Inundated by swirling squirrels (plural),
my world unfurled and I hurled
at the girl–named Shirl–
who told Earl, who told Pearl.
Word spreads fast around these parts nowadays.
Definitely a far cry from stacking turtles
and expecting some kind of a turtle volume discount.
The world doesn’t revolve
around my every concern,
I must constantly remind myself;
it simply revolves around
the vast majority of my concerns,
which is not bad (as far as I’m concerned).
Regardless, I’ve shifted my priorities
toward more avian-oriented pursuits
in lieu of proper purpose fulfillment.
I once naïvely wondered if my
could be prevented by taking a step too far
off the beaten path. They never manage
the nettles or brambles out there,
and the poison ivy situation
has gotten completely out of control.
At least I’m better prepared now.
Beginner’s luck let me
somehow sidestep preventable peril,
but then the paywall went up. And with it?
All intuitive botanical knowledge (once
freely accessible during the initial trial period)
just up and evaporated, leaving in its wake
a credit card authorization form
and the promise of easy unsubscription.
That was three years ago, and I
still haven’t managed to speak with a human
customer service rep. I’ve called in
and built a rapport with a quirky AI bot
named Jimmy. He has a perfect memory
and seemingly always has time to talk,
even though the waiting list for a human
operator is still forty-seven months long.
To put it bluntly, this human
mass-extinction has really been ruffling
my feathers. All I want to do is yell
at a member of the species that made
this planet so unbearable to inhabit,
but of course that’s now practically impossible.
Well, I’d always like the opportunity to yell… but
I’d also appreciate crossing paths
with that elusive customer service rep
(a subset of human
that may very well have gone extinct by now).
The uncanny orthodontist gave me braces, and I never even asked for any! What a swell fella. He even said I could get them tightened for free at one of his six participating franchises if I were ever out on the town and looking to feel alive for a minute. The billing department is starting to get annoyed with me because I refuse to pay for the braces. They told me they set up a payment plan on my behalf, but I never signed anything, shook anyone’s hand, or even offered a verbal agreement. I don’t know about you, but where I come from, we call that “free-99”.
What the hell is even the point of human relationships
if all we ever do is demonstrate how unfit we are
to spend time with one another on a regular basis?
It’s madness, more than anything,
and chemical compounds that dictate our actions
without our knowledge. That ‘without our knowledge’ bit
really bugs me the most of anything,
since I attempt to figure out things for a living
(well, I wouldn’t call it a living, but
I somehow manage to get (most of) the bills paid
every month). My daily existence is predicated upon
the ability to tell truth from bullshit,
and it’s what has helped me negotiate
the wild waters of humanhood thus far.
So it disturbs me when a person comes along
and knocks me off the tracks, like a goddamn
penny that some toddler put there
because they thought it would be funny.
Not funny, kid. Perhaps experimentation with the species
is necessary, and some folks take circuitous routes
in order to accumulate the necessary data.
Or some people are just assholes.
Hello, I’m Barnaman Bailey.
You may remember me
from such mishearings as:
“hey, aren’t you that ‘ ‘scuze me
while I kiss this guy’ guy?”
People always know
I have one of those type of names,
but I haven’t reached the level of notoriety yet
where people just know it for certain.
I blame society.
It’s society’s fault.
In a world with a strange lack of plate garnishes:
parsley extermination has been instigated
by the good folks at fennel, those
champion-types who mainly prefer
to have their competition six feet under.
As children, every person
at the fennel advisory board
was cruelly mocked and made to feel
like nobody gave an ounce of effort
to help them fit in.
So! Long story short,
fennel and parsley don’t exactly get along.
Don’t get me wrong, the actual herbs
hold absolutely no animosity toward one other,
it’s just those shallot capitalists
who make this absurd narrative
even possible in the first place.
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The gaidens being offered (ninja or otherwise) must be propelled by moral turpitude, especially if their turpentine-laced morel mushroom business sends morsels to Larry Lou Hu, that guy who said he’d prefer to die in a mysterious way, like by just not waking up one morning. “Some kind of internal organ thing” is the way he always puts it. I can only listen to his moaning for so long before buying him a drink. “Belly up to the bar, Larry Lou, this next one’s on me.” That lifts his spirits somewhat. He sputters on the tequila, no turpentine necessary in this one. Tequila is actually worse for you (no it’s not, are you kidding?). I then reassure him that he really doesn’t want to die, and that there are multiple ways to die with a purpose, like from getting shot in the back while running from the Chicago police, for one. At least then he’ll be a statistic that goes into a more official drawer down at city hall, and he’ll most likely have people instituting candlelight vigils in his honor, helping to further the message that no matter who you are, the police will kill you. Plus, getting shot in the back is an internal malady of sorts, and you can’t see it coming. “Pretty much fits all your criteria, does it not, LL?” He laughs and shrugs it off.
“I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
“Larry Lou, you crazy bastard, maybe I’ll be the one to kill you, with the sheer number of times you’ve said that to me over the years.”
“Touché, Jerry. Touché.”