Monday, March 30, 2009

The Moron Fills In (Part Deux)

His chest expanded, chin jutting, arms thrown back and his feet planted exactly three feet apart, the Moron stood astride both the Dude's Barbershop floor and the monumental responsibility housed within like a posable action figure left out in the sun.

The brunette was pointing out various barbery bits around the Dude's shop, but she was one of those soft-spoken girls, and the music in the place (played over a system that sounded like a public restroom full of $20 clock radios) was rather on the loud side.

"With the reliant bums in, sneak them in a mile and back-slap their bike with a worm trowel," he heard.

The Moron understood that she felt an obligation to explain everything, but wished she wouldn't bother. He was a professional. Professionals knew how to do things already. That's what made them professionals.

"Thank you very much, Abby. Which one of these recliners is mine?"


"No. Recliners."


"Step on you? Why?"

She moved closer. "Steff-UH-nee. That's my name. Since you're filling in for Megan, you use her chair. Over here." Stephanie guided the Moron to a chair close to the shop's plate glass front window. Some dimwitted, surely unprofessional, putz had painted the text on it all backwards. It was a wonder this place got any business at all, poor souls. This seemed like a good time to buoy their spirits by showing them that he had come prepared for anything.

"I brought my own scissors," the Moron said, his tone deep and soothing, like a bottle of confident cough syrup that wanted the best for everybody. He tugged a pair of scissors from his back pocket. They had what the Moron considered to be very impressive fluorescent green handles, one of which was bigger and more elongated. This was part of their dark mystery, as the Moron had yet to discover what purpose this served, but he would have to do that research on his own time.

He had bigger problems to deal with right now.

"Oh, um. That won't be necessary. Megan left all of her supplies in her toolbox here, and..."

Stephanie's voice sounded like it was coming from deep inside an empty oil drum in the next room. The Moron was busy staring at his scissors. There was a problem with them. They had somehow developed a sort of sickle shape he couldn't remember them having before he left the house.

If one is to transport something in one's back pocket, it should be something that will not bend and take on the contours of one's buttocks, the Moron wrote on his pad of mental Post-It notes with a liquid-ink, rollerball thought-pen.

It was this kind of throughness that made him who he was, so it was not surprising that when inspiration struck, the Moron did not duck but took it right on the chin. These scissors are not broken. They're enhanced!

"They're contoured to follow the curvature of the skull!" he bleated, flourishing them like an infomercial huckster. "Bang. Productivity increased by ten to sixty-four percent right off the bat. Where are your Snickers?" He flexed the scissors mightily and one of the handles fell off.

"All the stuff you'll need is right here in this box," she said, patting a steel Craftsman toolbox.

Snickers, the Moron thought. In a toolbox. How grand. I must search for them. He cracked his knuckles in anticipation. There were few things in the world that the Moron enjoyed more than a good rummage. The big red toolbox, with its multitude of drawers and cake-like layered design was ripe for rummaging. His fingers twitched and he began to vibrate and drool.

"I've gotta run to the bank and get some change for the cash drawer. If you have any questions, just ask Hailey."

"Mm hmm."

The Moron waited for the door to close behind Stephanie before he scanned the toolbox for weaknesses. Perhaps one of those little drawers in front. A bit of spastics, and he'd be right in. He twisted his right hand into a claw, and coiled his arm like an arthritic cobra that could only bend at the elbow. Suddenly, his hand darted out and hooked a drawer open. A confetti cloud of clipper parts burst from the drawer and rained down all around him, disappearing forever under chairs and sinks.

"Hee hee," the Moron chuckled. "Parts."

A chime sounded. The Moron was deeply mistrustful of chimes, so he immediately put his rummaging on the back burner to investigate. The chimes were located above the entrance to the shop, and as he swung to recon that area, he noticed the door closing.

He heard footsteps.

The Moron followed their sound to the man making them. The man was talking to the girl (probably this "Hailey" character he'd heard so much about) behind the low desk with the LCD screen on it. Now he was writing something on a clipboard.

Hailey looked up from her LCD. "Your first client!" she said. be continued!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Moron Fills In

The Moron slammed his shiny red sports car into third gear and planted his foot. The engine screamed, the car's chassis tilted slightly under the influence of the torque, a rush of air blew his hair back, and the Chevrolet Cavalier behind him blew its horn. He glanced up from the tachometer.

The light was green. The Moron quickly shifted into first gear and let out the clutch. He turned the fan down and watched the Cavalier shrink in his rear-view mirror. A sweaty little frog of jealousy reached out from its dank cave and fondled his heart as he wished aloud for perhaps the hundredth time that he had bought a Cavalier instead. They were so cool, and the rusty ones looked even classier. Like a distinguished gentleman graying at the temples.

He wanted one sooo bad. Preferably in a nice shade of mauve with whitewall tires and a big ironing board spoiler and a really loud fart cannon exhaust and those blue halogen headlights, and...

Whoops. That was the street he needed. He was going to be very slightly late now. Normally this would not bother him, but today was special. Today he would not be rocking the socks off his own job, but filling in for his girlfriend at the barber's shop. As he spun the car into a tire-smoking U-turn, his vision blurred and the windshield full of angry motorists turned wavy, then dissolved altogether as the flashback chimes sounded, and he was once again standing in his boxer shorts in his kitchen.

"You're going to need that sock's mate if you're going to work for me today, candypants," his girlfriend was saying.

"Grappling hook!" the Moron said for no reason, and looked down at his feet. They were indeed only 50% socked. "Periwinkle!" he added.

"Be that as it may, you're going to have to be dressed for this job. I don't know what your dress code is like at The Company, but it's quite strict over at the shop." She ducked back into the bathroom to remove the scaffolding and finish the work on her hair.

The Moron allowed the arm holding his mug to relax. Coffee dribbled onto the floor as he prepared a professional office-person statement about The Company's regulations regarding employee wardrobe.

"I wear whatever I want!" he hooted. "I'm a professional, and as such I am permitted to garb myself as I see fit. I even wore a bowtie one day, but it fell into the document shredder." He crossed his arms and dumped the remaining coffee over his left shoulder.

"...regulars who expect me to remember their last cut. It's in this bag here. I really appreciate you doing this for me, hon," his girlfriend continued.

Evidently she had been explaining something important while he was defining his territory.

No matter. He'd figure it out. The Moron tossed the empty coffee mug skillfully at the dishwasher, watched fondly as it bounced off the closed door and rolled across the linoleum, and stalked off to find pants. As he reached into the laundry basket, its contents blurred, became wavy, and suddenly he was back on the road, in his car, drooling on the gauge cluster.

These flashback sequences weren't strictly necessary, since the events encapsulated therein took place less than an hour ago, and they tended to be more trouble than they were worth. The Moron made a mental note to tell his doctor. He then made a physical note to get a doctor.

With the confidence of a born Office Professional, The Moron shoved open the glass doors of Dude's Barbershop, and propelled himself toward the row of chairs with a poot he hoped wouldn't linger.

"Relax, ladies! Your substitute barber has arrived!" he boomed.

Two young ladies standing behind a short desk with an LCD screen on it looked up. The brunette nudged the blonde.

"That guy's only got one sock on," she whispered. be continued!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Paul the Crimefighter, Part II

Across the town of Berg, parents tucked their children into bed, pausing before kissing them goodnight to listen to the distant hooting. Then they smiled and turned off bedside lamps. They walked softly across bedrooms and closed doors gently, leaving their slumbering children in the care of kindly glowing nightlights and…Paul the Crimefighter.

Yet another inhabitant of Berg paused to hear the hooting. To this pair of ears the sound was not comforting, but rather tenebrous and forbidding. It grated on his nerves and caused him great angst. He twirled his grand mustache and paced the length of his tiny quarters.

“Why must I have such tiny quarters!” he growled. He halted for a moment and grunted. There was a soft foomp! and a cheese doodle appeared in his hand. He rubbed it between his fingers for a moment and then used the greasy cheese to oil his long, twirling, pencil-thin mustache. He popped the mangled, now cheeseless doodle into his mouth and chewed. His trademark facial hair sufficiently groomed, he resumed his pacing.

“I’ll tell you why I must have such tiny quarters,” he continued, wiping his hands on his sweater vest. “It’s because of that mindless baculum of an arch enemy! Oh, why must I have such a worthy foe?”

He walked to a bookshelf and removed a volume from his set of encyclopedias. Scanning the index, he found the entry he sought. He turned to the correct page and read the article for the hundredth time.

Crimefighter, Paul the

A mysterious proponent of justice. Date of birth unknown. First official acknowledgment on renowned website
Stupid, Blog of on April 15, 2006. Known to have pygmy marmoset sidekick named Pthabbth. Neck is capable of producing cape, blue. Arch enemy to nefarious crime lord, Doodler, the Cheeze.

Although he wasn’t sure he completely understood the entry (the encyclopedia seemed to have become enamored with its own formal structure), the Cheeze Doodler was pleased to have been mentioned. But a mere mention was not good enough. No, he would not stop until he merited his own article. To do that, he would have to pull off the most evil act of his career, something that would make the entire world sit up and take notice.

He went back to pacing, his greasy, orange hands clasped behind his back. Perhaps the world was too big a prize for now. He would concentrate on only the Western Hemisphere. But why get greedy? North America would suffice. On the other hand, to provide a solid structure for his legacy, he needed to start small. He would focus on the United States, the Great Lakes region to be precise. Of course, they might be expecting him to strike at a large area. It might be wise to narrow his target. Detroit, for example…such a huge city.

The Cheeze Doodler stopped and chortled in nefarious glee. “Why spend money on air fare?” he wondered. “I can begin right here, in the little berg of Town, and…wait.” He checked his notes and then cleared his throat. “In the little town of Berg! I shall initiate such a crime, wave of, which has never before been seen!”

After the initial wave of euphoria passed, the Cheeze Doodler became thoughtful and used his index fingers to coil his mustache before letting them spring outward again with the force of a teamster’s whip.

“And yet even Berg is rife with possibilities,” he mused. He walked to a wall where he tacked up a map of Berg. “I shall point to a random street on the map and there precipitate my tsunami of crime.”

He closed his eyes and spun slowly in circles. Then he stopped and walked forward, one finger pointing out.

“I shall begin…there!”

…to be continued.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

G.I. FooDaddy 2

"Moldy sack pajamas! Do any of you butt-tards have any gardamn questions?" screamed Major General Whack Buffalo from the front of the briefing room. He picked up his glass of water and hurled it at a file cabinet.

Randy Sourhill raised his hand.

"Do we get to ride in the Jeeps today, sir?" he asked, a dopey grin sprawled across his jaw like a drunk on the beach.

"Gritty shit gophers, son! How the damn do you think we're gonna kickslap ripsnatch our way into their front lines? In a fuck bus? Move the hell out!"

Cheddar Company filed out of the room, leaving the Major General to noisily dismantle the podium with his Winchester 12-gauge. Jake Toboggan pushed through the crowd and came up beside Randy. Jake and Randy were best friends and terrible soldiers.

"Hey! Didja hear that? Jeeps, man! Frickin' Jeeps!"

They exchanged a hi-five.

"Ow, geez, not so hard, willya?"

"Hand still hurt?" Jake asked, acting more concerned than he really was. His friend was tough. Nobody in Cheddar Company had been shot as often as ol' Randy. He was practically a cyborg, he had so much metal in him. Jake fought back a wave of jealousy.

"Yeah. And you know what? Someone really ought to print a warning on the outside of grenade boxes to warn you that they blow up when you pull the top off. They're sneaky, though. They don't blow up right away--they wait for you to put them back in your pocket," Randy said, shaking his bandaged hand like he'd just dropped a hot potato.

"Major General says the Germans and the Irish are advancing along the...something about a seaboard? I mean that's probably just some bullshit he's gotta pass down from the higher-ups, but what're the odds we'd be fighting the Germans today?" Jake snatched his trusty M1 Garand off the rack as he passed.

"He told us we were shooting Germans yesterday. We're probably going to have to shoot them today, too. Did you get any yesterday, by the way?" Randy said, pouring a handful of gumballs down the barrel of his rifle.

"Nuh uh. They kept ducking. I musta got a bag of really slow bullets."

"I know, right? I couldn't even aim half the time because I kept getting stuck on logs and stuff," Randy said.

Outside in the base's Jeep lot, a group of soldiers had grouped around one of the Jeeps.

"Seems to be some sort of commotion over there. Let's check it out!" Jake said, pointing unnecessarily and jogging the six feet over to the crowd.

"I'm just saying," said Steven Whisp, Cheddar Company's token gay solider, frowning at the Jeep, "that they don't always have to be green! It'd just so institutional and wretched. Don't even get me started on the radio. AM? Hellooo! How about a little FM action? AM is sooo yesterday it gives me cramps."

"Hey, calm down bud," Jake said, patting the jumpy private on the shoulder. "We get to shoot Germans again today!"

"That's your answer to everything," sighed Steven, climbing into the Jeep, careful to keep his immaculately pressed and creased camo trousers from brushing the mud-splattered side of the vehicle.

Three stories up, a window exploded, showering the tarmac with shards of glass and one coffee mug. Major General Whack Buffalo shot out of the opening, his body stretched horizontally, fists forward, like an angry Superman. He hung in midair for what seemed like five seconds before tucking into a cannonball roll and crashing into the driver's seat of the Jeep below.

"Daaaaammmn!" he cried, throwing the Jeep into gear and tearassing up to the front of the formation. "Fall the hell out!"

Through the cloud of dust kicked up by the Major's tires, Cheddar Company trekked. Jake and Randy were in the back seat of the last Jeep, with a pouty Steven in the passenger's seat up front. The driver was a nondescript private with blonde hair who was probably going to die. The enemy could be anywhere, Jake reminded his fellow soldiers.

"Even in this lunchbox," he whispered conspiratorially. He held it out at arm's length and squinted at it.

"Oh, puh-leeeze," Steven lisped. He huffily applied some military-grade lip balm. "In that gaudy thing? It's got Mickey Mouse on it."

"I'm serious. They--ohmygod!"

The Jeep's front left wheel disintegrated in the landmine explosion, shredding the driver's seat and its unfortunate occupant. The blast lifted the front of the vehicle and threw it to the right. Jake, Randy and Steven were thrown from their seats as the Jeep pirhouetted on its rear bumper and ricochetted off a tree, finally coming to rest with a bang that drove its windsheild deep into the gravel road.

Jake stood up and brushed himself off, a shower of gravel and lug nuts pinging off of his helmet.

"Damn," he said. "Good thing that driver guy was expendable. Do you think the rest of the company saw that?"

Randy squinted into the scope of his Springfield rifle. "They're not too far ahead. They just crossed that bridge up north there a little way."

"Ah. They'll be back to pick us up in no time." Jake said matter-of-factly. He squatted with his back to a tree and went to work trying to pry open his mangled lunchbox.

"They just blew the bridge up."


"Sweet Lana Turner! It's the Germans! They have us surrounded and most likely mean to do us severe harm!" squealed Steven in a bit of dialogue that was obviously written in at the last minute.

The foliage at the sides of the road suddenly bristled with Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifles and swastika-emblazoned helmets. The only sounds were the beating hearts of the stranded Cheddar Company, the crackle of the burning Jeep and a mournful breeze. A distant "fuuuuuuck!" drifted down from the north on that breeze, and Jake had to agree. They pretty much were. be continued!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Paul the Crimefighter, Part I

Darkness was closing in on the little town of Berg. The late evening sun sank slowly in the east as Paul the Crimefighter drove his new sports car along the busy, deserted streets toward his downtown office in the countryside. Before long, he arrived at the end of his long commute and parked his car on top of the underground parking garage. He stepped from the car and made a mental note to open the door next time. The crimefighter-shaped gash was going to be hard to explain to his insurance company.

“Kibbles-n-Bits,” he muttered. Knowing the importance of a tough, crusty persona, he had been working on his swear word vocabulary and recently signed up for a profanity correspondence course. After only two lessons he was at the top of his class.

He entered the elevator and ran up the stairs to his office. It was a luxurious suite in a converted janitor’s closet. It perched on the twenty-fifth floor basement of Nanner Plaza, the tallest building in Berg, and from its lofty vantage point he could gaze out over the sleepy little town. This made it easier to keep an eye out for crime, which was often wide awake.

Nanner Plaza was almost deserted, most other employees having gone home for the day. But crime never took a holiday. Night—night was when Paul the Crimefighter’s best work was done. But that would have to wait. At present he had crime to fight, because somewhere, at this very moment, a misdeed was being perpetrated. It was time to change into his crimefighting garb and dismantle some evil!

A scream tore through the still night air, startling Paul and causing him to drop the pair of tights he held. He turned to see his lovely secretary standing in the doorway.

“Miss Prim! I thought you’d gone home. Please accept my apologies. This is simply inexcusable.”

“I should say so,” she mewed. “The copy machine is out of toner again. How many times do I have to tell you?”

“So change the cartridge.”

“Silly hero. You know I’m not strong enough to replace it all by my little, helpless, soft, curvaceous, and oh-so-willing self. Could you lend me one of your strong, manly arms? Perhaps the one that ripples to and fro?”

“I’m sorry, love, but I need them both for my civil duties. I have a feeling there are powerful forces at work tonight.”

“But how am I supposed to make those copies you asked for? Jerry wants his magazines back by tomorrow so he can bury them again before his wife…”

Paul the Crimefighter waved her into silence. “Fine! You may use one of the Strong, Manly Arms from the supply closet. Just be sure to fill out a requisition form. Leaving my name out of it, of course.”

He finished dressing, then turned and made for the nearest window. “Later, my love! I shall flog some crime and be back before the sun rises. Save me some grits!” He opened the window and perched on the sill.

“Wait!” Miss Prim ran forward. “Your cape!”

Paul the Crimefighter paled. Yet another close brush with disaster. Had he left his perch without first unfurling his cape, well…it would not have been one of the finer moments in his long record of public service.

He squinted, tensed, and grunted mightily. With a pop and loud rustling, a billowing cloud of fabric erupted from his neck. The legendary cape was now in place.

Standing upright on the window sill, Paul the Crimefighter looked out over Berg as lights blinked out across the town. Citizens were turning in for the night, secure in the knowledge that their hero would protect them from evil.

Lifting his arms to the sky, Paul hooted at the rising moon and slowly bent his knees. Then, with a mighty lunge, he leaped forward and ran down the fire escape, his cape fluttering heroically.

The street was quiet when Paul dropped softly onto it. The dumpster, however, offered a few sarcastic remarks, none worthy of our hero’s time or wit.

Paul crouched on the cool pavement and hooted again. He listened. Was that an answering hoot he heard in the distance? be continued.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

G.I. FooDaddy

Disclaimer: The entirety of the research involved in writing this post comes from a mish-mash of all the war video games I have played over the last few years. So don't expect it to make a whole lot of sense. Fighting Germans in the jungle? Why not? I am also aware of the intense focus exhibited by a well-trained soldier. This, I would not be. I imagine it'd be like in the video games, where my character spends most of his time bumping into walls, tripping over logs and trying to find his grenades. Getting shot also takes up a good deal of my time, but at least in video games, all you have to do is rest up a little. Who knew you could cure existing gunshot wounds by simply not incurring any new ones?

In the hundred-and-eight degree jungle, the heat was nearly anthropomorphic in its unrelenting hostility. Only another member of the human race would know what buttons to press, which weaknesses to expoit; how to be so perfectly unpleasant. The sandy rattle of semi-automatic rifle fire and the relentless mosquitoes churned the air into a eddying pool of exquisite hatefulness.

"Sweatin' like a fuckin' giraffe over here," muttered Pvt. Jake Toboggan. He lay flat on his back in the trench, staring up into the hazy afternoon sky, balancing his M1 Garand rifle, barrel down, on the palm of his hand. "When do we get that ice cream you promised us?"

Major General Whack Buffalo glared over his shoulder at the private. "You'll get your goddamn ice cream whenever I jolly the damn well fucking damn say you get it! Damn!"

The Major was a big angry man. He always had been. That's why he had those stripes and was the only one Central Command allowed to carry the big box of C4.

"Now sit the shit still, soldiers! Fuck it sideways, Toboggan, would you fix yer puking gig line! Zip your goddamn fly, son, or your goddamn bayonet'll fall the damn out! Jesus Christ!"

Private Toboggan put down the grenades he was juggling and zipped his fly. He didn't bother lining up all his buttons. Most of them were missing anyway.

"Hey. I, uh, can't find my Browning. You seen it?" asked Randy Sourhill. Randy was the worst sniper in the world, and Jake's best friend.

"You were using it to shoot at those beetles about half a mile back. What'd you do with it after that?" said Jake.

"Holy dancing whores! Would you two fucktards shut the dick up? You want Jerry to find us down here? Balls!" Major General Buffalo screamed. Brightly colored birds took startled flight for miles around.

The Major General was mad. The company could tell because of the way he kept eating C4 by the handful.

"No, I meant my little chocolate cakes. Brownies, I guess. I always get those two mixed up. I have my pistol gun thing right here," Randy whispered, patting his cargo pants. Suddenly there was a sharp crack and a flash of light from Randy's thigh.

"You really shouldn't keep it cocked," advised Jake, handing him a roll of tactical duct tape. "This should stop the bleeding."

"Fuckitty damn damn balls!" screamed the Major. "Cockin' yer gun, boy? Jesus Bob Christ!" He pulled a dirty magazine out of his pack, ogled it furiously for three seconds, then punched a hole in the earthen wall of the trench.

A Focke-Wulf droned by overhead.

"Germans! Aw, crap, man, right there! Take 'em down! Americaaaaaa!" Jake and Randy both emptied an M1 clip at the plane. When the hammer clicked on an empty chamber, Randy threw his gun at the aircraft and fished a beer out of his flak jacket.

"Time to celebrate!" he said. He popped the cap, and stood up. "To the Allies!" he said, and got shot in the shoulder.


"Dropped your beer," Jake said, pointing.

"Rusty ass-varnish!" thundered Major Buffalo. "Fer chrissake boy, quit getting shot! We're gonna flank the fuck outta that machine gun nest and we need you to stop the damn shit rabbit fuck chocolate--!"

At this point, the Major became too enraged to see straight, so the chaplain had to lead him by the hand so he could in turn lead the charge. The Whoop of Victory tore from the throats of Cheddar Squad, as they broke cover and fanned out.

"Holy shit! These guys have guns! Nobody said they'd have guns!" Jake screamed, dodging machine gun fire and flying debris. "This is totally not fair!"

Limping and grasping his shoulder, Randy followed close behind. "Let's see if we can get behind that hill. I can take out that gun emplacement. Cover me?"

"Hell no! Didn't you just hear me? Jerry has guns!"

"Bah fuckitty cunt a ding dong!" howled the Major General. He skidded to a halt and wrenched the bumper off an infantry transport truck. Holding it like a Samurai sword, he charged a line of German infantry. He detonated a smoke grenade, and was lost from view. Metallic bonging noises and German curses drifted out of the cloud.

"Hope the Major don't get shot," Jake muttered, throwing himself behind the hill. Bullets pelted the dirt and mud on the other side. "Hey, a Snickers wrapper! What's this doing here?"

"Okay. Jake, keep an eye out for guys in the trees. See that gunner in the pillbox over there?"


"Whatever his name is, that cracker's gettin' broke."

Randy went prone. He opened the case and extracted his gun's stock, action, scope and barrel and began to quickly assemble them.

"Is that a Springfield M1903A4?" Jake asked, tucking the Snickers wapper under his helmet.

"Only the finest!" squealed Randy, happily twisting the screw on a hose clamp.

"I, uh, didn't know they came apart like that."

"They do. This thing was a bitch to disassemble, though. I had to use a hacksaw. Hand me that C-clamp, wouldja?"

Randy mounted his gun on a tripod and took a deep breath. He squinted into the glass eye of his scope. He took the cap off the end and tried again. He slowly let his held breath escape in a carefully measured--

"What the hell!?" The Springfield toppled off the tripod and into the mud as nearby gunfire startled the hapless sniper.

"Oh, sorry. Saw a parrot," grinned Jake, re-holstering his Browning.

"Did you get him?"

Jake's grin melted like wax lips on the sun-washed hood of a Willys Jeep. "No."

"Hey man, don't cry. Maybe we can shoot at some monkeys when we're done here. Remember when we were back in Japan and you shot that lizard?"

"That wasn't in Japan," sniffed Jake.

"Wasn't it? Oh. Well. Still."

Randy re-mounted his rifle and took careful aim. He centered on his target, then moved slightly up and to the right to compensate for wind and distance. He slowly squeezed the trigger. The Springfield spat a brief burst of flame from its muzzle and the scope fell off.

"Ow! Hey, what the fuck?" A dismayed cry from Cheddar Company.

"Oh, geez. Sorry Gerard!"

"You shot me in the ass, Sourhill! Goddammit, that's the second time today!"

"Totally uncalled for, man! I said I was sorry!"

Jake stealthily pulled the pin on a grenade. "Look. A turtle." be continued!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Literary-Based Geological Relocation

A friend of mine recently told me that in order to "move mountains with my words," I would have to address "larger" subjects in my writing.

Naturally, I was under the impression that I already was moving them. Twice daily. Like a tectonic game of checkers, I was chucking mountains all over the place, stacking them, putting them in rows and generally having myself a grand old time.

Unfortunately, it seems one's lack of navigation prowess (which makes the mountain-moving a little random, but that is neither here nor there) is not considered a "big" idea. "People actually have to be paying attention to your words as well," my brain reminded me. I wept silently and not a little bitterly.

I scanned the Blog archives and found that of my roster of characters, only The Hardass would move mountains. He would do it with his fists and jaw. Since that is more akin to "strip mining" than moving mountains in the metaphorical sense, which is what I'm sure my friend meant, even he is out of the running.

Then came the soul-searching. What subjects should I tackle? Which ones could I, given the limited space inside my head, even including my sinuses? And by "big" did my friend mean "exhibiting strong human relativity" or "sailing deep and uncharted philosophical waters"?

Farts are 100% relative.

Deities are uncharted. (Those who claim to have charted them are later discovered to be insane).


Perhaps she meant I should express an opinion on things that exert a greater emotional pull on the general populace. Tort reform or abortion rights?

Now I see the problem: Discussing things like that endanger the delicate stupid plants we have carefully nurtured in putz pots here on the Blog. In other words, it would do irreparable harm to the Ambient Moronics (shameful plug, I know), in much the same way that CFCs munch up the ozone layer.

I find people who take themselves very seriously to be somewhat worrisome. I am concerned for their blood pressure, and I am concerned for whomever they're planning to bomb. Ecoterrorists and false prophets are the logical extreme.

Most importantly, they are not funny.

So rest assured, wasters of time, you will not load up your (surely bookmarked) link to the Blog of Stupid and find The Hardass discussing Gnosticism or Paul the CrimeFighter wrestling internally with the question of where to draw the line between "nice" and "euphemistic," and whether or not they overlap with "obscurantist".

If you want to know my stance on these things, meet me at Bob Evans, and we shall discuss them over a plate of sausages.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Coffee Visits the Grand Canyon

"Ask that guy over there if he knows where the canyon goats are."

It had been going on like this for perhaps the last hour. Truth be told, it had been going on the entire trip in one way or another, but the last hour was dedicated to the goats.

"Coffee, please shut up for one seven-hundredth of a second," I said wearily, peering through the viewfinder of my camera.

"What for?" he said, giving me a well-timed shove. "So you can take more pictures of rocks? You took pictures of those rocks over there already. This place sucks."

"Those rocks 'over there' weren't rocks. They were petrified trees. And that was yesterday." I deleted the blurred picture and aimed again.

"Oooh, excuse me. So you took some pictures of wussy trees pretending to be rocks. My bad. You know, if you wanted to hang around a bunch of liar trees, we could have just stayed home. This place doesn't even have any skunks. Have you seen any? I haven't seen skunk one."

The sun's disk was perfectly bisected by the horizon. The deep blue sky met the torn edge of the Earth as sunrise chased shadows out of the great canyon and etched its fiery mark on the undersides of the clouds. It was a magnificent sight. The appreciative sighs and snapping shutters of the tourists joined the birdsong and insect noises.

"Hey look! A hobo!" squealed Coffee.

"That's a park ranger," I said.

"He's got a beard."

"Doesn't mean he's a hobo."

"You got anything I can throw into the river down there? I bet that's at least a thousand feet down."

"Right in front of the ranger?"

"Aww, what's the hobo going to do? Splash some bum whiskey on us?"

"Dude. He's armed."

"Seriously. If I don't see any canyon goats or gorge skunks in about two minutes, I'm going to shove some fat kids over the edge."

"As impressive as the Grand Canyon is," the ranger was saying, "The solar system's largest known canyon system is actually on Mars. Its
Valles Marineris is over three times deeper than the Grand Canyon..."

"Ask that man if there are any goats in that one," Coffee slapped me on the back, and only the neck strap saved my camera.

"The canyon he's talking about is on Mars."


"Never mind."

The ranger led our group along the South Rim, toward Lookout Studio, talking as he went.

"Check this out," said Coffee. "An empty liquor bottle. It's called 'Hot Damn'! Isn't that hilarious?"

"It's kind of sad that some moron just dumped it here."

"It's kind of sad that some meh meh meh!" mocked Coffee in a whiny, singsong voice. "Let's throw it into the river then. I hear that some, like, crabs or something like to live in bottles and cans. You'll be doing them a favor. And here, smell it! It smells like gum!"

I waved away the bottle and its strong cinnamon odor. "How about you throw it in the trash can instead, and I'll let you have another Snickers bar."

Coffee eyed me skeptically. "I think you're just trying to screw with me now. You and whatever protein deficiency is keeping you from being cool want me to shut up so you can keep all the goats to yourself. Ain't happening mister."

I promised Coffee a trip to the Waffle House when the tour was over, and he agreed, but only after I took a few photos of the Hot Damn! bottle. I had close to thirty seconds of silence in which to operate my camera.

"Holy shit! A giant sparrow! Where's that bottle?"

"That's an eagle!" I said, aiming the camera.

"Oh. Never mind then."

"That's our national bird," I explained.

"Unless it poops on those children, I really don't care. You should have brought some bottle rockets. You know what you should do? Eat your lens cap and then fall down."

"Why the hell would I want to do that?"

"Hilarity. Something to take everyone's mind off the total lack of goats in this place. Ask that hobo if we can climb down there and look for some."

I had to admit, Coffee's repeated suggestion that we leave the tour group and climb down into the gorge was starting to sound like a good idea. The sun was well above the horizon now, and it was starting to get hot.

"See? Shade. Cool, refreshing, goat-harboring shade," Coffee said soothingly, tossing a handful of pennies over the edge.

"Okayokayokayokay! We'll climb down. We'll probably break our legs, but we'll climb down."

"Oh, don't be such a hamster. You'll heal up. Hey! A sand salamander!"

"That's a stick."

"You know what your problem is? No imagination at all. And no imagination means a whole backpack full of no fun. That's what you are. Six water bottles full to the brim of liquid dull, and a packet of crackers with lame between them."

"Oh man. Glad you mentioned that. We got our water bottles?"

"Sure do!"

He said that a little too quickly. I decided to check for myself.

"Whoa, hold on! What're you up to, Captain Killjoy?"

"I'm checking our water bot--"

"So...that's like a mechanical man made of water is it? See! You're making progress on that imagination thing already."

I turned the backpack over and dumped out our six bottles. All of them except one were full of gravel.

"Why," I asked in a measured tone, "are our water bottles full of rocks?"

"Not rocks!" screeched Coffee. "Ammo! Man. I must be giving you too much credit. You saw all those kids back there, right? And what did YOU bring to throw at them? Nothing."

"We're going back to the group."

"Yeah. And let all the goats get away."

"Yes. And give me that band saw. I don't even want to know what you were planning on doing with that."

"I'll tell you if we can go to the Waffle House right now, and skip the rest of this boring skunkless tour."

"Deal," I said.