Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Cracked Window

"Hey there, this is McCoy. I need a new window. ... Yes, a bulletproof window. Three feet by five feet. ... No, there isn’t a problem. There wasn’t a problem. It’s been hot lately is all. No “cleaners” necessary.... “Hot” was not code for something! It’s downright tranquil here. Just never tell a troll to go crack a window."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Certainty in Mystery

Ten minutes later, Samuel caught up with Dr. Cooth. He spilled into the laboratory, tripping over himself as he cried, “Doctor, the murderer has struck again! The cook has been slain!”

“I know,” replied Dr. Cooth, unscrewing the silencer from the gun in his left hand. It was a custom German-made lefty pistol with a polished oak stock, like all of Dr. Cooth’s specially made left-handed goods. At his feet lay Madame Boudeau, blood pooling from under her slumped form and seeping back into her white cotton chemise.

“Doctor…” Samuel shook his head, back towards the door. “No, it can’t be! After all the years of wrestling criminals, you yourself have succumbed…”

“Not quite.”

The doctor pocketed the silencer and stepped away from Mrs. Boudeau, freshly polished shoes avoiding potential stains.

“I’ve suspected it for years, but today I’m certain. All the bizarre and elaborate murders I’ve solved? No one else in the country has ever heard of such ludicrous cases. The man who murdered his wife while having his identical twin stand in for him at a dinner party as an alibi? The illusion of the ghost dog at that mansion? They all had one mastermind.”

Samuel had one hand on the doorframe, but could not flee. His eyes appealed to Dr. Cooth to not be this mastermind of which he spoke.

“You solved those, Doctor. You brought wicked men and women to justice.” His voice trembled as he tried to assure them both, “You are a good man.”

“Years of murders that made no sense, and somehow I always found the truth.”

He shook his head in memory of Mrs. Boudeau, though he was not mourning for her. His gun still smoked.

“Every case was almost purposefully obtuse. And this morning? Our host, Alistair Boudeau, stabbed to death with his own sword collection in a room where all the doors and windows were locked from the inside? No trap doors, not even one of those ridiculous revolving bookcases. And done at a time when only you and your fiancĂ© were together, leaving five suspects. All preposterous!”

Now Dr. Cooth paced around Mrs. Boudeau’s body, feet walking him in circles while his gaze fixed on his loyal assistant.

“That is when I realized: the killer has never been a madman or scheming woman, but an author. No other detective deals with such cases, and abroad they even joke that I attract them. There is no rational explanation save that these have all been mystery novels, set up by a deviant writer who slaughters us for amusement. His method is obvious hack: he kills, basks in the mourning, kills again, and spins out an explanation from where there could have been none.”


Dr. Cooth shook the gun at Samuel like a steel index finger.

“In all of his plots there come times like this – when everyone is a suspect, little motive is present, and the method makes no particular sense. He hasn’t decided who did it yet and will soon go back to edit it in. The truth is merely a rough draft, and here is where we can stop him. For whoever the author was going to decide to make the killer has already been killed.”

“No, Doctor!” Samuel shook his head. “You haven’t killed all of them…?”

“All but your sweet Marianne, Samuel. You can vouch for each other’s innocence – the author cannot damn you. But the cook, the maid, Mr. Starling from London and Doris Boudeau? Between them and the fifth unaccounted-for suspect, I have a 100% chance of having delivered justice.”

“Doctor…” Samuel stammered, tears already lining the bottoms of his eyes. “I never knew you were so sick a man.”

“Sick but soon to be cured, Samuel. No more of these insipid, implausible murder cases. For I, too, was alone when the author struck. I vividly remember dozing in the garden, roses between my fingers at the time of the crime, but he will soon rewrite that. We must ensure justice, and we cannot put it past this depraved writer to turn the detective into the killer.”

Dr. Cooth put the warm muzzle under his chin and smiled to Samuel one last time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: "I was just expected to organize a role play event with little details, and an hour to pull it off" -A friend

"I was just expected to organize a role play event with little details, and an hour to pull it off" -A friend, complaining about a failed roleplaying group

Hatiel has kidnapped everyone and stuck them in a pocket dimension. It's an actual giant pocket.

The boss fight is against a sentient pack of gum who wants to taste them for once. Miscellaneous treasure can be found including a ring of invisibility, though that won't help you much given that it's pitch black in there. It's a pocket, after all.

The tank has been turned into a crippled walrus with only one tusk. A short, stubby tusk that all the ladies say is unimpressive.

Also, Hatiel doesn't give a crap that nobody knows who he is or that his alternate dimension scenario seems mind-bendingly impossible. Anyone who is important already knows him and knows he’d make it work. Learning who he is will be viewed as being a poser and will be punished by having the pocket set on fire.

Okay: three, two, one. Go.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Two Cannibal Giants

“I must stress: these are not allegories,” the tour guide said, leading her group between the two giant corpses. They were big beyond recognition, one flabby arm from each mashed together, forming a natural, if putrid, valley of flesh.

“Liberalism and Conservatism were once majestic creatures. Natural enemies, they fought each other on a daily basis. While happy to eat little anarchies and heresies, these super-predators mostly ate each other.

“They would tear off hunks of flesh from each other to sustain themselves. There have never been two beasts quite like them, able to survive by eating while not killing their prey, and simultaneously survive being eaten. This was apex parasitism. For centuries we thought them immortal.”

“But they’re dead,” said a teen in the group, one of those at the age where missing the point in favor of pith seems the like utter genius.

The teen’s mother pushed him to stand next to one giant’s elbow. Which giant, she didn’t care. She just wanted a picture of her son in the shadow of so huge a joint.

“Obviously they weren’t immortal,” said the tour guide. “But what killed them is the most interesting thing. They picked the nits off of each other. They licked the filth. See how their skin is completely clean? They died sucking on each other, looking for just a little more.”

The tour looked up and snapped photos. The valley of two titanic arms was almost pristine, as though the ancient carcasses still cleaned each other.

“They sucked each other so much that in time they were made up of the same things. Originally Conservatism couldn’t digest gay marriage, but eventually its innards spawned gay organs. Some went into denial and functioned half-heartedly, but others naturalized and swelled into simply conservative gay organs.

“Still other organs were torn out entirely, like the time Liberalism tore out Conservatism’s compassionate lung. It already had plenty of compassionate lungs, but Liberalism wanted that one too. It swallowed it, naturalized it, and soon had the same traits.

“They were too big to mind biological paradoxes. So what if organs were working against each other? One kidney was militantly secular while two others had lunch with the Pope. Both of them became so fat and so inconsistent that anything they licked or bit out of their prey could survive inside them. It was all about the cells.”

Since the teen looked bored, the tour guide pinched his cheek. She held up thumb and forefinger, as though she held a few crucial cheek cells there, somewhere beneath visibility.

“Cells are the little individuals that make up an animal, that wanted national healthcare but also wanted to eradicate the tax code. Did these cells belong in Liberalism or Consvervatism? They were both, which was why the beasts could eat other. They were entirely compatible. But insisting on eating each other until no cell belonged in one or the other is what did it. Eventually these transmuting cells went cancerous. The beasts got so big and meaningless that their bodies collapsed. That’s how they died.”

The teen frowned up at the valley of flesh.

“Are they really gone?”

“Not entirely,” said the guide. “The smell lingers.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: The Lies Parents Tell

“Mom and Dad are going to be so happy!”

“They better be! This was our whole allowance!” Shirley complained as she and Mandy struggled to keep the frozen turkey aloft. The five block walk home from the supermarket had lined it with frost, but it still felt as hard as stone. They had trouble believing the thing ever softened up into a turkey dinner.

“They’ll be so proud they’ll give all three of us a raise!” Mark declared. He pointed to the linoleum floor. Shirley and Mandy looked at each other, then dropped the turkey. It fell with a crack that made all three children tense up.

Mark dove to the floor and rolled the turkey out of the way. It had only made a slight dent in the linoleum. He hugged the frozen bird in relief.

Mandy knelt and tried to smooth out the dent in the floor.

“So cough it up,” said Shirley. “What’s the big plan for cooking it when we can’t work an oven?”

Mark brightened, then looked at his sisters with uncommon intensity. “Girls, we don’t need an oven.”

“You need an oven to cook turkey, stupid!”

“No, you just need heat!” Mark scrambled over to the dish washer, which he’d made a big deal of learning to work last week. He couldn’t empty the top tray, but he declared himself master of pouring the soap in.

“Read this,” he commanded, pointing to one of the buttons.

The girls squinted.




He stomped. “Sanitary Heat! It get so hot that any germs on your plate die.”

Shirley pouted in thought, but Mandy perked up.

“And the germs on a plate come from food!”

“Exactly! So it’ll cook the turkey and kill all the germs.”

“No way.” Shirley folded her arms like Mom did when Dad was going to sleep on the couch. “If that was true, why would we have an oven?”

The kids looked at the oven. Mark shrugged.

“They probably bought it without knowing about Sanitary Heat.”

“But they still use it all the time.”

“To make themselves feel better about having it. It probably cost a ton.”

Mandy shook her head. “The lies parents tell.”

“Now come on,” Mark said, returning to the turkey. He tried to roll it towards the dish washer, like a massive snowball. “We need to get it finished before they get home. They’re going to be so surprised.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Magic, Smoke and Mirrors at Thaumatrope

The busiest publishing "week" of my life ends today, Monday. That's an oblong week. My final external publication is at Thaumatrope.

Today's piece is a super-short about magic, smoke and mirrors. You can read it on Thaumatrope's Twitter feed by clicking here. It's only one tweet long.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quilted For Your Pleasure: Yep

Click the above image to view today's comic.

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

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