Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Good Gloves, OR, A Limit of Comparisons

Which of these two boxers is more dangerous: a one-time gold medalist, or a three-time silver medalist? The gold medalist was the best in the world, at least for one night. The silver-medalist was the second best in the world at least three times as often. Also consider that a medalist tournament isn't just one match; it's five matches. On all three nights across the twelve years, the silver-medalist won his first, second, third and fourth fights. And if you fight him tonight, you'll be his first. Meanwhile, the gold medalist hasn't won anything lately. So who's more dangerous? The answer is obvious: you’re screwed either way.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Same story, different monologue (part Finale)


Mr. Osbourne dug the tip of Gungnir into the earth before the gods.

“I slew a demon, something no mere mortal could do. I even forged its broken spirit into a spear as a trophy. Evidence.”

The gods muttered to each other. No, they hadn’t considered stipulating that several hundred other mere mortals might help the one mere mortal in question. The God of Accounting made a note to fire whichever one was in charge of stipulations. He thought that was Apollo.

Mr. Osbourne stared at the gods.

The gods stared back at him.

“Well? Pay up.”

The gods grumbled. Then they checked their pockets. Each kicked in a twenty. Eventually the plate rounded over to Rufus, who smoothed out the bills, put them in his money clip and stowed them in his jacket.

“Pleasure betting with you, pantheon. But I didn’t go through all that for money. I remember something about Helios’s chariot?”

The gods looked at each other. Sleep toed the sand, chewing on his bottom lip. Death shied away from him.

"Dude. Helios is going to be so mad at us."

Mr. Osbourne raised his voice. "Didn't we have a bet? Or should I take it up with Zeus?"

Sleep muttered, “It's parked next to Mercury. You have it for the weekend. But please don't ding it up!”

The mortal thought for a moment.

"What'll you give me if I don't?"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Same story, different monologue (part I)

The Bloody Blades. The Million Man Army. The Road Hard Men. Frankly, they drank a lot and fought for a living, so they earned many nicknames. None were particularly accurate. They wielded more bludgeons than blades and at their peak their membership was around six hundred and something, nowhere near a million.

They did most any work, and often made up work for themselves when work was thin, to keep the gruesome reputation strong. This sometimes meant razing a village. They killed every man, defiled every woman, and let the children watch.

The children didn’t take kindly to this. Raising an army of vengeance didn’t work well; there were so many of the Bloody Blades, and so few resources with which to pay help. Some tried to hunt down the mercenaries themselves, but they met grim ends.

One, an orphan named Rufus, took an economic root to revenge. He lived well. He started as a merchant’s assistant at twelve and founded his own business as soon as possible. He worked in ports and got things to places faster than others. Expedited delivery made him a small fortune quickly. Investments made him another small fortune. He rubbed the two small fortunes together until they made him a nice big one.

He scouted the countryside for perilous men and perilous tasks, but even when his former townsfolk demanded he raise an army to avenge their parents, he declined.

Instead he found the mercenaries who had wronged him, tracked them to their door and tossed a sack of silver on the stoop. He hired them to kill off the nastiest demon in this trade route – a twenty-five foot storm beast. It sounded challenging but helpful to their reputations, so all six-hundred-and-something of the Million Man Army marched to its mountain lair.

Unfortunately it was not a twenty-five foot storm beast. At fifty-five feet and quite hungry, it was more than they had armed themselves for. It loomed and laughed.

Behind them, Rufus yelled, “Charge!”

Before they could retreat, their prey descended on them.

To their merit they fought the demon to the last man. As wave upon wave of brutal warriors crashed on it, it weakened. Soft spots opened up. Wounds deepened. And soon it was so preoccupied with maiming and digesting the great mercenaries that Rufus was able to walk up its back and drive a stake through its neck.

He took the glory for the kill out of spite, underplaying how many of them there had been. But that was not his revenge. That, according to what he told one fellow orphan, “was hiring them to go kill themselves.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Same story, different monologue (part Alpha)

I know what you're asking yourselves.

“How did that scrawny, six-foot pretty boy subjugate a giant storm demon?”

I’ll tell you how. He hired six hundred and sixty six mercenaries from the darkest holes in the region to charge at it.

Now, it killed them. Boy, did it ever kill them. It killed them and killed them and killed them.

In doing so, it grew tired. Near the end it was too tired to stop the pretty-boy from jumping on its back and driving a stake through its neck.

It was a wise investment, for not only did he subjugate the demon, but he didn't have to pay a single man his wages.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Same story, different monologue (part A)

Gungnir was this great demon who sat atop the mountain with claws like arrows and of lightning. He challenged anyone to duel him in single combat. Many aspiring knights tried and fell. He was ferocious and wielded an element. It also helped that these duels always happened at the top of his mountain and his adversary was generally exhausted from the climb when Gungnir the duel was on.

Rufus Osbourne didn’t take kindly to this demon that often interrupted his cross-mountain caravans of goods. So he hired the biggest, rudest band of mercenaries on the continent and had them climb up the mountain ahead of him.

He ordered his men to charge immediately, and one-by-one Gungnir dueled them to death. As battles passed, the men caught their breath. By evening Gungnir was fighting well-rested barbarians. Still, the demon slew them, but it wore itself to the bone doing so. With the infernal creature so tired its sparking head now barely glowed, Rufus strode up and announced more duel.

And that is why Gungnir is not at the top of the mountain anymore.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Three Bathroom Monologues to Flashshot

Three currently unpublished Bathroom Monologues have been accepted for e-publication by Flashshot and should appear later this year or in early 2009. The stories are "There's No War Like Snow War," about an insurrection of snow men, "Bathroom in the Mall of America," an over-literal reimagining of the Mall of America in Washington D.C., and "Here Lies John Wiswell," about the demise of yours truly.

You can visit Flashshot every day for fresh micro-fiction from one author or another. The URL is:

John Wiswell

Bathroom Monologue: Same story, different monologue (part 1)

Everyone on the battlefield hated Rufus. He was a pretty boy, unscarred, often showing up with no armor. He today he fought in a pinstripe suit, his spear in one hand, the other holding a cell phone to his ear –and he paid more attention to the cell.

That would have been fine if Rufus would have had the decency to die and make a good example of people who took warfare seriously, but instead he was good. Great. Dispiritingly great, in that cinematic way where his would opponents would look around for a camera and wire crew, figuring he couldn’t really be doing this.

He would bound over a man, kick his lord from his horse, skewer his henchmen, then poll-vault off of them and to the next horse – all while texting with one thumb.

He was an acrobat who never exercised, a warrior who never sparred. When he met a challenging opponent they would cross weapons and his spear would spark with lightning, frying the other man.

They said all his gifts of combat came through his weapon, that it was the broken spirit of a demon and that it guided his body in battle. Though how the heck he’d come by it was a mystery to anyone, including his squad. There were rumors he sold his soul for it on eBay.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Hash It Out

This would cast off the misconceptions about marijuana in modern society. They would publish the Great American Novel, fueled by kind bud. It would be printed on hemp paper with adhesive extracts from the herb. And the novel wouldn’t just be about intelligent people on pot – it would be written by one. Tyrese would smoke a bowl for every writing session, every night until the rough draft was done. Every word would come out of the ether of smoke. The editors would likewise mark up the manuscript in altered states.

The obvious ending is that they didn’t write the book. They scribbled on a couple of pages and got the munchies.

But that’s not true. Tyrese kept Doritos in his desk drawer to ensure devotion to the typewriter. The manuscript was finished on time.

Well then conservative publishers denied their work and blocked the book.

Untrue. A California publisher actually gave them a sizable advance, and the editors of High Times promised at least a semi-favorable review sight-unseen.

Were they busted?

No. The cop was selling to them under the counter.

So what did happen?

The book sucked. The writing was of poor quality and the plot didn’t develop. It had pacing issues and the themes didn’t catch.

It happens to tens of thousands of novels without mind-altering substances every year. Did you think pot would change it?
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