Funny Ha Ha: The High School Humor Writing Challenge - Text Entries

Funny Ha Ha: The High School Humor Writing Challenge

We’re looking for great humor writing from high school students, and at the end of the summer, writer and actor BJ Novak will name a winner on our show. Here’s the catch — your piece must begin and end with these sentences:

FIRST LINE: The sun rose and everything fell.
LAST LINE: Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

UPDATE 8/27: Our winner is Emma Callahan; the runner-up is Dylan Kapstrom. A big thank you to everyone who shared their work with us!

July 31, 2015 09:29:39 PM





The sun rose and everything fell.
Of course, that’s normal with solar flares, right? Whoever chose the sun over a couple million fluorescent lights must have been alright with it. Or, he could’ve just been a lazy cheapskate. He must’ve thought, ‘Why should I pay more for a bunch of lightbulbs that I’ll have to install, when I can get a giant nuclear fireball? It’s far away enough that it won’t hurt me.’ We can’t verify that, though. The guy got skin cancer.
What we do know is that this was a particularly bad day to be Alex. Alex, you see, is a gamer. At age 38, most would say Alex doesn’t seem much to look at. At 483 pounds, I’d say there’s a whole lot to look at. Of course, I can only see the back of his head from the window in his dad’s basement, so what do I know?
Anyway, the sun had it in for Alex. Alex, however, thought the sun was a myth, part of some fantasy about something his crazy dad called the ‘Outdoors’. But, since the sun had long found out that it couldn’t bake Alex down to 150 pounds, it decided it would go for something a little easier: the power grid. So, the sun used enough nuclear power to make the U.S. and Russia jealous, just to blast a bunch of hot air at the Earth. Alex simply yelled at his to turn the A/C down. Which his father did, out of fear that his son may eat him. Or sit on him. With Alex’s insulation properly chilled, he promptly returned to what he did best, pretending he was running around firing machine guns at everything that moved, while yelling at eight-year-olds on his headset, telling them how bad they were at virtual slaughter, and receiving retorts that he was a ‘hacker’. I know that wasn’t true, because the only two things Alex touched were the Cheetos and his controller. Just as he began his familiar rant on how the accuser needed to ‘get a life, maybe a job’ the solar flare managed to hit the power grid. The resulting surge knocked power out of everything, and sparks flew from Alex’s Xbox, electrifying the Cheeto dust in the air. Alex watched in wide eyed (and wide-loaded) horror as the screen faded to black, tearing him from his reality. He heard a window crash above him, and his father’s voice trailing, “No power! I’m free! Free!”
Alex’s body trembled like jello on a jackhammer as he realized the screen wasn’t coming back on. He would have to survive in a harsh new world, a real world with no cheat codes or healing potions. His primal survival instincts kicked in, and after six tries, he got off the couch. Trembling with fear at what lay beyond that door, and not being used to actually using his legs, or any part of his body, Alex walked made his way up the steps toward the door. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 31, 2015 07:33:09 PM





“The sun rose and everything fell apart.”


“That’s how I see it at least. The world began somehow and we humans were forced by our innovative natures to get up and start businesses; And you know what that means; Paperwork.” Alex pointed to his desk; it was covered in stacks of papers neatly arranged in rows. Dylan wondered how much of the desk was actually used for working.

“Sir, I don’t understand-“

“What is there to understand, let alone not understand?” Alex threw his hands in the air.

“Why did you call me to your office, Sir?” Dylan gulped.

“Isn’t it obvious? I need you to fill out my Telecommunications and Internet Service billings report for me. It’s not to difficult, you can figure it out.” Suddenly, Dylan heard a screeching noise and swiveled his head toward it. A janitor stood plainly in the doorway with a large, rusty cart before him.

“You ordered a cart, Sir?” He asked. Alex hopped out of his chair and ran over to the doorway. He grabbed the cart and wheeled it into the room.

“I should get paid extra for room service.” The janitor muttered under his breath as he trudged away. Dylan stared at the empty doorway.

“Oh don’t worry,” Alex said. “He is ‘generally satisfied’ with his position here. He said so in his self evaluation, which you too will have to do in about a year or so. Anyway, back to business; help me load the cart. Alex began loading the stacks of paper onto the cart, while whistling a cheerful tune.

“Sir, why do you want me to do your Telecommu- whatever work for you??” Dylan asked as he hauled the papers and folders onto the cart. “I’ve only been here,” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “Three hours. I took a tour of the office literally an hour ago.”

“Exactly. The newbies tend to work faster. I could tell you that if you didn’t do my TIB report for me you would be fired, although even if I didn’t you would probably still work your ass off for me. To nervous to piss anyone off.” Alex turned away from Dylan for a moment to ponder this theory. Finally, Alex went back to shuffling around his desk. He checked the stapler to see if it needed refilling and when he realized that it did, indeed need some staples, he loaded it onto the cart as well. “Actually, you know what. I have decided. If you do not do my TIB reports you will be fired.” Dylan’s eyes bulged. He quickly began shifting the stacks and nervously making room for more. “Nah, I’m kidding. I’m not even your boss.” Alex beamed with something he liked to classify as ‘charm with a hint of importance’ but others called ‘arrogance’.

“What?” Dylan stepped away from the cart, all prepared to storm off with his ‘power stride’. “If your not my boss-“

“Well, I mean, since you are already here…” Alex pushed the cart toward Dylan. “Have it on my desk by-“ Alex smacked his thigh and laughed. “Couldn’t even get through it! Just get it to me when you have the chance.” Dylan rolled his eyes and began wheeling the cart out the door.

“How much am I getting paid for this job, again?” He asked himself nervously.

Dylan stood at the bar, his legs aching and he yearned for a stool. On his first day of work, Dylan had been left with two realizations. One; he needed to work out more. Pushing that cart had shown him how weak his legs were. Two; What was it? Aren’t people supposed to realize lot’s of important things after a big life change? Or is that before? Before and after? Ah, who cares, Dylan’s beer was set on the counter in front of him. He lifted it and was about to take a sip when an annoying noise surprised him.

“You even hang out in a tie after work?” It was Alex. He leaned up against the bar, pushing a young couple out of the way. “Oh boy. I wonder how many weeks of work it’s gonna take for that stick to fall out of your-“

“You followed me?” Dylan set his frothy drink on the counter. He glared at Alex, but felt the urge to take off his tie and stuff it into the pocket of his leather jacket. The longer he ignored it, the more it felt as though the tie (which he had always convinced himself was ‘casual not corporate’) was choking him.

“No, I didn’t follow you.” Alex raised one eyebrow . “This is where all the newbies hang out.” Dylan glanced around, scanning the room. “Well, obviously not at the same time.” Alex exclaimed. “It’s close to the office, so on the off chance that you get drunk after work, you will wake up close enough to the office to walk. See, I get your silly reasoning. There is even a bottle of Ibuprofen in the compartment under the bar.” Alex tapped the wood near his foot and a little door swung open revealing a half-empty bottle of pills. Alex chuckled, then he gestured to an old woman sitting on the stool next to him, getting her attention. He kicked the stool and she hopped off abruptly. Alex dragged it over and sat down.

“Dude, she’s like, seventy-something.” Dylan murmured.

“So, she’s to old to drink anyway.” Alex pulled Dylan’s beer toward him and took a huge sip.

“You can’t be too old to drink. Only too young.” Dylan explained.

“Why are you mentioning that?” Alex asked suspiciously. “How old are you?”

“I’m obviously legal!” Dylan stammered

“Well, I mean… you’ve got a bit of a baby-face. Don’t worry. That tends to work in the corporate world. It screams ‘I’m young and ready to innovate.” Alex winked. “Just don’t show them your I.D. ‘cause I am still not sure you are over twenty-one.”

“Is that a compliment, or are you implying that I never went to college?” Dylan demanded, impatient.

”Someone’s defensive,” Alex shook his head. “Don’t do that at work, kay?” He shook his head. “Whew, you’ve got a lot to learn.” Dylan scratched his head.

“You aren’t even my boss.” He crossed his arms.

“Exactly. If I was your boss I couldn’t be your mentor-“

“No, no. We are not going down this road.” Dylan glared. “You become my mentor and sooner or later my life is going to turn into an annoying sitcom.” Dylan gave up waiting for another beer. He apologized to the old woman, who by now was still pouting at the end of the bar, and walked out. He couldn’t shake the eerie feeling that Alex was a mind-reader who was going to take over his life. It was just a funny feeling he had, like a tingling sensation at the bottom of his stomach. As he stood at the curb, waiting for a cab he impulsively tugged at his tie and put it in his pocket.

“Stupid mind-reader.” He murmured as he got in the cab.

That morning, Dylan sat in his cubicle doing useless reports; useless because he wasn’t getting paid for doing them. He saw Alex strutting down the hall, and tried to bury his face behind the stacks of papers.

“Hello, Baby-Face.” Alex was wheeling a small paper-shredder behind him. It had a label on it reading: Property of the Supply Closet. Do not move. “You are doing it all wrong.” Alex squeezed into the cubicle, and plugged in the paper-shredder. One by one, he ran the probably-important documents through the machine.

“I came here, like, three hours early!” Dylan shouted over the noise. “Why are you shredding all of my work?”

“I had a better idea for what to do with these last night.” Alex looked seriously at Dylan then continued to shred the papers. “Anyway. I just wanted to bring you this.” He kicked the shredder. “ Like I said, when you are done have the reports on my desk-“

“But don’t you want me to shred them?” Dylan asked, confused.

“Yeah, I want to make paper-mache, duh.” Alex smirked and walked away. Dylan didn’t think he would hear anyone utter the word DUH at work, but apparently he didn’t know anything. After he finished shredding the TIB reports, he unplugged the machine and wheeled it over to the elevator. He pressed the UP button and waited nervously.

“Can you read?’ A gruff voice demanded. Dylan craned his neck toward it and saw the janitor slouching behind him. “Property of the Supply Closet. Do not move. Did you think the label was being sarcastic?” He asked rudely.

“No I— it’s for Alex-“ The Janitor grabbed the machine away from him. Suddenly, the elevator dinged and the doors slid open. The janitor shoved Dylan inside, reached in the elevator to press the DOOR CLOSE button and shuffled away.

“I haven’t even been reprimanded by my own boss yet, and already I’m getting attitude from a janitor.” Dylan muttered, still trying to understand the twisted corporate hierarchy. As the doors slid open, he marched to his execution. He wondered how Alex reacted to people arriving empty handed.

“Oh goody, Baby-face is here. Say, where’s the stuff I asked for?”

“Yeah about that…” Dylan tried to figure out the best way to phrase; I got bullied by a janitor. It was like trying to explain how his lunch money was stolen to his mother, who had always hoped her son would grow up to be a football star.

“Of course. Send a boy to do a man’s job and what’dya get.” Alex sighed. Dylan wondered how making paper-mache could be classified as a ‘man’s job’. Dylan heard shuffling and turned around. He saw the janitor saunter into the room with the paper-shredder.

“I heard you needed one of these, Sir.” He said cheerily.

“Thank you!” Alex exclaimed. “At least someone in this office is proving their competence. They should give you a raise.” The janitor stood proudly, waiting to see if Alex was serious about the raise but by then Alex was already preoccupied with the paper-shredder.

“I’ll be back.” The janitor whispered. He glared at Dylan and marched out of the office.

“So newbie. You did the worst thing you could do in your first week here; ya got fooled by the janitor.” Alex sighed dramatically. He leaned against his desk and gestured to the chair in front of it. Dylan sat down and rolled his eyes. “It’s no biggy, though. Here’s what you’ve gotta know. One; never share food with him. It’s like the rule with pigeons or raccoons. He will always be back for more. Two; never tell him how much money you make. Last time somebody did that and the janitor threw a fit. And I mean; ‘running around demanding Anarchy’ kind of fit. Three-“

“Who do you think you are?” Dylan leaped out of his chair, the way they did it in the movies just before a speech. “You are seriously telling me how to survive the corporate world, I’m not even sure you know how to do you job!” I mean honestly, Do you seriously spend all day making paper-mache, playing video-games, and reading the same books over and over again?” Dylan marched over to the shelf and grabbed a book, partly because he wanted to look superior and also because he wanted to see what kind of books this guy was into.

“No, I wouldn’t-“

“Silence” Dylan ordered, the excitement causing a tingling sensation in his toes. He opened a book and found that the inside was carved out to store a small nerf gun. He looked at Alex, then at the gun, then back to Alex. He closed the book nervously and put it back on the shelf. “Okay, I don’t need to know the specifics of what you do all day besides the fact that it isn’t you job! Don’t try to teach me how the corporate world works, you aren’t even part of it.” Dylan slowly walked away, patriotic music playing in his head.

Alex kicked over the paper shredder angrily, but soon got distracted by the strands of paper spilled onto the floor.

One month Later

“Are you really going to do this?” Dylan asked, somewhat nervously. Alex felt the small pistol poking out of his back pocket. He re-ajusted his jacket to make sure it was covering the butt of the gun.

“Yeah I am.” He said, serious for once. It was unprecedented; this seriousness.

“Is this because of the thing I said-“

“Hell yeah.” Alex raised his eyebrows. Dylan shook his head.

“You know I was just pissed, right?”

“Yeah, I know.” Alex said. “But you were right. I would much rather stay at home and shoot nerf bullets at that painting of my parents in the living room than come here every day.” He tapped the gun in his pocket.

“Okay. If you really wanna quit…” Dylan trailed off. “Go for it. He patted Alex on the shoulder and turned away. Alex watched him as he made his way down the hall and pictured what he would be doing in about two hours. He saw himself; running around the apartment in his underwear, shooting soft darts at the walls. He pictured drawings of inappropriate cartoons scattered all over the coffee table. He smirked; that was just the way he liked it. He looked at the sign above the door that had his boss’s name on it. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 31, 2015 04:17:06 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. Shit! yelled God as he struggled to pick everything up again. Shitshitshit. Light hit the empty green world as the day began, and most of God's stuff tumbled towards Earth. Oh, this is bad. Extremely bad, he thought as he flew fast as he could down towards the atmosphere, trying to catch it all before it was too late. He failed.
With a colossal BOOM, the falling items hit the land. Sparks flew, and the world shook and broke and reformed. Then the land was still. God looked forlornly at the wreckage of his possessions.
M-my...stuff, he whispered to nobody as angry tears welled in his eyes. He was about to throw a tantrum when he heard a rustle coming from under his broken belongings. He wiped his eyes and whispered, Hello? Is something there?
A small, pale creature emerged. It couldn't have been taller than four feet, with matted, curly red hair and large brown eyes. It was covered in dirt and leaves and was the ugliest thing God had ever seen.
What the hell are you? God asked as he poked the little creature tentatively. It squirmed out of his grasp.
"Hey, hey, hey, no touching!" it shouted, dusting itself off. "The name's Alex." God smiled broadly.
Ah, you are human. Welcome to Earth, my son, God said with warmth in his voice. The thing called Alex scoffed in judgement.
"Actually, I'm a girl. Don't assume things. Alex is a gender-neutral name, you ignorant prick. Typical phallocentric deity," Alex muttered scornfully and rolled her eyes. God crossed his arms.
Well, sorr-ry. I'm new to this creation thing. I was under the impression that man would be created first, he responded. Alex narrowed her eyes, so he quickly followed up with, No, no, I am not a misogynist. If you really need to label me, I am a feminist. I know what men are going to do to this world when they're in charge. Not pretty.
Alex looked him over and lowered her guard. "Alright, cool," she said and extended her fist towards him. God looked confused, so she grabbed his hand, made it into a fist, and bumped it against hers. "Fist-bump," she explained.
I see, said God, although he did not understand the gesture.
Alex stepped out of the wreckage from which she was born. She sat down in the shade of an apple tree. He sat beside her. They stayed a while in silence and gazed upon the world he had made.
"So you did all of this?" asked Alex.
Yeah. No big deal, God responded nonchalantly. She scanned the terrain for other people. No one was in sight.
"I was kinda under the impression that there would be more people around here. People to be friends with," said Alex. God looked down at the small girl. Her eyes were full of sadness. She looked lonely.
You have me, said God as he placed his hand on her shoulder. She shrugged off his hand.
"Yeah, I guess," murmured Alex. She turned to him. "Isn't there anyone else like me out there?" God sighed.
Well, they somewhat exist. The rest of the people aren't finished yet. I'm still working on them, he said.
"Can I meet them? Please?" she pleaded. God shook his head. "I need to be with other people. Why not?"
Releasing any of the humans now would not be ideal. I haven't given them a sense of rationality yet. She looked at him with questioning eyes. Understand this: they are stupid. They're driven by misguided passion and frivolous dreams. They are violent and loving and utterly stupid. If I let them out for you to see, they'd begin to do as irrational beings do; they would love and kill and set strange standards for each other and procreate and make stupid children. And their children would have stupid children. And I'd have created a world of idiots. Alex rolled her eyes.
"Okay, well, I know I'm just a kid, and you're the almighty holy creator dude or whatever, but you're wrong." God frowned. "All of these other things around me, your creations," she said, gesturing around her, "they are rational. They only have the instinct to survive. They don't give a crap about anything else. And look at them. They're so boring." Alex pointed to a squirrel, which sat holding an acorn and staring up at them. "Look at this punk. He probably stole that nut from another squirrel, to survive, a rational act, and doesn't give a crap. I bet you have never had a conversation with a squirrel either. And he doesn't care about you. But here I am, talking to you, feeling lonely, being irrational, and being human. I'm loads better than every single one of these other fools."
God stared down at the little squirrel for a long time. Its eyes were cold and without light. It scampered away. Then he looked up and said, You're right. Alex nodded. Come with me, God beckoned. He pointed to a large mountain in the distance. Atop the mountain is my workshop. That is where the other humans are. They began walking.
For twenty days and twenty nights, the companions trekked up the monolithic mountain. Upon reaching the peak of the mountain, God looked over the world he had made beneath him and declared, Good shit. And it was good. Alex faced God's workshop.
"Its a little small," she said. "Not what I pictured for the birthplace of all creation." The workshop was a tiny, wooden, dilapidated shack with only one room and a cracked window. On the door, a sign hung that read, DO NOT ENTER: DANGEROUS PEOPLE IDIOTS INSIDE. "So what now?" Alex turned to God. A loud BANG came from inside the creaky door. "Do we let them out?"
He looked up at the sky. I wanted to make a perfect world. He sighed. But I suppose I'll settle for an exciting one. Go ahead. Let these insane, beautiful creatures out.
"No need to be so damn dramatic all the time," she mocked, but her face betrayed her nervousness. Another BANG sounded behind the door. Her lip quivered as she advanced towards the shack. BANG. Alex looked over her shoulder to God. BANG. "Thank you," she whispered. BANG. She paused for a moment. BANG. Several seconds passed. BANG. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 31, 2015 01:27:08 PM





Full House

The sun rose and everything fell. Another farcical earthquake to commence what I surmised to be another monotonous day.
Cassidy turned up at 4:30 p.m. at my cramped home, to be greeted by four deranged children.
"Cassidy, Cassidy look at me!" Gracie exclaimed parading around in her pink polka dot bathing suit.
"Cassidy guess where we're going." Alex challenged.
She sighed. "Since you're both in bathing suits I'm assuming swimming?" She speculated.
Alex chuckled as she headed to the backyard kiddy pool with Gracie following close behind.
With my two younger sisters gone my friend and I seated ourselves in front of the beige coffee table, discussing the latest DS games.
"I adore Cooking Mama it's truly the best game ever fabricated." I pronounced.
"Agreed, we should-" Cassidy was cut short when Alex charged in slipping and sliding in every direction.
"You guys missed it! Gracie threw the cat in the pool!" She declared regaining her balance. Instead of entertaining it we resumed our conversation only to be interrupted yet again.
" I don't have a DS, but I bet I would love Cooking Mama." Alex blubbered.
"Oh and I took Vic's DS onetime when she went to grandma's house and-" her words started to blur, I began drifting off, only to have my daydream cut short by faint mummers.
"Victoria are you seeing what I'm seeing?" Cassidy questioned, turning my attention to the youngest of the family; my brother Nate.
My eyes widened we were face to face with the most ingenious living two year old known to mankind. Legend has it he got away with flushing his dad's paycheck and our mother's diamond ring.
An ever too familiar smile spread across his face as he paced back and forth examining the three of us. We all came came to a standstill, anticipating his next move.
Furthermore, my cunning brother pulled out a small almost unrecognizable water gun. Horror swept over the room no one dared to scream. Having the same idea we sprinted in three different directions; Alex towards the backyard, Cassidy towards our rooms and me right into Nate. Fear raced through my veins terror-stricken of what came next, I closed my eyes and waited.
Seconds turned to minutes and I realized nothing was happening. Scrutinizingly slow, I peeled open my left eye lid to reveal the implausible absoluteness.
There I saw Nate perched up on the window sill playing with a long forgotten blue truck.
Relief flooded through me, I managed to not only avoid a time out but another long shower. There was only one thing left to do; quiet as a mouse I tip toed to the nearest bedroom to find Cassidy curled in a ball.
"Are you okay?" I asked skeptically.
Her head moved from her knees unveiling her now puffy eyes.
"Is he gone?" She sobbed.
I nodded and helped her to the living room to resume our squabble.
"As I was saying, they couldn't possibly make a game better game than Cooking Mama, I mean did you see the animation on the steak? Absolutely exquisite." I said with a smile stretching miles wide.
"Yes completely-" again as out of habit Cassidy was interrupted by the persistent Alex.
"Why didn't you tell me he wasn't chasing us anymore? Victoria you told Cassidy but not me? You know I wanted to chat with you guys." Before she could finish her rambling Nate unexpectedly pulled out his water gun and began spraying Alex's now dry hair.
Her face turned so distorted you would of thought she had expired milk. Quick as a flash she was gone heading towards the backyard to inform the only living person known to contain the boy; his father.
In fear of her not only telling on Nate, but also on us, I followed suit meeting her at the backyard door.
"Alex wait what are you going to tell him? I'm sorry I just forgot to tell you I didn't realize you would get mad." I tried to explain.
She cocked her head in response playing with her advantage. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 31, 2015 12:41:36 PM





Lady and the Trump

The sun rose and everything fell. All the men, women, and children, even the pampered house pets of Beverly Hills walked on quivering legs. It started on the Fourth of July in the year 2030: the last year of Donald Trump’s seemingly endless reign as president. People were tripping out of bed, stumbling on the sidewalks, face planting on treadmills.
And it wasn’t temporary. As long as the sun was shining, everyone seemed to be wearing an invisible pair of two-sizes-too-big stilettos. When the sun finally descended for the day, people were finally able to move around without fear of toppling like a domino.
The change in balance was obvious. It couldn’t be ignored. Not by the creeps in cubicles, not by the gymnasts performing on a four-inch balance beam, and not even by the stiff officials working for Kim Jong An (the successor of Kim Jong Un, who choked on his first taste of a McDonald’s chicken nugget while visiting President Donald Trump in 2023. The CIA claimed they partnered with the fast food chain to plan the assassination, when in reality, McDonald’s chicken nuggets cause an average of 932,723 deaths a year without any help from the government).
There was something universal going on, and the sun was to blame.

“We have no choice,” began President Trump in a press conference he called on July 21st, his fingers gripping the podium to hold himself steady. He was elected to his first term of presidency in 2016, and was in the middle of his fourth term, dodging any Constitutional issues by throwing money (all bills featuring Trump with two thumbs up and a smug smile) at elderly, and questionably delusional, Supreme Court Justices.
Trump was first elected to the presidency in 2016 by a landslide vote. He appealed to many Americans with his outspoken patriotism, demonstrating his undying love for America by getting a Tramp Stamp (later called a Trump Stamp), of a majestic eagle in flight. The tattoo ended up being a great source of pride for Trump, and whenever he felt insulted by diplomats or officials, he simply turned around to flash the eagle, also known as “giving them the bird.”
Trump cleared his throat, straightened out his toupee, and continued on with the speech he had practiced in the mirror six times, looking for the exact words to emphasize: “We need to bring out the nuclear arsenal. We know the sun is the direct cause of this problem. On July 4th, the sun rose three millimeters higher than normal, throwing off our gravitational fields and causing all of this hullabaloo. The only solution is,” Trump paused for dramatic effect, “to blow up the sun, because this is America. And the America I grew up in didn’t wait around to be given answers, or help, or power. No, we used our true American supremacy to dominate this Earth. And soon, we will dominate the galaxy.”
Trump took a deep breath, clearly beaming with pride at this little speech, and was caught in a coughing fit. He wasn’t used to this much excitement, and three-fourths, well, more like eight-ninths, of his audience was secretly wishing that today, on that stage, the old buzzard would finally keel over at the ripe age of 84. Trump usually avoided the politics of his presidency, dealing only with the publicity, reading to small children who ripped off his gaudy toupee, appearing on daytime talk shows alongside Dr. Oz, or filming his own reality TV show for Lifetime: “Trumping Over Everyone Else.” The rest was left to his advisors, namely Alex Wright, a short, unattractive woman known for her notoriously dark-haired mustache that grew back no matter how many times hot wax was poured over it, often called The Third Eyebrow behind closed doors. Alex also claimed the title of Trump’s mistress, a secret that brought her plenty of shameful satisfaction.
Trump reached for his water glass, and he slowly regained his normal heavy mouth breathing in the microphone. The entire audience sighed in disappointment, infuriated that Trump would tease them with hope like that.
“So here’s what I say. I say, ‘Hey Sun, YOU’RE FIRED!’” At this point President Trump had attempted to fist pump, a big mistake. As he held onto his brittle right scapula, two advisors, including Alex, wobbled over and delivered him to a nearby wheelchair. No one had the heart to tell poor Don that the Sun was already made of fire, so using his overdone catchphrase was a bit redundant. There was a smattering of applause, but many reporters had already left, hoping to find a quality seat at the bar for the night. They had been covering President Trump and his lackluster presidency for almost fifteen years. Most veteran journalists stopped showing up to his press conferences, already knowing that President Trump’s speeches would contain something along the lines of American world domination, and end with someone, or something, getting fired. You can’t count on a lot in this world, one reporter had written at the beginning of Trump’s third term, but the monotony of Trump’s recycled speeches has become a steady rock in my life.
And even though no one knew it yet, today was different. Trump wasn’t letting his DTSP (Destroy The Sun Plan) fall through the cracks like he had with all of his other ideas. Alex was the first to realize this, as she lay, half-asleep, next to Trump, who was still in an arm sling to support his poor over-worked scapula, in his heated water bed.
“Goodnight Don,” Alex yawned.
“Someday,” Trump whispered, stroking Alex’s surprisingly soft mustache, “There will only be night.”
Trump had never discussed politics in bed. He told Alex that his 102 degree water bed was a sacred place, reserved only for Alex, and occasionally, his wife. He usually slept with a pillow stuffed with dollar bills instead of feathers, and told Alex stories of growing up in Queens. Maybe, in another time or a different life, they would be happily married, with small, hairy children. But not in this life. The President refused to make their relationship public, fearing a blemish in his perfect marriage to the medical-miracle of a miraculously-still-alive Betty White.
But he was happy to indulge in a little youthful pleasure with Alex, given that it all remain confidential. And Alex was satisfied with their arranged secret affair at first. But now, there was just one problem that arose in the basement of Alex’s usually strictly logical heart:
Alex was horribly, deeply, and passionately in love with President Donald Trump.

“TRUMP MOVES FORWARD WITH DTSP,” read the front page of the Wall Street Journal two weeks after the press conference. The story, written by Zayn Malik, sent waves through the public. After the teeny-bopper boy band named One Direction began moving in different directions, Malik attended Columbia University and got a degree in Journalism, with a minor in Women’s Studies.
The article read: The three remaining members of Congress passed President Donald Trump’s DTSP (Destroy The Sun Plan) yesterday, permitting him to move forward in the construction of an atomic bomb and a catapult to propel it toward the sun.
A committee of nuclear engineers has been formed and are working “at a Trump-like speed,” said right-hand advisor Alex Wright. “Trump has moved DTSP forward with more excitement and determination than I have ever seen in him,” explained Wright. “If anything else is done before the end of his fourth term, it will be the DTSP.”
The article continued to describe the steps Trump planned to take with DTSP, which included handing all of the work out to smarter individuals, and filming a special feature for his reality TV show titled “Trumping Over the Sun.”

“He’s really going through with this, isn’t he?”
Hillary Clinton sat across Alex Wright at the coffee table in the White House kitchen, the Sunday Wall Street Journal in one hand and an adorable espresso cup in the other.
“He is,” Alex told her. “Trump wants to reach up and pull the sun out of the sky.”
“He can’t possibly think it’s a good idea. I mean, yes, this gravitational field shift is an issue, but we can’t blow up the sun just because it rose a few inches higher than normal-”
“Millimeters,” Alex corrected her. “Three millimeters.”
“Well, someone will stop this DRSQ, or DTPSS, or whatever the hell his arrogant acronym is. Right? There’s someone who will get rid of it?”
“D-T-S-P. And no, I don’t think so. Hillary, you and I are the highest in power right below Trump. You’re Secretary of State, and I’m- I’m-”
“His advisor-turned-mistress,” finished Clinton. There was a hint of bitterness in her raspy voice, probably brought on by some Monica Lewinsky flashbacks. Alex never thought of herself as anything like the beautiful lover of good ‘ole Bill, but maybe they had more in common than she knew.
“Advisor,” continued Alex, standing up to get some more coffee from the pot by the twelve-burner stove. She leaned on wall for balance, but ended up pouring more coffee on the ground than in her cup. The gravitational shift was always the worst in the morning, right as the sun rose. “I’m still his advisor, just as much as you are.”
“Yeah, the only difference is that I don’t give him advice in bed,” snorted Hillary.
“Regardless of where I discuss policy, I am a serious politician. I want what’s best for him, and the country, which is why we need to shoot down the DTSP. Russia has been threatening nuclear war if we continue on with the plan, and they have other countries in support. Even Switzerland signed into an alliance with Russia, and promised to supply their army with 13,985 tons of chocolate every day in order to boost morale. This would be World War Four, and you know we can’t afford that. Two World Wars in one man’s presidency? It’s unprecedented.”
“Exactly. Which is why we have just cause to get Trump out of office. He’s eighty-four, for god’s sake. And yes, I may be eighty-three, but I’m not the one who has enough unbridled power and stupidity to end the entire world.” Hillary paused and leaned toward Alex. “You’ve tried talking him out of this, haven’t you? You’ve explained why it can’t happen?”
“Of course.”
Hillary sighed. “Back in the day, I would go to Congress with something like this. But since there’s only three members that haven’t abandoned their office, I think you know what we have to do. We launch the DTP: Dump Trump Plan.”
At this point, Alex and Hillary heard the all-too familiar screeching of First Lady Betty White’s walker on the tiled floor. She hobbled over to the coffee pot and, instead of pouring herself a cup, grabbed the entire pot and poured in an extravagant amount of pumpkin spice creamer. Sipping right from the spout of the coffee pot, the First Lady slowly made her way over to the table and sat next to the two nervous women. Even though she was 108 years old, Betty was still kicking (and punching, for that matter). She often did interviews for health magazines and shows, where the first question was always, “What’s your secret? How have you lived so long?” And Betty would, of course, attribute her remarkable health to an all-kale diet. Kale smoothies, kale salads, kale chips, kale juice, even kale face masks.
“Good morning ladies. Hope you don’t mind that I’m finishing off the coffee,” said Betty. Alex and Hillary smiled and shifted awkwardly in their chairs. Despite her age, Betty still had the ears of a bat (thanks to the kale enimas, she said), and Alex and Hillary knew that she had heard their conversation about DTP. “Don’t you think I should be involved in this little planning committee of yours? Don’t you think this is First Lady business?”
Alex’s thick eyebrows knotted up and figured she might as well fess up. “Betty, we think Trump needs to get out of office--”
“Yeah, so that makes you, me, and the rest of the world!” Betty laughed and slapped the table with a surprising amount of force. “I overheard about your little DTP arrangement, and I want in. After Don’s second term ended, I was beyond ready to settle down and retire in Cancun, like we had always talked about, lying on the beach together, sipping pina coladas out of pineapples until we die… Which, let’s face it, isn’t far off for either of us. I need my Cancun. I’ve been waiting so long to break out my coconut bra. So, how are we going to get Don out?”
Alex and Hillary glanced at each other and sent a mutual look of, “Why not?” They might as well take the First Lady’s help, even if the visual of Betty modelling a coconut bra was enough to make Alex and Hillary consider running to Canada.
Hillary had an idea. She had been dreaming about this coup d’etat since Trump’s fussy inauguration. “Here’s what I was thinking. Since no one really wants him as president, no one will protest if we just ship him off, right? We don’t need to stage a big trial or do any of that paperwork. This isn’t Watergate. I say we have you, Betty, take him on the jet and say you’re going to New York for a DTSP meeting. The pilot takes you to Saint Helena, that island off Africa where Napoleon was exiled, and you both live out your lives. You get your happy retirement, and we get Trump out of the country. He’ll have no cell phone, no private plane, no laptop, no way to get out. And when he’s gone, we have Alex take over as president. We haven’t seen Vice President Arnold Schwarzenegger in years, not since he took that vacation to Vegas in ‘21. The American people clearly don’t want me as president, or they would’ve elected me one of the five times I ran. So, I would say Alex is next in line.”
“I like it,” approved Betty, rubbing her palms together with a faraway look in her eyes. Her dreams were finally coming true. The coconut bra would become a reality. Hillary nodded and smiled, making the two of them look like partners-in-crime, a reincarnation of Bonnie and Clyde, plotting to steal the President.
Alex knew it had to be done. She had to say goodbye to the first man she had ever loved, and more importantly, who had loved her back. The first man who had encouraged her to leave her caterpillar mustache alone, stopping the endless waxing and shaving and plucking and bleaching.
She stared down at the coffee in her cup, the liquid still rocking back and forth in waves. There would be waves in Saint Helena, beautiful, flowing waves tickling her feet… And she pictured Trump lying in the sun, shedding his heavy toupee so she could rub sunscreen on his cueball of a head. The fantasy was too much for her. That was the sight that changed her mind.
“Alright,” she told the other two, swaying as she stood up from the table. “We’ll do it. Saturday night, Don and Betty leave for the island.”

On Friday morning, Alex called her friend, a private pilot, and scheduled a flight for two on his personal jet with the final destination of Elba, the island off Italy. “We need to leave at midnight tonight,” Alex demanded. And because the pilot had always been a little frightened by Alex and her ability to grow facial hair better than him, he complied.
Alex ordered two bottles of Bordeaux, one for Hillary and one for Betty. Before they were delivered to the separate rooms, Alex inserted a syringe of Valium in the corks and attached notes reading, It has been a pleasure working with you two women. Enjoy this Bordeaux and drink to a successful DTP tomorrow. Sincerely yours, AW.
By 11 o’clock on Friday night, Alex had packed two suitcases, filled a cooler with wine and cheese, and loaded it all onto the plane her pilot had landed on top of the White House. She rolled Trump’s wheelchair past Betty’s private room and Hillary’s office on the way to Trump’s bedroom, holding onto the walls to keep steady. Alex arrived at the door she knew so well, and took a deep breath. When Trump slept, he was dead to the world. Her secret plan was going to play out perfectly. Alex would make her smooth getaway with the love of her life, and Hillary could pick up the pieces of the country.
The world would get used to the gravitational shift. You could get used to almost anything if given enough time, Alex thought.
She had been standing in front of Trump’s door, lost in her thoughts and listening to his roaring snores. She checked her watch: 11:45 PM. It was time to get Don and run. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 30, 2015 10:20:05 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. A May New Jersey morning is a beautiful thing: chilly but sunny. This optimal weather percolated through the slightly opened window of Alex’s bedroom window. Alex was at her desk, laptop in front of her and face on the keyboard. She’d been asleep for the past two hours, but the cold draft drifted to her and sent her fluttering awake. Alex jerked her head up and looked straight at the screen. It was 10:11 A.M. The last line read “Over the past seven years, two-thirds of the Swiss population agreed that universal healthcarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”. Alex deleted the excessive r’s. She evaluated her work.
After getting an extension, Alex had until noon today to email this paper to her AP Government and Politics teacher. Even though she didn’t have much longer, Alex was almost done and would be able to finish her paper swiftly and go back to sleep. She typed until she saw fit. The paper was exactly two pages long after a few tweaks. She went and typed in her teacher’s email and--what? The screen went black. Alex frantically skimmed her fingers across the mousepad to revive her laptop. Not working. Moving down her mental troubleshooting, Alex pushed down on the power button. Nothing. The laptop was dead.
Alex rushed the details through her head. Because the paper was being written on an online software, it saves automatically; all of the paper was there. However, her mom’s desktop was still not hooked up to the internet. She had no access. Alex looked at the clock in her room. 10:37. Not that bad.
“Should I go to the library and print it out there?” she asked the mirror.
“Yeah, sure,” the mirror said. “You need to drop off a few CDs too.”
That’s right! Alex had The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul”, The War on Drugs’ “Lost in the Dream” and Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” that she had to return. Alex got dressed, got the CDs, and got in her car. For one last listen, Alex put in “Rubber Soul”. As “Drive My Car” played, she thought about all of the memories of her and Ben. All of the memories that would not be something to add on too. That was all she would have of him. They loved this album. Listening to the vivid imagery of the track, she fabricated a resemblance to their experiences, romanticizing the past as more than just two irrational teenagers regurgitating their best view of a relationship through their preferred Hollywood romance films.
Alex got to the library almost not remembering why she was going. She checked her phone: 10:51. Okay. She walked inside. To the right as one first walks in is the check-out counter. To the left is the kids’ room. As one walks down the library, more of the library unfold itself. The left side is split between computers and the CD and DVD racks farther down. To the right is where all of the magazines and fiction and nonfiction books are. In the middle is all of the reading chairs. Alex dropped off the CDs at the check-out counter to a middle-aged woman that must have been stunning in her earlier years. Alex walked over to the computers and signed on to her account. Yes, there’s the paper. She started to review it before she caught something out of the corner of her eye: a teenage kid that could easily be twenty-three, with a mature face and lean build, at the CD section.
Alex’s heart started beating quicker. Since when did Ben go to the library? Alex saw him walking over to the checkout counter. He was going to see her. Before he crossed paths with her, Alex quickly dashed across to where the fiction books were. She hid behind the first row of books. Luckily there wasn’t anyone else in the aisle to see how much of an idiot she looked like. Ben went to check out a few CDs with the middle-aged woman. He made her laugh at something. Then he backtracked and put up his pointer finger, most likely saying he’ll be back in one minute. Did he forget something? Alex didn’t freak out because if he was going to go back to get more CDs, she would be out of his crosshairs. However, Alex did freak out because Ben was going straight for the fiction books. Even then, Ben didn’t seem like he saw Alex before. Ben didn’t seem like he was aware of Alex’s existence. It was only two weeks after they broke up and he didn’t have a care in the world.
A man, mid-twenties, fitting all qualifications of a hipster, walked into her row. Alex looked back at Ben who was close. Alex needed to be camouflage. She thought about the movies she’s seen and thought of a fantastic idea.
She walked over to the hipster guy. “Hey,” she said. “I need a favor. Make out with me for like ten seconds.”
“What?” he said.
“Come on, just do it. Just make out with me.”
“I’m gonna go now.” He wasn’t bluffing either. He left. Alex couldn’t do anything else. She just stared right at one book: The Fairy-Tale Detectives. The only significance that book had to her was that it was the only thing she could look at as to not pay attention to Ben possibly entering her aisle.
But he didn’t. Ben walked right past her. Close. Alex was too on edge to think. She instinctively checked her phone: 11:00 AM. Not too bad. She knew that Ben was just checking out so she just decided to play it safe. Alex walked briskly to the check-out counter. She passed the computer to see the screen still on her project. No one was going to touch it. What bad people go to the library? Alex passed the check-out counter and the unchecked book detector. Straight down the hall was the exit; that wouldn’t work for her. To the right was a hallway with a few doors and the bathroom; that would work for her. Alex went into the bathroom.
It was just her in there. Through the help of “Angry Birds”, Alex got past ten minutes of loitering. At 11:11, she was confident enough that Ben was gone. She walked out of the bathroom to find the back of Ben talking to a middle-aged man. Alex did not want to go back into that bathroom. She knew that she had to go outside to her car, watch him leave, and then go back inside when she was sure she was safe. Alex turned around and there was a glass door right there; she was literally looking at the parking lot. There was only one dilemma: the door said in gray lettering “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY/ALARM WILL SOUND IF OPENED”. She quickly brushed that aside, though. She always left her basketball team’s locker room through the emergency exit door and it never sounded. She walked out of that door with the same confidence.
The fire alarm ringed and actually made Alex jump with surprise. She started to blame the door but then she realized that she should be the one with the blame; she obviously couldn’t read. Alex knew she had to go all in, though. She walked even more briskly to her car.
“Hey!” a man said. Didn’t sound like Ben. She turned around to see a policeman twenty feet away from her, running up to her. How did a police officer get there so quickly? Then Alex realized that the local police have their headquarters here, making this place the absolute worst to pull a fire alarm. Well, when there isn’t a fire, obviously. “What are you doing?”
She had to play dumb. “I heard the fire alarm, so I had to run out.”
“Well,” he said. “Can you just stay here? If there isn’t a confirmed fire, we need to interview everyone to see who pulled it.” She’s a felon.
“Okay. Can I just wait in my car?”
“No, I’m sorry. You have to wait outside with everyone else.” She repeated that in her head: everyone else.
“How long will that take?’
“Well, the fire department would have to get here and if no fire we’d have to interview everyone so maybe forty-five minutes if there isn’t a fire.” This was bad. Not only would Alex not get her paper in on time, but she would have to see Ben who would be walking out any second, and she might get a fine for setting off the fire alarm. Or she could make a dash for her car. But that wouldn’t solve anything. She would still not be able to print out her project. Then Alex remembered two words: school library.
Alex ran to her car. She got in, cranked the ignition, and quickly pulled out. She drove by the police officer trying to wave her down, then ran to his squad car. Alex pulled out of the library onto Route 206.
The school was ten minutes away. She checked her dash: 11:15. There was no chance she was going to be able to e-mail that project in the library so Alex felt at least a little better for fleeing a potential crime scene. Alex drove down the road with a steady fifteen miles above the speed limit. She knew the police car was going to eventually chase her down but something was just pulling her back from really going fast.
The police car got on 206 as well. The police car sped up but didn’t put on its sirens yet. He actually believed that she would pull over without a fight. Alex immediately felt regret for her passiveness before. If Ben saw her, he would have no problem but to go up to her and say hi despite the awkwardness of the situation. Hell, it wouldn’t be awkward for him. Ben always said “It’s not awkward unless you make it awkward.” But Alex will do anything to make herself non-existent. Now she had to prove that, yes, she did exist. Alex went to seventy.
Sensing the urgency, the policeman knew that this wouldn’t be easy. He mirrored her speeding up and put on his sirens. Alex just remembered that at the halfway point they would cross by train tracks. Maybe there could be a train crossing by that could block off the policeman like in Little Giants.
Alex flew by green light after green light with the policeman right behind her. She wasn’t going to even fathom the idea of a red light. Ahead Alex saw train tracks. She looked around. Nothing. How could she even think of that as a possibility? Alex arbitrarily crossed the tracks.
With only a couple of minutes to go to the school, Alex got a little bored. She turned on the radio. Maybe she was on it! No, not yet. Alex saw the high school to the left of her. She crossed it, intending to go to the parking lot past the high school which was closer to the library, when something caught her eye. The digital billboard in front of the school read in big red letters “School Closed for Public Safety Issues”.
Alex looked behind her; the police car was close behind. She put her foot on the accelerator and started again. Alex turned back around to being on the way to the library even before she knew what she was going to do. It was 11:34. The only chance she had left was going to the library. But how would she shake this cop car?
The way back seemed like routine. Alex had already been chased down by a cop car. He didn’t call for backup but that made sense. Alex approached the train tracks. She looked to her left for a train. Nothing. To her right. A train. Really? The lever wasn’t brought down yet so she actually could pull this off. She was almost there when the lever started to lower. It went down really fast and really slow at the same time. Alex didn’t know if she could make it but she was already going eighty so she didn’t have much of a choice. Alex even was apprehensive of her speeding before she realized that a cop was chasing her down already. Alex drove up and instinctively swerved a little out of reach of the lever. The next thing Alex knew was that she was safely on the other side of the road. She at her rear view to see the cop car stopped on the other side of the street shortly followed by the train passing by. Alex gave a huge laugh like Ben in The Graduate minus the pang of regret following. It was 11:40.
At 11:47, Alex pulled up to the library. No one was outside and there were cars--no police cars--in the parking lot. Perfection. So much for forty-five minutes, officer.
Alex ran inside and went straight for the same computer. It was still up on the same page. She hasted over it all and finally pressed send. Alex sat back in her seat and gave the biggest breath of relief she could give. Right after, Alex felt a tap on her left shoulder. She looked over to see Ben towering over her.
“Hey, Alex,” he said.
“Hey, Ben.” He walked away like he saw a random friend in the hallway. Alex looked over at the CD he was holding. It was green and with an orange top left corner. Rubber Soul.
She waited for Ben to leave and walked over to the exit. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 30, 2015 08:19:59 PM

Lawrence Raia




High School Humor Writing Challenge
Lawrence Raia (Age 16)

The sun rose and everything fell. Alex heard it all hit the bathroom floor and raced for the door. It was locked.

“Stanley? You ok? What are you doing in there?”

(Muffled sounds from within)


(More muffled sounds)

“What do you mean it’s gone?”

(Agitated sounds)

“Your HAIR is gone? Stanley, why would your hair be gone?”

(Soft whimpering)

“WHAT? Dude, who told you it would be a good idea to cut your own hair??”

(Sniffling sounds)

“So because you saw it on YouTube you thought you could just do it?”

(Indignant sniffling)

“Stanley, we’ve talked about this. There are things you can learn to do on YouTube and there are things you CANNOT learn to do on YouTube.”

(Mocking sounds)

“Yeah, like cutting your own hair.”


“Couldn’t you use YouTube like other people do? To watch cats catch a laser pointer? No one uses it to learn how to pack a parachute or give yourself a tattoo. Wait – what?”

(Excited sounds)

“What do you mean maybe this should only be step one? What on earth could be step two?”

(Buzzing sounds)

“Stanley, STOP whatever you are doing!”

(Whispered question)

“Oh my God, Stanley. Is it both eyebrows or just one?”

(Soft weeping)

“Okay, okay don’t panic. Can you draw it back on with a sharpie?”

(Louder weeping)

“Can you use some of the hair you cut to sort of glue an eyebrow back on…?”


“Put. The Clippers. Down.”

(Wailing and hiccuping)

Stanley, unlock the door. I’m coming in.”

(Door clicks)

Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 30, 2015 04:03:59 PM





Sweet Pawn O’ Mine
“The sun rose and everything fell, and together, they then lived happily ever after. The End.
This has been Wordly Wonders with your host, Alex Kingsley. Informing you young ones, to change the future.”
“Cut, and print. Thank you Mr. Kingsley that’s a wrap for tonight. Thanks for coming out everybody, and I hope you all have a great summer.”
Good riddance, my ass was starting to get numb up here. Come on guys, would it honestly be so hard to get some padding on this plank? It’s starting to fuck up my posture here. Oh no, call the cavalry boys the makeup mob has arrived.
“Hey, Alex come here for a sec.” Thank Christ, there is a god, bless you Mr. Cellophane, who’s name I keep forgetting. I swear you must be the only director on this planet who still uses a god damn non-electric megaphone. We’re in a closed area ass-wipe just yell, I’m five fucking feet away. Oh, no, someone I’ve never seen before is walking towards me, which can only mean one thing,
“Hi, um, Mr. Kingsley would you mind if I could get your autograph?”
Of course, “Of course! Anything for you miss. What’s your name?” She didn’t respond, “Name, miss?”
“Oh, shit, um Cathy, my name’s Cathy.”
“Alright,” now just make sure you don’t fuck this up. Remembering how to write in cursive…forgot how to spell the “s,” fuck it. Nope, missed the “i” again, damn it, “Here you go.” Cute girl, she looks young enough to be an intern, but I wonder why I’ve never seen her here before? Can’t imagine why I didn’t ask her that.
Right, hey maybe I’ll ask Mr. Megaphone over here. OW! Fucking-
“Great job tonight, Alex!” Motherfucker shouted right into my ear with that thing, “Likewise,” jackass.
“Aw shucks thanks for that, just another season in the bag right?” I’m jumping with joy right now fuck face, I can barely contain myself, “Yea, I can’t believe this. What are we on right now? Season two or three, you know I can never remember.” By the way who says shucks anymore? The guy’s like in his late twenties and he has the vocabulary of my diseased grandfather.
“Four, actually.”
I was close.
“So I wanted to ask, the crew is going out for drinks tonight and I was wondering if perhaps you’d might want to tag along with us? My guess is that you’re probably eager to get home now, so I’d understand if you didn’t-”
“You know, I think I could actually go for a drink right now.” Any time away from the raging pregnant beluga whale is always welcomed with open arms.
“Alright nice, see you there.”
Wow, this guy is dense beyond belief, “So where’s this place at?”
“Oh, right, that’d probably be helpful to know.”
Probably, yes, I’d would be inclined to think so,
“You know what, why don’t you just ride with me and we’ll go together?” Five minutes and already I feel like swallowing some lead, I can’t imagine what a state twenty minutes alone with this guy would leave me in. But it’s not like I can say no though, or maybe I’ll pretend to answer a really important phone call forcing me to get a ride somewhere else.
“Hey, hold on a second Alex, I have to take this.”
Motherfucker, talk about timing. I guess I could take the limo, pretty sure they wouldn’t mind dropping me off for a quick detour. With what I pay them they better not,
“Alex, you think you could get a ride somewhere else? Something came up and I can’t make it to the pub tonight, sorry man.”
“It’s no problem, don’t worry about it I’ll be fine.”
“Great, thanks Alex.”
I guess that resolved itself pretty smoothly. You know what? Maybe I could catch a ride with the intern girl, I’m sure she’d be psyched in having me tag along. Now I just have to find her, which is quite the daunting task. Everyone gets so eager to go home I’d be surprised if she’s even here. The season finale to this dog shit show and everybody heads for the hills before anyone has a chance to say goodbye. Perhaps it’ll be easier to take the limo. Fuck, you know maybe I’ll walk there just to shake things up a bit. It’s been a good long while since I’ve gone out for a decent stroll. The pub isn’t too far from here anyways I just checked it out on MapQuest, and maybe I’ll convince a few guys to go along with me.
“Goodnight Mr. Kingsley,” fuck I forgot his name, I’ll just wave in response. Actually, I think his name was Jim, or was it Jack, it starts with a “j” and that’s all I remember. Four seasons have gone by and I still haven’t remembered half of these people’s names yet, let alone what they do here. I’d say the closest I’ve been to anyone here has been the lady who does my makeup, but even then it’s mostly forced than anything else really. All she does is strap me down in the electric chair for a couple hours until she can get that one bit of my hair to stand upright against the grain.
“You going out with us tonight?” I guess he’s coming too, “Yea most likely. I think I might actually walk, it’s not far, plus, I’ll get to stretch my legs a bit.” Take the hint Jimbo, walk with me. I’m taking the initiative to start a genuine friendship here so don’t leave me hanging.
“Really? You know the area around here isn’t exactly the greatest right? I wouldn’t risk walking alone at this time of night.” Limo it is then, “Guess walking’s out of the question.”
“It’s not that hard to find, make a left out of the exit way and head straight until you see the bar called Patty’s.” Fun fact Jimmy, I can’t drive. Never took the time to learn, but it’s not like I ever wanted to anyways. I’m absolutely petrified of the idea of driving, “Will do, you know I can’t believe it has been four seasons already, honestly where does all that time go?”
“I really couldn’t tell ya, sir.” That’s the first time anyone has called me sir…I kind of like it. Makes me feel important, like I possess some form of authority. Or maybe he was just trying to be respectful, well I don’t care, and I’ll take any form of merit I can for reading children’s books all day for a living.
“Are you proud of what you do for a living, Alex?”
And with the swing of the bat and the ball makes contact, and like a meteor shot from across the very heavens itself the ball skyrockets straight towards the catcher at left field, “Say again?”
“I’m curious.”
“In what?”
“Do you like what you do?”
I read Clifford the Big Red Dog over a glorified Power Point slideshow to children who barely know how to clean themselves after they take a shit, “Absolutely.”
“I’m sure you get that question asked a lot.”
If you must know, no one’s had the balls to ask until now. “Welcome to the club.”
“So you really think you have an effect on the children who watch the show?”
Who the fuck is this guy? Maybe I’m on an episode of undercover boss, super sleuth edition, maybe the camera crew is actually working for CBS. Is that legal?
“I believe I have some creditable influence on the kids who watch it, yes,” informing you to change the future right? “Why do you ask?”
“Just curious,” better watch your step there Janny don’t tread on me now, “you have a very unique means of occupation.”
“It puts food on the table, so I can’t complain.”
“I would just think, maybe you’d have bigger, more, loftier goals in your life you’d be striving to achieve.”
I get paid ten times whatever you make in a week jackass, he does know who he’s talking to right? “I’m pretty happy where I am right now.”
“Yea, with a hefty paycheck like that I’d imagine anybody would be.”
“Agree to disagree, ultimately it’s about the kids here, not me.” Jesus fuck, you sound like Bono. Might as well hand him over your job why don’t ya? Imagine jubilant Jingus here boring kids to sleep while he reads Narnia. PBS might as well shift us over to the late night block after Between the Lions at three in the morning. Why the fuck do I know that?
“Right, the kids. You know my daughter watches this show all the time, and she’s so proud of the fact that her dad works on it too. She brags about it all the time to her friends at school.”
“Is that right?” Better watch out folks we got a new cowboy in town. Does he seriously think that I care? Millions of children watch the show daily, and they follow it like Catholics worship the Pope. I once saw a little girl, no older than ten years old, carrying around a jacket patch with my friendly face plastered on her sleeve. I have my own army to rally behind me, it’s ridiculous.
“Yea, it’s pretty crazy. Oh, let me show you a picture.”
Great, thanks pops it’s just what I’ve always wanted.
“That’s her in the middle here.”
“Huh, she’s pretty.” Brunette with a single streak of blue lining the right side of her hairline, boy, she must be a real asshole to her peers. I remember my boy Tyler getting bullied by someone like her once. Told him to fight back and all that, but I specified to make sure that she throws the first punch before he defends himself. Just to be safe he let her land two solid blows before he went ape-shit. I almost felt sorry for the little tramp.
“She’s gorgeous, well, not nearly as beautiful as her mother”
“Oh is that her there?”
I pointed to the only woman of seemingly legal age to fuck in the photo,
“Oh no, that’s her sister, Linda”
So where’s the Mrs.? There were a lot of kids in the photo, I counted about twelve before he pulled the picture away from me.
“Eve’s mother died giving birth.” After twelve kids I imagine any woman would.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” shit I forgot to ask his name again, “man.”
“Thank you, sir. But at least I have Linda, she keeps me pretty good company now.”
Right, my wife dies so I go screw her sister because I so desperately require a fuck buddy to distract me of the absurd amount of stress in raising twelve kids alone.
“I’m happy for you.”
Should probably start making my way out to the limo, “Well, I should probably start making my way out now. I guess I’ll see you at the bar then.”
“Right, yea, see you then.”
“Hey, I’m sorry, what’s your name again?”
“George,” fuck I wasn’t even close, “and yours?”
Ha ha you’re funny, “Alex, it’s been a pleasure talking to you George.” Damn he’s got sweaty palms, now don’t wipe them in front of him, just wait until he leaves. Fuck what time is it? It’s close to eleven now, hopefully I won’t stay out too late this time. I’ll just stick around for a quick drink or two, it’s time to celebrate. We’ve put up with this kiddy bullshit for four seasons now. I think that alone deserves some form of jubilation. Now if I can only get out of here without bumping into any other eager chatterboxes, I’d really appreciate it.
Damn it’s cold out here, hope the chauffer doesn’t take too long. I called him about fifteen minutes ago, where the fuck is he? Hopefully he didn’t head home for the night, most of the crew guys have already left by now. Well if he doesn’t get here soon I might as well head inside and call a cab. Fuck it, I’m too impatient. Good things don’t come to those who wait alone at a parking lot in the middle of ghetto central. Hello there, looks like somebody is pulling up beside me. They’re lowering down the window. I think I saw it come from around the building, so most likely it isn’t some mugger, at least I hope it isn’t.
“Hey there.”
Thank goodness, it’s the intern lady,
“Need a ride?”
“Yes I do, thank you Cathy,” hey give yourself a golf clap you remembered her name. The door handle is pretty stiff,
“Sorry, here let me.”
“Thanks,” it smells weird in here. It’s like bananas and cigarettes, the fucking- never mind I don’t want to know.
“You don’t have a car?”
“No, I usually take a limo or a taxi when I go out of town.”
“Where do you live?”
“It’s about a couple hours away from here, with no traffic I’d say about four hours.”
“Whoa, that’s quite a drive.” Shit, hopefully she can take me, it’s honestly no big deal though I can just call a cab, wait, “It’s honestly no big deal though I can just call a cab if it’s too much trouble.”
“No, no it’s fine I’ll drive you. I’m just not too fond of driving at night”
“That’s understandable.”
“So you’re not going to the bar with everyone else?”
Well I was but at this point I kind of lost my drinking appeal. Plus, I don’t want to come home to Shamu too drunk anyways, she’d kill me. Considering that her last husband was a raging alcoholic I don’t necessarily blame her. That’s not to say that I don’t agree with her over reaction to any form of an alcoholic beverage in the house. I mean she wouldn’t even let the stewards serve any sort of wine on our wedding day for Christ’s sake. I guess that was the moment when I really started to regret marrying her. That and when she refused to dance with me when we got married too, that one was fucked up.
“Nah, didn’t really feel like going. You know if you really not comfortable driving I can catch a cab, don’t worry about it.”
“It’s not every day that I get to drive home a celebrity, I’ll take you wherever you want to go Mr. Kingsley.”
“Please, call me Alex.”
Hope you’ve got an interesting life story here, Cathy, because we’re going to be here for a while. Then again I suppose it’s better than trying to socialize with the middle-eastern cab driver trying to distract you with dry jokes in his god awful attempt to pronounce the English language coherently while he rides around in circles running the meter until he meets his daily quota.
“So how’s your day been, Alex?”
Well we’re off to a decent start,
“Pretty good so far.”
“How about you?”
“I finally got to meet you in person, which has been the highlight of my year so far.”
Now hopefully I won’t distract her too far from her driving. I’d liked to get home in enough pieces to defend myself from the impending mental abuse from my beloved wife with a bun in the oven. And also I asked how your day was bitch, not your fucking year. That was mean, I’m sorry.
“I’m sorry.”
“No nothing.”
“So where exactly do you live?”
“Just get on the interstate and I’ll tell you where to go from there.”
Actually, that’s about as much as I know how to get home. By this point I’d usually fall asleep and wait until my driver wakes me up to tell me we’ve arrived. I’m actually starting to get a little drowsy now that I’ve mentioned it. I think I’ll move the seat back a bit and get a little more comfortable. Now where’s that lever, alright I got it,
“Got a long day today?”
“A pretty demanding job, I’d imagine”
Christ not you too,
“Easier said than done.”
“You’re probably right. You go ahead and rest, I’ll wake you up if I need any directions.”
Sounds like a reasonable plan to me. Actually before I do let me turn my phone back on and check for any missed messages. Not like anybody ever takes the time to call me out of courtesy anyways. Whenever I do get a phone call, it’s usually my wife demanding that I bring home whatever obscure craving she’s developed in the past couple hours, and this was before the pregnancy. The only other person that ever calls me is my dad who occasionally checks in to see how I’m doing, like I’m fourteen again hanging out with my friends again. Poor guy, he’s so lonely now a days I’m actually compelled to feel sympathy towards him. The only highlight of his week is when he calls, and then after that it’s right back to scheduled medications and the 5000 piece jigsaw puzzles. Last time I came over he’d managed to complete one of the Brooklyn Bridge with the New York City skyline laying behind it in the background. And then I watched him tear it apart, brushed all the pieces back in its box and began starting another one with dancing pixies flying around a dog house during sunset.
So let’s see who the lucky caller was this time. Oh hello Apple, yes it’s nice to see you too, may I see if I have any missed phone calls? I do! Well hot damn it’s my wife, the hording horking whore. I’d like to see you try and say that ten times fast, Siri. Holy shit, twelve phone calls? You’d think she could live without the caramel flavored Ruffles for at least a couple hours more, by the end of the night they’re all gone anyways. Right, got a lot of voicemails in my inbox, I suppose I ought to start with the first one, embrace for impact.
“Oh great.”
“Something wrong?”
“My wife just called me like eight times, she’s going into labor as we speak.”
“Oh, congratulations!”
Right, sure, congrats you’re going to be a dad, again. What is this kid number five? I swear that bitch’s probably been poking holes in my condoms again, that’s how we had Zachary. The little fucker wasn’t supposed to be born until at least, at LEAST, six months after Hannah was born. She keeps going like this and I’m going to have to tie her tubes myself. In reality she’d probably die in childbirth before she decided to stop having kids on her own. Maybe I’ll scare her into quitting by making it seem like I’ve developed some STD or something. Hey, at least then I’d hit two birds with one stone. She would stop trying to have kids and leave me altogether, if I’m lucky she might even take all the kids with her. What the fuck is wrong with me,
“I better step on it.”
Please don’t,
“So is it a boy or girl?”
We haven’t even discussed a name for the kid, poor thing’s going to get such a generic name like his siblings. I pray, will beg mind you, that in some way or fashion we collide in a head on collision and end my suffering already. The sweet embrace of death would spare me from eight months of screaming children and the deplorable stench of rotting feces that Zachary’s somehow managed to cram into his toy box again. The worst part is that it actually happened, oh god that was a nightmare. It’s a scene taken right out of a Stephen King novel, the baby antichrist comes running towards me through the hallways with literal shit smeared between his fingers at four in the morning. What toddler manages to stay up until four?
“Does he have a name yet?”
Don’t patronize me, it was the first thing that came to mind and you know it.
“Hey, you want to hear a funny story? It’s how my parents came to name me Cathy.”
A part of me really wants to listen to your oh so captivating origin story of the unique name that is Cathy, but ultimately I just couldn’t care less, darling. So while you do that allow me to lay back and wonder how all of this, being my life, came to this current point in being. It all started, when I was born. From the moment I could be able to develop coherent thoughts and utter the most simplest of words I knew something wasn’t right. I always felt like there was a…
“So then when my mom got pregnant they thought that I was going to be a boy, and the doctor who scanned me fucked up and thought he saw something that wasn’t there. By that point my dad,”
‘Welcome to Derleston, birthplace of the brave and peanut farmers, please enjoy your stay.’ I’m fairly certain I don’t live there, fairly, actually no I’m very certain,
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I noticed that we just passed a sign saying that we’re now entering Derleston. I don’t actually live in Derleston just so you know.”
“I just wanted to get a quick gas fill before we head any further.”
“Right, ok sure.”
We still have a little more of half a tank left, I think we could make it. Then again perhaps it’s best that we arrive late. If I’m lucky she’d already given birth by now, it’d be such a relief to my hands and would spare myself a night long aneurism. Hey, if anything looks good maybe we could even get a bite to eat. Sure it’s kind of late but in my opinion the later the better, she’d be too tired to put up a fit about anyways.
“So as I was saying my dad put up such a fit about the fuck up…”
Here we go again, and I already lost my train of thought about what I was bitching about before. It was probably nothing important. Oh, it’s a nice night out, at least out here I can see a couple of the stars in the sky. The sky isn’t exactly pitch dark, it’s more like a really deep dark tint of grey. All the silhouettes of the trees contrast nicely against the twinkling stars plastered over the darkly grey walls. Holy shit am I bored. If I’m starting to observe and potentially sound like I’m beginning to cherish the greens then I must be losing my mind. Has she finished yet?
“And then my aunt went ahead and got the gun from her closet…”
I guess not, and we’re driving too slowly for me to throw myself out the door. Best case scenario is that she manages to run this relic right over my head. Maybe if she kept talking she wouldn’t even notice. That’d be a kicker, “Television host found decapitated on peanut farmer’s front lawn.” I’d be more famous than ever before, too bad I wouldn’t be able to bask in the glory. But it’s not like I’m entirely unknown today. I’d say a fair amount of people would be able to recognize me if I went out in public. I teach their kids how to read, if anything I’m doing half their jobs for them. I’m doing them a service god damn it. Just sit your shitters in front of the tube for half an hour and they’re bound to learn something from watching me, scout’s honor. Oh look, Taco Bell, come on let’s get some dysentery inducing pig slop that’ll keep me bent over the toilet for a few hours, or until one of us manages to call an ambulance to have our stomachs pumped, I’m game.
“So once she regained consciousness my dad came over to…”
Why did she just pass by the gas station? It didn’t look like it was closed. I saw a couple cars lined up to get gas too, heh get gas.
“Excuse me I-“
“Wait, I’m almost done.”
Don’t rush it man, the longer we take the better remember? To be perfectly honest I’m not sure that I’d want to spend my time in here listening to this babble for another three hours anyways. Perhaps it’s best that I just get home soon. There’s not much room to move in here, and I can barely get in any comfortable position as is,
“I’m sorry I-”
“BUT, she didn’t know that so he-”
“I need to get home, like right now, Cathy.”
Dear god I hope I didn’t piss her off, she’s my only ride home now. Maybe I should have just let her finish the stupid story,
“Oh shit, I’m so sorry Mr. Kingsley, I didn’t realize the time.”
“Cathy don’t worry about it, let’s just make it quick alright? It’s important that I get back as soon as possible.”
“Right, I know, fuck I’m sorry.”
“And I think you passed the gas station a couple blocks back where we came from.”
“Damn, I must be really losing it today.”
“It’s cool, we’re fine, and despite what I said, no hurry. All I want, is to get home in one piece, no matter how long it takes, alright?”
“Okay, I’ll do my best.”
Alright, and now, hopefully we’re back on track. You know what- never mind, bottom line I should get home now. All she’s got to do is turn around, get some of that sweet gasoline, and we’re on our way. There’s some nice houses around here, a lot of open space for the kids, pretty secluded from the industrial areas, I kind of like it. To think, someone like me actually grew up in a place like this. We once had a lot of farmland, I’d occasionally help out with the horses sometimes, and groom them every once in a while. And cows, well one cow, we had a cow that used to roam around the fields behind the house. I’m not entirely certain how we obtained the cow, and I don’t think my folks ever told me either, interesting. Truly a mystery we may never uncover, perhaps we are not capable to handle the truths of such a phenomenon. But by god could that beef stack kick, you couldn’t milk the thing. No matter how hard we tried, that thing would not let us get anywhere near its udders. The closest I’d ever gotten to them, I received a hoof right to my baby face. The entire upper row of my teeth were completely taken out. I came stumbling inside the kitchen with a mouthful of blood and teeth that I just spewed out right into the sink. Luckily they were all just baby teeth but by lordie did it hurt like a motherfucker. Good times, yep, good times indeed.
And best part of all, we still haven’t turned around, what the fuck. Lady, are you deaf? This is a legitimate question and I must know. The fate of my sanity hangs in the balance. Do you understand?
“The gas station is back a ways, you know.”
“Yea, I know, but this is a shortcut.”
Shortcut my ass, that sounds weird. But seriously shortcut to where? All I see is open country, and the further you’re taking us the greener it gets. It’s getting awfully late, what time is it? Holy, it’s about a quarter past twelve, my wife is going to kill me. Well honestly that should be the least of my worries, right now I should be concerned with the mental capabilities of my driver at the current moment. Cause I’m very, no, positively certain that the country roads do not lead to anywhere remotely close to the concrete freeways. Wow, I mean what do I say? Hey stop the car, I demand that we turn around immediately! No that’s too blatant, that might turn her off and she’d just might kick me out. What if I ask where the road leads to and then slowly piece my way back into the topic of getting back home as quickly as possible. Although I did tell her to pace herself. But for fuck’s this is getting ridiculous it’s almost one o clock in the morning!
She turned the headlights off, why on earth would she turn the headlights off? There aren’t even any street lights around let alone any other sort of reliable light sources for that matter. Okay now I’m legitimately becoming terrified. Lord above, she’s speeding up like, she’s revving up this fucker. Woahly, jeeze we’re going fast. We are going to crash, there’s no doubting that I’m doomed for. Listen, I was only joking about the whole sweet embrace of death thing, alright? I get bored extremely easily, I say whatever comes to mind I don’t actually put any conscious thought into what I think. That doesn’t make sense.
“Hey Alex?”
This bitch, “Why did you turn off the headlights, Cathy?”
“Cathy, why are you speeding up? I can barely see the road.”
Say my name on more time I swear, “Cathy.”
“For Christ’s sake stop the fucking car Cathy right now!”
GOD damn, she stopped alright. Slammed the brakes so suddenly, my chest is starting to hurt from the impact of the seatbelt preventing my head from caking the dashboard,
I think I might kill her myself, this bitch is absolutely insane. God, I can’t see anything in front of us, it’s all black. Let me see if I can turn on one of the lights from inside the car. Damn, why aren’t they turning on?
“I think I’ll call a taxi, now.”
Door won’t budge. Ow, bright light, wait. Are those our headlights? All I see is the rain fall. Fuck- my shoes are soaking wet. Are we sinking? No wait, I can see the sky, and- oh. That’s not rain. We’re in water, I think we’re actually sinking. Okay, calm down, while you may face imminent death right in the face you spit back in defiance right? No you panic like the pussy you are, Alex. Face it, this is the end, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. She’s managed to lock the doors somehow and I sincerely doubt that I possess the necessary leg strength to shatter a car window.
“What the fuck do you want?”
“I love you.”
Maybe I can bash the glass through with something heavy. What’s around here anyways? Let me take a look at the glove box.
“Did you hear me?”
To be perfectly honest I think I’d much prefer finding something big enough to bash this fucking psycho’s brains in. Thinks she can drag me to the bottom of the barrel does she? Well I have a thing or two to say about that now don’t I? Alright what’s in here, driver’s manual, cigarettes, oh I could go for one right about now. Damn it focus, your life is at stake here. Cigarettes, papers, passport, vibrator, oh my god there’s a gun in here.
“I love you.”
I think I’ve had enough of your bullshit lady. I hope you can swim well, wait a minute, no I don’t. Dear god this thing had better be loaded, so you just aim and shoot right? It’s like in the movies, except its real and there’s actual stakes. No sense in stalling any longer, just squeeze the trigger and just swim, you can swim right? Actually no, I never bothered to learn. Well I guess all of my regrets are coming full circle, just a movie, right? Shut up, and shoot already god damn it, okay, here we go. Oh, I hope it’s not too loud.
Wait, no bang, is it not loaded? Shit, wait check the clip, that’s where the bullets are right? Now how do you unload it?
“You see that little lever thingy right next to your thumb? Yea, just push that in.”
Pushed, there we go. And of course I drop what might be my only chance of survival on the fucking floor. Now let’s take a look inside, bullets are shiny right? I don’t see anything shiny inside here, it’s entirely hollow. Maybe she has a box of them lying around here somewhere, I haven’t checked the console yet, either.
“Don’t bother, Alex. I don’t have any ammo lying around here.”
Nobody asked you, just give me a chance, suppose you accidently dropped one around here? Crap, the water’s already up to my knees. Okay that panicky feeling is starting to settle in, don’t break down please not now,
“I love you, Alex.”
“Would you please! I-”
My, that was unexpected. Actually considering the situation I’m in I’d say anything goes at this point. Koo Koo Cathy here just wrapped both arms around me and just went for a big old sloppy wet kiss. She’s still doing it actually, ew I can taste her saliva. Ugh, she’s poking her tongue inside my mouth, god I hate French kissing, absolutely unsanitary. That’s enough, that’s enough, I have had enough of this shit.
That, must have hurt, real bad. Did I knock her out? I threw her back and her head smacked the window pretty hard. Ooh I think I see some blood there too. It even managed to make a crack. Wait, a crack, that’s it! That’s my chance! My one way ticket to surviving this! Fuck this, mama I’m coming home!

Guess it took some time but I finally did it. Seems like instinct just kicked in and I just smashed my way out of that death trap. Her head was pretty durable, I’ll give her that much. I’m surprised that her noggin didn’t give in before the window did. Poor thing must have passed out after the third or fourth strike on the glass. Looking back now I don’t see why I didn’t use the pistol to break my way out. Oh well, it was in the heat of the moment and it seemed like the best course of action at the time. Got to catch my breath for a minute, I’m just going to sit at the edge of what seems to be a marsh, in these poor lighting conditions I can’t really tell. The rear bumper of the car is sinking away, and so goes Cathy as well. I probably should have tried to save her too…na. I don’t think that would have been very wise. It was in self-defense anyways, I’m not the one at fault here. You know I think it’s about time I called a cab now, probably should have just done that to begin with. She seemed nice enough, but, I’m starting to think that she wasn’t an intern. I would have remembered a pretty face like that. Now where’s my phone, oh please don’t tell me I left it in the car, fuck, I did. Guess it’s time for me wander through peanut country in the middle of the night. It’s funny, at the end I’m finally going to get to stretch my legs after all. Unfortunately I’m not entirely certain where we came from, so I suppose I’m just going to have to pick a direction and hope for the best, cause all I see is dumb bum country land.
There’s a lot more stars visible in the countryside than in the city. I know it’s because of pollution and all that crap, but damn that’s a lot of stars. I wonder if Jennie’s given birth yet, she most likely has. Kind of sucks that I wasn’t there, but hey, wasn’t my fault. I wonder if she’s already named him yet, I don’t think she’d do that without me present. Then again who knows, she’s unpredictable like that. Although after tonight I have the feeling that she’s probably never going to want to speak to me again. Despite all the shit I give her, I really do love her deep down. We just quarrel a lot, and to be perfectly honest I don’t know what I’d do without her. I wasn’t any happier than before I met her. She just sparked some excitement in my life so I just rolled with it. When she told me her background and the kind of place she grew up in, I just kind of felt sorry for her. Ugh, I’m becoming too sentimental for my own good. Right now I should just focus on finding a payphone, or at the very least finding some sign of industrial development around here. I don’t know the more I think about it, the more I’m beginning to regret not being there for her. She depends on me, poor thing. The way she talks about me to her friends you’d think that I’m some kind of role model for her too. A superhero of sorts that swept her off her feet and introduced her to the life of vanity and leisure. No, that's giving myself too much credit. Other than the fact that I’m one foot taller than her, I really think that she looks up to me as an aspiring role model. That was bad, oh who fucking cares.
Hey, I think I see a street light in the distance. Won’t know for sure if I don’t go there I suppose. Great, more walking for me. I wonder what Zachary’s expression was like when he saw his baby brother for the first time. No doubt he was pretty psyched about that, he’s not going to be the youngest sibling anymore. He may not get as much attention now, but I think the fact that he’s not the baby of the family anymore will surpass that feeling pretty quickly. Shit, nine months and I still haven’t thought of a decent name for the new kid. Well for sure it’s not going to be Eric, I will personally see to that it doesn’t. Perhaps now that I have some time to myself I can come up with a decent name for the little guy. Now let’s see, what’s a good name for a boy? Maximillian sounds pretty cool right? No, that’s too pretentious. Gary, George, Gabriel, Franklin, no, no, no, and no. Justin doesn’t sound too bad, yea, maybe I’ll go with that. When I get there, I’ll see if the Mrs. is okay with that. She probably won’t like it, but I doubt she has any better ideas. Knowing her, she’s probably going to want to give it her great grandfather’s name, Victor. She’s been pushing for that one for a while now, no pun intended. Fuck it, that was intended and I’m proud of it. It’s not like I can ever come up with good shit on the fly anyways. Everything I ever say and do is prewritten and determined beforehand, I’m just a pawn, and a good looking one at that too. Remember what happened when you tried to ad lib with the sixth grader? Nothing, and that’s exactly the point. Cut, stick to the script asshole that’s what we pay you for. If I want improve I’ll go to the Comedy Club for a good chuckle before I choke and spill my martini after I have the underage waitress come waddle over in her skin tight skirt and serve me another one. We’re milking this shit man, and you’re the cow supplying it’s udders you worthless spineless expendable pawn. We got another couple thousands of people exactly like you, just sucking our dicks to get the chance for twelve minutes of dismissible screen time you miserable fuck.
Oh look a house, the lights are on too. Well I could go chase after the street light or I could shuffle over and see if I could use their phone for a few minutes. Yea, I think I’ll go with the second option. More walking, more thinking, doesn’t get any better than this really. Honestly if I had a psychiatrist take look of a transcript of my thoughts he just might pronounce me utterly insane and throw me in the asylum before he gets a chance to notify my family. I wonder if that’s how everyone’s thoughts works. Just a constant feed of information being channeled through our brains in milliseconds at a time. So much thought, and within a matter a minutes they’re completely forgotten and lost forever. A shame really, I would really like to go back and look over what I’ve thought in my life so far. Although if I got a hold of that, I’d probably never finish the damn thing. When’s the last time I’ve completely read an entire novel cover to cover? Reading children’s books to my kids doesn’t exactly count, so I’d have to say it was my English summer reading project from senior year. Of Mice and Men was the name of it, so short, and I never got beyond the second chapter. If I really wanted to I could probably finish it in an afternoon. With a couple cups of coffee and some light piano music in the background it would most likely be a really relaxing experience. Let bygones be bygones I suppose. Hold on, I don’t think that was the proper use of that idiom. Whatever, who’s going to correct me anyways. Damn, it’s freezing, I can see my own breath. That reminds me when I used to pretend I was smoking when I was a kid. I went up to my mom one time with a rolled up bit of paper and simulated the action of smoking during winter, and she went absolutely bonkers. Serves me right I suppose, to be fair she was an advent smoker, but I guess she just didn’t want her son to follow the habit. I thought it was pretty clever myself.
I just realized that I never tell any of these stories to my own kids. You’d think they’d be the most knowledgeable people concerning my childhood. Christ I don’t think I’ve ever told my wife any of these either. I suppose I shall have to remedy that. All this time to myself, and I think I actually find it pretty therapeutic. Never mind seeing my shrink once a week, this is the way to vent, excluding all of the near perilous aspects of it, obviously. All my shrink and I ever talk about is my sex life, like that is the central key to resolving all of my calamities. Fuck that, just take a stroll through the park in the morning and just enjoy life. Hey, I should get my family a puppy, now wouldn’t that be a swell thing to do? Like, right before I come home, I just bring a cute little baby Labrador to celebrate. Although I would have to consult with the Mrs. first, and oh, that’s right Hannah allergic to dogs, fuck. Plus, dogs require a lot of attention that I would most likely get stuck with anyways. Prepare to shovel shit for ten years why don’t ya? Cats are pretty bitchy, although they are insanely adorable. I know, how about a goldfish? They don’t need too much attention right? We have a pond out back, maybe I can get a fuck ton of koi fish and surprise everyone after I get back. You just shovel some fish food at them every once and awhile and they’ll be good. I like that plan, I will most certainly get on that. Okay, finally made it at the house.
Knock knock, who’s there? All things considered this place must look like a pretty quaint little farmer’s house in the day. But right now, at like two in the morning it looks like something straight out of the mind of Tobe Hooper. I don’t see any car parked around the place so I hope to god almighty this geezer has a functioning telephone. Any day now, the lights were on so I’m willing to assume that you’re still awake whoever’s in there. Maybe he’s getting his weapon of choice. This guy’s going to gouge my throat out with a meat hook isn’t he? I should probably stand a few feet away from the door just to be safe. Open…maybe sometime, anytime soon?
“Who is it?”
Disembodied voice which sounds like the owner’s an elderly peanut farmer, I hope,
“Yes, ah, I’m lost and I was wondering if I could use your phone to call a cab and drive me home. It would just be for couple minutes, I won’t take too much of your time I promise.” No response, couple minutes passed and still no response,
“Is that a no then?”
Still nothing, wait never mind someone’s unlocking the door. What took you so long, asshole?
“You said you wanted to use a phone?”
Door still isn’t opened, but it’s opened just a bit for someone to whisper through. But if they did that, why didn’t they just leave the door unlocked and crack it open a bit and speak then? I could easily just-
“That’s right, I hope I didn’t wake you. I just need to use it for a moment.”
“Fine, fine, that’s fine, come right in. Eh, what’s your name?”
“Alex what?”
“Alex Kingsley, sir.”
Why did I say sir? People say sir to me, not the other way around,
“Alright, Alex come right in. Mind your step, it’s a little messy around here I apologize.”
“Oh your fine.”
Holy mother of god, I need a minute. He opened the door just a tad wider, then a sudden waft of the aroma inside the house just hit me like a brick wall. It’s so bad, like, I can’t even, I need to sit down for a second. Wow, that’s bad. It’s like a mixture of feces with something else, but it’s tangy and I can taste it on my mouth. Jesus, that’s fucking intense.
“You coming?”
“I’ll be right there.”
I don’t know if I can do this. Fuck, this is my only chance to get home and I’m not going to let it pass me by god damn it. Take a deep breath and just go for it, it’s like the manure from the farm back home remember? Right but that was like two decades ago, I barely remember the smell to begin with. Not to mention, this is significantly worse than anything I’ve ever smelled before, like seriously. Alright, here we go. Turns out that smell came from the dining room, dear lord this guy does not clean his house for shit. I can barely walk two paces before having to step over something. It’s not even like stuff that typical hoarders stuff inside their houses, the floor is mostly covered in either plates or knick knacks. So, many, knick knacks it’s fucking weird. Just follow the old man, Alex, get it over with. Okay I see a phone, it looks somewhat modern, whatever, I’ll take what I can get at this point.
“Oh, thank you.”
Grab the phone now, just start dialing your wife’s number. You should probably check in with her before you call a taxi. Now what was it again? Don’t fail me now memory, you better have that number stored in there somewhere. To start I don’t even hear the tone ringing, is thing even on? Press a few numbers and let’s see what happens, nothing. Alright let me try to call my home phone. Nothing, not even a voice message.
“I don’t think this phone is working.”
“Well I never said it worked, I got a phone and that’s my phone, never said it worked now did I?”
Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fucking what is so hard about meeting someone who has at least, at the very least, half a working brain that I can effectively communicate with? And now he’s laughing, right in my fucking face the fuckface is laughing right in my face.
“Are you a peanut farmer?”
“Yea what of it?”
“That explains a lot.”
“How do you mean?”
“Explains why you’re so fucking nuts, get it? Now that’s something to laugh about you batty fuck!”
Great, now we’re both laughing. Two hapless and hopeless wastes of space just sharing a good old hearty laugh early in the morning. Perfect image here. Witness harmony at its finest ladies and gentlemen, beauty, absolutely sublime, flawless fortunate fortuity. And I don’t even know what fortuity means! But it make me sound smart now don’t it? I don’t got an education, you think I’m where I am today because I read well? No you moron! I have the reading level of a fourth grader, and half the times we can’t even get through a shoot because I can’t properly pronounce “intellectual” without clapping out each syllable like I’m in the fucking second grade! But it’s been worth it, it’s all been so worthwhile and you want to know why? Because without my position, I might have never met this fine gentleman right here. He’s just the funniest, so absolutely and genuinely funny. Perfect comedic timing, nothing like it, this man’s the next C.K. no doubt about it. I’d sign him on to his own show if I could. On the fucking spot right now, hand this man a pen and sign the blood sucking contract and sell your soul to the television hacks right now Mr. Miser, you’re gonna be a millionaire!
Then that happened, and the crowd goes dead silent. That’s the second time today I’ve smashed someone’s head in with glass. The first time was in self-defense, and it can be argued that I did it the second time for the very same reasons as well. If you must know your honor, I was defending my sanity. Now that the real threat has been neutralized, I can finally focus on more pressing matters. Such as finding out where the fuck this guy keeps his mutilated victims, because there is absolutely no way this old fart does not keep a corpse or two hidden around this place. But first, let’s check and see if he’s got any loose cash on him, because guess what? My wallet’s soaked and all my cash is drenched beyond recovery. This day just keeps getting better and better. I can’t imagine how Mrs. would even begin to digest any of this. Honesty is the best policy, right, like that’s going to spare me the wrath of a thousand tongues. Ugh, I just realized that my hands are soaked in blood. I’m going to wipe them off your bathrobe if you don’t mind Mr. Serial Rapist, not like you’d mind anyways right?
Oh look what I found in his pockets, peanuts. Well that just writes itself now doesn’t it? A true comedic genius, far ahead of his time by leaps and bounds. I wonder how they taste. Big surprise they taste like peanuts, except really stale. Yuck, and they’re bitter for some reason too. Probably shouldn’t have eaten those, who knows how long he’s been keeping those in there. So what’s next? Good question, nothing’s come to mind yet. And unless I find the keys around here I doubt he owns a working vehicle, I mean he didn’t have a functioning telephone. Keep walking? That’s most likely what it’s going to come to, but I’m not exactly fond of continuing to aimlessly wander through pitch darkness for another hour or two. But I’m bound to find the main road right? That dirt path ought to lead somewhere. It’s a reasonable assumption.
Wait, I think I heard something.
It came from upstairs, I think. Some sort of scratching or rustling came from the ceiling over the dining room. Check it out right? No, high tail it out of here and cut your losses. But what if there’s someone chained up there? Maybe there’s a young girl who’s been kept as a personal sex slave to the geezer in order to satisfy his oddly specific fetishes which no woman has ever willingly been able to appease in his lifetime. What do you think the fetish could be? Maybe he’s really into noodles, yea, that’s it. Noodles. Noodle porn, the only fetish which the internet has failed to extensively cover to satisfy Popeye’s needs. Genius, let’s walk upstairs now, and get this over with. I feel like the longer I stay in this house the more I’m beginning to lose my mind, and getting rid of the grandpa has merely halted the process momentarily. Shag carpet over the stairs, comfy. Or at least, I’d think it’d feel comfy, I don’t think I want to take my shoes off to find out. More shuffling, deal me in baby. Huh, two story house, with wallpaper too. My, when’s the last time I saw wallpaper. Not very well plastered either, there’s a lot of air bubbles sticking out. Must have put them in himself, and pretty recently too. I don’t see any tearing or signs of wear in any corner of the walls. Guess they still manufacture wallpaper. Or maybe he keeps a ton of it stored somewhere around this place. More shuffling, yea yea I’m coming just give me a sec. Not like you’re going anywhere anytime soon, dollface. Okay I’ve made it to the second floor, but there’s a door. So what’s the problem, well, problem is that it’s locked. But good news, sorta. When I tried the knob the shuffling got even louder. So that indicates that whatever’s behind this door knows that I’m coming. Interesting, now that I think about it I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing. Hesistant? Yes. But the show must go on, now bust the door down.
“Hey! Is someone in there?”
The shuffling stopped.
“Listen, the door’s locked. I’m gonna break it down, so whoever’s behind the door stand back.”
Halt! Let’s take a step back for a minute. That little voice of reason is starting to speak up in the back of my head, so for once, I’m going to give it the floor. First of all, why are we assuming that there’s someone that needs my help? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to assume that perhaps, possibly, there’s the remote chance where-
Sorry, patience is so worn beyond reasonability right now I couldn’t give less than a single coherent thought anymore. So the door’s broken down, that’s new. Can’t quite remember how but apparently I did it, so, kudos to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I hear someone whispering in there. The entire place is pitch dark so I can’t accurately tell whether or not it’s coming from my head or from inside the room. That’s not good, I should be able to discern something like that pretty easily. But at this very moment, I’m just not sure anymore. The whispering’s getting louder, now it’s screaming, and my ears are starting to ache. My eyes are adjusting to the poor lighting, finally. Apparently the entire second floor to this house is a bedroom, interesting choice of design. You know, if there wasn’t a shrieking middle aged woman curled up in the right corner, I’d say this place has a pretty symmetrical layout from my point of view. Two lamps on either side of the queen sized bed, along with two wardrobes on both sides too. No bathroom though, that’s weird. I guess if gramps has got to take a leak he needs to stumble downstairs every time huh? That sucks. Oh my god, I see a telephone, I think. Mrs. Milf over there has something pressed to her ear, and I’m very certain she isn’t adjusting her hearing aid.
“Ms., would you mind if I used your phone for a minute? I need to make an urgent phone call and is imperative that I-“
“Get back!”
Poor thing must be terrified, don’t care, I just need to make one call for one moment.
“I’ve already called the police, they’re on their way right now!”
“Just, five minutes, ma’am.”
She ain’t budging is she? Goody! Smash some glass again? Guess not. Fine, looks like I’ll have to take it by force. Real sorry ma’am, but this is too important to let you fuck me over. Just let go, I’m not letting go, so you better do it first. Damn, you’ve got some real grip there lady. Any second now, I know you can’t hold on to it forever, no don’t bite. I’ll bite back, believe me, I’m unpredictable right now. You keep tempting me and I just might take a big slab right off them cheeks. Got it, about time too. What time is it now?
“Ma’am, what is this?”
Yes, giggle uncontrollably like your unconscious looney husband did downstairs.
“Wait, what is this?”
I suppose now I’m the bumbling idiot right? Of course! How ignorant of me.
“Where’s the phone? This is important!”
Forgive me for mistaking the potato for a cellular device, Ms., trust me it was not my intention to insult you. Unresponsive, now she’s just looking away into the doorway without a care in the world. I bet she’s pissed that I busted her door down right?
And she’s off, without a word of warning she’s darted away into the dark abyss of this god forsaken household. Why the hell am I still holding this thing? There’s a window right across the bedroom stairs, and I’m going to chuck this thing right into it. Alright, I’ve overstayed my welcome here. Guess it’s time to continue the aimless pilgrimage across this abandoned wasteland. Down the stairs we go then. Hello again, yes don’t worry I’ll be leaving now. Continue to cradle your sack of fungus and potatoes by the dining table ma’am, believe me I don’t intend to take up anymore of your time. Your husband’s still lying unconscious in the other room there ma ’dam, just saying. Not like I give a shit anyways, it’s probably in your best interest that he remains there anyways. T-T-Y-L crazy lady, you going to wave back or what? No? Content with them potatoes then huh? Don’t blame you, not in the slightest. I wish I had my own sack of potatoes to cradle my way to sleep every night. I suppose we can’t have everything can we? My lord, is it dark out. Absolute and total jet ink darkness, from the very first step near the front door and onwards. Put your right leg in, then take your left leg out, and run. Fade. To. Black. I can’t hear my own breath any longer.

“Alex stared at the door knob and slowly turned the key.

An explosion of colors, the bright mind of illusive ecstasy, exposed to the world beyond and the dark reaches which remain determined to be forever hidden. Never again could he have thought, not I, only he, could comprehend the rambling of Arthur Stewart. Those dismissive statements would have continued their ceaseless endeavor into a forgotten mysticism.

Alex felt the burn of Aguirre, unpredictable, unforeseen, an absolute circumstance of opportunity. Check please.”

Was that my voice? *Cough* was that really my voice?
Where am I? It’s all white, my clothes are white, the ceiling’s white, this bed is white, and the walls are white. Am I dead? I might as well be, this looks like heaven to me. Not in the paradise way though, I just mean that it look too white to be any place other than heaven. Or you know maybe we got it wrong and hell is actually white and heaven’s just a rave with every color imaginable, an endless party until kingdom come. That’s a good name for a night club, The Kingdom Come, we party all day and night until kingdom come. I like that. But seriously where am I, this isn’t funny anymore. Wait, I think I saw my wife! She’s looking through something, but I can’t quite see right. My vision’s still a little fuzzy. Just get up and go to her, she’s waiting for you. Well alright, hopefully she’s forgiven me on the whole missing out our fifth son’s first birthday and all. Most likely not, so prepare your anus for the most intense reprimanding of your life bro. Okay I’m up, so I’m going to head straight for her face, no distractions now. Go, and head for the head, the floaty orb that resembles your wife’s head Alex. Almost there, now reach out and grab the door handle, reach you almost got it, that’s right. Closer, got it, now turn.
“Sir, I need you to take deep breaths, don’t try to sit up we got you.”
Hi Mr. Blue man, you’re blue cause you dress funny. Huh? I think I asked this question already but, where am I? Wait, but I can’t breathe, there’s something in my mouth.
“Sir, just relax.”
I’m coughing up water, what? No way, why am I spewing water from like every orifice on my face right now?
“You were in a near death accident-”
“Alex, his name’s Alex.”
Wait, that wasn’t my voice. Again, déjà vu here, anybody want to help me out? Who the fuck is Arthur Stewart? Honey?
“Alex, baby it’s going to be okay, just listen to them alright? Take deep breaths baby.”
I’m more concerned on comprehending what’s going on right now. Oh, she’s still got the baby bump, did she not deliver? Well it’s not really a bump per say, more like a mountain from my perspective. Or maybe she did and just had another kid with someone else while I was out, that’s entirely plausible too. But I think I’ll go with the former, looks like I didn’t miss out after all! Second chances, bitches! I get em cause I need em more than you? Who? You two that’s who!
“I can stand.”
“No sir, just lie down.”
“I’m fine, I’m fine just help me up.”
Aw, they wrapped a blankie over me that was nice of them. Aw and my wife came over to snuggle with me, how sweet.
“I was scared, baby.”
“Me too darling, me too.”
Something’s got my leg, no, both my legs.
Great. I mean, Great! Aren’t you guys a sight for sore eyes.
“How long was I out?”
“We just found you today, baby.”
She’s pointing at something, but I can’t quite, oh I see. It’s that marsh, got ya. So no potato lady huh? Just a figment of the old noggin right? Well I’m relieved.
“Can we go home now?”
“Yea, we can. Ready to go home kids?”
And in unison they chant, ice cream ice cream! Like it’s some sort of ritual of their, damn buggarts. Their so adorable though, I can’t stay mad at them forever. Mmm it’s nice and snug in here. You know I’m surprised they managed to find me. I guess all is well that ends well, I suppose. But I guess in the end it didn’t really make much sense did it?
Alex stared at the door knob and slowly turned the handle.

July 30, 2015 03:35:40 PM





Title: Gwendolyn

The sun rose and everything fell. The dam that had kept his emotions pent up for so long collapsed in the mind of Alexander Q., unleashing a tidal wave of desire. He made his decision that morning: he would finally propose to Gwendolyn. The only problem was that Gwendolyn was a houseplant.

It had all started a week earlier at Dr. Xavier’s Defective Furniture Emporium. Short on funds, Alex could only afford cheap, defective furniture and had his eye on a coffee table made out of warped plywood and a kind of glue the United States government had labeled a biohazard.

“Hi there, Dr. Xavier!” said Alex to a cardboard cutout of Dr. Xavier on his way into the store. “Lovely weather we’re having,” he continued, as thunder roared overhead and basketball sized hail fell and crushed half of the store.

Just then, the real Dr. Xavier appeared. “A customer!” he boomed so loudly that every remaining window shattered. “Welcome to my store! The store itself, like its contents, is also defective,” Dr. Xavier said proudly.

“You don’t say,” replied Alex, as bricks and shards of glass collapsed around him.

Alex entered the half of the store that was still standing and eagerly picked up the plywood coffee table. As he went to pay for it, he noticed the saleswoman. She was beautiful with sparkling green eyes and a smile that said “Thank God my break is in five minutes.” Alex was single, but there was no way he would ever ask her out. He hadn’t been too lucky with the ladies in his life. He was still scarred by the day his high school girlfriend had broken up with him.

“It’s over, Alex,” she had said. “I’m just not into you anymore.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s your hair, or your clothes, or your strange addiction to gherkins.”
“Well, I can get better clothes! I won’t wear Hawaiian shirts anymore…or Hawaiian pants.”
“I’m sorry, Alex.”

That night, Alex drowned his sorrows with a jar of gherkins and vowed never to get involved with another woman again. He would spend every night home alone where nothing bad could happen to him.

As Alex proceeded to the cash register, something hit his arm. “Only the bravest of souls would dare mess with Alex!” said Alex, annoyed, and turned around to give his assailant the beating of his life. But what he saw made him drop the defective coffee table in disbelief. What had brushed his arm was merely a leaf, belonging to the most beautiful fern Alex had ever seen.

The fern was a houseplant who had seen better days. Dehydrated, wilting, and riddled with pests, the fern instantly snatched Alex’s heart. She was perfect for him. After all, a fern couldn’t hurt his feelings like a real woman, Alex figured.

“How much for the fern?” asked Alex, his voice filling with desire.
“16 dollars,” said Stacy the saleswoman.
“I can’t afford that! Please, I love her!” exclaimed Alex.
“Aw,” replied the saleswoman. “How sweet. The plant’s all yours.”

And Alex scampered off with the fern as happy as a lark, if the lark were, in reality, a man leaving a store with a free plant. As the saleswoman watched him go, she couldn’t help smiling at how touching it was for a man to be that taken with a plant, even if it was borderline disturbing. Then again, not everyone can be as normal as I am, she mused, as she playfully smeared her name in pudding on the counter.

Just then another costumer approached the saleswoman. “I’ll take the nightstand, the armchair, and the refrigerator.”
“38 dollars.”
“But I love them.”
“Aw, how sweet.”
Dr. Xavier immediately fired the saleswoman.

Alex returned to his apartment and carried the fern across the threshold. “Welcome to my home, beloved Gwendolyn,” he said. “By the way, from now on I’m calling you Gwendolyn. Would you like a drink?” Gwendolyn didn’t answer, but luckily, Alex knew a thing or two about plants. Her brown, desiccated appearance told him that she was desperately thirsty for a non-fat caramel macchiato.

Alex also knew that plants liked the sun. He left her on his patio while he sat by himself ten feet away, but soon came to miss her. This is why long distance relationships never work, Alex realized.

Enchanted by her very presence, Alex often stared at Gwendolyn, lost in the green of her fronds. “I’m so lucky to have you, Gwendolyn,” he whispered. But Gwendolyn responded by gently ruffling in the breeze, as if uneasy about something. What could be troubling her? wondered Alex.

Alex tried everything to win Gwendolyn’s love. He took her to the movies, but two hours in a dark theater left Gwendolyn even more withered than before. He gave her a bouquet of flowers, but suddenly realized that she might think he was a plant serial killer. What if one of the begonias was her Uncle Larry? he feared. Gwendolyn was a classy girl and he took her to classy places: the opera, the ballet, Duke’s Bowlarama. But all the while she seemed quiet, disinterested, aloof. What could be going on in her mind? Was she playing hard to get? Or was she just an unbelievable moron? Either way, Alex loved her unconditionally.
* * *
As the sun rose on that balmy morning, Alex knew he couldn’t wait any longer. Whether it was because of the impulsive mind of a lover or the horrible carbon monoxide leak in his bedroom, Alex decided to marry Gwendolyn that very day. He knew it was the right decision. After all, Gwendolyn could never break his heart like a real woman could. So Alex set out to get a ring for Gwendolyn the only way he knew how: with courage, integrity, and a frying pan.

Barney, the purveyor of Barney’s Jewelry Store, was having a mediocre day, to say the least. His wife had packed him a terrible lunch. The tuna sandwich wasn’t so bad, but the note that said “I’m leaving you for my tai kwon do instructor” was. It’s easy to understand why he was quite peeved when Alex burst in wearing a plastic bag over his head in broad daylight.

“Give me the shiniest ring you have!” yelled Alex, brandishing his frying pan and on the verge of suffocating under the plastic.

“Can you come back later?” grumbled Barney. “I’m already having a bad day.”

“Of course. My bad,” Alex said amicably, stepping out the door. Yet Alex’s motives for backing down were in fact ulterior in nature. Besides desperately needing oxygen, he had a plan. When Barney closed the store six hours later, Alex broke in and swiped a ring from a display case.

“The perfect crime,” uttered Alex as a surveillance camera captured his image and sirens blared throughout the store.

Alex raced home, his heart thumping with anticipation. He regretted absolutely nothing. He loved Gwendolyn, and giving a fern a stolen ring was clearly the only way to prove his love. The bond he felt with her was so strong it reminded him of the time he Krazy Glued his fingers together.

As soon as he saw the stunning fern in his apartment window, he flew upstairs as fast as his Crocs would carry him and immediately approached Gwendolyn. This was it: the most romantic moment of his life. Naturally, he would have to back it up with the most romantic line he could think of.

“Gwendolyn,” he began, his upper lip quivering with emotion, “will you promise never to leaf my side?”

He had been sitting on that pun forever and was slightly disheartened that no one else was around to hear it. Regardless, he presented Gwendolyn with the diamond ring. Yet Fate is a fickle thing. As Alex placed the ring upon one of Gwendolyn’s fronds, the sun aligned with the diamond, and Gwendolyn instantly erupted in flames!

Horrified, Alex rushed to fetch the fire extinguisher, but it jammed and refused to spew its revitalizing froth. Gwendolyn lay a mere pile of ash before the eyes of the distraught Alex, causing him to pour forth an exclamation, the vulgarity of which might have caused an English dowager to faint. Being that there were no English dowagers around, however, it’s hard to say for sure.

“Damned extinguisher!” exclaimed Alex. “The only thing you have extinguished is my one true love! For that, I will defenestrate you! But I don’t know what that means so I’ll just throw you out the window.”

Grief-stricken and flailing about like a beached flounder, Alex failed to recognize the peril building around him. The fire that had consumed Gwendolyn had now spread and was quickly consuming the rest of his apartment. The terrified phytophiliac had scorched his way into a dilemma: he didn’t know whether to try to escape or to stand nobly and join his dear Gwendolyn amidst the ashes. To be the Romeo to her Juliet, as a literature major might put it, although this is hard to say for sure, being that there were no literature majors around. All Alex knew was that the burning sensation in his foot was probably not arthritis.

If suicide is the coward’s way out, then Alex was the bravest man ever to propose to a plant. He totally bailed on Gwendolyn and took off, saving himself but leaving the remains of his dear fern and his apartment forever lost to the ages. He was homeless, and worse, single again.

* * *
After killing Gwendolyn, Alex felt that he must pay his debt to society, but to his disappointment, the police wouldn’t arrest him for involuntary plant-slaughter. They would, however, arrest a man who had robbed a jewelry store. “Finally I caught a break,” said Alex as he was dragged off to the slammer.

But Alex wasn’t the only one who felt imprisoned that day. Stacy, the recently fired saleswoman of Dr. Xavier’s Furniture Emporium, felt imprisoned in her home, unemployed and alone. While looking through the want ads in the newspaper, she saw an article about Alex’s fate. I remember him, thought Stacy. It was so sweet how he loved that plant. Realizing that his love for Gwendolyn had landed him in prison, the sparkling green of Stacy’s eye was moistened with a single teardrop. I guess you could say she felt sad. But it was also a hot day, so she might just have been sweating through her eyes.

When Alex was let out of prison six months later, Stacy decided to send him an email. Unfortunately, Stacy wasn’t the best typist, and autocorrect ended up doing most of the typing. Her email read as follows:

Hi Alex ten ever me well I Thund then plant thing is desert is studs how se eying in prison I hope you’re doing Faldo gjfeiorhgioewhgoewqihoeiwhjfdssdhdjsjssjhehjuif sorry my cat just walked over the keyboard.

Alex was thrilled to receive this email. He was deeply touched by her kind words, especially the part about Faldo, whoever that was. He wrote her back and the two began regular a correspondence.

But one day, Alex received a noticeably longer email from Stacy. “I feel I must be honest with you. I was drawn to you the minute I saw how much you cared about that plant at the defective furniture store. Would you like to come over for dinner tonight?” the email read. Well, not really, since most of it had been autocorrected. But Alex still got the gist of it.

Still scarred by his terrible romantic luck in high school, he didn’t know what to do. Sure, Stacy’s invitation was tempting, but he didn’t want to get hurt again. Besides, he was starting to have feelings for some mold he found growing on a loaf of bread in his refrigerator.

Torn between Stacy and Moldina the bread mold, Alex decided to make a list of pros and cons.

Stacy is muy caliente in the looks department.

Moldina is also quite a looker.

Dating a human is more socially acceptable.

I am a special snowflake who doesn’t need to fit in.

Stacy’s not flammable.

But my heart is.

Mentally exhausted from thinking of six whole things, Alex still remained indecisive. Maybe he should give up romance altogether and focus on something simpler. After all, he still needed a new coffee table. Maybe he should pay another visit to Dr. Xavier’s Defective Furniture Emporium.

And then it hit him.

“Maybe Dr. Xavier’s furniture isn’t the only thing that’s defective. Maybe I’m defective too,” he realized. “And it might take something more than bread mold to fix that.”

“Forgive me, Moldina,” he whispered into where he thought the fungus’ ear was. “It’s not you, it’s me. And I have to move on.” He got in his car and drove over to Stacy’s house.

“Come on in, the door’s open!” called Stacy, chewing on a mouthful of gherkins.

Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 30, 2015 03:27:54 PM





Title: I know you did it

The sun rose and everything fell….

Well, all of me fell, on top of the fluffy mattress that is. I was far too lazy to shut the curtains. I was out all night looking for my best friend Sandy. I woke up some time in the night and there was a note that had gotten wet on top of my nightstand. Curious, I checked in on my roommate and Sandy was gone.

At first I thought nothing of it.

I walked in the hallway and turned on the light. I hear a creak at the end of the hall and look back. On the pristine wood was a long line of red liquid. For a split second I looked between my legs and sighed in relief when I saw that I didn’t make that mess, because that meant I didn’t have to clean it up.

I shrug and walk towards the kitchen to get a glass of milk. As I walk closer I feel a sharp stab. I scream and look down to the broken glass on the kitchen floor. Annoyed that Sandy had broken a glass and not picked it up, I preceded to grab the broom.

I stopped when I suddenly got a flash like the one in Taken once I saw the open window above the sink. I could see an intruder coming through the window and walking into my room. But I fart as I sleep so they decided against it and went to the room across the hall. Sandy slept peacefully almost like a baby. They grabbed her and she struggled so they cut her and she bled as they dragged her through the hallway. After the struggle they got parched and fancied themselves to a glass of water. When done with said glass they throw it on the ground, snickering evilly.

“Those animals!” I say limping towards the front door where my slippers were.

I slipped them on and opened the unlocked door, locking it behind me. I walk across the building to where the window was and followed two pairs of footsteps. They were pointing towards the apartment but I retraced their steps anyways. The footprints ended in front of another apartment, Mr.Cobwebs.

I actually don’t know him but his beard is black with white hairs resembling a cobweb, I thought it was clever. It must have been him who kidnapped Sandy, he had one of those villain mustaches.

I sneak to the window above his bedroom. With no warning I bounce up and hit my face against the glass my eyes bugging out of my head as I looked around. Mr.Cobwebbs had the lights on. He just so happened to be facing the window when I pounced on it like a psycho.

Poor old man’s eyes rolled to the back of his head until all that showed was the white of his eyes. His hand clenched at his chest and he was falling off the bed onto the ground.
“Hmm no Sandy,” I say out loud when I realize Mr.Cobweb wasn’t getting up.

I continued peeping into the apartments of my neighbors. Not like that, I wasn’t crazy. I only spied on the ones who had evil written over them, the ones who were suspicious. Like old lady Jenny who had one of those bald cats or little Suzy with long black hair and constantly wearing white dresses.

There was no luck and I just ended up scaring people. The police had came but I was in the laundry room by then that I didn’t notice them until they left. I was tempted to call the police about the break in but what if they were in on it too.

The sky was already turning a glowy blue that I knew morning was coming. I was exhausted. Maybe the kidnappers will send another note since the first got wet. I headed home and that's where I stayed.

I knocked out eventually and started snoring. A hand pressed against my shoulder.Instantly I turned hitting the intruder’s nose with the hard part of my palm.

“Lexi!” Alex yells as he clutches his bleeding nose.

It takes a minute for me to actually process who he was.

“What are you doing here?” I asked my brother who was glaring at me.

“You left the door unlocked,” he says but I don’t listen because Sandy is standing behind him.

“Sandy you're alive!” I say launching into her arms but she almost falls.

That’s when I see the bandages on her feet. Sandy notices me looking at it and chuckles a little.

“I lost my key so I came in through the window but knocked over a glass so when I stepped down I started bleeding. I called for you but you were in a deep sleep. I went to my room to get my phone and I called Alex to take me to the hospital. I left you a note on the nightstand.”

I rest my chin inside the space between my thumb and pointer finger. It made sense. Too much sense that it had to be fake. I turn to look at Alex and I got my proof. Sandy had a bruise on her hand( which I later found out was from stumbling around in the dark) and Alex had dried blood on his nose ( from when I hit him earlier he “claims”). Alex seems to have noticed that he was caught because he looked panicked as he walked closer to the door.

“Brother,” I say warningly as I move to my attack stance.

“Lexi not again,” he says moving until he was at the door.

Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 30, 2015 12:49:33 AM





The sun rose and everything fell.
Opposite day turned heaven into hell
prisoners free; jailers locked in cells
lions preyed upon by gazelles,
tylenol outlawed, cocaine legalized
blonde’s intelligence finally realized,
skinny out, obesity idealized,
conservatives rude, liberals civilized,
southerners drinking unsweetened tea
books preferred to internet and tv
today the world isn’t all about me.
z z z…
Awakening after a dream, so extreme,
he saw the sweat beads on his forehead gleam
so, to relieve some anxiety and steam,
he began to knock on his wooden beam,
but it wasn’t his hand that started to throb..
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob…

July 29, 2015 05:41:28 PM





The sun rose and everything fell.

Or, my emotions did, at least, because the realization that my six-year-old cousin was coming to visit today hit me squarely in the chest like a lead brick as soon as I woke up. An obnoxious, hyper, squealing six-year-old who would run around in circles and then slam into you just for the fun of it. In my house. And, as usual, I did’t even have a girlfriend to comfort me during the ordeal. Today’s going to be a pretty crappy day, I thought to myself as I rolled out of bed and slammed into my carpet with a dull thud and a groan.

When he arrived, he bounced into the house, full of energy, like someone had injected adrenaline and caffeine into a cheetah and then shocked it with ten thousand volts of electricity. He giggled, a lopsided, semi-toothless grin spreading across his face as he saw me.

“RICK!!!!” he screamed, causing my smiling parents to flinch noticeably at the loud, enthusiastic outburst. He then sprinted up to me and nearly knocked me over, giving me an uncomfortably tight hug.

“When my daddy said that I could come over to your house for the weekend, I was so excited!” he giggled. “I know we’ll be the best of friends, Cousin Rick.”

“Uh, yeah… sure,” I unconvincingly groaned. I knew what was coming.

“Wanna go get icecream? Please?” he asked.

My parents looked at me, as if to say, Come on, do this one nice thing for your little cousin.

I glanced back, mouthing, Go eat with
this clown?

My father gave me a quick, disapproving head shake. That was always the end of the argument.

So, I found myself in the back of the car, sitting next to an obnoxious six-year-old tapping on my arm every three seconds to tell me something, often with big drops of spittle. Eventually, he looked slightly somber when he realized I wasn’t interested in talking.

“So, why are you always so quiet?” he asked me. “What’s wrong?”

“Stuff,” I mumbled, almost imperceptibly.

“That’s gotta mean somethin’,” he said. “School?”

“Nah,” I said.

“C’mon,” he said. “It’s gotta be somethin’.”

I stared at my feet. “None of your business,” I said.

“What about a girlfrien’? You got one a those?”

I shook my head. “No, you wouldn’t understand. That’s, uh, grown-up stuff.” This was a kid who still never thought twice about an old, fat bearded man that breaks into his house once a year to deliver him presents.

“Nah, I understan’,” he said. “I gotta, ah, frien’ who said he wan’s one, and I had to try to fin’ him one.”

I rolled my eyes. “You’re in first grade,” I sighed. “What do you know?”
He lowered his voice to a whisper, like he was a KGB agent about to hand me classified dossiers. “Okay, so you wanna know the best ways to get a girlfrien’? Okay, so what you gotta do is get a buncha string and make a buncha bracelets. Then you hand ‘em out to girls you like. If you make, like, a zillion bracelets, then you’ll get like a zillion girlfriens. An’ if you know her favorite colors to put in the bracelet, that’s a bonus.”

I stared out the car window and stared vacantly, hypnotized by the rushing trees, somewhat distant from his advice. Some tiny part of me had hoped that perhaps he had some nuggets of true wisdom that would help me get Alexis Graves, the hottest and most popular girl in school. Heck, his advice couldn’t even attract the girls in my Dungeons and Dragons Club that I was too afraid to ask out, let alone Alexis.

Although he probably saw I wasn’t interested, he still continued. “Okay, so if that don’ work, then like bake her cookies or somethin’. Find what kinda candies she likes, an’ then bake her a buncha cookies with the candies in 'em. But you gotta tell her they’re from you. Don’ just leave ‘em there without lettin’ her know. Either that or you buy her a puppy, or a pony. That’s what all the girls in my class want for their birthdays.” He smiled proudly, like this was a groundbreaking statistic he’d spent years compiling data on.

“Okay, so if that don’ work, then you gotta try buyin’ her jewelry or somethin’.”

“What kind of jewelry?”

“Oh, you know, jewelry. Like with diamonds and gold and shiny stuff.”

A cynical voice in my head let out a deep, booming belly laugh. Society’s taught this kid that the more bling you have, the better off you are. What sort of world did we live in?

“But, if those don’ work, there’s one last way. This one might be kinda painful, and she might not like it. But you gotta try it anyway.” He smiled deviously.

“So you gotta get like a rhino or somethin’, and try to ride it. Either you look all brave and stuff, or like you get hurt and she feels sorry for you.”

I shook my head, and had to bite my tongue from laughing out loud from the idea of my unfit body atop a rampaging rhino, and Alexis standing there, cheering me on.

Realizing that he couldn’t top the rhino suggestion, he continued on a different tangent. “Okay, so wanna hear the one hundred ways NOT to get a girlfrien’? Okay, so this will probably be painful, an’ it might be illegal, an’ you definitely WON’T get a girlfrien’ this way, but, uh… So, you dress up in a Bigfoot suit and climb up a roof…”

After listening to him talk for about twenty minutes about how nuking her hometown and giving her a feces-filled piñata are things you should avoid at all costs if you want the girl of your dreams, I spent the evening in my room, taking a break from his antics.

Although his advice was outlandish, I was ruminating that night about how some of it might not be half bad. Some of it was actually pretty funny, and caused me to involuntarily laugh in the car, my face turning red. I still couldn’t stand to think about it any longer, though. I turned on my phone and video-called my best (and only) friend Jake.

“Hey, man,” I said.

“Hey,” he said. “What’s new?”

“Not much with me,” I said. “Other than the fact that my obnoxious younger cousin visited me today.”

“Aw, man…” he said with a smile. “I remember that kid. Good luck, man.”

“So… what’s new with you?”

His face suddenly turned somber. The laughing twinkle in it a second ago was gone. “My girlfriend cheated on me. You know her? Carissa?”

“Yeah, totally. That really sucks, man.” I had heard rumors circulating for a while, but there wasn’t any conclusive proof to back it up. “How’d you find out?”

“Friend of a friend of a friend,” he said sheepishly.

Trying to cheer him up, I brought up our mutual interests. “It’s like that REO Speedwagon song. Heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another you been messing around.” He smiled a little when I sang it, slightly off-key, as we were massive fans of old music, especially from the seventies and eighties. We discussed Van Halen, Journey, Bon Jovi, and Electric Light Orchestra in our free time.

“Exactly,” he said, although he wasn’t laughing. “I just… don’t know what to do. I mean, I love her, but at the same time I can’t stand her. How can I break up with her without it being… awkward?”

Recalling the ways not to get a girl my cousin had told me, I once again tried to cheer him up. “A poop-filled piñata. Works every time.” The guy was just betrayed by his girlfriend and I’m telling him the most immature, primitive form of humor as my coping mechanism for being unable to deal with real problems. I mean, seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

This made him do a genuine, loud belly laugh. After he’d stopped his laughter spell, he looked suddenly more serious. “Wait… does that really work? I mean… has anyone actually tried that before?”

I shrugged. After about an hour of deep, philosophical conversation much like the above, we said goodnight and I turned off my phone.

A few months after our conversation, everyone in school was talking about Jake and Carissa. Turns out that he actually followed my advice, and the insults of “Crappy Carrie” rang through the hallways until the end of the year, as few students could forget the wet, angry, smelly poo-covered face of Carissa at an exclusive party held at Jake’s house. To tell you the truth, she deserved it; I can’t count how many times Jake had called me to tell me that Carissa had humiliated him, mistreated him, or otherwise made life difficult.

One girl was so impressed with Jake’s, and I quote, “act of sheer bravery” that they started dating. Fast-forward a decade or so, and now they live in Oregon with two kids and a spacious mansion. So yeah, you could say that immature, inane potty humor from a naive six-year-old indirectly created two living, breathing human beings. Imagine what words from a wise, thoughtful, hundred-year-old Zen Master could do.

And all the while, my cousin’s seemingly stupid advice to me still rattled around in the back of my brain as I went to sleep.
On Monday, as I walked back into the halls of sweaty, unwashed, pimply teenagers and prepared for gym class, I could not have prepared for what was about to happen. Our gym teacher, Mr. Schuler, wore shorts so short I thought that they might be considered boxers.

“C’mon, you wusses!” he screamed. “Move it, move it, move it!”
After an excruciating couple laps around the gym, he had us sit in a circle.

“Okay, so I’m gonna pair you scrawny weaklings into groups. Johnny and Alessandro, Kira and Lauren…” He kept going down this list, pointing fingers and gesturing at the nervous, obedient students as if they were marionettes attached to strings tied around his big, beefy fingertips.

“Aaaand… Alexis and… whatever his name is,” he said, pointing a finger at me.

“It’s uh, Rick,” I said.

“Well, uh, Alexis and Vick over there. Let’s move, move, move!”

As we walked over to do whatever monotonous activity Schuler had planned, I smiled, as jingling around in my pocket was my secret weapon.

“Hey,” I said. “My name’s uh, Rick. You probably don’t know me.”

“I’m Alexis, although you can just call me Alex.” Her casual tone and her giving me permission to use her nickname sped up my heart and made me feel jittery.

“Hey, so, I just went to a, uh, bracelet-making class, and, uh, I was giving a couple away…” My voice trailed off and hung in the air awkwardly like the lingering, flatulent smell in the air after Taco Tuesday. I reached into my pocket, dug around, and produced a yarn bracelet with a small jewel attached to it. The truth was that the stone was a chunk of transparent quartz I’d found outside my house; it was one of the most common and worthless crystals, according to the Internet. Heck, it’s so common that most sand is made of it.

At least it looked halfway decent, considering I’d stayed up late the previous night to combine various parts of my little cousin’s advice.

“Uh, thanks,” she said, giving me an awkward stare as I dropped it in her hand.

“Look on the back of the gem,” I said in a whisper.

She turned it over to reveal a coupon for Jerry’s Baked Goods, good for $2 off one chocolate chip cookie superglued on, which got me out of having to bake her cookies. “Cool,” she said unenthusiastically.
The next week, the school was planning a school field trip to the local zoo. The day started off with the same spiel as usual- some first graders came to do some cute skit about why you should recycle and whatnot, and all of the proud, overzealous parents in the front row oohed and aahed and stared at their smartphone cameras. I, personally, was transfixed by something far more mysterious and incredible: the fact that, by some freak of nature, Alexis happened to be sitting next to me.

It was time to initiate Phase Two.

Once at the zoo, us kids were allowed to wander around wherever we wanted. I followed Alexis around, trying but failing not to look like an eager puppy.

“Can I buy you something to drink? Eat?”

“No, I’m okay, thanks.”

“You sure? I can get you something if you need it.”

“I said I’m okay,” she said more forcefully.

“Okay. I’ve got money if you need it,” I said a little too happily. At this point, I was so desperate that if this girl would have wanted a Ferrari, I would’ve mowed thousands of lawns to save up. That conversation was awkward, I know. But at least I would have gotten an A for effort (and probably an F for results).

We eventually passed the rhino enclosure. The big grey animals stared at us, chewing grass.

I suddenly turned to Alexis, feeling dread at what I was about to say.
“What qualities does your dream boyfriend possess?” I asked.

“Huh?” she asked, so shocked by the bizarre, somewhat personal question that she could barely think up a response to it.

“What about… someone who’s brave? I asked.

“Yeah, I guess so…” she said. “As long as he doesn’t do something irrational and stupi-“

In one bound, I leapt over the metal fence and flew onto the rhino, just like my little cousin told me to.

“This is for youuuu!” I screamed as my fingers clamped onto the rhino’s tough hide. The last thing I remember is flying and landing in something that was pungent and brown and sticky before I blacked out.
“What happened?” I asked.

My entire class stood in my hospital room. Alexis came forth and said, “Jeez, that was stupid. What the hell were you thinking? They say Rhonda is now acting up even more than before, and is even scared to go outside.”

Jake shook his head. “Seriously, man?” he said.

“Who the hell is Rhonda?” I struggled to say. My entire body was one big raw nerve. I could barely move without wincing.

“Oh, Rhonda’s the rhinoceros you brutally attacked,” said one student, a rude hipster animal lover named Holly. Why’d you do it?”

“I was trying to impress…” I struggled to lift my hand, which was encased along with my arm in a giant cast. My shaking arm twitched and I pointed at the wrong person.

“Me?!” Billy practically screamed as the entire class stared at him. The class looked a little confused. My teacher came forth suddenly and said, “Rick, we’ll all accept you no matter what lifestyle you choose…”

“No, no, no, not Billy,” I managed to cough out. “Ah… Ah… Lex.”

All of the eyes turned to Alex, who was wearing… Oh, my God… a Steve Miller Band T-shirt!

With the mystery solved, the class left, with most of them shaking their heads in confusion at this poor moron who tried to ride a rhino to impress a girl. Jake needed barely a nod to know that I wanted some alone time with Alexis, and soon he left too.

Alexis came forward. “You know, there are far easier ways to get my attention. You could have… you know… told me.”

“You like… Steve Miller Band… too?” I managed to croak.

“Yeah,” she said. “I’m a big fan of eighties music, although it seems like no one listens to it anymore.”

“Alexis, can you stay here?” I asked as she turned to leave. Seeing the skeptical look on her face, I realized what the problem was. “As a friend. What I did was pretty idiotic. Which is why I’m suggesting we keep this friendship… platonic. Not too complicated. Besides, I need someone to talk to. A hospital room might get pretty lonely, especially considering my parents are away on a business trip right now.”

“Sure, I guess,” she said. “And please, call me Alex.”
Inside the church, “Eye of the Tiger” was blaring, one of many on a long, nostalgic playlist. Jake stood proudly at the altar as best man. “And this,” he said, as he pointed to an image of a bandaged boy on a slideshow projected behind him, “Is the time he tried to ride a rhino to impress her.” The whole church laughed. The groom’s young cousin, now a teenager, smiled knowingly; his advice had brought them together.

Outside, in the cool night air, a woman stood by the door as the music played. Almost time for her to go in. Her father encouraged her. “Sweetie, I’m sure you’ll do fine. It’s only a wedding. Just as we rehearsed, remember?” She nodded.

Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 29, 2015 03:28:30 PM





Title: Of Death and Deception

Note: This is a play. Scene Directions that should have been italicized are in brackets and parentheses. Dialogue appears below capitalized descriptions/names. The formatting was messed up by the form, but the studio has a pdf version. Thank you for your understanding.
The sun rose and everything fell. [This, a boy’s voice says in the darkness. Lights on, and Act I, Scene 1 begins.]

Act I
Scene 1
[Bedroom. Spotlight on couch where an OLD LADY reclines. ALEX stands at the window facing away from her.]

The sun rose and everything fell.

Alex, please be a dear and stop being so dramatic. While you’re at it, close those balcony doors. This isn’t English class, and you’re no Juliet. Not pretty enough, for one thing. If only you went to the first of the makeup tutorial sessions that I booked for you, the ones with the nice drag queens.

What use have I for makeup lessons? I’m no girl. And I thought the calligraphy lessons were senseless. At least those were pretty fun, and I can now forge my doctor’s signature like nobody’s business.

Don’t worry. Have I ever told your parents anything you didn’t want me to?

The session was yesterday afternoon, Grandmama. I have better things to waste my time on. Like being with you.

You never know, sweetheart. Being able to accent different features and contour your cheekbones is an essential skill. And you thought that calligraphy lesson was useless, too. Look what you can do with it now.

Grandmama, you do realize that you’re dying. Of lung cancer. There are far more important things than something you signed me up for in a fit of pique.

Like bad poetry?

I’m composing something for your tombstone. Mother and Father are bound to fu-fudge it up. The least you could do is not criticize every line I could up with.

You make it so easy, darling. Of course I know I’m dying, sweetling, like I can forget, with you, my daughter, and the family dog reminding me. Knew I shouldn’t have kept with practicing my smoke rings, but I just had to beat your Grandpapa at one more thing.

How about the ‘The sun rose and everything came to a stop’? What rhymes with ‘stop’?

Alex, I’m hardly about to die at exactly sunrise. Just put something like ‘Bounty Hunter, Adventurer, Pirate’—No one cares.

‘Liar’ would also be appropriate. I care.

I prefer ‘Storyteller.’ ‘Liar’ is far too limiting. But sure, you can put that.

ALEX (turns to her)
How can you be so calm? How can you just joke around like that?

Child, once you’ve seen as much as I have of this world, leaving would be a relief.

Then I just won’t see that much. Is it because you miss Grandpapa?

Silly Alex. Take advantage of your time on this world. And I, former society girl and opera singer, miss the crotchety soldier’s snoring and smelly socks?—Just a bit.

I think I understand now.

Alex, if you think you understand, you probably don’t. The heart is something that cannot be understood. Now fetch some tea for this old bag of bones.

[ALEX pauses at door.]
Grandmama, aft-after all this, I’ll start going to the makeup sessions.

Thank you, dear. That’s definitely a relief for this senior citizen.
[ALEX exits stage left.]

Scene 2
[Same bedroom. OLD LADY does not appear to have moved. ALEX enters stage left, with a mug of tea.]

Here, Grandmama, just the way you like it.

Thank you, Alex. I knew I would succeed with one child, at least. What did your mother want this time? Self-absorbed harpy.

Funny, she said the same thing about you.

In her shrill voice, too. I could hear her from here. Twenty-five years and I still don’t understand where she got it from. Not me, for sure.

She wanted to know if you updated your will.

Of course she did. That’s all she wants to know these days. And that husband of hers was hovering in the kitchen doorway, I presume? Fat tub of lard, that man.

How did you know?

Let your grandmama keep some of her secrets, darling boy. Lord knows she won’t have any after she passes on.


Oh, alright, but just this once. Your grandmama, she used to do a little something for the FBI. Learned more than one would think evading capture.

Hah. I’m too old for those bedtime stories. If you didn’t want to answer, just say so. My mother is not brainwashed from enemy spies, Grandpapa wasn’t from the M16 sent to capture you, and you’re not a reformed bandit. Did I get most of your more ridiculous stories?

Retired, not reformed. Huge difference there, sugar. Remember that.

Whatever. Your stories keep changing, Grandmama, as I grew up. Just because I liked racecars once when I was five, doesn’t mean you once drove an Audi off a cliff. And my pirate stage, ugh, Grandmama, I can’t believe I actually believed that you had a swordfight on the British flagship.

I keep telling you, don’t listen to your Grandpapa. He doesn’t know anything. And I signed you up for fencing lessons, didn’t I?

That doesn’t exactly make me keep believing you. You don’t know any of the rules of fencing. It was Grandpapa who had to practice with me.

Having rules in that sport is simply horrible. Stifles creativity, it does. Just stab your opponent with the pointy end, I say.

And that’s why you’re not an Olympic fencer.

You don’t know that. I could have been.

I looked you up before. There wasn’t anything. You didn’t save the queen, or steal the flag from our President’s office, and those things can’t be covered up. But Grandmama, why would my mother ask about hidden treasure? Did you tell her those stories? Why would she believe them?

So many questions. I think your mother may not have all the lights on upstairs. After all, my stories are just stories, aren’t they?

Grandmama. They’re really nice stories. You pay great attention to detail, even if you start mixing them up on occasion.

That’s me. Detail-oriented.

Grandmama, stop distracting me. Mother was really demanding about this one.

How about we, how do you kids say it nowadays, mess with her a little? My last wish, Alex. You can’t deny a dying woman her last wish.

Not your last.

Help me up, sweetheart.

[They exit.]

Act II
Scene 1
[Hospital room. OLD LADY lies on hospital bed, being assisted by NURSE. DOCTOR, ALEX, WOMAN, MAN enter. Soft beeping.]

Please cooperate.

I’m old, boy, not infirm. I’m already as high as a kite. I don’t need more.

I beg to differ. The results of the newest scans show a marked regression in progress, and you’re clearly in pain. Please let my assistant administer the painkillers.

Shut up, Doctor Bore. I’m not paying for a new wing in this God-forsaken place for you to disagree with me. Somebody’s messing with the dosage.

Stop being so paranoid, Grandmama.

It’s Doctor Moore.

OLD LADY (slurring)
International secrets in this skull, y’know. Very dangerous. Nowhere is safe. They got my poor Howard, y’know. Hah! Now me, I know the truth. My Howard would never leave a cigarette…(goes silent)

Speaking of payment for services rendered, Mother, there are a few items that must still be settled.

She’s adopted. They tried warning me, y’know. Not the same as blood children, but I didn’t listen. She was such a sweet child, and then she got kidnapped. Couldn’t find her, nobody could find her. Had to pay a ransom and everything; she’s still not一
Beeping from heart rate monitor increases in volume.
Please remain clam. There, there, just breathe in and out.

I’ve fooled lie detectors before, you numbskulls. I think I know how to breathe.

Mother, the money…(trails off meaningfully)

And yet the resemblance between the two in sheer obnox-doggedness is startling.

Nice substitution there.

I coughed.

I’m betting five thou you initially thought of a different noun.

Grandmama, the good Doctor’s only trying to help. Let him help.

Be that as it may, my wife is your legal heir, am I right?

I still don’t understand why she settled for him. Breaks my heart, it does.

Stop being so dramatic, Grandmama.

[Shrill beeping from machines.]

We’re losing her.

I have eyes, woman. Quick!

You seem to have mistaken me for someone else. I’m male, boss. This stereotyping, seriously, I’m tired of it.

OLD LADY (struggling up)
So this is the service I get. A blind doctor, and an activist nurse.

I’m so sorry, ma’am, please focus on breathing. Doctor, there’s nothing we can do.

We’ll just let the professionals handle this, Alex.

[WOMAN and MAN exit.]

How much longer?

She has a strong will. That’s something. But I’m afraid she’ll only last a few more hours, at best. We’ll try to stabilize her, but you will need to say your goodbyes soon. Make sure your parents know.

OLD LADY (coughing)
Alex, remember what I told you. Fly forth, little bird.

Yes, Grandmama. I love you too.

[ALEX exits.]

Cheeky little brat.

[Lights fade.]

Scene 2
[Same hospital room, OLD LADY on bed, NURSE and DOCTOR working on her. ALEX, WOMAN, MAN enter.]

I’ve got the will that lists us as heirs locked up safe. The family lawyer knows. It’ll all be fine.

OLD LADY (coughing blood)
Alex, they’ve been watching us and they’re coming. I’m sorry. You’re not safe. There’s cash in the breadbox I keep in my bedroom. The cache of treasure is buried...

[Beeping. OLD LADY dies.]


Why have I not been notified of this?

Cupcake, we still have the will.

No, no, no. I must have the treasure. You don’t understand, honey buns. My adoptive mother has amassed great unrecorded wealth from all of her illegal activities and such over the years...oh yes, I’ve overheard many of her conversations.

There’s only so many places she could have hidden it.

She would have kept it in the manor.

How can you be sure?

Too many enemies outside. Come along, Alex.

[WOMAN and MAN exit.]

ALEX (aside)
And too many enemies within. Grandmama, just how much of what you told me was true?

[Lights fade.]

Scene 1
[Bedroom from Act I, now torn up. CONSTRUCTION WORKER cleaning up. WOMAN and ALEX enter.]

There’s nothing there, ma’am. I don’t know what else to say. I can keep digging, if you want, but it’ll cost extra.

No, you’re dismissed. My husband will be waiting for you in the great hall to check if you’ve taken any silver. He’ll know what to do with you. I know exactly what sort of person goes into construction. All felons and drunkards, the lot of you. You probably didn’t even graduate from high school.

Now, I’m not paid to listen to this crap. Mark my words, I’m telling everyone I know not to work for you.

See that you do.

ALEX (aside)
That sounds ominous. Sometimes I can really believe that she’s been brainwashed by enemy spies into being a b-witch.


Where else is left? We’ve had the entire first floor uprooted and the dungeon searched. This was the last place I could think of. There’s no way she would have left it in any bank, and she wouldn’t have trusted anyone to hold it in her stead, and those she would have trusted are disposed of. This manor has the best security of the world; she would not have kept it in a safe house that could be broken into.

Mother, this is getting ridiculous. You’re spending all this money trying to find whatever Grandmama left, and you’re destroying the manor. Will you even have anything left after you’re done?

I know what I’m doing. The treasure will be more than enough to cover repairs. Where else haven’t I thought of?

But what if you don’t find the treasure?

I know the senile fool too well for that. Huh, perhaps she hid it in the walls. Clever, but I’ll just have them knocked down.


What do you care? You’re almost eighteen. You have your own trust fund; you don’t need my money. I’m not paying a cent on your upkeep anymore.

[WOMAN exits.]

Did you know this would happen, Grandmama? That some sort of madness would take over the girl you took into your arms? What does she even want the gold for?
[ALEX exits.]

Scene 2
[Dusty manor hall. ALEX, holding a piece of paper in his hands, is standing in front of a closed doorway, in front of which hangs a faded sign, “aLeX’s Playrom: evrEybOdy KEeP oUt (bUt GrANdmaMa).”]

ALEX (eyes closed)
“Darling boy, if you’re reading this, happy eighteenth birthday. Your Grandmama is doing well with your Grandpapa, and don’t worry, I’m getting a great tan. Hell is a better vacation spot than Hawaii, but please refrain from visiting for a while, dear. Remember when I told you that I was once a serial killer who sewed jewels into the stomachs and eye sockets of people? You were so scared, but still you wouldn’t leave me for your mother that afternoon. Alex, all of my stories have a little bit of truth...your chubby tea party bears have a little something for you.”

[Hollow crash.]

ALEX (continues, eyes still closed)
“And if you ever want to know the truth, and you’re willing to take up the family business, there will be consequences. You can take what I left you and not think about it, or you can also find my colleague, Dentist Sterling. He may still have a practice outside Moscow. Alex, I have failed your mother, but perhaps there is still hope. I have trained you well, my little liar. I’m sorry I will not be there in person to see the chaos you create. Destroy this. There are indeed people out there, Alex, who are looking for my legacy. They had ferreted out most of my secrets, but they’ve lost, Alex. They’ve lost, because my legacy isn’t Smaug’s hoard. It’s a sweet, sweet child with far too much cynicism for his age. I’m so proud of you, honey. You know what to do.”

The only time that old bat would apologize, and I have to destroy the proof. One last prank, huh, Grandmama? Be honest, you’re far too ambitious for one last prank. I fear the joke’s on me. You always did like convoluted plots. Really, I should have known. Can you hear me, Grandmama? What else will I find? The only thing I’ve absolutely sure of now, is the ‘Bounty Hunter, Adventurer, Pirate, Storyteller’ that’s going on your tombstone. Those were the occupations that you were most fond of, right?

[ALEX stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.]

July 29, 2015 02:55:44 PM





Grandpa’s Manboobs
By: Zachary S. Edwards

The sun rose and everything fell. And I do mean everything; including my level of dignity, my tolerance and my Grandpa’s drooping man boobs stinking up the back of the car.

“WOWZA!”, laughed Alex. Alex is my disturbingly dimwitted friend who eats Moon Sand. If I could go back I honestly would have taken anyone besides him to my Grandpa’s retirement home. And that's even including that random girl from homeroom with the nasty corns on her feet and the tattoo of a potato on her neck. At least she’s smart enough spell water bottle on the 2nd try unlike him.

But Alex is funny, so I guess that was main my motivator to bring him along. But his comments were starting to get annoying. “So did your Grandpa get a botched boob job in Mexico recently, cause I was just wondering where I could get mine messed up too?”,said Alex. Alex was now screaming with laughter and continued to compare my Grandfather's enlarged breasts to outrageous...alright nevermind,...pretty accurate descriptions of what they looked like.

So I guess he was right, my Grandpa could have been a part of UNiCEF, he could have feed half of Africa with those glistening jugs. But Alex didn't have to scream like one of those annoying screeching goats from YouTube.

“Sssshh! Shut up Alex, he’s got Gynecomastia,” I said. Alex paused for a moment and was about to say something. But I already knew what he was thinking .
“NO! I don't know why his rack smells like a sleeve of old coins and horseradish,” I yelled. Alex just stared with amusement. “I was actually going to ask if we were getting close to the human shelter,” he said. “You mean retirement home, I retorted”. “Same thing”, said Alex. I rolled my eyes so far back into my head, cause I really knew deep in my heart that he actually thought they were the same thing. Alex, for the love of...would you quiet down . Please I am begging you. DO NOT WAKE HIM. You know he suffers from flashbacks of the war. I honestly can’t take him screaming everytime I open a bag of corn nuts. And not to mention you can only backhand a person from craziness so many times before you start to worry about their health. “Geez, I wouldn’t dream of waking up ol’ Dolly Parton back there, “laughed Alex. Thank you, I said with relief.

“And again, are we almost there cause I feel really uncomfortable being in an inclosed space with him,” worried Alex. Don’t you worry, were almost to his retirement home. And Alex what could he do to you. You two were getting along fine not too long ago.
“Um I don’t know maybe he’ll try to choke me with a Slim Jim again and make me promise not to give up our location to the enemy. Or maybe he’ll describe my sister as a combination of Ke$ha and a PT cruiser. I don’t maybe one those things, “Alex snorted. “Haven’t you ever thought about getting him in to see someone.” “Well…, we did,” I said. “And…”,he questioned? Well let’s just say most physicians don't like to be called Satan's Alchemist and kicked repeatedly and I don’t think my family wants to be sued again.
“And shouldn’t you already know this, I’m pretty sure the physician was your cousin,” I chuckled! “I don’t know, my backyard family gets a new cousin like almost every week,” he said bitterly. Our joking was abruptly put to a hold by seemingly minuscule crack in the road.

That crack stretched into a pothole and there was no way around it but to slow down but that was too late. It was too late for everything.I braced for impact.

We hit the pothole hard. Grandpa began to scream and furl around.Then all of sudden he turned toward the car window and spat on it. And then proceeded to ram his head against the window. He started grumbling archaic Latin, which wasn’t even the worst of it. What was most disturbing was he kept shaking his arms like he was holding one those “Shake weights” and kept spelling banana from the Gwen Stefani song.
Then the car became silent and I looked in my rear-view mirror. And there he was sitting all stout with his shirt off and pig lookin legs stouted just breathing really deeply. “Hot rodded Condoleezza Rice please calm down Grandpa! Or else I will turn off Dave Ramsey,” I threatened. He stared at me with such disgust. His stare was a mixture of slapping someone child and crying.
“You'd better get to talkin before I rip your faces off and make the skins make out,” he screamed! Grandpa you need to chill. I am your Grandson, you know... “All i know is that I got hemorrhoids the size of Jupiter and cats should never be milked.” Alex and I just stared at each other. “ What yall gonna do just keep staring at each other until one of yous get pregnant, I gotta piss.”.
“Pull over,” said Alex. “What I'm not pulling over, he can just suck it up”. And before we knew it Grandpa had jumped towards the dashboard and grabbed Alex’s face with two hands. He screamed “WOOHOO, I'M FREE!” And shoved poor Alex’s face into his chest.
I swerved the car trying to shake him off of Alex. That man was not budging. But that was it I wasn’t playing around. I grabbed the half filled Gatorade bottle and hit him over the head. That man didn’t even flinch, There was only one thing left to do. So I reached over and pinched him on the arm. He screamed and jumped to the back of the car.
Alex was finally able to breathe again. I looked at him. He just looked up at the sky, with his eyes all glossy. Whimpering the indiscernible words. “Well, I told you I needed to use the bathroom,” said Grandpa. Who now sat calmly in the back.
I was finally able to skid my way into the nearest gas station. Grandpa’s stomach started to growl. I ran out of the car and grabbed Grandpa behind the arms and I told Alex to pick him up from the legs. Alex and his peanut mind accidentally ripped Grandpa’s pants off. So not only were we trying to lift this old sack, now he was pantsless. And now every man, woman and biker gang member were staring at us trying to lift this farting man to the convenience store at the gas station.

We finally were able to open to doors to the gas station convenience store and we head to the bathrooms. “Okay on the count of 3 were going to slide him into the bathroom,” I cautioned. But instead Alex decides to hammer throw the old man into the bathroom and slam the door shut. By now half the country is now presently in the rest stop staring at us. It was silent for a good 30 seconds. Until we all heard grumbling, coughing, then screaming all in that order. Then he went silent again. Grandpa called out to Alex. “I need help.” I fell to my knees and begged him not to enter. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 29, 2015 08:41:17 AM





The sun rose and everything fell. Well, not everything, per se. Just her mother’s wedding ring, which Alex figured was worth more than her entire life, so it was really the same thing.
She watched, dumbstruck, as the gold circle majestically arced through the air, did a couple of flips for good measure, and shot into the drain like a well-executed free throw. Probably the same free throw her middle school gym teacher had promised her she’d been bound to make, as it was actually a statistical improbability that, after all her attempts, she hadn’t even accidentally made the shot, not even once.
But her improved “aim” had come three years too late, and at the worst possible time. Alex was trying to SAVE her parents’ marriage, not totally destroy it.
It all started when her dad had inexplicably stopped wearing his wedding ring. When asked, he’d cited her mother’s failed chicken casserole—which, to be fair, did resemble an alien life form—and his subsequent food poisoning as the reason. Even after profuse apologies, he hadn’t relented, only changed his answer to: “I decline to answer on the grounds that doing so violates my religious beliefs.”
Yesterday, he’d pled the fifth, and Alex’s mother had finally reached the end of her patience. “Is this all just a joke to you, David?” She’d screeched in the kitchen, casting her own ring across the room, the motion dramatic enough to write its own soap opera.
Alex, after her parents had finally gone to sleep in separate bedrooms, had snuck downstairs and spent a good hour trying to fish the ring out from underneath the fridge. It had been covered in a thick layer of dust and who knew what else, so she’d rinsed it in the bathroom sink.
And now here she was. Her attempt to salvage their relationship had only managed to kick it in the proverbial butt, as any hope of her parents reconciling had quite literally gone done the drain. Well, a little voice in her head piped up, what do you do in situations like this?
Alex blinked. “Oh! Of course,” she exclaimed, slipping out her phone. “Yahoo Answers.”
She grinned triumphantly, having immediately found someone who’d asked the exact same oddly specific question—“how do I retrieve my mother’s wedding ring from the sink?”— in 2009. The top answer, conveniently from an expert who’d received his M.D. in “Everything,” was titled “How to Quickly Reclaim Items from your Sink in 64 Simple steps,” complete with multiple illustrations.
She’d placed a bucket under the J-pipe and was in the process of wrenching the top nut when a knock sounded at the door. “Alex? Are you almost done?” Her mom’s muffled voice sounded from outside.
“No!” Alex jumped, her voice cracking.
“You okay in there?”
“Yeah, mom. Just taking a massive,” Alex closed her eyes, “massive dump.”
There was a pause. “But it doesn’t stink.”
“I, uh, ate a lot of mints.” The first sink nut disconnected. She moved onto the second.
“I don’t hear anything either. Alex—“
“Do you make it a habit of listening to me poop?” Alex shrieked, lifting her elbow to her mouth to fake a quick farting noise before returning to her work. The second nut disconnected soon after, and Alex immediately dropped all equipment to cover her nose. The wrench clattered to the floor.
“What was—oh my, I certainly smell it now.”
“Go use the other restroom. Save yourself,” Alex managed weakly, holding her breath as she shook the pipe over the bucket. Her mom’s footsteps faded away, and she peered at the contents.
Ugh, was this any better than cleaning the toilet? Disgusting, disgusting, and… wait, what?
There were TWO wedding rings in the bucket.
“Holy crap!” Alex whispered, the pun flying over her head but hopefully not BJ Novak’s. She jumped to her feet so quickly she banged her head against the counter.
“Alex, you all right?” Her dad. “It sounds like you’re breaking down the walls in there.”
“Just the fourth one,” Alex said, unlocking the door. Her father, nose pinched so hard it was white, immediately zeroed in on the mess.
She shoved the bucket in his sleepy face before he could say anything.
The look of sleepy confusion evaporated from her dad’s expression upon recognition. “How did you—“
“Took apart the sink,” she said, waving a hand flippantly. “Why didn’t you do it yourself? Or just, you know, tell us you lost it instead of pretending you didn’t want to wear it anymore?”
“I didn’t know where it went!” He hissed. “And your mom would have killed me!”
Alex conceded this point. “Okay. Fine. We can fix this. You take this,” she pointed to his lost ring, “and I’ll take this.”
Her dad frowned. “I love you, Alex, but—“
“No,” Alex sighed. “I’ll keep it for a couple of days. So when you start wearing yours, just ask Mom where hers is and when she can’t find it, she’ll feel guilty for losing it and won’t bring up the topic again. You’re welcome.”
“You’re not my child,” her dad said finally. “There’s no way any child of mine would think of something so... so…”
Alex waited.
“… Brilliant,” he finished, snatching the band from her fingers. “Thanks, Alex. I’ll clean this up. You go to sleep.”
She nodded, quickly wiped her mom’s ring on some toilet paper, and made to leave. Congratulating herself on a job well done, Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 29, 2015 12:25:08 AM





The sun rose and everything fell. The stars and moon went back to hiding just below the tree line and the darkness went away. Alex didn’t quite understand how this magical occurrence came to be every morning, but as he was a dog, he didn’t quite understand many things. For example, bicycles or why he could never catch the furry log attached to his rear end. Alex scratched his ear as he contemplated the ball of fire that the Tall Ones called the sun. The Tall Ones liked the sun. They would take off their clothes and lie on the ground when the sun was out. Alex would always bark at the Tall Ones to get off of their awn chairs and take him on a nice walk around the block but they would ignore his efforts. Alex sighed. The Tall Ones were not trained very well, he knew that to be true. It was his fault. He had spoiled them from the start, never making them accountable for their actions, like their lack of manners, (not taking whiffs of guests’ butts when they came over for dinner) and their lack of social skills, (not barking at the mailman when he stopped in front of the house).
“Tall Ones? May I please have a biscuit? I do enjoy biscuits,” Alex asked. The Tall Ones did not answer.
“Excuse me, Tall Ones! Did you not hear me? I said I would enjoy a biscuit, please.” Alex said.
Again, no response. Alex rolled his eyes and swatted at a fly with his paw. Being the dog/patriarch of this family was hard work.
“Do I really have to do everything around here,” Alex huffed. 
“I do all the lawn-pooping, I do all the ass-sniffing, I even bark at the neighbor’s kids when they bike in front of the house, all on my own! No one ever even offers to help.”
Alex got up from his warm spot on the patio and padded his way into the house and made his way to the pantry, not forgetting to take an anger piss on one of the Tall Ones’ shoes, just out of spite. Well partially because he was a dog and partially out of spite. Maybe 60/40. He got to the pantry and hopped on top of the kitchen table. He was so close to the biscuits, he could almost taste them. There was only one issue. The handle to the door of the pantry. Opposable thumbs were the only way Alex would get the door open and finally have the delicious biscuit he had been craving. Alex furrowed his fuzzy brow. How was he going to get his treat without one of the Tall Ones? This was the sole reason he even kept them around, and they were abandoning him in his time of need! Unacceptable. Alex was just going to have to figure this problem out on his own, just like his father-dog would have. Alex could almost hear his father-dog saying, “You’ll never be shit, Alex. You gotta risk it to get the biscuit! You never take risks, you never trust yourself.”
Alex squared his shoulders and cracked his knuckles. Opposable thumbs or no opposable thumbs, he was going to open the door to the pantry. He represented the canine community, he was going to make them proud. Alex raised one paw solemnly into the air.
“This one is for all the puppies out there who have a dream.”
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 28, 2015 07:45:41 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. Alex always had this problem when building dioramas of the solar system; he could never get the sun positioned at the right angle so that all the other planets would stay afloat at the same time. However, he knew he couldn’t give up. Alex was just one diorama away from breaking the world record for creating the most solar system dioramas. But because Alex is an obnoxious overachiever, he decided that he could break two records in one shot if he built the world’s smallest solar system diorama as the one to complete his collection. The one problem- it was incredibly challenging to create the world’s smallest solar system diorama when you’re a giant.
Looking for inspiration, Alex retreated to the room that housed all his other dioramas. After several hours of rofl-ing (rolling on the floor low-spirited), Alex picked himself up off the ground like a teenage boy might pick up his date: nervous, but ready to get to work. Also in his mom’s mini van.
A countless number of glue sticks later, Alex was nowhere near completion. He grew increasingly frustrated with each rise and set of the tiny sun he had constructed out of clay. The planets were so tiny and his hands were so big, it seemed nearly impossible for a giant of his size to build the world’s smallest solar system diorama. Just then, a thought popped into his head: How can I expect to balance these tiny planets if I’m not level-headed myself? Alex recalled a conversation his mother once had with his hairdresser about traveling deep inside one’s mind. Discovering the root of his frustration may help him solve the problem at hand. With the help of the internet, Alex was able to quickly find a guided video (narrated by Morgan Freeman) that would take him deep inside his brain. Morgan Freeman? Alex thought. Geez, that guy is in everything! Nonetheless, he did as he was told and closed his eyes.
Right away, Alex was transported to a room covered wall to wall with pictures of boy band members. “The only way to escape this and move on is to do the unthinkable, whatever that might be for you,” the voice of Morgan Freeman echoed. Oh no, Alex thought. There’s no way. Alex tried to resist, but the unblinking eyes of the teen heartthrobs were making him more and more uncomfortable by the second. All right, fine. Alex closed his eyes and planted a big wet one on the lips of the boy that was closest to him.
Before he could even rub the taste of British Boyband Member off his lips, the room dissipated and another one appeared. This time, it was a movie room that played videos of Alex as a middle schooler on an endless loop. He cringed. These were the days that he had tried hard to forget. “To move past this room,” Morgan Freeman noted, “You must watch one full clip without showing any emotion.” Not possible, thought Alex. As if alongside Alex on his journey, Morgan Freeman said, “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.” Oh Morgan Freeman, you’re so poetic and deep!
With an expression as stoic as an interviewer whose guest is having an on-screen meltdown, Alex sat through thirty seconds of pre-pubescent hell. His sixth-grade self was about to present his very first science project, a solar system diorama, in front of the whole class. Little Alex had always boasted that science was his best subject, so his peers expected a stellar presentation. Present-day Alex knew what was coming: the big F. And not the kind of F you want others to know about. Oh no, this F stood for failure. Present-day Alex struggled to keep a straight-face as Little Alex proudly whipped off the sheet that was covering the not-so-A-worthy diorama. The sheet was torn off with such force that it caused the whole diorama to collapse. Little styrofoam balls bounced all over the classroom backed by a chorus of middle schoolers jeering. His face smeared with shame, Little Alex chased after the styrofoam planets like teenage girls would chase after a bodyguard-less Taylor Swift. Forced to relive his worst nightmare, Present-day Alex kept reminding himself that his dedication to making solar system dioramas would soon be all worth it.
He took a sigh of relief as the next room came into focus. In it stood a giant-sized wooden chair and door on opposite ends of the room. “To get through this final room,” Morgan Freeman announced, “You must endure two whole minutes of insults and feelings of self-doubt.” This one Alex thought he could take like a champ. His whole life, he had battled the “belligerent giant” stereotype, and was a self-proclaimed pro. But these insults were nothing like Alex expected. Time seemed to tick by slower as each mythological creature verbally attacked his size, intelligence, and obsession with creating solar-system dioramas. “Your gigantic hands will never be able to build a diorama as small as mine can!” a fairy shouted as she waved her minuscule palms in Alex’s face. After two minutes of elves and fairies shouting insults at him, Alex felt the self-doubt and hatred fade away. As his eyes adjusted to the plain white room before him, the voice of Morgan Freeman rang out, “You are now at ease, and can accomplish any task that proved challenging before.” Finally! Thought Alex. Now I can create the world’s smallest solar system diorama with my big giant hands and win the world records! A nervous excitement washed over him. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 28, 2015 02:20:03 PM





“The sun rose and everything fell, when I gave birth to Alex, but I was too distracted by everything falling apart to notice the sunrise. I should have been there for him when he was still here, but now doesn’t want anything to do with me. It wasn’t my choice to kick him out. I didn’t want him to go. I still loved him, despite me saying otherwise or the opposite. He’s the one good thing that’s come from me.”

“Jan, we’ve talked about Alex before. He’s been pretty much all we’ve talked about, since our first session, so I know the story. Are you sure there is nothing else you would like to discuss today?”

“No, this is my session and I will use it however I want. Right now, I want to talk about Alex. I will talk about Alex for as long as I please and I will talk about him for every session I pay for until I get sick of hearing myself talk about him. As of right now, Dr. Short Ass, I’m going to talk about Alex. You should be grateful that I’m paying to talk to you, Dr. Short Ass, because I could just as easily skip out of here and rant about all my problems to one of the few friends I have and I would be making just as much progress as I am here, which is to say none. We are making no progress here, Dr. Short Ass, but I am still here. Also, don’t you dare start calling me Jan. We aren’t friends. This is a professional environment and I don’t like you, so you better get back to calling me Ms. James. Do you understand, Dr. Short Ass?”

“Sorry, Ms. James, I won’t call you by your first name again. Please, continue.”

“Alex is the one good thing that’s come from me. I haven’t given charitably, I haven’t helped one person selflessly, and I have never swerved or hit the brakes for a dog in the road. No, sir, I just keep driving; if they don’t get out of my way, they are going under my tires. I’ve hit too many dogs for me to count, just with the car I have now and it’s brand new. Alex is the one good thing that’s come from me and all I did was give birth to him. I didn’t treat him nicely, I didn’t teach him good manners, I didn’t make him a good kid; all I did was give birth to him and I hardly struggled with that one bit. The nurses there said it was the easiest birth they had ever assisted. I was only in labor for one hour: took half an hour to get to the hospital, took ten minutes to find parking, took ten more minutes to get into the room, took five minutes to get me all adjusted, then it just took him five minutes to pop out of me like a cannonball. I didn’t feel one thing when he flopped out of me; I just sat there heaving and pushing for five more minutes, until I finally caught that what one of the nurses was saying, ‘Stop! You’re done! You’re done! The baby’s out! If you don’t stop pushing, you could shit all over the place’ and what happened? I shit all over the place. I looked over to the nurse and she had this face on with a frown and a sigh. That nurse had been through this too many times and she was sick of that shit. After it was all done, my first instinct was to just get out of the bed and walk out of the hospital. I didn’t even think about the baby. I sat up and started scooting myself off the bed and the nurses weren’t paying much attention to me, so I could have gotten myself out of there with no problem, but I started feeling all woozy and I decided it would be best to lie down for a bit. I fell asleep. Next thing I remember is the nurses waking me up to show me my baby. I kept saying, ‘No, I want to sleep’ and I slapped their hands away, but they kept insisting that I needed to wake up and hold my damn baby. I sat up, took a glance at my baby and said to them, ‘yeah, that’s great. That’s my baby, thanks.’ The nurses all rolled their eyes at me and told me to hold my damn baby. I took him in my arms and the nurse - the one who told me not to shit all over - asked me what I wanted to name it. Her voice was all monotonous and, Dr. Short Ass, you could tell she had a long day.”

“Ms. James, could you please stop calling me Dr. Short Ass? With you so keen on maintaining a professional environment, I think it’s the least you could do. Now, continue, what did you choose to name your baby?”

“You know very well what I chose to name my baby, Dr. Dumb Ass, I’ve told this story a thousand times. The only name I could think of was Alex, so I said ‘Alex’. Then the nurse asked me, ‘with a k-s or an x?’ I thought that was the dumbest question I had ever heard. Who the hell would name their kid Alex with a k-s? I had the decency not to call her out on that and said, in my most pleasant voice, ‘with an x’. Then, after all those boring hospital procedures and formalities, I took my baby home. You know, from a very young age I should’ve known he was gay. On special occasions, we would go with his grandma to this jungle themed restaurant that had all these fancy decorations, people dressed up as jungle animals, and some chiseled high-divers in speedos. Alex would always want to go watch the divers. I’d always be talking about crushes I had on celebrities like Keith Urban and Toby Keith and Alex would say to me ‘those boys are ugly. Why don’t you like cute boys like Duncan Sheik or Gavin Rossdale?’ That kid knew what he was talking about. He always did. I should have known that it was coming. When he told me and his father that he was gay, I didn’t really care. I was fine with it. I didn’t care what he did, as long as it didn’t cause any trouble for me. His dad, on the other hand, did care. His dad was furious. He told Alex to leave the house. I didn’t do anything about it. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.”

July 28, 2015 01:17:25 AM





The sun rose and everything fell – at least, that is how Alex felt. The world was moving quickly – spinning at 1,000 miles per hour and traveling around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour. Alex just never realized it until he suddenly, after the seventh month of an eight-month-long yoga retreat in Burma that his girlfriend forced him to go on, reached self-awareness. It was in that moment that he suddenly felt dizzy. Now that he felt the Earth moving, he couldn’t un-feel it. This wasn’t the worst part about self-awareness, though. He realized that his whole life was a lie. Before the retreat, he was the Oakland Raiders’ #1 Fan (he had a mug to prove it), but he realized that he only chose to support the Raiders because he loved the gray and black color combo – that “gut feeling” was actually a natural attraction to monochrome (so chic and versatile!).
And, worst of all, he actually liked yoga. Maybe he should have thanked his girlfriend for showing him his true self, but what would his friends think? His best friend Matt only knew how to make homophobic slurs, but he could be funny at times too. He only talked about football, though. How would Alex connect with him, now? It would seem forced if Alex kept on talking about football. Did Matt like anything else other than football? Maybe they could connect over how delicious Chipotle burritos were? Or, maybe Matt could try yoga, too? No, Matt hated yoga, even though he never tried it. They had been friends since high school, and now, an eight-month yoga retreat changed that. Who was he supposed to be friends with now? There was Anthony, whom he met on the yoga retreat. They immediately clicked, but Anthony was from Seattle and Alex was from Miami. How would they do long distance? What if Anthony were a bad texter? What if Alex were a bad texter? Did Anthony even use social media? It was too complicated. Besides, Alex had only talked to Anthony a few times during lunch. What if they started running out of things to talk about?
Alex decided not to do it. He still felt dizzy from the Earth’s rotation, but he was starting to get used to it. At the end of the seventh month, he decided to reconnect with Matt and leave the yoga retreat early. He told his girlfriend that he needed to go to work, since his boss was upset that he had not showed up to work in seven months. His girlfriend called him materialistic. They broke up, and he took a flight to Miami. Suddenly, he liked football again and, as he stepped out of the airport, the Earth seemed to stop spinning. Alex was Alex again. He decided that after he entered his condo, he would call Matt. They would talk about football. Matt would mention how the Raiders lost again and make fun of Alex for going on the yoga retreat with a girl he had only been dating for a month, leaving Matt behind to watch football alone. “Yes, perhaps this is the real me,” Alex thought as he arrived at his condo door. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 28, 2015 12:02:38 AM





The sun rose and everything fell. The sand started with a four foot stretch of dampness and galloped towards the boardwalk for two-hundred feet, dodging loitering seniors and sporadic dunes. The sun was barely visible; the clouds were in the way. Over a hundred exhausted seniors viewed this lack of a spectacle. A small group, unimpressed, started throwing a frisbee. They had some skill, but it was obvious that they were trying to show off. When one would be about to catch the disc, he would snag it instead of letting it come to his hand.
Alex Franzen couldn’t look at this without a cynical spin. She wasn’t the most optimistic person to begin with. Being middle class, Alex was aware that although it could be worse, it could also be much better. She also hated those “at least you have your health” people.
But that cynicism was a choice; this time it was a reflex. Alex viewed the athletes with the thoughts of last night scoffing in the background.
She looked over to her boyfriend Chas, his dirty blonde hair blending in with the sand in the background. Chas was joking around with his friends. After weeks of dating, Alex quickly picked up that Chas would become more obnoxious in public brouhahas than when they were privately conflicting. This social reaction gave Chas the upper hand from a thirty party perspective. How could the easy-going, charming boyfriend be the bad one when he’s stuck with the impulsive, emotional girl?
Chas said his bro-byes and strutted over to Alex. “Hey, you wanna go back inside?”
“Yeah,” she said.
“Are you sure?”
“Okay, I’ll ask you one more time. If you say you’re fine than I’ll believe it and I won’t ask you again even if you look pissed off.”
“Yes, Chas. I’m fine.”
“Slow down,” Chas said, catching up to her. “What did you think of the sunrise?”
“Disappointing. I thought that it would do more for me.”
Chas smirked, clapped, and rubbed his hands together Miyagi-style. “Oh, yeah. That’s symbolism or something, right?”
“I said I was fine.”
“ I was kidding. I can tell a joke, right?”
“Ooh. Funny, ha ha.”
“Alright. There’s definitely something.”
It was ironic, though, as Chas was one to not look past the surface. At their homecoming football game the most popular seniors won: a football player and a cheerleader. “They’re just the perfect couple,” Chas said. This was with all sincerity, too. He didn’t look past the surface. He didn’t see the sexism in it. He didn’t see it as the masculine man in the spotlight while the subservient girl in the short skirt cheered him on. He only saw it as the idea couple. The High School American Dream.
“Okay, we’re both tired. When we get back to the house, we’ll go to bed. We’re both cranky.”
“Okay?” he asked, more encouragingly than curiously. He proceeded to kiss her on the cheek, pushing the false restorative momentum. “You still have a buzz?”
He’s played this game before. “A little. You?”
“Yeah, I actually think so. I’m mostly just drowsy, I think.”
His drowsiness must’ve lasted all night. Chas and Alex first got to the shore house at two in the morning and he was poised to go straight to bed. Prom was interesting; no one really grinded because there was so much sexual tension. They’d have enough time during the weekend to diffuse it. Once people started getting a second wind, Chas caught it too. He then thought it would be a great idea to stay up late and avoid the awkward early morning hours of being awake while everyone was asleep that he had to endure during eighth grade sleepovers.
Chas’s favorite spot for parties was the pong table; this night was no different. Even if he didn’t play, he loved the sense of casual competition. He was in the middle of watching a blowout when he looked over to see Alex scowling at him. She was one of those girls that looked hotter with an angry scowl than a happy smile. No that she would notice. Scratch that; not that she would acknowledge. Alex suffered from possessing the ironic trait of patronizing women who used their looks to get them places but couldn’t help but uncontrollably blush when he gave her a compliment on her looks.
He was sure that she wasn’t mad at him because of his views on appearance--unless she was reading his mind (which she often did). She must’ve been mad about the way the party was going or the crappy playlist or--wait, she’s coming over now.
“Is this how the whole weekend’s gonna go? Will you just ignore me and wait for me to latch onto you?”
What a great way to start. If she actually preferred an issue--or a fabricated one, in this case--in hopes of solving it, she could be slightly more pragmatic in addressing it. She also could’ve not assumed that he was automatically against her.
“Alex, how do you know I’m doing that?”
“Because you are.”
“I’m just mingling. We don’t need to be attached to the hip all weekend.”
“Nice. Just battle one extremity with another extremity.”
“Just chill. Let me get us some drinks. I’ll be glad to hang out with you now.” The rest of the night was decent, but there was something off about it, like they lived in a parallel universe afterwards. Things just felt off. What was said couldn’t be unsaid. It was hard for Chas and Alex to be unconditionally affectionate towards each other after they knew what they were both capable of. Nonetheless, there was no visible conflict for the rest of the night, but if someone else from the house watched them for any more than thirty seconds the tension could be discernable.

They walked back to the beach house in silence. Chas would often look at Alex as if to say something, then turn back and shake his head.
The house now sported a thin coat of sand recently trekked in by all of the seniors which provided a grainy, almost sharp feel inflicted on their feet. The house wasn’t totally trashed; there were mostly suitcases scattered on the floor and kids scattered on the couches.
“Do you still wanna talk,” Alex said, “or just go to bed?”
“Do you have any questions? Because I’m good if you are.”
“No, let’s just go to bed.” They walked over to the room; the door was closed. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.