May 082024
 

I was in the office today and sweating through some “trying to love my city” exercises during my lunch break. This time I walked over by PNC Park and I guess a baseball game was about to be happening because it was v. lively over there and I was almost swept up in swathes of black and gold numerous time, but I survived and was able to take refuge a block away by the Warhol Museum where I saw this huge-ass KAWS statue which, since I do not follow the current events and haps of the Burgh, had no idea was being ERECTED here, in celebration of a full-blown KAWS exhibition at the Warhol starting later this month! It’s actually been a bit since I was last year so maybe I should fulfill this year’s culture quota this way.

Or, I’ll forget. We’ll see how it pans out!

Just….gonna leave this picture of KAWS with G-dragon here:

KAWS 首爾個展,G-Dragon 著用 Mira Mikati 聯名夾克助陣! | OVERDOPE 華人首席線上時尚潮流雜誌

Anyway, so that was a nice thing that happened today, a day that started out mildly stressful and here’s why:

Last week, Wendy asked if I was available to come into the office today and I said sure thing because I literally have nothing going on in my life. But then I got a text reminder about am 8am dentist appointment for that same day, an appointment that I made like 6 mths ago, so UGH what dumb timing. I told Wendy that I would probably just end up being a few minutes late and she was like ‘no one cares’ except that she actually said, “OK!” BUT THE FORMER WAS IMPLIED.

I ended up not being able to go back to sleep about my 5:45AM Chooch’s safety net alarm went off, then I had A WAR with the new shower curtain liner – the SECOND new one in less than a week because Chooch and I both agreed that we hated the first new one because it wasn’t weighted and attacked us, so Henry was like “ya buncha bitches” and tried to blame it on the showerhead setting that Chooch and I use, but still dutifully went to Target and bought a new one that has “extra suctioncups” but THEY DON’T WORK. I got so pissed that I punched the curtain in such a way that it folded back into itself while JUST BARELY staying under the lip of tub so that it kept it from billowing out and wrapping me in a wet vinyl embrace. I got out of the shower and just LAID INTO HENRY via text, like the shower curtain was from Henry’s Home Goods But More Like OKs, like Henry’s stretched and hanging flesh itself was what was failing to keep the water from turning the bathroom floor into an electrocutioner’s literal wet dream.

Henry brought up the shower head setting again and I was like OH NO YOU ARE NOT GOING TO INSINUATE THAT I NEED TO CHANGE MY PREFERRED STREAM SETTING BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO BUY A SHOWER CURTAIN THAT HAS MORE DENSITY THAN TISSE PAPER?!

So that was a very annoying start to the morning. I was just a mess trying to get ready. I was HUNGRY too but didn’t want to eat and then brush my teeth again, so I just threw a banana and cream of wheat into my bag for later UGH.

Then! The dentist was FINE but there was a new hygienist. First, she came to the door of the waiting room and called, “Erin?” I started to get up but the old lady next to me was like, “Welp that’s me” and started to leave the waiting room with her?! I was like, “OK maybe we’re both named Erin, what a funny coincidence” so I lowered myself back down but then the receptionist made eye contact with the new lady and shook her head, so then the hygienist looked at her chart, looked at the old lady, looked at her chart, and then asked, “Are you Erin?” and the old lady was all, “OH HO HO HO HO HO! No. No, I’m not” and I was like, “Hi, it’s me, I’m Erin” so that was a real hee-haw moment at the dentist office, I guess.

The hygienist kept apologizing to me like I gave a shit. “Oh it’s fine! I just wanted to see how it was going to play out.”

There was a small pause, and then she started cracking up, so I guess this was the ice breaker that made her think I was OK with talking literally during my whole cleaning with her gloved hands in my mouth, that latex even being a sturdier sheath than the FUCKING SHOWER CURTAIN, by the way.

So that was frustrating because I just wanted to get to work, I wanted coffee, I wanted to eat my breakfast, I didn’t want to talk about how she turned her AC on but then forgot to shut her bathroom window but that’s OK because her son will probably stop by later and she will tell him to shut—

—-THE FUCK UP.

Then of course it was the type of appt where the dentist had to also come in and check and make me feel like I’m lying in a confessional when I say that I floss regularly, and then the hygienist goes, “You’re also due for new X-rays, you wanna get that out of the way tod—”

“Actually, not really?” I interrupted. “Next time?”

Like please get me out of here. Also, SHE DIDN’T GIVE ME AN OPTION OF FLAVORED POLISH LIKE THE OTHER PEOPLE THERE DO??? She just goes, “Oh, I pulled out mint for you today, btw” and then got to work before I could say, “ACTUALLY I WAS THINKING OF TRYING OUT COOKIE DOUGH FINALLY??”

Then back at the office, I had her trying to schedule my next appointment while the receptionist was processing my payment (I have to go THREE TIMES A YEAR so they can keep an eye on my gums and the third appointment isn’t covered by insurance but now I have one of those HSA things because Henry did it for me without my consent, I had no idea what he was doing but now I had an HSA credit card so I used that and it worked! Like grown-up magic!) and it was just chaos, like I was rooted to the spot while everyone else was swirling around me, performing their activities in sped-up movement.

UGH.

Thank god Henry was waiting to give me a ride to work because if I had to take the T after all (ALL THAT! *falls back on fainting couch*),  I would have been like “sorry not sorry Wendy” and just walked my ass straight home and logged on to work from here.

Then what….work itself was normal. It was just the usual suspects: me, Margie, Jeannie, Wendy, Sue. I do like going in occasionally. I don’t think I get more or less done there, probably a comparable amount to home, but it’s nice to have some “Old Times” normalcy.

I got a matcha latte from Rock n Joe’s on my break. It was OK. The barista guy was pleasant. I started to have a rando’ coughing fit come on while I was waiting for it though so I just croaked THANKS and ran out without making eye contact and then started coughing furiously in an alley. Literally felt like I swallowed a bug.

Then!! NCT Dream announced their US tour dates and I was FA-REAKING out to Henry via KaTalk and he was like, “SLOW DOWN.” I didn’t like that, being told to slow down, so I left my office and complained to Margie and Sue that ever since I married him, I don’t like how he’s been talking to me, and Sue just made “eyes” and went back to her office, lol. This was after I told Margie and Jeannie about how Henry ruined Chooch’s and my life with those bogus shower curtains.

“Can’t you just buy a new one?” Jeannie asked.

“JEANNIE, THIS IS THE SECOND ONE IN A WEEK THAT I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE” and she was like, “OK never mind, Henry sucks, I agree.” That might be me flexing my poetic license there but I am SURE Jeannie said something disparaging about Henry.

Then when I was leaving the office, I saw Monty!!! I was already outside of the lobby, and he was inside, but we made eye contact and I waved happily to him. He held up a finger and came jogging over to the door.

“You ever find that ring??” he asked.

“No,” I said with a frown. “But! I’m married now so I got a NEW ring!” and I held out my hand to show him.

“Aw, that’s awesome! That’s all that matters then!” and we fist-bumped. I love that guy!!

Henry parked kind of far away so I texted him that I was on my way. “Sorry, I was talking to Monty.”

“Monty?” he replied.

OK WOW. He totally doesn’t listen to my stories!!!

Then I came home and ate an Everything bagel and a bowl of roasted peppers because I just can’t be bothered.

Also, Henry ordered weights for the bottom of the shower curtain. TO BE CONTINUED.

 

Feb 282023
 

(Lol clickbait.)

Henry and I were working on the Gameboy project Saturday night, being the wild and crazy kids that we are (I at least sipped on a glass of wine during the art sesh, lol ugh this lame life). The firetruck came by for a visit, which is not unusual given the crazy street I live on. From what we deduced, our neighbor a few houses down had smelled gas, so after the firetruck came, so did the gas company. This is like the third time of late that the gas company has come in for this – the last time, both local gas companies were here all day, doing their gas company things, and I guess the result was “no leak”?? I have no idea, but I really hope that if something is going on over there, someone fixes it soon. I want to move, but I’d like that to be into a new house and not a burial plot, you know? IS THAT TOO DARK FOR MONDAY.

Anyway, this was all just my usual preamble to set the scene, I guess.

Around 10:30, I decided I was done playing with clay and retreated to the couch. Right after I sat down, I heard a horn blaring and saw a blue light flash outside of the window. It was an ambulance, and they were beeping at the DRUNK WOMAN SHAMBLING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE.

“Well, there’s a drunk person walking past our house,” I reported to Henry, who had asked for a Pioneer Ave update from the dining room.

Usually, I do not care much for people, but this broad was making me capital N nervous. She was D R U N K, and just like, “Tee hee, I had three Fuzzy Navels with my gal pals” giddy drunk. First of all, why was she ALONE? I opened the front door just in time to see her nearly get hit by a pick-up truck, stagger even farther into the road, where she came close to being clipped by a car passing on the other side.

Might I remind you at this time that I do not live on a quiet residential road. This ain’t Maple Street, my guy.

(As I write this, the gas company is back on my block.)

“Don’t get involved,” Henry warned, now in Dad Mode. “Someone probably already called 911. Let them deal with it.”

WOW look who doesn’t want someone else to steal the hero thunder. Mmm.

Yes, there is always the risk that the person in question is psychotic or belligerent; and yes, it’s true that, at my core, I truly do not care much for people because all of my love is for animals, but if anything happened to this broad, I’d carry that to my grave. My capacity for carrying guilt is huge. You could fill quarries with the guilt I got loafing on my conscience at all times.

I went outside. Prayed to the Kpop idols that this wasn’t going to backfire. Gently called out, “Hello, are you OK?”

She looked up at me with glassy, unfocused eyes, and this was the first time I really gained a sense of what I was dealing with: a classic White Yinzer of approx. late 40s to late 50s, possibly even younger if we’re going the “rode hard and put away wet” assumption.

What came next was a deluge of slurred words, something about trying to get somewhere, no one answering, where’s the road, etc. “I’m drunk,” she tacked on, a disclaimer that I did not need.

“OK, well, let’s stand here on the sidewalk while we figure this out,” I said, blocking her from drifting back out onto the street.

“Why are you being nice to me?” she asked, and OK I dislike people, we know this, but wow, that one made me feel something in the ice box.  I explained that I saw her in the street from my window and didn’t want her to get hurt.

She said she was trying to get to Liberty, and I was thinking she needed to go downtown and I’m sorry, I wasn’t committed enough to offer this broad a ride. If she needed an Uber, I was happy to wait there with her until one arrived, but then she finally got ahold of her friend, Lorraine. She put Lorraine on speaker and started yelling at her for not picking up, and then she goes, “THIS GIRL IS HELPING ME, HERE TELL HER WHERE YOU LIVE” and then she screamed, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” to Lorraine when I was trying to tell Lorraine where we were standing. Henry was watching this from the front door and asked me later, “Did she tell her friend to shut the fuck up?” with a laugh. Yes, yes she did.

Turns out, LORRAINE only lives one block away from me, on the same street. This drunkard had actually shambled past Lorraine’s house and good thing I found her when I did or she may actually have ended up downtown at some point. Who could be sure.

So now I’m trying to get the broad to turn around so that we can start our walk to Lorraine’s.  Again, she asked me why I was being so nice. And maybe I was even asking myself this too, but dude…girls gotta look out for each other, no matter what. ESPECIALLY ON PIONEER. The residents around here are like a jar of mixed nuts, literally. Imagine ROB or LARRY intercepting. No, on second thought, do not imagine.

Rob, coincidentally, did come out of his front door during this but it wasn’t to help, it was because he waiting for his….customer.

By now, I had asked the lush for her name.

“Fred,” she spat her alleged name into the air, and if this were a graphic novel, imagine the letters F R E D  coalescing in the space before us in glittering liquor droplets, like a dive bar’s marquee.

OK. Fred.

You know, it just occurred to me that she sort of resembled Jennifer Coolidge but like, a rough blue-collared Yinzer edition, like if J.Cool was born, raised, and possibly perms hair in DA BURGH.

In front of my neighbor George’s house, Fred drew in a harsh sniff. “I smell gas!” Here is where I remind you that the gas company is still present, parked in the lot across the street waiting for more crew to arrive. Pioneer had multiple story lines playing out on this night. I explained to her that my neighbor had already called 911 about it and pointed to the parked gas company car.

“YOU’RE GON’ SPLODE!” she frantically slurred. “BUBBY, THEY’RE GON’ SPLODE YOU!”

Did I mention that she called me Bubby during this guided tour of Pioneer? But with her level of inebriation, it was coming out more like a burped “buhhhhhby.”

Now we’re about four houses away from my house, still on the same block, when we passed a parked car with people inside. PRETTY SURE they live in one of the houses on my block, so, you know, technically my neighbors. Fred, apropos of NOTHING, lurched toward the passenger window and fucking barks, “FUCK YOU! FUCK! YOU!” into the rolled-up window.

“OK, no, let’s not…no,” I said, giving her a tug to keep her moving.

“I like to FIGHT!” she cried. “I just really love FIGHTING, Bubby!!”

“Gotta stay on your good side!” I laughed nervously, while in my head I’m like “GOTTA STAY ON HER GOOD SIDE” sans laughter.

Did I tell you that we were holding hands the whole time? Yeah, we were holding hands. Looking back on this has me feeling very uncomfy now.

Fred, forgetting about the random people in a parked car that she wanted to fuck up, asked me with so much gravity to her warbled voice, “Bubby. Does your husband hit you?” (She may have said “hate” instead, I couldn’t tell, but either option is depressing.)

I said no and the ERIN IN ME wanted to use this opening as yet another platform to whine about my unmarried status, but THIS NIGHT WAS ABOUT HELPING FRED, NOT MAKING IT ALL ABOUT ME AS USUAL.

We had finally reached the next block (I could have walked here in about 30 seconds if I didn’t have a drunk lady leaning against me, nearly breaking her ankles in the wedges she was wearing.

I asked her where she had been coming from, and she said Slapshots. You guys, Slapshots is a bar on a very busy main road. It’s a very doable walk…BUT NOT WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK IN WEDGES?! I was telling my friend Nate about this at work today and he was like, “Erin. She walked to your street from SLAPSHOTS? HOW DID SHE NOT GET KILLED.”

You cannot just stumble into West Liberty Avenue in a drunken stupor and expect to live. That road is fucking busy, always. Fred must have had a goddamn angel gliding above her this night.

Slapshots

Lorraine’s house 

MY HOUSE WHERE I FOUND FRED IN THE STREET

Trying to make small talk as I led her across the street like a school crossing guard with my arm out to stop oncoming traffic, I asked Fred if Lorraine was her friend, or sister, or…

“SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND!” Fred shouted. “I had another really good friend too but she hanged herself last year. It’s been a really bad year.” And then, a quiet burp pushed out the rest: “I’m so depressed.”

Honestly, same, but I was also relieved that we had successfully crossed over Pioneer while she was spilling these dark truths.

Before I had a chance to really unpack what Fred was saying, A COP ROLLED TO A STOP NEXT TO US. because of course, this was bound to happen. I had seen him earlier when I first went outside to get her out of the street so I’m sure he was just circling the block LIKE THOSE MOTHERFUCKING HAWKS, hoping to have a reason to cuff some chicks, let’s goooooo.

“Everything OK here?” he called out of his passenger-side window. My natural instinct is to sneer in the faces of cops, but I just wanted this expedition to end without escalation. GET FRED TO LORRAINE’S. IGNORE BOOBYTRAPS. DODGE DISTRACTIONS. DON’T LET FRED FALL. DON’T LET FRED ENGAGE IN FISTICUFFS. UNLOCK LEVEL LORRAINE’S HOUSE.

“Yes, we’re fine. I’m just getting her to her friend’s house right down there.”

He gave us a douchey invisible hat-tip, before setting off to look for other ways to meet his ARREST quota.

“YOU’RE AWESOME!” Fred screamed at his patrol car, and then as he drove away, she tacked on, “YOU FUCKING PIG.”

Classic Fred.

You guys, we made it to Lorraine’s. I knew this because Lorraine had said it was the only house with a tree in the yard after I asked her to repeat her house number for the third time back when we were on the phone, because I was too distracted by Fred’s precarious swaying to retain the 4 digits she kept giving me.

And then Fred recognized her car parked on the street so that was the clincher.

“Let me drive you home, Bubby! You have to let me drive you home!”

Um…no way was this broad getting behind any wheel. I told her that I was fine to walk back (literally took me a minute) and that the only thing she should be doing was going into Lorraine’s house, hydrated, and getting some sleep.

And now Fred had half-crashed into me, half-pulled me into a hug. “I can’t let you leave!” she cried into my shoulder.

Oh my god. Get it together Fred.

Of course, Lorraine had a steep set of steps leading up to her house, so that was a treat. I was walking behind Fred, I don’t know what I thought that was going to do – she’d have taken us both out if she fell.

Once we made it to Lorraine’s porch,  Fred just opened the door and walked right in. My heart started racing, hoping that this was the right house and we weren’t about to get our faces shot off. Fred ran/stumbled straight ahead and faceplanted HARD into a black leather couch. Lorraine was sitting in a recliner next to the door, with her back facing me. She looked over her shoulder and said “Thanks.”

That’s all. Just thanks.

I mean, I wasn’t looking for cash (although Fred was trying hard to give me money) but the way this bitch was just like BIG SHRUG really pissed me off. OK, maybe this is Typical Fred Antics but c’mon you dumb bitch, this is your friend and she was literally out in the wild of Brookline, where she could have been picked up by a rapist, taken to the drunk tank by that smarmy cop, GOTTEN FLATTENED BY A TRUCK…Fred’s night could have ended up in so many worse ways. The fact that Lorraine didn’t even at least stand on her porch to look for us? That really pissed me off. Fred deserves better.

I’m sure Fred forgot all about this immediately upon hitting the couch, but I think I will remember Fred forever.

***

My entire body wasn’t even in the house yet before Henry’s rang.

Hot Naybor Chris: “What is going on out there??”

Ah, Pioneer Avenue’s tagline.

Aug 232016
 

Bun had been haunting Gillcrest for the last 10 decades,

No one had bothered him, not even the wool-clad Mormon mission-maids.

But then one Tuesday a stranger arrived with a bag—

The new resident of Gillcrest, it was a horned stag!

Bun watched this scene unfold from a darkened upstairs window,

and wondered, “How in the hell can I chase off this bimbo?”

The new resident brought with him nine pounds of lunch meat in a chest,

three truckfuls of IKEA and paint swatches tucked near his breast.

His name was Bart and he was quick to make himself at home,

Tucking into bed with a trashy airport tome.

Bun waited for Bart to close his eyes for the night

Before pulling out a nightmarish delight.

A mannequin, green like slime and with nary an arm

Out from the closet to cause all sorts of harm.

When Bart arose the next morn’ with a stretch and a spit,

His heart skipped a beat at the sight of the broad’s plastic tit.

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“I swear this tart wasn’t here when I turned off the light,”

He swiped at the beads of sweat along his lip, butt clenching in fright.

Bart fled from his room and sank down into a corner,

Wondering if he was dealing with the supernatural or a burglar.

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Bart thought he heard some blips, some gurgles, and a bleet,

Coming from the basement far under his feet.

“That’s probably just the house groaning, or feral cats under the foundation, boning,”

Bart laughed nervously, thinking he might call his Mother for some chaperoning.

Oh, but it was Bun, partaking in his daily routine:

A rousing game of Pacman and a few swigs of hooch at 10:14.

Bun floated back upstairs just in time to hear Bart on the phone,

Talking to his mommy who made him feel a little less alone.

She said to vacate the spooks behind the peregrine doors,

“You need to redecorate, and make this house yours!”

Bart assessed his new home from a red corner chair,

and thought, “How can I change things up around here?

I’ll knock down this wall and tear up that shag carpet,

and turn that grand bathtub into a germ-filled ball pit.”

It was like reliving his midlife crisis of 1994,

Which came with a Porsche and an affair with a Gabor.

(Not Zsa Zsa.)

“He wants to put a ball pit right here in my loo?

I gotta get rid of him with something stronger than ‘boo.'”

Bun needed to sit down and have a good thought.

So he went and did just that on the master pot.

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Bun considered going the poltergeist route,

Tossing around dishes, chucking an old rubber boot.

Not wanting to break his things, he went with something more malleable,

And summoned an army of one of each stuffed animal.

Teddy bears and puppies and some weird doll-thing,

Surged upon Bart, pinning him to the wall like one big butterfly wing.

 

“It was probably just a fluke, something-something about gravity,”

Bart’s mom sighed over top of her daytime TV.

“You know what you need, a good healthy lay.

Go call up Bernice from 1-900-PONYPLAY.”

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Bart knew she was right, some company would do him good,

So he tried to fix himself up, he did what he could.

He lubed up his horn and filled his satchel with smelling salts,

Then when downstairs to wait for Bernice and all of her faults.

(Daddy issues.)

After waiting in his chair for more than an hour,

Bart thought he saw something, a figure the trees tried to devour.

“Is that Bernice?” Bart thought, bringing his binoculars  up to his eyes,

(He always kept them handy in case a neighbor bared their thighs.)

But what he saw didn’t resemble a hag rode hard and put away wet,

No, this looked more like…somebody’s Easter pet.

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And what was that, just behind the bunny and to the left?

A head in a ditch, the chin had a cleft.

Was that Bernice, beheaded by this cuniculus killer

But Bart rubbed his eyes, and the bunny was gone, nothing out there but filler.

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Bun came back into the house and changed his clothes,

Killing that stripper bitch left him bloody and anxious for her to decompose.

Bun knew that if he played his cards just right,

He’d have his estate back by the end of third night.

Just a few more moves left in this game by his pawn

Before Bart would be shitting his pants on the front lawn.

 

Bun spent time in the game room with his clown crew

While elsewhere in the house, Bart’s paranoia grew.

Was this some real life Amityville Horror ghost attack,

Or just another Vietnam acid flashback?

The bedside phone rang on Bart’s third night,

Not once but thrice, the trill giving his  faint heart a bite.

The first two calls were white noise, static silence,

Not even the slightest semblance of a sentence.

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But the third call exploded with the angry bellow of Bun:

“Bitch you’re in my house, best run motherfucker, run!”
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That was enough to get Bart to peace the fuck out, see,

So he called up a ride from the Teenage Hooker taxi company.

He waited and waited by the window, so harried and eager,

His hooves percussing the floor to the beat of Bob Seger.

“A real man would have lasted more than one day times three,”

He could already hear his mother say in between sips of her tea.

But mother can suck a dick, Bart thought as he ran out of the door,

To jump in the back of the cab driven by a whore.

(Out of Uber territory.)

Bun rejoiced on the deck beneath the sun’s bright rays.

“I got my house back and I have lunch meat for days!”

*****************************************************************

Mar 042016
 

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It’s not that Anne and her mother had a bad relationship. Mother cooked warm and hearty meals for Anne. Mother braided Anne’s hair just right for school photos. Mother took Anne to the zoo in the third grade and to the gyno in the tenth, after she found out Anne was promiscuous.

But there was something Mother would never talk about, and it drove Anne wild with curiosity.

June 5th, 1956

Diary, today I overheard Mother talking to that beastly Constance Huffington from down the street. Mrs. Huffington asked Mother when she is going to settle down again with a nice man. Mother got all choked up and said she’s not ready, not since the accident.

What accident, I wonder. Did she poop in her pants?

It wasn’t that Anne and her mother didn’t talk. Mother told Anne about the sales she read about in the weekly circular. Anne told Mother about gawky Penny Pisshawker and how she got chewing gum all caught up in her head gear. Mother told Anne to clean her room.

But Mother would always change the subject when Anne asked about the accident.

April 18th, 1960

Diary, Mother and I were at the department store yesterday and I was looking at the swimming suits. Mother started crying when I asked if she was going to buy one too. She said she hasn’t worn one since the accident! The accident! What accident??

But oh Diary, the swimsuit I bought is pink and blue and has the most darling bow which lies plumb against my tailbone and camouflages my sway-back.

It wasn’t that Anne’s childhood was defined by not having a father around. Mother would call up her brother for situations that required a man’s finesse. Like teaching Anne how to throw a baseball. Like putting together the dollhouse Anne got for her birthday. Like blacking the eyes of the boy who groped Anne on the bus.

But Mother would never talk about Anne’s father, and Anne didn’t remember ever knowing him.

January 31st, 1995

Diary, Freddie proposed to me tonight! Oh, it was beautiful. We were watching Romeo+Juliet and I nearly choked on the ring because that slick son of a bitch had hidden it in a jar of macadamia nuts! I said to him, “Baby, why would you do that? You know I chug these fuckers like it’s a frosted mug of lactation and I’m a nursing baby.” Then we had sex and spilled a box of wine all over Mother’s white shag. After she was done screaming at me about that, I waited for her to take a Valium before asking about Father. We had a huge argument and she was crying and pulling at her hair. I said that it’s only natural for a father to walk a daughter down the aisle and she was sputtering all sorts of nonsense.

But I swear I heard her say she hasn’t heard from him since the accident. WHAT FUCKING ACCIDENT.

It wasn’t that Anne was glad to see her Mother marinating in her own piss at the nursing home. Anne didn’t like that her Mother’s once-tanned skin had turned into a translucent sheath, scaly tracing paper revealing the blue and purple tubes snaking through her body. Anne didn’t like that her Mother had to push a button for a nurse to come help her take a dump. Anne didn’t like the fact that when it came down to it, she was the one that would have to pull Mother’s plug.

But maybe, if she was to be honest for a second, learning the truth about the accident would make that easier.

“Mother, please,” Anne pleaded, her fingers intertwined with her Mother’s near-skinless phalanges. “Tell me about the accident. I’m a grown woman now and you can trust me.”

Mother expelled a wad of mashed potatoes from her throat with one forceful cough. The unswallowed morsels splatted against the lampshade and hung there like maggots on shit. “You,” she wheezed, hacking up a tawny membrane of gooey phlegm for dessert. “You were the accident.”

[originally written 4-4-09. Happy Flashback Friday.]

Nov 102015
 

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Pascal wouldn’t give Pancho money for ice cream. Mother gave him five whole dollars and said to make sure his brother got an ice cream, but Pascal spent it all on a candle for his dumb girlfriend who stunk like PSLs and was real frangible, Pascal said. She spent hours carving her face and Pancho thought she looked hideous. Pancho hated her. Peg. What a dumb name.

Pancho really wanted a motherfucking ice cream, and what made Pascal the fugleman of frosty funds? Pancho hated Pascal even more than he hated Peg and her silicon chest-gourds.

Everyone knew they were fake!

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“And stop carrying that ax around everywhere. No one is scared!” Pascal sneered at Pancho. “Everyone knows it’s fake!” Just like Peg’s pepos, Pancho thought quietly to himself. “Mother bought it at the Halloween store for $8!”

Pascal was wrong though. Unlike Peg’s synthetic jugs, his ax was real. He swapped it out with Farmer Picklepecker’s real like battle ax last week after Pascal made fun of him for carrying around a baby’s weapon. What are you gonna kill with that thing? Stink bugs? The pimples on your back? Pascal yelled across the playground one day, when Pancho was talking to his crush, Pepper.

Pepper laughed so hard, it was all Pancho could hear in his head, like sheets of metal shaking against his ears. She laughed and laughed and laughed until she was nothing more but a bad memory stuffed inside a dumpster with rotted meat and cat shit.

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Pancho grudgingly followed Pascal home along the river. It was getting late and Mother would be expecting them to set the mannequins up near the window; ever since Pa ran off with the Bulgarian gymnast coach, Mother liked the neighbors to think that the house was full of friends and livelihood, as if she wasn’t eating her weight in beer nuts and watching DVRd recordings of Family Feud, and not even the good ones with Richard Dawson, but that shitty Steve Harvey garbage.

Hearing the river whooshing below them, Pancho considered pushing Pascal into it, but Pascal caught on quickly; his rounded eye-cuts made for exceptional peripheral peering and his reflexes were on point.

“I’ll rip your stem off!” Pascal laughed.

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“You’re such a dumb baby. Dear Diary, my brother wouldn’t buy me ice cream today. I am a big cry baby. I am going to stick my pacifier in my mouth now.” Pascal laughed at his own stupid joke and Pancho started to cry.

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“I’m going to tell Mother on you!” Pancho whimpered.

“Oh no, please don’t tell MOTHER on me,” Pascal begged, dragging down his voice with theatrical whines.

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Pascal’s mocking tone took Pancho back to a time when Mother bought him a new doll for Christmas, the kind with human heads and long flaxen hair.

The kind that Pancho would tattoo with Mother’s simmering cigarette butts.

The kind that Pancho would decapitate with Mother’s pinking shears.

IMG_9816

And then Pancho drifted off into a sanguinary gapeseed as Pascal’s needling taunts and baby-talked derision faded away until it blended with the birds above and the blood crashing against the inside of his head.

And then—-

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Static.

[Alternately titled: Bored during my lunch break when it’s raining and there’s nowhere else to go but sit at my idiotic desk.]

Aug 282015
 

  
Fred pulled back the kitchen curtains and took in the typical Pittsburgh sky: sunlight struggling to be seen through clouds in varying states of precipitation.

“It’s another beautiful day in Pittsburgh,” he smiled. A note clinging to his fridge against the weight of a Steelers magnet reminded him that he needed to buy more pierogis and pop, but first he was having breakfast with his best friend, Mr. McFeely.
Mr. McFeely was already waiting at a table when Fred arrived at Pamela’s later that morning.

“Fred, we picked a bad day to come here,” he spat sourly. “The place is full of kinderdicks!”

A cursory scan of the breakfast hot spot taught Fred that there were indeed many small children communicating their feelings in the cacophonic volume of basic banshees.

“Mr. McFeely, these children are the future Heinz laborers! The next Sophie Masloffs and Michael Keatons! They deserve to be here, eating potatoes lyonnaise, just as much as you and I.” Fred beamed happily, tucking a napkin into his cardigan.

“Fred,” Mr. McFeely sighed, “you are a good man.”

“I just really love everyone in my neighborhood,” Fred modestly waved off the compliment.

***

On the way to Giant Eagle later that afternoon, Fred’s car hit a pothole the size of Ben Roesthlisberger’s ego, splashing his Schneider’s iced tea into his lap. Fred shook his head and chuckled. “Maybe I should have taken the trolley!”

In Giant Eagle, Fred considered buying a pound of Isaly’s chipped ham but remembered he had 9 pounds of it in his freezer already.

“Will this be all for today?” the young, disinterested cashier asked Fred at the check-out.

“Yes dear, just came here for some pierogis and pop,” Fred answered, his avuncular smile causing crinkles to spread from his eyes.

“It’s soda,” she corrected him, making it clear she was one of those endearing transplants, here to attend college while constantly disputing the vernacular.

Fred took the bag from her outstretched hand, politely wishing her well while laughing softly to himself. He knew she would be calling it pop in no time.

***

When Fred arrived home that evening after a full day of tooling around town, some of the neighborhood children were playing a rousing game of Release. The playing field had spilled into his yard, but Fred didn’t mind; children were his favorite types of people. Especially Pittsburgh children.

Fred paused outside of his front door, smiling lazily at the sounds of prepubescent caterwauls and urban swears while casually sliding the gum band off of the stack of mail that arrived that day. His eyes had just fallen on an ad in the Pennysaver for the Immaculate Heart of Mary fish fry when his periphery caught a flash of something that made him involuntarily dry-heave.

It was a putrid color, the wash of ear wax.

The chroma of Cheetos’d fingertips.

The tint of Carrot Top’s unruly follicular chapeau.

The stain of Snooki’s skin after a summer at the Jersey Shore.

Fred felt the color drain from his face. His heart began thrumming against his ribcage and something of an unfamiliar feeling began rising up from his gut. It was a feeling he felt only thrice in his life:

● Once, when he was inspired to make his own crayons after airing a tour of the Crayola factory on his show, which resulted in him spilling hot wax all over his favorite cardigan.

● Once, when he came home after a particularly long day to find that someone had chucked his Pittsburgh parking chair onto the grass and brutally thieved his rightful parking spot.

● Once, when Lady Elaine Fairchild arrived to work drunk.

The orange flash was a Philadelphia Flyers jersey. On a child.

The feeling Fred felt was pure, unadulterated black and gold fury.

Shaking the Pennysaver—now rolled-up into a Flyers-fan beating apparatus—into the air, Fred hollered, “Get off my lawn, ya jagoff!”
*****

This is an original painting that I made for a Pittsburgh-themed blog exchange I participated in. It’s ready to hang and the story comes with it!

Feb 022015
 

Here is an old story I wrote in another life, called A Fine Day For Lemons. Please to enjoy while I continue to slowly go mad on this terrible Monday.

 

One plump lemon was thoughtfully procured by Eddie Orpik, whose live-in strumpet insisted that rubber ball gags tasted like her Uncle Herb’s sweaty taint.

Two lemons spotted with rot were unearthed from the bottom of the pile by Jamison Fitzshittery, who would eat them whole while sitting on the freshly covered graves of his recent slayings.

Three ripe lemons were chosen by Jorge Martinez’s shaking hands, who would squeeze them into his mother’s favorite summer cóctel, a wishful attempt to soften the blow when he later reveals that he’s el homo.

Four lemons were palmed by a paranoid window saleswoman, the curled rinds of which would be cautiously tucked inside the vents of her car to mask the lingering bouquet of marijuana.

Five lemons went into Mrs. Hunchsnatch’s basket, who was slowly luring her husband to his death bed with a panoply of meringue pies.

Six lemons were lazily chucked into Jack Hass’s shopping cart with the one birdbrained wheel, whose bawdy basket wife needed only three lemons for the homemade sex lotions she shilled on Sundays outside of the Church, but Jack did not know how to count.

Seven lemons were plucked by Sasha Eltsin, who would pair them with oranges to create sacks of didactic citrus to unleash on the gulag unrulies.

Eight lemons filled Mother Bonnie’s basket, who planned on turning the tart fruits into sugared delicacies in order to capture ragtag boxcar kids for her signature stew.

When the sun set, the proprietor gathered the remaining bushel and turned it into fresh ambrosia for his wife, whose decomposing body slumped in a supine pile on a Laura Ashley bedspread. She always did like lemons in her ambrosia.

Aug 132014
 

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It always ended the same way.

A door cracked open after years of being padlocked. They tried to play it cool. But “how was your day?” and “have you heard this album?” always turned into “I miss us” and “why did you leave?”

They tried to be friends. But the secrets carved scars into their hearts like fault lines and repressed jealousy lashed perfidious words from their tongues like whips.

They would go years without contact. A single phone call on a birthday could be a taste of chaos. The most innocent text could be gasoline on fire. Theirs was an opiate that could only be quit cold turkey. But the psychic connection was still there. The silent “I need you” somehow heard and answered from an entire state away.

And so the cycle continued.

She says: Come here.

“I can’t” means “there’s someone else now.”

She says: There’s never been room for me in your life.

“When you’re in my life, there’s no room for anything else.”

And hey, here comes the guilt again. Dwelling on the past because they have no future.

Promises are made to “figure it out” because neither wants to say out loud that there isn’t a solution. There never was. Just blown-out stars, chest pains and a dirt trail of broken hearts. Collateral damage.

It’s Heaven & Hell. It’s thumbtacks pushed into skin and banana cream pie from Hyde’s. It’s geographical distance and cosmic closeness.

They did this over and over, like ghosts puppeteered by Venus to replay their deaths.

She says: We need to make new memories so we can stop living in the past.

But the other doesn’t respond because she’s already making new memories, with someone else.

It always ended the same way.
One of them floated away.

She says: Maybe we can be together when we’re dead.

“We already are.”

Jul 292014
 

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It was another shit-storm of a day at work, goddammit. Norm had so many useless meetings and sales pitches to lay on deaf ears, not to mention the habitual hour he spent watching Benny Hill on his phone in the Mothers’ Nursing Room, that he completely missed lunch.

Waiting for the bus, he dreamt lustily of all the foodstuffs he was going to masticate as soon as he got home: fistfuls of Fritos and Spaghetti-Os slurped right out of the can.

His mouth was going to get into a melee with maple syrup and meatballs; his fangs into fisticuffs with footlong franks and french fried frogs; his tongue would tryst with tubes of tooth paste and teriyaki taffy.

He sat, waiting for that bus, feeling the hunger roll through his insides like a Sumo wrestler in a hamster wheel, sublingual glands flooding his mouth with warm saliva.

“Come on, you motherpricking bus! I want to get home and—–”

Norm never got to finish his threat on public transportation and he never got to pillage his mother’s kitchen after work (in all honestly, Norm only had a can of Old Milwaukee and a fruitcake from 1987 in his own kitchen). Because just like that, with one quick snatch and snark, Norm had become the meal of someone hungrier than he, and all that remains of him is a few green feathers littering the ground like crumbs.

Norm is a 5×7 painting on canvas and he would like to hang on your wall in loving memory.

Mar 252014
 

dilemma

The Haywire was (mostly selfishly) established in 1882 by the venerable Mayor Oslo von Queef as a sanctuary for himself when his wife would host yet another impromptu tampon party in their estate. Nowadays, the Haywire has morphed into a safe place in Hellsbelly where the residents convene and congregate, hash out their problems to the friendly ears of their neighbors, get help beating level 65 on Candy Crush or remembering the lyrics to Crash Test Dummies songs.

1. Gregory had $23 left in his bank account. He really wanted to go to the Wet Fish, the strip club at the corner of Labia and Venereal Avenue, but he also needed to get his niece a birthday present. He could already hear his sister’s derisive riot act if he had the audacity to show up at her daughter’s birthday party without a gift, but his addiction to lunch buffets and hip-gyrations were dangerously close to winning out.

2. Areola just happened to have been fired from her stripping position at the Wet Fish for sexually harassing the albino janitor. Overhearing Gregory’s opines, she suggested that he treat himself by strip-clubbing it up, and to collect some of the stray sequins that often come loose from the strippers’ headdresses and nipple tassels being aggressively groped and shaken, which Gregory could then use to fashion a delightful headband for his niece. “Just don’t go to the Wet Fish,” Areola huffed. “The Eager Beaver is much better.”

3. Mauricio hadn’t had sex in 4 years, not since the fire at the Waffle Wigwam had turned his face into a perma-Freddy Kreuger mask. He was just thinking how great even a hand job would be at this point, when his baggie of Smarties fell out of his pocket and rolled across the damp ground. “Great,” he thought, sitting in defeat next to the spilled pill-like candies. “Can’t a melted-mugged motherfucker eat some goddamn candy without humiliation?

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4. Beauregard had just received a large sum of galvanized steel pipes from his grass cutter’s Will, but could not think of a use for it. Hearing of Areola’s occupational distress, he ran home to erect the pipe in his bedroom and then hired her to be the personal pole dancer for his iguana, who was having a terrible time eating without the sound of flesh squeaking against a pole.

5. Bettina had just gotten her hair shorn clear to her scalp, her long flaxen locks sold by her mother to traveling gypsies for a month’s worth of arsenic hastily splashed into a dusty apothecary jar mislabeled as “weight loss potion.” Bettina sat on a wire and cradled her bald head in her lap. “Well,” her friend Bianca joked earlier while shaking a bag of pork rinds into her grinding maw. “It’s a good thing I didn’t get you any headbands for your birthday.” Bettina had watched Bianca steal the pork rinds from her own mother’s purse earlier that day; Bianca was obsessed with achieving a thigh gap, yet couldn’t kick her junk food addiction or perfect the pigeon-toe stance. Bettina secretly wished to the Haywire that Bianca would just die.

6. Phillipe felt like shit. He had forgotten to disable the landmines in his backyard and now his goddamn grass-cutter was dead. But that’s not why he came out to the Haywire that night—he just liked how the wire cupped his ass when he perched on it.

7. Henry was on his way home from a Ted Nugent concert when he was overcome by a hankering for waffles. Unfamiliar with the area, he flagged down a caravan of gypsies, who pointed him in the direction of Hellsbelly. “There’s a place there called the Waffle Wigwam,” said one of the gypsies, who appeared to be wearing a wig of long blond hair that clashed with her ginger eyebrows. “They come with pockets so deep, you need two carafes of syrup. It’s like pores on a giant’s face,” she added, flipping her unnatural hair. But once Henry arrived at Hellsbelly, he found an empty lot where the Waffle Wigwam once stood before a man accidentally burnt it down four years ago when he drove his lawn mower through the kitchen wall and crashed into the gas griddle. And that is how Henry found himself loitering at the Haywire, pondering the pores on a giant’s face and wondering where the fuck in this town he could get a waffle. “It’s not like anyone has a spare in their pocket,” Henry laughed bitterly to himself.

8. Maryanne was tired of giving handjobs to her old majorette’s baton in an effort to get her husband’s OCD iguana to eat his fucking mashed figs. Her hand was perpetually blistered and brush-burned and she just needed a moment’s rest at the Haywire. Unfortunately, she also really wanted some molly, and that is how she ended up giving a handjob on her handjob break to a grotesque man sitting amidst a pile of pills.

9. Connie hated her brother with the passion of 54,000 Westboro Church members picketing a Lady Gaga concert. She’d hated him since middle school, when he would pay her friends money from her own piggy bank to give him what he called “sciatica relief” but were really just awkward lap dances. Her daughter’s birthday party was tomorrow and Connie was so afraid that he was going to pull the “sciatica relief” schtick on her new grown-up friends, so she did what she had to do to get the money for gypsy killing juice, but, where was it? She was sure she put it in the garbage bag she used as a purse.

10. The junior prom was fast-approaching and all of Johan’s friends had secured dates. It’s not that Johan was ugly or reeks of cabbage, but he was allergic to hair. No girl can dance with him without him breaking out into hives and choking on his own swollen tongue the moment her locks come within a foot of his face. He was just about to resign to another Nair-scented night of Redbox rentals and beer nuts when he felt a tear drop kiss his shoulder.

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He looked up to see the most beautiful poster child for baldness crying on a wire above him, her glabrous pate glistening beneath a flickering streetlight.

11. Frangeline’s daughter was a pick-pocketer. Frangeline kept telling her, “Bianca, one of these days you’re going to stick your hand somewhere it really don’t belong and get yourself a bad, bad surprise.” Like the time Bianca was 7 and snatched Old Lady Humperdinck’s enema kit out of her handbag because she thought it was a balloon inflater, which made the house smell like synthetic farts. And that is how Frangeline knew when she walked in on Bianca, dead and bloated on the bathroom floor, that the empty jar of weight loss serum next to her was likely ill-begotten from some broad’s purse. “Oh Bianca,” Frangeline wailed later on to everyone and no one at the Haywire. “I always knew your obsession with sticking your hand in the cookie jar was going to be the death of you, my thunder-thighed girl.”

12. Unger was really not feeling like himself at all.

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It had been 71 days since he last killed anyone, probably because he had become so preoccupied with that big-boned stripper at the Wet Fish following him into the janitors closet, trying to see his alabaster cock. Then she got fired for some reason and now Unger was bored when, normally, he couldn’t walk a block away from his house without being struck with homicidal inspiration. However, a few seconds of taking in the mind-melting squawking from eleven of his neighbors at the Haywire was just what he needed. Another couple of seconds more and he was REALLY starting to feel like himself again. He reached into his pocket, past his spare waffle, until his hand grazed his rock hard alabaster Glock.
——-
Hello. This is a painting on 8″x17″ canvas. It will be stuffed into the pore of a messenger giant and dumped at your door. J/K. It will be placed lovingly on the ground. This was my poor attempt at getting back into the whole “short story” portion of my paintings.

Dec 072010
 

thehobnobBilly Nedermeijer arrived at his friend Patty Dogwood’s house with a bottle of Lambrusco and a cube of cheddar. Inside, he found the house atwitter with idle chitchat and soft music humming from a hidden stereo.

There was a large, oblong crate in the middle of the room, atop which Dixie cups and crumbled napkins had been absently discarded.

Billy’s friend Pietro arrived behind him, a small box wrapped in joyful floral tucked under his sweat-stained pit.

“What is this, a birthday party?” Billy asked with a sarcastic laugh.

“Yeah, that’s what my invitation said,” Pietro responded, his caterpillar brow flexing.

Billy glanced around the room and found his sister Yvette with a basket of matzoh. He wove his way over to her, and her answer to his kosher inquiry was, “This is a seder, is it not?”

Confused and slightly panicked, Billy withdrew his invitation from his blazer pocket. It clearly said “Come get wined and cheesed” in yellow comic sans.

Swiveling, he noted that Amber Flushbum was holding a battered Trivial Pursuit and Kevin Kickscrotum, clad in fluorescent mesh, was corkscrewing two pink glowsticks in the air.

Just then, Patty made her grand entrance, her lazy eye obstructed by the thick black veil which draped from her crown.

“Friends, thank you all for coming to my little soiree.” And with a dramatic flourish, she wrenched open the lid of the crate, causing an avalanche of red plastic cups and cookie-crumbed napkins to cascade to the floor.

Inside was the rotting corpse of her mother, her mouth frozen in a twisted snarl.

Little gasps burst throughout the room like breathy firecrackers. Beverages were dropped to the carpet in shock. The person in the kangaroo suit passed out by the foyer, but not before the unfortunate situation caused them to drop a deuce in their panties.

Pandemonium rippled through the house. “I thought this was a baby shower!!

“—game night!”
“—key bowl party!”
“—porno exchange!”
“—furry club!”

Patty laughed sadly, and began to choke. She raised a red Dixie cup filled to the brim with Billy’s Lambrusco and took a hearty swig to wash down the piece of matzoh that had become snagged in her esophagus.

“No my friends, I sent out those invitations because I couldn’t find any that said, ‘Come Celebrate the Murder of My Rapist Mother’.”

[Original painting available on Etsy. Great Christmas gift for your garbageman!]

Oct 142010
 

“I met him when I was twenty-five.” The sticky dough was passed back and forth between Agatha’s hands and she kneaded it rhythmically until chubby logs were formed. “I had noticed him around town before — cruising down Main Street in his pimento-hued jalopy; one lanky arm, permanently marred with dots of trauma from his recurring bout with shingles, draped confidently over the side of the door. Grease the pan, Cecilia.”

“Mother, what’s a shingle?” Cecilia asked as she moved the stick of oleo along the cookie tray, edges of which were blackened from years of use. Agatha ignored her child’s inquiry as she methodically bathed each log of dough in a lake of sugar; she was lost in thought.

“We always seemed to be at Barb’s Taffy Stand at the same time. My mama said it was serendipity, but I argued that he was tailing me. Not wanting to surrender, I’d fixate on the wide, colorful bands of chewy sugar being pulled and stretched by metal arms, pretending not to notice that he was standing well inside normal human comfort zones, with his cowlick prominent and glistening from a daub of pomade, and his butterfly knife tucked into the front pocket of his jeans. I tried to ignore the acrid redolence of chewing tobacco bred with halitosis and a marinade of anchovies as he breathed his order for banana taffy too close to my nostrils.”

Agatha squirted several drops of red food coloring into a bowl and began folding it into the goo, creating sanguine swirls among the stark white frosting. She continued her tale, in no need of prodding.

“One day, we ended up in the same room together. I pretended to be immersed in a gossip rag, but every time I glanced up, I spied him making lewd gestures at me from across the room.”

“What kind of gestures, Mother?” Cecilia asked, dropping dough logs too-close-together on the tray.

“Well, like the universal sign for cunnilingus,” Agatha ruminated, quickly lashing her tongue between v-spread fingers, in an impetuous demonstration.

With Cecilia nodding to show her comprehension, Agatha continued. “After a few minutes, he sidled up next to me and whispered, ‘Hey broad, let’s blow this abortion clinic.'”

“Didn’t he mean ‘popsicle stand’?” Cecilia scrutinized.

“Oh, no dear,” Agatha chuckled. “We really were in an abortion clinic. He was there delivering pizzas and I was there—” She stopped when she saw Cecilia’s face, constricted with horror. “Oh honey, no!” laughed Agatha. “I wasn’t there to abort you. But let’s just say that if I hadn’t gone back the next day, you’d have a big brother or sister. Possibly inbred,” she mused.

“So,” Agatha continued, extracting the first batch of baked cookies from the oven.  “Against my better judgment, I began seeing him.

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We’d meet up behind the bait shop, under the rusted train trestle, sometimes on an honest to goodness mattress.

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I kind of started to like him.” Agatha stared out the rain-streaked window.

“What went wrong, Mother?” Cecilia asked, her face furnished with curiosity and chicken pox scars.

Agatha seemed to bristle momentarily, but then forged on with the story. “I found out he was seeing someone else. Nancy Jenkins, the proprietor of the town bordello. They shared a Winnebago together, and kept it parked near the river bank where together they could share the perfect view of the sunset. I tried to be OK with being the mistress, his dirty secret, his fat-bottomed hussy, but my father told me that I deserved better than that, even despite my cleft palate.

“So I told him he had to break up with her,” Agatha recounted as she slid the cookies onto a cracked serving platter. “He seemed angry at my audacity, and I saw his hand gravitate, almost instinctively, toward his knife. But then he turned and left without a fight; I fear I’d never see him again. The next night, he showed up at my doorstep, holding out a red velvet ring box.”

Cecilia’s cookie-frosting came to a halt and she smiled up at her mother expectantly. Agatha finished dabbing the tip of Cecilia’s neglected cookie with a flourish of crimson frosting before continuing.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is it, Aggie. Someone’s finally going to make an honest woman of you,’ and I gingerly accepted the gift from his out-stretched hand. But there was no ring inside, Cecilia. Not even a pendant or a brooch.”

“Not even a key to his Winnebago?” Cecilia asked, befuddled.

“Not even a key.” Agatha licked her lips, gummy from being so chatty. “Inside that box, resting gently atop the velvet innards, was a finger.”

“A WHAT?”

“…a blue-nailed finger,” Agatha calmly repeated. “I never meant for him to kill her!

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It was all a misunderstanding,” Agatha rushed, assuaging Cecilia from conniptioning. “‘I said break up with her, not break her!‘ I hollered at him. He laughed and said, ‘Well babe, same end result either way, am I right?'”

“You left him after that, right Mother? You ran real fast, right? Tell me it’s so.”

“Well, not exactly, sweetheart. I had to stay with him…”

“…because you were pregnant with me? He got you pregnant didn’t he? He’s my real daddy isn’t he? And not that clown from the circus who stole our refrigerator!”

“Oh honey, no,” Agatha laughed into the tray of tampon-shaped cookies, freshly baked for the upcoming Menstruation Masquerade; it would be Cecilia’s first time attending. “It was because he had an enormous cock!”

[Originally published January 8, 2008. Reposted because I can do shit like that.]

Sep 282010
 

thebigtangle2



It didn’t sound so bad when he thought about it quietly to himself. But when Jorge heard the words as they tumbled off his wagging tongue, it occurred to him that perhaps he sounded crazy.

Pretentious.
Fatuous.
Obsessive.
Brain-fucked sociopath with a speech impediment.

He had good reasons though, for avoiding epidermic contact. It wasn’t the feel of flesh that diddled his nerves, no not that at all. Peggy Snorkleton had luxurious skin that felt like the distressed hide he wrapped around his Glock, and he did so enjoy a good rubbing against her.

It wasn’t until his mother accidentally lost her balance at the traveling freak show and collided with a leper that he began to see just how vile a human’s hull could actually be. The varying degrees of elasticity, the blemishes that sprung up the closer you got to a person, the moles dripping off bare backs like stalactic raisins.

Stretch marks.
Psoriasis.
Scars.
Freckles on an albino.

And then there was the dermatitis; the dandruff, the miniscule vellum scraps piling up like abraded artifacts across bathroom sinks.

Lately he was petrified of flesh-eating diseases.

Mersa.
Parasites.
Ticks.
Lice.
Crabs waiting to hail a new carapace cab from a dirty pubic pelt they’ve outgrown.

And still, after all the careful explaining, the guests at Francis Featherflicker’s birthday party didn’t understand why Jorge chose to stand in a corner while the rest of the revelers partook in a riveting round of Twister. It was nearly too much for Jorge to bear, even as a spectator: the mashing of limbs, the entwining of phalanges, the friction of bare flesh against the plastic mat, the rubbing and sloughing of a half dozen human appendages catapulting derma debris into the air.

He could be inhaling someone’s scalp scales.

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Somewhere in between right-hand-red and left-foot-yellow, a boy with jagged-edged hair gave a diminuitive girl an Indian brushburn. For kicks, he did this. The sound of her flesh twisting beneath the boys clammy palm sent a fissure through Jorge’s psyche.

It was here  that Jorge began to notice that his teeth were grinding.

He was used to being excluded, though he supposed he excluded himself.

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He was used to mostly sexless relationships; and on the occasion where he woke up feeling a bit randy, a sheet with a hole in the exact positioning of the genital vicinity would need to be laid down between him and whatever person was willing to be his partner in such Amish-styled relations. He was used to declining invitations to pool parties, the thought of all that moist skin, amalgamating into a filthy stew of sweat, urine, chlorine, saliva once sent him reeling into panic.

Jorge was accustomed to people regarding him as a pariah.

Freak.
Outcast.
Asocial.
Queerbot ripping entrails from roadkilled hobos.

But when, in the middle of quite some intense limb-locking, Curly Dustbin wafted a legume-laced bubble of flatulence into the faces of several unfortunate guests fighting for the green spot, causing a chain reaction of chunky purging, Jorge was thankful to be standing alone in a corner.

(Originally published April 14, 2009. Reposted today because I can do shit like that.

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Sep 132010
 

Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong on the Dark Side of Etsy, like I’m not dark enough or goth enough (but they’ve never made me feel unwanted!).  Because of this, I’ve been a little self-conscious when assigned a member to gift for the birthday swap. What if they think whatever I send them is too “fun” or “whimsical”? Short of splashing my paintings with pigs blood, I pretty much just wing it.

But this month, the person I was given to gift expressed an interest in lomography, so I sent her the photo below and its accompanying story. She in turn told me that the photo and story were disturbing, and that her daughter asked, “What is wrong with her?” For a member of the Dark Side to think something of mine is creepy and disturbing? Best compliment ever.  

I don’t usually re-post my “super gay stories,” but I wanted to give this one another spin, since it was so well-received the other day. Just let me bask for a minute, alright? Christ.

And hey! If you want your own copy (which is printed on really cool metallic paper, by the way!), you can get it here.


 

 

Sally should not have been surprised when she was turned away at the door.

“But I was invited!” she insisted, coffee-stained invitation curved around the womb of her hands. She held it up to the man’s face, pulling it taut so he could see that her name, in adolescent lower-case, was penciled in at the top. Her name, it was there! Her name was right there next to the day-old coffee splash that looked like Hitler; right there, preceeding the typed words IS INVITED.

Laughter flitted from the bowels of the banquet hall. He flicked the invitation, knocking it loose from Sally’s grip and slamming the door in her snout. “No pigs invited!” she heard several revelers shout in unison, followed by more hideous laughter. “Pig’ll eat all the food!” The cruel heckling made the bile effervesce within Sally. For a brief moment, she could taste its sour flavor as it burned against her uvula. She swallowed it.

She tried to swallow the hideous laughter, too.

Fifty-three minutes later, Sally sat in her parked car at a truck stop just a few miles outside of town. She numbly nibbled on the sandwich that was handed to her through a window by an androgynous teen with a snarled upper lip, Sally’s own pout puckering involuntarily as her tongue moved over a spot of bread, moist from pickle sweat. Choking back a sloppy slurp of lemonade, Sally cried out bitterly, “I belong no where!

” She groped in the darkness of her car, until her fingers eventually came up with a pen.

You might not know it yet but you will be sorry. Sorry for slamming doors in my face, for flushing my poems down the commode. You will be sorry for not letting me carole with you that one Christmas in 1987.

As a child, Sally was invited to parties only because her father was the principal; parents used her spot on birthday guest lists to keep their own slovenly spawn from flunking out of third grade. And Sally, so full of jubilance, would put on her best Laura Ashley, and she would step into her best Mary Janes, and she would wrap the present in the best foiled paper. And last, she would pull on her rubber pig mask.

In front of her father, all the kids would chant “Oh Sally’s here! Oh, Sally, Sally, Sally!” But then the door would shut behind her and her father and his little green Pinto would be a dot on the horizon.

You might not know it yet, but you will see that my headgear did not define me, that my stutter was not a reason to make me a cafeteria pariah.

You might not know it yet, but my halitosis was bearable under the supervision of Altoids.

And then it was, “Oops, Sally, I didn’t mean to tear your dress” [as Mary Misslegap swiped at the silken floral with a boxcutter] and “Uh oh, Sally’s having her period!” [courtesy of Agatha Angelfuck pollacking her with Heinz] and “Sorry, Sally, there’s no cake left for you” [as Tommy Wettail smeared it on her face like paste, snapping her bra for the cherry on top]. And there would be that hideous laughter again. Sally would swallow that hideous laughter and go home.

You might not know it yet, but you will realize that I had things to say, ideas to share, if you could have only seen past my muffin top, past my cleft palate. You will realize that the brown stain on my white trousers in Spanish class senior year was mud, not shit from my own self.

And even after all of that, Sally was willing to give her old peers a second chance when the invitation arrived that day. YARDLY GREEN HIGH SCHOOL’S TENTH REUNION it said in an elegant script. Sally, who had too much hope for humanity, was anxious to show off her poker straight teeth and Kathy Lee knock-off. But Sally, whose better judgement raped her thoughts with reality, couldn’t help but falter in her step when she arrived at the hotel that night.

You might not know it yet, but I don’t care about your Better Homes and Garden wedding. And I don’t care your child was born with Downs Syndrome. And I don’t care about how you feel about me. Not anymore.

Sally should have known she was only invited as entertainment, one more lashing for the social reject. It was just like grade school, only now the cruelty was liquor-enhanced. Sally should have known there would be no punch-drinking and name tag-wearing for her that night. But now, parked next to a rocking eighteen-wheeler with frosted windows, Sally knew; and soon they would too.

You might not know it yet, but I am unable to swallow that hideous laughter.You might not know it yet, but I was really fucking good at Chemistry.

Sally had just added the final flourish to her signature when her pen bled its last drop of ink. Sally folded the coarse brown napkin she had been writing on and peeled off the pig mask;  with a forceful stab to her carotid, she used the sanguine ink to scrawl ATTENTION: ALL OF MY WORST CRITICS on the top of the note.

And that is exactly what a mulletted trucker in a camo vest was reading, coagulated in blood and pickle juice from a half-eaten Hoagie Hocker sub, when the bomb went off at that hotel with the hideous laughter.

Aug 012010
 

“Well, Buster, it’s been quite a week, ain’t it?” Melvin spat around the rotten anchovy lodged under his tongue. He had traversed the land for a solid eight minutes in search of vittles. When all the trashcans and dumpsters turned up fruitless, he resorted to his hobo handbook and quickly read Chapter Eleventeen: Rannygazoo and How It Can Help YOU.

Melvin jotted down some notes and limped to a nearby trailer park, where he tried his hand at tick-tacking in hopes of luring people far enough out of their doublewides to allow him a chance at slipping inside to raid their ice boxes.

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Maybe find some leftover Spam or tuna casserole.

“I could really go for a fat slab of day old Spam on a wheat cracker,” Melvin thought deliriously to himself. But everyone came to their door with a shotgun hitched across their shoulder on account of the rampant infestation of colored folk who arrived from a scary state called Arkansas.

To get back to his camp, Melvin had to pass a sewage plant.

The thought of sucking on bloated turds crossed his mind, but he had food allergies and didn’t want to press his luck, since no doctor in  town accepted his snotted hankies as insurance.

Over the crackling fire, Melvin relayed the day’s food quest to his faithful companion, Buster.

“But now we gots some wieners, don’t we Buster?” He gave them a twirl over the fire, letting the flames lick them into a sizzle.

Buster whined a little, then passed out, on account of all the blood he lost from his groin trauma.

Melvin never did say where he got the other wiener, but other hobos in the camp noticed that his urinating was done in private after that night, and generally accompanied with blood-curling howls.

(Picture provided by fabulous sponsor Alyson!)