Archive for March, 2012


alexander, the egg salad salamander

So I said to the guy, “two things, pal. First, I don’t look like Howard Stern. Second, if you don’t like people dressing in costume, stay the fuck out the Olde Tyme Renaissance Faire.” And everybody started clapping! Oh, let me call you back, Grandma, I think I have a customer. So, what can I do for you? Oh, you’re from the college newspaper and want to do a feature piece about the overlooked local characters that make our town a rich cultural experience for students willing to venture off-campus? Wow, a clip of that article could look really good in an internship application, friend. I’d be happy to answer your questions for free- here, let me turn over one of these buckets so you can have a seat. Hmmm, how did I get my start. Well, let’s see, I guess it was when my guidance counselor gave me a test to determine what career I should pursue, and it came back “busker”. I was pretty excited because I had always wanted to work on a Midwestern corn farm, but then she told me what a busker did, and I got even more excited! Later I got a letter in the mail from the folks that administered the test informing me there was a typo on my results and that it was supposed to say “busboy”, but by then I had already bought this cool hat with a feather in it. As honored as I was to be an artist, I was also pretty nervous, seeing as now it was only six seeks until graduation and I didn’t know how to play an instrument. How could I compete with the guy that plays Hindustani classical music by the Maple Street Glory Hole, who is an internationally recognized virtuoso at both the bansuri and sitar? Gradually, though, I found my niche, and with lot of practice I got better at the slide whistle, although I definitely have a ways to go. It takes me anywhere between three and four years to really master a song, so my catalog is still pretty narrow. Business is picking up, too. I even got in a corner-rotating agreement with a couple other guys so I get pretty good locations, plus it never hurts to get your business card circulating in different parts of town. Been making decent money playing this illegal beta fish fighting tournament they do every Monday, and on Thursdays Salvatore’s Italian restaurant is pretty busy, so you can usually serenade a few tables before the maitre d’ notices and calls the cops. Any other questions? Huh, not sure how this is any of your business, but I guess my favorite scene of Dazed and Confused is the one with the Pier One Imports sign accidentally in the background. Well, I hope I gave you enough to work with, but I gotta get back to work. So, what do you want to hear: Hall & Oates’ “Maneater”, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, or “Reloaded” by Smif-N-Wessun?


heist cream

“You’re a terrible liar,” she said, setting the legal pad down on the counter after checking Cal’s writing for spelling errors.
“Well, you wouldn’t want to be married to a good liar, would you?”
He had a point. The wedding was only four days away, but Gloriana had experienced no doubt, and didn’t expect to. She was willing to overlook the numerous ways he would prove useless, like being unable to take care of this pretty simple task. She could add it to the list of things at which he had proven inept, and that she would have to spend the rest of their lives preventing him from fucking up at: renewing his driver’s license, painting the house, not getting thrown out of Dolphin World due to a misunderstanding. But what could she do. He was a fat, dumb guy and she was a good-looking girl who fell in love on a television show on which they were both secondary characters whose romance had been made a story arc on the show’s penultimate season once the writers had run out of ideas for either character. And though they had had a whirlwhind courtship that sometimes had felt kind of hastily thrown-together, she knew it was gonna be forever with this motherfucker. Because despite the many ways they were obviously incompatible, he hadn’t been wrong when he told her great-grandfather that they had the kind of sex “I’ll still be remembering when I’m your age.”
Gloriana didn’t fight him on this one. She was going to have to pick her battles, and just as she had once resigned herself to the inevitability of his saying something embarrassing but ultimately endearing in the Season 7 Christmas episode, having provided a comedic backdrop to the greater will-they-or-won’t-they several-season story arc that had been unfolding between the series’ male and female leads, she let the ad run in the newspaper: “FOR SALE: one twin bed, lightly used. Gently masturbated in. Call 555-5555.” (So weird that that’s still our number, she thought for the millionth time.) But as a sassy ethnic character, she had not allowed his sometimes cute, although lately getting kind of stale and one-dimensional, buffoonery to go entirely uncommented upon.
“You calling this a bed is crazy, Boo. It’s just a mattress and a box spring with no frame and a sleeping bag draped over it.”


moist likely to succeed

“Cabrera, I thought I told you I didn’t want to see you in my office until the media firestorm passed from your having used excessive force on that flamingo that escaped from the zoo. This had better be good.”
“Sorry about this, Chief; I wouldn’t have come to you if it weren’t serious. While I hate to risk getting a reputation for being difficult on my partners, this time we’ve got a real problem.”
“Excuse me for a second- Dorothy, hold all my calls. Okay, you’ve got my attention. The last time you came to me with an issue with your partner, you blew the lid off the most explosive corruption scandal in this city’s history. Turns out Murphy was not only facilitating communication between the south bay’s three biggest crime families, but also serving as a courier for weapons, money and drugs. For years, that fucking backstabber even tipped Gallindo to stings and raids. So what’s up?”
“Are you sure we’re okay in here, Chief?”
“Listen, Cabrera. This was a safe place when you confided in me about your ringworm, and it’s a safe place now.”
“Okay, sorry. I just…I’m not sure I can do this.”
“Well, you’ve already given me suspicion enough to launch a full-scale investigation. Might as well make this easier by telling me what you know.”
“All right, fuck it: Padilla’s been eating CornNuts in the cruiser.”
“Jesus God. It’s worse than I thought.”
“Yeah. I’ve stayed quiet as long as I can.”
“Chin up, kid; you did the right thing. Your bravery in stepping forward on this is commendable. I’ll have you fitted with a respirator till we can determine the right time to make a move on this asshole.”
“No can do, Chief. I tried a respirator a few weeks ago when this first started-”
“Wait, what? You’ve been sitting on this that long?”
“At first I thought he was just blowing off a little steam, so I let him go with it for a little while. He was pretty shaken up after we broke up that counterfeit DVD ring. You know about Padilla’s strong feelings regarding copyright infringement. Figured if I could keep an eye on him he wouldn’t go off the deep end, but I couldn’t rein him in. Anyways, I forgot to take the respirator off when we pulled over an old lady. Really scared the shit out of her. She was convinced that her tax dollars were going to pay for an army of menacing police robots. Fortunately, we were able to convince her family that she was experiencing early-onset dementia when they came to pick her up from county lock-up.”
“Good work. With this kind of time crunch, I think our best option is to immediately transfer you both to security detail at the old outlet mall.”
“Chief, that’s the heart of the Leather Hat District. Are you sure?”
“Twenty-two years I’ve been in this line of work, Cabrera. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that sometimes it’s best to let these animals weed themselves out. At least this way, he gets a hero’s funeral and his family doesn’t have to learn what he was into.”


granny body shot

Howdy, ma’am. Reckon you here to ask me about old Sally Ray Koosman. Well, we don’t get too many big city reporters out this way, less it’s to ask about the paint thinner plant yonder up the river, or Sally Ray, seeing how she’s the only one ever make it out of old Weevil Holler. Yessir, Sally Ray was the pride of the community on account of winnin all them geography bees. County, state, regionals, nationals. She done sweppem all. We ain’t had no school round these parts since the Scopes Monkey Trial, so nobody knew how she figured out what an isthmus was, or how she could properly identify a fjord, but they she was. Makin us all real proud. When all the townsfolk gathered around the teevee to watch Sally Ray, it was the biggest crowd at Gunther’s Lunch Counter and General Store since 1968, when George Wallace made an ill-advised campaign stop, after which we tole him his stump speech weren’t racist enough. Women kneaded they handkerchiefs and even a few of the menfolks’ knees knocked as Sally Ray stepped up to the microphone to name the African country that was bordered on all sides by one other country. Lesotho. Sure enough. We all whooped and cheered. Pretty soon Sally Ray was a big sensation. Inspired provocative thinkpieces in Harper’s and the New Yorker about whether educators should reevaluate they curricula by concentrating less on traditional academic disciplines like the humanities or hard sciences and instead smear they children’s faces with coal dust and make em drink Shasta for every meal. Course, the good times ain’t last long before Sally Ray started to experience the downside of fame. Ole girl done collapsed from exhaustion after a ribbon-cutting at the fancy publishers Harcourt Brace Jovanovich new flagship retail outlet in midtown Manhattan. Danged doctor prescribed her some pills to help her regulate her sleep patterns after all that airplane traveling interrupted her Circadian rhythms. From there it was just a matter of time till she fell into a pit of chemical dependency. Bad stuff. Hair ron. Kickaine. Folks started to talk amongst theyselves. Why she need to take a belt into the bathroom with her if she just going in there to make water. We was already pretty worried about her by the time she embarrassed herself on Tom Snyder’s show. Showed up under the influence and tried to scratch Carl Sagan’s eyes out. Things better for her now though. Found enlightenment through Buddhism. Taking better care of herself too. Pilates. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. She over there eatin that kale sallit from Whole Foods. Rich in numerous polyphenolic flavonoid compounds, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. She don’t talk much about those heady days now, but I bet you could get her to open up if you act like a confused tourist looking for an estuary.

March 2012