Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Tug on that Cape

The best part of being a superhero happened Saturday morning. He wished he didn’t feel that way, but it was true.

On Tuesday he caught a train as it was derailing. A couple of people broke their arms. There were no fatalities. He signed more autographs for the stranded commuters than there were bruises.

On Wednesday he airlifted an iceberg to the southern Sahara. The governments assured him this would help irrigation, or at least give the locals clean drinking water for a few weeks.

He spent Thursday and Friday traveling through space to correct the trajectory of two satellites headed out of the solar system. It would have been lifetimes to build and send new ones, but now all that work was saved and new photos were beamed to earth, showing the cosmos from an angle never before seen. He took a minute to look from that angle himself, in person, before heading back to earth.

The best part was Saturday morning and he couldn’t help himself. He woke up and his costume was missing from the clothesline. His wife was still asleep, facedown on her pillow and snoring happily.

He padded to the living room and found his cape stretched over two chairbacks, forming a tent. His one son wore the pants of his costume like giant sleeves, and his one daughter wore the shirt like a flowing dress that ran over her little feet. She was drooling on his insignia. They were both transfixed with morning cartoons.

Maybe, if he were more profound, some other time of the week would have been the best. He wasn’t, though.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: The Head-Organ’s Import

Listen to John Wiswell's The Head-Organ's Import or download the MP3 here.

Phillipus snorted deeply and spat yellow filth into the urn. His henchmen grimaced. The master had been doing this a lot lately.

“Sir,” broached the left henchman. “We’ve been meaning to ask you about that urn.”

“Had it banged out by a bronze smith a month ago. Used scrap metal from a fallen soldier’s helmet.”

The henchmen continued grimacing. Phillipus cleared his throat.

“A fallen Trojan soldier. Not ours.”

He swished his tongue about his mouth. Clearing his throat like that had loosened more phlegm, so he spat it into the urn. The right henchman looked inside. It was a third of the way full with crusty head-filth.

“Sir,” the left henchman tried broaching again. “We’ve been meaning to ask you about what you’re doing with the urn.”

“You mean collecting my head bile?” Phillipus beamed. “It’s going to make me invincible.”

The right henchman backed away from the urn. “How would it accomplish that? It does not seem that vicacious a fluid.”

Phillipus stepped up onto the chariot, looking down at his two faithful servants. He prodded the right one in the bicep.

“If I spear you there, you’ll be hurt, but you’ll likely survive the battle. And if I spear you there,” he toed at the left henchman’s thigh, “then you might be crippled, but you’ll likely live a while longer. Yes?”

His henchmen nodded, as it was a big part of what they were paid to do.

“Well if I take my spear,” Phillipus gestured to the lances lashed to one side of the chariot, then jabbed with an imaginary skewer into his left man’s left eye, “and I jab you in the head, you fall down dead every time. Short of Apollo holding you up himself, you die. Yes?”

His henchmen nodded.

“There’s only one organ in the head. It’s a mucus-secreting thing the philosophers discovered. It’s all that takes up the skull, as opposed to the dozens of things in the belly.” He gestured around his armored abdomen. “All those organs and its peril barely equals that of being speared in the one head-organ.”

The right henchmen offered, “If you’re worried about your head, sir, we can have a new helmet fashioned. But I must say, your current one has a terrifying plumage.”

“No matter how sturdy, it can still fall off.” Phillipus kicked the urn. “I made this from the helmet of a fallen Trojan. The helmet fell first. Stabbing him in the ear made me realize the value of the mucus-secreting organ. It’s the big vital thing. If all it does is secrete this stuff, then this urn is full of the secret of life. This must be the juice that animates man. It puts blood to shame.”

The left henchman rubbed his hands together, working this over. “Are you going to make a helmet from your head-organ’s cream?”

Phillipus waved the henchman off like a fly. There had been many flies lately.

“It’s too brittle once it dries. If this material is metal, it’s a weak kind. No, I’m going to eat it. Consume what vital juices the head-organ dispenses until I am full of its vitality. Then I won’t even need armor anymore. I will be made invincible by my own mortal ambrosia, the product of my own mind.”

The master beamed again, showing all his yellowed teeth. He remained in a heroic pose for an awkward few minutes, allowing his henchmen to bask in his brilliance. He only broke from it to cough into the urn some more, then inquired about recipes for soup.

Brave Phillipus supped long and survived the next day’s battle. Sadly, it was not by invulnerability in combat with Troy. He survived because he spent the day in bed with a sickness in one of his abdominal organs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Ma Newer's Television Set ®

Ma Newer's Television Set ® is an entertainment experience like no other. You can plug it into standard definition, high definition, BluRay or your computer, but you cannot plug it into the wall. Ma Newer’s is the world's first totally Green television, all power for the set is generated in the three wheels, placed stylishly about the screen. These are similar in design to the exercise wheels placed in mouse cages, but no mere rodents could power this home theatre experience. Instead each wheel comes with a three-year-old child. Any mother can attest that a three-year-old on a little sugar runs like no other power source on earth. The children come pre-installed, pre-gagged and pre-bound to their wheels. You never have to worry about them. A small charge is reserved at the core of the set, such that if any of the wheels slows even a little, a shock travels through the ProdSystem ™ and into the nape of the neck of the lazy brat. Years of patent-protected testing methods have verified the Ma Newer's power source to be 99.9% percent effective, making her power source so reliable and entertaining, you may not even watch the TV.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Ways to create a haunted car

-If a zombie bit Kit from Knight Rider.

-Drive the car off a cliff midway through a cross-country road trip. Then go rent another car and drive it the rest of the way. Unfinished business and betrayal usually creates ghosts.

-Play DVD’s of Christine, The Ring, The Grudge, The Eye and other stuff on the on-board TV. Maybe it’ll get the idea from them. If it doesn’t turn into a ghost car immediately following the receipt of all those digital ghost movies, betray the GPS in some horrible way and leave it for dead, preferably at the bottom of a well.

-An infection-style zombie dies and bleeds in a gas station, its blood dripping through the grates and into the gas reserve. You then make the terrible mistake of gassing up with unleaded.

-After a racecar wrecks so badly that only the engine is left functional, take that engine and stick it in a brand new car.

-Take your mom’s bed sheets and drape them over the car. Cut two eyeholes for the windshield wipers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Mental Pun

“You can’t even pick what’s for dinner?” Cheryl shrieked. “Steak or chicken? Pick!”

She pointed to the steak and chicken, both frozen, both thawing on the counter.

He shrugged.

“I don’t know.”

“That’s it!”

She shoved both plates aside and pulled jars from under the counter. From them she drew fistfuls of synapses and neurons, throwing them in his face. He tried to catch some in his hands, but raising his hands only Cheryl angrier. She jumped an entire jar of dendrites over his head.

Breathing raggedly, she yelled, “Make up your mind!”

Cheryl stormed out. He looked down at the armload of brain bits in his arms and thought she was being unusually abstract today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: What would you do if a man advanced on you with a sword?

What would you do if a man advanced on you with a sword? A rapier with a bronze basket hilt. The man is a little scruffy and is wearing an embossed doubler, but what he looks like doesn’t really matter. The sword does. It will get to you four feet sooner than he will.

It’s a narrow hallway. One door far behind you, and one door to your right. Both are closed.

Do you try to dart through the nearer door?

What if it’s locked? You’ll look like quite the fool.

But if you fall back, you will only prolong the chase. He can run as quickly as you, so the rapier will meet you in the same time anyway. And what if you make it through the door at the end of the hall? You’re on the fifth floor. He’ll chase you about the room for a moment and cut you down, or you can jump to your death and your mother will have to clean you off the pavement. At least if you perish here the janitor will have to deal with your remains.

I guess you could charge him. The rapier is up, pointed at your chest. If you avoid the tip, he won’t have room to swing and we’ll be inside punching range. Perhaps you can tackle him through the door that’s behind him. That door wasn’t even an option before.

He’s taller than you, but you’re broader. You’re more massive. Your tackle should mean more. It’s a cliché to jump the armed man, but wouldn’t it be better to live a cliché than to be cleaned up by your mother?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

BOBS, or, ____

BOBS, or, “But when we look around us at the state of literacy – and in particular at all those signs for “BOBS’ MOTORS”….” –Lynn Truss, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”

But Carmen couldn’t wait, not with that sign in the window. Her mother was an English teacher, damn it. She told Samuel that she’d pay and stormed into the gas station. She saw the clerk and was fixing him with her stare before she was even at the counter.

“I want to speak to the owner,” she said.

“I’m one of them,” he said, taking off his hat. “What can I do for you?”

“You’re Bob, then?” she said, glancing at the “BOBS’ MOTORS” sign in the window.

He nodded and shrugged at the same time.

“Like I said, I’m one of them.”

“One of them?” She gawked. “How illiterate are you?”

Another man came in from the back, this one taller, his overalls stained with oil.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

Bob answered. “I think the lady wants to speak to us about literacy.”

The other man rubbed his hands on his overalls and looked at Carmen.

“There’s a rack of paperbacks by the door if that’s what you’re after.”

“No,” Carmen said, almost stamping her foot. “The sign on your store is incorrectly punctuated. If the store belongs to Bob,” she pointed at the man behind the counter, “then the apostrophe goes before the ‘s,’ not after.”

“Well, yeah,” said the guy in overalls. “But it doesn’t. It belongs all of us Bobs.”

Carmen took a moment on this.

“You’re Bob?”

“Yeah. Bob McClane.” He gestured to the Bob behind the counter. “That’s Bobby Green. His dad’s Bobby Green Sr. I’ve got a cousin, Bob Jaffey. All four of us have a stake in the place.”

“In Bobs’ Motors?” she asked, regretting having not let her husband come in to pay.

“Yeah,” said both Bobs.

She looked down into her purse.

“Twenty dollars of unleaded, please.”
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