Butter up the skillet, home fry.
Oh, that’s right,
I already cooked you.
You must be feeling salty.
Butter up the skillet, home fry.
Oh, that’s right,
I already cooked you.
You must be feeling salty.
What can we even call valuable these days? Not money, that’s for GOT DANG sure. Something far away and winking at us. It doesn’t want us to know it has a glass eye. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.
Remember the Christmas party back in ’97?
Find a kindred spirit,
fill it up with gopher planters,
Tell your friend that you’ll go strand ‘er,
Nothing much to fear, it.
What’s your motive, buddy?
Got a bindle on your shoulder,
I saw you sleepin’ on that boulder.
Look a little muddy.
I just want to see right here
what gopher planters do to you.
You might develop love for shoes
or burning in the ears.
The devil’s in the derailing of that train, the baby crying for closure, the military brat skipping along the sidewalk in Atlanta while his father dodges bullets every day. Yeah, there’s plenty of devil all around us, surrounding our waking lives with the idea that we’re not good enough to do what we really want to do. But then the devil jumps into those who believe in themselves and wish to make a positive impact on this planet. The devil plants his slimy fist into their heart and slices a coin slot right at the top. The devil blinds men to the power of fellowship and turns them onto the scent of dirty green paper. The devil is in the television, in your aunt’s glass eye, in alcohol and energy drinks. The devil doesn’t pick and choose what to inhabit, he just throws himself into anything, willy nilly, until he’s gotten his fill of screwing around with us.
The devil. What an easy excuse.
We’re the devil, and we know it.
Why do I want attention? Honestly, I don’t want attention.
My words want attention. I want attention for my words, not my ego. Do I need to develop an overactive, self-indulgent, ridiculously aggressive ego in order to do anything with my life that makes me seem like an important person?
What is importance? There’s no such thing as something being innately more important than anything else. Nature seems to understand this, yet humans decided that they don’t belong to the natural cycle that they step on and choke every day. The soul of a chicken is useless to the soul of a human until that chicken’s energy is converted into food matter and consumed by that human. By that point, the chicken’s soul has already transcended this plane and begun the selection process for another life somewhere in this universe (or perhaps another). That soul will earn an upgrade for its devout service to Earth’s common good.
What’s my problem? I want my words to be read by people, and I want to be able to write these words for my life, undisturbed, peaceful, constantly inventing. That’s what I was brought into this shitty world to do, but I won’t be allowed a comfortable living if I insist on doing it like some sort of maverick poet. How dare I wish to explore the forefront of language to attempt a deeper connection with the cosmos?! I’m a real piece of work.
Every single person on this earth has an audience of some kind, whether it resides in your pocket or in a movie theater. Nothing is equal in this universe aside from the fact that nothing was created to be the same as anything else (aside from behavior of particles under the laws of physics), so everybody will have different kinds of audiences and influences. Nobody should feel compromised simply because they have a small audience, and nobody should let their ego devour the soul that got them to the point where their audience would like to strip them bare and make juicy love to them for days on end.
There’s obviously a secret to attaining “fame”, in that sense. I happen to know that many (many) people possess this secret and choose not to use it. I have the utmost respect and admiration for these brave individuals, and I will spend my life trying to find them. I’ve already found a bunch, and I hope a bunch more will follow.
Seven grimy little speculatives prindle across my gallery floor, after I specifically told them to wipe their feet upon engaging in heavy humiliation for the sake of their beloved ancestors. I’m a liberal sort of person, but only so many things can run across my field of vision before my temples begin thumping and causing me a severe headache. The blurry vision and stammering retinas are not good for my prolonged curatory career, and I poured my heart into this endeavor. It’s a real shame when speculatives can’t obey my commands or even accommodate a quick gesture, and it has become clear to me that I must plow forward in this project by myself, leaving behind those little goobers for a sweeter reward. It’s on the horizon, blurry (due to my migraine or near-sightedness, I’m not sure) and promising colors galore, subdivided into hues unimaginable to folks behind me. I’ll get there first and gloat for seven seconds as my competitors reach my apex, only to find that I’ve laid a booby trap for them. As they tumble into this pit of despair (and crocodiles), I’ll be watching their descent and waving, hoping they’ll have the wherewithal to look up and regret their lemming impersonations.
For I told my butcher: “I want gravy with that”. Now and forever, I shall always demand gravy on the side, never on top. I could care less whether or not my butcher has this gravy readymade for me at any given moment, as I pay the premium prices to keep him in business. The least he can do is simmer a pot in the back for my saucy pleasure. I will give him six business days to amend his practices, after which I shall seek new routes for obtaining my prepared meats and gravies.
I haven’t folded any siblings at the present moment, though I’m confident to say that my upcoming moments will involve exponential growth in that arena. I’ve stumbled upon a great new widget for bending my brothers and sisters to my will, and I’m certain that, with a little practice, I can effectively coerce them into doing my bidding (at least 96% of the time). There are always going to be a few kinks in the system, but my reign as tyrannical overlord is bound to get its feet off the ground within the next calendar month. You can count on that, you cynical renegades, you.
I took some money from the drawer; it gathered in a pile. I watched the pile dwindle slowly and consistently in time, as though I would never be content with any amount of it. I kept taking money from that sacred drawer, and it just as consistently flew away, never to be grasped again by my own hands. Then the drawer dried up; I had nowhere to go for a currency fix. I asked everybody I knew if they had drawers they could lend to me, and they gave me the cumulative stink eye. I was alone in my destitution, doomed to traipse along a desert of moneylessness. Parched, weak, tired, and overall just not a happy camper.
Take the cucumber from the box and measure it against the zucchini. Are they the same size? If this is the case, one must be shortened by biting an end and either chewing vigorously or spitting (this is entirely your choice). I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having one vegetable shorter than the other before you proceed. Okay, so we have produce of different lengths sitting adjacent to one another, just far enough apart for no monkey business to take place. We don’t need a vegetable mutiny on our hands before we go on this picnic, do we? Nobody signed up to be humiliated or injured for the sake of cuisine.
I’ve built a life for myself alongside the skyscraper dreams I’d learned to toss aside. I haven’t taken out the trash yet, as the pile isn’t too high for comfort. I know that any day I’ll have to rid myself of all this rubbish, but I’m hoping that something will come along to make me forget it all. A kindly old man who falls and breaks his hip while I’m waiting for the bus, or a sad little kid waiting for her dad to pick her up from soccer practice, or a charismatic oaf getting his clock cleaned by someone he didn’t ever view as a threat. Any of these things could possibly make life more interesting for me in that moment, but I’ll shrug them all off and keep on with the drudgery. I’m afraid to root through this pile of aspirations; I don’t want to give myself any more bad ideas that I’d already nipped in the bud. They seemed so promising at the time, but something made every single one unfeasible. Are there any at my disposal that I can achieve after all my struggles? Let me take a look here. “Fly like a bird.” Stupid. “Eat a 64 ounce steak.” What was I thinking? “Write a book of short fiction.” Well, nobody would read it anyway. “Settle down in the suburbs.” That was a dream? More like a nightmare. I’ll have to burn that one.
Can God pull a rubber band so hard
that it breaks and comes back together
at the speed of a hummingbird wing?
He can’t? Then what can he do?
Jesus, this God character
isn’t much of a superhero.
Can he at least spy on people
24/7 without using binoculars?
The whole world?!
Okay, that’s impressive.
To whom am I addressing this?
Dear Sir Galveston,
please give me money.
No, that’s too formal.
Yo, Mr. G,
gimme some money.
No, that’s too slangy.
pony up the dough.
No, that’s too mobsterish.
Excuse me, Mr. Galveston?
Can I have some money?
No, that’s too namby pamby.
Is this Mr. Galveston?
Oh great, I’ve heard so much about you!
I’ve come upon troubling times,
and I wonder if you could help me out.
Just a little bit of money
would really go a long way. Please?
I swear it’ll just be this one time,
and you can take my word on it.
No, that’s too panhandler-y.
How do loan officers prefer to be addressed these days?
The moon didn’t come out tonight.
I don’t know if it got the memo
that we’re having a midnight picnic.
Well, as long as the sun shows up
when it’s supposed to tomorrow,
I won’t file any police reports.
I see something like a casino junket, never really satisfied but always rolling to the goal, you know what I mean? It tends to get frustrating at times, but you win some and you lose some. At least that’s what I always say to my brides-to-be before the wedding. You know, I must have married half of Toledo by now, but I haven’t grown tired of marriage. Isn’t that miraculous? No matter how many stone cold bitches I’ve trusted enough to get down on one knee for, I still seem to have that romance bug inside me. Sometimes I feel like it’s crawling around just below my skin and I start itching. I don’t think I really have an insect under my epidermal layer, I just really have ants in my pants sometimes. I don’t literally have ants walking up and down my legs, I’m just emphasizing the nervousness and anxiety that I get sometimes. The romance bug is just a symptom of my never-ending obsession with having someone in my life, in my house with me at all times. I never leave my house. I found out about 15 years ago that going outside is unhealthy for me. I haven’t seen a doctor on the subject, but I’ve read plenty of literature on the internet about people who literally burn up when their skin is exposed to sunlight. I always felt like I had that condition, so I just covered every square inch of my body before I used to go outside. But you know what? I’m not going to let the Sun dictate the clothes I wear, dammit. I had to take back my own life once and for all. That was too much for my sixth wife, so I had to end it with her. I don’t know what happened to her, she probably moved back to Seattle with her boyfriend (she was cheating on me while we were married, but I didn’t really mind that much because nothing she did outside of the house was any of my business anyway). We weren’t really clicking after the first couple months, you know? Anyway, I’m so excited to get hitched tomorrow! Have you thought about who you want to be our witness? I think Pedro would look so nice in a rental tux, don’t you? I mean, it doesn’t have to be a pricey one, I’m sure they have a deal on one-day rentals. I don’t know, I’ll figure it out when I get to the tailor. What size is Pedro, a 42?
Money is all you can talk about, huh? Well listen to me for a minute. Will that money buy you better posture after you’ve been sitting in a miserable, fluorescent-lit dungeon of an office for 26 years? Will that money let you just walk away for a minute to think about where you’d really like to go with your life? Will that money cooperate with you when you say you would like to pursue your dream for the sake of giving it a try? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Money is your master, your ever-loving abusive father, your nagging psychiatrist telling you that no combination of treatments is enough to cure your misunderstood condition. Money doesn’t care about how you earn it. You could shovel the shit of an elephant herd for sixty years to scrimp and save for that day that’ll never come. You could be a clown’s makeup consultant during breaks at the rodeo to get your daughter that doll she’s been bitching about for three months now. You could tear the insides out of an animal that had just been alive a minute ago (and make a pretty good wage) to finance that billiard room you always wanted. Money doesn’t give a shit or a giggle about how raw your hands get or how little ambition you end up with. Money is the essence of putrid bile, green and acidic, leeching the life out of the inherently good and stuffing the mouths of the opportunist slave drivers.
That’s what I think about your money. Bitch.
Figurative beads of sweat pepper the steak’s interior as it sizzles upon the grill, understanding nothing, as its tissues contain no cerebral cortex. No brain, no wits, just a slab of meat. Lifeless, tender, able to be thrown about a hundred feet by anyone willing to try. Skip gave it a whirl just last week, earned himself fourteen dollars for the effort. After it was all finished, he said his rotator cuff was acting funny. He didn’t think the cut of beef would be quite that big. He plans to sue the cow for negligence, as it failed to be there to tell him what the butcher did to its sirloin. Irregular cuts of beef are costing this nation an arm and a leg. Why it was just yesterday that Milly kicked a floppy old flank steak and twisted her knee on the follow-through. This entire situation is getting out of control, and nobody’s stepping up to take charge. This meaty menace has gone from the butcher’s block to the murderer’s rampage, and there’s not a man, woman or child with the guts to stop it.
So what if I struggle for no reward? Nobody really understands why I do it, and they fail to see that the reward is the act itself! It would take a fool to get up one morning and say “you know, I think I’ll be a chicken wrestler” like they’ll just own the world and brush us all off like dandruff. First of all, they have to catch their own fowl. Nobody tells you that little tidbit in the Chicken Wrestling Handbook. Every sparring match with a neighborhood bird has to be earned through sweat and blood. Back before computers, we had to go out and find our own birds! Can you imagine that? Nowadays, everybody just hops on the ebays and buys a chicken from thin air. Hogwash, they’re not real wrestlers! They’re cheap scam artists who won’t get an ounce of satisfaction from ambushing a clueless chicken in a box with air holes. Of course if you knew all this, I wouldn’t have to lecture you on the subject. But no, you seem to think that my passion is all just a big fat joke. Keep laughing, pretty boy. Just wait until we all have to help wrangle the loose chickens in our co-ops after we fritter away all our hard-earned electricity. It was my parents’ generation that put us on the map, and your generation is stomping all over that same hand-drawn masterpiece of a society. Hogwash. None of you are real wrestlers. Get out of my way, it’s time for my popsicle.
I worked on a rig or two in my day. I was the guy that convinced Lovely Pete to get a garbage disposal. Remember when he was just tossing his old vegetables in the trash like a savage? I changed that in a hurry. He honestly had no idea that flesh-eating bacteria could spread through his kitchen like the plague without one of those machines. I don’t have to tell you how it works, do I? You’re so forgetful, sometimes I wonder why I come to your office for advice. Okay, for the last time. Every disposal comes pre-equipped with a garden gnome strapped to the bottom that punches bacteria before it reaches the vegetables you grind up. Come on, you’ve had one of these for four years now, don’t you remember the living, breathing denizen below your sink? Come to think of it, those guys only have a five-year warranty. Have you checked under the hood lately? I’ve heard of gnome-resistant bacteria being spread through disposals across the state. You really have to be careful where you get your produce these days. It has to be shrink wrapped in the supermarket fridge for you to be sure that it won’t melt your face off. The better brands will have a label of some sort that lets you know that they’ve invested good time and money into fighting this raging illness. I like to try to spend my hard-earned money on brands that contribute part of their profits to charities, especially ones involving kids. Baby goats have a special place in my heart, as you should remember. You’re such a forgetful psychologist, I don’t know how you still have your license.
Pull tangerine windows out of thin air and ask me for a raise? I might consider it when your cheetah production subsides. I can’t have you bringing large cats into absolutely every sales pitch. That’s just unprofessional, giblethead. Do you understand the bind that puts me in? A lot of those cats are hungry. And what do they see? Fleshy, complacent and delicious humans that can’t even run to the mailbox to get their bills. The last thing these people want to be thinking about is death, you incompetent feline conjurer! I’m giving you another chance, but for Christ’s sake, don’t ask me for a raise in front of my wife when I’m making love to her! You know how uncomfortable that makes her, let alone myself. How do you expect me to perform in such mediocre and ludicrous conditions? Are you going to join in and get this awkwardness over with, or will you just keep staring and pretending you don’t know what you’re doing with your life? It’s bad enough that you asked my daughter out to prom when she was 23. Do you have any conception of what it means to be an average human? You have to do the simple arithmetic that the rest of us do. Six plus seven means you’re an unlucky SOB, and the last thing you should be talking to me about is a raise in wages. We pay you peanuts, and you should be used to that scale by now. No way are we going to upgrade you to carrots or bull testicles, you haven’t earned that distinction yet. Lord, why are you still here?! If I were you, I’d be talking up clients and falsely raising their hopes about an upcoming apocalypse– for your sake and mine.
It’s the positive spin that drives all interaction on a daily basis, but we all know that delusions keep us from maintaining that positivity. Just like last week when I told Joey that I slashed his tires. He picked a big fight with me for no reason. I said hey dude, listen up. I slashed your tires to keep you from driving under the influence when you’re with your lady! He took a couple more swings at me, then finally listened to reason when I slugged him with a tire iron. Sometimes you just can’t help people, you know?
After every meal, I take a spoon and look at my reflection. Sometimes it’s upside down and I frown. Tomorrow I plan to bring an umbrella to the dinner table, to combat the lack of a roof over my head. I knew going into the purchase of my home that a roof is one of the more important things to have, but the realtor gave me such a great deal! I’m not bitter, I don’t have buyer’s remorse. I stick my chin up and catch the raindrops in my mouth. Nothing’s more refreshing than rainwater. The money I saved on this house went into buying waterproof objects of all shapes and sizes. Sure, my fingers are constantly pruny during a stretch of rain, but I’ve found that I can grip things much better that way. I’ve begun testing a hypothesis regarding the similarity of my pruny fingers to the sticky fingertips of a gecko; I think that the longer my fingers stay pruned up, the more sensitive they become. It is my natural assumption that if I live in a constant state of pruny fingers for a decade or so, I may be able to grip onto surfaces (walls, ceilings, etc.) and convey myself in a way that no other human ever has. If you’d be so kind as to leave me alone and come back when I’ve made some progress in this experiment, I would very much appreciate it.
A terror grips me as I skip through the daisies. This particular terror has been present in my subconscious for several months prior to this moment, and as I glance over my shoulder, a bear stands several dozen yards behind me in the clearing. I release all the stress and disillusionment from my being, as I know bears sensing fear will instinctively go for the jugular. Once I go limp, the bear saunters directly over to me. Mind you, there is no malice in this bear’s gait, nor do I feel any ill will emanating from its movements. I stand and watch the bear come ever closer. Foot by foot, it’s taking its time. It stops two feet in front of me and sits upon its haunches, waiting for me to do something. I blow it a kiss and wink. The bear looks puzzled. I giggle for a few seconds. The bear looks more puzzled. I reach out with my right arm, and the bear retreats a few inches before it realizes that I mean no harm whatsoever. It inches up to my hand with its snout and gives it a good whiff. I then gingerly rub the fur on top of its snout, to show my good nature and desire to be friends. The bear opens its mouth: “Never have I seen a human of your caliber in this daisy field. Would you like to ride on my back and go to a pond with me?” I immediately fling myself onto its back and grab hold of one of its ears. Little do I know that bears hate when anyone touches their ears. It yelps in self-consciousness and lumbers away. I shrug and go on my way.