Saturday, December 30, 2006


True procrastinators will read this tomorrow.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


The door opened ominously slow. A figure stood there, as one would expect, his face unrecognizable from inside the darkened room. Backlit by the hall light, he cast a shadow over the room's only occupant -- a pink and bloated deformed man sleeping face-down on a hospital bed.

My final failure, the man in the doorway thought. My final attempt at godhood. The figure slid into the room and closed the door behind him.

Thank you. Thank you for showing me that the flaw was in the designer, not the design. I am an imperfect god who creates monsters in his own image. And you are the most grotesque creation yet. The figure in the shadows reached out his hand and caressed the shorn head of his abomination. The scalp was slick and damp. Sympathetic fingers traced the ridges under the skin where the bones of skull fused together and pushed upward like tiny mountain ranges. The shadowy man stood in silence, watching his sleeping creation.

With resolve, the shadow began his task. Using a pen light he searched the right arm of his creation. On the underside he located the valve that held like a dam against the reservoir of blood underneath the skin. Out of his pocket he pulled a syringe and placed it into the valve. You were never meant to be horrible. You, unlike all the others, were an empty canvas, healthy from the start. Instead of making you better, I made you into a monster. I hope you can forgive me for creating you. He pushed the plunger on the syringe down. And I hope you can forgive me for destroying you.

The sleeping man stirred. His bloodshot eyes slid open peered through the darkness. "Dad?" the abomination asked, hopeful and confused.

"No," the shadow figure said gently, "it's just me, Dr. Tyler. Go back to sleep, Brandon."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Intolerance as a Virtue

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.

Intolerance is the new compassion, according to Dr. Whitehurst's The Intolerance of Christian Conservatives.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


He lingered in front of his apartment building, fidgeting, tucking and retucking his shirt into his slacks and scraping the dry mud off of his worn dress shoes. He watched for cabs and checked his watch, despite being five minutes early.

A limousine pulled up to the curb and a familiar face poked out of an opening window. “Get in,” Miranda called. Thomas looked around, as if trying to spot the hidden cameras showing a tv audience his antics set to zany music and a laugh track. The car door opened and he slowly slid inside.

Miranda wore a blue and black dress, and her skinny legs were exposed up to mid-thigh. Thomas wore a white wrinkled shirt, and his eyes were trying to look at anything but Miranda's skinny legs. “You look nice,” Miranda told Thomas with a genuine smile. Thomas mumbled the same. He finally made eye contact with the young woman. He smiled back and quickly looked away.

The limousine pulled to a stop, and its two passengers disembarked. While Miranda smoothed down her dress, Thomas furtively watched her hands slide down her middle and over her hips. When she turned to him, he looked up to the marquee. It was a large, white, empty sign with a small “restaurant” across the bottom.

Thomas looked at Miranda perplexed. “We're eating here?” Miranda confirmed. She began to walk toward the door of Blank, one of New City's chicest restaurants. It was renowned for its exclusivity and celebrity patrons, and Thomas felt more than a little intimidated. “But...,” Thomas began to say.

”Don't worry,” Miranda assured him, “I know the owner.”

Inside the restaurant, the maitre d'hotel grinned and pretended to listen to Miranda tell him that the two were there to see Mr. Sunder. “Everyone 'knows' Mr. Sunder. Do you have a reservation?”

”No, we actually do know Mr. Sunder. Alex. Alex Sunder.”

”Mmm hmm,” he said glancing over at Thomas. “I'm sorry, sir,” he said unapologetically, “we have a strict tie-and-jacket dress code.”

”It's not that strict, Jimmy,” came a voice from behind them. Alex stepped up to the host's podium. He had a suit that cost more than Thomas' monthly rent and all the confidence expected of a handsome, broad-shouldered, millionaire playboy. Thomas immediately resented Alex's good looks, but was impressed by his cavalier attitude toward the snooty maitre d'.

”Of course not, sir.” James, the maitre d', laughed insincerely. With a few flicks of his wrist, he attempted to shoo Miranda and Thomas away from the podium to make room for the VIP. “We have your table ready, Mr. Sunder.”

”Good. Can you show my two guest the way?”

James glanced at Miranda and Thomas, then gave Alex a look as if to ask Do you know these two? “I didn't know you were expecting any guests tonight, sir.”

Alex leaned in. “I guess you'd better set some extra places at the table then, Jim-bo.” James nodded and trotted off without a word.

Miranda hugged Alex, standing on her toes to reach around his neck. Thomas again resented the handsome man, while he stole a glance at the young woman's backside. Beaming, Miranda introduced Thomas. Although they met eye-to-eye, Thomas felt dwarfed by Alex's presence and firm handshake. Alex smiled knowingly at him, and Thomas nodded shyly. Miranda began explaining to Thomas that Alex owned this restaurant, and several other businesses in New City, and was, in fact, one of the richest men in the city. Alex feigned embarrassment. Thomas nodded and was impressed. James promptly returned and apologized for the wait.

After the three had settled into their table in a quiet corner of the room, and Alex had decided on a bottle of wine, he leaned in and looked intently at Thomas. “So, Miranda tells me you have a certain talent.”

Thomas looked at the young woman and saw her grinning and staring back at him. He averted his eyes. This young woman, as so many other women did, intimidated him. “It's alright. He's a superhero, too,” she whispered.

Thomas looked back and forth between the two. Miranda smiled encouragingly. Alex nodded his head. Thomas chuckled. I know she found out about my ability, but she doesn't – they don't – actually think I'm a superhero. They don't actually think they are superheroes. Do they? Thomas saw sincere looks on their faces. His chuckle died. They were expectant, waiting for him to say something. “Is this a joke?” he mumbled.

Alex explained, “The term 'superhero' has some silly connotations to it, I know, and finding a regular 'hero' is difficult enough in this day and age – in this city – let alone a 'super' one. But that is what we are. We are people with extraordinary power, extraordinary drive, extraordinary desire to do what's right. We right wrongs. We protect the innocent. We vanquish evil. The only way to describe what are is “superheroes.” Thomas blinked several times in silence. “I prefer the term 'crime fighter,' though” Alex added.

The waiter came, poured some wine, and took their orders. I'm not sure what's wrong with these people. They don't look crazy, but ... When the waiter had left, Thomas asked, “So, are you guys, like, in a cult?”

”I know it sounds crazy,” Miranda began. Thomas agreed. “But we're for real. We stop criminals and save lives.”

”And if you can do what Miranda says you can do, we want you to join us.”

”You want me?” Thomas pointed to himself. The two nodded. “To join your team of superheroes?” Thomas pointed to Alex and Miranda. The two nodded. This is the weirdest thing to happen to me in long time. Well, I've gone this far; I might as well keep going down the rabbit hole until I find out what these crazies are up to. Thomas glanced at Miranda. I can't believe I'm doing this just for a pretty girl. “So, a superhero, huh?” Thomas took a swig from his wine glass. "What sort of benefits package is there?”

Monday, December 18, 2006


The punishment for buying people cool Christmas gifts is having to wrap them.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006


“You fix, uh ... ruhm ruhm noisy-maker in sink already?” the old woman asked as she entered the kitchen.

Thomas was packing up, throwing a few wrenches haphazardly into his tool bag. He looked up. “Yes, Mrs. Kretiskshenev,” he mumbled, never knowing how to properly pronounce the old woman's name. “It was just something jamming up the garbage disposal.” He picked up a small scrap of scratched metal covered with decomposing food.

The hunched, slow-moving woman immediately recognized the metal wad. Her eyes lit up and she let out a long gasp that lasted the entire time it took her to ramble across the linoleum kitchen floor. “Ah!” she said, followed by an indecipherable exclamation in some eastern European language. She took the small piece of metal from Thomas' hand and told him, “This is my wedding ring! Oh, I thought was lost. But now is ....” Not finding the word in English, she completed her sentence with something that might have meant either “broken” or “shit,” or possibly both. The old woman looked down and saw the look of apology on Thomas' face. “Oh, is no problem,” she reassured him. “My husband won't now care; he is dead long time.”

Thomas stood up and grabbed his tool bag. “You leave already?” the woman asked. Thomas nodded. As he made his way through the small apartment to the front door, the widow, following him as fast she could, called after him, “I think box on wall still broken. You stay and fix?”

Thomas stopped and turned, giving the old woman a chance to catch up to him. “Like I said last time: The thermostat isn't broken, it's just in Fahrenheit,” he explained calmly.

Mrs. Kretiskshenev ignored his response and tried another tactic. “You rest. You sit on couch, watch teevee 'while; I make you sandwich. You like cookies?” Thomas started to shake his head. “You please stay, eat sandwich?” the widow pleaded.

Thomas nearly explained to her that he had more work to do elsewhere in the building – the pipes in the basement, the stairway rails on the fifth floor again, Mr. and Mrs. Chen's door jamb – but he knew that once he left her apartment, he'd most likely go to his own on the first floor and flip through some old magazines or peruse the internet. I guess I can stay for a while. I'll at least get free food out of the deal. Thomas told the woman that he would stay. She excitedly made her way to the kitchen to make him a meal.

Thomas had just gotten comfortable on Mrs. Kretiskshenev's couch when his mobile phone began to sing “The Touch” by Stan Bush. He pulled his phone from his pocket, noticed it was a strange number, and answered with a, “Yup?”

“Thomas, hey, it's me, Miranda.” came the bubbly voice over the phone. He knew who it was before she said her name.

Thomas had thought about the skinny young woman many times since she had asked for his number last week. “Our kind has to stick together,” she had said. Thomas found her smile irresistible and obeyed her request as if hypnotized. “I'm going to tell Alex about you, if that's alright.” Thomas had had no idea who she was talking about. “He's a superhero, too. He's kinda like my mentor.”

What did she say? he had thought. That's the second time she's mentioned superpowers and superheroes. Great, I just gave my phone number to a crazy girl.

“It was nice meeting you Thomas,” she had said as she turned to walk away. She took a few steps, then turned her head smiling. “I'll call you.”

At that moment Thomas had wished that he hadn't given his phone number to the crazy girl. But as time passed, his memory of how crazy she might have been faded, and her image came into sharp focus. He remembered her wide smile and the barely perceptible fragrance she wore. He recalled her long brown hair tucked behind her ears and the soft skin of her left hand. He reminisced, only once inappropriately in the shower, about the curve of her back and the slight jut of her breasts underneath her shirt.

Thomas soon wanted the crazy girl to call him. The last time a girl had called him had been in the tenth grade when his best friend's little sister called to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. He had respectfully declined, not knowing the boundaries of best-friendship in regards to taking little sisters out on dates. When the weekend passed, and a couple of weekdays, too, Thomas soon feared that the only calls he would ever receive would be from complaining tenants.

“Uh, hey,” he mumbled eloquently. “I didn't think you would call.”

Miranda laughed. “Why not? I said I would.”

“You talking to me?” came Mrs. Kretiskshenev's voice from the kitchen. Thomas heard the sound of cabinets opening and closing.

“No,” he called back. “I'm just on my cell phone.”

“Was that your grandma?” Miranda's mid-western accent wafted through the phone while Mrs. Kretiskshenev's voice banged and knocked about in the kitchen.

“You like braunschweiger?

“Yeah, sure, Mrs. K,” Thomas yelled back to the kitchen. “No,” he said into the phone, “that's just one of my tenants.”


“Yeah, I'm a super at the Uptown Apartments, down the block from where we met.”

“Oh cool.”

Why does this chick want to know so much about me? Is she up to something, or is she genuinely interested in me? “So why'd you call?” he asked awkwardly, originally hoping to avoid an awkward silence.

“Well, what are you doing for dinner tonight.”

She's not asking me on a date. Is she? Thomas was confused and elated. “No big plans.”

“How'd you like to go to dinner with us?”

Us? he thought. “Us?” he said.

“Yeah, I told Alex about you, and he really wants to meet you.”

“Oh,” Thomas said, more than a little disappointed.

“So, can I pick you up at your building at 8:00?”


“Wear something nice. I'll see you then. Bye!”


Thomas shoved the phone back into his pocket. Mrs. Kretiskshenev walked out of the kitchen with a plate of food. “Who you talk to on phone?”

“Oh, just someone I met the other day,” Thomas said as he graciously took the plate from the old widow.

“Was it woman on phone?” she asked.

“Actually, it was.” Thomas said while inspecting his sandwich.

Mrs. Kretiskshenev smiled. “I could tell by confused look on face..”

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I want to be like when I grow up.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Men on Women

Women should be obscene and not heard.
--Groucho Marx

Direct thought is not an attribute of feminity. In this, women are now centuries behind man.
--Thomas Edison

Finding the least crazy chick is like looking for a needle in a stack of needles.
--Jaysix Usaustin, roommate

If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.
--Aristotle Onassis

Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not yet been able to answer the great question that has never been answered: What does a woman want?
--Sigmund Freud

No matter how perfect a girl seems, some guy, somewhere is tired of putting up with her shit.
--Neil, friend

What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.
--Mark Twain

Friday, December 08, 2006

Gender as Genetic

While talking with my coworker about family and genealogy, she uttered the phrase "boys run in the family" in reference to her fiance's dad and uncles having sons almost exclusively. I laughed at her at first, thinking her assertion that sex is genetic was ludicrous.

But as I thought about it more, I wondered, is one's sex genetic? I know that sex is determined from the male's sperm, without any input from the female's egg. But is the tendency to manufacture more male-producing sperm a genetic trait? Or are my coworkers soon-to-be in-laws just a statistical anomaly?

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Maria opened the door and tentatively peered into the darkened room. She stepped inside and flipped on the lights.

"Who the hell are you?" came an angry voice from the corner.

The nurse jumped and squealed just a little. "I'm Maria, your new attendant," she said more like a question than a fact.

Brandon emerged from the corner and approached the young woman. She took a step back. Brandon hated the look of fear and revulsion on her face. "What happened to Marta?" Brandon sat on his bed, the sheets moist and pink.

"She said she was tired of you making her cry," Maria said with sudden courage.

Brandon had tears of his own. Small red rivulets streamed down his face, drying before they fell from his bloated, disfigured face. He tried to feel remorse for his mistreatment of Marta, but the pain in his head was selfish. It refused to allow any thoughts outside of his own suffering. "I'm glad I finally got rid of that old bag."

The two were silent. Brandon looked at Maria's horrified face. Maria looked at Brandon's disgusting, misshapen figure. His skin was bright pink. His body resembled a swollen water balloon with horns.

It had been more than six months since Brandon had come to the hospital a perpetually bloody mess. In all that time doctors had been unable to diagnose his problem, or even come up with a way to explain how it was possible.

They started draining his blood regularly and gave him Vicodin for the pain. Then what the doctors called "tumorous nodes" appeared on his some of his bones, and indeed his whole skeleton began to swell and harden. The doctors briefly considered removing these nodes, but they proved to be too widespread and numerous. His ribs and the bones in his skull fused together. Nodes on his vertebrae, fingers and toes, and jaw began to push through his epidermal layer.

One doctor found a few cases similar to Brandon's, but they had all been documented in infants exposed to the radiation from the meltdown in Chernobyl. Brandon was examined, and traces of irradiated particles were found in his body, but no one could provide an explanation as to how they had gotten there.

Brandon's skeletal system was, as one doctor explained it to him, "freaking out." It was growing unchecked and producing overabundant amounts of red blood cells. Nodes had appeared on every major bone. He had bones protruding from his shoulders, back, forearms, pelvis, and shins. Some were nearly a foot long. Most of the protuberances were long, curved, horn-like structures ending in dull points. Others, such as the one that sprouted off of the ulna of his right arm, spiraled like a corkscrew. Needless to say, sitting or laying in any position was very uncomfortable.

Brandon agreed to stay at the hospital, so the doctors could continue to monitor him, and so the red cross could use him as a blood fountain. Unfortunately for the doctors, six months passed and they still had no clue how to treat him. Unfortunately for the Red Cross, Brandon's blood type was AB+. Unfortunately for Brandon, he'd become a disfigured monstrocity with "nodes" poking out of his body like horns and blood running out of every orafice.

Brandon had come to realize that he was never going to be cured, to be normal again. He would be bloody and spikey until he died. All he had to do was wait until death came. Unfortunately, Brandon's disease wasn't as terminal as he would have liked. Every day his irritability and impatience grew with his pain.

"So, are you gonna take my blood, or just stare at me like a freak show?"

"Sorry, Mr. Collins." Maria attached Brandon to the the "vampire machine" that relieved his body of his extra blood through holes in his arm.

"Where's my dope?" Brandon asked. Brandon was on a cocktail of pain medications, most of which he didn't care to pronounce, that he referred to as his "dope."


"My dope. My meds!" Brandon said tersely. Maria checked his chart and noted that he had already received his full dosage for the day. "Then why does my head hurt so fucking much?" Maria chose not to respond and thus avoid an arguement, something the previous attendant had never mastered. "Why don't you go and tell those fucking doctors that if they want to 'first, do no harm' then they should give me more fucking pills." Again, Maria did not respond, but checked the vampire machine's various readouts. "The silent treatment, huh? Well, it's more effective than any other treatment the doctors have tried." Maria checked Brandon's charts again, flipping through the pages in silence.

Brandon, just trying to get a reaction from the attendant, said, "Well, at least you're prettier than the last two attendants," and then immediately realized that it was true. "That's not saying much, though, seeing as the first one looked like a rhino with orthopedic shoes, and Marta had apparently been a nurse since the Civil War era." Maria gave him a sideways, disdainful glance, then went back to reading from the clipboard.

The two were silent again for several minutes. Despite his permanant erection, the pain in Brandon's head prevented any thoughts of sex to enter -- no small feat, most fellow males would note. Brandon noticed just how attractive Maria was as she stood next to his bed ignoring him. Beside his two previous attendants, his mother, and one "dyke doctor," as he had called the M.D. who had taken him off of morphine, he had not been in contact with any females for over half a year. Now here was a perfectly lovely woman alone in a room with him, and he couldn't even disregard his pain and concentrate long enough to find her attractive.

Suddenly, Brandon chuckled softly. Maria looked up but didn't ask him what was funny. He said anyway, "Six months ago I would have asked a pretty girl like you for her phone number. Now all I want to ask you for is pain pills."

Maria rolled her eyes and went back to ignoring her patient. Brandon went back to his pain, constant and reassuring.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Uncommon Courtesy

If you're going to be stupid, at least have the courtesy to be polite.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ass Crack Forget-Me-Nots

I found one of your hairs in my underwear,
a long tickling reminder of you.

It had been weeks since I’d seen you;
I don’t know how it wiggled its way into my underwear
or how it became lodged in my ass crack.
But, like my other thoughts of you,
it cropped up in the oddest place.
I eat a brownie and I remember 
our fudge and white chocolate wonders.
I see a broken refrigerator and I am reminded 
of roaming the streets between our apartments.

I realize that this is not the most romantic way
to say that I'm thinking of you.
I wish I could say that I'm looking at the moon
and wondering what it sees when it looks down on you.
I'm not.

That happens in movies, we know.
In real life, though, moons don't see us,
or they pretend not to care.
But something more mystical happens.
We find pieces of each other hiding
in the deepest recesses of ourselves,
and we smile.

I can't say that I will think of you always.
But what I can say is real.
I found your hair in my ass crack.
And I love you.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Waiting for Inspiration

If you haven't been reading Divine Intermission, you should start. It's a serial fiction, updated twice a week, about an eternally (quite literally) depressed man named Carl and how he fits into the universe. Luciano's Douglas-Adams-meets-Chuck-Palahniuk literary style is both disgusting and humorous. And just the hope of finding out what the hell is wrong with Carl keeps me coming back for more. I highly recommend keeping an eye on this story.

I, too have been writing a serial fiction, Superhero. Though, instead of updating regularly, I have been pretensiously "waiting for inspiration" to write each new part. That is why it has taken me over a year and a half to write as many parts as Luciano has written in a month.

If I ever want to realize my dream of being a professional fictioner, I think it will take more than random inspiration. I think I need to learn to write consistently and more often. So, I am putting forth this public challenge to myself, in hopes that my readership (all two of you) will hold me accountable. I am going to update my serial fiction every Thursday until it is finished. I hope that if I don't stay true to this promise, that I will receive at least a few pestering emails. Will you help me?

Friday, December 01, 2006

There's No Vaccine for Stupid

Fortunately, there is a vaccine for HPV, a relatively obscure STI that causes cervical cancer (as well as other types of cancers).

There are many people that would say this is a good thing. "Yeah! Down with cancer!"

Then there is the religious right. They're siding with cancer.

My first question: What young woman was refraining from sex purely because of a disease that no one knows about and that can't be protected against with condoms? Is there a horde of little baby-making teenagers out there that are busting down the doors of Planned Parenthoods across the nation to get their hands on this vaccine so they can finally start having sex? Because if so, what are their names and where do they hang out?

My second question: Why is getting an STI and contracting cancer more acceptable than getting laid and contracting intimiacy? God forbid you experience pleasure. (No, literally. Christian nutjobs believe God forbids feeling good!)

I can't wait until it's found that abstinance causes cancer.

Circa Now