Archive for December, 2011


thou shalt call me zeroaster

Come see the one-man show that’s taking off-Broadway by storm-Stories From 101 96th Street! You’ll laugh, cry and even sy*h as Live Erotic Theater Quarterly‘s 1996 Newcomer of the Year nominee Sandy Montenegro inhabits the off-the-wall neighbors who inhabit the zaniest apartment building in the Bronx! You’ll have plenty to talk about on the long train ride home from Ralph’s Coffeehouse and Artist’s Space in Pelham Park after you get to know this dazzlingly diverse array of characters:

Mark on the fifth floor: “I mean, hey- can a guy get a pastrami on rye around here? Fifteen years I been comin’ to this deli; you’d think I could get a little service, don’t you think? I wear cheap clothes and my combover isn’t fooling anyone, right, pal? Yeah, you might say I’m a real jerk. I play my music too loud and have really noisy sex, where I yell at the woman to kick me like a horse right as I’m about to reach my peak. Be a real shame if somebody told my peers on the school board about my weird kink, but that doesn’t stop me from acting like a total asshole to people who have potentially damaging information, including audio recordings and infrared camera footage.”

Ivette on the third floor: “Yeah, papi, you might call me an around-the-way girl. Rap videos have been made about the way I take clothes out of a front-loading washer at the laundromat. Sure, I might be good-looking, but I act like it too, see, walkin around with my nose in the air and not giving anyone the time of day when I run into them in the lobby while checking the mail. There’s only one thing I like more than smoking cigarettes on the fire escape real slow and sexy, and that’s kicking a guy like a horse right as he’s about to reach his peak, and I’m the best at it. Yeah. I’m bad.”

Luther the superintendent: “I don’t gave a damn when you need it, I’ll get to it when I get to it, man! Look, I’ma have to call you later, aight? Sorry about that; the nerve of these tenants! They think it’s the end of the world if they go a few days without running water. I’m as sorry as anyone that you’re being inconvenienced, but I couldn’t very well come back early from Palm Beach without cancelling some pretty nice dinner reservations, so my hands were tied. Hey, not for nothing, but we’ve all got problems. I can’t keep my Jaguar out of the shop, but do you hear me complaining about it? Besides, it’s not all bad. Just the other day, a guy in one of my buildings invited me to do some freaky, freaky stuff with a girl that’s known for kicking a dude like a horse right as he’s about to reach his peak, and I’ve always wanted to try that. Mother of Mary, it was everything I ever dreamed of and more. They told me that a threesome was a longtime fantasy of theirs, but they had had a hard time finding someone. Apparently one of their neighbors had been in the running until they began jumping to conclusions and harboring totally unfounded suspicions about his astronomy hobby. Between you and me, they seemed like a couple of snobby jerks.”

Audiences called Stories From 101 96th Street “an… effort,” “disturbingly racist, but in a way that was strangely ignorant of Asian stereotypes, unless there’s something I’ve been missing this whole time about them and Ritz crackers,” and “Uh, could you keep it down? People are trying to do the crossword here.” Get your tickets today, because this tour de force isn’t likely to be around long, and costume designer Rod Butterscotch really did put a lot of effort into creating a prosthetic ass big enough to meet Mr. Montenegro’s specifications for Ivette.


what to expect when you’re expectorating

My son, sit down and let me talk to you; there are certain moments in a father and son’s journey that must be acknowledged, and the son becoming a man is one of them. Seeing you in the bloom of your youth, I’m reminded of -and perhaps even a little wistful for- my own younger days. I had an apartment with a couple of guys, and a pretty sweet job doing construction. Whether we were watching football on television or having the girls from across the hall over for an orgy, we ate pizza, pounded beers and smoked dank every night. Every now and then we’d overdo it, then have to take of the next day off work so we could get rid of the shakes with a couple of seven a.m. brewcephuses. Sometimes, the sanitation workers would see me rushing to get the trash out before their truck arrived, and this happened often enough that they even gave a name, “el retrasado,” to the celebration dance I would do when I accomplished this task in time. Those were exciting times for me and my roommates. As young Amish men on Rumspringa, our wild behavior was fueled by a keen though unspoken awareness that we were unlikely to ever employ that kind of irresponsible decision-making again. It occurs to me presently that those days were long ago, as shown by the fact that my eldest son is now preparing to embark upon his own time living away from home.

You may have experienced some curiosity about the outside world while growing up in our cloistered community. Your time outside will likely raise more questions on this subject than it answers, but that is the price of wisdom. When a man chooses a path, he isn’t just picking one destiny, he is forsaking all other possible destinies. Do not, however, feel envious of those many paths not chosen, for just as you might later wonder what might have been if you had accepted that offer to become a roadie for Cypress Hill, you will also come across unfortunate souls who through tragic circumstance, never had the freedom to know of alternatives. I’m proud of the man you’re becoming, and this time in the world will do you good. As you already know, life here is perhaps uniquely demanding and requires a serious commitment. Knowing what else is out there will help you decide whether to choose baptism and accept these demands for the rest of your life, and I trust that whatever you decide, you will do so with your eyes fully open.

Hold out your hand, Othniel; I want to give you something that served me well on my Rumspringa. It’s my old pager. Be careful who you give the number to, however, as not everyone you will encounter has had the same upbringing as you. Remember that learning to co-exist with others will prove invaluable long into your life, and those skills will never be tested more than they will among the English. Know when it is necessary to tuck your chain in and hide your Walkman, but remember that misunderstandings can also be avoided with diplomacy. Extend a measure of patience and mercy even to those who would drink up all the Hennessy you got on yo shelf. Surround yourself with the kinds of friends who you can trust to tell you if you’re being wack, for if your ass is a busta, 213 will regulate.

It’s a different world than where you come from, and you should get out there and experience all it has to offer by sowing your wild oats. Though the high-waisted jean shorts and Cross Colours short sleeved hoodies favored by modern women are not always ideal for corporal evaluation, they do leave a bit less to the imagination that the ankle-length solemn dresses you’re used to around here. You’ll soon learn that the world is full of girls that you will be proud to address as “mah tenderoni,” but don’t forget that sometimes what you’re looking for was here all along. Yes, I’ve seen the way you look at Stoltzfus’ girl Hannah. Indeed she comes from hearty stock; not even the most modest attire could conceal the fact that with her sturdy haunches, she looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. Very well, then; your satchel is packed and you are ready to depart. I will see you upon your return, should you choose it, and I will be glad to put you back to work. Having your own bathroom for the first time will no doubt prevent your butter churning muscles from losing too much of their strength.


reverse trigonometry

Hello, who am I speaking with? Eleanor… and that’s with two E’s? Well, non-consecutive, obviously. And you are a… manager or supervisor? Actually, what is your exact title? Hang on, let me get a different mechanical pencil, because after the experience I just had, I am taking notes, which I plan to turn over to the Better Business Bureau, if necessary. All right, got it. Oh, my tracking number is 5694…306…618… do you need me to slow down? Okay, just making sure: 47294…05739…well, it’s easier for me to read if I break it into sections like this, okay? Let’s see here, where were we… oh, and it ends in 149. You’re not seeing it? Let’s try it again, all at once: 56943066184729405739419. Okay, much better. Well, Eleanor, I wanted to speak with you about one of your customer service representatives that I just got off the phone with. Yes, her name was Critter Goldengraham, and during our call, Ms. Goldengraham was curt, openly dismissive of my concerns, and not at all informative. Her refusal to treat me with the merest modicum of human decency turned what should have been a brief query for your contracting firm regarding the custom Sega Genesis installation you just did on the ceiling above my indoor hot tub, into a morning-long debacle that escalated, or rather devolved, depending on your perspective, into a shouting match that spanned the call’s final 90 minutes. I have never felt so frustrated, exhausted, or, most of all, disrespected in all of my life. Additionally, I’m pretty sure I have fallen in love with her. Let me tell you something, Eleanor; I spend a LOT of money and time getting women to abuse me over the phone, but Critter was in a class by herself. She so thoroughly broke my will that after the call I had to stifle the impulse to cleanse myself by touching a hot stove the exact same way 200 times. So, how about it, lady- you gonna send me her home address or what? I wanna weird out on this broad and I am not gonna be stopped, so you might as well profit from it. What’s your game, dollface? Bootleg Gucci handbags, secret poker games, human cockfighting? I got underworld connections like you wouldn’t believe. And I’m not just talking about my shady business partners either; I also wield quite a bit of influence back in Niil’Kelash, the subterranean home of wandering doomed souls in the afterlife. I’m an old fashioned guy, Eleanor, and I’m determined to make an honest woman out of Critter. Who knows- if this thing goes according to plan, you could be called to offer testimony on our behalf at our wedding in the very throne room of the Dark Emperor himself, Fwecc-Mehebel (some interpretations of the prophecy did say that the Selector of Gnelken shall marry a woman named for a cat, so fingers crossed!). Then, upon the recitation of our vows, we shall drink from the Skull of BeHok Ne’enb, then, our wings fully grown at last, we will ascend into the sky for the first time as husband and wife. With the legion of Laolti flying at our backs, our numbers shall block out the sun as we rend the flesh of the terrified nonbelievers to announce the beginning of His eternal reign over the conquered and enslaved heretics. This oath I seal with my blood: all hail the holy name of Fwecc-Mehebel, forever. Amen and amen.


rime of the instant mariner

“Greetings, gentle shopkeep,” the well dressed man said as he entered my humble workshop. He was as grateful to get out of the driving rain as I was to receive some unexpected business. “I was glad to find you. Many of your fellow craftsmen in this village have closed up shop early and gone home.”

I shook my head to indicate that I shared his disappointment in my peers. “It takes a man of extraordinary discipline and fortitude to ply his trade in the face of trying circumstances,” I commiserated, surreptitiously placing my hat under my workbench and my keys into my back pocket, then kneeling behind a shelf to quickly refasten my grease-stained apron. “What may I do for you?”

He unwrapped a handkerchief to reveal an object of considerable interest, as well as considerable beauty. I furrowed my brow and grunted, trying not to betray my puzzlement, for my ignorance of this gewgaw would not have been greater had he brought forth a priceless bauble from Peking or the jewels of Araby. I wondered if I would be able to help him.

“Ho! Fret not, my good man. I do not expect you to have much immediate knowledge of this item, not in this remote hamlet. In my travels it came into a state of disrepair, and neither my driver nor my attendant nor I can seem to make much sense of it. To return home failing to deliver it in acceptable condition would cost me… quite dearly, in fact. This puts us at your mercy, but I can deduce from the way you look me in the eye that you are honorable man; and from your neat, organized workshop, that you are a man of prodigious handskill. I will gladly pay you in advance simply for trying to fix it. The name on the door said Bayall Sanyan. Is that you?”

I nodded proudly in affirmation, wiping my hand on a cloth to make it more presentable. As he shook my calloused mitt, he pressed a few gold doubloons into it. The firmness of his grasp contrasted with his digits’ softness, which was as that of a silken pillow, having been protected by the fine leather gloves I had noticed him removing. Corinthian.

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance. Drakkar Reverendston. If you can get it running again, there will be plenty more where that came from. Bought it from a gypsy. He called it an e-cigarette.”

I told him I’d do my best, then felt a sense of foreboding over what manner of man I was entering into business with as I plugged it into the USB port. Maybe it just needed to be charged.

December 2011