Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: The Apologies of a Shit Head

Thank you all for meeting me here today, especially members of the media whose microphones are forming this black bouquet in front of my face. I appreciate both the support of my many fans and the outrage of so many individuals.

I want to take this opportunity to apologize for being a shit head.

I apologize that so many of you read and/or heard the horrible things that I said to my girlfriend. You don't know either of us and you shouldn't have heard it. I cannot apologize enough for, in pursuit of being a shit head, enabling your addiction to voyeurism.

I apologize that in having a private dispute I failed to notice myself being taped. I apologize further for not bribing my girlfriend with enough money to prevent her from selling those tapes to media outlets. Had I taken either precaution, you would have been spared this dark national day of hearing a man be an unforgivable shit head to the mother of one of his children.

I apologize to all the women who will be the victims of gender-based violence in the next few weeks, for having my outburst publicized when your stories should lead. In my hateful rant I also used some racial epithets, and I would like to apologize to all of the people of any color who will be unfairly treated in the next few weeks, for similarly my story will lead while yours will almost certainly go underreported. Even if my story wasn’t there, the media and nation would ignore you, but I can only apologize on my behalf.

Similarly, I apologize to spokespeople from organizations that help battered women, mistreated minorities and other valuable projects, because the few of you who will be selected to appear in media outlets will be pressured to discuss my story, largely in utter ignorance, rather than your vital work, which deserves more public support and awareness. If somehow bashing my name, image or the very idea of me helps drum up more money and attention for your efforts, please do.

I apologize for having some talent in film. Had I not built such a strong career, it would not have pained so many strangers to hear my bile spill. In fact, you would not have heard it at all.

I apologize most strongly for the illusion I've allowed you to create. Before, when you thought me an eccentric member of Hollywood who was handsome and probably troubled, frankly, I enjoyed it. But now you think me some unusual domestic monster. I have enabled an illusion in which every one of you doesn't personally know somebody who has used the same language and been equally awful to a loved one, and by the distant nature of your illusion of me, I've allowed you to pretend that when those horrible things happened near you that you didn’t voice nearly so loud an opinion as you did about me. This in no way excuses my language or behavior. I am a shit head. I was before you heard these tapes and, barring miracle, I will continue to be a shit head until my death. However, I am not rare or exceptional in any of these ways. I apologize to everyone who I allowed to think, even for a minute, that if they were recorded at their worst and broadcast across the nation that they would not be reviled.

My closest associates in the film industry have urged me to apologize to my ex-wife here today, on camera, before the entire world. I won't, because it's none of your business. As I see it you are either using gossip about my personal life for entertainment purposes or you have an unhealthy obsession. In neither case are you an audience that deserves to hear me apologize to the mother of one of my children.

Thank you all for meeting me here today.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Doing the Undoable

Jenkins scooped it up as soon as he saw it. Its smooth swirl pattern made this dog shit perfect. He stored it in a hot room all week, with liberal use of air freshener. When it was properly dried out, he sprayed it with a few firming chemicals and snuck it into work in a cake container. While everyone went to lunch, ignoring him out of anger for not sharing his cake, he jimmied into the supply room and laminated it. He gave the dog crap three gentle coats, until the surface had a stable sheen. With this achieved, he took out some clear nail polish and the lightest brush he could find, and made for his boss’s office. He lay in wait by the secretary’s desk. When his boss emerged from the elevator, Jenkins dipped the brush in the nail polish and began rubbing it gently over his prize.

“Mr. Dumas,” he called. “You said something about promotions for anyone who could polish a turd?”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: “I’d rather be a rising ape than a fallen angel.” –Terry Pratchett, interview with The Guardian

The demon watched as hairy mammals played on the forest floor. Their forelegs had nearly evolved into arms, and in a few more strokes the species would adapt hands.

“They grow up so quick,” the demon said wistfully to himself. His wings, so dark they were invisible, fluttered. For a moment, he wished he were one of those rising apes.

Then he reflected on his amazing physique, eternal existence, and knowledge of the meaning of life. Boy, was the lack of those three things going to fuck with the primates’ descendants. He used his cosmic awareness to look ahead, chuckling at the inventions of skirts, headscarves and landmines. There was culture coming, that was for certain, but in all that culture he saw himself. There he was tormenting thousands of primate descendants, in naughty dreams and vivid visions, in unmedicatable madness and morning wood. He even caused a war.

“Which is only fair,” he told himself. The primates had caused his kind a nasty war, one cosmic week ago. The trouble he’d start by puppeteering a European oligarch would be payback. And besides, they’d cause themselves a thousand wars for any one his kind dropped in the bucket.

Across the ether, a succubus waved at him to join the coming poker game. He looked down at the mammals, which were now feasting on each other’s young.

“No,” he decided. “I think I’d rather be me.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Literary Heritage in Five Lines

The teacher says, "For Monday I want you to read up to page 102 in Melville's Bartleby."

The student perks up. She asks, "China Mieville?"

The teacher thinks, "When did Melville go to China?"

The student thinks, "If I get out early enough I can get in line for the midnight showing of Inception. I hear the comic book was great."

Inception was not based on a comic book.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: When the World Stops Vibrating

"We want to take your word over theirs..."

"Everyone in the department is heartbroken over Janet..."

"If there's anything we can do..."

"Just for now..."

"...and your badge."

"I understand."

He rose from the table and looked down at the captain. The captain said nothing.

He opened his jacket. He unclasped the holster and put his service revolver on the table. He removed the badge from his belt and placed it above the trigger and beside the barrel of the gun.

He pulled the wallet from his pants pocket. He opened it and removed his unit identification card. This he placed next to the badge.

He returned his wallet to his pants and buttoned his jacket back up.

The captain pushed a pen and papers across the table. He did not read them. He picked at the lower right corner of the pages, looking for any blank line. He signed his name, complete with a line instead of a dot over the i's.

He pushed the papers and pen back to the captain. The captain took them and looked them over.

"Thanks, Tim." "What are you going to do now?"

"I'll fill the time. There are still two Mendez Brothers left."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Excerpt from Imaginary Submissions Guidelines

Expect responses within 4-16 weeks. We regret that most of our rejection letters are pre-typed "form" letters. Please do not be discouraged by them as they do not reflect on the quality of your writing.

Alright, they reflect a little bit. One out of every ten thousand stories we get is so hilarious and creative that we five out of six house editors will quote it for in jokes, spontaneously pull out the MS to hug it, and pool together on a brief personal rejection letter explaining why it doesn't fit our magazine's theme. So if you get a form rejection, it reflects that you didn't write that 1/10,000 story.

On the flip side, one out of every five hundred stories winds up on Ted's desk and is so rife with typos, grammatical errors and cliches that he writes a personal rejection that reads more like a political attack ad. You can tell it’s Ted and he’s angry because your envelope will have been stapled shut. If the offending story is about zombies or Tolkienian elves, he may even blow his nose on your MS before mailing it back. So if you don't get a snot-strained personal rejection letters, it reflects that you aren't that bad or Ted didn’t read it.

If you do not hear from us in 16 weeks, feel free to query.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: A Necessary Getaway (Redux)

He moved north at the first opportunity. Way north. He cut all ties, even to his mother, which was the hardest on him. He was a mama's boy. His hair went white from all the stress, including his beard. He took that as a sign to change his appearance and began dressing in pants as soon as they were invented. All the sedentary hiding made him gain tremendous weight, face filling out, giving him rosy cheeks in the snowy environment. He stayed in doors as much as possible, but always came out around his birthday. It was too lonely, even with the elves that had found him and made camps all around his house. They fashioned him thick, orthopedic boots and gloves that comforted his scarred extremities. It allowed him to take up carpentry again. The gregarious wee folk did so much for his spirits that he reached out to a similar-sized people: children. He still only went south around his birthday, but brought a sack of the toys from his workshop for those boys and girls who had the right attitude. There were always more gifts to give, too, as the elves copied his work and began production for every good child. And associating with children turned out to actually help, for in his old life he had been an average-sized Jew, but to them he was a giant. So his new identity was a jolly mammoth with a white beard and a bag of presents. He was safe. No one down there ever guessed that Santa Claus was an alias.

Today's story is a redux. Above is a slightly modified version of one of my favorite Bathroom Monologues. I've re-posted it for three reasons: to show the touch-ups, as an entry in Deanna Schrayer's Birthday Contest, and in celebration of its Honorable Mention in the Lands Edge Holiday Contest. You can see the republication of the original at Alan Davidson's Lands Edge (and all the wacky comments) by clicking here.
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