set slightly askew in a building whose appearance hasn’t changed one whit in the last eighty years, its voice calling out, ‘someone please fix me’ every time I walk past. The fact that I’m the only one who can hear it is not lost on me, either. Honestly, the brick is at least a quarter-inch low on one end… why it doesn’t offend others’ aesthetic sense is beyond my comprehension. Secretly, I long to buy the building and pay a real bricklayer to fix it. Of course, if I bought it, I’d be compelled to put it to some use and this would be a task too onerous to contemplate, not to mention the risk of forever altering the building’s acquired chi. So I shall continue to saunter past it from time to time, trying in vain not to look at its grotesque anomaly in architectural malformation. Some things, apparently, are just meant to be and I must acknowledge their inevitability.

Exactly how does a Japanese man become a Peruvian? Or, more to the point, how do Peruvians look at a ballot with a Japanese man listed as one of the choices for President and put an ‘x’ beside his name? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, particularly, but the mindset of such a voter must be one of quiet desperation resulting from viewing the other choices. Actually, I guess it’s no different from a Californian choosing an Austrian actor as governor. Oh, what the hell… he can’t screw it up any worse than these other idiots.

As I said, it was probably inevitable, only a matter of time. With a Republican married to a Kennedy now residing in the Sacramento Governor’s Mansion, can it be very long before an Al Qaeda member runs for congress in the U.S. Congressional district serving San Francisco? As-salaam alaykum, Osama, how was school today? I hope your bomb-making grades are coming up, young man, or there’ll be no martyrdom for you in the Jihad next week!

Today, as I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge bound for Sausalito, I saw a flash of a dark-shrouded figure out of the corner of my eye. It appeared on the bay side of the bridge, just below the pedestrian path where I walked. A jumper, perhaps? Truth be told, the mist obscured my vision to the point I’m not completely sure if I saw or just imagined it. However, it became my misshapen brick.

Upon clearing the bridge, I parked in the accommodations provided sightseers by the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce and commenced the short walk back up the bridge to the point where my specter presented itself. The ever-present pelicans and sea gulls accompanied me, presumably in anticipation of an easy meal. Every fifty feet, I’d stop and hang my head over the side, checking the rust/orange iron structure for an unwelcome presence. Approaching an area I considered to be near where I first saw it, I became impatient, as is my nature. Just like you, putz… you just can’t help yourself, can you? Just another red herring you managed to waste time upon. Scowling over the side one last time before calling the adventure to a close, again I saw a wisp of black appear from an under-hanging support beam. It looked like cloth… and if it was, under cursory examination I could still pass for sane. Look! There it is again… this time with a hand sticking out the end.

Clint Eastwood is sleeping soundly this morning, secure in the knowledge that I am considering an assault on his throne, but I could not keep myself on the safe side of that railing. Some inaudible, invisible force willed me down the outside of the bridge before I had time to think about it and suddenly I gazed into a cauldron of blue-black foam-covered eternity. Instantaneously, terror gripped me as I struggled to move along the girder. I saw welded handholds interspersed along the vertical steel and the irony didn’t escape me. Mustn’t make it too difficult for the jumpers to find the ideal spot.

Then, I saw her. Braced between two cross-members stood a small woman dressed in a nun’s habit, her hood being blown by the wind. She stared at me with vacant eyes that made me wonder if she acknowledged my presence.

“You know, sister, you might want to watch what you rub up against, I read it’s getting very difficult to wash sea gull poop out of those new space-age fabrics…” Brilliant… that’ll keep her from jumping… appeal to her feminine sense of good grooming. Why didn’t you just bring a stick and poke her a few times, moron.

Now-focused eyes peered back at me and a glimmer of a smirk crossed her lips. “Really? I hadn’t heard that, but we don’t get many dry cleaners’ employees down here at St. Lucifer’s…” She looked away.

“Yea, well, I have some experience in these matters. I had a little problem with an ex-wife some years back and part of my penance I worked out with Father Monelli is to rescue wayward women of the cloth… even those whose orders originate in less-than-Heavenly locales.” She’s cute… a little bulky for my tastes, perhaps, but it’s easy to be critical. Get a grip, man, she’s a nun!

She waited momentarily before speaking, staring at me, apparently studying me. “Who says I need rescuing?”

“Well, I assume—“

“That’s your first mistake, cowboy, never assume… for all you know, I may be up here doing research on that same bird poop you’re so worried about.”

Her voice trailed off and she turned her back. Cowboy? Well, at least she’s talking. “Good point… frankly, I hadn’t considered that. Please accept my apologies, Professor.”

Without turning around, she raised her arm and gestured The Sign of The Cross in midair. After a short pause, she turned, facing me once again. “You’re up here to rescue me so that I’ll be grateful and allow you to have your way with me, aren’t you?”


“Why do you feign surprise? It’s totally natural, after all… a virile young man who’d risk life and limb climbing onto the outside of the largest suspension bridge in the world either has a messianic complex or he’s desperately trying to appease some sinister appetite involving defaming a member of the clergy. Somehow you don’t look like an angel to me, Clint.”

The words ripped huge hunks of flesh from my psyche. “Sister, are all nuns cynics or are you singularly blessed? I don’t mean to be crass at a time like this, but that sort of clairvoyance doesn’t seem to be a useful tool for someone married to Jesus, or if your previous statement can be believed, Satan.”

A titter emerged from a gasp and continued as she started to clap her hands, applauding my words. “Bravo! Bravo, Mr. Eastwood! Tell me… why are you here? Do you really know, or am I merely the logical conclusion of your curiosity? Suppose you’d found me perched on the very edge of the beam, clutching my rosary, summoning the courage to step off into oblivion… would you have hurdled through the air, snaring my arm as I stepped off, your free hand clutching the girders in desperation as you attempted to pull yourself, and me, back onto this support structure? Would you really have done that? Are you willing to die for me?”

Ashen… all the humor and most of the blood drained from her face as she continued to stare at me. I now realized I was in over my head, but I had to say something. “Actually, I envisioned a different scenario. I thought I could use my bodacious charm and powers of persuasion to, perhaps, talk you out of jumping.” I put both hands out in front of me, palms up, in a gesture of supplication. “Silly me, huh?”

Folding her arms across her chest, she frowned. “Is that it? So little commitment? I’m a crazy woman standing on a ledge and you want to talk me down by asking me politely? ‘Pretty please, sister, be a nice little nun and make me feel like a hero?’ Where’s the romance in that? You’re a stud, remember? Okay, start talking or maybe I pull a MAC-10 out from underneath my habit and you get to feed our toothsome friends, Carcharodon carcharias.”

I couldn’t help myself. I scrunched my eyes, grit my teeth and pounded my fist on my forehead. “HA!” Now it was my turn to snort. “You’re going to shoot me because I tried to save you? Honey, you’re something out of a bad Stanley Kubrick movie! Either jump or walk towards me, either way I get a little closure. Who knows… if you jump I may even be able to sell your story to the Enquirer. Oh, and, by the way, I know that Carcharodon Whatever-you-called-it is the great white shark.”

“I knew you’d make this about you… I need to satisfy you. I need to viagrize your limp little willie by coalescing to your demands. You invade the sanctity of my death and demand that I walk towards you? Get a grip, Dirty Harry, you’re starting to come unhinged! Who the hell do you think you are? You have no control here… you’re bupkus! Get it?? And it’s carcharodon carcharias, dumbbell.”

I have to admit, that slowed me up a good bit. Soon, as I felt a salty taste in my mouth, I realized that I’d bitten my lip. “So much for small talks, eh, Kemosabe? Okay, you feel the need to tweak the primordial bonds between life and whatever, go ahead. Forget all the theology you’ve ever learned regarding the sanctity of life and the mortal sin attached to suicide. You have your audience, drama queen, go for the gusto… but, as you’ve no doubt already figured out, the first step is the toughest. It isn’t the bullet that gets you, it’s the hole, right? Just one short step, one semi-athletic pirouette and you’re no more than one of nature’s vagaries, a question for the ages, isn’t that right?”

Without a word, she turned to the side and edged closer to the edge.

Do something! “Okay, okay, okay… you’re in control, for God’s sake, please don’t jump… let’s cut the crap, okay? I admit I’m a fraud. My machismo forced me to jump down here for no other reason other than to con you into believing I cared. I couldn’t give one fat rat’s ass less about your welfare, I’m only in it for the recognition… You win, okay? But please… don’t jump, please? Somewhere in my wretched makeup, I actually would love to have the pleasure of pulling that habit off and ravishing you. The only reason I’m standing here is because I can’t get laid anywhere else. Making it with a nun has always been a fantasy of mine and I figured that you might take pity on me and give me a sympathy hump for talking you out of jumping. Please… make my fantasy come true and walk off this bridge with me. Even if you tell me to piss up a rope afterwards, it won’t really matter, I’ll get off just knowing that I talked you down. Consider me somewhat of a sick mutant Messianist/alpha male.”

The look she shot me was indescribable, but she stepped further back. “Sir, what do you know of Holy Orders?”

She caught me off guard there. I’d been an altar boy as in my formative years, but the thought of becoming a priest was foreign in every practical way. “Well, nuns, priests and deacons take them when they’re ordained… that’s about the extent of it, I guess.” What the hell kind of question is that?

This appeared to appease her. “Aha! A very good answer, all in all. So… you are a Catholic. I had my doubts, honestly.”

Well, of course! You’re worried about being saved by someone so reprehensible as to not have the decency to be a Catholic… “What, the potato face had you fooled? I’m not swarthy enough to be Catholic? Did it ever occur to you that the Church, in its infinite wisdom, chose to invade Eastern Europe, too? I’ll tell you what, Sister, I’ll go see if Sylvester Stallone is in town… I’m sure he has nothing better to do than come stand under the Golden Gate Bridge and talk to ungrateful masquerading twits threatening to commit an abomination to God and spend the better part of eternity in Purgatory… or worse.”

Again, she showed me that freakin’ smile… then, as she exhaled, her head dropped in true recognition of whatever special capabilities she held near. “You’re a strange one,” she replied, “but you do know how to turn a lady’s head. Can you recite the Beatitudes?”

I got your Beatitudes right here… “Sister, I haven’t seen the inside of a church since 1984. Wait here and I’ll go see if I can get the Bishop to come rescue you… he probably isn’t doing anything, it isn’t Wednesday afternoon. Chances are, he’ll be able to play Twenty Questions with you… hell, for that matter, the two of you can do it in Latin if you want. If I recall correctly, I think one of them says something about being clean of spirit or something… or was it a reference to being blessed when you mourn? You want Beatitudes? Ask your hubby, He invented the damn things during his sabbatical to the Sermon on the Mount!”

“You didn’t listen… I merely asked if you could recite them, I didn’t actually ask you to. You really need to learn to listen. Actually, you’re correct about two of the eight and I’m proud of you. I have students who can’t recite two the morning after having them assigned as homework the previous evening. I think your faith is more deeply ingrained in you than you care to admit.”

“Oh, well, pardon me, Mrs. Christ, in the future when I’m fifty stories up and straddling a beam, I’ll try to be sure I pay closer attention to Dr. Lecturing Penguin. Madam, you’re a throwback… it’s a pity you were born so recently, you’d have made an excellent Inquisitor.”

“ENOUGH!! I’ll not be humiliated by the likes of you!” And she sat down, her legs dangling high over the Pacific. Our impasse provided the opportunity for us to go to our neutral corners and prepare for the next round as the steady drone of vehicles passing over us became the only focus of sound. Finally, looking up at me, she gestured for me to sit next to her. It was not so much a request as a demand. Pausing to assess, I slowly walked over and lowered myself onto the beam leaving a couple of feet of space between us; if she decided to grab me and pull me off with her, I’d have a fighting chance to resist.

For the first time I got a good look at her face. Her eyes held the strength only years of concentration could bring, tiny crows’ feet emerging at the outer edges. I took her to be around forty, tops, certainly too young to bridge such a monstrous gap of faith. What demons could possibly bring her to this?

“Will you tell me your name?” Her soft voice cracked slightly and I had difficulty hearing her over the wind rushing through the steel. The temperature was dropping and for the first time I felt her anguish. Somehow the chill seemed to accompany despair.

“If I do, will you walk with me back to Sausalito?” My words surprised me.

“My name is... Gwyneth.”

“Sure it is… and mine is Lancelot.” I decided to tease her a bit more, hoping to buy a little time. “Persephone?”

“Care to try again? Third time’s the charm…”

Rubbing her face with her hands, the woman cocked her head to one side and gave me a closed-mouth grin. “My given name is Stephanie Marie, but the name I took is Mary Timothy. Now, will you tell me yours, or must I keep calling you Clint?”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“The answer is no.”

“Then, I fail to see what difference the knowledge would bring.”

“And you also fail to realize a good many other things, too, gentle sir. If I were dying and thirsty, would you deny me a drink of water because I refused to stop dying?”

“Maybe… if I thought it would force you to take action on your own behalf.”

“I… can’t.”

Eternity can exist in a trice. If not, Einstein should have taken up gardening. Time, as I know it, suspended. “My name is Brent Carlson. You can’t… or you won’t?”

She pulled back her sleeve and glanced at her wristwatch before once again struggling to her feet. “Nice name, Mr. Carlson… strong, yet not arrogant. Your parents did well. Go learn The Beatitudes and I promise they’ll provide you all the strength you need. Now it is time for you to go. If you don’t, you’ll die with me.”

With those words, she lifted her habit over her head, allowing it to drop into the sea, exposing a display of circuitry and a countdown timer with rows of C-5 plastic explosive strapped to her chest, a chain extending down from her breast bone between her legs and padlocked to a hasp on her back. “You see, Mr. Carlson, I have less than five minutes left to decide whether this bridge comes down or whether an entire school packed with children blows up. Were I in your position, I think I would be high-tailing it for shore. But, then… I’m not Clint Eastwood.”

Media accounts of the Golden Gate Bridge bombing featured the assumption of Al Qaeda’s involvement, and a few motorists reported seeing a nun walking on the bridge. For another twenty-four hours, until a man with an incredible story came forward, I was the only person in the world who knew that Sister Mary Timothy Beatty traded her life for those of the children at St. Dominic’s Academy.

Pet Tricks - Dog Popping Balloons on Jay Leno

Ya know... sometimes you have to put something up because it's cute as hell. This little Jack Russell terrier's performance is just such a time. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I Think I Win

“Oh, yea? Well, did you ever get bit by a bull shark snorkeling off Isla Morada Key? I did, and it hurts, by God. Luckily, I think he just wanted to taste me to see if I was a seal.”

“Sorry, Harley, but I’m calling bullshit on that one. In the first place, I happen to know that there are no seals anywhere near Isla Morada Key. Secondly, how do you know you don’t taste just like seal? They’re mammals, too, even if they don’t have hands like chimps. I don’t think that would have anything to do with the taste. Buffalo aren’t cows but they taste similar. I’ll bet if I cooked you up a buffalo steak and fed it to you along with a round steak, you couldn’t tell the difference… especially if I put barbecue sauce on it. I just ain’t buying the ‘taste me to see if I was a seal’ bit. Let’s see the scar. Oh, wait, he probably bit you on the dick—never mind… at least the wound would be so small it wouldn’t take any stitches. And last but not least, why was a shark snorkeling off Isla Morada Key? I think they’re pretty much good to go without any artificial help.”

“Yea, well, I don’t think sharks have barbecue sauce to dull their taste buds like one particular stupid candy-ass I know who shall remain nameless but whose initials are S-T-I-N-K M-A-X-W-E-L-L— and the bite was just a small nip, it barely pierced my wetsuit, if you must know.”

“Oh, I’m the candy-ass? Why did you have a wetsuit on, Harley? I happen to know you went to Florida in July, when the water temperature was probably close to eighty degrees. That leads me to my next question. How do you know it was a bull shark and not a mako or tiger or freaking great white, for that matter? Are you a marine biologist, too, besides being an authority on every subject who spends forty adventure-packed hours a week driving a cement truck?”

“I may drive a cement truck, asshole, but at least my wife doesn’t spend every evening wearing knee pads in the parking lot of the truck stop on I-70. Maybe if her husband had a real job instead of spending his time ripping up losing tickets at Hialeah Race Track, your poor wife wouldn’t have to spend eight hours a night burping trucker spooge!”

“Oh, really, Harley? Well, if she's not at the truck stop, where does your wife turn her tricks, then? Do you allow her to use your guest bedroom?”

Harley Leathers and Stink Maxwell stared each other down with precision perfected by years of concerted effort in the practice thereof. Conversations in the barroom continued uninterrupted, yet neither heard anything but the beating of his heart as minds selectively filtered all unnecessary sound. All movement in either man’s peripheral vision took on the appearance of a protracted slow-mo scene in some violent B-movie.

In the fullness of time as defined by the duration of the Allman Brothers rendition of “Whipping Post”, Harley Leathers blinked. It wasn’t a full blink, more a semi-blink offered in response to an external stimulus such as a fly landing on the eyeball itself or an unexpected breeze slamming into his face, but it was still a blink, and could only be ignored if unseen. The sudden grin on Stink Maxwell’s face revealed that no such ignorance would be possible.

“Busted! You lose, that’ll be one Budweiser longneck, if you please, cold and frosty and best of all, free to me. You know, Harley, you’re getting easier and easier to beat. Maybe you need a little time off to practice before you come around fuckin’ with the King. Everything okay at home?”

For his part, Harley Leathers stared into the opaque amber bottle cradled in both his hand. Without looking up, he said, “Stink, if you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?”

“I’d turn you upside down, shake you ‘til your wallet dropped onto the ground, and take out enough to buy the Budweiser I have coming, but that’s just me. Harley, you don’t really give a goddamn what I’d do, you want to tell me what you’d like to do, so why don’t you spill it. I won’t promise that I won’t laugh my ass off, but at least you won’t be carrying it around like a lost puppy and maybe we can get down to some serious drinking.”

This caused Harley to look up at the large ironworker named Stink Maxwell. “Well, thank you, Doctor Phil!” he snarled. Standing up slowly, he pulled on the chain looped around a belt loop and attached to his wallet, causing it to rise from the rear pocket of his Levis. Reaching inside, he extracted a ten-dollar bill and laid it on the bar. Pushing it toward Stink, he continued, “Here, Stink… I hope the brew is never-ending and you choke on every sip.”

As Harley turned to depart, he felt a hand grab his upper arm. “Come on, Harley, sit back down and let’s drink another beer. You know I’m just—”

Stink Maxwell probably didn’t hear the sound or feel the impact, but the small hole in his forehead and the missing section in the back of his skull ably demonstrated the knockdown power of a 9-millimeter Glock when fired mere inches from a man’s head.

As the overly muscled ironworker’s body collapsed onto the bar, Harley Leathers put his face very close to Stink’s and whispered “I want to fly to Tahiti and carve a life-size replica of Ronald McDonald… out of teak.”

Seventeen patrons of Muldoon’s Public House, along with one wide-eyed bartender, listened to a Harley-Davidson starting up in the parking lot. Stink Maxwell could no longer hear anything at all.

Do you take these... er, I mean, this...

Some people have no class whatsoever.
Take this guy's tie, for example... it is so yesterday!

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Thought For The Day (Part 1)

Someone asked for some of my past The Thought For The Day. Your wish is my command (up to a point):

The fairness of destiny isn't ours to judge, but if you feed hot sauce to a Rottweiler, you deserve everything you get.

Everyone tells me that I have my grandfather's hands. So what? Grandpa's dead -- it's not like he needs them anymore, and sitting there on the fireplace mantle, they tend to dress up the room.

I sent away for a mail-order course that made me a minister. I haven't married any people yet, but I did practice on some pigeons in the park. Now God's gonna kill me for sure...

My mouth is dry, I can't feel my tongue, I've got blurred vision, my hands and legs are numb, I just peed my pants and now I'm seeing lightning bolts coming out of the buttons on my shirt... no wonder Mama warned me not to drink furniture polish.

Whenever my teenage daughter comes down the stairs dressed like a tramp for her date, I think to myself, 'Damn... why won't her mother wear something like that?'

If you want to save money on candy this Halloween, do what I do: Save your dirty Q-Tips throughout the year and tell the kids they're "Caramel Sticks." Hey, kids don't know any better...

There are two sure-fire ways to get a woman into bed. The problem is, I don't know either of them.

Life is just one long Yoko Ono album... no rhyme, no reason-- just a lot of incoherent shrieks and then it's over.

The problem with Americans is, we're just not consistent... if we were, eleven would be "one-ty-one".

I hate sex in the movies. Tried it once... the seat folded up, spilled our drinks, and that ICE -- well, it really chilled her mood.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's best to never ask a woman if she's pregnant. But if you decide to risk it, for God's sake never follow it up with, "Are you sure?"

I was taken aback when the waitress brought me a plate of tobacco leaves covered in whiskey, but I guess since I was at a sports bar, I should have known better than to order the Ty Cobb salad.

Since I can't afford to drive a bright yellow Hummer, I'm going to put a big flashing sign on my car that says,"I'm in serious need of some attention!"

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception. (Groucho Marx)


"Bubba bought me a mood ring the other day. When I'm in a good mood, it turns green. When I'm in a bad mood, it leaves a big frickin' red mark in the middle of his forehead." (Mrs. Bubba)


If the IRS wanted to put something really useful on their website, how about a list of countries that don't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.?


I fully support the legalization of marijuana. It's a natural substance, not unlike cyanide... and it has a similar effect on man's ability to compete with me for jobs and women.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Morris and Esther

Morris and Esther Sharing a Light Moment

Morris and his wife Esther went to the state fair every year, and every year Morris would say, ''Esther,I'd like to ride in that helicopter.''

Esther always replied, ''I know Morris, but that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.''

One year Esther and Morris went to the fair, and Morris said, ''Esther, I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance.''

To this, Esther replied, ''Morris that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.''

The pilot overheard the couple and said, ''Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word, I won't charge you! But if you say one word, it's fifty dollars.''

Morris and Esther agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers, but not a word was heard. He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, but still not a word.

When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said, ''By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed!''

Morris replied, ''Well, to tell you the truth, I almost said something when Esther fell out, but you know, fifty dollars is fifty dollars!''
(Before you ask, no, I didn't write it.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Something's Rotten in Denmark...

Your Thought For The Day:

DID YOU KNOW? Despite the obvious perils associated with such an endeavor, on a 20-degree night, an outdoor hot tub filled to capacity with five inebriated adult revelers is capable of producing enough steam to provide electricity for a family of six. This phenomenon, when coupled with the grace of God, is responsible for the fact that we all escaped relatively unscathed with not so much as a trace of frostbite.

Not a whole lot of news to report today. Yesterday was pretty much a typical Moberly day all in all, complete with shopping at Wal-Mart. The next check-out position over from where we waited in line is the Express Line. We had just finished paying for our groceries when suddenly Sheriff Brill and a SWAT team burst through the front door and arrested Fud Crumpacker for violation of Ordinance 27-B Subsection A; knowingly, with malice and forethought, attempting to bring more than 14 items into a posted Express Line.

Smiling and reading a prepared statement for the Eyewitness News 57 team, an effulgent Sheriff Brill proclaimed that surveillance teams had been in place for nearly three hours, waiting for Mr. Crumpacker "to perpetrate his heinous acts upon the good citizens of Randolph County". Apparently, it is Mr. Crumpacker's third offense of the same charge, and "the Sheriff's Department is up to the job of providing due diligence to its mission statement, the professed 'courteous but firm' administration of equal justice under the law for all citizens, for all offenses no matter how slight".

However, the statement goes on to say that the county will not be asking for the implementation of the death penalty under the "three strikes and you're out" clause, because "that boy is not hopeless... I'll rehabilitate this reckless scofflaw if it takes me twenty years".

I hate election years.

On the way home, I did something I rarely do. I picked up a family of blue-green algae who were hitch-hiking on Route 74. The wife wasn't too happy about it, but she went along with it under the condition that they stay in the back seat, and off the groceries.

The spokes-algae identified himself as Gak the Anabena. He was actually quite pleasant, if a tad malodorous. So deep was his gratitude, he said, that he would be willing to put down roots, with his multi-billion numbered family, in my back yard.

"You wouldn't happen to own livestock, would you?" he inquired hopefully.

I was forced to admit that I did not, although a healthy number of critters of different species inhabited the back acreage of my place.

"Splendid! You know, Mr. Church, blue-green algae has a history of steady nitrogen production, as well as a very strong relationship with fungi, an environmental power player with whom it produces many common lichens. We could keep your meadow green and nitrogenous for many years to come."

I looked him right in the nucleus and said, "Gak, if I allow you to stay, will you promise to stay out of my hottub? I've seen what algae can do to the most scrupulously treated vessels, and I'll not allow you to give my friends jock-itch!"

At this point, I think I heard what would pass for murmuring amongst the multitudes before Gak waved his Golgi Complex calling for silence. "Mr. Church-- may I call you Bubba?-- you see, I think you're laboring under a false presumption. You see, sir, we are really not algae at all, but cyanobacteria. We are associated with those nasty nemotodes only because of our color, not because of our environmental effects. Certainly you're not some bigot who would lump us all together because of our color, are you?"

Well, what could I do, at that point? If I didn't allow them to stay, I would be casting them to the whims of Sheriff Brill's anti-bacterial stereotypes. I simply couldn't live with myself if I did. But, I wasn't about to let them think that I was an easy touch. "Okay, pal, you and your clan can stay, but I don't intend to allow you to send for your relatives. If I see one sign of E. Coli or your fruit-fly cohorts, Drosophila melanogaster, it's Malathion for the bunch of you! Got it?"

I can only hope I was convincing.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Hooker’s Heart

The available light from the bedside wall sconce bathed the cheap motel room in the glow of anticipation, as he closed the door and latched the privacy hook.

“Honestly, I must tell you, you are the first one-legged prostitute I’ve ever met.” He sat on the bed, but at a point as far from her as possible.

She didn’t mind his admission. In fact, his words bolstered her. His naiveté added a little sweetness to his demeanor, a commodity in short supply for most of her johns. He couldn’t have been more than eighteen, judging from the peach fuzz masquerading as a moustache above his upper lip.

“Well, when you think about it, my job performance skills are little affected by the absence of a leg. So, if you can get your mind around my body as a whole, the aesthetic values aside, I think you’ll find the experience worth your time—and investment. I’m willing to bet you double or nothing that I’m the only hooker you’ve ever met. Am I right?”

“Huh? Oh, p—pshaw… no… I’ve been with lots of hookers. I’ve hooked it with ladies lots of times, even with some who weren’t prostitutes. In fact, most of ‘em weren’t…” His voice trailed off as if realizing he wasn’t very convincing.

“Oh, you’ve ‘hooked’ it before, eh? Yea… okay.” She walked over to the bed and pulled her skirt up, revealing her prosthesis. Sitting back down, she began to unbutton her blouse. “So, Mr. World Traveler, what services will you be requiring of me this evening?”

The boy said nothing, as if he didn’t understand the question. Slowly, he extended his arms as he began to speak. “Oh, you know… just the usual stuff.”

“Oooooohhhh…” she said, shaking her head affirmatively and smiling at him, “the ‘usual’ stuff, is it?” Tracing his crotch lightly with her fingers, she whispered in his ear, "I see someone else is happy to see me, too." Slowly and sensually, she un-strapped her prosthesis and stood it upright against the wall, a silent sentinel of the proceedings.

Folding his arms across his chest, he grinned back, suddenly pleased with her understanding of his great worldliness.

“Well, then, how much of ‘the usual stuff’ would you like?” Pulling one arm out of her blouse, she allowed him to view her exposed right breast before playfully sliding the fabric back over it. “How much fun are we going to be having during our little party tonight?”

“Well, ma’am,” he stammered, “I don’t know about you, but I intend to have a shit load!” Suddenly realizing that he’d just sworn, he covered his mouth momentarily before continuing. “I’m sorry… pardon my French.”

“Pardon your French? Honey, I’d welcome some of your French.”

His stupid, lop-sided grin spoke volumes in his silence as panic turned his ears bright red, looking for an avenue of escape.

“Okay, Pierre…” she replied, her tone dipped in exasperation, “how do you want to fuck me and for how long? See, that determines how much you pay.”

The demeanor didn’t change. The lights were on, but apparently nobody was home.

“You do want some pussy, right?”

Now he uncrossed his arms and put his hands on the bed, his eyes staring at one corner of the ceiling away from her gaze. “Well…” he said, his voice timid and barely audible, “if that’s how you want to put it, yes. I guess that’s what I came here to do.”

Obvious, also, to the one-legged prostitute known as Tish, was the absolute lead-pipe cinch that this boy was a virgin. Crossing her arms against her chest, she grinned innocently at him and intoned, “But…” elongating the word to make it last three or four seconds before once again turning the room silent.

“Well, I guess I’ve just never heard a lady use those words before”, he admitted, lowering his eyes as though ashamed of his innocence.

Now she had to turn her head and bite her hand to keep from laughing out loud. Slowly, Tish, the one-legged prostitute, buttoned her blouse and reattached her leg before sitting close to him on the bed.

“Listen carefully,” she began, putting one hand behind his head and the other flat onto his chest, “as much as I’d like to take your money tonight, after looking at that bulge in your levis, I think you’re too much man for me… I’m afraid I just wouldn’t be able to handle manhood like you possess. How about if we just call this whole thing off and I walk out that door? I promise I’ll tell tales of your skill and expertise to all your friends. Meanwhile, you’ll have some time to think about this evening and how one look at your package intimidated a hooker, and maybe even spend a little time just impressing some of the local girls in town. Then, when you’re ready, you come back and I’ll try to find a way to accommodate your massive man-meat. I won’t even charge you. How’s that sound? Would that be all right?”

Relief poured out of every pore of the boy’s skin. Shaking his head ‘yes’, he managed a faint grin.

Bringing her face very close to his, she stared into his eyes before kissing him softly on the lips. “But next time you come back, be warned. Real women aren’t afraid to let you know what they want—in terms you may find shocking. The world’s changing, my young friend, and sometimes a woman just needs a good fu--" Lowering her head, she paused before continuing, "Well, you know... when you can handle it, come back. I promise you’ll leave very happy.”

Then, blowing him a soft kiss, Tish, the one-legged prostitute walked out of the room, leaving one very relieved minister’s son to collect his thoughts and re-evaluate his place in the world.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Extreme Bubbacity

I learned a valuable life lesson yesterday when a homeless street urchin burst out from between two parked cars, grabbed my jacket lapels and informed me that when joining two independent clauses, I should “be goddamned sure to use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a freakin’ sentence modifier!”


Like so many aspects of life, art is a mystery to me… I know very little about it, but I do know what I like. In fact, I’ve become so adept at identifying such work, I’ve recently been appointed Curator of the Midwest Museum of Art That I Like.


Quit telling me that everything you like is illegal, immoral or fattening. All that says to me is that you’re a sanctimonious Puritan with no glands.


I’m not being judgmental— only God can do that— but I have to tell you, He’s been appearing to me and a lot of your friends, telling us what an a-hole you are.


Most of the time I don’t pay a lot of attention to abandoned offshore drilling platforms. I can’t remember even once mentioning the subject. So why is it that lately, everyone keeps reminding me how perfect one might be for me to take up permanent residence?


There is most certainly a purpose and meaning to the universe, even if it is far too complex and beyond my ability to understand. I take solace in the fact that for one fleeting second right before I die, I might gain a minute spark of insight.


My joy is beyond verbalization. Today, Federal Express delivered my Medieval Catapult Kit! At first, a couple of my neighbors were a tad nervous, but I put their fears to rest by explaining that I couldn’t possibly hit anything that close.


Life in rural America can be complex. Virgil Peebie’s mother stopped by today and spent a half-hour explaining to me all about how the new love in Virgil’s life kept making him ‘misty-eyed’ all the time. Turns out that he mistook passion for the onset of glaucoma. As I explained to his mama, I tried to tell him that little ewe wasn’t right for him, I don’t care how attractive he found her to be.


While walking by an antique shop recently, an odd, irregularly shaped glass sculpture caught my attention. When I walked in and asked to see it, the proprietor seemed a bit hesitant to show it to me. After holding it and examining it closer, I noticed that he started to sweat when I asked him the price, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman whom I perceived to be his wife, peeking out from behind a hanging tapestry.

Hands visibly shaking, the little man put his finger to his mouth and peered deeply into my eyes, undoubtedly testing my resolve. “I couldn’t take a penny under $200, mister”, he replied, his brow steeled to his work.

Once again, I rolled the strange object of my affection in my hands, its smooth surfaces warming my hands and heart. Sure, that was a lot of money, but for this stunning beauty to grace my mantel— I would have paid twice that amount. I ignored the little voice in the back of my mind trying to tell me to put it down, and casting caution to the wind, I blurted out “SOLD!”

Receipt in hand, I closed the shop’s front door behind me and stepped on the sidewalk. As I turned to walk away, an older lady grabbed my arm and smiled. “I see you’ve been to The Dollar Store, too… I bought seven, myself. At $1.98, I couldn’t pass them up. They’ll make lovely stocking-stuffers this Christmas.”

Somewhere behind me, from inside the antique shop, I heard raucous laughter.