Feb 032010


The bristles of his brush ground hard into the nooks, flicking up suds stained with a subtle rouge, but now Norbert needed a break. He had been scrubbing the same spot in the rug with little relenting. Norbert balanced the brush against the lip of the bucket, stood and stretched his arms over his head.

It was a grand room. A deeply stained parquet floor had a chance to peek through where there weren’t expensive European rugs strewn about. Norbert only admired the beer steins and antique piggy banks decorating the fire place mantle for a few brief seconds before his eyes were pulled upward to a portrait of a resplendent woman.

“That’s my Katherine.”

Norbert spun on his heels to find Mister Williams, his barrel chest cloaked in a silk smoking jacket, framing the wide doorway into the parlor. Four thick slabs of fingers casually gripped a rock glass of scotch, which he subconsciously swirled with slight wrist flicks while his pinkie hovered incongruously. In between inappropriate slurps, Mister Williams slurred, “She was the love of my life.”

Norbert wiped his sweaty palms against his sullied coveralls. “I’m sorry, Mister Williams. I didn’t mean to snoop. I just needed to stand up for a moment; there’s one area of the rug over there that’s tougher than a nun’s habit to remove.”

“Beautiful, ain’t she?” Mister Williams continued, as if Norbert hadn’t spoke. He belched without apology.

“Why, yes sir,” Norbert admitted. “She’s stunning.” He looked away, not wanting his admiration of the woman in the portrait to appear salacious.

“She could make Hell feel like home,” Williams whispered, having moved in close enough to stroke Katherine’s oil-painted complexion with his scotch-free pinkie. He was standing close enough now that Norbert gleaned he hadn’t bathed in quite some time. Stale cigar smoke, urine, sweat and a mausoleum-quality musk clung to Williams like a protective wrapping. When Norbert said nothing, Williams asked, “Have you ever really danced on the edge, carpet cleaner?”

Norbert, growing overwrought, shook his head stupidly. “No, but I once had unprotected sex with four and a half Thai prostitutes.”

“Four…and a half?” Williams repeated questioningly, making eye contact with Norbert for the first time. Norbert looked away quickly, embarrassed by the vacancy and loneliness he saw in the gaze.

“Y-yes, sir. You see, there were these Siamese twins, and I, I only did it with the half that had the vagina.”

Williams wasn’t listening. He had set down his crystal rock glass on a chess table and had moved to the other side of the room where he stared catatonically at the wedding ring imprisoned flush against a rheumatic knuckle. “That’s what it felt like to love her: like dancing on the edge. Knowing that at any minute you could fall and nothing would ever be the same again, but the thrill you get? The thrill that tickles the base of your spine and makes your innards feel like they’re on a roller coaster with naked women to Babylon?”  Williams put a cork in his monologue long enough to pinch a cat hair from his lapel and take a drowning gulp of scotch. “That thrill is what keeps you from stopping even when it gets dangerous. Love. She was the love of my life,” he repeated robotically.

“What happened, why aren’t you together anymore?” Norbert asked apprehensively.

Williams shot his head back and laughed uproariously. The scotch on the chess table quivered, and somewhere, something dropped from a wall.

Wiping a viscous sluice of drool from his cleft chin, Williams’ face turned stony as he spat, “Because that’s her you’re scrubbing from my Persian, carpet cleaner.”


This is my creaturely ancestor contribution for week 4 of the 52 Weeks Project I joined on Facebook.

Jan 312010


Leticia loved haunting the Appledale’s farmhouse. It always smelt of blueberry syrup and fresh linen, with a tiny tang of far-off manure to keep it real.

She loved watching the Appledale brothers dig for worms, and later, watching them stuff those worms down their sister Amelda’s cotton blouse.

Leticia loved bobbing invisibly behind Mother Appledale, watching as she darned Papa Appledale’s socks with a slightly arthritic hand. Leticia knew that soon Mother Appledale would “accidentally” be tossed into the combine, but she didn’t try to warn her because it would be handy to have someone like Mother Appledale on the other side; on top of the darning, she made a mean chicken fried steak.

Papa Appledale. Big, overall’d Papa Appledale with the grass stains on his forearms and worn leather belt for whippin’. Leticia generally stayed away from him. He always moved within a flock of pernicious energy which often stunk of cabbaged flatulence.

While Papa Appledale was killing Mother Appledale, the boys were down by the train tracks playing with the box car children, Amelda was at her girlfriend’s house learning about Kegel, and Leticia cowered in the safety of the washing machine.

And that’s where she remained while Papa Appledale lumbered into the laundry room, peeled off his ensanguined murder uniform, and stuffed it into the washing machine, along with Leticia and a handful of sweaty socks unappreciatively marked by Mother Appledale’s handiwork.

“Hey Leticia,” one of her friends taunted back home. “What happened, someone throw you in with the reds?” A bunch of them held their bellies and laughed till they wheezed, all a’shimmer in her God-given pearlescent suits.

“Yep. Something like that,” Leticia muttered, while waiting for Mother Appledale to ladle some gravy on her chicken fried steak.

Jan 222010

rueIt was difficult sometimes, especially when Rue was meeting someone new. There were several ways it could go:

– The person would ignore her stutter, in the same way someone might ignore an obese albino who just got flattened by a trolley.

– The person might get so agitated after only a few minutes that they flee the scene with no other explanation aside from their body language screaming, “Freak!”

– The person just might have the audacity to ask her how she acquired her stutter.

They’d expect fantastical explanations from her, to check against their elaborate theories.

They expected tales of toddler play dates gone awry when an over-achieving jack-in-the-box’s appearance came packed with too much vim and vigor, scarring her vocal tenacity for life.

Or they’d pin a childhood bicycle accident as the culprit, imagining Rue so stunned after careening over the crest of a ravine that it would always take her longer than others to place an order at McDonald’s or give an eulogy at a funeral.

Or when they’d learn of Rue’s abduction from 1986-1989, a time for which she has no recollection, they’d be so sure that was the origin for her habitual stammer. But the only thing Rue took away from that experience was an aversion to nylons and a taste for peanut butter and Cheez-Wiz on sardines.

So Rue doesn’t even flinch when her date, scratching a pair of too-perfect breasts in the leftover syrup on his plate, blatantly asks, “What’s the deal with the stutter?”

Over the din of the roadside diner, busty waitresses hollering at the counter-perched regulars and knives raping plate surfaces as they slaughter through chicken-fried steak, Rue contemplates telling him what he wants to hear, what they’ve all wanted to hear – some woeful yarn of an incident so traumatic, her speech is still impaired twenty years later.

But she likes this guy. He’s not as good-looking as the one before him, the one who looked like that Edward fellow from Twilight but had a propensity for calling her “Mama” and had a scarily large collection of used band-aids (a few dozen are OK, but an entire chest is overboard, Rue thought). But he’s definitely a step up from the one eight dates ago who had plastic surgery to purposely look like Steve Buscemi and wore purple polyester slacks every day.

Rue opts for the truth. She wrings her hands, coughs a little, sits up straighter so he’ll focus on the fact that she’s not wearing a bra and the top four buttons of her paisley blouse had busted open sometime between ordering breakfast and leaving the ladies room after busting open the top four buttons.

“Ok,” she starts, modestly shaking her rack. His eyes dart down. “I really like the hit MTV series The Jersey Shore.” She waits, but his ogling eyeballs are still focused below her chin. “And The Situation was on the radio a few weeks ago. He said he likes Rues that stutter. So I rented My Cousin Vinny and started practicing, so that if I ever run into him, he might call me ‘broad’ and plop me in a jacuzzi somewhere.”

Behind her, a trucker with pits that smelt of bologna and urine and the giant steaming shit which Miley Cyrus dumped on Top 40, turned around and splayed a thick chunk of arm across the back of their booth. “Not that I’ve been eavesdropping, but I heard that interview too. It was the American Idol has-been Rueben Studdard he said he likes.” He paused to hawker out a muculent pud of chew into his empty coffee cup. “Not ‘Rues that stutter’.” His belly-laughter shook both booths.

“You’ve been FAKING your stutter?” her date bellowed. “That’s the only reason I came out for this second date, because your stutter gives me an erection.” And with that, he snatched his top hat and accordion off the seat and stormed out of the diner, leaving Rue alone with a lingering tendril of smoke from his anger-stubbed cigarette, the still-laughing trucker, and the check.

“And it wasn’t The Situation who was on the radio,” the trucker added, lifting his Jim Deere cap to brush back a greasy pelt of hair. “It was Pauly D!” he exclaimed, giving Rue one last rib-kick.


So I joined this 52 Projects group on Facebook, in hopes that it will inspire me to start making monsters again. This was from week 2.

Nov 052009

I used to ride my bike past Franklin’s Bar every day on my way home from school. Sometimes we’d drive past it in mom’s car if we were going to the grocery store in the next town over, where no one would see Mom purchase large quantities of laxatives. My best friend Stacy and I would sit on the stoop across from it in the summer, drinking slushies from the convenience store down the street and watching angry wives stomp inside and pull out their hammered husbands by cinched skin.

Franklin dated Dad’s cousin for a while, so sometimes we’d have birthday parties in the bar’s back room and I would dream of the day I could walk in, sit at the bar, and have fat men buy me drinks. No, not really. I hated that place. It was smoky and the men reeked of beef jerky and a mysterious film coated the surface of every table. Franklin was a vile pig who would shove his hand down my mom’s shirt when Dad wasn’t looking and I rejoiced the day cousin Margie dumped him and we went back to celebrating birthdays and promotions and straight As down the street at the VFW.

Back then, if you would have told me that Franklin’s was where I’d meet the man I was going to rape, I’d have laughed at you. Then kicked your ass.

But something made me go in there that night last week. Something made me pop open more buttons than usual and something made me wink at that traveling salesman sitting in a corner booth with a briefcase and lonely eyes. His breath was malodorous, like a fecal sausage wrapped in garlicky cabbage, and his effeminate hands were marred with paper cuts and hangnails. His once-white clothes now had the dirty yellow hue of coffee-stained enamel and a slight stench of a foreign fishing village wafted from his pits.

But still, something made me want to try out my new vagina.

The salesman was now idly snapping a rubber band wrapped around the handle of his briefcase.

In fourth grade, Stacy and I eavesdropped on her older brother and his friends, embroiled in a heated debate. One of the boys had his index finger extended; it was red and swollen under the pressure of a rubber band. Stacy’s brother pulled the slack taut and made to wrap it around once more.

“If you wrap it too tight, it’ll fall off!” his friend wailed, snatching back his hand.

I took the salesman back to his motel room, under the pretense of wanting to see the sea shell clocks he was peddling. He gave off the distinct impression that he was not well versed in the song of sex, averting his eyes any time my cleavage got too close, and emitting a sickly wheeze from his nostrils any time I’d touch him. I think, through his thick Slavic accent, that he was trying to say no, but I stuffed a broken sea shell into his flapping mouth.

I left him laying there naked on the bed when I had finished. Rummaging through my purse, I found the perfect way to cap off the evening.

I wrapped the rubberband tightly around his penis, laughing as he howled.

“They say if you wrap it too tight, it’ll fall off,” I whispered, pulling it back for one last snap. I didn’t stay to find out because I was about to be late for my soup-ladling gig at the shelter.

He never got to find out either, before I shot him in the head.

Sep 092009


If you ask her teachers, they will turn taciturn, set their lips in a firm, well-practiced smile and gargle the nerves congesting their throats before feeding you one of the templates they’ve memorized from their Teachers Handbook.

“Prudence never disrupted the class.”
“Prudence always turned in her dittos in a timely fashion.”
“Prudence excelled in cursive and time tables.”

Because you wouldn’t expect them to tell you that Prudence killed frogs on the playground, ate flies between heels of moldy potato bread, and sat in the darkened cubby speaking softly in what was originally thought to be Latin but turned out to be some variant of Appalachian tongues.

Still, Prudence managed to maintain a small clique of friends. Most townsfolk say that these girls only fraternized with the Goosterjuice girl because she had a fancy doll collection and an older brother who mowed the grass without a shirt on and had a predilection for younger tarts who would let him do another kind of mowing, though most of the girls weren’t yet tainted enough by accidental exposure to pornography to know quite what that meant until they were already pinned down on sharp blades of grass, the kinds that cut right through flesh if you try to stroke them, crying as the buttons on their homemade blouses pop off like some kind of Japanese firecrackers.

But they all inevitably walked away from that soiled sex patch behind the water tower feeling as though they were in love with that Goosterjuice boy.

Prudence knew what her friends were doing when they excused themselves from her bedroom, saying they had to attend to matters concerning their bowels, and it disgusted her. Intercourse in general disgusted her, ever since she found out her real daddy was the ringmaster of a traveling carnival who tricked her mother into sleeping with him by promising her the coveted spot atop a sequined elephant, but when she woke up the next morning, the caravan was gone and she was left on the side of the road with her virginity and $34 stolen from her fanny pack. Her mother never told her this story, but she knew it to be true because she heard the man previously thought to be her father speaking about it in slurred and abasing tones during one of his midnight poker games.

Most people who lived in that town would tell you that she was only disgusted about sex because no one ever wanted to have it with her, that she was a hemaphrodite.

Gradually, Prudence’s after-school social hours petered out and she was resigned to spend her evenings sitting cross-legged on her embroidered bedspread, reading dusty tomes about interior decorating which she found the year before at an estate sale at the home of the town’s first gay man who was driven away by the Church.

Her parents, too caught up in the intricate art of slave trading, didn’t seem to notice that their daughter wasn’t getting invited to keggers and seances.

Until the smell happened.

Prudence’s mother was the one to discover it. The acrid aroma trailed from Prudence’s room and wafted down into the sitting room, where it raped her mother’s nasal cavity with the powerful punch of rot.

Following the stench to Prudence’s room, she was quickly distracted by a visual assault. Using crude strokes, Prudence had colored over the floral wallpaper her mother had spent weeks choosing, splashed right over it with a carmine hue that seemed to have chunks of gelatin suspended in some of the heavier streaks. The smell of death emanated.

“Do you like it, Momma? It’s like they’re menstruating. My walls, that is. Don’t touch, Momma. It’s fresh. Doesn’t it smell lovely?”

Her mother stood with one clammy hand on the doorknob, the other covered her mouth and pinched her nostrils, in tandem. Speechless. Agog. Some say she probably didn’t know what was coming until it was too late, that all Prudence had to do was utter a few indecipherable syllables that would make snakes hiss from fifteen miles away. But most people call bullshit on that and believe that the only tongue-lashing going on in that room, on that night, was by the hand of a cleaver-wielding twelve-year-old who was tired of hearing her mother making bank by seducing the milkman and the postman and the dogcatcher in her bedroom with the tapestry-covered windows and the locked door, but the sounds her mother made right before stuffing the wads of bills into her garter belt echoed through the vents and were delivered right behind Prudence’s bed, like a smutty package of wet moans and testicular slappings tied with a bow formed of lecherous grunts and infidelity.

And once it was all said and done, a trunk containing her art supplies was discovered under her bed. Brushes fashioned from the hair of her classmates, the ones who spread their legs, whose parents had reported them missing in the last week. Mason jars sloshed to the brim with hemoglobin. Her mother’s hair, still attached to her scalp, twisted and tangled into hematic ropes. It was determined that these grisly Type O locks helped finish the paint job on the west wall.

The rest of the pieces, the body parts? They were stuffed in garment bags and hung heavily from a brass rod in the closet. A rogue eyeball was found in Prudence’s jewelry box, speared onto the twirling ballerina, who no longer twirled so much now under the weight of the optical orb, but more so staggered along in an arching path to the tune of Greensleeves. It was determined to be the eyeball of Cadie Caldwell, Prudence’s classmate who was obsessed with becoming a flapper and gave Father McNeilly a handjob after confession last summer.

Prudence’s daddy, the one who wasn’t really her daddy, all he said to the police was, “I never knew Prudence had any interest in painting. And she’s not my real daughter, by the way.”

The only person who knew what truly happened was Prudence, but in all the seventy years she sat in prison, all she’d ever do was flash those butter-brick teeth of hers and say, “Ain’t see a damn thing wrong with wantin’ a little rouge to my walls.”

Jul 202009


There was something about the way the sunset ensconced Gilbert’s head in a fiery halo that made Maryannsuellen think of the stained glass in her church, and how she was always afraid that the colored panes would come crashing down around her; the crudely created depiction of The Crucifixion vivisecting her, unfurling her skin into flesh ribbons which the paramedics would likely chuck out the back of the ambulance for sport as they barrelled past Feck Farm, leaving the local pigs to feed on skin suey. 

Maryannsuellen gave a little chest pop to ping the paranoia pressure away and hugged Gilbert a little tighter, a bit more desperate than she tended to embrace someone. Just in case.

Gilbert scraped her from himself and laughed nervously. “Maryannsuellen, please.” With one last uncomfortable chuckle, Gilbert saw himself out of Maryannsuellen’s brownstone and began his walk home.

A Newport hanging from his bottom lip, and a cowlick in his bangs, Gilbert rummaged in his slacks for his lighter. Realizing he must have left it on Maryannsuellen’s night stand after their post-coital smoke (which he mostly partook in to combat the awful glaze of funk she left on his tongue), Gilbert made an impromptu stop at Calvin’s Corner Club for Cheap Crap. He didn’t typically patronize this particular store of convenience, as it was located at a crossroads known for amateur ninja violence. He saw it on the news nearly every night. But he really wanted a cigarette, and also to possibly see what kind of naughty rags they had behind the counter.

So Gilbert really shouldn’t have been surprised when, getting no further than the threshhold of the store, his carotid artery was stabbed by a Kohga ninja throwing star.

The next morning, Maryannsuellen read about Gilbert’s murder in the paper. She was still sobbing in her grits hours later when her cat began rubbing against her ankles, a hint that he would like to be eating his lunch now, please.

Snapping out of it, Maryannsuellen’s gaze lifted from her now-congealed grits to the scratched Zippo laying on the crest of piled porno rags from Calvin’s and the bills for her oxygen tank.

She picked it up, twirled it around between her thumb and forefinger and ran a ragged fingernail along the etchings left by too many meetings with the asphalt. “At least I’ll always have this small part of him,” Maryannsuellen said fondly of the stranger she brought home the previous afternoon from the furry convention.  And the impatient beckoning of her 3 o’clock john distracted her from any more thoughts about Gilbert.


Jun 302009

francis2My name is Francis and I am an exotic fixture at a bumpin’ little place called The Wet Fish, just started there last week after graduating high school.

At first, I could not master the art of pole dancing, but things there have been progressively getting better. You know what they say: One does not give up just because of a little Indian brush burn to the crotch.

So I tried and tried and tried again until finally one of the seasoned pole charmers, Snapper, came to my aid and clasped her hands around my waist to add support while I gyrated and spiraled down the pole. Her fingers were yellowed from years of smoking Pall Malls’ that reminded me of my grandmama, who was also in the business back in the day. That gave me hope and a sense of familiarity.

We are not allowed to go topless because one night there was a suited man seated in the corner and the sight of topless women triggered something innately homicidal that he never knew he had in him, and he sliced a dancer open with a broken beer bottle. Ernie, the manager, made a new rule that requires us to wear pasties. I use pepperoni to cover up. It’s all part of my routine: I saunter onto stage with a piping hot pizza from Geno’s and seductively pull off two discs of pepperoni and slap them over my nipples, letting the attached cheese ooze down my chest like draping ornamental chains. It makes me feel like a Vegas showgirl. The guys seem to really like it because the scalding of my flesh makes me yell out in pain. Plus, it distracts them from my club foot. And the fact that it is hard to hoist my thick body up off the floor when I do my pole routine.

The other night when I was writhing around the peanut-shelled floor, shimmying in the direction of a rotund man in overalls and hoping for a tip greater than a can of sardines, I kept catching the scent of Dorito’s and seaweed salad. The biting tang seemed to get stronger every time I would do one of my signature leg lifts. The room cleared out rather quickly, except for one gangly old man who tipped me two dollars, a Chuck E. Cheese token and a recipe from the back of a Campbell’s Soup label, reasoning that my odor reminded him of his mama’s cookin’.

It wasn’t until after my show that I realized the scent was emanating from the sanitary napkin that I had left adhered to my underwear for over a week.

Jun 252009



Leaving Penelope’s shipwreck, Poppy paused. “Am I missing some stockings?” she asked, studying her swishing tentacles.

Paige scoped out her friend’s goods. “Yes, it appears you certainly are missing some stockings.” Glancing down at her own gyrating stems, she went on to say, “And it appears I’m flashing some bareness as well.”

Paige and Poppy looked at each other and rolled their eyes in unison. Every time they spent the night at Penelope’s, they always wound up with AWOL undergarments.

“I know Penelope’s parents have been hurting for money, but this is just ridiculous,” Poppy steamed. “She must have enough of our stuff to photograph her own lingerie catalogue by now.”

They turned in their wake and buoyed back over to Penelope’s. As they cornered her in her room, Penelope’s father floated down the hallway wearing Poppy’s bra and, on two of his chubby tentacles, Paige’s stockings were pulled up taut.

One already had a runner.

Jun 192009

(Evidently I’m into oceanic shit these days, but these things are just very cathartic to paint.)

marinemeetup2Deborah and Dolores were best friends. They braided each other’s tentacles on their wedding days, sedated each other during child birth, and held a joint murder party down behind the sunken pirate ship when they found out their husbands were cheating with the electric eel twins.

They probably would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for Deborah, who floated back to town with the fishing spear still strangleheld by three of her tentacles, looking like a crime scene Christmas tree, tinsel’d with the slimy entrails of her husband and crowned with the pierced eyeball of Dolores’s.

And then there was Dolores, her eyes darting so rapidly that she lost her ability to float without crashing into rocks and ricocheting off bottomfeeders. They tried to have a normal lunch together, like two upstanding citizens, but when the hostess informed them that there was a twenty minute wait and asked for the name of their party, Dolores blurted out “GUILTY” just as Deborah noticed that she was still wearing a ski mask flecked with brain matter.

Some might say that being in a stuck in a surf stockade would be the worst thing since the creation of American Idol, but for Dolores and Deborah, knowing that their husbands would never again dangle their dongs to other women was worth every luxury they would no longer know.

Besides, they realized that all those years of checking each other for lumps had sparked a latent romance, and you better believe they took advantage of all their newfound privacy and phallic pieces of igneous sea rock.

Jun 162009


“I haven’t seen you in five months.”

A swish of a tentacle, a tug at the collar.

“But were you even looking?”

Eyes to the side, up to the water’s rippling skin, back to the side again.

“Where did you go?”

A tentacular twirl of marigenous wrack.

“To my mother’s.”

A memory of a lavender-shingled cove near an acreage of coral.

“Are you still angry about that night?”

A pregnant pause sagging under the weight of a sextet of awkward moments.

“You know I didn’t want to go there with you.”

A brain being racked for piteous excuses.

“It’s not rape if you yell  ‘surprise!'”

The sound of a pin plunking to the ocean floor.

“I didn’t yell ‘surprise!'”

And when he buoyed there, silently entombed in his guilt, she continued, “And neither did you.”

An indignant scoff, swaddled in algal phlegm, bubbled from his throat’s depths.

“Yes, I did. I totally yelled ‘surprise!’ right after I stuck my finger in your—“

A horrified interruption by her.

“No! No, you didn’t. You thanked me for being a double-D and then you left me in the trunk of that sunken Fiat.”

“Oh. Well anyway, it was great to see you.”

A NOTE: I was telling  Henry about this one yesterday.

“And it’s kind of like ocean creatures of sorts, so maybe it will have a more mainstream appeal.” Henry agreed with this, and I continued. ” Except the story that goes with it is about rape.”

And Henry threw up his arms in exasperation. “That’s where you lose people, with your stupid stories.”

And he’s probably right, but I can’t help myself. It’s like a sickness and the art just feels naked without the words. But for the record, people can opt out of my “stupid” stories upon request. I’ll only cry for a few hours, then I’ll smack myself in the face with an iron dustpan and move on.

Jun 142009


Born in 1870, Grandpa Josiah lived his life defined by the gentle way he brushed hair.

It began with his own dog, Polly. When his mother wasn’t looking (which meant she was passed out in her clawfoot gin bath), Josiah would swipe her silver hair brush and go to town. Other dogs, noticing Polly’s shiny coat, which was no small feat considering they lived in an area carpeted with perpetual moist and soggy sod, found themselves lining up on Josiah’s porch, panting for a good pamper.

Soon, little girls-in-waiting serpentined down the dirt drive, awaiting their turn for their locks to be loved. Josiah was glad to accommodate human follicles too, provided he could have a moment to clean the brush of fleas and dander. He’d even brush the pilous heads of newborn babies with a hand so gentle and methodical it quickly lulled them to sleep.

It was no surprise when Josiah dropped out of school to open his own barber shop. He had a morning tradition of slurping down his hot Ovaltine and running his hand over his array of brushes and combs, which he accumulated through years of attending horse shows.

But eventually, brushing hair wasn’t enough for Josiah. He began to ache to see the pate that lie beneath the mounds of curls, the straight shocks, the combed-over cilium. It started with an accidental jerk of his hand while he trimmed Farmer Johan’s frizzed fringe, enough to drag the razor flush against the scalp and leave an oval of exposed pink flesh. He leaned down close and admired the minute follicles.

The follicles, where it all began.

After that, he yearned to see more, where the hair growth began, where the base of each strand incubated in the bloody, gooey underside of the scalp.

He throbbed for this harder than he had for Betsy Blowhard when she reached a C-cup in the seventh grade.

Josiah was smart about it after he tried to scalp Mrs. Meatcurtain in broad daylight and she screamed to high heaven, he began stealing patients from a nearby hospital who were in the throes of tuberculosis. In the back of his barber shop, he’d sever their scalps clean off their skull, finger the follicles, and then shoot a gratifying load in the basin he used for shampooing.

When he died, he left his entire fortune to the makers of Rogaine.

May 202009

motherbonnieBorn in 1895, Mother Bonnie was always one for puddin’. Tapioca puddin’, banana puddin’, figgy puddin’ — it made no difference to Mother Bonnie. She just really liked that thickly smooth texture, like a dessert dish full of curdled mucous, topped with a sheath of viscous skin. As a child, she’d slurp it up real good, then gargle with it to get rid of the tobacco aftertaste she was born with.

Now, Mother Bonnie grewed up to be a legend in her neighborhood. Having thirteen chitlins herself, Mother Bonnie knew a thang or two about getting the little snot-nosed ones to eat all the important foods, like beets and sweetbread. She’d grind ’em up real good in her sausage machine and stir the ensuing mush into a base of vanilla bean puddin’, letting it set into a coagulated mound of sweet nutrition.

All the mamas in the neighborhood came to Mother Bonnie’s farmhouse for help getting their own children to eat their vegetables and other pickled delicacies. They’d trade heirloom pearls, romance novels, masturbatory apparati fashioned from corn husks. One desperate mama used to let Mother Bonnie suckle from her wrist.

During the Depression, our Mother Bonnie had to get creative, as all the livestock done began shrivelin’ up like pruned carcasses. She began digging up fresh graves for puddin’ mix-ins. As more and more holes began to turn up the cemetery, Mother Bonnie’s children grew plumper, their cheeks outflushed all their schoolmates by at least fifteen shades. It didn’t take long for other townspeople to notice the correlation, and soon no one ventured near Mother Bonnie’s farmhouse, lest they wind up puddified.

Not that Mother Bonnie minded being outcast. It gave her more quality time in her puddin’ studio. And even after all of her children grewed up and moved away, Mother Bonnie continued to churn away at the puddin’. Even in failing health, body half-necrotic  and gangrened from untreated infections, Mother Bonnie swore by packing her sores with puddin’. Her motto was: If it ain’t able to be fixed with puddin’, then fuck it up the ass and go back to bed.

No one in her family uses it.

Mother Bonnie was straight in the middle of ladling bowls of bloody puddin’ to a table set for no one when she finally succumbed to the order of things and gave up her gelatinous ghost. It was Flag Day. She was 99 years old.

Her puddin’ is served in school cafeterias nationwide.

May 132009

In honor of the Penguins playing their big game seven tonight, I’m posting an old-ish painting I named after Brooks Orpik. OMG, go Pens! (I don’t think it’s healthy for me to watch tonight. Someone needs to cut my electricity and take away my Blackberry.)

orpik Everyone told him that one day his heart would stop aching. That the mere idea of his ex-wife rolling around on the seat of a John Deere with that sleazy farmer the next town over would eventually stop plaguing his mind. That the toothache-y throbbing inside the walls of his heart would dull before he knew it, that time would be his Novacaine.

But after two years, ten months and twenty-eight days of sobbing in his pillow and soiling his sheets, Orpik had enough. He decided once and for all to go to the source – cut the pain at the source. His papa told him this was a bad idea, that how would he be able to feel anything again? Orpik didn’t care if he never felt love, happiness or joy again. He didn’t care if the sweetest woman in all of the land wrote him love letters and brought him a case of Milwaukee’s Best; no, he didn’t care that he would only feel a dull void in his chest.

And so he took a melon baller and started digging. He dug and dug and dug, not bothering to stop to answer the door when his peals of excruciating pain summoned the neighbors like some sadistic dirge from the Pied Piper’s flute. He dug and dug and dug some more, flinging bits of flesh and blood-soaked muscle against the bathroom tile, vaguely appreciating its semblance to globs of pizza cheese as the chards slid into an oozy heap on the floor.

Finally, he reached his ribcage. Cracking them open with Superman-caliber moxie, he gently palmed his heart. He let it linger in his cupped hands, taking note of the rhythmic bassline it played for his body. Orpik ran through the good times he and his heart had: the way his heart fluttered during that first kiss after Sunday school; the way his aorta pumped excitedly when he downed a bucket of beer-battered wings down at the diner; the way the big pulpy mass swelled when he watched his gerbil give birth.

And just like that, Orpik wrenched the melon baller and, with a symphony of cracking bones and crunching cartilage, ripped the heart straight out of his chest.

This Sunday, Orpik is auctioning off his heart. He hopes to raise at least $8 and use it to buy several Big Gulps to enjoy while watching Bowling TV.

May 072009


It started out simply. Two old friends, meeting up in the city for some Milwaukee’s Best and beer nuts.

Paul talked ad nauseum about his new bride, Pricilla. Talked about how she picked up his dirty socks with a broad smile on her face and even wore a skimpy apron while cooking his meatloaf. If he brought her roses and Vodka, she would even make love to his anus.

Samuel, having been single for the last eight years, sulked a bit. He hated hearing about his friends’ good fortune with the ladies, while he was left to sleep alone, with nothing more than his pit bull to spoon. Though it was a step up from the iguana he tried to recruit as a temporary bedmate.

Paul didn’t like to see his friend look so sullen. He thought Samuel had some great qualities that many women would be attracted to. For example, the fact that he was the quietest farter Paul had ever met. (Though, were silent-but-deadlies any better?) And that he didn’t live with his mother. (Mostly that’s attributed to the fact that she’s dead.) And that he had a large weapons collection, with which to keep any woman feeling safe and protected. (Paul still wasn’t entirely sure why Samuel needed a bazooka just for fox hunting, though.)

But still, Paul couldn’t see any reason for Samuel to continue his dry spell any longer and became determined to find him a girlfriend. Or at the very least, a mute with a clean vagina upon which Samuel could practice, maybe get his groove back. So when they left the bar in favor for some totally non-gay window shopping, Paul broached the subject.

“Say, Samuel, what types of broads do you like?” Paul asked as they ducked into an Army Navy store, where Samuel darted straight to a counter displaying knives.

“Well, like I always say: I like my women like I like my ice cubes,” Samuel murmured absently, running a calloused thumb over the blade of a Bowie.

Paul laughed. “Frosty exterior with a piece of fruit in the center?” he asked, curling his fingers into exaggerated air quotes when he said “center,” and recalling that Samuel was really into freezing tiny pieces of nectarines in his ice cubes, which added pizazz to his signature summer Sangria.

“No,” Samuel replied, with a slight scoff. “Frozen in a tray,” he answered, sliding his credit card over to the cashier. “By the dozen.”

May 052009

classof97paintingWhen the alumni of Picklepepper High School’s class of ’97 reunited last fall on Principal Cattleslaughter’s barge, it was pretty much to be as expected.

Marsha Middlefinger, whose papa took the award in 1995 for Most Botched Breast Augmentations by an unlicensed surgeon, stood in the corner fortuitously spritzing silicone at the handflute player of the Inner Circle cover band.

Not shocking in the least.

Over by the punch bowl, Preston Prissy (who had been in every musical and was a regular attendee to all of the varsity wrestling matches) was wearing plaid and giving a tugjob to Chad McMasculine, who was the star quarterback and current owner of a frigid size 2 trophy wife.

No one did a double take.

Brandon Ivanavich, who had all female friends, cried over Days of Our Lives, and loved experimenting with new shades of eyeliner, was now Brandy Ihaveaclit. Patty Prayer, who led after-school Bible studies and protested at the abortion clinic, brought her eighteen children to the reunion because her husband had left her for someone who used birth control and Patty felt babysitters were Satan’s adoption agents.

All of which was predicted by the yearbook committee.

And then Sharona Shameless sauntered onto the barge, leading behind her a bloated-breasted Mexican milkmaid on a rope. Sharona cupped a lactating boob and suckled heartily. Someone dropped their highball glass of Zima on the rusted floor of the barge, and the room was sent into an uproar. Finally, the alumni had managed to find themselves in shocked awe.

Sharona had always been lactose-intolerant.