Saturday, October 17, 2009


I love mowing the lawn. What was a chore to a child and a necessity to an adult is a pleasure as an old man. If I have to strap ice packs to my knees and can’t so much as walk to the fridge for a beer afterwards, then fine. Alcohol’s a poison anyway. That rusty old bastard of a mower can never been too heavy, because this is a testament that you, God and M.S. can’t stop me. For one hour a week, for the rest of my life, I will prove it all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inspired by Yoko Kanno’s “Call Me” and a Childhood with Elizabeth Wright

Listen to it streaming or download it here.
Dear Elizabeth,

I was three, you were six, and you were my first older woman.

Remember when you packed two suitcases and threatened your mom that you were moving to my house? I had to help you carry them over, though it was your dad that carried them back that night.

Remember excavating for dinosaur bones in my sandbox, you manning the wheelbarrow since I was too small?

Remember sitting at the bottom of the stairs, tying my shoes when I couldn’t figure out how? You must have felt some love to put up with all that, and though it’s been a long time since I’ve been in love with you, you defined what I feel for others today.

Thank you,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Time I Met Captain Lou Albano

Apparently Captain Lou Albano lived in the condos down the hill from us. One day we kids went out with Dad for a picnic. He went into D’Agastino’s, the local grocery store, and left me, my brother and sister in the back of his Blazer. I was the oldest, barely seven or eight. We lounged with the rear window propped out for fresh air.

We saw this giant man walking down the parking lot towards us. We had no idea where he had materialized from but were immediately scared. He was not only a stranger, but a fat one with a bushy hair and an even bushier beard. There were rubber bands in his hair and he flailed his arms wildly when he walked.

I shrank to the middle of the truck, but he found us. He looked in through the rear window, taking up almost the entire opening with his body. He asked, without a smile, “Do you kids like Super Mario Bros?”

Now, did we? Yes. We played the games all the time and it was one of the dozen cartoons that, whenever it was on, was our favorite TV show for that half hour. The snarky Link character was my little brother’s hero.

But to my child brain, his question wasn’t really if we liked it. It was a threat. If I liked it, he would kill me.

So I responded, “No, but my brother does!”

And pointed at my six-year-old brother.

This giant man looked at him. In that moment the man’s head looked bigger than my little brother's entire body. He was petrified.

The man smiled and handed him a glossy black and white photograph. We recognized it immediately – it was Mario and Luigi, the actors who played the live action part of the cartoon show.

My brother said, “Thank you,” in an empty, confused sort of way.

The giant said some kind of affirmative, then walked away towards the grocery store, flailing his arms.

Both my brother and I sat in stunned silence, trying to figure out what that man’s connection was to this photograph of a fat plumber and his skinny brother.

It was my sister, a four-year-old who only put up with those cartoons to fit in with us, who realized it.

“That was Mario!”

That was the time I met Captain Lou Albano.

Bathroom Monologue: Evening Out, Evening In

Evening is called such because it is when the night gets even with the day. The day swelters, scouring the earth with light and heat. An honest shadow can barely make a living by midday. It’s towards dusk when full-bodied night stars rolling in and checking the accounts, making sure the sun settles up before it slinks off to wherever. It’ll be back, and it’ll cheat again. Only evening can keep it fair.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Night Kings

Werewolf threw his arm onto the table and yelled, “If you think you’re the toughest thing that goes bump in the night then prove it, pretty boy!”

“How about I arm wrestle you tomorrow night?” Vampire asked with a toothy smirk. The full moon would be gone then, and the whole bar knew it.

Werewolf tried to jump the table, but Boogeyman caught him around the waist and pulled him back.

“It’s not worth it, man!”

They kept squabbling, not realizing they’d all be helpless when the Martians landed the next morning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Challenge to Write Six Sentences like an Author you Love – I’m not saying who this is

It's well known to those who know it that every six sentence story has seven sentences. How it got there, what it is about and if it made her point clear are matters entirely unknowable to the artist. Contemplating it is like contemplating God insofar as, as one micro-philosopher put it, "You can't do it." Not contemplating it is also ill-advised, though, as it leads to an excess of semi-colons. The Intergalactic Semantic Exchange recommends to those who cannot stop contemplating the seventh sentence that they write very brief six sentence stories in order to get to the seventh as soon as possible, declaring that even if the invisible sentence is unreadable, one ought to "just get to it already." To those who cannot stop not contemplating it, the Exchange recommends alcohol in excess.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Beats a Neon Sign

What punk it was that set the cross ablaze in their yard, none of them knew. There were guesses, with only so many people so low in Fleetwater, and fewer spotted fleeing neighborhood as the Cartwrights desperately tried to beat out the burning symbol of salvation. The old Cartwrights were studied Methodists, but the young were new to the game and didn’t quite grasp symbolism. The young Cartwrights went about with oil and wood, and that next morning every potential offender awoke to burning letters in his yard. A fiery ‘HE’ stood in Fords’ yard, and a minute later another ‘HE’ lit up in Kip Gotch’s. They all got at least one letter, and none of the Klan understood the message, but if you tried to read it, starting with the burning cross in the Cartwrights’ yard as a ‘t,’ you could read the message across the street: “tHE HEll Is WRoNG WITH YoU.”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: The Feeling of Bobby James

He was looking on the floor of the Saab for his cigarettes when the front left of the car jerked up about a foot. It dropped back down with a crunch, like ice giving way. The car kept rolling forward and he felt the second decline, just an inch, as the wheel rolled off of what it'd caught. Even after the trial, that feeling was all he'd remember from when he killed Bobby James. It followed him longer than any scream could.

Seven Six-Sentences

It's Six Sentence Week: The Autumn Edition. It doesn't actually have anything to do with Fall. It's just the only one I'll running, and the last of 2009. This week we've got race crimes, sentences that can't be written or read, a bar brawl between vampires and werewolves, and a letter to my childhood sweetheart. A poll for your favorite should pop up around Wednesday. A new six-sentence story goes up every morning around 9:00 AM EST, and they'll keep coming until Saturday. This makes the first (and perhaps last) seven six-sentence story week.
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