Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The God of Suicide

Thuone is not like most gods. Aphrodite wants romance. Ares wants war. Meanwhile, the God of Suicide is trying harder to save your life than anyone else in the cosmos. He’s actually sacrificed himself thousands of times. His first gig was back when Gaia spat out the gods to replace the titans, when he posed as the first gargantuan that Zeus slew; the other gods saw it, suddenly believed they could stand against the giants, and lost their animal guises to fight. Zeus didn’t learn that his first kill was a god until eons later.

Thuone did less with the gods after that era. Like Prometheus, he was more interested in humans. Immortals just needed to take over the world; mortals needed their lives saved. Sometimes he’d descend as a great bull or lion for a hero to kill, giving him the courage to fight for others thereafter. In much less famous stories than his work with Theseus and Odysseus, he would challenge the underprivileged in full divine form (though always under pseudonyms). Even the most depressed mortals got a huge boost from thinking they slew a god. They were dumb enough to think a god could die the way they did, so there wasn’t much helping their intellectual development, but going under for them gave them spirit. Time and time again he fought, bled and fell, making little heroes who never again thought of killing themselves.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Herman Crab, Zombie Shield

After his third car, Herman finally embraced his nickname. Kids back in elementary school had called him “Herman Crab” because his skin burned like a boiled lobster at recess. It didn’t matter to those kids that hermit crabs weren’t bright red. They hadn’t gotten to that unit yet. Now, years after they’d all be done with school, most of those people were probably dead.

What defined a hermit crab was its soft exterior and inability to make its own defense against predators. Herman presumed, if hermit crabs were also fending off the zombie apocalypse, then they were in constant search for shells under undead seafood. Herman certainly needed them, though his shells came with four tires.

The first night that Detroit was waylaid by the undead, Herman had been in a fight with Clarice in the front seat of his Smart Car. She was the love of his life, but he was a disappointing meal ticket to her. She hated that little car, and said so in her last words, before slamming the door and walking up the street. He watched after her, uncertain of what to say until a zombie dragged her into an alley. Then he knew what to say: a lot of swear words.

The undead fondled his windshield. One seemed to try to make out with his driver’s side window. They were many and terrifying, but they were also inept and unable to make a fist. At dawn they were still smooshing up against his windows. At dawn, he finally lost the terror of the apocalypse and drove away. He felt awkward, not having been eaten. It seemed rude, at least until his Smart Car got stuck in a mire of human remains.

That was when the Herman Crab came to life. He climbed out through a rear window, hopping into an abandoned Jeep. That had much less trouble running over corpses. Two miles later, he shed the Jeep for a Chevy Silverado that turned zombie into speed bumps.

As the apocalypse wore on, Herman came to realize leg room was more important than company. Groups of survivors shot at you, or held conferences on whether you were trustworthy, or screamed about infections. Cars didn’t do that. Cars sat there, abandoned on the highway, waiting for a patient man to siphon their gas, or to move enough out of the way so that he could drive off in the biggest one.

Today he stood on the roof of a Ford Bronco, squinting a new dawn. He shielded his eyes from the sun and scanned an overpass for anything reliable. He crossed his fore- and middlefinger over his eyebrow, hoping against hope for a monster truck.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The End Times Are Over

"Fifty percent of Americans think the end times are coming for good reason: they already have. There’s a general feeling on earth that bad stuff is going down, and because you can’t see the ravages of the spiritual war, it’s easy to misconstrue them as coming. But the Apocalypse already came.

"You see, Jesus and his Apostles all thought the war to end all wars was going to happen soon. Revelations was like a trailer. A coming attraction. They wanted the audience to know what was up and to be on the lookout for any Jezebels and lakes of fire.

"Publishing the New Testament actually accelerated the whole thing. Satan got an advanced copy, having always had great connections in publishing, and was wickedly pissed at how little face time he got. There was about as much sex-bashing and Satan-bashing up until the end, and then at the end, Revelations was all about how he would lose. It was smack talk.

"Because you can’t sue God for libel (being omnipotent and omniscient, anything He says automatically becomes true and thus not libelous), Satan speed-dialed his side. Up went the Antichrist, the Horsemen, the many-headed hounds, the armies of sinners – the whole infernal deal. And because mass transit was a thousand years away from being invented, they arrived in a barren desert. The Hosts of Heaven fought them to a gory end with nobody in sight. With nobody in sight, nobody could write about it and the Newer Testament end to the Bible Trilogy went unwritten.

"But the end times are over. I’m sincerely sorry you all missed it."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: On Compensation

The other evening I was out with Alice and Woodrow, on our way back from the range, and we spent several miles behind an enormous pick-up truck. I don’t know the model because they all look the same to me, but it seemed about one class below a monster truck. It could have crushed my little Corolla on a whim. He was ogling its size when Woodrow snickered.

“Somebody’s compensating for something,” he said.

Alice nodded, holding up a pinky finger. She flexed it in the direction of the truck. “Probably can’t even get it up.”

Even though they had the tone of joking, they didn’t laugh, and their expressions weren’t quite smiles. They were like joyless imitations of smiles, which is probably what got me thinking. I stared through the rear window of the pick-up, but it was too shady for me to make out the occupant. I could only tell that he was alone, which seemed appropriate as Woodrow started riffing on his likely insecurities.

Was this man in his giant truck insecure on account of his penis? If so, why? Who could have ever come into contact with it to make him feel insecure? Possibly his family. Possibly his lovers. Possibly his doctor, and it sent a pang through me thinking that a doctor was the least likely one to shame him over whatever was wrong with it.

Family and lovers. Maybe a prostitute glancing the wrong way at the wrong time, but no, mostly it would be a wife, or a boyfriend, or his siblings as he grew up, or a parent. And these people, in whom he’d be so emotionally or sexually invested, would have so hurt him that he’d spent something like $20,000 on several tons of gasoline-powered steel, just so he can feel better – feel adequate.

Alice poked my shoulder and said, “I bet his right hand tells him it’s a good size.”

Sometimes I feel alone. It’s usually when there are other people around.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The Other Place Sam Went, Redux

"Don't cry, honey. Your friend is in two places now, rather than just here. When a werewolf dies he splits.

"Sam has gone to wherever humans go - I don't know where that is, but it's probably a nicer place than around here with everyone persecuting him.

"The wolf side, though, goes straight up. See the moon? That's the source of his wolfish side. See the dark blotch up there? How it forks on the right, like the ears of a bunny? You can kind of see his arm, and back there are his legs mid-stride. That's the rabbit in the moon. He's running from the great pack of werewolves.

"All the wolfish ghosts to ever die ascend to the moon, to chase that rabbit. They're ghosts, so they don't hunger. They don't need to catch him, so it's okay that they still haven't. They just chase him forever, with thousands of their own kind. All those thousands running are why the moon revolves, making it spin under the scampering of their invisible paws.

"Sam's wolf-self is up there helping the moon spin now. If you ever miss him, you can look up and cheer him on to catch that blasted bunny."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Consumed Presents: Paranormal Activity 4

Consumed rises from the grave! I managed to browbeat Max Cantor into joining me for Paranormal Activity 4 this weekend, and we recorded a fresh podcast about it last night.

If you know, you know I love Found Footage flicks. They are my cinematic opium, and Paranormal Activity has been my favorite annual dealer until now. PA4 is nearly incoherent, and Max bravely joins me in diving into how it falls apart, from lack of innovation with their cinematography and scares, to just failing to deliver a plot even though it’s on fictional rails. If you like rants, you’ll enjoy Max swearing he’ll never pay to see the fifth movie. Me? I know I’m doomed to repeat it.

If enough listeners enjoy it, we’ll do a bigger retrospective episode on the franchise. It seems only fair to give it some praise, especially with how many times I’ve re-watched the first film.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bathroom List: 8 Things Hollywood Can No Longer Make Creepy

1. Toys, especially humanoid dolls. It’s been a few decades, but I’ve come to realize I would beat the hell out of Chucky in a fistfight.

2. Exterior shots of old houses, no matter how poorly tended or ill-lit they are.

3. Non-threatening songs played suggestively. “Jeepers Creepers” was the breaking point. If it’s a slow-tempo version sung by a children, I will openly mock your trailer.

4. Children. Let’s get them out of the way here, because they had their moment, but it’s time to reckon that a miniature adult that needs help finding the potty is not creepy. Was Damien creepy in a tiny suit thirty years ago? Yes, but since then we’ve had the time to envision the devil’s son going tux-shopping, and whining, and screaming at the top of his lungs until the babysitter has to run out of Men’s Discount Warehouse without having bought anything. Kids aren’t scary. They just suck.

5. The hero/heroine/stoner-best-friend leans into the unlit house and asks if anyone is there. There’s no response. The house either rumbles quietly with ambient noise, or the soundtrack goads us a little. This was never actually creepy, but you don’t seem to have learned it, so I’m pointing it out.

6. Any lone person standing still on the sidewalk/yard/street, staring up at us. I’d just send some Jehovah’s Witnesses to annoy him until he went away.

7. Festering piles of bugs. Centipedes. Scorpions. Lady bugs. It really doesn’t matter, because any of these in significant quantity will freak out my girlfriend. Now you think that’s great, here’s an item that’s creepy – but it’s not creepy, because she’s raking her nails down my arm and squealing, leaving me not creeped out, but annoyed and bleeding. So, stop that.

8. Skeletons, and this really was an achievement, because there should be nothing more unnerving to a sentient mammal than seeing our insides put outside, dried out, in a calcified signifier of death. But you have placed so many skulls on so many posters, in so many trailers, in so many marketing campaigns, that I actually don’t care.

Brief list of things that are still creepy: we’re not sure if the killer is dead but he’s not moving and we have to get around him, or unlit hallway with open doors (I will sprint to the bathroom tonight, I just know it).
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