Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Blatant Sports Night Riff

"They had this amazing stripper."


"He was built like a Greek god."

"Did he have a better body than me?"

"Of course he did, Casey. It's his job."

"Okay, but when men are asked that question, they know how to answer it."

"Oh yeah? Did the last woman you saw naked have a better body than me?"

"Of course she was, Dana. That's why I picked her over you."

"Men do not know how to answer that question."

"It worked for me."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Regret the Right Thing

“I love you, Mom!”

Why did he have to say that? Of everything Kyle could have said on his way out the door, or every nothing, of all the times he muttered in his life. Why did he have to be audible that afternoon? And why did he have to yell that he loved her right then? Why not any other time, she couldn’t remember any other time in at least two years, so why not pick any moment in those two years other than the last?

Kyle was above embarrassing emotions. He was too old, too young, too manly, too preoccupied, too thoughtless, too next-generation. She played out the reasons as she wandered his room, and her room, and the garden he’d planted for her birthday, around the tree fort she’d broken her hand building for him. It was reducible, she thought one midnight: he was what she’d been at that age. She would have made fun of such clich├ęs when she was his age, but now he’d never be her age.

Now it was all she heard. Now when the pressure cooker hissed, she heard, “I love you, Mom!” Now when the alarm clock beeped, waking her or confirming she’d laid awake all night, she heard him yelling between the chirps, “I love you, Mom!” When tires screeched on the pavement outside their house, she imagined her boy skidding off the highway and yelling, “I love you, Mom!” Twice now when Freddie opened the front door, she’d honestly heard him yelling it.

Some nights she felt like a living ghost, her son’s ghost, inspired by him, tethered by him, tortured by his absence, tortured by his refusal to come back through any doorway she checked. The neighbors said she wandered, as though walking around your own property was uncouth just because of the hour. She’d paid her mortgage, she’d earned this place without her runaway husband, and raised two good boys at the same time. So didn’t she have the right? Who had the gall to revoke that, to call the cops, to call Freddie to intervene in her rights?

Freddie wanted to help her. She saw it in his face, mixed in with the hurt of being the other son, the other man, the person she couldn’t help but find less interest in, all because he was simply there. He slept on the sofa, which wasn’t even a fold out, to make sure she wasn’t alone. Sometimes when she turned into a ghost, he followed her around the house, taking sharp things out of her hands. She forgot she picked those up. Sometimes he put stress balls into her palm, a sort of jestful, sort of earnest compromise.

She sat on the coffee table Freddie had bought her, squeezing a stress ball until she felt the sand inside grate against her fingertips, and watching her surviving boy sleep. Her eyes lit on his chest, constantly assuring herself that he was breathing, that he was okay, as though if she was certain enough one was alive, then the other would come home, come through the front door and yell, “I love you, Mom!”

Freddie murmured something in his sleep, something idle, something anodyne, something intelligible. Something that wouldn’t haunt anyone. She wished she could fixate on that, and knew she couldn’t. So she reached out and stroked his mangy beard, and whispered, “I love you, too.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Perfect Ruin

The golems knew little about their ruins. They retained information poorly, and had been at a loss for order ever since the returning dinosaurs ate their creators. The returning dinosaurs did not eat the golems because the golems were made out of rocks and hair.

The dinosaurs ignored their temple, since it was made of still more rocks. It was The Apocalypse of Skyfire that ruined it, with the meteors and meteorites, and very little fire, and very little visible sky. The golems tried and failed to rebuild the pillars and ceilings for several hundred years, before The Apocalypse of Demons, which scorched the entire place and destroyed two thirds of their otherwise amortal ranks.

It was the devastation that led them to finally being useful again. Many golems lost limbs to the wicked demons, and went about trying to rebuild themselves in order to rebuild the ruins. Except golems have never been any good at self-determination, and one golem missing one arm linked itself to the remains of twelve of its dismembered kin. This did not spawn a nightmarish granite caterpillar, but rather a rippling wall of loyal minerals.

This golem-that-was-thirteen crossed a golem-that-was-twenty, and five golems-that-were-five became a disorderly link-of-twenty-five. None of them were decent architects, but they were damnably difficult to get around. Golem after broken golem built upon each other, linking or simply climbing until they formed a consenting dome over the ruins.

Then? They stood still. It was the single greatest event in golem autonomy ever known. And while it seems petty compared to their biological competitors, it’s kept their ruins in perfect condition for three apocalypses since. Nothing’s managed to mess up their beloved property any worse.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: His Damned Niece

His damned niece.

He got up two hours before Denice every morning, so they couldn't talk about Freddie, or about work, or their inevitable divorce. Getting up that early, rising with that little sleep, made it feel like the avoidance postponed inevitabilities. He took his one cup of coffee in Freddie's doorway, watching the underdeveloped chest inflate under the instruction of tubes. He always left before the boy woke. He did so for many reasons, but mostly for one.

He took forty minutes in the parking lot, leaning on the steering wheel, exercising his breathing. Music, self-help books, even pot didn't steady his nerves as much as gathering his will over time. The gradual tick towards work.

He cancelled all his company e-mails accounts, refused any physical mail at the office, and kept his phone off until he walked out the building's doors. No one overheard a single sentence, and when they asked, his sentence was always, "Fine, Denice thinks he'll be a ball star," followed by an annoyed exhalation that always shut the conversation down.

And it worked. For weeks it constructed the silence on the topic that he needed, and then his God-damned niece had to fuck it up. A grown woman would have known that not answering her e-mails meant to leave him alone. She had to call his department and ask how he was doing with his son's cancer. That call spread like Freddie's disease, through the body of his workplace, though his co-workers and superiors, atrophying his morning in the parking lot, corrupting it into therapy sessions and office-mates dropping by to ask how the kid was. It made everyone feel at liberty to prod inside his wounds. He never asked anyone to deal with it. They told him to, and they controlled his family's health insurance.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: TiMechanics Repitch

Introducing TiMechanics-brand time machines!

Tell your aunt how you feel before the old bat died!

Getting bad grades? Take that Earth Science exam as many times as you like!

Forget an item at the store? Now you can go back with the coupon, and pay attention to catch the clerk looking down your blouse this time!

And the best thing is that TiMechanics brand time machines are up to 67% accurate*, the most reliable on the market.

TiMechanics: where every second is precious.

*TiMechanics brand time machines may result in chronal dislodging, schizophrenia, and/or accidental transportation to the Pleistocene epoch. If you are mauled by a sabre-toothed cat send defective TiMechanics merchandise and proof of purchase to TiMechanics Headquarters at 0 Washington Avenue, New Washington, circa 2801. Consult an estate attorney before using TiMechanics. Warranties voided by paradox.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Consumed 8: Skyrim, Dark Souls, Secret of Kells &

The latest episode of Consumed is up today. It's actually not the latest, but a behemoth "lost" episode from several months ago. It manages to transcend time by leading in with Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, and discussing particular problems that game has that Dawnguard hasn't fixed. Is it just generic Fantasy? Why are blockbuster games so entrenched in world-building that was trite in prose decades ago? And when does filling out a giant world cause creativity to collapse and eat itself?

Nat Sylva and Max Cantor considerately waded through all these issues, and then into Dark Souls, Skyrim's big competition that's due to leap from console to PC soon. Max has some inspired ranting on why the two franchises are nothing alike, and why he can't stop playing it. Even though this is a lost episode from months ago, Max actually still hasn't stopped.

The most provocative topics came from our discussion of The Secret of Kells, a beautifully animated film with some serious trouble handling race. We debated token roles in media, as well as the popular theme of "HERO THINKS TRADITION IS BAD" and how ambitious such writing rarely gets.

We were also joined by educator Ross Dillon, since he had keys to the apartment and Max hasn't taken any self-defense classes. Ross begged us to discuss Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the show too smart for its own good that 30 Rock trampled to death a few years ago. It had a strong heart, and we discussed how the series had aged since its brief run, and the incredibly gutsy elements the cast managed to get onto network television. The stance on Cocaine V. Drunk Driving is still stunning to me.

You can download the podcast or shout feedback right here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Spider-Manologue

“People say I’m just spider-powers and a pretty face I keep behind a mask, but I’ve got more to offer. Did you know I was a teenager when I developed a fluid that was stronger than steel? Also wrist-mounted squirt gun that could spray that fluid several hundred yards in a splitsecond. For the work of a teen, it’s surprising I wasn’t picked up by Super Soaker, right? But don’t stop there. In my garage, I made a costume thin enough that I could cling to walls through it while supportive enough that I don’t freeze my butt off on top of skyscrapers. This is a tall one, by the way. If the webbing gives and you fall, you might be dead before I can catch you. That happens sometimes. Before I could even get a learner’s permit to drive, I’d built homing devices, broken into Fantastic Four Plaza, and… well, I caught you. So I guess the radioactive spider that bit me as a teen was pretty smart, or criminals are getting a lot dumber. So what I’m saying is: I could make this a very long night for you, or you could just tell me where the old lady is.”
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