The Guy Who Wouldn't Flush the Toilet (a reek tragedy)
Ha ha. Get it?
But seriously, there was a guy leaving a horrifying mess in the toilet at work, one and sometimes even two times a day. On Employee Appreciation Day awhile ago when corporate provided everybody with free food, he did it three times!
I worked produce, man’s work, unpacking pallets of bananas and yams and potatoes and whatever. The employee johns were right there next to us. We weren’t allowed to use the customer johns, though the baggers had to clean them. Another guy in produce, Tanner, brought it up first.
"Who the hell is always leaving shit in the toilet?"
"Yeah, really. I’ve been noticing it for, damn, weeks now."
Heath, a guy who worked meat and who was standing just outside our door, overheard us. “Are you guys talking about the Mad Shitter?” he asked, coming in.
Me and Tanner laughed.
"Yeah, that’s what we’ve been calling him over in meat—the Mad Shitter."
"The Mad Shitter," I said. "That’s a good one."
"It’s been going on for months," Heath said.
"Really?" I said. "Months?"
Heath shrugged his shoulders. “Well, whoever comes across it flushes it down. You guys do, right?”
Me and Tanner nodded.
"That’s why you sometimes miss it."
"I wouldn’t say I miss it, Heath," I said.
"We’ve been keeping track in meat. It’s an everyday occurrence."
Obviously, the guys in meat were weirdos. We in produce always suspected and now here was undeniable proof.
"Who the hell drops the kids off at the pool, wipes, and doesn’t flush?" Tanner wondered. "That’s fucking sick."
"We think it’s Carl in dairy," Heath said.
"He’s the the squirrelly-lookin’ guy," I said. "Right? That guy who can only look at you with one eye at a time?"
"I didn’t know he was in dairy. I thought he was a bagger."
"He’s not mentally challenged, though," Heath explained. "Just looks it."
All the baggers in the store were mentally challenged. Company policy. One time, we were really slammed and the Big Boss asked me to work up front for a few hours, bagging and wrangling carts. Man, I felt smart that day, let me tell you. It was like I was Einstein or something.
"But you don’t know for sure it’s Carl, though, do you?" Tanner asked.
"No, it’s just a theory."
"Based on what?"
"The fact that he’s squirrelly-lookin’," I said and laughed.
"Pretty much," said Heath. He got an intercom for customer assistance in the meat department and scurried away.
"We need to find out who it is," Tanner said, "then kick some ass."
I shrugged. “Can’t. I’m a pacifist.”
"You know what I mean. It’s fucking gross walking in there. The fan’s never worked in the men’s john and it reeks. Sometimes, I can even smell it before I open the door."
"Yeah, me too."
"What if that smell wafts out onto the floor?" Tanner said. "Who wants to be squeezing an avocado while the faint smell of shit floats past their nose?"
"Well," I said indignantly, "certainly not me!"
"There’s gotta be something wrong with a person who leaves a big pile of shit for everyone to see, over and over again. Something wrong, like, psychologically."
"Maybe he should be a bagger after all," I offered.
"I don’t think it’s Carl, though," Tanner said. "I’ve gotten high with him before out by the dumpsters. He’s a pretty cool guy."
"I don’t really know him."
"He’s pretty cool."
"Maybe it’s you, Tanner," I said, nudging him. "Maybe you’re the one leaving all the shit."
"Fuck that! You’ve seen how often I wash my hands!"
"You do wash your hands a lot. Almost like there’s something wrong with you, like, psychologically."
"I gotta wash my hands a lot. It’s all those chemicals they spray on the fruits and vegetables. I don’t wanna get cancer."
Just then Tanner began washing his hands. We were standing in “the back”, the non-public area of the produce department. Stacked around us were boxes of bananas, squash, and potatoes. We were by the sink, obviously, which was right by the door. Past the bananas, squash, and potatoes was another door that led to the large produce cooler. There was a plastic window in the door by which we were standing. Through it we could see the entire produce area of the store—our jurisdiction, so to speak. Also, whoever had to use the employee bathrooms had to walk right by this window. We were in a prime position to conduct an investigation.
"You know," I said to Tanner looking out the window, "we’re in a prime position to conduct an investigation."
"Into the identity of the Mad Shitter? I say we totally do it."
"We have to be diligent. We may even have to take notes."
"So? I’ve written before."
We went to the paper goods aisle and got pocket notebooks and Bic pens. These we marked off as “store use” and from that point on we wrote down the name of every male employee who went to the bathroom. Not only that but after they were done one of us checked to see if there was unflushed shit in the toilet. it was a strange investigation, but still kind of fun. It took our minds off the monotony of our job anyway.
"I feel just like James Bond," Tanner said three days into the investigation.
It wasn’t until about a week and a half in that we cracked the case, and it wasn’t squirelly-looking Carl. Nor was it Heath, who had become me and Tanner’s main suspect simply because he knew so much about the Mad Shitter.
"I bet it’s that fucking Heath," Tanner had said one day, and it made total sense to me. "You know, one time I even saw him eat garbage?"
"Yeah, in the breakroom somebody had thrown away, like, half a burrito and he fucking picked it up and ate it, right there in front of God and everybody."
"Wow," I said. "Nothing says ‘I like to shit in the toilet and not flush it’ quite like eating garbage."
But it wasn’t Heath. It was James, who worked in pricing. We knew little of him, or anybody in pricing, for that matter. They sat in front of computers, usually, preparing the ads for the papers and making signs for the store. We only saw them periodically, when they emerged to adjust the prices throughout the store. Oh, and when they had to go to the bathroom.
James had entered the bathroom around 3 pm on a Tuesday and had stayed in it for what seemed like a really long time. When Tanner went to see if he flushed (it was his turn to check), he hadn’t.
Tanner walked up to me where I was putting the apples into neat alternating rows and said “Code blue.”
"It’s still smoking, my friend. We have a winner."
"That James guy from pricing?"
"It’s a game."
Now that we knew who the Mad Shitter was, we didn’t know what to do about it. Tanner had talked about confronting him, but Tanner often talked. And what do you say to a guy like this?
"Um, excuse me, sir, but can you stop shitting in the toilet and then, you know, not flushing it?"
Or maybe: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow! If it’s brown flush it down!”
All we knew about James was that he was of medium build, had brown hair, and ate a high fiber diet. Neither Tanner or I could ever recall speaking to him, so we decided to try Heath.
"Yo, Heath," we whispered to him conspiratorially, "ever talk to James?"
"He’s the Mad Shitter!"
"Yep. And we don’t know what to do about it."
"How do you know it’s him?"
Tanner unleashed the notebook from his pocket. “3:03 pm,” he read, “James from pricing enters john. Stays long time. 3:41 pm, James from pricing leaves john. 3:42 pm, I enter john only to discover horrible mess of shit festering in what can only described as an abused and degraded toilet. 3:42.5 pm, I flee bathroom, gasping for air.”
"What the fuck?" Heath said and cracked up. After five or so minutes of laughter, he said, "I don’t know what you should do about it. Man, you guys in produce need a fucking hobby."
"What the hell do you think this is?" I protested.
Over the next few weeks, we did nothing—well, except double-check our findings. Every time James from pricing went to the bathroom, we checked to see if he flushed and, sure enough, never ever did. It was becoming a traumatic experience for us, racing into the the bathroom only to find horrors unimaginable waiting for us, horrors were knew were there waiting for us.
"We must be fucking masochists," I said to Tanner one day as we left the bathroom.
"Of course we’re masochists," he said. "We work in a grocery store."
Finally, the annual outdoor kegger thrown by assistant store manager Jim rolled around. Everybody was there except the Big Boss and the Mormon guy in floral. Even James was there—with a girl, no less. A hot girl.
"You see that girl with James?" I asked Tanner.
"Hell, yeah," he said. "I got wood."
"Don’t stand so close to me then."
"Don’t stand," Tanner sang, dancing away, "don’t stand so close to me…"
After I got 8 or 9 beers in me, I resolved to talk to James’s girl. Maybe I would tell her he constantly shat in the toilet at work and didn’t flush. Maybe she would leave him, all grossed out, and fall in love with me, a guy who always flushed. We would live happily ever after, perhaps, with a clean and frequently flushed toilet.
Keep in mind I was pretty drunk.
I kept my eyes on them, waiting for James to get lost, but he was always hovering around. Finally, FINALLY, he left her alone. Probably went to the bathroom to take a dump and not flush it.
I decided to try humor. I am, after all, totally fucking hilarious. I walked up to her and said, “Got a joke for ya.”
"Oh, yeah?" she said, her voice like liquid honey. "Tell me."
"A rich guy and a poor guy were talking and discovered that their wedding anniversaries were on the same day. ‘What did you get your wife this year?’ asked the poor guy. ‘A brand new Mercedes and a diamond ring,’ said the rich guy. ‘Wow!’ said the poor guy. ‘Yeah,’ said the rich guy proudly. ‘That way if she didn’t like the diamond ring, she could take it back in style. What about you, what did you get your wife?’ ‘A pair of slippers and a dildo,’ said the poor guy. ‘That’s odd. Why those presents?’ asked the rich guy. ‘That way if she didn’t like the slippers she could go fuck herself.’"
"Heh," James’s girl said, and rolled her eyes.
Just then James the Mad Shitter came up. “What’s going on?” he said. “You busting a move on my woman?”
"Busting a move? What time is it, 1994?"
"I was just talking."
"He told me a really stupid joke," she verified.
"This is my woman," James said. "Mine."
"Hey, I was just talking."
"A really stupid joke," she said.
James sat his beer down, unzipped his pants, and began urinating a circle around where she stood.
"Dammit, James, not again!" she said.
"You’re mine," James said, as he peed, "all mine!" He cackled maniacally.
"Well, be careful," she told him. "Last time you got some on my ankle."
At that I turned and ran. “Tanner!” I cried. “Jesus Christ, Tanner, you won’t fucking believe this!”
Just sitting around having some drinks. Whiskey sours were invented for summer evenings like this, I believe. There’s a storm over there in the left of the sky and it makes my dog Duke nervous. He can smell it coming, so he’s trying to sit on my lap, but I have relegated him to my ankles because I can’t write with a dog in my lap. The poor thing is scared to death of thunder. By cooing to him and loving on him when he’s scared like this, I only reinforce things, or so I have read in a dog book. I act nonchalant instead. I AM nonchalant. It’s no act. This is the Upper Midwest and this is the summer. Thunderstorms happen nearly every evening. Big whoop.
Tonight is a full moon—a super moon, in fact. Here’s a post I wrote about a previous super moon.
No word on my truck. Everyone’s telling me it’s probably out on the rez by now. Oh well. I guess someone needed it more than I. Dammit, though, my thermos was on the seat! I fucking loved that thermos. Bring it back, whoever you are, and you can just have the damn truck!
which is kinda funny cuz it is practically outta gas and the power steering is broken. you need muscles to drive it. additionally, the ignition is fucked up and it’s tricky even turning the key, which is why i never bothered takin’ it out.
i only ever used it to haul things to the dump: yard waste, broken furniture, dismembered corpses.
i can’t believe someone actually stole it. weird. next thing you know, i’ll come home and all the trash in my dumpster will be missing.
Like any American town, we have dozens of Starbuckses. There’s a Starbucks over by the mall that even has another Starbucks inside it. It’s located in the bathroom. You go in to tinkle or leave a deposit and, lo and behold, there’s another Starbucks.
“Hello, sir. Would you like a Mocha Java Latte Grando Supremo Machismo for $47 while you take a dump?”
“Well, I’d rather have a little privacy, what with having ate Taco Bell earlier, but sure.”
The one I’m talking about is on Mt. Rushmore Road, for any of you locals who might be reading this.
I went over there last evening and got an iced tea. I was sitting outside pretending to write because HELLO I’M A WRITER. Actually, I was downloading a bunch of episodes of the tv show Storage Wars and playing computer Go (and getting my ass kicked even though I had it set on level completely fucking stupid). It was a lovely evening.
Closing time rolled around and the manager, a rotund man about 50 with salt-n-pepper hair and glasses, came out.
“Hello, sir,” he says to me. “We’re about to close, but I don’t want you to think you have to leave. Our wi-fi is on all night long. Camp out till sunrise if you like.”
“Thanks, but I was about to head out anyway.”
“Oh, no, no, stay as long as you like. Please don’t feel rushed.”
He proceeded to clean up the little outdoor cafe area where I was sitting, which, by the way, was already completely spotless. Then he went back inside. Some of the lights around me went off and it got darker, which I liked. I clicked over to porn and pulled out my junk.
Haha—just kidding. Maybe.
About ten minutes later, the manager popped out again. “Would you like another iced tea or a glass of water?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine.”
He popped back in again, only to pop back out a few minutes later. “Last chance for some more iced tea. It’s a warm night. I don’t want you to get thirsty.”
“Ok, sure. I’ll have another iced tea.” He popped back in again.
I pulled a five from my shorts (which may or may not have been around my ankles) to pay for the tea, but when he popped back out with it, he says, waving a hand, “Oh, no, no, it’s a freebie. Our registers are already cashed out for the day.”
“Holy shit, really? Well, thanks a lot.”
“No problem, sir. And, again, stay as long as you like.”
“Have a good night!”
“You too and thanks again.”
More lights went out and, apart from a nearby streetlamp, I was in complete darkness. I heard cars leaving from behind the building and I was finally alone. I reached in my pocket and pulled out the Wet® strawberry flavored lubricant I kept for just such occasions. My breathing became heavy.
The Supreme Court makes a good decision. Holy shit.
On Wednesday, the Supremes ruled UNANIMOUSLY that cops need a warrant before going through your device. The ruling used the somewhat antiquated term “cellphone”, but we all know that what everybody is carrying around is much more than a phone, cell or otherwise.
Mine, for example, is also a flashlight.
Chief Justice Roberts recognized this: “Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.”
I’m starting to like this Court more and more. In history, one day, we may refer to “the Roberts Court”, the one that faced down the internet age and said people have a right to be left the fuck alone.
Of course, the Obama administration, as well as the state of California, opposed the decision, saying it would hamper police work. But Roberts set them straight, saying: “Sometimes privacy has a high cost.”
Indeed it does. And it’s worth every goddamn penny.
Old: So now that I gave up beer for calorie reasons, I have been drinking whiskey.
I fooled around a bit, then settled on ryes. I like how ZINGY they are. So, I been drinking all this rye whiskey, most commonly Old Overholt, and then, one day, came across some bourbon. Well…it tasted flat. Honestly, it tasted like rye whiskey would taste if it was cut with water and a pinch of sugar.
Today was a day I had earmarked for drinking. I went to my regular source and they were outta rye. Rather than drive someplace else, due to laziness, I decided to try a bourbon yet again.
Old Grand-Dad, bonded.
I have to say, I am impressed and I like this bourbon. The first one ever. It doesn’t remind me of dessert or ice cream, which the other bourbons I have tried do. It has a little zing. Of course no rye ZING, but a zing. A cute little zing! It’s creamy like most bourbons, but in this case it doesn’t feel like you’re drinking cum. It goes easy down the throat, but burns on its way.
I would strongly recommend Old Gradndad Bonded 100 to the serious whiskey drinker, whether his bent is rye or bourbon.
I made vegetarian chili and ate it and drank two glasses of iced tea and urinated.
Then I went for a walk in the crisp mountain air at the time when the day has died but the night is not yet born.
I saw ducks in a pond and an upside down trout. His gills were moving but not for long.
There was a young couple on a bench. She rested her head on his shoulder. They were silent, unmoving in the fading light, and I sensed sadness emanating from them like radiation.
There was a parking lot full of teenagers and I listened to them being loud, smiling to myself. I turned away from them and went down a path and I could still feel their energy hitting me on the back like full summer sun.
I walked away from the buildings and people in my town, down the winding path, and in the forest the night was truly born. It wrapped me up like a heavy blanket. I felt fear and my pace quickened, even though I walked further into the dark.
In the dirt below I discerned tracks, shadows within shadows, and knelt down. I illuminated them with my cellphone, and saw they were mountain lion, the claws jutting out a full two inches—an adult and probably female.
They were not fresh, but I still turned around and went quickly back home.
I’ve always found the phrase 'raw sewage' confusing. I don’t think its rawness needs pointing out. It’s not like cooked sewage is a thing—and thank God for that, too, because can you imagine anything more horrifying?
“Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars—mere globs of gas. Nothing is “mere”. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination—stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern—of which I am a part—perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star, as one is belching there. Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar, rushing all apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together. What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little bit about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined! Why do poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”—Richard Feynman
I realize this is a weird summer bitch, but I dreamt during my nap that it was winter and I was holed up in a cabin with a real fireplace and I was thinking, in the dream, how I fucking hate gas fireplaces.
With their unnatural blue flame and their lack of campfire smell and their stupid, stupid fake metal “logs”. God, I fucking hate them.
Every time I see one I think, “Oh, the owners of this place are dipshits”. The coffee shop I used to frequent had one. I used to go there to write because I find it easier, often, to go somewhere else and write than to sit at home and write. It’s like I’m going to work! Like I have a real job! I even put all my writing implements in a briefcase so I really look like I’m actually doing something.
But I couldn’t focus at the coffee shop with that evil fucking stupid gas fireplace. Always it was there, screaming at me peripherally, “Hi, Mike!”
No longer do I frequent the coffee shop with the fake phony fireplace. Not even in summer.
Downtown there is a grand old hotel. Straight outta the late 1800s it came, when America could still call itself a free country and not burst out laughing. In the lobby, which is big and rustic and appointed with heavy wooden furniture upholstered in dark smelly leather, there’s a huge stone fireplace. Tall as me is the actual place in the fireplace where the fire is placed. A mini bonfire could rage in there easy as pie, warming all the well-dressed late 1800s people, who, I imagine, sat around the smelly leather lobby smoking INDOORS and perhaps even shooting at each other with thoroughly unregulated firearms.
But not today. Oh, no. Some brain-damaged, simpering individual switched it over to gas, probably muttering chickenshit modern words like “lower insurance costs”. I wish I could meet this brain-damaged, simpering individual in a dark alley, and shoot him with an unregulated firearm for the stupidization of a grand old hotel. I would have clenched betwixt my teeth a Clint Eastwood type cigar while I did it. I would even be wearing around my head a little specially-built helmet-sized house, just so I could fucking SMOKE INDOORS.
“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”—Tecumseh
Sitting on my porch the other day eating a Jonathan apple, I was approached by a door-to-door salesman.
"How you doing, sir?" he asked with a voice full of phony sunshine.
"Spectacular," I replied, and I was.
"It is," and it really was.
"You look like the type of guy who hates to clean house, am I right?"
"Actually, I find it somewhat meditative," I told him. "Particularly the kitchen."
"A foodie, huh?"
"No. I hate that word. I like to cook and bake and be in the kitchen. The kitchen is the only place in the Universe that makes complete sense."
"I’m Colton," he said, sticking out his hand. From his other hand hung his bag of tricks. "And you are?"
"Michael," I said. We shook.
"I see you are a fan of apples," said Colton. (What kind of a name is Colton?)
"I like apples, yes. Calling me a fan may be a little extreme."
"I am a fan of avocados, though, but I’m all out at the moment."
"I see." Colton shifted. He was getting bored with our inane conversation.
"Did you know," I pressed, "that the word ‘avocado’ comes from the Aztec language and means ‘testicle’?"
Colton indicated that he did not know by saying, “I did not know.”
"Michael," he launched, "today is your lucky day."
"You have no idea."
"Have you ever found yourself scrubbing and scrubbing on something in the kitchen and no matter how much elbow grease you put into it the darn thing just won’t come clean?"
"At that point I’d just throw it away."
"And have to buy a new one, right, Michael?" He rummaged briefly through his bag of tricks and pulled out a spray bottle of cleaning fluid. "I present you OxyConkin’, the money- and time-saving answer to all your cleaning prayers."
"Seriously, OxyConkin’? That’s its name?"
"Yes, because it conks out stains.” When he said the word ‘conks’, he took a gentle swing at the air with his fist, causing me to crack up.
"OxyConkin’." I snorted.
"It was developed by German scientists using a secret formula of orange oil and oxygen. It is, without question, the latest in cleaning technology."
I laughed harder. “Cleaning technology,” I snorted.
"I’d be more than happy to provide a demonstration if you have any doubts, Michael."
"Oooh, boy," I said, wiping tears from my eyes. "You can call me Mike."
"Mike. Ok. You can call me Colt."
"Yeah, I’m not going to do that. Colt? Yeah, sorry." I shrugged my shoulders.
"Let me ask you something, Mike. Is your kitchen clean?"
"For the most part. I made a sandwich a few hours ago and didn’t clean up that. In fact, I left the onion out. I better put it away. I hate when my onion dries out, don’t you?"
"I wouldn’t know."
"Fast food guy, huh?"
"With your permission, I’d love to demonstrate the mind-blowing cleaning power of OxyConkin’. Shall we step inside?"
"By all means."
In the kitchen, I slipped my exposed onion into a plastic bag and stuck it in the fridge. Colton rummaged through his bag of tricks and came up with a cleaning rag. He squirted OxyConkin’ all over my largely clean counter tops, filling the air with a pleasant orange-y smell, and set to work scrubbing. He was going on and on about how awesome it was—on grease, on wine stains, on this, on that, but I wasn’t listening to him anymore. I stood behind him, watching as he cleaned and cleaned. Quietly, I opened a drawer and pulled out my Henckels chef knife.
Long, have I been a fan of Henckels cutlery. For anyone serious about cooking, Henckels is the only way to go. A word of warning, though: only get those made in Germany. It will cost you a pretty penny, but it’s worth it. There are more affordable Henckels available, made in that Land of Cheap Crap, China, but you’ll be getting screwed. Basically, you’ll be paying too much for an el cheapo knife. Because of the Henckels name, the price will be jacked up, even though you’re just buying an el cheapo knife. If you want an el cheapo knife, fine, but get a no-name and save some money.
Colton was saying something about how the orange oil and oxygen in OxyConkin’ work in tandem, literally pulling stain molecules up and surrounding them, when I stuck the knife into the back of his neck, all the way to the hilt. I twisted it and heard a pop!, which was most likely his skull and spine separating.
Seriously, people: Henckels knives.
Colton slumped to the floor, still clutching his fragrant cleaning rag. I got down on my knees and looked into his eyes. They were watery—tears maybe? His throat gurgled and blood oozed from his nose and lips. The moment when life leaves a pair of eyes is really quite extraordinary. There is an inner light in eyes and when it goes out, you can totally tell, even though nothing really changes. They don’t glaze or mist over, though that might be the closest way to describe what happens. Really, though, the inner light just, blink, goes out. Nothing changes, but everything changes.
Watching the inner light leave a pair of eyes is certain proof of the soul, I’m sure, and I’m lol-ing at the scientific types who think everything is just brain chemicals.
Lol, lol, lol.
I put Colton in the bathtub, where I undressed him, throwing his clothes into a heavy duty trash bag. His cell phone, too, I shut off and put in the bag. There was a lot of blood on my kitchen floor and leading to the bathroom. I have linoleum in the kitchen and hardwood everywhere else, so I cleaned first with paper towels, which I threw in the trash bag with Colton’s clothes, then with OxyConkin’. Apart from masking the stench of blood with that delightful citrus smell, it didn’t seem to perform any better or any worse than cleaners I have used in the past. The smell, though, was really nice. It was like I was cleaning up a murder scene in an orange grove.
Colton’s bag of tricks, along with everything in it and everything his blood had touched, went into the trash bag with his clothes. I knotted it shut and took it out to the garage where I threw it in my deep freezer, which was empty due to me having turned into a vegetarian a few months ago. Then, using my Henckels knives, I removed his limbs and head. (By the way, I was right—his skull and spine had separated.) These I put into another trash bag and stuck into the deep freezer.
Before I put his torso into its own bag, I removed his penis and balls. These I put on a plate and sat in my fridge.
When everything Colton had brought into my perimeter, including his body and blood, was bagged and freezing, I opened my garage door and wheeled out my charcoal grill, which I got going with some lighter fluid. While the coals were reddening, I wandered out to the sidewalk. I was sure Colton had parked nearby, but I recognized all the vehicles on my street. Perhaps he was a block over. His cell phone and car would certainly pin him to this neighborhood, but I was pretty confident.
"A door-to-door salesman, officer? I can’t recall any."
As I walked back to my grill, Jim from across the street hollered at me. “Whatcha grillin’, Mike?”
"Nothin’ much," I hollered back. "Just a hotdog and a few meatballs."
He waved and went inside his house, clueless like everyone else.
My sole connection to the outside world has been my local paper which features hilarious headlines like this: RACE FOR REGISTER OF DEEDS HEATS UP.
Lol, seriously? Next year I’m going to run for dog catcher! We need to ELECT this person? Isn’t this basically an office job, filing, collating…? How is this a political position? I seriously want to know.
I think we should elect the cashiers at our grocery stores. During the debate, they could add and subtract prices in their heads while we watch, pretend to make an informed decision, and then just vote for whichever one shares our party affiliation.
I sort of been on hiatus. A media fast, if you will—no tv, no internet, for, like ten or twelve days now. I read somewhere about Kurt Cobain going on a media fast, only he went all out—no books, no music, no nothing, just him looking out his own eyes at reality. Me, I read books (in French, even!) and listened to music, Country mainly but also the Rolling Stones and the Dead Milkmen. Also, does doing crossword puzzles count as media? I do crossword puzzles to relax, which, if you knew me in real life is very funny because I’m the most relaxed guy in the Universe.
If I was anymore relaxed I’d be asleep.
So what are use guys up to? I’m at the bar drinking beer and being on the internet for the first time this month.
Got my garden in. Various tomato and pepper plants, mainly, but I also have a row each of cabbages, onions, leeks and radishes. The radishes will be ready before too long. I also have a pumpkin plant that I have growing in a bag of compost a little ways off from the garden.
Life is good.
I’ll be interneting and drinking the night away, so I will keep posting as shit pops into my head. Also, I wrote you guys a story while I was away.
When I was riding the rails toward the end of the Great Depression, I learned many things from my hobo mentor.
One rainy night outside of Peoria he told me, “Never play leap frog with unicorns.”
The Great Depression was a misnomer and a shitty time for everyone. Thank god the war came or I don’t know what would’ve happened. Course, nowadays young people mock it. “Oh, yeah?” they’ll say, “I grew up in the Great Depression, too—my mother’s.” Then they’ll throw their heads back and laugh, eat a handful of “meds” and text someone about how they just totally burned this old guy with wit so sharp even light sabers cower before it like frightened, castrated puppies.
But I digress.
He was a good man, my hobo mentor, and thorough, teaching me the ways of the trail in all its gory detail. His name was Juan Valdez and he laughed readily and often, for Mexicans are a very festive people. With him always was his pet dog, Steve.
"Steve?" I remember saying to him that rainy night outside of Colarado Springs when we met. "Who name’s a dog Steve?"
"I do," he said. "Why, what’s your name, Spot?"
His high-pitched, insane-sounding laughter bounced around the empty rail car like a ricocheting bullet and we were inseparable after that.
We went to Santa Fe and Monterrey, we went to Missoula and Tuscaloosa. We went to the places in between and to the places off to the sides. We drank whiskey along the tracks, the stench of urine stinging our eyes.
He taught me when to steal food and when to beg for it. He knew the charitable of heart in every town and he knew the beasts that chase you off their land, out of their yards, away from their trash and their chicken coops.
"You’ll get everything you want in life if you lower your expectations," he told me one rainy night outside of Sheboygen, and he was right. Instead of wanting a big house and a big yard surrounded by a big picket fence, I simply wanted a soft, dry place to sleep, which I got more than not.
We knew our charmed life was coming to an end. There was a crazy bastard in Germany and a crazy bastard in Italy and a crazy bastard in Japan and war was coming sure as shit.
We split the road one rainy night outside of Louisville, me going north and him going south. I figured I’d get lost somewhere up in Alaska till the war blew over, and Juan headed to his homeland of Poza Rica de Hidalgo because he didn’t want to get caught in the U.S. while there was a draft going on.
His parting words to me, “Even the simplest things can be done rong,” still resonate, not because they were particularly wise or penetrating but because I realized then and there that Juan was batshit crazy, loonier than a spring-loaded basket full of rubber transmission fluid.
I never saw him again and even went down to Poza Rica de Hidalgo in the 80s for a while after I robbed a bank. I asked around for him, but nobody knew what I was talking about because, for some reason, everybody spoke Spanish.
These days, I’m back home in Hartford, Connecticut, the “insurance capital of the world”. I spend the days tending my cactus plants and drinking myself to death. Life is good, even though it’s almost over.
The Buddha taught many wonderful things, but karma was not one of them because, come on, karma is a stupid concept.
Karma is the idea that you will get punished somehow, someway by “the universe” for your actions. Or rewarded: good karma. Buddhism is an atheistic religion, which is kind of redundant since all atheisms are religions. If you don’t believe me, just talk to an atheist. He has a set of doctrines and dogmas just like a theist, only he’s gives them different titles. He will yammer on about cold, dead materialism, usually using the words “chemicals!” and “evolution!” a lot. He will never satisfactorily explain why it is that the human being is the only object in the cosmos which can experience beauty or contemplate and be horrified by it’s own death, why the human being is the only object in the cosmos which UNDERSTANDS that it is an object in the cosmos. The terrible and utter uniqueness of the human being is a major problem in the atheist dogma and they will often say something like “Aliens!” to counter it. For the universe to be nothing more than a big giant machine that somehow came into existence and churns for no reason whatsoever, man cannot be as special as he is, thus “Aliens!” There are other creatures just as unique as us living on distant planets! Since there are other creatures just as unique as us, why, we ain’t so special after all, are we? Of course, the proof of these aliens is exactly that of God: Zilch. So the atheist is a creature of faith, just like a theist. Unlike a theist, though, he’s boring as hell.
Me, I’m a theist, just like Einstein, and thus very interesting :)
Karma is based on a mechanistic and deterministic view of morality. Since human morality is infinitely more subtle than can be satisfactorily explained by “chemicals!” or “evolution!”, a more subtle way of explaining it without God is needed. Enter cause and effect, which is all karma is. If you do something wrong, something shitty will happen to you in turn. Or if you do something good, something neato will happen to you in turn. Cause and effect.
The problem with karma lies in its extrapolation, which naturally occurs in Buddhist philosophy. Ultimately, what happens with karma is that everything is the result of karma, and this is what Buddhism teaches. The life you are living is the result of previous karma. The reason you starve yourself isn’t because you have surrendered your power over to unrealistic images in a media controlled by the demon “patriarchy”, its because of karma. Everything that happens to you is the result of karma and every decision you make is also the result of karma. Buddhism presupposes reincarnation and sees a distinction between Life and this life. It’s all a circle and this life that you are leading is merely a segment along the circle of Life’s radius. The karma you have done in a previous life affects this life, ad absurdum. As a human being, you should be thankful, for, according to Buddhism, you’re near the top! In your previous lives you have accumulated enough good karma to be here, all human and shit. You could’ve been a cockroach.
The great fallacy in Buddhism is the fact that, ultimately, cause is eliminated and everything becomes effect. Karma, according to Buddhism, isn’t moral cause and effect, but simply effect. Ah, such is the way of a religion that denies or does not acknowledge God (the First Cause).
Buddhism is aware of its own fallacy and there are reams of written material in existence dealing with it in one way or the other, all without broaching the concept of God directly—which explains the reams since, ultimately, the fallacy of Buddhism is its Godlessness. You can’t say morality is a simple cause and effect thing while at the same time denying free will and the First Cause. Sorry. Even an astute college sophomore can see that.
So that’s why it’s stupid.
I can see why American liberals love the concept of karma, though. It frees them of all personal responsibility and solidifies their victimhood into the very structure of the universe, haha.
I was perhaps excited and stoked the other day in my post, what with it finally before a judge, what with folks cheering and hanging around in front of the federal courthouse. I, perhaps, was having a “Fuck yeah!” moment.
Our courts in this country usually creep along like vines going up the side of a building. We are all entitled to a fair and speedy trial, but this is 2014 America and I think we are all mature enough to snort and say “Yeah, whatever” to that.
The suit was originally filed at the end of last year or the beginning of this one by a lesbian couple who lives right here in my town. They’ve been together some 20 years. Other gay couples joined them in their suit and so here we are, waiting.
While waiting, I have reacquainted myself with marriage as presented in the Bible. It is hardly as simple as being “between a man and woman” as the right wingers claim. It’s forever, for one thing. How many heterosexual Christians who claim that marriage is only between a man and a woman have a divorce (or two) under their belts?
Very few people, of whatever sexual persuasion, practice the type of marriage taught in the Bible. What we practice, really, is serial monogamy with a legal aspect. In fact, there’s probably no way of knowing if you have a Biblical marriage until death finally does, does you part.
Gay marriage is old enough now in some states that we are seeing the beginnings of gay divorce. At the moment, most prominently in Hollywood and among celebrities. Marriage of any kind, even temporary monogamy without even a legal aspect, is on very shaky ground among those people, ravished as they are by their own egos.
I see the gay marriage issue entirely in terms of freedom. If gay folks want to pretend that they will be together forever for awhile like us heterosexuals, let ‘em! Who knows, maybe one day a gay marriage will be done part by death?
Then and only then, I contend, do we have a right to sit around and pointlessly debate on whether or not it was a Biblical.
The Gay Marriage Ban is about to be struck down in my state. High five!
It went to court today, according to the paper. Not sure how long it’ll take, but any clear-thinking, freedom-supporting judge will strike that shit down, as we have seen in state after state, most recently in Oregon.
I’m sorry, but this is America and you CAN’T WRITE DISCRIMINATION INTO LAW. The majority does not have the right to treat a minority like shit. That’s not democracy. One of the catchphrases (i.e., lies) of the communist revolution in Russia was “Dictatorship by the majority.”
Only recently did I become aware that we even had a gay marriage ban. I don’t remember voting on it. Obviously, I would’ve voted against it, but I really don’t recall it happening. Maybe I was out of state then or in one of my non-political periods. I guess it’s been around since the nightmare that was the George W. Bush administration. I spent a lot of that time blackout drunk for obvious reasons, so maybe that’s why I don’t remember.
I live in the second largest city in South Dakota, only a few blocks from the county courthouse, and when it does happen I’m going down there to witness it. I think it’ll be so cool. Nothing ever happens here.
I’m not the sort of person to carry a sign or be very vocal about political shit (except on the internet, where I am very brave), but you can be sure I’ll give the happy couples a thumbs up. We ain’t all backwoods gun-fucking rednecks!
PS: driving down here to post this, I passed the federal courthouse and there’s a dozen, dozen and a half supporters out front waving signs and cheering—supporters for over-turning the ban. I honked and waved. I’m guessing it’s before the judge as I post this. Perhaps a decision will come as soon as today or this evening…
is when you refer to yourself as more than one person to make yourself sound like a whole organization, even though you’re not. In your mind, it makes you sound official-er. “We” are starting this great new website! “We” want you to join “us”!
Bullshit. I know it’s just some guy, his laptop, and a dream.
I seem to have some sort of bullshit business plural radar. I can spot it a mile away. It just stands out to me as jarring, like how yelling “FUCK!” in a church stands out to the little old ladies in the pews. Sometimes, though, I hear the business plural and don’t even notice it. Know why? Because I am talking to a representative of a real organization and I can just tell.
Call it cynic’s intuition.
Mostly, when I detect the bullshit business plural it’s on the net. Not always, though. I will hear a plural pronoun and the hair will stand up on the back of my neck and I will just know it’s one guy in his mother’s basement.
Look, you may be an entrepreneur of some sort and I respect that. Maybe you really are in your mother’s basement and you want to get the fuck out of it because she’s a total bitch with a glue and gold spray paint problem and you have this crazy idea that might actually work. Why must you refer to yourself in the plural, though? Is it false humility (which is the greatest form of egoism)—embarrassment at using the word “I”? Is it really because you think you sound more official?
I don’t know but every entrepreneur in America—and we are a nation of entrepreneurs—refers to him or herself in the plural, even before they hire employee one. Perhaps especially before.
Look, there’s nothing else to do in this country anymore but be an entrepreneur since we shipped all our manufacturing jobs to Asia. “We” did it, not the corporations. “We” want the cheapest shit “we” can get our hands on and for that to be possible “we” gotta get someone who will work for peanuts to build it. Enter Asia.
One time I was in a store and heard a woman loudly bitching about the price of bananas. They were 65 cents a pound, but at a store down the road they were only 59 cents a pound. She was actually insulted by that.
You must understand that there are two kinds of poverty in the world: American poverty and real poverty like you find in Africa and India and so forth. When I was homeless, 90 percent of the people in the rescue shelter had cellphone service of some kind, including me. We had nowhere to sleep, but at least we could text each other about it.
I bet an entire village in Africa could be fed and clothed by the contents of a Walmart SuperCenter’s dumpster. There is a reason these big stores lock up their dumpsters at night and it’s not because they don’t want other people using them. It’s because here in America, even our garbage is fucking gold.
and did she send me her picture to sweeten the bitterness of absence, I should have certainly a kind of consolation, but I should not have a true joy. So has Truth acted in regard to us. After our separation from her, she has bequeathed us her portrait, and this is the physical world, which she has placed before us to alleviate the misery of our privation. But what is the contemplation of the copy compared with that of the original?
writtenwren said: Those are cougar pants. Careful. They are shiny to attract you like the angler fish. Before you even know what happened, you’re drawn in and CHOMP cougar-vag done bit off yo head.
klay-ra said: It’s different in my demographic??? Anyone with designs on their jean pockets is one of three things: sale shopper at Ross, slightly ghetto, or trying to appear younger than they really are.
shadow-writer said: Not universal. You’ve been looking at the asses of some tacky women.
I like cougars, but they have no interest in me, for I am nearly a cougar myself. What do you call a male cougar? A dirty old man, hahaha. And I live in Rapid City, South Dakota, without question a tacky ghetto :)
Since when did the back pockets of every woman's jeans become elaborately designed?
I have been noting this for a few months now. I admit without shame that I oogle every female ass I am in the vicinity of. I am very much pro-ass.
But, like in February BANG! elaborately designed back pockets. Like, overnight. Always done in white and often sparkly, the designs are reminiscent of baroque style and are quite over the top, even distracting.
Here I am trying to check out an ass when I find myself checking out the back pockets instead.
I don’t hate them or anything, but they are distracting. I also find it weird how suddenly universal they are.
random thought, weren't you working on something about crazy church people? did i imagine that? was that ever a thing? it was a while ago, i think you said you would be "studying" by going to church, or was that just all a joke that i too way too literally?
No, I’m doing that next. “Sunday’s Are For Church”, I’m going to go to a service at every church in town and write about it. We are approaching 100,000 people in this area, so it’ll be a lot of churches, I expect.
By the way, sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I never check my messages because very rarely are they actual messages from actual readers.
If anybody wants to read some of my other stuff, find it on Amazon here.
My uncle, whenever he used to rip one, blamed it on a “barking spider”. He thought it was funny. When I was a kid and he knew he was going to be around me, he would eat a bunch of Mexican food, just so he could rip one and blame it on a barking spider.
"Barking spider!" he would say and throw his head back and laugh. Me, I was terrified. I imagined horrible, evil spiders crawling around my house with little dog faces.
I dreamt last night that my mother had faked her own death and was still alive and living in Texas. I connected with someone over Tumblr who lived down there, a married couple with kids, and they allowed me to stay with them them while I hunted her down. Only, I made a terrible mess of their pristine, tv-show clean house, and they asked me to leave.
I have been working a very physical, manual labor job lifting bananas. I love it. People pay gyms to work out (well, for a few weeks after New Year’s Day anyway) but me, I get paid to work out. I sing calypso in my head all day long while I do it. When I arrive at work in the morning I cry out “Day-Oh!”, scaring the shit out of my co-workers. Often, after peeing or pooping, I check out my guns in the bathroom mirror. Hell, yeah.
"Banana lifter," I tell people when they ask what I do. It’s funnier than telling people I’m a writer.
Currently got the day off and am sitting around the hoitiest of toitiest of coffee shops. They’re so hoity and toity they actually shut off their wi-fi at night. The prices are the highest in town but I can totally afford them now what with lifting all those bananas. All over the wall are framed quotes of Theodore Roosevelt, who is, apparently, the owner’s favorite president.
I’m drinking a glass of iced Assam tea and it is good, or, as Teddy would say, “Bully!”
The place is called Bully Blends. I ain’t a shittin’.
After I comb my beard and check my guns in the mirror, I will take a selfie so you can oogle at me.
Got it at an auction. I love auctions, second-hand stores, antique shops, yard sales. I’m not a collector of anything by any means (no money), but I love old things, junk, oddities.
I’m Mike, the leering minimalist.
I do occasionally purchase something and Saturday at the auction I done purchased everything Ambrose Bierce wrote. Two very thick books in a box of other books—$20 for the whole shebang.
I already had the Devil’s Dictionary, a delightful work, but his most obvious. Satire and obviousness SHOULD NOT READILY MEET. This is my bitch with The Onion, though it isn’t their fault. They’ve just become so known for satire that they can no longer do satire effectively, in my opinion.
For satire to be effective, I contend, half the people you expose it to must think it’s serious.
If you haven’t read anything by Bierce, I highly, highly recommend it. If Stephen King and The Onion hooked up and had a love child, that love child would be Ambrose Bierce.
One morning, instead of going to the library to hang out and peruse the help wanteds in the paper, I went to Job Service. They were surprised to see me there. (excerpt)
“Um, you know you can do this all on the net, right?” the woman behind the counter said to me, annoyed. “It isn’t necessary to come down here in person.”
“Sorry to trouble you,” I said, “but I don’t have internet.”
She stared at me, blinking. “Excuse me?”
“Internet. I don’t have it.”
“Hm.” She picked up a phone, pushed a buttom, and in hushed tones with her hand partially over her mouth, said. “Sorry to bother you, Bill, but there’s someone here in person, someone who doesn’t have internet.”
“I can hear you,” I said. “I’m standing right here. Isn’t this Job Service? Aren’t the people who use this government agency in, you know, somewhat dire straits? Is it really hard to believe that a person could not have internet?”
“Bill will be right with you. In the meantime, fill this out.” She handed me a form on a yellow plastic clipboard. It had a pen attached to it by a string.
I went to the empty waiting area, sat down, and got to work on the form, which was basically a general job application. I loved filling out job applications and preparing resumes. The closest a person can ever come to perfection is when he or she fills out a job application or prepares a resume. Ten minutes later, I was totaly perfect and watched as a rotund man with salt and pepper hair and glasses approached me from the warren of cubicles that made up Job Service. His hand was out as he walked.
“I’m Bill,” he said and we shook.
“I understand you don’t have internet.”
“Yeah. Apparently, that’s some sort of crisis around here.”
He chuckled. “Oh, no. Just…unusual.”
“I would think a lot of people in my situation would be without internet—you know, jobless, broke.”
“You’d be surprised,”Bill said. “Even most of the homeless people we set up for day labor jobs have internet service on their phones.”
“God bless America,” I said, and handed him the form.
I followed him back to his cubicle and we sat down. “I see most of your experience lies in restaurant cooking and convenience store cashiering,” he said. “Are you still interested in those fields?”
“I don’t really care. I just need a job. Anything.”
He handed me a bundle of pages stapled together. “These are today’s listings. You can go through them and see if something catches your eye while I set up your account.”
Bill swiveled his office chair around and began typing into his computer, hunt-and-peck fashion. Next to him, looking directly at me, was a framed picture of a terribly ugly, slack-jawed baby.