Stopgap

Chernicia and her loyal band of
roving youth choir administrators
saw no choice
other than to take up stopgap freelance work.

Due to a general malaise
and rapidly-growing apprehension
toward patronizing or participating in
the performing arts (the anti-exceptionalist
herd mentality showed absolutely no signs of
dissipation as professionals of all stripes
traversed the barren corporate landscape
(a hell to be wished upon no soul)), all hope
seemed lost on the fearful.

Interest in the once-alluring
middle and high school competitive circuit
had been waning steadily for a generation or so,
to the point where even the most stalwart
paper-shuffling masochists out there
had to admit they were licked.

In this devastating climate, Chernicia figured
that some places out there
must
still need to enlist the services
of highly-competent youth choir administrators.

They took an oath in front of the children,
for Christ’s sake!
They vowed, on bended knee,
to make themselves
available for freelance filing (and HR concerns)
at the drop of a hat, whenever duty may come calling.

So just like that, they picked up and left–
no matter what their guts happened to be
telling them (the group’s average duodenum
could paint you the idyllic picture
where they’d carved out a sort of haven
in this life of more uncertainty than trust).

Many tearful (and gut-wrenching) goodbyes
after they developed the steely resolve
to give up their past selves
(for the children, dammit),
the brave and intrepid band set out
on their first assignment: Gurnee, Illinois.

They never did look back.
And to this very day,
rental cars and hotel rooms
still serve as their only refuge
from the vast desert of abandoned office complexes.

For Good Reason

Preach vigilance
to the ever-ladder-climbing individuals
who deem personal and professional progress
a product of constant social manipulation–always.

Standstills may seem intoxicating
every once in a while
to the few who always rush around everywhere,
and for good reason!

Nothing but pep in your step
and constant “progress”
makes for a dull type of existence–
no room to misstep and fall
(or even sidestep and plateau).

We’ve all become acquainted with these folks–
always on the lookout
for something that offends,
imposition rather than inspiration.
These are the dodgeworthy people,
the dilettantes at the way station
between sanity and clarity.

Bug Nuts

Today marks the first [and very overdue] public eulogy for Bug Nuts Bogdanovich, our champion in countless conspiracies to take over the world at large.

His first name was actually Larry (Lawrence Milton), but nobody bothered to call him that once he’d begun his studies in undergrad. You see, he was constantly running around from place to place, appearing to be perpetually late for an appointment, while in reality he was always early. His main concern was to make sure that he didn’t get distracted along the way.

It’s a sad sight when a person who’s perpetually early is always rushing around in addition to that particular quirk. They can’t stop to smell the roses or anything. They’re just frenetic, losing small pieces of their humanity along the way, as achievement after achievement just whizzes by, a parade of accolades that really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. I see it as his way of compensating for validations that he may not have received earlier in life. Or perhaps he’d gotten too much recognition and it developed a pattern of addictive behavior to continue seeking that high.

Who knows… he never let anyone into his inner life [enough] to see what really made him tick, so it’s all conjecture now. What his cohorts and loved ones do know is just how much work he took on all the time. People were naturally drawn to him, even though he kept everyone at arm’s length. That’s precisely what gave him an alluring aura. “If only he would take the time to get to know us better, maybe we could see what kind of a person he truly is! As it stands, he could be a really nice guy, a serial killer, both, neither… frustrating.”

The moniker “Bug Nuts” stemmed from the one time he actually let his hair down (metaphorically–he would never allow himself to get bogged down in matters of extreme grooming, it would be such a waste of time in his eyes). He went to his dearest friend Beatrice’s little birthday gathering for a couple hours, actually imbibing spirits and taking down his defenses for once. If there had been more people gathered there at that time, he more than likely would have withdrawn into his introvert’s shell and waited it out while occasionally making pained eye contact with Bea.

But since he did feel comfortable enough to be more of himself around these people (he got a “Goldilocks Zone” vibe off of them), he found himself embroiled in an entertaining conversation about insects. He fancied himself an amateur entomologist (among his other passions), and he was really getting fired up about dung beetles of all species. Bea, having witnessed several minutes of unbroken bug talk, exclaimed “hey wow, look at Bug Nuts Bogdanovich over here!”, and the rest is history.

I don’t claim to have known this man very well at all, but from the few fleeting moments we spent with one another, I felt it was my duty and privilege to give him a respectable send-off into the great blue yonder with a laugh or two.

So here’s to you, Mr. Bogdanovich. Beetles love you more than you will know. Whoa whoa whoa.

Stubborn One

Petrification process, present yourself!

Not yet, eh? Why not?
Not talking, eh? Stubborn one, aren’t we?

Well, if you won’t talk, then I’ll just have to be the one to break the ice.

Once upon a time, a fly buzzed around from place to place. Its favorite place to land was upon the top spike of a stegosaurus’ back. Didn’t matter which particular specimen, as long as the spike was at the highest point of the animal.

It may seem odd that I’m mentioning a fly’s perching preference, but by the time I’m done explaining why, you will have–at the very least–a beginner’s understanding as to how futile our existence proves to be over the course of time.

I have now finished my explanation, in case you weren’t aware.

Privy

The entrance to the dragon’s putty stash
still remains more elusive
than the eye can even behold,
beyond the fine sheen of the monkey cages
and dull luster of the eccentric
bayonet-wielding sailor whose ship washed
ashore fifty years ago.

We never heard from him again.
Most folks say he died forty-seven years ago–
a rumor started by a since-defamed
public soothsayer–but those once closest
to him claim he’s still there to this day,
perpetually working his way inland,
bayonet in hand,
determined to gaze upon the epic treasure trove.

Nobody knows where the fabled dragon came from
or where it developed its affinity
for putty and putty-related trinkets, but
there’s also no real confirmation
of its actual existence. As a matter of fact,
I think I overheard once that the sailor
made up the entire dragon story in order to justify
the protracted remainder of his marooned life.

I don’t know how the person I was eavesdropping on
could possibly be privy to that knowledge, but…

——

First draft posted on 12/25/11,
originally entitled #80

(Nothing More, Nothing Less)

Let’s take a look at the specials, shall we? Ah yes, the infamous Reuben Dip! Once heralded as Middle America’s foremost club dance from 1963, a clever chef has converted it into an open-faced sandwich comprised of corned beef, Swiss, kraut——you bloody well know what comes on a Reuben. The kraut does have a tough time sticking around, which means that the Swiss is really pulling double time to blanket all of its unruly counterparts for the purposes of a successful thousand island dip (and, of course, more than just one dip, because what kind of sandwich would that be, falling apart after just one dip!?). All of this just goes to prove that you really can’t have an idea too grand to be transposed from the clear blue sky, as long as you believe in the work you’re doing. Once upon a time I——of all people——caught myself poo-pooing the idea of representing a pinto bean omelette cooking on the planks of a cruise ship’s bow as it headed to the Galapagos for some tortoise observation (nothing more, nothing less), and for what? A tedious bit of self—censorship for no purpose other than suppression of a creative pang? No thank you, Mr. Governor (if that is your real name). So I wrote it all out, the fateful egg mix congealing to form a canary semicircle of legume-y goodness and taking on life’s subtler philosophical quandaries with a bit of a sense of humor. I called it Hull of Beans, and it was universally panned.

Breach of Conduct

A walloping armpit extension cord signals a breach of conduct between extended penguin locker scenes. Meanwhile, a trailer of sloppy prejudice leans between a cross-country ski and the entrance to a long-abandoned silver mine, incapable of bettering its situation among the shapes of molten stoicism openly exhibiting themselves through displays deployed by wriggling strings undetectable to most, save the above average marsupial intellect.

Those beings who matter most to the incorporated inhabitance cannot comprehend the visual acumen of a kangaroo or wallaby due to the shoddy basis for communication between mammalian classmates, but certain attributes must be understood for the sake of all terrestrial life.

——

First draft posted on 11/15/11,
originally entitled #72