Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Remember Who?

Actually, I don't think anyone is good with names. I guess a few people are, but they're bastards. We should hunt them down and kill them, so the rest of us could feel better about ourselves. We would, too, if we could remember their names.

Bathroom Monologue: Close My Eyes, and Think Of

Some people relax by closing their eyes and imagining their dream house, where they want to spend the rest of their days. I'm demented, so I don't have that. I have a dream hamlet. It's Old Teioh, because fewer people live in "Old" Anything as compared to "New" Anything. In this case, almost no one lives there. It's one of a God-like race's old set designs, back when they were still experimenting with life, pre-Adam and Eve. More of a Batman and Robin sort of thing. Except for the three-story school building and clocktower, every house and market is one story tall, made of white sheetrock or white, mache-like brick, with flat, slightly slanted tin roofs. The roofs are slanted in case it case, so that you can see the water sleucing down, and so that it's collected for the use of the house. The air is always fresh as a New England morning, the creek is always warm enough to swim in, and every road is a dirt road. The creek actually backs up into the flooded school house, so you can dive out the windows or off the balcony of the principal's office if you want. There's a drive-in movie theatre, but no cars, and no lot; you have to sit on a rooftop to watch the movies, and every rooftop has a good view. A lot of Jack Nicholson, Hayao Miyazaki and Godzilla movies play there. Unsurprisingly, a lot of houses have been converted into libraries. The irony is that the whole place is really a library, as Old Teioh is a brilliant relic of a time when an alien civilization learned to program data, not to plastic discs or silicon sticks, but into atoms. Every short story, novel, treatise, poem and song from a planet's history can be programmed into a single white brick. We've forgotten how to access the data, though, so we'll just live in the houses made out of art, watching the stars through your blindless window. You can fall asleep watching them, because the sun never rises before you're ready to get up. I don't aspire to build Old Teioh or spend the rest of my life there; I do aspire to spend the rest of my daydreams there, though.

Bathroom Monologue: Trouble With Liquor

"Dude, he licked the cap of his beer, he hasn't even drunk it yet, and he's sweating like he just smoked a PCP cigarette and is whispering disgusting things to the bottle. I want to take it away from him, but whenever I walk too close he threatens to shank me... what is a 'shank,' anyway?"

Bathroom Monologue: The Charges For and Against

Hatiel Essex was apprehended at 3:00 this morning outside a diner in the Zeitgeist III galaxy. He was immediately read his rights (or what was left of them) and presented with the list of the charges pending against him: thirty-six million cases of disturbing the peace; fifty-nine thousand counts of treason; twelve billion cases of unrelated homicide; eighteen thousand cases of genocide; twelve thousand and two hundred cases of suicide; thirteen thousand cases of self-resurrection without a permit; seven hundred and seventy-seven cases of immaculate conception; two million, fifty thousand and five hundred cases of "not quite rape, but definitely not calling her the next day;" nine hundred thousand cases of destruction of private property; six hundred thousand cases of destruction of public property; twenty thousand cases of destruction of public planets; eighty cases of grand theft astro; one hundred and four million cases of violating the code of ethics of the Presidency; and four counts of scalping sports tickets. Mr. Essex waived his right to an attorney and said he planned to plea neither "innocent" nor "guilty," but "Successful."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Haiku in the November Scifaikuest

I have a haiku in issue 18 of Scifaikuest, available for purchase online. I've included a link to their shop at at the bottom of this notice. Maybe you'll pick up a copy and write the editor about how much you liked the opener.

I'm very touched that Scifaikuest chose to feature my haiku as the opener. It means a lot to give someone you've never published before the first space in your magazine. Fans of the Bathroom Monologues will probably like this little work, since it fits with my themes here. If you're interested in reading something new, Scifaikuest is a very interesting magazine that uses its niche to deliver something a world away from The New Yorker or Analog.

You can purchase a copy of the issue 18 or a subscription by paypal at:

Bathroom Monologue: "I bring unto you These Fifteen--" -Mel Brooks

11. Thou shalt not count squiggly lines in Connect Four.

12. Thou shalt not count carbs without being able to map carbohydrate molecules and diagram enzyme exchanges.

13. Thou shalt not go to protests to meet women.

14. Thou shalt not sweat Jerusalem. Yeah, it's the Holy Land now, but real estate values were created to change. It's better I don't tell you who'll be fighting over it.

15. Most importantly, thou shalt not sail to the West. If you see the Britains, turn back. You'll screw everything up. I put the ocean there for a reason.

Bathroom Monologue: Why else would you call them "wisdom teeth"?

Contrary to the Babel Fish theory, there is nothing wrong with your ear. It is your dirty mouth, so ignorant and full of dead teeth, that spews forth the verbal problems. In ancient times the body produced a few sentient organs to monitor the stupidity of the tongue. They would pre-process all vibrations and muscular impulses, radiating out sound waves much in the way that a prism refracts light waves. The various colors of sound could then be "heard" by any intelligent organism within earshot as though spoken within its own dunderheaded language, thanks to organs located in its mouth. These dental organs were called "Wisdom Teeth," and are the reason why all those different species are able to talk to each other in Fantasy novels. You never heard about Gimli or King Arthur having his wisdom teeth pulled, did you? That's right. There were even writings during these historical periods that foresaw and lamented for the world when such vital organs as the wisdom teeth, little toe and appendix lost function by mutation, though they were treated as crap science fiction at the time. Leading scientists at the University of Braintree hypothesize that people now bite their tongues as a sub-genetic reflex from a time when wisdom teeth guarded the tongue from saying anything too stupid.

Bathroom Monologue: Singlish, Ebonics, and other words I can't spell

The difference between a dialect and a new language can generally be gauged in the number of guns the new speakers have. If they're armed well enough, then they have a nice new language that should be respected and taught in private school. The flavor and validity of this new tongue may also be verified by the number of speakers, how angry they are at you, and how much capitol and property you look to lose if you piss them off too badly. I understand how hard it is, parsing dialects and languages, because anyone worried enough to wonder about such terminology usually needs an interpreter just to ask their gardener to come by early tomorrow. If you're completely stumped, though, ask the oldest person you know who can still enjoy popular music. They might not care, but they have a much better chance of forming an opinion without getting mugged than you.

Bathroom Monologue: He Could have had a V8

It is a little-known fact that veganism, while invented by humans, was not invented for humans. It was actually invented for vampires, as a healthy alternative to blood in the midst of the HIV scare of the late 20th century. They believed it would provide all the nutrients they needed without the risk of drinking tainted blood. It became very popular when vampires who followed the diet showed significant weight-loss, especially around the hips. The nigh-immortal race didn't realize their weight loss was actually vain starvation. Today the dietary value of veganism is best illustrated in that no one believes in vampires any more: there are so few of them still alive that they are considered a myth. Humanity is a cruel creature, and an even crueler chef.

Bathroom Monologues: Decorations

I was quite proud of my adorable scarecrows with their jack o'lantern heads, linked arm and arm on the porch. Yet the only person to compliment them was a politician going door to door for re-election, and I was fairly certain it was in her routine to compliment any decorations she saw. I could have had kittens dangling and strangling from my rafters and she would have been obliged to say, "I do so love your cats here."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Nightmarish Chapters for my Dream Novel

Sitting in Blue: Three strange friends discuss what they've done lately while sitting in blue moonlight on a tile roof, while below Medieval knights besiege a group of Shaolin monk bandits.

Roc'n and Rowin': A rowboat is attacked by the mythical European Roc bird.

What Electric Sheep Dream Of: One of the antagonists has his brain downloaded to a Dell PC and explores his sexuality now that he has no crotch and three USB ports.

Chapter 86: After one of the protagonists imbibes some questionable moonshine, this chapter of the novel occurs in flawless terza rima.

The Longest Entertaining Chase Scene in American Literature: Fairly self-explanatory. Lots of chicken coops destroyed in this one.

It Doesn't Have to be True (it just has to be good): A town surrounded by cranky dragons (it's mating season) decides to pass the arduous time by trading tall tails; the longest one wins the only pair of earplugs.

Guaranteed not to be in the Movie Adaptation: The cast sits down to discuss their feelings on race riots without the use of a mediator, verbal cliches, stereotypes, violence or political frames of reference.

Murder Culture: In the middle of a public duel, in the splitsecond of a samurai's sword slash, we see what is happening for that splitsecond for twenty-five citizens of this wild-western-themed town. Twenty-five shared instants in the human experience.

Know Enough to Know that You Don't Know: The novel comes to a disappointingly metafictional close when the characters who survived the climax believe themselves to be taking the customary "hot springs episode," only to find that they are lounging in the sweaty navel of Surtur, the Icelandic fire giant.

Bathroom Monologue: Almost

"A lot of people wonder why I'm not going for the homerun title. Just 31 more homers and I get the name, "Homerun King." I wouldn't even have to play a full season. But I don't need it. Listen - I'm not that old. With the money I've made, the healthcare I can get, I'm alive for at least fifty more years. That's fifty years of great baseball players coming for that record. Baseball will get more popular, and more people than ever will get the chance to play. More great players will be discovered and get a chance. And if I take this crown, I'll have fifty years of sitting on the throne, watching the games with my fingers crossed, until someone finally breaks my record. Then I'll watch the whole world celebrate what is essentially my defeat. Do I need that kind of hurt when I'm 50? 60? Do I want my grandkids trying to pretend to Alzheimered-up old grandpa that he still hit the most balls out of the park? No. No and no. You know what I'm going to do this Spring training instead of kill myself training? Take my kids to school in the morning. Help them with their homework. We're going on vacation this summer, for as long as we want, not as long as a general manager and coach allow. If I get the ache, I'll coach little league. Help some kids with their swings. Push my kids on their swing in the backyard. Do you know my wife had to hire a guy to install it? I didn't even get to build it for them. That's not happening at my house anymore. Let somebody else play with the pain and the steroids. I've got family and money, and better things to do. Enough of the game. Your next question better be about the Alzheimer's Association. I just signed as their spokesperson this morning. There are a lot of things about this you ought to know. Since you need it juicy, I'll give you the first fact: my dad was diagnosed with it last week."

Bathroom Monologue: A Moment for the Duck-Billed Platypus

A moment for the duck-billed platypus. It is a difficult character. Depending on how well you know Greek, they are "Platypi," "Platypai," "Platypuses," or “Platypodi.” Depending on which encyclopedia you open, it is categorically extinct, or it can be found in Australia. It is a mammal, yet it lays eggs. It is a mammal, yet it has no nipples to suckle its young; instead, it sweats a milk-like substance for its duck-billed egg-babies to drink. It is as poisonous as a reptile. It has a tail like a beaver. As you may or may not have heard, it has a bill like a bird. It is the green ketchup, the compassionate conservative, the solar-powered SUV of the wild. Thank you, duck-billed platypus. You convinced me that if God doesn't care about religion, Nature doesn't care about science.

Bathroom Monologue: If Physics were so Philosophical

"I've killed 563 people since I turned sixteen. I've kept strict count. It's rude to forget a person you've killed. However, I haven't killed anyone in two years. The last person I killed was totally fair, mind you, but it most disturbed my friends. We almost broke up permanently over the affair. So since then, I've operated under the rules of Physics when it comes to violence. If I am assaulted by a weaker opponent, I will wound them grievously but I will try to avoid vital organs and leave them alive. If I should meet an opponent of equal or surpassing skill, I will certainly kill them. You see, it is a law of Physics that should a superior mass encounter an inferior mass, it must be at least a little careful with the little thing. But it is also a law of Physics that should two bodies of equal force collide, they do not have to mind their manners." -Egal Vineguard

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Was This Helpful?

It can be very difficult for young people to grasp the difference between fact and opinion, the divide between emotion and objectivity. There is an exercise to help understand this crucial difference. Create a list of the ten best films of all time. Carefully review each entry, and make sure they are ordered, so that #1 is the best film of all time, descending to the tenth best. Got it? Now if your list contained anything you actually liked, you don't know what you're talking about, so turn off your computer and quit pretending you have a future in the movie business.

Bathroom Monologue: What kind of catalog was it?

Wrapped in barbed wire was a box made of thorny wood. The box was built with traps, such that if opened improperly, darts would shoot from all surfaces. Inside the box lay a robe infected from a dozen diseased patients. Within the robe was wrapped a special scabbard, with a spearhead instead of an endcap, and one side sharpened so that it could cut like an axe. The sword within the scabbard was double-edged, with saw-like teeth on the rear blade so that no surgeon could sew wounds it made. Within the long handle of the sword was hidden a triangular dagger. Within the handle of the dagger was a hidden poisoned needle. The parcel was delivered promptly on time, but was never opened, as the man who had ordered it pricked his foot on a rusty nail and died of tetanus the day after he mailed the order form.

Bathroom Monologue: Not Much of a Biologist

"You want to know what testosterone does? Take a look at the bull shark. The average shark only swims and bites. Sometimes it reproduces, but it doesn't really pay attention. Just swims and bites. But the bull shark, full of more testosterone than any other fish, is absolutely bite-crazy. It'll bite anything, then kill and swallow that thing, so it can get to biting on whatever is behind the presently bitten thing. Your son, your grandma, your grandma's Buick. It doesn't matter. The bull shark will bite it. The thing can taste rotten and awful. It can be sharp. It can actually bite the bull shark in return. It can kill the bull shark. All the bull shark cares is that it's biting. That's what testosterone does to you. It makes even the simplest creature dumber."

Bathroom Monologue: Sorry this one ain't funnier

Now whether the Atheist fell in love with the Priest first, or the Priest fell for the Atheist first, they couldn't agree. That was okay, because they were so far apart on what happened at that other Beginning. That was okay because it wasn't facts that made them love. The Priest, let's call him 'Louis,' he loved her because God allowed it, God willed it, and because he couldn't say "No" to a miracle like her. The Atheist, let's call her 'Lois,' loved him because of his work ethic and philanthropy, because of the way he challenged her, because of the way he held her hand on that second date that wasn't a date. Ironically, neither of them believed in true love. Each believed the other was halfway decent in the sack, and said that each was fullway decent, and that was testament to their love. And Lois said, "I'm going to live forever so we can keep feeling this." And Louis laughed, "No one lives forever. But I'll die first, men always do, and I'll prove that there is a Heaven. Then I'll come get you." And Lois shook her head, "No, I'm going to live forever, and I'm going to bring you back to life, because there's nothing else, and I can't live without you." And Louis sighed, "Well it wouldn't be Heaven without you." In time, Louis died first, of his weak heart. Lois didn't weap, but worked on her chemicals, on her artificial extremities, and found the fountain of youth in the squirting end of a syringe. Louis went on his journey, digging out of the graveyard of the soul, passing through the steppes of Purgatory, and navigating the lonely side of a long river. Lois tried to vivify Louis's corpse, and Louis tried to grasp Lois's soul. Each reached for the other, but what they tried to hold wasn't there. And so neither died, and neither lived. What they did do, though, they did together. Not that they knew.

Bathroom Monologue: One time, these ninja

A tribe of ninja, as old as insecurity itself, skilled in knife throwing. Unfortunately, there were no wars left. There were unhappy people, but not many murderously unhappy people. The tribal elders came up with numerous product ideas, but nobody seemed interested in luxury assassination items. So the luckiest of the ninja got jobs as strong-armers and debt collectors. Some of the younger ninja became very successful repo men. Many worked Springs and Summers at carnivals, getting fat on hotdogs and cotton candy as they tossed daggers, axes and flaming spears at giggling singers on spinning wheels. And there were numerous consulting jobs on movies, largely for fight choreography. It wasn't a glamorous existence for the ninja, until a chain of gyms wanted to buy their dumbest invention: the in-door rock-climbing wall.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Bathroom Dialogues?

Taskmaster: So then why am I here?
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: Because the Masters of Evil have need of your services again, Mr. Taskmaster.
Taskmaster: I've never worked for them before.
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: Oh, yes you have. There are very few shadowy organizations with eleven digits of disposable cash and designs of world domination you haven't worked for. You've worked for the Serpent Society, Hydra and the Hand. You've even stolen from Reed Richards for Iron Man, which surprised me, because I thought they were friends. And in the eighties, you worked for the Masters of Evil for thirteen days.
Taskmaster: The tissue donor thing?
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: Yes, that little Jackal project. Your photographic reflexes are really the envy of all spies and hitmen, especially those who wouldn't admit it, and that made you one hot commodity. And since you didn't seem able to train any perfect pupils, the Masters of Evil tried cloning you.
Taskmaster: They clone everybody.
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: They sure try. But in your case, it didn't so much work out. Thirteen days of running every test they could imagine, and all they got were eleven dead fetuses and two moron children who not only couldn't copy the moves of martial artists from watching, but could barely walk straight.
Taskmaster: Remind me to have you talk to the missus next time she asks about having kids.
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: These two kids were absolute clutches. No-good assassins, fighters, arms dealers, pickpockets. Even failed at crooked accounting. And one of these twins enjoyed failing at everything, because that let him get back to his cozy apartment and play Nintendo.
Taskmaster: He probably inherited more of that from me than I'd like to admit. But the other?
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: The other went quiet for a week. Manic depressive for another week. Suicidal the next. Then he noticed the failure sharing an apartment with him had the same face as the one in the mirror. Something went *click* in his head, and he strangled his twin with the cord to the spare SNES controller. Next thing the organization knew, he went to business college out of Harlem, and came back as a legitimately twisted and competent applicant for a desk job. Kind of awkward. Talks in the third person all the time, but he keeps his clothes very clean. Worked diligently up until last week.
Taskmaster: I'd like to meet that one.
Man in the ridiculously immaculate grey suit: You have. He's giving you the tour now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: I've been everywhere, man

Pai'Guan, the great sorcerer and the only man to set foot on every continent of our world, never saw the world perfectly. Born blind, he grew up in a wealthy family, the middle child of seven. Talent for mysticism allowed him to stand out, and by forty seasons of age he could levitate himself and two of his sisters. In his first semester at wizarding school, he concocted magical stones to restore vision to his right eye. He believed he could not see green properly, but had no point of reference to know for certain. At middle age he traveled across the second continent and was blinded by dragon's fire. Slaying the creature, it's blood trickled into his face, and though his right eye was burned shut, he began to see from his left eye. The vision was flickery at best, and usually black and white, but it was enough to continue traveling. By two hundred and twenty-two seasons of age, he reached the top of the world, and looked out. The closeness of the sun scorched him, and he lost nearly all vision. Without glasses, he could see nothing but his own body. He stayed on the mountain top and looked at himself, meditating for three seasons, before building a boat out of trees from the tallest peeks, and setting sail for the foreign continents, alone. By the time he returned home, he had an unhealthy reputation for defying governments and gods by crossing every border in the known world. He would not slow down for an interview or an offer of biography, though. One diligent reporter chased him down and breathlessly asked where Pai'Guan was going now that he had been everywhere. Pai'Guan adjusted his glasses, so thick that no one else could see through them, and chortled, "I haven't seen enough yet."

Bathroom Monologue: Food for Thought

Ambrosia is so silly. It's the food of the gods, so if you eat it, you become a god. Since when? If I eat at a pricey restaurant that only the elite can afford, do I become rich? No! In fact, I'm even poorer after the bill gets to the table. Pounding truffles doesn't make you a millionaire, it just jacks up your cholesterol. So are you sure about this food of the gods thing? Sure that it'll make you a god, and not just make the existing gods mad that you ate all their snacks? Because according to my research, a hungry, angry god is not fun.

Bathroom Monologue: Woman Reproduced Without Male DNA, Scientists Claim

"Researches say the first evidence of human cloning is a little over two millennia old. The fetus was carried by a barren woman, who may or may not have even known she was a research subject. For his time the baby was perfectly healthy, but his origins were often criticized as immoral, unlikely or impossible. His name was Jesus.”

Bathroom Monologue: Yes, there were male nymphs

A later son of Demeter by way of a male nymph from the Norselands. Can talk to all things that spring from the earth, and hear their memories - knowing anything that they witness. Can replace organs of his body with plants; a turnip for his heart, a gourd for his liver, vegetable sinew for his ligaments. When winter was longer in the world, he would replace some of his organs, and plant the physical organs in the earth, sharing his mystical essence with the land, permanently shortening winter. Unfortunately this caused those fractions of winter to enter his body; the cold season replaced his heart, liver, pancreas and such, making him emotionally colder. After a time his psyche became so cold that he forgot why he carried out such altruism, and became a wayfarer, wandering away from nature's grace.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Ratings

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns - 6
Die Hard 2 - 9
Lysol Air Freshener – 8
Hamlet - 3
Lower Case 'j' - 7
Lost Season 1 - 9
Lost Season 2 – 1
Kraft Mac & Cheese - 7
Kraft Mac & Cheesier - 7
Kraft Mac & Cheese: The Cheesiest - 7
Kraft Easy Mac – 2
Terrycloth Bathrobes - 4
The Parthenon – 10
The Sunrise of November 24 from the Pound Ridge Reservation, NY - 5
The Notion that Human Experience can be Quantified - 2
The orange I had with breakfast - 8.3

Bathroom Monologue: Things I am proud of

Walking on two legs. Four-legged animals don't seem to have as much fun. Maybe it's the opposable thumbs. I like those. My eyelashes have never given me much trouble, though they get considerably less attention than the eyebrows, which work half as hard. They deserve an ode, those eyelashes. And my spleen. Someday I'll find out what it does and I'll be mighty proud of it. My intellect? No, I'm not proud of that. It causes me nothing but worry and provides nothing but self-loathing and the occasional laugh at a newspaper article. I could do without it. But it was part of a package deal, and I was shopping on budget.
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