Googly Two Shoes

Googly Two Shoes was a shrimp in the deep blue sea of Nordstruttom, a dire strait betwixt the continental shelfs of Jabar and Joongedoon. GTS swam in the slow dancing curl and uncurl motioning of shrimp in the darkness of that cold water, his unblinking beady eyes glistening with a light that was like that of the moon. Two Shoes listened for the sounds of currents carrying the fathoming moan of whales, gauging the season and horoscope through the twinkling chitter of starfish. As a shrimpling, founded from the shore of Kooler, Googly made his way through the depths by the trail of green plankton until his belly grew ready for shellfish and mud shrimp, and he ate his way down deeper into the darkness, away from the reggaeton and tourist encroach of Koolton Bay, until his eyes glued wide open with which to catch a glimmer of a crab leg or fish scale, glimmering in some otherworldly light that reflects off of something not the sun. Down and down he sank, eating daintily in the way of shrimp, growing more vessely and plump with meat as he went. As we all know, in those deep dark waters of Nordstruttom where there is no clear delineation between complete absence of color and a deep shade of blue, life can be competitive and fleeting, but at the very least, quiet and ominous with the weight of meaning.

We will remember Googly Two Shoes for his juiciness of body and cleft of taste. That he was netted so unjustly in mass industrial manner, torn asunder from his netherworld deploy, speaks poorly of the human species’ rampant, primal need for meats that it does not deserve to rend. But we will nevertheless enjoy this sauteed cashew nut surprise in his name.

Zanorth II

This month’s flash writing for the astronaut collective, theme of “bug”:

Zanorth the cockroach scuttled across the soundboard, chewing on remnants of asiago habanero pizza that had befallen there at some point during the many hours long sessions of takes, retakes, and re-re-takes. Finally, the engineer, Burt, packed up his things, stubbed out his 3rd blunt of the evening, and went off into the night to some industry party in a trendy bar the size of an armpit to drink too many adios motherfuckers and shake his thing on the dancefloor until he got kicked out for grinding up on the clubowner’s wife and knocking over a pitcher full of mojito. Whereupon Burt then made his way to an apartment party at his buddy Fletcher’s, wherein he snorted a coupla lines of coke and then—the final highlight of the night—made out extensively with an aspiring bit part actresses’ chin because they were both too sauced to know the difference. The saliva and knobbiness of the area combined still made it seem like the night had been alright, when he awoke the next mid-day curled around a sofa with a shirt smelling from vomit that did not come from him, unless he somehow drank a quart of tequila without knowing it.

Zanorth felt the habanero was a bit overstated, but otherwise interesting. He sat and waggled his antennae at his reflection in the window lit by pulsating lights from hibernating I-Macs. The night belonged to him and his breed, spawned in the eternal darkness of insulation between walls scattered with conduit and droppings from mice long since exterminated with shock traps. His was a species that was somehow beyond time, straddled across the boundaries of pre-history and a nuclear future. Zanorth felt no need to evolve. He was quite content with his penthouse suite on the 3rd floor of a reconverted motel in the heart of Greenwich Village. Crumbs were aplentiful and gourmet. He often felt that the key to life (which in his case, he was well aware, was most likely limited to one year) was simply being content with what was immediate and given. Zanorth knew that he had it better than most. He had word from a fruitfly that once flew in through the open window from the garbage heap that there were cockroaches in the world who were reduced to scavenging for Vegemite in the armchairs of an abandoned apartment of some ex-pat Kiwis. Zanorth couldn’t imagine what that would be like. At the most, here in this paradise of frequent daily snacks and delivery pizza, Thai, Indian, and Chinese, Zanorth once had to go a whole weekend without a crumb. He called that the drought of week 37.

Burt knew, in some subconscious primitive part of his brain, that he dropped crumbs from his hastily snacked upon sustenance throughout the day. He also perhaps had observed, without putting two and two together, that the crumbs no longer were there the next day. Burt also knew that there was no cleaning lady hired to mop and wax the floors and disinfect the tables. But if he had ever thought about it at all, maybe he just thought that crumbs went to crumb purgatory, where all fallen crumbs belonged. Or they disappeared via magic, via some transmutation or karmic reincarnation into something new. Perhaps they became integrated into the wooden flooring.

No, the crumbs—as we canny observers know—went directly to Zanorth’s belly. But perhaps that is as it is meant to be. The hardshelled creatures of the night suckling upon what we are unaware of, feeding from the waste of our ignorance.

Germaine Installment III

Rawlins, his hair pomaded and glistening in the sun, stepped out of his car. The three yardsale ladies, apparently already familiar with him, hooted and called out simultaneously, like birds. He waved and pulled out a tray of cookies from his passenger seat. Germaine scrambled up fairly quickly, given his age, and hobbled over to Rawlins and sniffed eagerly at his pant cuffs, then began licking at his doc martins.
“Ho, old boy,” Rawlins said to Germaine, “Lookin’ good. Have a cookie.” Germaine gobbled it up in mid air.
“Goddamit, Rawlins,” Johnson shouted, “He can’t have that kind of thing, it’s going to kill him!”
“Hell no, Johnson! This is some good shit right here. He’ll live ten years longer!” Rawlins came up and slapped Johnson on the back. Johnson helped himself to two cookies and handed Rawlins the thermos.
“Weeeoooh! Holy shit! That’s some good lemonade.”
“I made it this very morning!” the lady with the red mustache said proudly.
“Vodka with love from Russia,” Johnson stated, taking back his thermos and washing down the two gooey cookies with lemonade-vodka.
“How’s it hangin’, Doris?” Rawlins asked the mustachioed lady.
“Oh, you know. Getting rid of some nice stuff we just didn’t have the room for anymore,” she answered, playing with her curls, “Do you like these bowls? Perfect for mixing.”
Rawlins and the broad chatted about baking as the cookies were distributed throughout the populace at the yardsale. The lady with the paisley kerchief ate 5 in a row. Germaine waddled into a shady spot underneath a table and laid out on his side, panting contentedly.
Johnson puttered through the various items displayed, always interested in the rare treasure that might lurk in the shadowy recesses of a scattered box of junk. At the very least, a white elephant gift was always one thing that you could assuredly come away from a yardsale with.
A half-hour later, his hands covered in dust, he found what he thought to be the doozy. It was an object completely devoid of any apparent function–a miniature boar, replete with tusks that might have been real ivory. It had tufts of mangy hair that may or may not have come from an actual boar. It stood haphazardly on legs uneven from years of storage in some packed away box. It was ugly, and Johnson couldn’t imagine why anybody would possess, or care to possess, such a thing. Which made it all the more desirable for him to possess.
“Where has this boar come from?” he asked the third yardsale lady, who sat poised on an antique stool like a hawk, silent and observant.
“That would be from India,” she responded, “It’s very nice, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Yes, quite nice.” He held the boar up to the light appraisingly. He was starting to feel a little funny. The lady in the paisley kerchief began, inexplicably, to make owl noises. The three ladies laughed together, again for no apparent reason–they seemed to be interconnected by some conspiratorial craziness. Rawlins was conversing animatedly with the red mustachioed lady about how to properly baste a game hen.
“How much for this here small boar?” Johnson asked the hawk lady on the stool.
“That’s 10 dollars.”
Johnson looked hard at lady. 10 bones? She gazed beadily back at him without emotion. She couldn’t possibly be serious. She must have an amazing sense of humor, Johnson thought. Amazingly dry, restrained sense of humor that none of the outer world, save perhaps her other 2 psychotic cronies, could possibly visualize nor understand. 10 dollars for a functionless, hideous replica of a wild boar! Johnson appraised the boar some more, looking for problems he could point out to knock the price down. The legs were uneven, yes, but not broken. The craftsmanship indeed was uncanny. The boar seemed quite vividly lifelike the more one stared at it, almost such that it seemed to be ready to gallop off into the suburban brush. Perhaps to mate with some unsuspecting housepet, creating a street herd of wild boar-cats, roaming the nightworld expanses of backyards and tar to forage for fallen fruits, nuts, and stray rats. He was definitely feeling a bit funny.
“I’ll give you five dollars for this boar,” he said suddenly to the lady, who had been watching him silently from her stool. She shook her head calmly.
“It’s a nice boar, I admit, but what the hell kind of use does it have?” he asked her peevishly, pissed off now.
“That’s an avatar of Lord Vishnu,” she said, as if that explained anything.
Mystified, he stood holding the boar, for some reason unable to let it go. Germaine heaved himself up and sniffed interestedly at the boar, his neck hairs rising. He barked.
If you’ve ever seen a real german shepherd get really worked up, it can be a rather frightening experience, especially if you have normally viewed said german shepherd as a quiet, friendly, boring dog. The german shepherd suddenly, instantaneously converts to a wild bear-like creature, all fangs and firey eyes, hackles risen like a wolf looking for the kill. Germaine had shed all of his age and was now barking frenziedly at the small stuffed boar.
“Aw, crap, Germaine! GERMAINE!” Johnson swatted at Germaine to no avail. Some inner ancient wild dog had been activated in Germaine, and there was no talking domestic sense to him at the moment. Not knowing how else to stop him, Johnson waved the boar in front of Germaine’s face, and then tossed it across the street. Germaine ran after it, ears swiveled forward and taut, and picked it up and swung it about in his jaws rapidly, like it was a bunny. A testament, again, to its workmanship, the boar had not yet ripped apart. Johnson wordlessly handed the lady on the stool a ten dollar bill. It had been worth it, almost, simply to see Germaine acting gloriously like a 100 percent purebred german shepherd.
Rawlins came up next to Johnson and slapped him on the back. “How you liking those cookies, eh, motherfucker? Give me some of that lemonade shit.” Johnson then had a moment of realization, as Rawlins took a herculean swig from the thermos, draining it of all liquid and dribbling a third of it down his chin and onto his t-shirt. The cookies!
“What was in those cookies, again, Rawlins?”
Rawlins wiped his mouth and belched. “Pumpkin, peanut butter. A dollop of special butter.”
“Special butter? Holy shit.” As it dawned on him what this meant, he could hear the three ladies tittering like schoolgirls behind him.

Germaine Installment II

Like all suburbs, Clayola had streets so wide you could fit three humvees side by side. Cookie cutter houses developed from some nobody’s drawing board vision of what comfort would look like if it could be marketed, a commissioned vision obtained and computerized in some high rise building in a city on the other side of the nation. Here they were, green lawns symbolic of the American Dream, stucco pink brown houses with 2 inch wide blind slats and bedrooms bigger than a trailer home. Johnson pedaled slowly down the gently serpentine blocks, alternating between the sidewalk and the radiant expanse of tar. He stopped to take a pull from his thermos, sweating faintly from his roughly 3 1/2 block journey. All part of the Woodsdale gated community. He wheeled his bike up to the yardsale at 1132 Dandelion Drive. A trio of women who may have been in their late 30s but looked like they were in their 50s manned the scattered goods. There were boxes of knicknacks, swaths of dusty fabric, well-broken in shoes from boys long dispersed from the fold, icecube trays that formed icecubes into clovers, lamps that seemingly existed in a universe apart from any given purpose of lighting, hardback books that had never been reprinted, and all sorts of other things that were pleasurable to browse amongst, simply for that moment of juxtaposition between the worn, dusty object and its possible function in your own life, the moment of wonder, when it almost seems that you might actually find a place for this thing on your bookshelf or in your closet or your kitchen–until you snap quickly back to the simple reality that this thing you are holding is sadly mere junk, in fact the purest definition of the word. Junk. But you continue browsing, relentlessly, even through the bins that are quite apparently only fragments of things no longer existing, in the hope that out of the jungle of junk there will be that one item that will give you greater comfort, greater mobility, greater prowess in the kitchen, but that you just could never suck it up to buy new.
But junk, too–it must be said–has its place in our lives; those purposeless objects that we put into storage or that sit unused in the farthest reaches of our rooms. They are symbols of memories and aspects of ourselves that we just cannot let go, even if no longer relevant–like totem items, imbuing our everyday outer world with secret meaning. Someday, perhaps, you think, these objects might serve a function, even though they never have. Or at the very least, you can pass these magic objects onto other people, such as your children or grandchildren, or–if in need of a few bucks to feel that your years of ownership were worth anything–to some stranger lured in by the prospect of cheap usable wares at a yardsale.
Johnson lived down the street from these ladies, but had never seen them before. One of them, head topped with a paisley silk kerchief, offered free lemonade, made from lemons which grew in their own backyard. The lemons were lumpy and sometimes grew in jointed doubles–or once, even triples–as if they had been subjected to nuclear radiation. The lemonade, as Rawlins had stated, was certainly of the mouth puckering variety, and Johnson found that it mixed quite well with the vodka in his thermos.
Germaine came waddling down the street, looking haggard from the journey, his tongue hanging desperately out the side of his snoot like a piece of gum trailing off a shoe.
“GERMAINE!,” Johnson piped, his face feeling doubly warm from the dual forces of the sun and the vodka-lemonade, “What in the hell has gotten into you?” The dog sniffed amiably at a box of old dress shoes and then curled himself into a spot of shade behind a broken grandfather clock.
“Excuse me, but is this your dog?” one of the yard-sale ladies, with a distinct red mustache, asked, pointing down at the german shepherd.
“That’s a tricky question, madam,” Johnson responded, sipping gently at his thermos,”because when one lives with such a dog, as I do, then the issue of ownership becomes somewhat complicated. As in, when I am a slave to his need every afternoon for walks, or to his constant hunger for milkbones, for example, the question is then raised: does he own me, or do I own him?”
“Well, he can’t be sitting here, he’ll drive away customers.”
“Madam, I assure you that young children will be lured into your yardsale in ever increasing numbers by his large furry ears. He poses no immediate threat to your commerce.”
A child then came running from across the street and began to pet the dog avidly.
“He smells like mildew,” the lady with the red mustache said, unrelenting.
“He has no fleas and has been rendered infertile by surgical procedure and he has been given all shots required by law. I have his papers here if you care to see them. Observe the nobility of his snout. 100% pure bred.”
Germaine rolled onto his back to be pet, and his pink penis could be seen flashing wetly in the sun. The child ran away cursing. Johnson quickly diverted attention by asking the price for a handsome set of polished nutcrackers. The rouse turned out to be unnecessary, for just then Rawlins pulled up in his Jetta.

Germaine Installment I

Germaine was a German shepherd, your garden variety of germane purebred–bad hips, arthritis, ears overlarge and rear end rat-like. His master was a Lipton tea drinker who would lay out for hours in the sun, but would wear such a large floppy hat and slather on the 45 SPF sunscreen so much that he was in fact as pale as an albino. He liked the feeling of being adventurous, without any of the deleterious effects. “Germaine,” he said, knee deep in a mai tai and Hindu scripture, “GERMAINE!” The german shepherd whined and looked at his pale master, his ears swiveled and tentative in the summer air, then groaned and raised his mangy body painfully and waddled over. Johnson liked to exercise his authority over the dog, simply to maintain order and give the semblance of purpose to his hours in (out) the sun. Germaine licked at Johnson’s hand, inspected the mai tai, farted breezily, then plopped himself down again, having determined that the call was only an exercise.
The phone rang in the kitchen. “Goddammit,” Johnson muttered. “GERMAINE!” The dog lay on his side, his left ear merely moving a little in faint reflex. “Useless mutt. Can’t even pick up a phone.” Johnson heaved himself up and suddenly felt the mai tai drop heatedly into his stomach. He stumbled his way indoors and picked up the phone.

“Johnson here.”
“Rawlins, I thought I asked you, politely, never to call here again.”
“I’m sitting here in the sun, I’m reading the Mahabharata, I get up from my concentrated study to answer the phone from someone who should not be calling me.”
“Mo-ther-fuck-er. There’s a yardsale going on down on Dandelion Lane. Lemonade and everything, the kind that makes you pucker.”
“Any chicks?”
“You’d better be there motherfucker. I’m baking cookies.”
“No shit?”
“Peanut butter and pumpkin, motherfucker!”

Johnson got his Schwinn out from the shed and tried to take some of the cobwebs off with a stick. Germaine lay watching happily, his pink tongue lolling. Johnson poured a little vodka into a thermos, just in case, then got onto the rusty red bike and pedaled around the side of the house and down the driveway and into the street.


Here am I, Lord of Cockroaches, Zanorth, surveying my territory, the kitchen lands of Apartment Q-258. My antennaes waggle in the summer breeze that wafts out from the hour long hot showers that the female humanoid takes in the bathroom. This is indeed a land of plenty, a fertile tiled square of frequently dropped crumbs, forgotten leftovers, abundance overflowing from ceramics at every step.
My people live in the spaces between the walls. We do not carry strange diseases. We are nearly impossible to kill except by strong and deftly placed poisons, or individually by very sharp or very heavy blunt instruments. The humans seem to fear us excessively for the reason that our existence is based both entirely on their excess–while simultaneously, we could still exist without them. This terrifies them–the idea that we could outlive them–and that meanwhile we are simply using their wasteful habits to chill out and party.
It has been a good season here in the kitchen lands. Why, just last night, we came across 4 different types of cheeses, along with drops of various red wines to accompany them! Just think, what a waste it would be if all of this extra foodstuff simply sat forever on the kitchen floor, never to be enjoyed by another lifeform. We the cockroaches love to try out new things. I myself just tried out candied yams for the first time last week, and discovered them to perhaps be the most luxurious dining experience I’ve ever partaken in. I will dream of said yams, the orange and white creamy blend, until the next chance encounter I have with them again. In the meantime, I will enjoy this piece of mushroom pizza crust with a dab of ranch.

Essay of Me by Phil Scrydor

digital landscapes washing over your shore
the vision is luminous but still i want more
the key to the ocean is all over my chin
and the tides pushing me further and further
and further in
(“The Panoramic View of You,” Slitting Throats circa 1982, from the “Lush” album)

I begin my Essay of Me with this quote because I like it, and I listen to the Lush album a lot. I think their lyrics are really evocative and like, vivid, surreal, just dripping with visceral imagery. I wore my hair like Sid Branton’s for a while, too: I had it dyed purple and everything. I like to play bass a lot. There’s just something about plucking those fat strings that’s so satisfying. I don’t know that many people understand that. Everyone seems to think that playing guitar is like the ultimate, like you have to wah-wah and screech and clang in order to be somebody. Shit, try taking the bass line out of your favorite tune, man, it will blow your fucking mind. It’s totally necessary, completely necessary. It grounds the whole thing. It would all fall apart otherwise. A bass player’s got to make a lot out of nothing. Just simple, grounded stuff. I like that meatiness to it, that solidity. It’s like a feeling that I can only compare to like, surfing, when you’re riding the wave. Once you’re up on it, and the rhythm is solid, and you’re carrying the whole tune with you, you just feel like nothing can stop you, like you’ll just keep going and going forever, and then the song ends. I jump around like a monkey when I play that shit. Everyone seems to think that the guitar player has to do all the theatrics, like they have to look all crazy when they’re strumming chords, or bending a note or some shit. But I think the bass player should be the one getting crazy. They’re thumping the fucking whole room with their plucking. They’d better be moving. I dance like crazy when I start plucking that thing. I shave my head now, too, so it’s cool when I wag my head around, I look all hard-core.
What else to say about me? I smoke American Spirits. Have since I was 10. It’s ok with my mom; she says I’ll be lucky enough to die by natural causes like cancer, rather than something like a car crash or a bullet or something. I see her point. I figure, what the hell. If I’m going to die this way, then at least it’s by my own fucking hand, you know? Besides, I’ve got an uncle who’s like 87 and has been smoking forever and he’s doing just fine, other than for a shitload of liverspots. I always try not to stare at them, but they’re like all over his hands and stuff, it’s kind of weird looking. But he’s a cool guy. He used to make shoes for Frank Sinatra–no fucking kidding. He was hip with the mobsters like that. He still smokes cigars. He’s a real cool guy. I wouldn’t mind being that old, even with liverspots, if I was like him. He has a house with a swimming pool in Arizona, it’s a nice house, it’s got a game room and everything. I’ve tried to get him to let me throw a party with all my friends there, at the pool, with the house to ourselves, that would be so crazy wild. But he never lets me, the selfish old bastard. He’s going to a retirement home for sure when he breaks a hip. I wouldn’t want to be old enough to be sent to a retirement home. That would suck a fat one.
Let’s see. What else about me. Now that I’ve shaved my head, I’m looking pretty hardcore. I’m thinking of removing my earring to look even harder, but I don’t know, I’ve had it in so long it would feel weird without it. Like I’d be naked or something. I have this one friend who wears a hat everywhere he goes, like all the time, he’s got this same hat on. I’d never seen him without the hat, until just the other day, I saw him without his hat on. It was pretty weird. I didn’t even know who he was at first. That’s why I’m scared to take out my earring. It’s like people start to identify you with certain things, and then when you change it it fucks everything up. Which is cool. But I don’t know if I want to do that just yet with the earring, because I already just did that with shaving my head. That was a pretty fucked up thing to do, because before I looked like Sid Branton.
Well, that’s pretty much all that I can think of to write about me. There’s a lot more stuff I could tell you, but it’s hard to think of it all right now. I could tell you stories from growing up, but I don’t know if that’s pertinent to this essay. I have some pretty fucked up stories, though, if you want to hear them. I grew up with 3 older brothers; they did some pretty fucked up stuff. I did some pretty fucked up stuff, too, when I was little. I’m more normal now. I play bass a lot and hang out at The Moribund Cafe. It’s cool there because they let you smoke cigarettes inside, and use your coffee cup as an ashtray. They don’t give a fuck there. I play my bass there on Thursdays with my band, The Brazened Nuts. All of our friends come to that. It gets pretty wild. We had a girl flashing her boobies at us one time. We’re probably going to keep playing there.

Juggland 3

The first time the Juniper Bush spake unto Krispin, he was a-crouched amongst the bracken, unburdening his daily intestinal compilement of waste matter. As Krispin was wont to do whilst engaged in such ruminative severance, he was conversing a-loud as if to a projected wiser double of himself, whom in turn answers his troubled queries with sage assurances.
[Krispin1: Auf! Tha young Lundburger lass be lookin gooood! Why, ah'd lak to bend the naughty girl over m'knee for some righteous spankin' . . .
Krispin2: Peace, warrior! Bear in mind the auspices of her father, Lord Lundburger. . .
Krispin1: Egad! But the ripen'd melons . . . ! the throb of budding fertility . . .!
Krispin2: Hold, ye! Wha would Betsy say?
Krispin1: . . .
Krispin2: You know the consequences of betrayal. You bear yet the marks of rolling pin pon your hind parts even today . . .

And so forth]

Today Krispin is concerned with the topick of love.
“Tain’t nuttin like the fruits of love, ooweeeouuu! love [sniff. . .] why, tis in the air! agh, spring! when ah’m done here, why, ah’ll pick that sprig of clover down yonder, and present it unto Betsy, make her feel like a young un’ agin. she’ll squeal like a gawdammed pig when i set to her with such manly vigor . . . maybe ah’ll even . . .”
Whereupon the Juniper Bush spoke:
“Have you ever been in love? It’s not the most pleasant experience in the world. It’s full of jealousy and pain and heart-rending sorrow.”
Krispin, assuming that it is his customary counterpart, answers: “Naw then, I member Betsy first time I took her back o’ the barn. Tha first kiss, truculent in the wondrous devilry of it all. I almost shudder to think of the magic we made then, in that hay–we didn’t even remove our clothing. . . and yet, so deep, this shuddering. . . “
The Juniper Bush coughs, not all too politely. “Scuse me, Nightingale, but this ‘Love’? What is it? Love is Great! Love is the Ultimate! But do you understand what love really entails?”
Krispin, realizing that his conversational partner is growing confrontational past any self-induced bounds, that indeed, he is speaking to some Other Entity, tries frenziedly to speed his bowel movements and prepare for escape. “Who . . .Jimmy, ye mother fucker, is tha you?!”
“I have a theory, see. I think that love is a conspiracy. I think that love is a myth. I think that love is a simulation devised to pull the wool over your eyes and the rug out from under you. A fantastickal matrix of false information.”
Krispin, straining desperately to release a reticent load, “Love is . . . Love is the greatest thing in Juggland! Ah’m the first to trumpet the virtues of warfare, sure! Ah love to butcher and slash m’way to victory, berserk with dopamine just as much as th’ next lad! . . . .Uggnnggh! . . . But Love . . . in Valhalla, surely, all is Love. The ideal, the true connection in humanly relations. . . . Mmmph!. . . .Without Love . . .”
“Without love, what is the world but death and struggle?” the Juniper Bush asks, dryly, “Let’s be honest here. We live in a world where death is all around us. We’re always killing each other. We’re always killing ourselves. There is nowhere we can go to escape this reality. Except, of course, to succumb to death itself. Is this your love?”
Herein Krispin grows righteously angry at being thus addressed: “Who’s there?! Ah’m trying to peacefully relieve m’self of fecal truncations, like a good citizen . . . It’s not polite. . . Gawddammit, it’s not proper to address me whilst ah am so affianced . . .”
“I’m a juniper bush. Over here, see the fronds a-waving. It’s not so very polite to be shitting on my property, and then propounding the tenets of an Ideal you don’t fully comprehend.”
Krispin contemplates this. “Well, ah guess ah can’t argue with that one. I apologize for the intrudence. Pray, continue with your philosophizing, goodly bush, as ah finish up with me business here.”
“Ahem. The descent into love is the donning of blinders. The slickness of syrup coating the tongue. Synthetic. Mimetic. It is an illusion, a fantasy. And what makes it all so amazing is that the concept was not created by some invisibly structured higher order of beings . . . no, it was formulated by YOU . . . you, digging your head into the wing of
society. Save me, you cried, save me from myself. But let us examine this ‘love.’ What is love? Love is vulnerability. Love is exposing your weaknesses. Love is always letting someone else win. And this, this is a good thing?”
Krispin sits erect momentarily, “Nooo!” he trumpets.
“Love means giving yourself to others at the expense of yourself. Love means letting someone else have power over you. Love means that you are needy. Love means that you are weak. Is this what you are?”
Krispin’s eyes a-gleam. “Gawdam, nooo!”
“We keep talking about freedom, as if freedom is the meaning of love, a right to exist, something ideally we all share. No, i tell you, freedom is not a right, it’s something you earn. It’s something you fight for.”
“Dam right, ain’t tha the truth! Ah earned me right to fair pickins in the mess hall!”
“The process of maturation is the process of forming your own space in the world. This is not a peaceful process. It is violent. Your body undergoes metamorphosis. You consume–you produce waste.”
“True nuff. But stay a minute. What exactly does a Juniper Bush know of love?”
The J.B. seems to sag a bit. “I loved an apple tree, once.”
“What happened?”
“Nearly withered away over it. The tree was felled by a bolt of lightening one night. But don’t try to reduce my understanding to such sentimental precepts.”
“Of course not, ” Krispin soothes the bush, “Why, ah believe ah’ve completed my mission here, out in these woods here today. Ah feel ten pounds lighter, like ah could float away upon these winds. . . “
“See, changing the subject. Always trying to run away from the brutal nature of love. Love is nothing pretty, I’m warning you. So when you use the words, do not use them lightly. If there’s one thing you’ve learned from me, let it be this: love is not anything you could ever want. Love is not anything you could ever desire. It is a burden. Fair thee well, soldier. Remember my words. . . “
” . . . If there’s one thing ah’ve learned, it’s tha freakin bushes can tractate even more than a preacher. . .”
“I heard that!”

This was not the first, nor the last time the Juniper Bush held conference
with a Jugglander . . . .

Juggland 2

(pertaining as to the mead-hall discussion of what to do upon the morrow. . . )

Vince: i speak of the ocean depths, man, into which my ancestor, the second lieutenant of Lord Vespor himself, delved into, wrestling with a squid of mountainous proportion for seven hours, setting the universal record for holding one’s breath.

Gremel: eh? ah thought he was swallered by a great fish, and sat there for seven days, living off of shrimp brine . . .

Jimmy: naw, that was my great grand-pappy, blubber-fer-brains.

Gremel: don’t call me dat, Jimmy. i told you not to call me dat.

Vince: just think. like a long pipe stem, kinda. we could walk along the sea floor and bring back never-before-seen submarine flowers for the wives, just in time for the fertility rites.

Krispin: fuck tha vegetation! let’s grab us some mer-maiden, rumored to reside, languidly and big-bosomed, within the darkened forests of the sea-floor!
All (uplifting mead cups and doing a quick polska about the room):
Yea! Let us meet us some mer-maiden,
said to reside in the submarined eden
of the salty brined oceanic deep!
oh, them big-eyed long-tressed sea gaaaals!
they may not be in possession of feet,
but non-fishy parts are most certainly mammaaaal!

L. Lornus: ey! dont tha fuckin pee in that corner agin, Jimmy! I’m sick and goddamned tired of steppin in yer piss!

Jimmy (grumbling as he exuents the mead-hall): damnation. feels like I’m at home . . . Jimmy doan do this. . . Jimmy doan do tha. . . quit yer laughin, blubber-fuckin-brains! . . .

Gremel: eh, methinks somebody’s been swiggin over-much mead . . .

Vince: And I ask ye, sir Gremel, is that such a crime? I submit for all your contemplation, gentlemen, the question: can one, ever, drink too much mead?

(short silence, excepting for a few frothy sips)

Krispin: I think the only crime right now is that we’ve still got an un-tapped mead barrel over yonder, brethren.

Jimmy (re-entering): let’s go us another fuckin round!

All (forming into an impromptu can-can line):
Aye, let us un-tap us another mead barrel,
unburden its aerated goodness into our cups,
free its spirit in our stomach’s widening embrace–
oh, nectar of Valhalla! golden hearted meeeeaaaad!

L. Lornus: well, ah don’t know about you lads, but ah’ve got to slay me an elk or two. ah need the skin for me drum, and the meat for the wivey’s kibble kiln.

Gremel: some huntin sounds lak a good spend of day . . . out in th fresh pine morn, crouchin amongst the brush to surprise the water-hole solicitude of a horned creature with a swiftly mounted spear.

Jimmy: shut yer trap there, huntin boy! what kind of arcane method of slaughter is this? spear? art thou neanderthal yet? i bet you still catch your fish with such primitive resolve . . . ? (Gremel looks sheepish) Need to keep up with the latest in scientifickal thought, lad. we’ve dispensed with that old predatorial mechanism–it’s all animal psychology now.

Vince: that’s right. we’ve determined that if we pretend to be friendly, then they will almost tan their own hides for us. It’s like this: we begin with the premise that there is an ideal state of being, one in which animal and man alike share the fruits of the most high. we then begin to simulate this very state, as if it should be so, and was meant to be so, and that the brutal nature of our relations was but a bad dream of the past. like the oxen in the field? they think that they’re working for Valhalla. they practically come to us and ask us to be yoked.

Gremel: sort of lak de notion of a carrot pon a stick . . . ?

Vince: precisely. we got us elk who fall over each other trying to be the next candidate for slaughter. ‘sacrifice,’ we call it. things proceed just as they did before, except that now, to all appearances, we are brothers in the vision of futurity.

Jimmy and Vince put their arms around each other and croon in falsetto:
Ah, little lamb!
What better way to help the world,
than to better thyself
(and work for us)?
Come help us build a better future,
for our children,
for our earth,
for our G-d
(and for our veal tonight!)

L. Lornus: rmmph. ah like to keep actions honest, meself. straightforward with the spear-waiting. if it was good enough for my ancestors than it’s good enough for me.

Krispin: Braaaaaplth! Scuse me, lads. I’m going to bid ye godnight fer naw. I doth hear Betsy’s rump a-callin . . .

Juggland 1

“hi honey” *smack* “how was your day?”
“i had a hard time with the dragon, but eventually i was able to free my arm from its serpentine grasp and sever it’s thick neck in two.”
“would you like a little mescal, my sweet?”
“aye, that would fuckin do the trick.”
vince settles himself gruntily upon the bench. he watches his wife’s thick haunches sinuous shifting to the cabinet. he’s noticed that her ass seems to have an almost distinct consciousness, as a separate entity, with its own individual outlook upon the world. whilst she is immersed in the activity of unstoppering the bottle and pouring, he can sense it watching him back, protruded whole in his direction, an alien awareness, layered, sandwiched with purpose neither he nor his wife can intuit. he remembers the first time he saw grunhilda at the may fair festivities, glowering in her ruddiness, a butcher’s daughter, at ease around conglomerations of meat. the first thing that caught his attention, out of the corner of his eye, was the rotundity of her nether-regions, glorious in the summer moon light, uplifted in her dancing, quivering with supple eagerness. aye, for they seemed to call to him, and he almost in a trance waltzed within meshing distance, coming up behind her and swaying mesmerized to the beat of the pooka drum. she needed not to look in his eyes, for her buttocks did all the communicating necessary, as they freaked into the dawns early dew.
having been espoused to grunhilda for a good number of seasons now, he has come to observe a disparity between her dumb glutinous hinds, and her outspoken gesticulating tongue. he married one, and has to listen to the other. not that grunhilda is a bad mate, but it’s simply disconcerting for vince at times, when he seems to be having wonderful sign language reveries with one, and gossip mongering verbal warfare with the other. grunhilda herself seems unable to quite control It, and vince finds that a sure fire way to soothen down a sticky situation is to pay caressing attentions to It, to pat It slightly and even murmur sweet and promising things to Its protuberant mass. grunhilda always acquiesces, despite herself–and in this way, they have found a daily treaty in their communal lives, a mediator of disputes.
vince has had such success in this particular harmonizing of his wifely relations, that he has been called upon for advice in the mead hall.
“arrrgh, tha’ little bitch has been snookerin aboot the gadammed village by naw. vince! ya seem to have subdued ya filly right proper. wha’s tha secret, ey?”
“ehem. . . you fella’s ever . . . get jiggy with more than just the sea salt, know what i mean?”
“wha the fuck’s this blarney on aboot?”
“i mean . . . you know, the backdoor and such, in the other way. . .”
” . . . hey jimmy, ah think this pervert’s fucking his lass in the arse-hole . . .?”
so vince becomes a purveyor of anal loving—once appropriately sodden with hops, he delights his rapt rowdy audience with the proselytization of its wonders. they all go home that night and eagerly awaken their sleepy and wholesome wives.
“bessy, tis aboot time we’s tried sometin new . . . “
“ack, sltpkt, . . . krispin! . . .tha’s the wrong way! . . .”
the wives gather bow-legged the next day, seeming to gravitate to grunhilda, in subconscious subservience to her enmassed gravity.
vince thinks of all of this, now, as she bends to pour. like an other world co-existing within our own, part of us, yet living apart from us, slightly bulbous. an eye that views all of our private, darkest, deepest outpourings with infinite patience, embracing our weariness with softened twin cushioning.

Loopy’s Adventures at Ye Old Donut Shoppe: Part II

I bowed into the waiting police mobile while at the same time blowing a massive snot rocket. Officer Dibble winced approvingly. The wince is the mainstay of Dibble’s facial expressions, along with his crooked grin. He only grins at those whom he considers his chums–the kind of people he would share a donut with–but his wince is universally bestowed. I think he imagines he looks like Clint Eastwood when he does it, although truth be told he looks more like he’s trying to get out that last little reluctant tip of turd that refuses to slip out with its brethren. You know what I mean. It’s probably ruined many a contemplative afternoon.
He sniffed at me threateningly. “You been smokin reefer?” he asked, staring me down like the dad I never had.
“Naw, Officer Dibble. You’re smelling pizza. I was playing Ninja Star 3. I died on the 4th level.”
“The 4th level?! What’s gotten into you, boy?” He slowed down the car and cruised by a nun, perusing her intently to see if he could make out any hint of the female form in her dark, cryptic folds. “You haven’t been eating enough, can’t concentrate. Gotta get them carbs, kid. Breaded materials.”
“See this?” he asked, wincing and flourishing a welded bicep, “Go ahead, feel it. Go on.” I didn’t particularly want to, but it seemed more of a command than a suggestion. I wasn’t in the mood for a round of noogies.
“Yeah! Now that’s what a man feels like, junior! You think I got that from eating salads?” He stared at me violently, accusingly, as if I had said that he had gotten it from eating salads. I shook my head. “Shit. I’ve been eating meat and potatoes and corn bread since I was three. And there ain’t nothin, NOTHIN, like a good chocolate coated donut. That’ll put some hair on yer chest.”
He drove in silence for a while, letting the wisdom of his words sink in. My stomach sounded as if it were speaking in tongues. I was starting to get jittery. And then we were there, finally, just as my palms were beginning to sweat. The sweet neon yellow sign proclaiming “open 24 hours” shined like a beacon before me. Just as we were getting out of the car, Officer Dibble spotted Ms. Jesperson swaying down the street in platform shoes and a lipstick red miniskirt. “Goddam,” Dibble muttered, wincing, “justice must be served. Get me a chocolate iced custard filled, son,” and he drove off to do his duty. He was always talking about his “duty.” It was his duty to pat down the young boys if they were “up to no good” in the street, and it was his duty to pick up women in his car and “ensure that they are safe and protected.” I wiped my hands on my pants and entered the donut haven, harbor from the sea of life, where things are sweet and fried and go well with either milk or coffee, depending on the time of day.
“Josephine!” I barked, “are you ever a sight for sore eyes! These glazed devil’s food donuts pale by comparison.” I glued my face to the donut window and salivated eagerly. Josephine got out a box and stood ready with her tongs. Josephine is undoubtedly the top donut server in the world. She’s silent, efficient, and she knows exactly what donut you mean when you point vaguely at the donut display.
I took in a deep breath and commandeered the troops, checking for freshness, thickness of icing, and general integrity of appearance.
“Ok. I want 3 chocolate iced, 1 lemon filled, 1 chocolate iced creme filled, 1 chocolate iced custard filled, 3 chocolate iced with sprinkles, 1 raspberry filled, 1 cinammon apple filled, and. . .,” here i hesitated, poised between the sour cream and the maple iced, “and 1 maple iced.” I watched with satisfaction as Josephine scooped the chosen into the box.
“And a chocolate milk, please. Josephine, you are an amazing specimen of human endearment. You make my heart palpitate even more than running the mile in PE once did.” I’m not even sure that Josephine speaks English. But she knows her donuts, and that’s all that I could ask for in a woman. Plus she’s got these really big tits that press against the counter when she bends over to nab a donut.
I took my box and my milk and scuttled out the door into the night, the night that was now friendly, secure, and centered about me. Dibble’s car was parked in a dark spot down the street, and it appeared to be shaking back and forth. I figured that he must be struggling with some dastardly criminal, and could use the extra stamina provided by a hearty donut, just like Popeye with the spinach. I approached the car and took out a
chocolate iced custard filled. Officer Dibble was in the back seat with Ms. Jesperson bucking up and down on top of him and clinging to the wire mesh.
”Goddam,” he was saying, “Don’t make me break out the handcuffs and hog-tie you, bitch.”
“Here you go, Officer Dibble,” I said, holding up the donut. He winced at me sweatily and then grinned at the donut.
“Now that’s what I call service. Go home now, son, and stay out of trouble.” He took a generous bite from the donut and dribbled some of the custard onto Ms. Jesperson’s bared left shank. I steeled myself for the journey home with a chocolate iced and zipped up my windbreaker. Nothing like a walk at night armed with a box of donuts. The desire now was sweet, when the donuts were so close, so warm, and so fragrant. I cradled them
in my arms and envisioned the satiation that would take place before the TV that night.

Loopy’s Adventures at Ye Old Donut Shoppe: Part I

“Must ‘ave been from that spelunking trip where i got trapped in a cave for three weeks,” says flabbergasted 47 year old Penitent High music teacher.

These were the headlines in my mind when I stepped up onto the curb at approximately 9 o’clock on a Thursday night, crossing over Juniper Ct and moving south on Lincoln St, en route to rendezvous with the sweet crustated circular pieces of sweetness that I like to call “my fix.”
“Ma! I’m going to go get my fix!” I call out to the motionless sack swathed in sweat clothes seated before the TV as I slip into my windbreaker.
I like custard and I like jellies and I like them old-fashioned and I like them powdery and twined and plain and sprinkled.
I depressed my left nostril and blew snot gustily out of my face as I entered Jimmy’s Pizzeria on a little detour. I like to let my desire peak before I get my fix. So I grunted at Herbert as I walked by the counter, and he rustled his paper at me, and I stuck my quarter into the slot of the Ninja Star 3 coin-op. It’s the only one left in town, and so far no one has topped my high score of 14,773,815, set on the eve of February 25, 1991. I remember that date very well. I had just received a haircut, and I had gel stiffened into my hair and it seemed to encapsulate my skull like a helmet, such that I felt very focused, kind of buckled in. I only used 2 quarters. Herb gave me a free slice of mushroom pizza. I had to pee so bad afterward that I went on the sidewalk in front of Jimmy’s, and the Walker kids saw me on their way back from a junior high school dance. They told their parents that they “saw my big wee-wee” and their dad got really mad and told the police and everyone thought I was a pedophile flasher for a while, and I kept getting frisked every time I went out of my house. The whole hoopla kind of died down when one of the Walker kids was found sniffing glue behind the kickball courts. I made pretty good friends with the police in the meanwhile, and they were impressed with my high score.
That was actually about the time that my fix got started. After hanging out with Officer Dibble and his gang for long enough, I began to get cravings for donuts, because he’d offer me one from the pink box he always has next to him in his front seat. He still frisks me down sometimes, kind of to keep me in line and ensure that our relationship appears professional.
I jiggled the joystick around for a while and got to the 4th level, but I missed a beat on the fat guy with a bo stick, and got killed by a stray rolling oil barrel. I may never top my own score, I guess I had reached a peak, kind of like how an athlete can only be so good for so long before they get too old. Maybe it’s because I no longer have the same ambition, the same drive I once did, now that I’ve got my fix.
My fix. I wiped the drool from the corners of my mouth and hitched up my pants. Time to pay Josephine a visit.
“Here I come,” I murmured huskily to myself, cocking a finger pistol at Herb as I passed. He pretended to collapse backwards, and knocked over a stack of pizza boxes. I decided that it was worthwhile to stand and laugh. But soon I tired of belittling the pathetic worm, and continued onward to my mission.
And then I suddenly knew that tonight was a special night, that the planets were aligned for me. Because right as I plunged out into the cold, cruel night, Officer Dibble was cruising by, grinning crookedly all over his ruddy face under his grey spiked hair.
“Hop on in, boy!” he beckoned to me.

Introducing Loopy


these were the headlines in my mind when mom picked me up from the soccer game.
“Loopy,” she said unto me, “you really need to clean behind your ears.”
“Ma. I just finished a game. Oranges and Gatorade only please.”
She handed me a warm cream soda and drove the way she always does, hunched over the steering wheel like a vulture, doing 65 in 25 speed limit zones and 40 on the freeway, peering ahead intently at the road and not hearing a thing I say to her.
“Today I dropped a stool that spanned the length of the bowl, and it was rocky,” I informed her, sipping from my cream soda and burping immediately after every sip.
“Mmm hmmm,” she said helpfully.
“Jeremy said the word ‘Fuck’ as many times as he could. He had counted 316 1/2 by the time Ms Akita grabbed him by his ear and made him walk the plank.”
“Is that right?” she said after a pause. I always have the best conversations with my mom when she’s driving. Me, I could care less for driving. It seems too stressful. The time I tried it I got hives. I’d rather have other people drive me around anyway.
I sat back in my chair and stared at an old man in the car next to me. Now, it is true that if I stayed around after the game and hung out with the guys, I could have all the orange slices and Arctic Freeze I desire, courtesy of Rangsey’s spouse. But then I’d have to act all chummy with them, talk about who is going to be shortstop of the year, or how hot the
latest chick in the Doritos commercial is. Then I would have to pretend to be interesting, and try to say things that are funny. Trouble is, to say something funny, I’d think about it and formulate it and finally settle on the perfect quip, containing just the right amount of stinging wit, irony, and satire, but then when I’d say it, the conversation would already have moved on to gym dicks, or punching bags, or Volvos, and everyone would look at me blankly and you could see the same thought running through their faces like a row of television sets on the same station: “Loopy’s not one of us. Loopy’s trying too hard. Loopy eats fruit loops and watches Crossing Over reruns.” The orange slices aren’t worth the social stigma. I realized suddenly that I am staring at the old man and drooling with my index finger curled into my mouth like a clothes hanger, and we are stopped at a red
light and he is looking back at me with a horrified expression on his face, the kind of expression I’d imagine he’d have if I were a giant troll that waggled my 13′ dick at him and threatened to sodomize him with it. I quickly averted my eyes and sipped my soda and tried to look nonchalant while burping into my mouth quietly.
I’ve always had this problem with staring agog at things when I’m daydreaming. Like in 6th grade, when I was thinking about strategies to beat the final henchman in Kabuki Quantum Fighter, and I got sent to the vice-principle’s office for staring at Katherine Zetger’s oversized breasts, which, unhappily, I didn’t even notice in my oblivious thrall. Thereafter I was known as “Pervert” to the rest of the junior high school denizens.
Katherine’s hockey playing love interest gave me a crack in the stomach in the locker room that I believe broke one of my young developing ribs, because I always get this weird feeling there whenever I breathe too deep.

Just Another Soirée

generalissimo jordan c. lubertwat scans the horizon with pinky extended double-jointedly, his belly protuberant and buoyed up by an equally excrescent bottom, his goatee failing to conceal a conspicuous absence of chin. he cuts quite a figure there, silhouetted before the sun, questing avidly for a cricket ball. “constantine!” he barks, “check that patch of grass!” the sunglass shielded youth springs to attention and bends professionally among the shrubbery. generalissimo lubertwat turns to me and seems to contemplate saying something, and spits instead. i take this as a grudging acknowledgment of my cricket skills. i open my cigarette case and offer a dunhill. he waves it aside with a snort, saying “those virginia slim jims are for women. cuban stogies only for me please,” thus implying that real men must satisfy their oral fixations with large objects. i am about to point out the homoerotic logical phallusy of his statement when constantine straightens up with the cricket ball held to the sky. the generalissimo hacks up some sputum and bellows “now you’ve got it, here comes the googly!” and he winds up, his belly wobbling earnestly. his leg slips a bit and he loses his balance just as the ball comes off, tottering comically on his stumpy booted legs. and dammit if he doesn’t bowl a proper googly–in fact, a chinaman i should say, since he’s left-handed–and takes a wicket. the generalissimo roars and brandishes his pistol, blasting it into the air triumphantly. constantine stands at attention, his clean-shaven face immobile and focused. i am for a moment ready to descry the complete luck and lack of skill involved in the matter, but the gleeful sputtering of the pistol in my ear reminds me of the generalissimo’s unpleasant past-time of amassing and applying tools of torture. i take a drag off my dunhill and shrug, thinking of ways to get him back. he sighs and places a meaty arm around my shoulder, and i gather that the game is over, now that he can possess the after-glow of success, like having the last word in a pointless argument. he guides us towards the pool, where the women are laid out, squealing like seals over their shrimp cocktails. “the ways of god are manifest,” he tells me beneficently, “the day may soon come when we shall have to walk about wearing bio-engineered suits protecting us from all evil. may we enjoy our youth and vigor while we may.” “good game,” i say, interpreting this speech as an attempt at good sportsmanship. we settle ourselves with grunts onto the lawn chairs, and i notice lubertwat’s wife groping at constantine as he passes. the generalissimo orders us martinis. “oh, and i just love the way it bolsters up my breasts. i wouldn’t be able to survive without it,” my wife comments shrilly to the generalissimo’s, continuing some conversation which i do my utmost to ignore. a fly settles onto my arm and sits there twiddling its arms against
its head. the generalissimo belches peremptorily and begins a monologue, seemingly directed to himself, regarding the in’s and out’s of the exercising of the pc muscle. i doze off briefly in the sun, only to be awakened by the unpleasant sight of my wife plummeting into the pool, her breasts dangling before her like an udder. i reflect on what must have first attracted me to her, when we were young and her thighs were rippled with toned muscle rather than cellulite. and i am mildly surprised to remember that it was indeed her breasts, which i used to free from trappings like a christmas present in the backseat of my jetta. “here they are!” i would exclaim, bobbling them affectionately in my hands, “liberty to the oppressed! let them dangle free like apples falling from a tree!”, making reference to those first fruits which tempted man away from god. i would then take them into my mouth and suckle on them. then i would . . . well, what is the use in harping on the glories of my youth? those breasts which were once so succulent now hang off her belly like an old codger’s scrotum sack. she rises out of the shallow end with water dripping off of her like some sea monster and comes over to me, her feet slapping wetly against the pavement. all of a sudden i am struck with the urge for revenge, for the chinaman, for the loss of beauty, and youth, and the trivial demeaning of my life which was once so fraught with ambition. i pretend to jerk upright suddenly from a deep sleep and knock my wife heftily onto the generalissimo, who is solemnly engaged in sucking the remnants of juice out of the bottom of his martini glass. “zounds!” he explodes, “get this bovine off of me! my leg is broken!” constantine bounds out of the house and begins the futile effort of trying to lift up my wife with both hands. my wife is lowing to the heavens above, and the generalissimo’s wife comes behind constantine, ostensibly to help, but she seems to be doing more pulling on the boy than on anything else. soon even the pug, which doesn’t do anything other than snuffle and fart all day, gets up wearily and gets in on the fray, yapping frenziedly at them. i take that moment to pee in the pool unnoticed.