Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Song and Arrow

Sam had Black Eyed Peas stuck in his head. The witch doctor fixed it. Unfortunately, the arrow stuck in his head was even less comfortable.

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.'”


Thursday, February 17, 2011


Street level in Manhattan, New York. Chunks are missing from buildings. Avengers are lying strewn around the place. We glimpse the Destroyer armor beating the crap out of Thor. Spider-Man barely rises from the pavement, half his costume torn away. He sees the beating Thor is taking. He sees Mjolnir, Thor's trusty magic hammer, lying in the rubble. It's upside down, so we have to turn the comic upside down to read the inscription. Only the worthy may lift it. Spidey actually twists his head to read it. He decides, what the hell.

"I'll help you, big guy. Hang in there."

Spidey braces. He grasps. He lifts.

It won't budge.

He struggles. We can see every muscle in his body stand out through the spandex. Nothing.

"To me, Mjolnir!" Thor calls from off-page. The hammer flies from Spidey's grip and to its master. We hear Thor saving the day off page while we see Spidey just staring.

Skip forward. Peter Parker is with his girlfriend. Mary Jane or a new girl? Depends on what Marvel's doing. The conversation goes the same either way, because girls always treat him the same. He's trying to explain how he should be able to lift that hammer, how close everyone came to dying, and that he couldn't do anything worthwhile. The girl is preoccupied with something trivial and blows him off, because like I said, girls always treat him the same.

A pundit questions if Spider-Man doesn't create more crime than he stops. J. Jonah Jameson is a jackass in some needless way. There's a new blog like Icanhazcheezeburger, which is just every photo of him looking stupid (anyone can add them, and it the last photo we see was uploaded by user "MJ").

We see a giant robot on the horizon. Spidey looks for a place to change. We see Thor fly in and decapitate the robot before Spidey's even in the alley.

"Fine then."

He buttons up his shirt again and walks in the direction Thor is flying.

Somewhere, Norman Osborn has planted a bomb in Parker's apartment. Tonight it will kill him.

Yes, tonight.


Tonight comes. Parker has not returned to his apartment. Osborn is unhappy.

On the rainbow bridge, Thor is trying to shoo Spider-Man away. Spidey is in the spandex, with luggage.

Thor proclaims, "Gods don't have sidekicks."

'"What do you call the apostles?"

"Who are the apostles?"

"That's the sort of thing I can look up for you as your sidekick."

Spider-Man explains that he needs a vacation, but he has a bad history with vacations. If he tries to take a full break, somebody he loves will get kidnapped or some psychopath will wire his apartment with bombs. It's happened before. It always happens. But if he takes a summer as Thor's sidekick, maybe things will be different. He can pretty much coast. And if there's trouble? Thor can hit it with something heavy.

"But you're a world-respected hero."

"You bench press the moon. I can't even save my Aunt's mortgage. Please. Don't break my heart here. I'll turn into a supervillain."

So begins the miniseries, SPIDER-MAN: SIDEKICK OF THUNDER

Spidey builds a web hammock to ride that's suspended from Thor's hammer. When he sees a magazine cover posing Mary Jane and Tony Stark, he retaliates with his own photo-shoot of Spider-Man and the Norse Volley Ball Team. In a very special tear-filled issue, they figure out why Hogun the Grim looks like the only Mongolian in Asgard. At one point Spidey trolls his own villains (Doc Ock, Rhino, Hobgoblin), luring them into fights and then dropping Thor on them. "Dropping The Thor" is a running gag in the series. Sometimes Spidey saves Thor's bacon with smarts and looking out for him, but largely it's him in spandex try to fit in with Valkyries and bear-cloaked warriors.

Every issue ends with Norman Osborn, looking increasingly disheveled, staring into monitors waiting for Parker to come home and be blown up. Eventually he kills time with a Nintendo DS. When Spidey finally feels rested and returns home, he disarms the bombs without trouble. Osborn does not notice, for by this point he has taken up playing Pokemon and is too engrossed with tracking down a Victini to care.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bernard Pivot Questionnaire

This is for a bloggy-go-round based on the famous Bernard Pivot/James Lipton list of ten questions.

1. What is your favorite word?

"But." By sheer unnecessary use of a word in my vocabulary, my favorite has to be "but." If I'm not careful every paragraph in every given story and article will have at least one "but." I'm a but-oriented. A but-man. It's seldom conscious. My conscious favorite of late has been 'defenestrate,' because of how amusing it is to have a word for throwing something out a window.

2.What is your least favorite word?
A special lady has demanded I not say. In lieu of naming and complaining about that word, I'll say that any word can be reduced to a nuisance. Just look at how teenagers have turned "fail" from my greatest fear to something at which I frown in disappointment.

3.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Being left alone. Nothing gets me going like nobody being around to stare.

4.What turns you off?
My grandmother looking through the curtains and seeing us. Now this has never happened - but I guarantee it would turn me off. Probably you, too. I don't know for certain. I'm willing to guess it's not a fetish of yours.

5.What is your favorite curse word?

"Fuck" is the one I overuse. Apparently I'm a but-man and a fuck-man. This list is going poorly for me. Recently I've been trying to invest in "eff" and "nozzle" as neologist swears. I'd like to get some creativity into the swearing process. I doubt they'll work.

6.What sound or noise do you love?

Water running into a tub that's already partially full. Cancels enough external noise, echoes and creates an atmosphere I associate with being able to unwind.

7.What sound or noise do you hate?
Babies crying, opera singing and that vaguely Middle Eastern chanting/wailing that appears for no good reason in so many soundtracks. They all hit a certain pitch that makes my muscles tense up. With my neuromuscular syndrome, that tensing is very painful. Thus physiologically these are among my least favorite sounds.

8.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I'd go on the road with a specific few friends, camera crew and $50,000 for damages. We'd visit a new location every week and be inane together. First had the idea at a CostCo, a wholesale warehouse, seeing that you could climb up three stories of goods. I wanted to jump off it and into this massive display of pillows they had.

9.What profession would you not like to do?


10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Who wants a hug?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: If writing were a regular job

-I’d be fired for showing up in pajama pants.

-Also fired for showing up at noon and/or after midnight.

-When he wasn’t pissed at me for working three-hour-days, my boss would be terrified of the overtime and golden time I was working into.

-When my boss tried to get me to go home, I’d roll my chair from the keyboard and over to bed.

-My co-workers would likely not appreciate my looping the Inception soundtrack over and over because it helps “set a productive mood.” Even the few that tolerated me would still get annoyed when I burst into laughter every single time the lady starts singing during “Waiting for a Train.”

-My employers might be concerned that I spent half an hour a day doing a smaller version of my job for free, then another hour trying to get people to read that.

-Someone might stick a meat thermometer into my manuscript. They would wear thick gloves.

-I’d be pretty pissed at my “company” agent and publisher for expecting me to write, edit, polish, find venues, schedule signings and talks, then singlehandedly do those promotions and talks for the team product.

-I wouldn’t need a regular job to sustain this one.

-People thinking they could do my job better than I can would be exactly as annoying as they are right now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: At Our Best

He set aside his entire evening. He spent half a month's salary on bribes to get them a table at the city's most exclusive restaurant. He bought her the best chocolates. He found her favorite wine, in its best year. Nervous, he showered three times and used that cologne he couldn't stand, but that she said reminded her of the ocean. She loved the ocean. So he made sure that their table overlooked it. He had his best suit dry-cleaned and held off wearing it for a month, saving it just for that night. He wore the tie she'd gotten him last year. He got a dozen black roses, and put them in a bouquet with a dozen white ones. In the very center, he placed a single, brilliant red rose. That bouquet sat on the middle of their table for two hours as he waited for her. She never came. At the stroke of ten, he looked out at the night city skyline. His jaw fell as he realized. He'd forgotten to invite her.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Serpents and Stones

"I don't know," Medusa said. She began to draw away from the bed, but he held onto her arm. "I've never done this before."

"Neither have I," said the golem, brushing the snakes away from her eyes.
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