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.

Gregory Poke

A tortoise–let’s call it Gregory Poke–
peeps its head out from inside its shell
in an effort to feel alive,
truly alive, for the first time in weeks
(maybe months).

Gregory doesn’t quite know what to do next.
There are no predators to be seen
for hundreds of yards in every direction. Wait,
there are no predators here. How many times
does Greg have to remind itself of that?

And will it ever get over the affliction
of constantly referring to itself
in the third person? The answer may never arrive,
as this writer can only use 100 words. Howev–

Sweet Lady Science

Where do I even begin? Well, we stopped dropping the snakes down the hole and letting them just smack their bellies on the ground because this here sarcastic douchebag decided to get sensitive one day and say “geez, we sure do like hurting snakes!” We all looked at him like he had three or four heads, the favorite number of heads to picture an alien having when you’re gawking at this here guy who all of a sudden gives a damn about snake welfare.

They’re just damn snakes, they’re cold blooded. They’ve lived unchanged for millions of years now and they don’t give a damn about being slammed on the slab if it means we can sleep in peace. That’s right, sentient snakes who have been telepathically communicating with me for a good… seven years now. Wow.

So anyway, go on ahead with your little protest, we ain’t changing these rules for nothing or nobody.

—-TWO WEEKS LATER—-

BREAKING NEWS: SNAKES FEEL PAIN
Scientists Everywhere Urge Citizens:
“Discontinue Dropping Snakes on Slabs”

Jesus, what are the odds? We’ll probably never find out just how this study was started or funded, or how it coincided so perfectly with that sensitive douchebag making his impassioned plea down at the firehouse, but Sweet Lady Science has spoken, and we must heed her words.

Far-Fetched

Stern army fandanglers initiate the bizarrest of letterbox rituals as a way to compensate for their minimal internal squawking about where in the hell to buy a caramel macchiato during a Thursday afternoon rush hour—it’s definitely the most congested freeway seen around these parts in quite some time, the rubbernecks all out in force and jamming up the left lane to catch glimpses of a minor fender bender where the only detail of note would be the involvement of a clown car. Fortunately, no actual clowns happened to be in or, indeed, even around said automobile, or traffic would surely would be at a complete standstill.

The question remains: why is there a clownless clown car on the road? A rational observer would surmise that it’s headed to the shop, getting an oil change or tire rotation, or perhaps being treated to the periodic hand car wash and wax (one of Flopsy® the Clown’s numerous contract stipulations). Suffice it to say that none of these scenarios would benefit from the presence of a real live clown, unless some sort of clowning industry discount were to apply to these local auto-maintenance establishments, which seems utterly far-fetched (yet plausible if our society only knew who pulled the strings).

Never gonna get that got damn macchiato…

Subsequent Scientists

Ukulele tragedies beget other instances of monstrous buttress shattering, save the few modern conventions we [the contemporary sample-chompers of northwest Indodelphia] have been taking for granted lo these past several weeks.

But fret not, a squalid interpretation of the Menomenina Walk of Fame will never sully the legacy set forth by the downtrodden experts who sought the anthropological understanding previously granted by theologians–and subsequent scientists–throughout the generations, only to come up short when confronted with the fickle nature of exaggerated Middle American townsfolk, their collective backs up against their respective walls and in no position to exercise caution anymore.

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

Sheer Self-Pity

What am I supposed to do with this armful of goddamn apple brown betties? I’m gonna have to toss them off the side of this overpass like I saw that fellow do yesterday. I can still see the stain left on the road from the impact of the beefier bits of crust. Upon witnessing such an atrocity, I told myself I’d never have to settle for the same outcome… ain’t life a bitch sometimes? One day you’re showering your spouse with serenades and streusels, and the next you’re choking down a pie-in-a-can you purchased out of sheer self-pity. They didn’t even have the strawberry flavor that you like, so you had to settle for heart of palm, a gruesome concoction you never even knew was in their product line, but dominated the shelf space at your corner bodega for god knows how long.