Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: On Grace’s Side

This actually mushroomed into a full short story. It's floating around in the submission process now. If it does get published, the first person to recognize that it's connected to this monologue will win some sort of prize.

Prize to be determined later.

I’m on Grace’s side now. I thought she was an idiot to watch the corpses. Even if Dad’s body was one of them to sit up, it wasn’t going to be him anymore. There’s no man left when a wraith comes. I don’t know if it was something he hid deep in his brain, that finally took over when the rest died and couldn’t hold it back anymore, or if it was some monster from a higher plane coming down to wear flesh. It just wasn’t Dad. None of the ones that stood up were men anymore. Grace deserved to get her arm broken when she kept grabbing at his knees. “Oh daddy! Oh daddy!” No, Dad was dead. But I've thought about it, and maybe there is a way we can be with him again. Wraiths are damn near unkillable. They don’t get sick, they don’t show pain. If they eat, it’s rare. They live forever and keep to themselves, so there’s almost no trouble in a wraith’s life unless the living bother them. He broke Grace’s arm just for touching him, and they’ve killed whole armies of men before for intruding. So we can’t follow them to one of their holes and hope they’ll let us join. But if we die, and they take our bodies, we’ll be with them forever. So the next time their hooded harbingers come up the road raising bodies, what if we kill ourselves? If they pick us, we’ll be with Dad forever. We won’t have to worry about war, or losing the house, or Grace getting sick so much. Wraiths don’t get sick and they don’t lose wars. We’ll be safe. Isn’t that what Dad would have wanted?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Colored Scoundrels

Click on the triangle to listen to John Wiswell's "Colored Scoundrels." Click on any of this text to download the MP3.

You've been marooned? What luck. I've been purpled. Scotty's been burgundied, so I recommend we go fetch his booze and get smashed together. It'll give us relief from all the anxiety about being shipless in the middle of the sea. In the morning we'll wake with fresh perspectives and crisp hangovers. Yellow-bellied pirates left you with one shot to do yourself in, right? Same color as Scotty and I. But with the flotsam we can build a little boat, and with three shots we can get the drop on the crew. We’ll start immediately. Immediately following the burgundy. I work better when I’ve blacked out.

Dedicated to Jodi MacArthur, who felt marooned one afternoon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Whiny Cat Wants

It would be a lie to say my sister has a cat. My sister has college and a boyfriend she'd much rather spend weekends off with than us. So really, we have my sister's cat. His name is Marshall and I'm pretty much his alpha male.

I have terrible allergies to pet dander, the kind that can be fatal if pushed too far. That meant my visits were infrequent and brief, running into the basement to leave it's food, then running back up. Sometimes I'd sit at the top stair and pet him with a rubber glove and thick jeans, so there was no way of dander getting on me.

In January I had a bad fall. I turned, it sounded like somebody snapped a glow stick and my left leg went out. Suddenly I wasn't go anywhere but the bathroom, and only there with the held of my desk chair's wheels.

That meant no more trips to feed or pet Marshall. Soon he got so lonely that he'd cry all day and night at the basement door. He didn't want to go outside. He'd eat if you gave him food, but I knew from experience that he wanted lasting entertainment. I'm not so sentimental that I thought he wanted companionship, but cats don't understand TV and can't text. When he wasn't napping, that had to be frustrating.

I spent a month frustrated myself, upstairs, fighting with the medical establishment. Can you see me then? Is there is a discount if? Yes I'd like to reapply for this? Can I twist this over there? How much is that surgery? How long will it be before I can put weight on it?

Two office visits, three Social Services visits, an X-Ray and an MRI later, I came home with the information that I should start physical therapy. Nothing was broken or torn and I had overreacted (actually they'd overreacted and I'd followed orders). Though I couldn't walk yet without crutches, I didn't go straight up to my room. I hobbled over to the basement door, where Marshal was already crying.

"I'm going to spend a minute here."

"Really?" Mom said with the little warmth of someone who's surprised but happy you're going to take the baby for an afternoon. She was the alpha female, in my reckoning.

I opened the door and he bolted down the stairs without looking. Maybe I'd opened it too suddenly.

It took a moment, but I sat on the top stair, crutches leaning on the door. There was no way I could get down these stairs, nor would I want to.

Hidden somewhere in the basement, Marshall cried and cried. I don't know if it was for help, attention, or just for someone to bring him more food. He does that.
I called down to him after every whine.

"Yes. I'm alive."

Sad howl.


Sad howl.


Sad howl.

"Get the fuck up here, Marshall."

Sad howl.

"Come on. You have one more minute and then I'm out of here."

More than a minute later he came back to the stairwell. He looked at me for about two seconds before hustling up the stairs. I don't know if he was relieved that I was alive after being gone for a month, or if he remembered that "fat guy sitting on stairs" is the symbol for "me getting petted."

I pulled on a latex glove and scratched behind his ears. He bowed his head immediately, so from there I scratched the top of his head, then rubbed down his spine. At his end, I squeezed his tail. That was our old routine. As soon as I let go he looked up me, eyes wide, in a very "Again! Again!" way. I assume if my sister ever has children, they'll look like that when I play with them. He was drooling with happiness in no time.

He tried to rub on me, which is horrible for my allergies. But I had the heavy jeans on, and decided I'd change out of them when I got to my room, so I let him. Marshall essentially headbutted my shins a dozen times. Just ramming himself into them and purring.

I even let him put his front paws on my lap, sort of climbing up me. When he reached up, I tickled under his chin. Soon he dropped down and sat happily between my legs. I closed them, hugging his sides. Mom cooed over my shoulder and said she wished she knew how to work her camera.

That night was the first since my accident that he didn't cry for attention at his door.

I've been congested for two days since then. It'll probably be a couple more before I come around. A couple more on top of that before I can breathe through my nose. It was worth it, though, even if he's crying again before I've recovered.

I've made great strides in recovery since then. Marshall and I spent half an hour together on the porch last night. Despite the open air and avoiding touching him, I'll probably be congested for weeks. Wait a second, he's whining...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: It’s an Honor to be Nominated

Rita looked up from her screen and saw Wethers was in her door. She rubbed her eyes.

The Academy of Games Science had jerked them around ridiculously for the last month, and Wethers was the liaison. It was his job to be told ‘No’ by one party and yelled at by the other. Rita’s job was to yell.

“Tell me you have good news.”

“I have good news.”

“Are you just saying that because I told you to?”

Wethers put up his hands as though to defend himself should the lead developer start throwing Bioshock toys at him.

“They reiterated that they don’t want to nominate foreign developers for an Euro-American award.”

“Which we know…” Rita began.

“Which we know is code for us not paying dues to the union. Yes. They don’t want to set a bad precedent where people who don’t pay win something prestigious.”

Rita rolled her eyes at her Big Daddy statue. “You’ve got to wonder if the Oscars are this bad.”

“I hear Hollywood is much worse. Regardless, after we reiterated everything yet again, they cracked. I have good news.”


“They will make us a nominee.”

She threw her fists in the air. “Splendid!”

Wethers made fists and purposefully lowered them.

“But we can’t win.”

Rita kept her fists up in the air, but clenched them.

“What do you mean we can’t win? If we’re in, we’re a shoe-in. Bethesda and Bioware didn’t put anything out this year. There’s no new Final Fantasy, and the judges hate that JRPG stuff anyway. What else are they going to give it to? Everything else is crap. It’s why we sold a million copies.”

“I mean they won’t let us win.”

“Won’t let us?”

“They will make us a nominee, but will definitely give the award to someone else. They don’t want that precedent of a non-payer winning.”

“But if we can’t win, we’re not really a nominee.”

“It’s an honor to be nominated.”

“If we can’t win, it’s not a nomination! We have the same chances as all the crappy games they didn’t nominate.”

“But it looks different. We might even be able to use it as advertising on the game box when we issue... uh…”

He’d dug a hole there. Rita pushed him into it. “Our Game of the Year edition? We can’t put out a Game of the Year re-release if we don’t win Game of the Year awards!”

Rita reached for the Big Daddy. Wethers reached outside the door, preparing to flee.

“Okay! I’ll tell them we’re flattered but feel they should consider…”

Her arm reeled back to pitch the toy at him, but he was already gone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Seeking Virgin


Seeking virgin post-pubescent girl to bear the spawn of our god.

We are NOT a kidnappy, rapey cult. Only seek a consenting girl.

Pay is negotiable, comparable to other surrogate mother services.

Room and board provided for duration of pregnancy.

Request to smear girl with ash and thyme once a week. NOTHING WITH PEANUTS OR FROM FACTORIES THAT PROCESS PEANUTS.

Broad hips a plus.

Mediterranean ancestry a plus.




Monday, March 22, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Headlines

400 Dead, Thousands Missing after L.A.X. Blast

President Canne: Change Necessary After L.A. Bombings

Howard O’Dell, Dakota Senator, Champions Revised Patriot Act

Libertarian candidate blasts “Unpatriotic Act”

O’Dell: Patriot Act II essential in foiling Miami attack

Turkey to host new terrorist detention center

Hundreds of “dangerous men” apprehended thanks to Patriot Act II, says O’Dell

‘No Appeals’ for Detainees

Number of People Detained at Gull Island Unknown

“Terrorists Don’t Deserve Trials” says Dakota Senator

Foreign Detention Centers: Are They Ethical?

Turkey is an old ally, says President

Will President Canne Survive Re-Election?

Detention Center Photos Surface

Senator O’Dell: ‘Prison Outside Borders, U.S. Jurisdiction’

Canne Sacked in Narrow Election

“A re-count is necessary” –Andrew Canne

Heartland Senate Seats Sway with New President

New President Not Closing Detention Centers

Hundreds of U.S. Citizens Sent to Detention Centers

Turkish Detention Center more humane than media lets on, says President

Wife of former Dakota Senator claims husband taken

Grounds for new terror arrests questioned

Adena O’Dell: Please free my husband

Foreign Detention Centers are useful, says President

New Turkish torture photos appear

Two former senators seen in torture photos?

“Photos misrepresent Turkish detention centers,” says White House Press Aid

“That’s my husband,” says former senator’s wife

House, Senate move to close Gull Island

Patriot Act II repeal to hit Senate floor this week

Anti-Patriot Act lacks veto-proof majority

Anti-Defense legislation doomed to fail, says White House Press Aid

Patriot Act II rescinded

Detainees return home after Turkish prison debacle

Adena O’Dell: Where is my husband?

“There were always more hiding places,” former president Canne

“National agenda shifting to economy,” says D.C. insider

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quilted For Your Pleasure: National Solipsists Society

Today's is the second of what I'm calling Sunday Funnies: Quilted for Your Pleasure. The above cartoon was composed in my bathroom, then drawn by artist Max Cantor. I still count it as a Bathroom Monologue. Click on the above image for a bigger view.

Max is a good old friend from college who read several of the first Bathroom Monologues by IM. It's encouragement from people like him that made this blog happen. The BMs originally ran on one of his websites, for what I assume was an audience of my girlfriend and his mother. His mother commented more often, which is one reason why I'm single.

If Sunday Funnies get enough positive response we might make them a regular weekly feature. All feedback is welcome. Seriously. Max will wet himself if you click 'This is OK.'
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