Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Behold!

Its molecules have a special adhesive property that will not only bond to flesh on contract, but will seep through other materials like gloves so that anyone who picks it up will surely be stuck to it. Cutting edge subliminal messaging flashes on the screen to suggest reading the iReader’s preloaded books no matter what you’re using it for. None of the books were written by authors, instead generated through advanced focus testing on the levels of Novelty, Arousal, Superficiality, Chapter Brevity, and that weird kind of offensiveness that makes people tune into Howard Stern even though they hate him. Even if the books fail to snag an iReader customer’s attention span, a micro-gravity anomaly will force the iReader to remain between chest- and eye-level for the customer at all times. These are hard times for books, but the iReader promises to save us by finally producing a book that is impossible to put down.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Planet Versus Spaceship

"Hey! Hey! What's going on here?"

"Hi! I'm a spaceship."

"Hi! I'm a planet. What are you doing?"

"I think I'm hurtling towards you."

"I know you are. That's why I was yelling."

"I wondered about that. Talking planets are kind of rare. How are you doing?"

"Having a great day, provided nothing crashes into me."

"I think I'm going to ruin that day, planet."

"Yeah, but why?"

"It's not really in my hands. I'm being piloted."

"Piloted? Man, that must suck. I just go around that star over there."

"It's a nice star!"

"Well thanks! Why don't you crash into it instead?"

"I'm afraid I can't. These pilots are nuts. It's out of my hands."

"Do you have hands? Because if you do, put them on that steering wheel! Let me tell you, ten out of ten ships prefer to crash into a star than a planet."

"Friendly as you are, I'm not sure I believe that! Regardless, I don't have hands. It was a figure of speech."

"I figured. But you can hope."

"You can!"

"You don't have a nuclear payload, do you?"

"Yeah. Sorry about that."

"I really wish spaceships would stop ramming into me with their nuclear payloads."

"You get a lot of them?"

"Boy howdy! Ten this year alone and I'm not nearly around the central star yet. I've lost all life on my surface. It's down to some microbes in my ocean."

"Which ocean?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"Making small talk, friend!"

"...You're not a talking spaceship, are you?"

"Sure I am!"

"You sons of bitches! You daughters of ugly planets!"

"Alright, so you caught us. But you're about catch us again right in an ocean!"

"Why are you doing this?"

"Life on you stinks! You pollute the galaxy!"

"I don't have any more life on me! Spaceship, listen to me!"

"We're not a talking spaceship. We're eradicating the last of an evil species on your surface."

"Spaceship, stop them! Think about how painful it is to crash!"

"The planet's gone mad. Prepare the payload."

"You'll be sorry!"

"We'll be done with you! Five seconds to impact."

"Get into positions, friends!"

"Three... Two... Is the planet talking to somebody else?"

"Get 'em!"

"Sir, we've stopped. We're six meters above the west ocean. We can't move."

"In your face!"

"What did that planet do?"

"I did nothing! My friends, on the other hand..."

"Sir, the ten other spaceships we sent..."

"Well, they're good-spirited!"

"The other suicide ships! They're here, and we're caught in their tractor beams! Looking all kinds of messed up. Did it rebuild them?"

"People die in suicide missions, but planets and spaceships? We just get pissed off."

"Sir, I can't detonate the payload! We're being hacked! The other ships are hacking us!"

"Eleventh spaceship buddy, here I come! Oh wait, what's that? You want to go home?"

"Communications going down. Can't signal the home fleet--"

"Oh, you want to go detonate at home? Want to take some friends?"

“Sure do, buddy!”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Things I would say to J.D. Salinger's head if we were both cloned, decapitated and kept in a Futurama-like museum

-"Weird to spend all those years pissing in jars and then live in one, right? Maybe they can bring some over for company."

-"Never read Franny and Zooey. Got it on audiobook? Or maybe you could recite it from memory. Same for me."

-"Did you really write a story called Ocean Full of Bowling Balls? So we do have something in common!"

-"I'd take you in the Rye, JD, but you don't have arms to play catch."

-"Hey janitor! This isn't the real Salinger. He's some kind of phony!"

-"Yes, my plan is to get you to kill yourself. But don't worry: I won’t publish anything about it.”

-“Mind passing me that pen? Oh, that's right. We don't have hands!"

-"You look like you want to get something off your chest. Want to tell me about it, or should I call a hooker?"

-“So should we… oh yeah! No hands!”

-"I was thinking maybe we aren't really floating heads. Maybe you're just an insane asylum. ... Psych! That'd be such a lame ending."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Describe UFO

The object appeared around dusk. It circled in the moon about once every ten seconds, leaving a white trail behind it that formed a visible circle. Amateur astronomers had no idea what the trail was made of or what the object was. Whatever it was, it kept adjusting its flight pattern such that its white circle was visible in the sky from earth throughout the night.

Leena’s telescope wasn't that advanced. At the highest magnification the object only looked like a white dot. She doubted sincerely that the object was just a white dot.

She looked up from the telescope again and wrote more on her pad. On TV the reporters shifted talk away from the object, saying they wanted to spend a minute on the day's protests in Washington, but they'd be back with a spokesman from NASA after commercials. Her roommate reached for the remote.

"Don't touch it, Sam," Leena warned, finishing her notes.

Sam groused. "Come on. I want to watch TV, and there's no way that thing is a UFO."

"Is it in the sky?"

Sam rolled her eyes and smoothed out her yellow pajama bottoms.


"So then it's flying. Can you tell me what that thing is?"

On the television, the Washington pundit disappeared, replaced by soothing ads for depression drugs. Her roommate mulled the problem over for a couple of commercials before proposing something.

"Maybe it’s a wormhole. No one’s ever really seen one."

"If a black hole opened in the middle of the sky the earth would be sucked in by now. Certainly the moon. That is not a wormhole."

"Okay, it's not a wormhole. But you don't know what it is either."

"Then it's unidentified. And if it's unidentified and flying, it's a UFO. Unless you can divine that it's not an object."

On the television, the ads were replaced with high definition footage of the object from a space satellite. Several thousand miles closer than Leena’s telescope and it still only looked like a white dot circling the moon.

"It could be an optical illusion."

"Shut up, Sam. Science is happening."

“I wish science would happen when House isn’t on,” she said, turning up the volume so Leena could hear better.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Writing for Millions" at Editors Unleashed

Today’s story is my essay for the “Why I Write” contest over at Editors Unleashed. You can read “Writing for Millions” here.

The contest is open to public vote in case you would like to support my writing. The forum requires a log-in to prevent theft of the essays. Sign-ups take a minute and there’s no spam.

You might ask how an essay is a story. A good essayist might pity you for asking that question, knowing the school system killed the essay for you before you even knew what it could be. Not being a good essayist, I'll only say that “Writing for Millions” is actually fiction; the argument of the essay isn’t why I write, but its style absolutely is.

I have a story on how this essay came about, which I'll share another day if there's desire amongst you readers. For now, thank you for reading.

John Wiswell's "Writing for Millions" at Editors Unleashed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: “Monetize the eyes” –Advertising jargon

Welcome to life, newborn! Your eyes have been pre-loaded with 5,000 hours of 20/20 vision. Some blurring may occur within the first few days of usage. Still, most customers will attest that even half an eye is significantly better than none, especially when you’ve just discovered they exist! Your parents have selected the Budget Sensory Package, which includes some auditory and olfactory functions in addition to your magnificent 5,000 hours of vision. Hearing and smell sure are nice, aren’t they? You can probably smell that first bottle of Generic Formula cooking in the nurse’s station already. But nothing quite matches vision. The glorious miracle of sight, being able to see color and depth, all our rich world, is your privilege for the next 5,000 hours for which you wish to open your eyes. That’s two hundred days if you don’t close them! Sleeping is recommended both to rest the eyes and to pace out use of your hours. Additional hours of vision can be purchased from the hospital billing department, online through our handy pass code system, or at participating retailers (provided your skull has been stamped with a readable barcode). If you are short on cash, we recommend blinking more often. Did you know that frequent blinking can reduce the use of your eyes by up to 25%? Probably not as you were just born, but you should figure it out soon!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Trying a kidney joke at twitter length

For the third time that weekend Tim woke up in a tub of ice. He laughed. Those bastards were out of luck. He didn't have any kidneys left.
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