Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: The Won’t

"This religion is a little hard to tell from the more popular ones. They possess a peculiar afterlife. Right? Whereas the popular ones say you cease to exist upon death, these folks have disproved that. They say you will continue to be, and have provided the evidence of a hundred corpses. These deceased people are plainly still in existence, simply not doing anything. The body, the brain, all in tact, while the individual does nothing. You continue to be, but you won’t. You won’t run. You won’t participate in orgies. You won’t tell that joke the way no one else can. Bits of you will do things. Bits of you are already rotting, and some will be eaten by maggots or plants or burned in cremation. One day the world may be blown up and bits of you will float around as cosmic silt, or be sucked into a star and become part of a distant light. You won’t do that. Bits of you will. You have bits of others in you right now: the chicken you had for lunch, and flakes of dandruff from my scalp that you’ve inhaled. I’m not climbing into your nostrils; bits of me are. I won’t, you see. Quite elegant. The locals either see it as sublime, or as sort of a dodge. Impossible to display, you know, that some essential you doesn’t go, that you don’t go do something without all the present bits of you that we’re presently regarding. It'll be some time before we know for certain about that - or, we won't."

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Kill Mommy" at Untied Shoelaces

I'm pleased to announce that "Kill Mommy" was purchased by Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. The editors called it one of the best stories they've ever read. I was pretty darned flattered.

It follows a boy who plans to kill his mother, and his father's unusual reactions to the threat. If you'd like to read it, you can click any of the links in this post. Like this one.

You can comment on it here or on the Untied site. Ratings and Comments on the site are most welcome, as they'll help me get published again in the future. Thanks for your interest!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Narcissism

A vain gift, but a necessary one. The man was impossible to shop for. He ignored cash and gift cards. He shrugged off any clothes, preferring to strut around nude (not that he didn’t have the body for it, but it was annoying). One Valentine’s Day she’d tried to make herself a gift to him. He dropped her after thirty seconds and went to the lake on his own. He was always going to the damned lake on his own.

She had tenacity. This year she wrote everyone who’d ever known him. His parents. His teachers from the school days. Friends for whom he might have done an idle drawing or holiday note. She compiled hundreds of his scribbles, contracts, waivers, medical records – anything with so much as his own signature. Then she had it bound and ordered two reflective mirrors for the front and rear covers. For all intents, it was a holistic autobiography, dedicated to and composed entirely by the man himself. She bet Narcissus wouldn’t throw this one away.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Quakers Vs. Anarchists

"You wouldn't like this podcast. They talk about TV shows."

"I like TV shows."

"You don't know how to turn a TV on."

"Yes I do!"

"No you don't. You're a Quaker."

"Quakers watch TV."

"Watch TVs burn, maybe."

"You're mistaking Quakers for the Amish again, and I think mistaking the Amish for pyromaniac anarchists."

"...Anarchists watch TV."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bathroom Art Challenge 2: The Girl with Awkward Footing

Just like the first open invitation, the following description is open to any kind of artist. Painter? Inker? Sketcher? Crayons? CG Renders? Posed photos? Stick figures? Realism? Cubism? However you like to make visual art, at whatever level of skill you are, please take a swing at this. All I ask is you e-mail your work to bathroom DOT monologues AT gmail. DOT com so I can see it. If you give me permission, I'll post it along with all the other interpretations. I'll give your name, your title for your art, and link to whatever you please - be it a blog, Facebook, or charity. We can also keep your art between you and me, but I'd love to see how people envision the following. The deadline is Tuesday, March 22, with the posts going up the next day.

I turned from the pharmacy counter while they checked my order. What caught my eye kept me entertained until the pharmacist returned.

There was a bright plastic blue machine sitting beside the aisles. At the top it advertised that it was a “DR. SCHOLL’S CUSTOM FIT ORTHOTIC CENTER,” in the style of the old “get your weight” or “have your fortune told” machines from movie theatres. It had two footprints where you’d stand and a digital touch screen set at adult eye-level. Its occupant had to look up to see.

Its occupant couldn’t have been older than twelve. She had messy blonde hair and a winter jacket that utterly dwarfed her. A pink tutu jutted from beneath the tails of the jacket. She wore jeans under the tutu, leading to her pink socks. Her sneakers were behind her on the linoleum while she stood in the footprints. She had a finger on her lips, lips pinched and her eyes narrowed in deep thought at the screen, both unconscious and so highly practiced into its would-be-adulthood that I nearly busted up laughing.

A deep thinker, that one. In that moment I would have died for Norman Rockwell to draw this. Really, I’d have liked anyone to try.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Deputy Wallace Handles Zombies

I'm dropping this into Tuesday Serial. I'm not sure if I'll actually follow Wallace through the zombie apocalypse or not. Would you folks want to read that? If enough do, then I'll get a serial in gear to alternate with Possible Origins.

No sooner had he locked the Holding Room door, then the radio on his belt crackled. He pulled it free and let it crackle into his ear, hoping it would dampen the noises coming from the station outside.

The crackling gave way to a harried voice. "Deputy Wallace, are you there?"


"This is Central. The disease your department has been combating today is more complicated than we originally thought. At least three officers from your department are dead."

Wallace looked at the oak door. He squinted so hard he might stare right through it, at what was going on in the P.D.

"Yeah, at least three."

"Have you made physical contact with any infected civilians?"


"Warning signs including staggering, prolonged disorientation and inexplicable irritability. Be warned that they bite."

He pulled a chair from the stainless steel table. He had the sudden desire to sit.

"They try."

"You've had no fluid exchange with any potentially infected individuals? It says here they also… I don’t know what shambling is, or if that’s spelled wrong."

"I’m pretty sure I haven’t swapped fluid with anybody this week."

"Be warned that infection does not terminate in thirty-six hours like originally believed. Patients who appear to lose vital signs may return to consciousness in another stage of the disease."

"Yeah, a pissed off stage."

As though to agree, fists banged on the oak door. He could hear them panting.

"These individuals cannot be cured. You are advised to discharge firearms against any infected person who appears to lose vital signs, or who enters the post-comatose state. You must aim for the head."

“When can I expect you guys?”

“Evacuation is on indefinite hiatus. We will contact you again with updates sometime between six and eight in the evening tomorrow.”

“Really? Tomorrow?”

He looked at the radio speaker. All it gave him for response was static. He set the plastic thing on the bare table. He laid his gun next to it.

Fists banged louder on the oaken door. He looked between it and his fingers, trying to estimate the number of hands outside, and the number of bullets inside.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Monologue for an Edward Norton who, for whatever reason, thinks he's Woody Allen

To hear today's monologue either click the triangle on the left to begin streaming audio or click this text to download the MP3.

I do think artists have a personal, moral, ethical, religious obligation to their audiences. Well, not most artists. Not Pablo Picasso or Oscar Wilde. In fact, only I have it. That's because I'm an irrational self-loather, and personal, moral, ethical, religious justification within my work is very difficult and not at all fun, and those are the sorts of things you do if you hate yourself.

A single person frowns in offense and I get a little electric twinge in my diaphragm. There's no way to convince me I don't have these obligations to them - I've tried convincing myself, read much in defense of the artist, and have listened to many persuasive arguments.

I mean, the speakers were thought to be persuasive.

Come to think of it the speakers were already convinced, so they couldn't be persuaded, and they didn't change my mind, so I wasn't persuaded, but we both came away thinking them very persuasive arguments. Perhaps these arguments actually possessed personal, moral, ethical, religious failures, disservices to me as the audience, but I don't begrudge my friends. I begrudge myself. I should have been convinced.

That's my philosophy of art, it's much like life: if there is fault, it's probably mine.
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