Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: En Medea Res

En Medea Res, the literary device where Euripides goes right to the fun part of a witch going ape shit on her husband and kids. No sissy romance, heroic month-long voyages or unhygienic labor - we're going right to flaming chariots and a "That bitch!" moment worthy of Dallas, only a few thousand years before there was a Texas.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Unwatchable Edition

Hot on the heels of the Watchmen Director’s Cut Bluray (TM), author Alan Moore will be releasing his own cut of the blockbuster film. The Definitive Author’s Cut Watchmen Bluray (R) is promised to feature exclusive commentary and tells the entire film as Moore intended. The Bluray case will be empty.

Cover art by David Gibbons.

Bathroom Monologue: Grocer Chat

[GARY sits on one end of the booth in a pink tuxedo. GRUFF STOVER sits on the other side of the booth in red and green flannel. ARYANA between them, back to the window, wearing a chain mail pant suit. GRUFF pushes a bowl of fruit towards GARY. A chair is pulled up to the front of the booth, but no one sits there. His is an absence that weighs upon us all.]

Gary: No.

Gruff: You have to eat healthy.

Gary: The experience of teeth biting into a banana is like that of sinking your boots into thick mud.

Gruff: You’ve been impossible since you took up poetry.

Aryana: Try an apple.

Gary: Don’t kid me. Snow White went down to an apple. Apples kill.

Gruff: It’s like you’re morally opposed to fruit.

Gary: My colon is. It’s not my fault media has conditioned me to not to eat things that fall dead off of trees. Between fairy tale poisons and razor blades hidden in rinds, fruit isn’t trustworthy.

Aryana: He has a point. There’s no haunted candy.

Gruff: Maybe America would lose weight if there were more stories about evil. Butterfingers.

Gary: I doubt that would do it.

Aryana: Also, Gary’s British.

Gruff: Venomous Mars Bars, then.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Split Swords

“Wrong! It is my other personality that has post-traumatic stress disorder. I compensate for him by handling even the most mind-breaking situations with a debonair ease that brings women to their knees. Where he could barely operate a pocket calculator, I have unmatched skill with a basket-hilted rapier! Antagonists of my other self, en garde!”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Previously On #003

Previously on Previously On...

A girl went to a diner because she was hungry, not because gravity had disappeared.

Apollo showed up at that diner, wanting to take Gravity's job. He may not be alone...

And then...

A shut-in with a pathological fear of the Hanes underwear people expanded his house to provide safety from anything they dropped on him.

Somewhere in middle America there is a psychic who spends more of her time than she’d like helping people who don’t believe her.

And a long time ago someone built an iron army. They were not just a cute prose poem.

And now...

“That went well,” Lawrence said to himself, watching the reporter leave. Most were out of commission today, but she had real gumption, using a fire extinguisher to fly cross town in the absence of gravity. If her small talk was even half true, this would be a much more carbon-friendly method of travel. He watched until her white exhaust foam trailed out of sight, then turned back into his hall. He braced his hands on the low ceiling and began to waddle towards the living room.

He’d built the ceilings low so the bastards at Hanes couldn’t hide out of his peripheral vision when they eventually attacked. Though the reporter had played dumb, Lawrence thought she saw the truth. She’d wanted a story about a zero-gravity-proof house, but he’d dropped enough hints that when this aired, it would blow the lid off the intentional Hanes conspiracy.

He shimmied along the halls that connected his house to the sidewalk, another Hanes-related addition. So were the pillows and mattresses along the walls. Oh, they’d all looked crazy until today. But now who was crazy? Reporters were riding fire extinguishers.

As he shimmied around one corner, his cell rang. Instinctively he pulled it from his pocket, lost his balance and floated face-first into the ceiling. It did not feel as uncomfortable as you’d think.

After a moment of swimming impotently, he let himself drift and answered the phone.


“Hello. This is the Melrose Psychic Hotline.”

“What?” He jerked, and accidentally rotated until his butt was level with the ceiling cushions. “You people can’t call me. That’s not fair.”

“I am calling you.”

Like a true shut-in with nothing else to do, he pounced.

“You can’t do that! It’s a 900 number. I’m not going to pay you, and you can’t call me expecting me to pay. You can get all this stuff online free. Is that why you’re calling people? Reverse the charges and bilk them with your scam?”

“You’re not being charged, fool. I’m calling to warn you that a catastrophe is about to break out.”

“You’re a day late. Has the gravity not gone out there?”

“It’s gone out everywhere. That’s not the catastrophe I’m trying to warn you about.”

“Then what is?”

“Remain calm. Know that whatever happens, the spirit of your house always loved you.”

“I don’t believe in this stuff, lady.”

“You watch too much TV. You are wearing green socks. You have a pathological fear that the Hanes underwear company is out to kill you.”

Lawrence paused. He stared at the receiver. Was she one of them?

“I am not one of them,” she said so loud that he heard her with the phone away from his ear. He put it back to his ear and listened on.

“There is no them, Lawrence. So listen to me. Remain calm and follow the redheaded man as soon as it’s over.”

“As soon as what’s over?”

“Clairvoyance isn’t Google. I only see parts. If you don’t follow the redheaded man, you’ll be crushed by the giant—”

Lawrence didn’t hear whatever the giant crushing thing was going to be because a giant iron foot came smashing through the ceiling.

For a micromoment he thought it was thunder.

Then he thought it was Hanes, having dropped not just a ton of their tagless underwear, but an entire jumbo jet on him.

And just as the cushy ceiling came down on him, he thought this might have something to do with what the psychic was saying.

The impact tossed him down the hall leading to the garage, feeling like the ball on a foosball table. Any part of the padded construction that caved sent him flying away before it could hurt, though he thought he felt a bruise forming when he struck the door to the garage.

From there he looked up through the gaping hole that had once been his gloriously low and gravity-friendly ceilings, and saw a giant, rusty foot. It was flat, with a few claw-like prongs on the end, like toes on a toy monster. Except this toy was several stories tall. The feet led to a leg, which led to an iron skeletal body, atop which glared a giant iron Jack O’Lantern. Its eyes blazed like cartoon furnaces. It looked right at him, then looked away. He’d never been so happy as when a giant robot showed no interest in him. Thank God, these things clearly weren’t working for Hanes.

Through the wreckage of what had been a totally sweet low-ceilinged media center, Lawrence spied someone in a black cloak running from his basement. The man showed no trouble running, though when Lawrence checked himself, he found the gravity still out.

The man had long, red hair.

“I wonder…” Lawrence began. Then another giant foot came crashing through his ceiling. It convinced him to run away, or at least, to get moving.

Since he was already floating helplessly, Lawrence kicked his legs. They struck the garage door and sent him shooting forward through the air. When he reached another wall, he braced and kicked off again. If some part of his mind weren’t terrified, and another grieving that he’d lost part of his house, he would have been delighted at a sensation so similar to playing in the town pool.

“Hey! Hey!” he called.

The redheaded man continued running, not looking back. So Lawrence torpedoed further, hoping to grab the bastard’s cape. He’d at least find out why he’d been in his basement, if not why psychics found this man worth following.

The redheaded man did not looking back. Lawrence, preoccupied with the redheaded man, didn’t either. Had either looked back, they would have seen several giant, iron Jack O’Lanterns changing course to follow them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: 4th Grade Vengeance

Tired of losing at dodgeball, Wilkins devised a plan. Nobody particularly liked him. Fine. They liked candy. He used butterscotches and butterfingers to bribe the six biggest boys in the class. One candy on the playground, one after gym. Whoever was picked for the opposite team was to play poorly and take dives. Those on his side were on nuts duty. No human shields. Wilkins knew how to shy away from getting hit. No. The giants were tasked with pegging as many fourth graders as possible in the gonads. They thought it was so funny when they caught him in the groin and he cried so that he went to the nurse’s. Fine. He’d secure the strongest arms sugar could buy to send them to the E.R. Even if his team lost, even if he got tagged yet again, the class laughing at his foes as they clutched their groins would be worth it. Vengeance, bright and beautiful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: When the Machines Win

They watched automated steamrollers level buildings. People tried to flee in the last non auto-pilot cars, but fleets of S.U.V.’s driven by Smart Systems drove in their way. With no human driver to fear, they rammed into the sides of the human escapees’ cabs.

Some humans bailed from the convoy, running through the alleys on foot. A troop of bipedal robots popped from the auto-piloted cars, hitting the ground with blades that man had invented for the crippled. They ran faster on those blades than Olympians in Nikes.

It was going to be a bad day for the last survivors of Los Angeles.

Medusa and the wolfman watched it from atop the ‘Y’ of the Hollywood sign. Medusa and all her serpentine hair laughed, adjusting her sunglasses. They were reflective.

“Told you if left to their own devices those devices would kill them.”

“You did,” muttered the wolfman.

Medusa held out her palm. When the did nothing, she snapped her fingers.

“Come on.”

He growled, then fished a twenty out of his tattered shorts and deposited it in her palm. Human currency was technically worthless, but not all bets were off.

As she smoothed out the bill, he asked, “So what next?”

“Well, technology is eradicating them. It’s time for magic to save the world.”

The Smart System cars finally blocked in the human convoy. Brave people smashed the front cars into the barricade, but it was too thick with plastic and steel. It wouldn’t budge and the machines had no mind against getting trashed. A moment later the shadow of one of the giant steamrollers fell over them all.

So many people abandoned their cars that only a child noticed one of the houses walking out of the ghettos. Cartoon chicken feet stretched from its foundations, shuttling it along until it stood in the path of the steamroller. It was so old it almost looked like a scale model dollhouse, except there were no windows or doors. The chicken feet braced as the wheel of the steamroller struck it, and though it trembled, the machine couldn’t crush it. Its gears ground so loud that the fleeing humans could only faintly hear the house’s occupant cackle. The sparks began to shoot from the chimney.

“You really want to save them?” asked the wolfman. “They’ve always been a pain in the ass.”

“If anyone gets to hold a grudge…” she said, running an index finger over the stitch scars around her neck.”

“Fine, we’ll try. But fangs and howling at the moon won’t scare a sentient mortar launcher. We’ll need to wake Merlin for this job.”

“Damn,” the gorgon’s hair cursed.

“You still have a beef with him?”

“No, but I’ll owe him thirty.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Consternation

Every student who aspires to genius runs into this. What’s worse than reinventing the wheel? Inventing this round thing that is great for rolling, putting all your time and soul into it, and showing it to a professor only for him to take you out on the street and point underneath all the cars. Except what Renoir painted and Balzac wrote isn’t rotating under every motor vehicle. It’s initially the responsibility of the professor to inform, but eventually it becomes the terror of the aspiring genius that not merely the wheel, but the suspension, the steel frame, crumple zones, dashboard display and passenger cup holders have already been written.
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