Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Early Vultures

"This is your custom wake-up alarm. Wake up now, or you'll be late late late! Please refer to page 14 of the manual to learn how you can input your own custom wake-up message. This is you custom wake-up alarm. Wake up now, or you'll be late late late..."

I yanked at my early gift, pulling the power cord from the outlet. After rising slowly, I carried the alarm clock to the toilet, dropped it in, and urinated all over it. Not as good a wake-me-up as a scalding cup of black coffee, but I felt marginally better watching my urine deflect from the plastic, a prism of urine spraying all over the toilet area. Since it was too large to flush, I knew I'd get to pee on it again tomorrow. I might even get to shit on it. That would make my day.

I had to be in Lemont before 5am. It was currently 3, and even if the birds hadn't gone south for the winter, it would still be too early for chirping. I pried eye boogers and encrusted mucus from my eyes and nose, trying to imagine that each yellow flake represented an hour of extra pay. I gave up and cranked the shower up to full heat.

An hour later I got off the highway near Lemont and cruised down a predawn street, mentally reviewing my memorized directions. I was trying to remember whether I had to make a right or a left when I nearly struck an odd man waving lightsticks.

He wasn't wearing earmuffs like an airplane runway controller would, but the illuminated spears he waved to the sky were the same variety I'd seen glowing on runways nationwide. I pulled over and exited my car.

"Hey man, what are you doing?"

"Directing the copters. You almost hit me, dude. Didn't you see my wands?"

"Uh... no. I'm not usually awake this early. I'm feeling a bit groggy, and I got distracted. Sorry about that."

"Yeah, well... try to be more careful."

"So why are you directing helicopters? Did more inmates escape from Joliet? Is there a big manhunt goin' on?"

"Naw, they're just spraying. They're like crop dusters, but copters instead of little airplanes."

"Spraying what?"

"I shouldn't be telling you this, but..."

"You can trust me. Not a peep. I'll keep it under the lid."

"I'm quitting anyways. Fuck it. Here goes nothing. You won't believe me anyways. They're spraying downers. Drugs. They mist the atmosphere whenever the factories can't keep the chemical level in the air high enough. Sometimes the weather spreads it too thin, sometimes they have a couple mist machines break down at the same time. Lotsa reasons. In these cases, they dispatch emergency fleets of copters to manually disperse The Yawn."

"The Yawn."

"Yeah, The Yawn."

"I'm definitely missing something here. Care to back up and try this from the beginning?"

"We contract for a lobbying group. Big connections in Washington. They let us do what we please. The lobby represents coffee importers, doughnut companies, pharmeceutical companies, all sorts of people. Anybody who benefits from tired groggy unhappy people in the morning, that's who's in the lobby. The CIA endorses it, too, because we're pioneering new methods of distributing mind-altering substances and delivering them to unknowing, unwitting, unwilling hosts. They already tried the water supply but the EPA filters caught it. Almost had a huge scandal, from what I heard. Anyways, they hire stiffs like me to do the grunt work, like this. I'm part of a grid. I stand here for while to mark this location, and I test the air to make sure there's enough Yawn to keep all you worker bees consuming your morning happy bullshit."

"Wow, man, you're a fucking crackpot. That's a wild story. I think I'll use it. I don't believe a word of it, though. The government and their buddies want us all tired in the morning? They're in bed with a devious caffeine lobby? That's a new one. I've heard plenty, believe me, but that's definitely a new one."

"Suit yourself."

"I got another question. It might help you realize you're a hopeless flake, your life is a sham, you're hallucinating, and very probably doomed to die alone. No helicopters could see your little light sticks. There's tall trees on either side of you and streetlights above. You're not even a blip to them."

"The lights are so I don't get run over by numbnuts like you. The helicopters use the radio signal I'm broadcasting to ping my location. Idiot."


"I can't blame you, though. I had an immunity shot. This shit don't affect me. You, on the other hand? You're lucky you didn't pass out behind the wheel and eat that pine tree. That stuff is strong. When The Yawn is thick in the air, people sometimes pass right out standing up and collapse face down. It's scary. It'll be safer when in thins to the prescribed level. "


"I'll be done here in fifteen minutes or so. Just got wait for one more fly-by. I'll leave five minutes after my helicopter's route is finished. Go get some coffee, civilian. I ain't got any more to tell you."

A helicopter flew by above.


"That's a traffic copter getting an early start."

"Believe what you will, my friend. I spoke the truth. One day you'll realize it."
10:28 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Survey Says

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over: The Shawshank Redemption, Garden State, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Return Of The King

Four Places You've Lived: Schaumburg, Chicago, Niles, River Grove (all so close together, sadly)

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch: My Name Is Earl, Sportscenter... that's it.

Four Places You've Been on Vacation: New Orleans, Tucson (that's right, only two vacations ever. Been 5 years since New Orleans.)

Four Websites You Visit Daily: Outpost Gallifrey (Doctor Who), IGN DVD, GameKnot Chess, Pitchfork Media (music)

Four of Your Favorite Foods: Pad Thai, my ham & vegetable soup, italian beef, lobster

Four Places You'd Rather Be Right Now: Space station, movie theater, rollercoaster, bed

I'm not tagging anybody with this, but I got tagged by Still Orbiting.
10:01 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Beware The Cameras

December 10th, 2005

Left to right, front then back: Captain Krack, Natalia, Me, Wayland, Patrick
12:21 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Leather Nuggets / Secret Sauce

"Steve, I need a favor."

"Sorry, but I'm fresh out of bullets."

"No, something work related."

"I don't like that look. Don't give me that look."

"Tonight. Ten o'clock. Crystal Lake. Go to the McD's there. They're making a commercial, and they're showing some of our stuff. I was asked to go, but you know how I feel about that PR shit. Take this promo packet and some of your business cards. Shave. Don't show up bedraggled and homeless looking like you do here at work. Wear one of the company polo shirts we gave out earlier this year. Smile. Be nice. Answer questions. Real easy. I'll pay you until you get home, you don't have to show until one o'clock tomorrow, and I'll pay you for the whole day tomorrow. Deal?"

"Yes. With trepidation, but yes."

I went west, I went north, I went west some more. I landed in Crystal Lake just after nine. I was early. None of the film fucks had arrived yet. There was just a McDonald's manager named Andy, some wilted lettuce, and some spongy buns. The usual fast food sludge.

"Hi, I'm Steve. I'm here for the filming. Looks like I'm the first arrival. Am I in the right place?"

"Like, hello sweetheart! You must be the star. I'm Andy. I am soooo pleased to meet you!"

He shook my hand. Sort of. It was like shaking hands with a wet mop. Andy was definitely the gayest burger boy I'd ever encountered, complete with a dodgy mustache. He offered me free dinner. I was starving and broke, so I accepted.

As I sat in a leather chair, (this is a luxury McDonald's, you see) he sauntered over to quiz me about life in the film industry. I dashed his expectations by explaining that I was not going before the lens.

"I'm here to hand out business cards. The company I work for sells organizer kits for the cables above the prep table. Corporate loves it. I don't even know what we're doing here tonight. I think it's a promo video to sell stainless steel kitchen modifications to franchise owners. Strictly small-time."

Less than an hour later several paunchy middle-aged men arrived with camera equipment, microphones, and loud voices. I introduced myself to a silver-haired obese man in a leather jacket. "I'm Steve."

"I'm Roy. I'm from the steel company. That's Bill. He's our film guy."

Bill opened several briefcases. He handed me a clip-on microphone and bade me to run the wire under my shirt.

"Clip this on here. Put this in your pocket. It's the signal booster. We'll be ready in a couple minutes."

"Wait, what? Why am I getting a mike?"

"You're the narrator. We'll probably have some action scenes for you, too." He winked. I was beginning to worry. Bill mounted a camera to something that looked like a steering wheel. I raised my eyebrows in query.

"It's a steadicam. Cuts down on shaky video, blur, stuff like that. Totally needed for this kind of thing."

What kind of thing, I wondered? We were here to film a grimy McDonald's kitchen, right? Why was everybody so giddy? All of them were acting like pigs at a shit convention.

My boss would want me to go in front of the camera to hawk our products. He'd do the same in my position, as painful as it would be for him. I prepared myself by clearing my throat and stretching my arms. I could do this. I've imitated infomercial spokesmen in jest all my life. I could sell pentagrams to Baptists if need be. I had the potential to be a giant in sales spiel circles. I was a king. Oh yes.

My name was called. I stood next to the warmer trays. Deep breaths. Confidence.

"What you see beside me is our custom upgrade kit. With this custom manufactured nylon sock material, all of your cables are in one tube, eliminating messy obstructions hanging over the sandwich boxes and bacon trays. The jack plates in the ceiling allow for cheap easy cable replacement. No longer will you need to thread cables through your ceiling when one fails. Furthermore-"

"Cut! Stop!" Bill looked exasperated. "This just isn't sexy enough. We need to spice things up a bit, really grab their attention. When I start filming again, I want you to swivel your hips while you talk. Make double entendres, wink at the camera, you know, be vivacious."

"You're kidding." I turned to Roy. "He's kidding, right?" Roy just smiled.

I turned back to Bill. "We're selling spatula holders and cable management, Bill. Why in the blue fuck do I need to wag my ass for that?"

"Oh, you know. I was thinking we could do two videos. One for the franchisees, one for Hollywood. I was thinking you could suck off that ketchup nozzle. That would be hot. You could also pull the trigger on the mayo gun. Cum humor yeah! Oh, and maybe squeeze a burger! One of those double entendres I mentioned! Meat grabbing, get it?"

"Am I on candid camera?"

"I wouldn't call it candid, honey."

"Okay, that's it. I don't get paid enough for this. I am not going anywhere near that ketchup nozzle. Not only do I find that obscene, I fucking hate ketchup."

I removed the audio gear and tossed it to Roy. "You guys are on your own. I'm leaving."

Bill blocked my way. From somewhere he procured a leather whip, which he pointed at me. No doubt masks, chains, and dildos were hidden nearby, too.

"Bill, move. Move now. If you don't, I'm gonna dunk your head in the deep fryer until your eyeballs sizzle. I'm freakin out here. I can't handle this, it's too weird, so don't try me. I will harm you."

"You're missing a big opportunity, studly!"


I fled to the door. As I walked out, I heard Andy, the gay manager, exclaim, "I'll do it! I'll suck off the ketchup nozzle!"
3:52 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Drowning Practice

My phone rang on Monday morning.

"Steve? Sir, this is your bank. You're overdrawn by $85.75. We'll charge you $5 a day until this is resolved unless you deposit the balance by 2pm today."

"Wait, what? I have a debit card. I didn't bounce any checks. How could this happen?"

"You debited at Little Ceasar's, E&L Discount Liquor, and Grand Amoco when your account was empty."

"I have a debit card, not credit! Last time I tried that, I got 'Insufficient Funds!' What gives?"

"I can't answer that sir. You're overdrawn by $10.75 and there's $75 in fees. Three fees of $25 each."

"You guys have been great to me until now. I'll stop in and raise hell next week, when I get paid. Brace yourself."

Well fuck me. After gaping wide my asshole for a payday advance scam so I could pay a car repair and my rent simultaneously, I knew Christmas shopping was going to be a cruel humiliating outing. It was going to be worse facing my family with weak offerings and sad excuses. They really don't care if I buy them anything or not, but I care.

And now my bank yanks yet another wad of cash. I've also been borrowing money to buy gas to get to work. I'm falling down a hole. This is depressing. I am offficially feeling sorry for myself. Fuck your problems. I don't want to hear about those less fortunate than I, and how lucky I am. Mention that and I'll eviscerate you. Stand clear. Final warning.

My phone rang this morning.

"Steve? Sir, this is the Police Department. We've put a boot on your car due to nonpayment of $1300 in outstanding parking tickets. If you pay half and work out a payment plan for the remainder, we'll remove the boot."

"I... Uh... Surely we can work something out. I'm flat broke. I just got that car fixed. If I can't go to work, I can't get paid, and therefore can't pay you. I can see that you've got to try and collect from me, but there's gotta be some other way. Rendering me unable to earn money will leave me homeless quickly. That's pretty harsh for ignoring your tickets for neglecting to buy a village sticker. Right?"

"Hold on, sir... Okay. Call the municipal building. Here's the number."

I did. I got the Comptroller on the phone. Why the title 'comptroller?' Parsing that out, it sounds like computer + troller. Somebody who trolls on computers. Like a pedophile. Fuck the comptrollers, I say. Let's beat their skulls in with canned soups.

This one was kind. Frank. Of course his name was Frank. What else? I offered him $200 a month starting on January 4th. He had that boot off my car within an hour.

Still, my cash flow is fucked, and it's not going to improve anytime soon. I have three choices:

Quit eating, suicide, or join the army. Food, suicide, army. Army, suicide, food. Fuck fuck fuck. I hate you all.
2:58 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Four AM Smear

Me, near the end of the party, sweaty, exhausted, corpselike, red-eyed, and smiling for Carissa's camera.
1:58 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Snowstorm Jubilee 2005

Thanks to Wayland for the Phat Christmas 2 photos.

Saturday, December 10th, 2005, 1278 N. Milwaukee Ave, above Diana's Shoes

"Steve. Steve! Pay attention damnit. I need to go spin. Keep doing wristbands, but take cash, too. Here's some fives and singles for change. Let's see... thirty five total. That should be enough. Keep large bills out of your change wad so nobody thinks about robbing you. I gotta go do my set. Be back later." My former roomie, now a promoter, patted me on the shoulder and fled. It was 1:00 A.M.

I'd been working the front door all night. At the host's request, it had to be kept shut and locked. The bright red door had a fisheye peephole, so every few seconds I leaned up to it and peered into the bright hallway. Listening for knocking wouldn't work. The DJs were aggressive. The music volume was ear-splitting.

I got dizzy from the metronomic tilting to the door. Check the hole. Stand back. Count to ten, check the hole again, stand back. Repeat, repeat, repeat. One time when I leaned in and peered through the peep, florescent fish swam into my pupil. I had a gangbang fish frolic in my eyeball. Upon pawing at my face and shreiking in panic, I realized everything was normal. I snuck glances around me. Nobody'd seen my episode. Good.

I smelled paint. Why? I learned the answer later, about a half hour after the former roomie finished his old school house set. The second floor hallway was tagged with purple paint. Gang scrawl, all loops and swirls, indecipherable to eyes untrained in the iconography of latino spaghetti letters. I thought it was pretty, but the renter of the loft certainly didn't. He was even more upset upon noticing several bannister posts were kicked out, shattered, fancy dowel rods lying in splinters in the halls of all three floors below. He started to twitch.

I already throught our host was a moonie little fuckshit. He had huge unblinking poo brown eyes. He charged my former roomie $800 to rent the place from 9pm to 4am. (the former roomie grossly overpaid) When we arrived at 6pm to set up, there was trash, furniture, workout equipment, a pool table, and art projects set up everywhere. We had to clean the whole damn place before our decorating girls could even begin attacking the place with their thousands of Christmas lights.

Hostboy was dribbling gummi worms out his ass into his tighty whiteys, surveying the minor damage. My former roomie, the super promoter, was freaking out on him. I smelled disaster. I interceded.

"Patrick, relax, I got this. Let me talk to him. Go check on the party. Nobody is watching the door. Go!"

I turned to face the passive aggressive afterbirth. I spoke to him.

"Let me start this over. Forgive my friend, he's under a lot of stress. This is his first really big event. So let me be his representative here. Looks like we have some minor damage here."

"Minor? That's major! What am I gonna do? My landlord's gonna kill me!"

I wanted to say: "Use some of that eight fucking hundred you got paid for this party to fix it up. Dumbshit. You're our landlord tonight. Grow some fucking testicles and don't you dare start crying, you whimpering little trust fund cuntface. Buy some paint. Now go sit down and shut the fuck up before I beat you senseless."

Instead, I lied: "I'll square it man. Let me give you my phone number and we'll work something out."

It was 2:30 am. There was no way I was going to gratify myself by being honest. That would result in Joey Fuckface Jr shutting our party down, calling the cops on his own address, and ruining my friend's reputation as a mighty promoter of magical parties.

No way. This show must go on. I had to placate this person, and I couldn't allow one iota of my disdain to seep through. I had to kiss ass. I had to be nice. My stoniest gameface was needed. So I treated him with the utmost respect. Deep inside me, that hurt.

Despite my spectacular performance, he doubted my sincerity. The gall. He didn't even want my phone number. I took his down, despite his reluctance, and followed him around for a while, whispering sweet nothings in his ear. I kept him off the ledge, and the party kept on going. It was a close thing. Eventually I felt like he was resigned to whatever fate befell his beloved loft, and when he stopped fidgeting and sat down depressed in a corner, I quickly abandoned him.

"Pat! Patrick! I calmed that little runt down. We're safe. Remember how I said we should skip the sweeping and mopping after the party and leave this place wrecked?"


"You said we wouldn't get the venue again if we did that. Look. We already cleaned when we got here, and you paid way way too much for this joint as it is. Now that the there's graffiti everywhere and the bannisters are horribly damaged, we might as well say fuck it anyways and skip the Mr. Clean bullshit. Let them hire a maid service. Fuck em."

"I don't fucking care. I just wanna leave when this is over. So much bullshit."

"Jesus! Fucking relax man! You're standing in the middle of a kickass party, people are having a great time, and it's all yours! Yours! Smile! Enjoy it!"

We did clean after the party. We'd have remodelled the joint too if I hadn't eventually told Shitboy enough.

"Mike. Yoo-hoo, earth to Mikey, pay attention. We swept, we mopped, and we reorganized your furniture. This place looks ten times better than when we arrived, barring the unfortunate damage to the entryways, which I'm sorry about. We're leaving. Thanks and good morning."

11:16 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

White Sky Black Street

Dateline: Thursday, December 8th, 2005, 8:05pm

My lips were bleeding when I woke up this morning. Somebody had glued them shut, and when I opened my mouth for my first waking ragged breath, they split with resistance, peeling little skin strips off, little tassles flapping pink and white and red. Crimson beneath, mutiny at my digestive outset.

Had some merry prankster left microscopic little dabs of superglue over my mouth in hopes of silencing my outlandish tendency to spew poetic gibberish several times daily? No. It was cow mucus. Nature's adhesive. I drank milk before bed last night.

Never do that.

I could still taste it, now spoiled and thick, clinging to my throat in clumpy globs. An ugly moment of self-realization.

I repaired as best I could, but now I had candy cane zebra lips. When people at work asked me about it, I told them I got drunk and made out with a cheese grater. They didn't believe me, but I thought I was pretty convincing.

At three in the afternoon the first solid snowfall of the season began to precipitate upon fevered motorists citywide. I knew my drive home would be a long slog through slush and impatience, so I braced myself by arming my CD player with good music. I set off, tiptoeing home, brake, inch, brake, inch, brake, inch. It's beginning to look like Christmas.

Even with utmost caution, wise prudence, careful dainty precision, and good old common sense, I still lost my patience. Sure, it's slippery. Dangerous, even. But five miles per hour does not cut the mustard in my book.

Try twenty. We can handle that, right? No. Cue a slow elderly fuckface. I swerved around him and made it through a yellow light. I didn't get much further past that, so my action was pointless. Still, it's the philosophy of it. If everbody drove with just a tiny bit more urgency, we could all get home and safe and warm that must faster. It's always one or two cars that are so fucking terrified of the weather that they ruin everyone else's fun.

I was going to make some shit up right here about a big confrontation in which I terrify the old man and ruin his already shaken faith in future generations, but I don't feel like it. I'll stick to the truth for once. Maybe.

After that little chariot maneuver I decided the beautiful downfall and molasses traveling warranted some liquid refreshment. What better time is there to drink and drive than when you're only going five miles an hour? And there it was: neon and towering before me: The Liquor Barn. Hey!

A fifth of Ten High is only eight bucks and the clerk'll happily wrap that amber magic in brown paper with nary a request. At the counter the clerk and a few amiable patrons were moaning about municipal response. Specifically, the lack of it. I took the opportunity to engage in public embellishment.

"I know! I only saw one salt truck in the last hour. I was takin a shortcut through a rich neighborhood, and the surly civic worker piloting the thing was screaming down that local street in a state of frantic steroidal aggression. He plowed and salted smack dab down down the center of the narrow little street faster than a dead bird falls. I tried to drift right to give him clearance, but I wasn't fast enough. He nailed my rear driver side and shoved me right into a mailbox. He probably thought my car would look good in a snowbank."

"No shit!"

"No shit. Fuckin crazy out there tonight."

"Got that right."

"G'night. Be safe and warm."

"Yeah, you too! Watch out for psycho trucks!"

"I will. Take it easy."

I left. I hadn't actually been hit by the salt truck, but it'd been a close thing. Naturally my imagination had supplied other outcomes, and I was glad to be unburdened of one of them. When you talk to other patrons of a discount liquor store, you're free to say anything. You know they drink just like you. They don't care about the truth. Just a smile and a good talk.

Whiskey in hand, I got moving again.

I wasn't worried about psycho trucks anymore. The rest of my route was on major streets, and none of them could even imagine the notion of velocity tonight. I was going to mope, not speed. No choice. I would be a while reaching home base.

It felt strange to be hoisting a full fifth of bourbon to my mouth with my right hand while my left hand rested at high noon on the steering wheel. I kept leering out at neighboring motorists, gleefully brandishing my bottle and a dumb grin. Singing, too. They failed to ogle my brash display of practical irresponsibility. I was disappointed. I wanted somebody to point at me. Then panic. Have a righteous little hissyfit. You know. But it didn't happen.

Now I'm home, safe, and drunk. Can't wait for tomorrow.
9:19 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No Outlet Yield

"You know anything about insurance claims?"

"Planning a murder?"

"What kind of guy do you think I am?"

"Oh, just fraud then?"

"That's real nice, John."

"Shit man. Murder, fraud, both together... what else is insurance used for?"

"Oh, I dunno... Medicine? Flood damage? Car accidents?"

"Aha! I heard that tone in your voice. A car accident, huh? So I was right about fraud. I'd try just about anything in your position, too. That car deserves to be wrecked. With extreme prejudice. What's your idea?"

"Extreme prejudice? Who are you, Charles Bronson? Wait, don't answer that. Yes, I wanna kill my car. I also want an obese settlement check so I can buy something better."

"I know you, Steve. You want another old fogey car. A four door midsize sedan. You should dye your hair grey and buy a cane. Hobble a bit. Buy discount coffees at McDonald's. Be incontinent. Bitch about Fixident. You dork. And I think of myself as more of a Chuck Norris type, not Bronson."

"Obviously fire is out of the question. They have chemical technicians and vehicle coroners these days. I think they have a show on cable called Auto Autopsy. So no fire. I guess I need to engineer a good accident that'll demolish the Dodge but leave me unscathed. You've rolled a car over before. What's the trick?"

"No! Don't try that. I got lucky. Your wheelbase is too low for that anyways. You need a decent pile-up, or maybe a sliding careen down an embankment. Let me think about this."

"A sliding careen?"

"Yeah, you know, careening?"

"Sure. Careening. An uncontrolled lateral motion."

"That sounds right."

"What about the old thievery bit?"

"First of all, what if they find the car? I know what you're thinking. Drive it to the ghetto, park it, leave it, expect it'll get stolen or destroyed, then report it. The insurance company suspects you of wrongdoing but can't prove it. Sounds like a good theory, right? Wrong. First of all, you need a plausible reason your car was parked there. Because if you imply it was stolen from your driveway, they'll never buy your story. Even if you do park it in a bad neighborhood, who's gonna want that old trap? You've kicked dents into the side ten times. It looks like it was used as a soccer goal. It still has pumpkin coffee stuck to parts of it, hail pockmarks all over the front hood, and your hubcaps look like intelligent grizzly bears used them as bedpans. You couldn't give that car away if you tried."

"So I need an accident."

"Yep. How about... let me think... Ice. It's winter. Your tires are balder than a leukemia patient. You need to make a sharp turn and skid out. Bam!"

"That would only cause body damage, John. I need to mangle my engine. Fracture my undercarriage. Think violent rending. The old bitch has to be completely useless. Think bigger."

"Okay, I got it. A local street. You're in front of the queue at the intersection. All you gotta do is stick your front end in front of a large oncoming vehicle going fast. It'll be your fault, of course, and your insurance will go up, but the worst that could happen is a broken leg or two. And you're clean. Stupid, but clean."

"Fuck that. I have a great idea."


"I'm gonna go to a bar and wait for somebody really drunk to leave. Then I'll follow him, plow into him, and find a way to blame him. I could even sue for damages! Pain and suffering! That'll teach him a lesson!"

"That's so wrong."

"It's a public service, that's what it is. I'm like the neighborhood watch, but with teeth. Giant steel thousand pound vehicular teeth."

"I'm kinda tempted to try that myself now. I've never had the chance to wear a neck brace before. Or cry silently, my eyes pleading to a sympathetic jury. I could wallow in that kind of attention. I always wanted to be an actor, you know."

"That's the spirit, John."
12:39 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Drunk Kickboxer

Alternate Title: Mutiny On The Gravy

"Gimme that."


"C'mon man, give it over."

"No. I'm... I'm drunk. I need this keyboard. I'm gonna type now."

"Okay. Dumb idea, though. You can barely talk drunk. Typin ain't gonna improve your eloquence. You're a bottle deep. Ten High ain't Kool-Aid."


"Yeah, you heard me. Don't play dumb."

"Oh shut up."

"Your funeral, Steve. Have at it."


I'm a clean person. Shower daily, fond of bathing, Mom works for a dentist, etc. I wouldn't label myself groomed, although I shave with frequency. My clothes are shoddy. I'm fashion impaired. But I'm clean.

Ever live in a place with no dishwasher? No big deal, I know. I have. However, when the kitchen sink plastic pipes plug up with so much sludgy fuck the pipes explode and the kitchen is out of commision, a person is left in a whole nother realm of culinary decency. Or lack thereof. Allow me to expound.

I know I whined about children a week or two ago. Shame on me. That's not a good reason to bitch. I should have a seriously capital point of hell to raise on a flagpole and flap in the breeze before I raise my voice. Got one this time. Promise.

No kitchen sink and no DW (that's short for dishwasher) means I'm scrubbing out pots and pans in other receptacles. Either in the bathroom sink, the toilet, or the tub. What would you pick?

I try to be practical. Big un, goes in the tub. Little un, goes in the sink. Rotting uneaten muck gets scooped out by a Minnie Mouse spoon into the toilet, where I flush it little by little, not quite thrilled to be feeding sewer rats with the finest quality gourmet turkey stew.

One day, a couple days ago, specifically, I made a critical mistake. It was the big yellow pan. I washed it out, giblets and all, down the bathtub drain. It didn't go: I repeat: it didn't go. It stayed. Turkey chunk and carrot pulp and celery flesh and more. A puddle of vitamin rich swamp congealed over the drainhole.

The next morning, dumb and blind, I cranked the shower up to full heat and stepped into the searing steamy pelting hot water assault. It was glorious. That glory was short-lived.

I realized my feet were stepping in imaginary giant nostrils. I was showering with hot rain above, turkey soup below. Restless marrow tickled those gentle little nerves between my toes. Clots of fat burbled beneath my toenails. My feet were socially mingling with carrots. Finally, truly, a new all time low. I was ashamed to be a bipedal.

At least I didn't lather in gravy. Like a sick pervert. I have some dignity. Just a little.

Welcome to my life. Glad you're here.
2:46 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Friday, December 02, 2005

Half Hearted

"Where have you been, Steve? No phone calls, surprise visits, calls from jail, or even a post on your website. I was beginning to think you joined the army."

"Well, therein lies a tale. I was arrested for buying a middleaged hooker in Cicero. It was really cold out. Her nipples were stretching pleather. I couldn't resist. The cops caught us in the backseat, all coked up and naked. I think the window fog gave us away. I tried to play it off, you know, like we're a couple, but they knew her pretty well. She'd been nailed before. Wait, I mean arrested. Nailed was a bad choice of words. Certainly true, but not what I meant to say. So I was locked up and too ashamed to call someone for bail."

"No way did you pick up a hooker. I don't believe it."

"You're right. I lied. I didn't ."

"Okay, so where were you?"

"Here and there, you know. Thanksgiving with my family. Work. Umm... Car died again. Took all weekend to get that fixed."

"So you have nothing of interest or value to share? C'mon, man, I rely on you for entertainment."

"Okay, picture this. It's Tuesday morning. I'm so sick I'm melting. I have dark brown snot ejecting from my lungs every time I cough. Each wad sticks like a malformed suction cup to the monitor screen, or the wall, or wherever it splashes. Fucking gross. My nose wasn't your typical runny nose. It was crapping out green jelly turds instead of the usual oh so gentle and precious sniffle trickle. I'm talking illness here- glowing with infection.

"I showed up at work anyways. We had a training class for a new system. About an hour into the tedious, painful education about this newfangled register system, one of the other trainees asks me to go buy a bottle. He's from Indiana, and doesn't know the area too well. So I went a bought a bottle of Bushmills. 10:30am. So there we are, ten of us, drinking shots instead of learning. The class leader tried to make us eat the donuts he brought in the try to absorb the whiskey. Sugar just made us more unruly. It was a circus.

"Okay, I know, that's boring. But what if you put an extremely sick semi-buzzed guy in a swivel chair? A chair with support problems? That was me. A steel post shot through a seal at the bottom of the swivel, the swivel shot up the post, and that left me sitting on a spinning top, desperately cluthing at my desk as I toppled about. A chair on a stick. I was talking on the phone setting up an important sales call, too, trying to maintain my composure as I crashed to the floor with all the shit I knocked off my desk raining on me. I did not let go of that phone."

"Sounds like a blast."

"Yeah, it was. I had an audience. They were amused. So was I. I looked up from the floor to see nine faces staring down, wide-eyed and giggly. Hooray for shitty office furniture.

"But overall? Nothing much is happening. Nothing to write home about. I'm still sick. Gonna leave early today, in fact. I just don't have the pep-zesto to be entertaining right now. Sorry. I need more sleep."
12:28 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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