Friday, February 18, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: The Torment of Mr. Yellowbelly, OR, Monologue for an older brother

In the year 2032, no one brushes their teeth. There is no water to run the brush under.

"Good, I hate brushing."

If they found a tube of toothpaste, its moisture would be siphoned off and sent to The Central Collective. So valuable is the commodity that is water.

"Why is water valuable in the future?"

Hubris, Sally! Hubris. There was an arms race, and technology left the oceans barren. Where once there were seas, now there lie only crags and dried weeds.

"But the fishies are okay, right?"

They flop on the shores, slowly drowning in air, begging the heavens for relief from this man-made horror.

"But my fish is okay, right?"

One lone goldfish survives to an old age...

"Mr. Yellowbelly?"

Watching his dozens of children spawn...

"He gets a big family? Yay!"

Only to see the water vaporized from within their gills, boiling them alive.


Their eyes burst from their heads, and the last thing Mr. Yellowbelly knows is that somewhere, his owners have forsaken him.

"I didn't forsake you, Mr. Yellowbelly!"

He lies shriveled on the ground, without fluid or fish food to sustain him. It is only by hideous miracle he has survived this long, and survival itself is agony.

“I’ll save him!”

He asks the arid world, 'Why? Why did Sally do this to me?'

"I didn't! I love Mr. Yellowbelly! He's my baby!"

“'If only,' he says with his last glurgle of hydrogen-dioxide, 'if only a little girl had truly loved me, then man would not have played God.'”



  1. I hope that I will one day trust any and all of my children to this man. I look forward to their therapy bills, and excellent stories. Great work, John!

  2. The cruelty of siblings, captured quite well. Nice! Well, not very nice at all, but you know what I mean…

    Heh, verification word is "sicskies." Goes along with the dead oceans.

  3. I think the best part about this is I can totally hear it happening.

  4. Older brothers should not play God.

    Except me.

  5. I'm glad I didn't have an older sibling. I was much too gullible as a child. Good story!

  6. Oh bless her heart! Somehow I can hear experience in this John...hmmm. :)

  7. Hahahaha! Pshew. /wipes tear from eye Fun, funny stuff! Well, guess I'd better call up my younger sisters and apologize now.

  8. Hahahah! That's cruel though.

  9. Remind me not to tell you the names of my beloved pets so that you can't paint a picture of a post-apocalyptic world in which they die a slow and horrible death because I didn't love them enough...

  10. Hahaha!
    Poor Sally. I agree with Deanna, you seem to speak from experience here.

  11. Ah, nothing like older brothers setting forth visions of fish with eyes bursing from heads. Great stuff, John...but then again, I had THREE younger sisters to torment. He, he, he...

  12. Yes. I have two older brothers who tormented the bageezus out of me as a child. Thanks for the flashback. huddledinthefetalpositionface

  13. Deanna and Harry, it's not so much writing from experience as from wishful thinking. I'm more of a would-be ogre than one in practice. If Cassie gives me the opportunity, her kids may be tormented by visions of sad pets.

    Mr. FAR, it could also be what you call the brother's hobby. "Bobby, you're totally sicskies."

    Shelly, can you totally hear someone in your family doing it? Or just me?

    Tony, naturally. Hypocrisy works fine so long as I'm the only hyprocrite.

    Eric, I was also a sucker for stories and a crybaby, and I was the oldest.

    Aaron, it couldn't hurt to apologize a decade later.

    Mari and Raven, glad I made you laugh. It is terrible - and I'd totally do it again.

    Bev, because that is exactly what I'd do to you. Wise lady.

    Alan, I'm curious - what's the worst you did as a big brother?

    Danni, any time. Did you know all the glue you've ever used was once pretty horses?

  14. Wicked, wicked story. Loved it.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  15. Oh John, you cruel cruel author you!!

    (Actually I thought it was rather funny, cruel cruel reader me!!)

  16. There's no evil like an older sibling. I like how you appeared to turn things around at the halfway point, only to make the torment much more personal.

  17. as a kid the whole not running water while yr brushing yr teeth thing gave me an end of the world paranoia that has stuck with me, you have touched an obscure nerve in yr opening lines here. ah! so there is a fate for a goldfish worse than being in a plastic bag in a fair..

  18. off-the-wall creative and twisted and delightful

  19. So glad I didn't have an older brother. Very realistic dialog. Hopefully someday she gets revenge.

  20. Cute, I love a future of 2032 where they're concerned about the tooth-brushing. When the dentist harangues me, I'll have to use this to leave him with nightmares.

  21. Adam Keeper, interesting phobias you're keeping. Any particular part of toothbrushing that set you up for fear of the end of days? Or are you teasing me?

    Steve, cruel author, though I attempt to be a good brother. Just ask my sister how nice I am to that damned cat (which, with my allergy levels, could kill me).

    Laurita, that's how you twist the knife, right?

    Adam Byatt, Gany/Catherine and David/Doodles, glad you all got a laugh. Thanks much for reading.

    Rachel, maybe some distant day she'll drink her brother's water ration and let him rot in the sun. Or maybe she won't feed his goldfish while he's away.

    Aidan, I'm on my way to the bathroom to floss as I'm answering this. A waterless future means a deal of bad breath.

  22. yes ... so glad I'm an only child...

    You brought it once again, John... As always...

  23. Love the older sibling's justification for meanness. Well done!

  24. It sounds like you've bugged my house, John. That's the kind of fun I play with my own kids, only they've figured me out by now and tell me to stop the music after a couple of beats. Now they do it to each other. :)

    A fun piece, bro. It made me chuckle.

  25. My big brother would never have done that, but my dad totally would have!

  26. Anthony, will your existence as an only child lead you to take out your creativity on your kids? They're bound to turn up eventually.

    Alex, of course he's justified. He's just laying out the future.

    Stephen and Icy make two evil parents in a row. Perhaps this should have gone to the Dads rather than the Brothers. Or I'll have to write a sequel for them.

  27. John, you must have been a cruel older brother, to think this one up. Very funny, and very graphic -- I can't get Mr. Yellowbelly out of my head.

  28. Poor Mr Yellowbelly :)
    Poor sister.
    Good brother :)

  29. Far more devastating than a pulled pigtail.

  30. Ha! Very funny, and the voice pitch perfect. I will NOT show this my son -- he torments his sister quite enough already.

    Great environmental lesson, too. Peace...

  31. John, I'm told I was pretty bad at points. I have evidence I was pretty good at others. The victors will write history, so I need to get popular fast.

    Gaz, haha, we have a support for the brother!

    Mark, is that your worst transgression as a sibling?

    Linda, may I ask what he does? It's fine not to give him any more ideas.

  32. Loved this John, it is very inspired. The toothpaste-for-water thing could easily be the starting point for something totally different. It has the feel of a future gone really bad story. Waterworld without the water.

  33. I was laughing out loud reading this and Dave was, like, what's so funny?
    Their eyes burst from their heads...
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I guess I can just see the shocked look on the cute wee tyke's face.
    Sorry, I know I'm sick, but THERE'S a Disney movie I'd pay to see over and over!!!!!!
    You never fail to make me giggle!

  34. Poor little girl!! Really well written though, wow you know how to nail a story.


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