Immense Scrutiny: Oh, Okay

What the hell do we even write about anymore?

Why does every single new idea
have this immense scrutiny attached to it–
this, the next in my sequence of work
after this whole COVID- dilemma kicked off.

How would one go about this treacherous task
that I would argue nobody wants to undertake?

Well, the first impression of the situation
would be that you should just get started.

But there are so many previously-made characters
just waiting for me to observe their every move
on the silver screen!!

Nobody calls it the silver screen anymore, hon.

Aw, shut up. You never let me wax aquarium.
I mean antiquarian. Same thing.

It’s obviously a completely different thing.
One involves some weird combination of wax and water,
the other is old timey shit.

Well, I meant the old shit, duh.
Anyway, I can’t wait to just dig into
another drama or comedy
or whatever shit they’re shoveling these days
over at the old network of flix.
And now that I’m standing here
thinking about it,
I can’t stand just being here
without reasonable computer access.

What do you mean,
we’re literally on a computer screen.
We could just walk two inches to the right
and bump into a browser window with let’s see…
oh, not the porn one.
But it looks like that Stephen Hawking movie
was the last thing of repute in his history.

Oh, how was that?

Yeah, not bad. Pretty damn stylized,
but what do you expect from a movie
that’s supposed to undertake the monumental task
of depicting the 20th Century’s most prominent
cosmological luminary
while addressing his ALS?

They covered his whole life?

Nah, just a scrapbook of mostly decent memories
up until the point where his older kids are teenagers
and running around in some Buckingham Palace bullshit.

Oh, okay.

Crossroads

John Park-Carr and Parlor Trick Johnson met at the R&D Deli one fine Swedish afternoon for a round of aquavit and a fat-chewing session.

JPC: “What’s new with you, brother?”

PTJ: “Not much, the Magic Johnson impersonation business is still dragging, thought it would’ve picked up by now. Youth sports leagues have gotten savvier at this point–they’d rather get an actual basketball player, even if they’re not a household name, or even in the NBA at all. Turns out people aren’t in the business of taking tips from color commentators at local high school games.”

JPC: “That’s too bad, man. I hope business picks up for you soon.”

PTJ: “Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I feel fortunate that I have a little nest egg saved up for a crossroads just like this. I’m going to take some time off and figure out what I really want to do with the rest of my prime money-earning years.”

JPC: “You’ve always been a visionary, man. I look forward to hearing about what you’re cooking up. Myself, I’m just gonna keep valeting around town. The money’s decent enough, not like I have a wife and kids to feed or anything. Easy peasy. You know, I did think for a minute about starting my own valet company, being as my name is Park-Carr, for cryin’ out loud. I’m pretty sure that about half of my new client acquisition would just be answering the ol’ ‘Is John Park-Carr really your name? Seems a tad on the nose for a valet guy, no?’ I’m still on the fence about it, as you may rightly understand.”

Thanks, Dad

“Parallel entities befit madness, my son.

“You should never turn your back on those other dimensions our forward-thinking predecessors have been touting for some time now, or your attention will lose its cosmic importance, the aggregate of local souls gradually easing you out of their observational patterns–though it’s the last thing they would do if given the choice.

“While you are charged with keeping your attention beyond the present actions contained within our visible plane, you mustn’t let the responsibility weigh on your consciousness too much; although you know everything is simply an illusion, you are an integral part of the chain of illusions keeping our earthly consciousness afloat.

“When you shudder, know the implications. When two birds meet on a wire and appear to converse, understand that their dialogue fits into our space on a level wholly undisturbed by our own idea of language. No need to fret over payment, my first lesson is always free.”

“Thanks, dad.”

——

First draft posted on 10/12/11,
originally entitled #40

XCIX

T: “I’m sick and tired of this situation, constantly running around and spitting out rhetoric at every person I see, able-bodied or otherwise. Who knows, if they can’t perform daring feats on a high wire, that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to recruit that kind of talent.”

R: “What the hell are you yammering about? Tightrope walking?”

T: “Yes, tightrope walking. Some consider it to be vastly more important than the entire field of biology, you know.”

R: “Are you referring to the French family of wire walkers?”

T: “Well, they’re definitely included, but they’re certainly not the only ones who find the art of high-octane balancing to be more important than life itself. Believe me, there are a lot of them out there.”

R: “If by ‘a lot’ you mean a couple of dozen, then I’m sure you’re correct. Don’t go making this into a whole thing just to show how much you like tightrope walking–no, scratch that, spectating while others walk the tightrope.”

T: “A ‘whole thing’, you say?”

R: “Yes, hijacking the conversation to give you the upper hand, or what you think happens to be the upper hand, when in actuality you’re just yammering about something that probably came up in a dream, and you can’t tell the difference between dreaming and waking anymore. I mean, I haven’t seen you running around in years.”

T: “Maybe this did come to me in a dream. So what? Surely you’re not discounting the importance of dreams and their power to influence the waking world. I don’t have any examples of this, but I instinctively know that some of the best minds of all time made serious breakthroughs after having dreams and applying them to their lives.”

R: “Yeah, that’s how the periodic table was developed by Mendeleev. I happen to know that you’re not one of the best minds of all time, sorry to day. Just stick to your day job.”

T: “What an original witticism. Can you at least admit that you’re not much of a genius either? All you can seem to do is knock me down when I try to explore new scenarios.”

R: “Yeah, stupid scenarios.”

B P I Chronicles 1

B: I told you not to let him go. Didn’t I tell you not to let him go? I definitely told you not to let him go.

P: What’re you groaning about this time?

B: The ice cream man! You heard me say I had to run into the house to grab my wallet. I said ‘don’t let him go after you get your popsicle.’

P: Oh, but I got a sundae. I thought your command was conditional.

B: You gave me the distinct impression that you wanted a frozen water treat, so I said popsicle. This was clearly all my fault.

P: Finally you see the light.

I: I’m still here, guys.

P: Ah! Oh, you scared me half to death, ice cream man!

I: My name is Frank.

B: What an odd name for an ice cream man.

I: Do you want a popsicle or not?

B: Really going for the jugular, Frank. No, I want a sundae.

I: I don’t do sundaes.

B: Then what’s that?

P: Oh right, he calls them mondaes.

B: Jesus, Frank. Give me a mondae then.

I: I hate mondaes.

P: You’ve still got it, Frank. Now get out of here before I call the cops.

B: Can I have my ice cream?

NaPoWriMo (12)

$: Don’t let wedlock intimidate you, son. You’ve just gotta march down that aisle, say a few things, pop the ring on her finger and you’re good to go!

#: Excuse me, old man. Just who do you think you are, and why are you breathing scotch–cheap scotch at that–in my face like that? You’re lucky I respect my elders.

&: Honey, don’t be so harsh on the man, he obviously just wants to see you have a good time at your own wedding. I mean, look at you, you’re stiff as a board!

#: What are you doing here, babe?! We’re getting married in a half an hour!

&: Well, you know how those sitcoms always do the wedding treatment, right? I figured I’d give that a shot. Where did that old wedding mumbo jumbo come from anyway? Shouldn’t it be our decision to celebrate it any way we want to?

#: Jesus. Fine, yes. While we’re at it, we might as well sneak in a quickie and shit all over this sacred day.

&: Wow, wow… that was really harsh. I’m having second thoughts about marrying you if you’re going to have that attitude about it.

#: … what a great day for a full 180°. Fine, go ahead and walk away. I don’t know where you intend on going.

&: I can sense from the edge in your voice that you’re not kidding. Honey, I’m just kidding! Please relax, baby.

$: That’s what I was trying to tell him, sugar.

NaPoWriMo (7)

Negligence costs you,
I always say to my elbows,
the prominence despicable
yet always intriguing–
cows flourish on
grass and sun, take
their grazing seriously.

“Wherever you take me, I hope it’s not too cold there.
My hands have poor circulation, and if they’re bound up
with three feet of rope and stuck into a sixty-five degree room,
I’m likely to lose them for good. That almost happened to me
during my brief POW stint in capture the flag when I was ten.
They bound me up and threw me into the medical trailer, or ‘jail’,
whereupon I proceeded to chatter my teeth and scream for twenty minutes.”

“It’ll be plenty warm where you’re going, bub. Don’t you worry.”