“Free-99”

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”.

That ‘Without Our Knowledge’ Bit

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.

Society’s Fault

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.

Long Story Short

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.

Very Reasonable

Charper Images Integrated Incorporated® would like to welcome you to the polyrhythmic phantasmagorical spooky kabuki dance theater extravaganza, an annual tradition tracing its roots all the way back to the pre-revolutionary times in a small cattle town outside Kankakee. Of course, we may or may not have any factual basis for these claims, but who does research on this stuff anymore anyway? Everyone will just go on about their business buying widgets for easier daily toiling, and that’s just fine by us.

At CI3®, We can’t stand idly by and let you fine people be suckered in by the global farce of disingenuous corporate lip service we’ve come to know (and even somewhat adore in our own sick way) lo these many years! “Only the most for our customers”–that’s our motto. The most of what? That has no relevance here.

Let’s face it. You’re all going to need to blow your hard-earned money somewhere, so we’ve prepared a world-class experience tailored to your every shopping need. Sound too good to be true? As of last night, you would have been correct. But as of 02:00 GMT today, our interactive holographic technicolor shopping center has just been brought online, and you can waste your cash from anywhere around the globe, 24 hours a day!

Never again will you be lacking an excuse to spend beyond your means! That’s the CI3® guarantee! We won’t even waste your time pretending that the proceeds of your purchases contribute to worthwhile causes, unless you deem stuffing our pockets while we pay no income tax to be worthwhile (we certainly do). Frequent shoppers can apply for our CI3® credit card (the Ci3CC®). There are no rewards or cash-back gimmicks, no bait and switch offers–just a very reasonable 32.99% APR (rate increases to 65.99% after first missed payment, and rises an even 30% with each subsequent late remittance).

Larry Lou Hu

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.”

Unappealing Capitalism

The Squadranary Terpscentral Reality Modification Pak (STeRM Pak for short) does seem to have an ulterior motive, or at least some kind of schnitzelfritz that we could sample while stoogifying the unwashed masses for the purposes of gambling. Though these folks wouldn’t have any personal wherewithal in the investment arena, they always seem to have contact info for a person or seven who could give them great stock tips at any time. The investment inflection point rarely comes to pass, as the stoogified masses–in order to complete their training–must become petrified and stupefied in addition to the already rigorous stoogifying certification process. After a quick observation of the situation and the rubrics contained therein, I may be starting to regret my decision to peel away from the world tiddlywinks championship for such unappealing capitalism.