Haiku Friday

June 14, 2013
By

Ten-dollar banjo–
Quite an effective weapon
For a ten-year-old.

Justin slashes and dashes, Justin crushes, Justin saves the day, Justin gets the girls, Justin dissolves into the never-was as impatient dragons wait in line for the bathroom.

Motivation has been in short supply this week. June Gloom is seeping into my brain and dripping down my spine. The weight of that eternal “Why?” makes it hard to even lift my pen on days like these. But instead of quitting, which sometimes feels like the only option that would be even more humiliating than to go on, I try to find that much-needed shot of inspiration buried underneath the festering piles of frustration, self-doubt and flattened E.T. cartridges. What’s the point? Does there need to be a point?

So, yeah, I’m fully aware the portraits have been nothing short of shit-tastic this week. I’ll snap out of it eventually. Probably. Maybe.

Cold stares from the hot tub

June 13, 2013
By

Upswings. Downswings. Not much in the way of side-to-side.

Enough cocaine to fill a baby’s head. Empty kegs roll merrily along the burning countryside. Elderly party sluts soak their dentures in their margaritas. One, two wrecked Victrolas. Someone’s Butthole Surfers record propped up against a hollow log. Heaven is just two klonopins and a cornfield away.

Kids these days! Music is supposed to soothe the soul. Music is supposed to give you dry, leathery wings. Music is supposed to pop your popcorn. Music is NOT supposed to flood your memories with lies about astronomy and abandon you at a Waffle House in Indiana.

Well, it made sense at the time as I lay there in the dark, my coffin rapidly filling up with bong water. Whatever helps the grass grow. An orchestra of slamming doors, doors which would only lead to more dim hallways full of dim idiots. Vomit-stained floral-print carpets.

I woke up in the back seat under a filthy beach towel, a deflated football for a pillow. My legs were two time zones away. Prime numbers and huevos rancheros swam through my hazy vision as I fumbled for the handle. Moments later I was flopping face-first into the Great Outdoors like an overcooked lasagna noodle, much to the amusement of the neon bears threading themselves through the fir trees.

The reverb of a long-gone sitar string boomeranged through the caverns of my consciousness. Something like a bat was knocked off its stalactite; its red, beady eyes came loose and plinked against god knows what as they tumbled and bounced into the unthinkable. Is that what music is supposed to do?

The band wasn’t who they said they were, the guy who was all smiles back in the tent certainly wasn’t who he said he was, so why should I be who I say I am? That should have been my answer, anyway. Instead, I just said I lost my lighter and drifted off to an undisclosed location, climbing vapor trails while quaffing sangria from a graduated cylinder, spitting and kicking down paper stars, and basically making an ass of myself all over Dreamland.

That’s why I don’t go camping as much as I used to.

Ripples from mediocre universities

June 12, 2013
By

Never into cloud guys, she fell through the ceiling at least twice a week. I first became aware on a foggy Sunday in March, while hyperventilating in the Blue Room with an entourage of clowns. She asked me if my mind had a USB port. I said no without even checking. Everyone shook their heads and folded their hands.

If you turn the big wheel to the right, the room will fill with shimmering blue petals. Do it, Ronald. Bring the night.

He’s not even listening. What’s in it for him?

The next time it happened, I was by myself on the patio, externalizing my gastric contents, softly backlit by the glow of the latest Soundgarden music video. She told me not to be such a fish. Sorry, stupid questions beget stupid answers.

My autobiography is available exclusively in a tiny bookstore located in a remote Chinese marsh on the banks of the Yellow River. It’s so small it doesn’t even know it’s a bookstore; in fact, it’s barely self-aware at all. You can’t get there without Pegasus boots and a bottle of pond scum.

Ronald’s been gone for days. When the cleaning lady comes, tell her that’s cranberry sauce and slip her an extra $50. Shit, I told him to turn it to the right. Now we need to waste a whole day reconfiguring this thing.

The third time it happened, there were eight of us. Three were me, four were you, and I think it goes without saying who the other was. We were on the deck of that dumb yacht getting ourselves all decimated by the resident sea serpent. I

fuck it

Everything you did is in this jar, watch

June 11, 2013
By

What’s your least favorite number? No, come on, wake up. Yolanda. Wake up. Yolanda… are you with me? What’s your least favorite number, Yolanda? What? Did you say “fry?” That’s not a number. Come on, we don’t have much time. What is your– WAKE UP, YOLANDA. Jesus, I’m starting to think you’re–

Your Preferences have been corrupted. Did you like dark chocolate? Are you sure? Well, not anymore. Are you swimming to the light or to the worm? You’re all out of whack now. Probably need to call tech support.

I’m starting to think you’re–

We were on our way over to pick you up, and as we slid down that last shady lane beside the ugly lake, there was a man passed out in a pile of empty Abba Zabba wrappers. Yellow ones and pink ones. He looked a bit like [REDACTED] but obviously that’s impossible. But Alan got himself so worked up over it that we had to turn back around. Don’t be mad.

Thirty? That’s your least favorite number? All right. Well, there are thirty-one FBI agents on their way here as we speak. In fact, they’d be here already but one of them had to go to the bathroom real bad. What? No, you can’t change your number now. You already said thirty. Now get up and put on this Kevlar vest. Hurry.

Just got paid tonight girl, gonna take u out to Olive Garden & make u regret all those things u said bout me…

gonna make u weep…

A Kevlar vest. Don’t worry about it. Huh? I don’t know, I never read Lord of the Rings. Just don’t make any sudden moves and everything will be… well, I won’t say “fine,” but… can I get a glass of water?

AGENT RASSMUSSEN: My cat died this morning.

Hang on, I think they’re here. I heard a car door. …No, nevermind, it’s just Carl. Man, what’s taking them so long? You all ready Yolanda? Put that down. Because I said so.

I’m starting to think you’re one of them.

——–
TEN FACTS ABOUT CARL

1. He drives your mother’s Chrysler LeBaron, both literally and figuratively.

2. He has only been seen once wearing a shirt without Jim Morrison on it. The person who witnessed it later died under mysterious circumstances.

3. He has cried during every movie he has ever seen, including all of the Ernest films.

4. He is allergic to soy.

5. His favorite hobbies include losing at chess, ordering pizza in Mitt Romney’s voice, and self-immolation.

6. He’s not really allergic to soy; he just says so because the ladies at Trader Joe’s think it’s adorable.

7. His head and neck are grotesquely swollen.

8. There are only eight facts about Carl.

9.

10.
——–

The engine’s overheatin’ girl… those breadsticks are goin’ 2 waste 2nite…

(trash can solo)

(fade)

That concludes this broadcast. Good luck to you all.

20130611-104500.jpg

We love our customers

June 10, 2013
By

FREE CROUTONS if you buy a medium coffee.

FREE CROUTONS if you sweep the floor.

FREE CROUTONS if you have more than three (3) dead friends.

FREE CROUTONS if you leave town tonight and never show your fucking face here again.

FREE CROUTONS if you hate croutons more than life itself.

FREE CROUTONS if you are the Guiness record holder for Longest French Kiss with Bill Cosby.

FREE CROUTONS if you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Judaism.

FREE CROUTONS if you stick your hand in the Hadron collider for thirty seconds.

FREE CROUTONS if you show us your thingy(s).

FREE CROUTONS if you can pull the enchanted sword out from the urinal in the employee restroom.

FREE CROUTONS if you talk about Fight Club.

FREE CROUTONS if you believe vwls r fckng bllsht.

FREE CROUTONS if you’re not a cop. You have to tell us if you’re a cop.

FREE CROUTONS if you can make the screaming stop, even just for a minute.

Just take the goddamned croutons. When you’re out there with your dog, teetering on the precipice of the void, and your car keys are just beyond reach, I can guaran-fucking-tee you’ll be wishing you had some of our famous FREE CROUTONS. When you’re at Satan’s house, sipping on a warm Corona and checking out her Art Deco prints of your darkest thoughts, and she nonchalantly asks if you’re done with her American Choppers DVD box set, and you have NO idea what she’s talking about because you don’t even like that show, but you pretend you do and then awkwardly try to change the subject to YOU WILL WISH TO GOD YOU HAD THESE MOTHERFUCKING DELICIOUS FREE CROUTONS.

I’m sorry. That was over the line. Listen, I think we got off on the wrong– I’ve been having this dream. A great throbbing hand carved from applewood pushed and cajoled its way through the nexus. I scratched my nose while its creaky fingers slowly expanded, and it gave me something. A crumpled up wad of paper. Now hear me out. I opened it up and looked down at it from my lifeguard’s chair, and it appeared to be a photocopy of a photocopy of a dog’s snout. Do you have a dog? I know you do. But do you know what he’s up to when you’re not around?

You really need to try these FREE CROUTONS. Don’t worry, we wash our hands here. Is that what you’re afraid of? You look terrified. Don’t be afraid. We are pure. The president of some hazy island on the other side of the world was here last week, and he consumed nearly fifty pounds of FREE CROUTONS! He’s dead now, but his demise was due to a horrifically violent and bloody coup and absolutely not our salty FREE CROUTONS. Smile. Sever the anchor of fear that is holding you back from the limitless rapture of FREE CROUTONS. Carpet diem! Seize the day!

I have the Pope’s pager number.

Okay, look. How about some flan? You like flan? Well, tough shit. We don’t have any. But you know what we do have? That’s right! FREE CROUTONS! You want some?

Hey, come on, buddy, where are you going? Come back. We need you. I need you.

Fine. Fuck you.

Haiku Friday

June 7, 2013
By

Chekov’s watergun
will have you completely drenched
before the third act.

My lasagna has a first name. It’s Earl. But you already knew that. Earl tells me you gave him a look when you squeezed through the turnstile. I don’t know what kind of look, but as you can see, Earl is quite upset.

Who do you think you are?

60 INPUT A$

? MICHAEL JORDAN

Oh. Oh, Jesus, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize– You’re not mad, are you? Here, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. I want to show you something.

[Lights off. Projector on. Roll footage of Mohandas Gandhi lowering his face onto an aluminum tray of lasagna in extreme slow motion. He drags each cheek along the surface before pressing his entire face into the lasagna. FADE INTO three gray tabby kittens chasing butterflies in a cemetery.]

NARRATOR (with heavy Indian accent): The universe is the clam. Are you the pearl?

[FADE INTO O.J.'s white Bronco being chased down the Rainbow Bridge by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse]

NARRATOR: Do the stars sing to you? Does Orion butter your bread? We know you’ve been around.

[FADE INTO a bored Stanley Kubrick, slouched in his director's chair, idly playing with his iPad on the set of Full Metal Jacket III]

No no no, hey wait, friend MICHAEL JORDAN, don’t go! I didn’t mean it. Would you l

?SYNTAX ERROR ON LINE 550

Embarrassing. I tried to use a Werther’s Original as a microchip. A waffle for a keyboard. A fishbowl for a monitor. Mickey for a mouse.

Walt Disney’s garage has something rotting in a cardboard box underneath another cardboard box that’s full of awkward sketches of a fully erect Calvin Coolidge. The bulldozers got lost along the way, but they’ll get there eventually.

Oh, don’t cry, MICHAEL JORDAN. Take my hand. Fold me into a paper football and flick me between the finger-goalposts of your id and ego. Let’s skid along the delicate seams of the fabric of the collective unconscious. Muddy pawprints all over the windshield of imagined futures. You’ll never be alone again, friend MICHAEL JORDAN. The long days of

?SYNTAX ERROR ON LINE 1080

Oh for fuck’s sake. Earl, you can’t program for shit.

Low-cal revival biscuits

June 6, 2013
By

I tried to say something, but the words came out all shriveled and deformed. They slid behind the wallpaper and scurried around like caffeinated roaches, making their way down to the electrical outlet. A loud pop, a bright flash, the smell of melting Barbie dolls.

Everyone okay?

The room was swaying. I clung to the ceiling like a stain. The melancholy choir began to sing a murky dirge about the unfathomable joys of a life of self-denial. The back door seemed a hundred miles away.

A nice-enough lady whose name I forgot years ago was staring up at me, smiling. She made some gesture which I assumed was the universal sign for something, but what? Gasoline? Tuna sandwiches? The Sonic Youth concert’s been cancelled due to an impending meteor? This was awkward.

“From yesterday?” I saw her tiny mouth say, as the rest of the congregation knelt down to pray. What the hell did that mean? Naturally, as I always do in such situations, I nodded half-heartedly and hoped that would be the end of it. But she kept staring, as if waiting for an actual answer.

Whoever was leading the prayer sure was doing a bang-up job, begging the Almighty for discounts on professional carpet cleaning and faster advancements in biofuel technology. Some hot shot up front was translating the whole thing into Mandarin, but I had the suspicion that he was making it all up.

She was still staring. I could feel her gaze singe my peripherals. As I twisted my head back around to– dark splotches began to form at the corners, spreading into each other as they gradually consumed my entire field of vision. Her eyes bled together like egg whites into one, a glassy pool suspended in rich, velvety blackness. An Eskimo in a satin parka quietly rowed past on the bloated corpse of Jimmy Hoffa, followed by a trail of flaming swans of descending size. Big, colorful letters of a Wonka-esque type rose from the water and bobbed on the surface, and I knew what they would spell since the day I was born.

“FROM YESTERDAY?”

A cloud of amens puffed into existence and quickly dissipated, leaving a film of red dust on the water. The Eskimo was furiously swatting at something, but I was too far away to discern what it was. He toppled backwards and fell into the pool with a splash that seemed just a little too dramatic…

A loud pop, a bright flash..,

I was bounding on all fours through two feet of Sunday snow, headed for the black dot that represented freedom, or at least breakfast. They were gaining on me, weren’t they? I couldn’t afford to look behind me. The shadows were growing longer. Snails were passing me on the right. “That’s illegal,” I thought, just before sliding face-first into an electric fence.

Almost made it. When I came to, they were dragging me back by the wrists. Japanese angels were giggling at me. I looked to my left and saw the Eskimo being dragged beside me, a look of placid acceptance glued sloppily to his face.

“They got you too, huh?” I whispered.

“Whiskas brand cat food used to be called Kal-Kan,” he replied knowingly.

From yesterday.

The event staff can see your reflection, even if you can’t

June 5, 2013
By

A sparkling black Hummer parked illegally in a handicapped space, a cross dangling from the rear view mirror. Hallelujah.

A homeless man casually removing newspapers from a sidewalk stand and flinging them, one by one, into the street. Who says print is dead?

There’s a meeting today at 1:30 on the fourth floor. Nothing that is productive even by the wildest stretch of the imagination will come of it. Someone will arrive at 1:33, prompting a twenty-minute lecture on the importance of being punctual and not wasting other people’s time.

I used to think the Jetsons meeting the Flintstones was a great idea. Only now do I fully understand the truly horrifying ramifications of such an event. God help us all.

I’d been trying to figure out who Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) looks like to me, and I finally hit upon it: Don Draper in the ’80s. Reaganomics.

I’m in a canoe rushing down a raging river of Mountain Dew, set to some Smash Mouth song. I wish I were alone in that canoe, but there’s a banker with a balloon-shaped head there with me, and he is having a great time. Every time we hit a bend in the river, he tells me I need to flip over my Roth IRA and griddle my portfolio. I pretend I don’t hate him, even though I know there’s no need to. Only one of us is coming back from this trip.

I saw Keith Olbermann boogieing down at a bus stop in Van Nuys. There was an older Mexican woman sitting on the bench, crying. I was going to ask him something, but before I could, I hit a thermal current that sent me back up to 5,000 feet. I dropped the question along the way, and I bet a coyote is gnawing on it right about now. Them’s the breaks.

Today is a gooey baklava with layer upon layer of awfulness. That’s what I get for ordering dessert.

Terra del Fuegan response rates are forever lopsided

June 4, 2013
By

May 22, 2015

Had quite a pleasant lunch with Gordon (Inhaler of Nebulae, Tickler of the Cosmos) today, He was trying to advise me to never trust anyone in a Superman t-shirt, but I was too distracted by the corn in his teeth to take him all that seriously. I poked at it with one of my chopsticks– gently at first, then a little harder, gradually increasing in intensity until I was on the table, furiously stabbing away at it with both hands. He just kept on talking about shit like the NASDAQ, Macchu Pichu, nortriptyline…

I was too disgusted to have dessert, so we decided to skip out on the check and go to the park to psychologically ruin some waterfowl. That was the plan, at least, until we sort of got lost and I sort of threw up in Ellen Pompeo’s mailbox.

The funeral is tomorrow. It’s supposed to be just a few of us, but you know how that always turns out. They’re having it at Dave & Buster’s again this year. Should be a good time.

——–

May 23, 2015

Well that funeral was a joke. Apparently Dave & Buster’s instituted a new “No Acknowledgement of the Reality of Death” policy, so we got kicked out and had to carry the coffin all the way down to Pizza Hut. They were cool about it there, but some little girl with a mantis’ head kept trying to steal my breadsticks.

After the festivities, Gordon and I went to catch a matinee at the new underwater multiplex. All I can really remember from it is a really long full-frontal nude shot of John Candy and the sound of a thousand chainsaws cutting through cookie dough. Maybe it’s better the second time around.

——–

May 30, 2015

I saw five different people wearing Superman t-shirts today. One of them was in my bathroom trying to force a chihuahua into a wedding dress. The other four were in line ahead of me at the grocery store, and each of them was buying four tall cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

——–

June 1, 2015

Went to see that movie again, this time by myself. Funnily enough, there is no multiplex there, just a bunch of seaweed and garbage. I need to have a little talk with Gordon.

——–

POP QUIZ

1. Why is Gordon?

2. Does a Superman t-shirt make its wearer bulletproof? Cite evidence to support your answer.

3. Why was the death of John Candy essential to preserving the pathways to the lungs of our universe?

4. Can chihuahuas comprehend the concept of marriage? Divorce? Custody hearings?

5. Which member of the band Wilco was unable to climb over the barbed wire encircling the Pizza Hut? Where did he go instead?

6. Can I crash at your place?

7.

“Teacher?”

“No talking during the test, Stephen.”

“But I have to go to the bathroom real bad.”

“Number one or number two?”

“It’s diar–”

Soaring to new lows in a stolen cropduster

June 3, 2013
By

The Kool-Aid man sat, motionless, on the floor in the darkest corner of the bare, squalid apartment. This was the third night.

“Papa, he’s still smiling.”

Papa powered on his speech module, which was by now running dangerously low on juice. Mama still hadn’t returned from her trek to Radio Shack for fresh batteries.

“We must we must be must patient be M-M-Maggie,” replied Papa’s comically obsolete circuits. “We he will break.”

It seems unkind. What child didn’t love to flood every hole in their body and mind with the false rainbows of Kool-Aid? As a matter of fact, I used to pretend I was a failing used car salesman who needed to drink himself sick on grape just to make it through the day.

But there are things you don’t know. In some dusty old church in a forgotten Romanian hamlet there’s a stained-glass window that depicts John the Baptist gingerly fishing a hot Pop-Tart from the toaster in Heaven’s break room. A two-dimensional Rambo, swinging on a silver chain, slices through the glass and deftly decimates every last believer.

Mama was barefoot again. She stood outside the Radio Shack with a sweaty $500 bill in her paw, staring slackjawed at the scene on the television in the window. It was the prequel to her life, sloppily edited for mass consumption by stoned monks in the stuffy basement of your old elementary school. All the good parts replaced with gratuitous shots of a dewy can of Schlitz.

Automated customers streamed in and out of the store, trailed by sad, smoky afterimages of themselves. There were three boys wearing army helmets who entered and never came back out.

What if there were no good parts to begin with?

The crack in the Kool-Aid man had spread about a third of the way across his body. His face began to flicker slightly, but the smile remained. Maggie, after a long moment, broke away to look excitedly at Papa.

“It’s happening!” she screamed.

Papa nodded what was left of his head in agreement. At least it seemed like agreement. It was getting harder to tell. His floppy disk drive let out a long, sputtering groan.

The fourth night. There was a dark, wet stain where the Kool-Aid man used to be. Maggie was all grown up and off to college, and Papa was just a bad dream.

Mama was back. She slithered through the door with a hot new bag of batteries, except instead of batteries they were accidentally Vienna sausages. It would have been a hilarious mix-up a day ago, but now it was just an awkward three-hour conversation with the landlord, mostly about that popular Latin American dictator who got caught with fifteen pounds of illegal rhubarb in the U.N. restroom, can you believe it? I heard it’s going to rain in five years. How about them Red Sox? Oh, that stain is coming out of your security deposit.

This concludes my presentation on why product placement is corroding the foundations of polite society. Thank you.

Laura, you’re up. Go get ‘em!