Saturday, December 20, 2008

While washing someone else’s dishes Monologue

“Is anyone without guilt? A few people, but they’re all conceited assholes. Most of us do things at least partially to make up for past evils. I think if I wasn’t such a sadistic prick as a 9-year-old I wouldn’t go out of my way to hold doors and carry other people’s dishes now. It’s not 1-to-1 recompense, but that kind of motivation is in everyone. We’ve all done myriad things we feel poorly over for some reasons. All the do-gooders are like that. I mean, I guess Gandhi or Jesus might not be – but Gandhi was making up for his entire country, and Jesus was making up for the entire universe being kind of a bitch. If you’re really so nice that you haven’t done anything wrong you can always outsource your guilt. Volunteer at a blood bank, battered women’s shelter or soup kitchen; they’ve always got a surplus of other people’s evil. Make up for someone else today! And pass the grease cutter.”

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Some jokes are below even me

[GARY sits on a chair at the head of the booth in a purple pinstripe suit; SPIDER sits on one side of the booth in a spandex superhero costume; GRUFF STOVER sits next to SPIDER, wearing desert camouflage; and AJA the GIANT FLOATING EYEBALL floats on the other side of the booth, alone. AJA has pink eye.]

Gary: It all comes down to the same: life sucks, and then you die!
Aja: Are you sure that's all? I'm pretty sure I had a turkey club somewhere in there.
Gary: The turkey club is overshadowed by the mass of disappointments in the rest of your life.
Aja: I don’t think you’ve had this turkey club.
Spider: And sex.
Stover: I like sex.
Gary: I like getting it, but the pursuit takes forever. It’s a lopsided venture: days of romancing and paying for dinner for five minutes in the sack.
Spider: Five minutes?
Stover: I think we’ve figured out why you haven’t been enjoying it.
Gary: I get bored. I walked out on it once to make a sandwich.
Aja: A turkey club?
Gary: Fried egg sandwich, actually. I suddenly really wanted one.
Spider: Well there. Sex and a sandwich in an hour.
Gary: Half hour, actually.
Stover: Neither accounted for in your philosophy of life sucking and dying, Horatio.
Aja: Sucking can count in-
Aja, Gary and Stover: No.

Snow Men at Flashshot

You can see a special Bathroom Monologue today at GW Thomas's site, Flashshot. It's about a revolution of snow men. I think you'll like it.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Finally beat the computer at chess, running to the bathroom, and presto, monologue

A common question about the Chess Emperor series of computer games is why the program refuses to let players make moves that would put their Kings in checkmate. Some players complain it restricts the feeling of movement and realism, though most are grateful that the games don't let them screw themselves. The first edition of Chess Emperor allowed such movements, leading to a remarkable number of monitors being destroyed in frustration by players who had never played chess until they got bored at work. Apparently after a few games witlessly wandering into checkmate drove them over the edge. One firm suspected that sales of new monitors went up 7% based on Chess Emperor-related incidents alone. The leading computer monitor company lobbied to keep the checkmate-option in Chess Emperor games, but the head game designer moodily removed it after the lobbyist made the faux pas of beating him at checkers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: “Here lies John Wiswell”

They dug up his grave at 2:00 AM after the groundskeeper finally nodded off. The four worked in shifts of two, two keeping watch while two shoveled dirt. Around 3:00 they unearthed the coffin and pried back the lid, only to find a plastic skeleton. Its right hand was giving them the middle finger. Its left hand clutched a note. Norman snatched it up.

It read: “The tombstone said I lied.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Bucking Samurai

“No, it’s not your kimono. I’m just cracking up at all the samurai with deer antlers on their helmets. I guess really crazy pointy things look demonic or intimidating in war, and this custom was established before a lot of natural biology came about, but you do realize antlers are mostly a mate-attraction-thing, right? Meaning that Japan’s greatest warriors have big old deer hooters hanging over their faces?”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Dead Hedgehog Thread

To start off her artistic photoblog, Maryse uploaded a single photo – a stunning, high-definition image of a hedgehog that had been run over in the middle of a highway, from eyelevel with the dead animal. You could see all the cracks in the pavement, as well as its entrails – the thing had almost been split in two by whoever had run it over. Ahead the viewer could see the clear sky, uncaring over the death below. She titled it “Progress #1.” She left the blog alone for a day before checking the comments.

There were a couple of complaints about the disgustingness of the picture, then a few questioning its authenticity as there were no flies hovering around the carrion. Starting at 1:13 AM, somebody had posted a photoshopped version of Progress #1 in the comments section, adding a swarm of flies along its entrails. The next comment was another image, titled “Progress #3,” kept the flies and added a party hat onto the hedgehog's head.

“What the Hell?” Maryse asked her computer, scrolling down. There were dozens of images.

Progress #4 replaced the animal with Sonic the Hedgehog, reclining on the highway and wagging his finger at her.

Progress #5 pasted a cherry red corvette onto the street and cropped the top half of the hedgehog such that it looked like it was at the wheel, waving one paw in the wind. Its dead eyes looked almost happy in the new juxtaposition.

Progress #9 added a cartoon chicken crossing beside the hedgehog.

Progress #12 cut and pasted the two halves of the hedgehog together, drew in some stitches and added metallic bolts to its neck.

Progress #25 photoshopped a dramatically shrunken child putting a golf ball between the halves of the dead hedgehog while little cartoon animals cheered along the side of the road.

There were 42 Progresses before one textual comment appeared. It read, “I fucking love you guys.”

Progress #43 was the bifurcated hedgehog thinking, “I fucking love you guys” in a thought bubble.

Maryse deleted her account the next day, but the images have circulated for months. Just when people forget them, they pop back up again. Photoshop geeks have tried to create new Progresses, but for some reason nobody finds them as funny as the originals.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: One Line, One Kill

I've written four short stories this month, or at least a good skeleton of four, and I've found each has at least one monologue followed immediately by an ironic one-sentence reply. For instance, this from a piece I'm calling “Physic:”

“The first great war was at Ilion, the fields before Troy. There the Greeks besieged the Trojans. It inspired sundry plays and poems, including the original European epic, The Iliad. Homer, Europe's father of poetry, lavished praise on the warriors of both sides, and began the long tradition of valuing war above all other things. The honor among combatants, the glory of success in battle, the beauty of death in fighting, the riches of victory – these things are sewn throughout all the cultures that speak a European language. Among the Greeks were the faceless Myrmidons, who Homer described as literally bloodthirsty. While other men were lions, the Myrmidons were wolves. They were the fiercest, most effective fighting force of the heroic army. The conquering army. Even when Achilles retired to his ship, they fought on. But if the wolves had retreated, the war would have been an utterly lost cause, and European history would have a far more interesting focal point: what happened to the great warrior wolf pack that left battle? What did they leave it for? What did they do instead of kill? The Myrmidons are dead, but the Last Wolves of Ilion still run. They are we, and we will not answer Agamemnon's call.”

“Who's Agamemnon?”

Stifle your desire to tell me how insipid the monologue is and notice this sort of thing seems to be in everything I'm writing these days. Checking short stories from a few months ago, I see it again and again. The phenomenon occurs multiple times in my novel, and its first draft was composed four years ago.

You could call it a bad habit. I've come to cherish this gag, partly because it can be actually funny, and partly because it's a biographical note. I've been dropping what I considered hefty knowledge and heftier thoughts my whole life only to have idiots ask who Agamemnon was, or asking if the U.S. wasn't a democracy, or worst of all, “Yeah, but…”

I've never met a “Yeah, but…” that I didn't want to shove in front of a moving train. Maybe that's what this habit is about. Not shoving those migraine-inducing questions onto the tracks, but reminding them that we are standing on a platform.
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