I have to tip my hat to Coca Cola, and the ad agency that came up with the “America the Beautiful” ad.  Coke knew it would generate controversy – as did just about anybody who watched it – and now they’re in the news cycle and will be for the next week or so.  “Controversy” can certainly be good publicity.  The reactions to the ad were predictable and perhaps overstated by those wanting to call out others for being intolerant (myself included, I will admit), or so I thought.  And then I saw a headline on my Facebook feed that reminded me that both sides are all-in on this.  It was from Herman Cain’s site, caintv.com.  I have no problem with Herman Cain and I enjoy his sense of humor, and I think he’s a shrewd businessman – hence why he’s jumping in against Coke.  The headline of the article read “The problem with the Coke ad: You don’t get to invent your own definition of America.”

Let that digest for a minute.  You don’t get to invent your own definition of America.  You, obviously meaning anybody who disagrees with me.  The headline was enough for me but I still read the article, and it was about what I expected.  “That’s a problem, because America actually has a real definition connected to its founding and history. And we need the America of that definition. The real one.”  Again – your definition of America isn’t the real one, if it disagrees with theirs.  “The goal of communists and socialists is to destroy our ideals from the inside out. Redefining words is child’s play.”  There we go, we got the twin boogeyman of the Obama apocalypse mentioned, communism and socialism.  What, no more love for Marxism?  Somewhere in a Russian tomb, Karl is crying tears of dust.

Actually, Coca Cola does get to invent their own definition of America.  Just like I do.  Just like the conservatives do.  Just like everybody does, and just like the founding fathers did.  The invented their own definition of America and even provided for it to be redefined as necessary.  Smart men, them.  Perhaps they shouldn’t have invented their own definition of America and just stuck with Colonial rule.

One of the not-so-savory aspects of the internet is that we are much more exposed to opinions that don’t just differ from ours, but seem to be diametrically opposed to them as well as being batshit crazy.  To me, it really is batshit crazy that people would get so upset about this ad.  If you disagree with it, fine.  I see stuff I disagree with all the time but I rarely vent about it, or even worry about it.  In my definition of America, that’s part of what you get with your admission fee and it’s part of what makes America, America.  This would probably be a horrible country if everybody agreed with me, or if everybody was in lockstep with any one person or ideology.  What makes this country work, and what we seem to be losing (of course, cable TV has a fiscal interest in playing up the differences, to get us to watch) is that ability to respectfully disagree with somebody and yet still respect them and form a compromise with them.  I respectfully disagree with you that having to press “1″ for English is a bad thing – if I had a business I would certainly try to cater to as many customers as possible, and that would mean having voice prompts in different languages.  It’s good business sense.  However, I find myself falling into the “us and them” mentality when I see the overblown reaction to this commercial.  I just can’t understand getting so upset about it.

You may disagree with me, and that’s fine.  In my definition of America, we can do that.  But maybe, dial it down a little bit.  It isn’t the end of America.  It’s just you and me and we just disagree.

The Aftermath

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Aftermath

 

CHARACTERS

Roy – husband, mid-30s, short hair, just a bit out of shape

Janet – wife, mid-30s, trim, long red hair

Conroy – has something to do with Roy, looks exactly like him

 

SCENE 1

[Takes place in Roy and Janet’s bedroom.  King size bed, modern but nondescript furniture and bedding. ROY and JANET are both in bed, both with a sheen of sweat.  They are both sitting up with their back on the headboard, Roy in boxer shorts and Janet in a negligée.]

 

ROY

That was…wow.

JANET

I know.  That was incredible.  You made me come three times.  That hasn’t happened since [pause, JANET looks down and then continues] well, it’s been a while.  Good job, honey.  Wow. 

ROY

Well thank you, ma’am.  You were something else yourself.  I think you broke something on me but I’m not complaining.

JANET

If I did, it needed to be broken.  [Reaches over to her nightstand, grabs at nothing]  Hey stud, can you go get me a glass of water?  I need to replenish.

ROY

You got it baby.  [Stands up on the bed] Want anything else while I’m up?

JANET

Ha ha, not yet, lover.  Not yet, but soon.

ROY

Yeah, give me some time to recover too.  I’m not young anymore.

JANET

That’s OK, I need to rest for a bit too.  Now go get that water before I dry up.

ROY

On my way.  [Exits stage left.]

 

 

SCENE 2

[Takes place in the kitchen.  Modern fridge, elevated dining room table with four chairs.  ROY walks in from stage right past the table to the fridge to grab a bottled water.  CONROY is sitting in a dining table chair with his back to the wall, ROY doesn’t notice him until he walks by him on the way back to the bedroom (Stage right, where he entered) and then he starts.  CONROY is dressed in a ratty robe, open, and slightly dirty boxer shorts.]

ROY

What the…what the hell?  [Fumbles the bottled water and then catches it.]

CONROY

‘ello, mate.  Nice romp there for ya, eh?  Eh?  She was a fookin’ tiger, am I right?  [Scoots his chair out, leans back, sticks a hand in the waistband of his boxers.]

ROY

What the fuck are you doing there?  How’d you get in here?  What…

CONROY

Come now, mate, you know why I’m here then.  You let me in.  You wanted me here.  I showed you what to do with ‘er and you did it, right good.  Bitch hasn’t had a rogering like that since before she met you.  Wanna know who it was with?  I know.

ROY

No, I don’t wanna know.  No.  Wait…what do you mean you know who it was?  It wasn’t me? [Pulls out a chair, sits down, sets down the bottle of water.]

CONROY

Ah mate, come on, you know.  Fella she was with afore you.  Big burly guy, you remember.  Handsome devil, he was.  Hung like donkey, he was.  I mean, we’re…I mean you’re not bad down there an’ all but that guy.  Yeah.  Must have been difficult for him to sit down.  Eh?

ROY

Whatever, I’m not jealous of him.  He was a Neanderthal.  And, I’m good for her, she’s happy with me.

CONROY

Of course she is, mate.  Sure she is.  [Lights up a cigarette, takes a deep pull, exhales smoke toward the ceiling.]  You just keep telling yourself that, pretty soon you’ll believe it, right.

ROY

No, no, you’re not gonna do this to me, I’m not gonna fall for it.  She’s good with me.

CONROY

Right you are mate, for sure.  You’re all she ever wanted and most of what she needs.  But hey, what do I know, right?  I mean, I only showed you how to take care of her tonight and she’s only in there half knocked out from pleasure.  Whadda I know?

[From offstage, JANET shouts]

JANET

Hey, where’s that water?  Did you pass out or something?

CONROY

[Whispers to ROY] Let me take this one, mate.  Trust me.  [Yells offstage to JANET, in a voice that sounds exactly like ROY] Coming dear, just a minute.  [Takes another long drag on the cigarette, winks at ROY.]  Whadda ya say, buddy?  I can tell you all about it, and I can tell you how to make her forget him.  She still thinks about him sometimes, ya know.  When you’re having problems, and only flying  at half-mast, so to speak.  Eh?  I can make you make her forget him.  One-time offer though, and it’s about to expire.

ROY

No.  No, just no, okay?  I’m not falling for this.  Yeah, we did good this time but I’m not gonna push it.  She’s good right now.  She doesn’t need anything else.

CONROY

Right you are then.  She’s good.  She’s not even thinking about him right now while she’s waiting for you to get back.  [Takes another long drag on the cigarette and stubs it out on the tabletop.]

ROY

Right.  She’s good.  [pause]  Wait, wait…she’s thinking of him right now?

CONROY

Ah, she is then, but just a little bit.  It’s probably nothing to worry about, mate.  She’s gonna stop soon.  I’m sure she is.

ROY

[Stares at CONROY, then shakes his head.]  No, I’m not gonna…I’m not.  I’m just not.  [Pause]  OK.  I can’t believe I’m doing this, but…how?

CONROY

Right then, that’s a man.  But if you want my help you gotta be specific.  I wannna hear it from you.  How what?

ROY

[Puts his head in his hands, rests elbows on the table.  Looks back up at CONROY.]  How do I make her forget about…him?

CONROY

Ah, that’s my mate.  Right good then, it is.  How do you make her forget the last guy?  It’s easy then.  There’s actually a few ways to do it.  One, get her to do a threesome.  She really wants you to do that, be a man and take charge.  Tell her it’s gonna happen.

ROY

What?  Come on, man.  That’s crazy.  She’s not into women.  I know she isn’t.  She’d have told me or something.

CONROY

Right mate, I was pulling your leg.  She’d up and slap you if you tried that shit with her.  Good man, your head’s in the game.  OK, seriously then.  She wants you to take the dirt road with her.  Know what I’m getting at?  The dirt road?

ROY

What are you talking about?  [Pause]  Oh, oh no.  Not that, no she doesn’t.  I tried that before.  Twice.  Remember?  It didn’t work and she was pissed.

CONROY

Don’t trust me then, mate.  It’s up to you.  But if you don’t believe that, there’s one other way.  One other way for sure.

ROY

What is it?  You’d better not be fucking with me or you won’t be back for a while.  I know you hate that.  Tell me the truth, goddammit. 

CONROY

Ah, that’s my lad, that’s me lad for sure.  There’s some of the fire you need.  But you should know, I don’t show up when you want me to, I show up when I want to.  You don’t own me.  But yeah, the way.  The way to make her to forget about Big-Dick Jimmie.  How do I say this?  Let’s see…she wants you to get rough with her.  Really rough, mate.  Smack her around a bit.  Take charge, piss in the corner, mark your territory.  She wants you to show you that she’s yours.  Do it.  Take fucking charge. 

ROY

That’s…no way, that’s not possible.  That’s…hmm.

CONROY

Right, you know it’s true.  Deep down in our heart you know it.  Get rough with her.  Take it out on her.  Put her in her place, mate.  She wants it, she needs it.

JANET

[Yells from offstage]  Where’s that water?  Come on?  Are you still awake?

ROY

Just a second, honey.

CONROY

[Mimics Roy in a quiet voice]  Just a second, honey.  [Normal voice, snorts.]  You’re so whipped, mate.  You’re a pussy.  You couldn’t do it even if you wanted to, which you do.

ROY

I’m not falling for that shit, I’m not.  [Gets up, pushes the chair in and grabs the water.  Walks to stage right and exits.].   No fucking way, I’m not.

[CONROY smiles a broad smile and disappears.]

 

 

SCENE 3

[Takes place back in the bedroom.  ROY enters from stage left.  JANET is on the bed in the same position she was when ROY left.  The television is on and the remote is in her hand.]

JANET

About time you got back here.  Give me that.  I’m about to dry up here.

ROY

Damn, take it easy.  Here you go.  [Hands the water to JANET.  She takes a long drink, puts the cap back on, and puts the bottle on her nightstand.]

JANET

Finally. 

ROY

[Pause] What?  [Tilts his head at an angle, moves right next to JANET.}  What did you say?  Did I fucking make you wait too long then?  [Towers over JANET, who shrinks down a little.]

JANET

What?  What are you talking about?  Chill out, it’s OK.  I was just thirsty.

ROY

Chill out?  Chill out, eh?  How about this to chill out?  [Slaps JANET in the face, hard enough to make her head turn.]  Why don’t you chill out, and then get over here and blow me, bitch.

JANET

What the hell are you doing, asshole?  What was that for?  [Cowers, pulls the comforter up to her chin.]  Get out of here.  What happened to you?

[CONROY pops into the scene on ROY’S side of the bed.  JANET can’t hear him. CONROY rubs his hands together.

CONROY

Oh yes, that’s it.  Keep it going, mate.  Keep it going.  She’s getting as damp as a swamp on a summer day.

ROY

Shut up bitch.  Get over here and suck my cock before I give you another one.

JANET

What is this, some sick game or something?  What the fuck is wrong with you?  What are you doing?

CONROY

You know what you’re doing.  Don’t stop now, she’s on the edge.  She’s almost forgotten that other cock she used to ride.

[ROY gets on the bed and slaps JANET again.]

ROY

That’s what you want, isn’t it?  You dirty bitch, you know you like it.  Now start sucking me.

CONROY

Ahhh, that’s good mate.  She’s yours.

[JANET throws off the comforter and jumps out of bed.  She  opens the drawer on her nightstand and rummages in it, looking at ROY the whole time.  She finally grabs a large dildo and holds it in front of her.]

JANET

I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you but if you don’t get out of here right now I’m gonna shove this thing up your ass and break it off.  I swear, I’ll do it.  Get out.  Now.

ROY

What?  What the hell are you talking about?  You know you want this.

CONROY

Don’t give up now mate.  You have her.  Don’t quit.

JANET

I don’t know what got into you, Roy, but whatever it is you need to take it and get out of here.  Nobody does that to me, not even you.  Get.  Out. 

ROY

[ROY shrugs and backs away from her.]  You…you don’t want this?  You really don’t want this?

JANET

No.  Just get out.  Get out, asshole.  I don’t want to see you anymore.  Get out.  [JANET holds the dildo at arm’s length on front of her, between her and Roy.]

ROY

I don’t…wait a minute.  What?  Out?

JANET

[Screams] Get the fuck out, asshole.

[ROY hesitates and then exits stage left.  JANET slams the door shut behind him and then gets into bed and starts crying.]

 

 

SCENE FOUR

[ROY walks into the kitchen from stage right.  CONROY is sitting in the same chair he was in before, smoking another cigarette.  His robe is off, in a pile on the floor.  He looks disappointed.  Roy pulls out the same chair he was sitting in before and sits down.]

CONROY

What the fuck was that then, mate?  You had her and you let her go.  You were so close.

ROY

Just shut the fuck up, ok?  Shut up.  You saw that.  You saw how she was.  I scared the shit out of her.  I’m done.  There’s no way she’ll forgive me.  We’re done and it’s all because of you, you asshole.

CONROY

Because of me then?  Right, OK.  You know you wanted to do this, I just gave you permission.  You fookin’ nancy. 

ROY

No I didn’t.  I did it because you said it’d make her forget that other guy. 

CONROY

And it worked, didn’t it?  She’s forgotten all about him now.  Trust me on that, mate. 

[JANET enters from stage right.  She’s dressed in wrinkled clothes.  She doesn’t look at ROY as she passes him by.]

JANET

Good bye, Roy.  Don’t call me.

[JANET exits stage left.  There is the sound of a door slamming shut.]

CONROY

And there it is, my boy.  She has forgotten all about old Big Dick now.  Completely out of her mind, he is.

ROY

You fucking…you fucking asshole.

[ROY jumps up from his chair, knocking it over.  He reaches for CONROY as if to strangle him.  CONROY disappears.]

[The sound of CONROY’s laughter is heard, and it slowly fades.  ROY looks around the kitchen and then sits back down in CONROY’S chair.  He lights up the end of the cigarette CONROY was smoking.  ROY puts his head in his hands and then slumps down on the table, cigarette between his fingers.  It burns down to his fingers, making him cry out.  He flicks the cigarette into the sink.]

[The curtain closes.]

[End.]

 

My first one-act play

Posted: November 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Again, for my advanced creative writing class.  Enjoy.

 

Retired

 

Characters

Captain Staggering

El Castigo (Captain Staggering’s sidekick)

Boltman (African American super villain turned super hero)

Nurse

Gazerbeam

Various unnamed retired super heroes

The action takes place in the Home for Retired Super Heroes (HoRSH).

[The living room of HoRSH.  CAPTAIN STAGGERING and THE CASTIGO are watching TMZ on the huge-screen TV in the rec room of HoRSH while other superheroes mill about.  STAGGERING is in a comfortable chair, CASTIGO is in a worn wheelchair.]

STAGGERING [gesticulates at TV while he’s talking]: Can you believe this shit?  Can you believe what Tom Cruise is saying now?  He’s comparing himself to the military and he’s a goddamned movie actor.  An ACTOR!  Can you believe that?

CASTIGO [wakes up after having nodded off]: What?  Oh yeah, unbelievable jefe, unbelievable.  What he said.

STAGGERING: I know!  What a punk.  He don’t know what the military goes through, or people like us, saving people’s lives and doing it for something other than a million dollars.  He’s a goddamned punk.  [looks around the room, lowers voice] And he’s a Jew too, I’m sure.  And probably a peter-puffer to boot.  That Sorry kid probably ain’t his. 

CASTIGO: I don’t know jefe, I’ve heard she’s his, but yeah, Cruise sucks.  [puts hands on wheels to roll away]. 

[STAGGERING puts his hands on CASTIGO’S leg to keep him from moving]

STAGGERING: Don’t go anywhere buddy, it’s almost dinner time.  Ha ha haha!  Now look at that.  There’s that Kardashian whore and her ni…her black husband.  Why do we need to see those two?  What have they ever done for anybody?

CASTIGO: I guess they’re just famous for being famous, you know?

STAGGERING: That and her sex tape when she was with another colored guy.  I tell ya, it makes me glad I’m going to be dead soon.  I don’t have to see this crap on my screen anymore and good riddance.

[from in front of STAGGERING and CASTIGO somebody yells “Pipe down, you old bastard.”]

STAGGERING: You shut up Gazerbeam or I’ll pipe you down.  Gazerbeam.  More like Gazerbum if you ask me, all you did.  Stupid eyes.

[The door to the HoRSH rec room is opened by an orderly and the nurse pushes in a hunched-over figure (Boltman)covered in a blanket,  in a wheelchair.  The nurse gets him to the center of the room and stops.]

NURSE: Okay everybody, it’s that special time again.  We get to say hello to somebody new.  We have somebody new staying with us.  Everybody, say hello to Boltman. [Boltman shrugs off the blanket and straightens up, looks around]

[murmurs around the room from other super heroes]

STAGGERING: Did she say Boltman?

CASTIGO: Yeah.

STAGGERING: What the hell?  Boltman?  Here?  This place is for heroes, not villains.

[STAGGERING gets up from his chair and walks over to where people are gathering around BOLTMAN.  He elbows his way through the crowd to stand in front of BOLTMAN. ]

STAGGERING: Well hello, Boltman.  Welcome to the HoRSH.  I hope you enjoy your stay here, where every day I’m gonna remind everybody of what you did and why you’re no hero, no matter what you did later on.  I know you.  I know who you are and I know what you are and I know you’re rotten to your dark core, and me and CASTIGO here [reaches behind him for CASTIGO, who is still by the chair where STAGGERING was sitting, and is dozing off]…I said CASTIGO here! [CASTIGO snaps awake, slowly rolls his way through the crowd to get by STAGGERING’S side] will be watching you all the time.  All the time.  You’re ours, boy.

BOLTMAN [looks up at STAGGERING and smiles]: Well, hello Captain Staggering.  Long time no see!  I’d hoped you could let that water under the bridge stay under the bridge but I guess not.  I’ve apologized over and over and over for it, I am truly sorry and I wish you nothing but the best.  That was another life for me and since then I’ve seen and followed the light. 

STAGGERING:  You can take your apologies and stuff ‘em where the sun don’t shine.  A zebra can’t change his stripes and you’re a zebra plain and simple.  I don’t trust you, never will.  I don’t think this wheelchair is even for real, you can probably still run your skinny ass off.  I’m gonna get you, man.

BOLTMAN: I’m sorry you feel that way, truly sorry. 

[STAGGERING turns away from BOLTMAN and walks away, pushing CASTIGO with him.  Everyone moves away from BOLTMAN, the stage lights dim and the spotlight shines on him]

[to audience]

BOLTMAN: It was a long time ago.  I was still a punk kid, and Captain Staggering and El Castigo were barely older than me, wet-behind-the ears super heroes.  Stagger was just like Superman, all big and strong and dumb muscle.  His super power was like he’d OD’ed on steroids and lived to tell the tale.  I don’t know how he recruited El Castigo to work with him.  Casty didn’t have any super powers but he was like Indiana Jones with the whip, I still have a scar from him.  El bastardo.  Anyway…as you can guess, my power was super-speed.  I know, black guy runs fast, ha ha.  Anyway…I’d just robbed a liquor store, second one that day.  I needed the money; super villains gotta eat.  I was walking across the Quinn Bridge when they finally caught up with me.  I was cocky, didn’t think nobody could catch me.  Had my back to them, didn’t know they were there, and Castigo slapped that whip around me, held me fast.  Shit.  Stagger came running up behind him and clocked me one, hard but not too hard, I guess he was afraid of hurting me too much.  Still had his whitebread image back then, ya see.  So I acted like I was knocked out; easy to do because I’d had plenty of practice doing it with my drunk-ass dad.  Bastardo loosened his whip and they gave each other a high-five.  I jumped up, pushed Bastardo…sorry, I mean Castigo – it’s ok, we’ve made up since then and he’s cool with me – over the bridge and kicked Stagg’s feet out from under him just like that, he dropped like a sack of potatoes.  How was I s’posed to know a beaner like Castigo couldn’t swim?  I thought they all could.  Anyway…Stagger got up, looked at me, and then jumped over the bridge and into the river to save his partner.  I ran away, laughing at them.  A little while later, I was moving my game up, robbing a bank, and Gazerbeam caught me, stunned me from behind with his peculiar peeper and kept me stunned until the cops got me and sedated me.  While I was in super prison I changed my ways, saw the light, whatever you wanna call it.  I changed and started doing good.  I guess the press liked my redemption story because they started covering me and ignoring Stagger.

[Spotlight dims, stage lights back on. GAZERBEAM walks over to BOLTMAN]

GAZERBEAM: Ah, don’t worry about him, he’s just a dusty old fart.  All he does is bitch and moan all day and drag his sidekick along with him everywhere.  Just between you and me, I think Castigo hates him and is waiting for him to die.

BOLTMAN: Hey thanks, GB, thank you.  I appreciate the support.  I’m not worried about him.  He ain’t nuthin’ to me.

GAZERBEAM: That’s all well and good but you best be careful, OK?  You never know what a sack of hate like him could do and it’s best not to chance it.

[GAZERBEAM pushes BOLTMAN away and STAGGERING moves to center stage.  Stage lights dim, spotlight on STAGGERING]

[to audience]

STAGGERING: Oh no, I can’t take this, I can’t take this.  I’m not gonna sit here and let that…that…African-American pull his wool over everybody else’s eyes.  This is my place, my house, this is where I belong and I’m not gonna let him stay here.  I know he’s still bad, always will be, and he’s here because he wants to take me out.  No way I’m letting a colored fella like him take me out, no sir.  He’s done.

[STAGGERING moves away from center stage.  CASTIGO get up from his wheelchair and walks into the spotlight]

[to audience]

CASTIGO: I’m not really crippled and I don’t really speak with an accent.  I’ve lived here all my life and I did good for myself, but then I ended up here and Staggering stuck me in this wheelchair and made me his Mexican monkey.  I was just too tired to fight him and now I have to keep up the act or he’ll beat me.  He’s still pretty strong, you know.  Not as strong as he was but strong enough.  [pause]  I hate him.  I can’t wait for him to die. 

[CASTIGO sits back down in his chair and rolls over to STAGGERING’S side, spotlight goes out.  BOLTMAN wheels back to center stage.  Stage lights back on]

STAGGERING [talking to CASTIGO].  OK, this is what’s gonna happen.  I’m gonna go over there to Boltman and push him out of his chair, scare the crap outta him, make him get up and show he’s a fraud. 

CASTIGO: Is that really a good idea, jefe?  What if he isn’t faking?  You’d better be careful, be sure. 

STAGGERING: Oh, I know he is.  I can tell when he’s lying, which is most of the time.  You just let me take care of this, stay back.  I don’t want you messing me up.

CASTIGO: Your wish is my command, jefe.  You got it.

[CASTIGO wheels to side stage.  STAGGERING and BOLTMAN meet at center stage.  Other super heroes form a sloppy line at stage rear]

STAGGERING: This is it, Boltman.  Time to give it up.  I know what you’re doing with that fake wheelchair.  I know you can still walk and run just fine.  I’m giving you one chance now, get up and show everybody what a fake you are.  I’m giving you five seconds before I make you show everybody you’re faking.

BOLTMAN: I don’t know what you’re talking about, man.  My legs barely work anymore.  Please, just let me be.  Just let me be. 

STAGGERING: Five…four…

BOLTMAN: Please, you don’t wanna do this. 

STAGGERING: Three…two…one.

[STAGGERING slaps BOLTMAN hard across the face, making his head snap.  BOLTMAN remains in the chair.  STAGGERING slaps BOLTMAN again, BOLTMAN’S        head snaps again.]

STAGGERING: Last chance, nigger.  Get outta that goddamned chair or I’m gonna make it hurt.

BOLTMAN [spits out a little blood, smiles up at STAGGERING] I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Do your worst. 

[STAGGERING upends BOLTMAN’S wheelchair, spilling him on the floor in a pile.  BOLTMAN doesn’t move.  STAGGERING stands over BOLTMAN.]

STAGGERING:  Get up.  Get up, god damnit.  I know you can.

[BOLTMAN still doesn’t move.]

STAGGERING: So that’s how it is, huh?  That’s how it’s gonna be.  OK then.

[STAGGERING  kicks BOLTMAN in the leg, BOLTMAN doesn’t move.  STAGGERING rears his leg to kick again and GAZERBEAM comes running over.  A beam of light shoots from GAZERBEAM’S eyes and hits STAGGERING, freezing him in place.  From stage right CASTIGO gets out his chair and snares STAGGERING with his whip and then pulls him to the ground.  STAGGERING is still as GAZERBEAM and CASTIGO help BOLTMAN into his chair.  CASTIGO gets back into his chair.

BOLTMAN [wipes dust off his legs, crosses them for a moment and then uncrosses them – nobody else sees this]: Um hm, that’s how it is. 

[NURSE walks to center stage, puts on a stethoscope and checks STAGGERING for a heartbeat.  She shakes her head and then stands up]

NURSE: He’s got a heartbeat but it’s weak.  I don’t know if he’s gonna make it.  He’s so old and beat up, I don’t think he has much longer left. 

[GAZERBEAM moves to center stage in front of STAGGERING.  CASTIGO and BOLTMAN get out of their wheelchairs and walk over to either side of GAZERBEAM.]

GAZERBEAM: That’s OK, nurse.  I think you’re right.  I think his time is over.  I hope it is.

[CASTIGO and BOLTMAN drag STAGGERING’S inert body off the stage.  Lights dim, curtains close]

[end]

 

A fable, featuring dung beetles

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

So I had to write a very specific fable for my advanced creative writing class – it had to have an animal, have broad themes, and be about not doing homework, and be around 300 words.  Of course, I thought of dung beetles.

What’s the point of this assignment?  wondered Oswald the dung beetle.  Determining the liquidity of various types of dung?  Dung is dung! he thought.  It doesn’t matter how liquid it is once you ball it up and roll it home.  The heck with this, I don’t need to do this assignment. I can roll dung just fine without it!

And so Oswald didn’t do the assignment, and he didn’t learn about the liquidity of various types of dung.  He still managed to pass all of his classes and he graduated Dung High School, although with no distinction and quite anonymously.  Oswald didn’t attend his graduation either, because he couldn’t find a date for the Dung Dong Ball that followed.  All of the dung beetle-ettes were more taken with the “rollers” (that was what the dung beetles called the jocks of the beetle world, the ones who made rolling poop into a ball somehow look simultaneously easy and artful) than they were with the “crappers” like Oswald, so he decided to avoid the embarrassment of rejection and not even ask any beetle-ettes. 

After Dung High School, Oswald worked various odd jobs sorting dung for shady bosses, who then sent the superior dung to the Rollers for rolling, and worked Oswald until he couldn’t take any more and moved on to the next lousy job and lousy boss.  Finally, after years of enduring this and seeing all the dung beetle-ettes with their dozens of offspring and going home to his empty, lonely hole, Oswald had had enough.  He decided to go to Adult Dung School and he took a class on Dung Liquidity, and did so well that he then decided to take Advanced Dung Liquidity. He then took a Dung Volleyball class, because electives are fun and that’s where you meet the ‘ettes.  After Adult Dung School Oswald started his next lousy job working for a shady boss, but he didn’t remain a Sorter for long.  He started showing the Rollers how to better do their jobs, and soon after the shady boss promoted him to Roller.  It was the second-proudest day of his life, right behind the day a few months later when he caught Betty-ette’s eye and all eight of her legs.  Soon, they were rolling wonderfully foul balls of dung together.

Social contract, motherfuckers!

Posted: September 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

That’s actually a line from a Patton Oswalt comedy bit, where he talks about walking his dog in a lousy part of NYC and still cleaning up the dog’s mess, because social contract, motherfuckers!  Social contract.  “Social contract” in a nutshell is: be a decent person.  Clean up after yourself, don’t leave a mess for others, don’t be an asshole.  Social contract often pops into my head at odd times, and almost constantly whenever I’m in a casino.  

I was in one last night for a while, the fabulous Spotlight 29 in Coachella to see Bill Burr (and Jason Lawhead opening for him – Lawhead was good, Burr was nuts and awesome as expected) and I was frequently reminded of the social contract (unwritten) because of all the violations of said contract.  First and foremost is the smokers.  God damn, the smokers in casinos.  It’s their only remaining Shangri-La, the only place where they can smoke at will and fuck everybody else, especially the goddamned non-smokers!  A casino is the only place where it’s still 1963 and you can walk around with a smoke in your hands and not be some sort of pariah.  I hate that.  When I was a kid, my mom smoked, a lot.  She did it to piss of my dad, mostly, which is another story.  She smoked in the car with the windows up (which may explain a bit about how I turned out, yeah) and made us kids clean the windows.  That was wretched.  That made me hate smoking and it’s something that sticks with me.  So yeah, smokers at casinos.  I wish I could fart on demand, and not just a simple fart but a loud and stinky one, so that when I’m riding a lucky streak on the “Lord of the Rings” slot machine and some half-lung hunkers down right next to me and lights up, blowing smoke in my area and ruining my nerd mojo, I could aim a fresh one at them in return.  Social contract, motherfuckers!  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  And yeah, I know – if you don’t like the smoke, get out of the casino.  Have you ever been to the non-smoking sections of a casino?  Defying all logic, it’s even sadder than the smokers sitting zombie-eyed at their slots, smoking and pushing buttons while I hover around them with my air of smug superiority.  

As much as the smoking bothers me, I’ve learned to accept it with what ill grace I can muster.  However, there is another violation of the social contract that irks me even more.  To illustrate, a photo:

Image

 

I know what you’re thinking: what’s wrong with that?  Take a closer look.  Look at the trays on the table, and then look to the right.  There’s a trashcan right there with a neat stack of trays on it, where the trays are supposed to go when you’re done with them.  Evidently, some people are so goddamn lazy that they can’t make it the extra two feet to the trashcan to drop off their trays, which is interesting considering they had to walk to that table to drop off their trays.  

Look closer, at the trays on the table.  The one on top is askew.  It came from the table in front; you can see his black t-shirt in the picture.  He scooted back in his chair just enough so that he could stretch at his max wingspan, and put that tray there.  Never mind that 24 inches to his left was where the trays went.  Never mind that he left it askew, so nobody else could stack another tray on top of it.  He exuded the minimum effort to get the tray off his table, and fuck everybody else.  Never mind that after he was done stuffing his face he was going to walk right by where the trays went.

Social contract, motherfucker!  Quit being so lazy.  

Hey, even a blind squirrel finds a crazy nut every once in a while.  The following picture has popped up a few times recently on my facebook feed:

Image

It’s usually accompanied by some sort of rhetoric like “fuck yeah, come and get your ass kicked, Westboro!” or something similar.  I find this line of conversation interesting.  First, let’s take a quick look at the WBC.  The most curious thing about them is that they have roughly 40 members, according to wikipedia.org.  Yet they’re one of the most widely known Baptist sects around, because of the free publicity they get from their outrageous stances.  40 members.  I could make a fan club for this blog and have 40 members.  OK, maybe 30 or 15 or so.  Point is, 40 members ain’t that many.  Faster Pussycat gets more than 40 people at most places they play.  Maybe they should start protesting funerals, too.  Anyway…the WBC ain’t that big but they have a huge media reach.

Now, let’s briefly examine Slayer.  They’re a heavy metal band with album titles such as Hell Awaits, Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, God Hates Us All, and Seasons in the Abyss.  The song “Hell Awaits,” according to wikipedia, features a backwards recording of a demonic voice saying “join us” and “welcome back”.   Heck, when I listened to one of their songs for this blog my dog heard it and transformed into a goat on the spot.  I’ve never gotten into Slayer but I can make an assumption, based on the song and album titles, that they have at least nodding references to Satanism and I do know that their music sounds kinda like demons fisting each other while wearing spiked, rusty gloves.

You see where I’m going with this?  Yeah.  The WBC swings and misses so much they’re like watching Josh Hamilton since he swindled joined the Angels, but just like Josh every once in a while they get a bloop hit.  Slayer is their weak single up the middle, or at least the other team making an error so that the WBC ends up on first, only to be stranded.  If there is a semi-popular band out there whose members are going to Hell – assuming you believe in that – it’s gotta be Slayer.  As wrong as they’ve been in the past, they might have gotten this one right.

So I say, let those idiots protest the funeral.  Let them celebrate the one time they got one right, kinda like Wile E. Coyote would celebrate if he finally caught the roadrunner (although we’d all know he wouldn’t be able to hold on to him).  Besides, protesting a funeral is a really metal thing to do, and in this case by “metal” I mean “stupid.”  Let the WBC be metal.

Kansas Idiots

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

“I hired you fellas to get some track laid, not to dance around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots!”

That’s a quote from the movie “Blazing Saddles.”  I don’t exactly know what a Kansas City faggot is or why that city has their own peculiar brand of faggotry, but I laughed at the line in the movie because it was funny.  What I do know about is Kansas Idiots.  You can’t swing a grumpy cat around the internet without hitting a story featuring Kansas Idiots in full idiotic bloom.  Most of the time I can just ignore them and be amazed that they give me a reason to be thankful I live in California, because our idiots are slightly better.  However, this article pisses me off so much I feel like my angry conservative brother and it makes me want to smash things, preferably stupid republican things:

http://www.kansas.com/2013/04/01/2742490/kansas-senate-passes-anti-abortion.html

The gist of this is that Kansas is passing a law, to circumvent legal abortions, that states that life begins at fertilization.  Once that sperm cell hits the egg, it’s life on and it can’t be ended.  “A bill defining human life as beginning at fertilization and outlawing any direct or indirect state support for abortions cruised to Senate approval Monday.”

I get that there are a bunch of people who have strong moral objections to abortion and want to see it repealed at the federal level, and if not there they will do what they can to see it thwarted at the local level.  I sympathize with them because there are many things our government does that I definitely do not approve of and have my own strong moral objections to and I’d like to see those things ended.

However…well, let me get a bit deeper into this article to explain why it has me so pissed off.

“In addition, the bill:

  • Prohibits paid agents or volunteers connected to abortion providers – including Planned Parenthood – from providing any information on human sexuality to students in public schools

Supporters say the primary function of the bill is to prevent abortion opponents from having to provide even the most indirect support of abortion through their taxes.”

It’s like these people found my rage switch and jammed it full on, and broke it so it can’t be switched off.  Let’s tackle the first part, about Planned Parenthood and not providing any information on human sexuality to kids in school.  Wow.  I think it’s safe to say Republicans have a raging hard-on to eliminate Planned Parenthood.  The main reason is because of abortion, but I think that if you scratch deep enough below that surface you’ll find a much more vindictive reason: because they provide information about sex to poor people and provide free or low-cost treatment.  That’s most of what Planned Parenthood does – they try to keep poor people from getting pregnant and getting and transmitting STDs.  I think that’s a pretty damn good thing to do and I fully support it, and can’t understand why others don’t.  Again, I get the moral objection to abortion.  Despite my liberal leanings I don’t like abortions and it’s an option that would never be on the table for me (obviously, because I’m a man, but I think you understand what I mean) but as much as I disagree with it I won’t impose my morals on others and tell them they shouldn’t get one.  I think it’s a horrible choice that is usually made with at least a certain level of agony.  Yes, I know that for some people abortion is a form of birth control and to me that’s abhorrent.  But let’s bring this back full circle to Planned Parenthood and point out that their overarching purpose is to prevent pregnancies.  If you’re against abortion shouldn’t you support that?

Furthermore, the Kansas government wants to “prohibit paid agents or volunteers connected to abortion providers – including Planned Parenthood – from providing any information on human sexuality to students in public schools.”  What a horrible, horrible idea.  Again, this will go counter to their intentions, unless their intentions are to keep children ignorant.  If you don’t teach children in high school about sex – and let’s be more specific here, about safe sex and the consequences of sex – they’re gonna get their information somewhere else and chances are pretty good that information is going to be wrong.  Be it from peers, TV, the internet – they’re gonna get a lot of messed up information along with the few nuggets of truth.  This means they won’t know about birth control, or won’t know how to properly use it.  Kids will believe some stupid stuff, like that you can’t get pregnant your first time or if the moon is full.  Kids tend to think they’re bulletproof and won’t get an STD or get knocked up.  Education is the counter for that.  It’s not perfect but I’d rather take my chances with treating kids with some respect and giving them information they’ll need to make good choices, instead of not giving them any information at all and letting them figure it out on their own.  Good information is infinitely better than no information or wrong information.

“Supporters say the primary function of the bill is to prevent abortion opponents from having to provide even the most indirect support of abortion through their taxes.”  This pisses me off just as much as the other stuff.  Not more, but just as much.  We pay taxes all the time for things we don’t like.  Sucks, but it’s true and it’s necessary.  If we could select where our taxes would we wouldn’t fund fire departments until our house was burning down and by then it’s too late.  We wouldn’t pay for cops until we needed them and by then it’s too late.  We wouldn’t pay for parks, or NASA, or libraries, or inspections to make sure our meat is sorta edible, or anything we lacked the foresight to realize might be valuable in the long run.  The only way we can decide what our taxes pay for is through elections.  So, if our taxes fund abortions we have to suck it up because abortions are legal.  We should also be glad to fund Planned Parenthood because they’re trying to prevent abortions and only provide them when the other methods they use have failed.  Keeping funding from them, and keeping them from educating people, will only lead to more unplanned pregnancies and abortions, the same things the abortion foes purport to be against.  Why would you fight so strongly against something that coincides with your interests?

I just don’t understand these Kansas Idiots.