Friday, March 27, 2009

An Evening with Bazarov

In my apartment there’s a light switch with no function. There are no light fixtures in the living room, nor are there any remnants of them—nothing indicating that in one point in history there were lights on the ceiling, for example. I have plugged lights into every outlet, turned them on, and checked to see if perhaps the switch controlled some outlet or other. No. What is the point of this switch?

Could it be that somewhere on the property of the apartment complex some light is turning on and off as curiosity drives the muscles in my arm to flick the switch back and forth? Through some awkward, convoluted wiring is another tenant’s sink disposal turning on and off? Why is it there? I don’t know, but I know I keep it in the ‘off’ position, just in case, lest I get an unexpected, expensive electric bill.

I’ve wondered about this switch. Certainly I’m not the only one with such a switch. How far will fantasy allow me to go with this mystery residing in my abode? Could it be some experiment, carried out by super agents of some secret government group or aliens, planted there in order to measure the flick rate of a useless switch by the current resident?

The apartment has certainly had a lot of tenants, me being only the most recent. It’s one of those common apartments where the carpets bear the scars (or stains rather) of age. The maintenance crew slops on a new coat of paint after each tenant either leaves or is evicted (or arrested)—when the denizen departs—never removing the previous coat. This goes on and on, the volume of the apartment diminishing, decreasing as time increases, always moving forward, positively correlated with an increase of stains, negatively correlated with the volume. The walls swell and the apartment shrinks. Doors get stuck, not functioning as they were designed to when they had but one coat of paint on them, when they opened and shut smoothly. Now they stick, the door jambs only remotely resembling what they once were, all their contours blended and smudged over by countless layers of paint, killing any form they once had in their youth, like an old fat person of whom you can no longer determine the sex—is it some old dude with man-tits or a geriatric woman who has lost her shape? But the layers aren’t countless, are they? Certainly not, for when you’re stupid enough to force a door shut and then open it again, patches of old paint come off, revealing layers, like a geological dig site, or tree rings if you’re more inclined towards thoughts of botany. You can count them going back, the history there before you plain as day, so apparent even creationists must admit their existence, the rainbow of off-whites stacked one upon the other, so popular in those apartments, the slight variety giving clues as to what was on sale at the time of painting: egg shell, beige, cream, camel skin, smokers teeth, coffee stained, dead man’s nails, jaundice, baby phlegm, mayonnaise, sandstone, khaki, oatmeal, albino yak taint, and so on towards the infinity that is the list of names people with too much time and pride have bestowed upon, at most, five shades of one color. Real history is lying therein and one cannot help but think of the lives of those who lived in that imperceptibly larger chamber, they who never got the privilege of living in this ever-so-slightly smaller apartment.

Were they nice people? Did they live quiet lives when this area of Dayton was perhaps a nicer place to live? Did some have dirty secrets that only that pale mocha on the walls witnessed? What sort of sex was had within these very same walls? Could that explain the switch on the wall? Was some long ago used electrical device once installed for the pleasure of the tenant or whoever they brought home? Enough of the fantasizing.

My apartment also wields a mail slot, even though there’s a communal box outside the front door for the four apartments served by said mailbox. My guess is that my apartment was once that of the landlord, hence my door being the only one equipped with a mail slot which I quickly plugged and taped over to prevent any forbidden smells from escaping, or, even worse and more relevant given my change of habits, to keep the smells outside from breaching in. (That is but one of the unfortunate side-effects of quitting smoking--I can now smell the stench of the wretched). I’m also guessing that this mysterious light switch at one point served some purpose, most likely related to the former role my apartment once played, back when it was just a bit bigger and a whole lot fresher.

But now that switch is useless. It serves only as an instigator for flights of fantasy, sparking chains of thought and streams of consciousness, more like a drippy faucet than a stream really, which gladly eats up a few calories that would otherwise have been spent churning around neurotransmitters in the brain of an evolved ape with almost as much time on his hands as those pathetic folk who come up with more names for off-white. Now, instead of thinking about matters of his day, matters of the future, he’s stuck writing in the third person (how did that happen?) about purpose, and the useless switch has become fixated in his mind, stirring up all sorts of musings. I’ve used that word--useless--carefully, planned this sentence selfishly (in order to reduce by two the third to first), and have begun to spin that word, ‘useless’, over and over again. What does it produce? If I were to flick that switch the other way would it turn out the light bulb hovering over my head?

Road kill is useless. What purpose does it serve? Of course one could claim it feeds scavengers and bacteria, our ancestral cousin we feel we’re too good to acknowledge anymore, let alone invite to the reunions. But that’d be missing the point. They were going to get their meal sooner or later. I saw, recently, a dead raccoon, followed by a dead ground hog and deer not far beyond. These creatures, these mammals, these warm-blooded critters took over 3 billion years to come about once life got started. The process was long, grueling, haphazard, and, ultimately, pointless. Darwin could save them if they reproduced before finding their end at the front of a car travelling at highway speeds. But few, if any, are given much comfort by the idea of a gene line supporting purpose. The reader can look ahead as well as I can and see where that leads.

Telos is an idea that gets tied up with all sorts of things in which it has no place. Humans put great worth and emphasis on purpose, on telos. Shouldn’t the species reliant on tools and artifacts? It’s so instilled in us that it’s blinded many of us from seeing what is readily apparent. Telos doesn’t exist until you have humans, humans that paint it on everything, slopping it on poor things that don’t need it, layer upon layer of it, until the world, like the apartment, gets smaller and smaller. Maybe they get comfort from it, but what’s that leave the humans that think? Just more shit to scrap off, like a bloated deer carcass on the side of the road. That thing lying on the side of the road has an unbroken chain of ancestors, of parents, linking it back to the first replicating entity that is ancestor to us all. Should it have died before replicating, its end, its telos was to get hit by a truck? Really? It’s not human some may claim. Those people need a switch, one with purpose, on the back of their necks; maybe it would shut them up until they’ve thought a bit more. Roadkill is a modern thing. Sure, maybe you had the occasional critter getting crushed by some chariot or horse drawn cart like Marmeladov in Crime & Punishment, but never before has purposelessness, has anti-telos, been on such prominent display for so many people whizzing by full of purpose and intent.

Humans maybe didn’t invent purpose, but we’ve definitely got a fascination, if not an obsession, with it. We can’t help but ooze it onto everything we handle. Intention was a late-comer in the universe. It took a big bang to create matter, a few generations of stars and supernovae to create the heavier elements of which we’re composed, another series of stars with accompanying disks of dust which coagulated into pebbles and rocks that collided with one another until planets were formed, whirling around a star some five billion years old in a universe some ten billion years old, and countless generations reproducing with no purpose, only because the conditions permitted it and the laws necessitated it, spawned some beasts with the rudiments of foresight and imagination that managed to take the 14 billion preceding years and yoke them into a mindset that put them on a path to us, a mindset that has made its existence there for us: ass backwards. Yet, every once in a while, these creatures saturated with intention and purpose, filled to the brim so that it spills over onto every thing else that has no purpose, those same beasts can make something so useless as a light switch with no function.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Based on a true story...

A new movie is out, another horror story with ridiculous paranormal shit going on with the subtext: Based on a true story. I believe it was called 'Haunting in Connecticut'.

Let me tell you a tale, one based on a true story...

This one time I met a guy asking for money out side of Bogart's down on Vine St. in Cincinnati. He asked me if I liked Bob Marley, and after I answered in the affirmative, he started to play his rendition of 'Redemption Song'. This man appeared to be cracked out on something, maybe even crack, his eyes sunken and his face withdrawn. I noticed the line getting longer and longer but this dude just kept blowin away on his flute-o-phone thingy he probably tried to pawn off but couldn't. Then the skies grew dark and the crack head let out a shriek. He fell to the ground. I wanted to help but the line was getting even longer, and I really didn't wanna be standing out on Vine St. any longer than I had to. My friends and I left the crack head writhing in the gravel parking lot.

I got into line, and I immediately thanked my lucky stars that the crackhead had stopped me and delayed my progress towards the line, because there standing before me were three sets of triplets, all hot! Nine girls wearing next to nothing standing right in front of me that liked the same sort of music I liked! They were of varying heights and complexions, as much as three sets of triplets can be at least, and a rainbow of different colored hair sat atop nine smiling and lip licking faces. A few were blonde, some redheads, one brunette, but two, which made rather lasting impressions, had blue and pink hair. I needn’t get into the details, as I’m sure you know where this is going, but they latched onto me, as, let’s face it, any trifecta of sultry buxom triplets would. They suggested, no pleaded, no begged, no DEMANDED that I go back with them to their apartment. I said my farewells to my understanding friends and went along with the nine nymphomaniacal nymphets, skipping out on the concert and leaving my ticket with my friends to do with as they pleased.

The evening was beyond words. As soon as one was content the next would help herself to my body, often fighting one another for a chance and it wasn’t long before the recently pleased were craving more. I thought I had lasted all night, quite proud of myself, before they all fell into a slumber only the sexually satisfied can attain, some purring, others sighing like the sough of a cool spring night breeze through freshly leaved trees. As I lay smothered in the flesh of ripe young women, I could swear I heard their heartbeats softly thumping in some strange sequence, and then it finally dawned on me that the series of varying pitches was that of ‘Redemption Song’. I snickered slightly to myself, careful not to wake the appeased beauties wrapped about me, thinking it a strange coincidence brought on by my dehydrated and otherwise drained state. What I remember surprising me most was when I learned that I had been engaged in the aforementioned activities not one night, not two nights, but three nights straight! Such were the pleasures experienced that I completely lost track of time and had no time to think of water, food, or any of the necessities of daily life. This took place another three times and I can’t claim to know how long each of those bouts lasted beyond the first. When I could quench their concupiscence no longer I was told to leave and that was the last I ever saw of the succubi numbering nine.

The daylight seemed a bright burden pushing me down, forcing me to the ground, my weakened body unable to convince my feet to keep moving. For some time I crawled along on the ground, not recalling whither I went, but I do remember finding some shelter, for it had begun to rain, and slept for how long I don’t know, the entire time ‘Redemption Song’ stuck in my head.

When I awoke I found a flute-o-phone there beside me and it all came back to me! The crackhead, the concert, and my friends! My life! I had people who undoubtedly were troubled by my prolonged absence! Then I remembered that I had given my friends my keys as well, since I had been the one who drove there that night. I decided to play the flute-o-phone to pass the time until I could think of a plan, but the only song I could think of was ‘Redemption Song’. I learned what I could and took to panhandling concert-goers in that same parking lot I had been accosted some time before in order to raise enough money for a taxi or bus ride back home. I was playing the most perfect version of the song for a group of four or five late-teens when the skies grew dark and I heard the giggles of those same seductive sirens. I shrieked and collapsed to the ground, the dust from the gravel stinging my eyes and nose. I died shortly thereafter. Honest to God, Scout’s Honor, and on my mother’s grave. It’s all based on a true story!

Now, why does everyone in the world know that never happened, but people will tell one another, “Did you see that movie? Yeah, wasn’t that fucked up? It was based on a true story you know. Really? You don’t say! Yeah! Something similar happened…” blah-de-fucking-blah. Given the state of the economy, I’m guessing studios are only investing in things they think will give a nice return. This means those that pump out all that sort of shit think there are enough dumb fucks out there to go see the film. I reckon they may be on to something.

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In honor of Mr. Haggard being back in the news, I'm reposting the flash fiction piece I wrote after the first scandal broke. Enjoy...

Behind the scenes of a man who likes it from behind…

"Whuh moo oo ohwaze oo at?"


The young man removed the cock from his mouth and said again, "Why do you always do that?"

"Do what?" The pastor was getting angry; the meth was wearing off and his hard-on wouldn't stand this sort of thing much longer.

"Turn the pictures down. Everytime we make love you put the family pictures face down." He wiped his mouth and adjusted his cod-piece.

"Jesus Christ! How many times do we have to go over this? Now, less talky and more sucky."

"I'm serious, Art! Why can't you admit our love? Is it so wrong?"

The Pastor gave the angry look he often gives: the crazy glaring stare of a confused clergyman, like when he thinks about Hillary Clinton or Teletubbies. "What do you want me to do? Tell all the people I like taking it in the ass from some fucking drug dealer?!?"

The young man's mouth was agape, sans cock, and his eyes showed the look of genuine pain. "I see." He got up from underneath the good Pastor's desk and started collecting his things.

"God dammit," muttered the pastor as he snorted the last line on his desk. He got up, slowly, and waddled over to the man like John Wayne -- his ass still ached. "Come on baby. You know I love ya, right?"

The man snorted back the snot dripping from his nose and wiped the tears from his eyes. "I won't be your fucking boy toy, your obedient little sheep, not anymore. We're done! I've waited for you to take me seriously for too long, Art!" shouted the young man, zipping up his assless pants. He walked to the stereo and ejected his Police Academy soundtrack disk; the song from the Blue Oyster club had been on repeat. He straightened out his S&M gear, looked in the mirror one last time and left the room. An instant later the sound of the door to the good pastor's office being slammed shut could be heard.

The preacher stood with his dick out, limp and wet, wondering what was to become of him. He zipped up his pants, went back to his desk, and sat down, carefully--very carefully. He opened the drawer and pulled out the last of his stash.

"Here's to you Jesus," he said to the empty room and snorted long and hard from the bag. He stopped thinking about his ass, his returning erection, and about what was to happen tomorrow. He picked up the family portrait, saw his reflection in it, and gave himself that smile he's so good at giving. He even fooled himself as he stood up and walked to the stereo. Did he have to take the cd?, he thought.

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Two Conversations, Same Exchange

Conversation 1

Receiver: Hello?
Caller: Hello, Mr. _________?
R: Yes.
C: Hi, I’m _______ calling on behalf of Time-Warner Cable. I see you subscribe to our Roadrunner internet service. Is that correct?
R: Yes, it is.
C: And you’re happy with that service?
R: Yes, I am, thank you.
C: Good. Who, if you don’t mind my asking, is your local, landline telephone provider?
R: I don’t have a landline.

C: Oh. Well Time-Warner is currently offering a bundle package, and since you’re already a subscriber to Roadrunner you qualify, to add a landline at a cost of only $32.50 a month. This allows unlimited...
R: I’m sorry, I’m not interested. I have a good deal with my cell phone company.
C: Oh…Don’t you want to limit your cell phone usage?
R: Umm…no.
C: Oh, okay. Well, with our deal you could…
R: Thank you, I’m not interested. Thanks though.

~Receiver ends by hanging up~

Conversation 2

Receiver: Hello?
Caller: Hello, Mr. _________?
R: Yes.
C: Hi, I’m _______ calling on behalf of Acme Industries. I see you subscribe to our Roadrunner internet service. Is that correct?
R: Yes, it is.
C: And you’re happy with that service?
R: Yes, I am, thank you.
C: Good. Who, if you don’t mind my asking, is your horse shit transporter?
R: I don’t have a horse, so I haven’t any horseshit.
C: Oh. Well, Acme Industries is currently offering a bundle package, and since you’re already a subscriber to Roadrunner you qualify, to add a horseshit transportation benefit at a cost of only $32.50 a month. This allows unlimited...
R: I’m sorry, I’m not interested. I haven’t a horse, nor do I have any horseshit.
C: Oh…Well we could sell you some horseshit if you don’t have any, that way you could…
R: Umm…no.
C: Oh, okay. How about a horse then?
R: Thank you, I’m not interested. Thanks though.
~Receiver ends by hanging up~

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Bear with me, the ad I want you to see will come after the WSJ ad that comes beforehand. If the video doesn't work, here's the link:

...and so, things were never the same since the introduction of the burger to the remote region of Thailand. Their whopper virginity had been ruthlessly taken from them, caught them unaware; like a drugged date, they woke the next morning feeling shamed and disgraced. The hamburger, which resembled nothing to the local cuisine that the denizens had been accustomed to, produced nauseau, bloody vomit, and runs that never ended. The burger, or as the locals call it--Demon Turd--had become a scourge to the elders of the tribes, but to the young men it had taken on a new role. The Demon Turd had become a tool for impressing the young women of the tribe, an initiation rite, a gatekeeper one must pass to get to manhood. Rituals and ceremonies arose surrounding the attainment and consumption of the much feared Demon Turd.

"Demon Turd! Ahhh Demon Turd!" shouted the shaman as he held it up to the sky.

Old women knotted their hands, old men cursed, young men became deathly silent and their faces drained of all color while the young women blushed.

"Demon Turd! Demon Tuuuuuuuuuuuurd!"

A young man steps up from the crowd--not yet a man in the eyes of the tribe. He's a brave one. The fire ant gloves he didn't mind. The ritualistic scarring he faced without a hint of fear. The week alone in the jungle, hopped up on the concotion of insect venom and fungal hallucinogenics the shaman had prepared for him, that was bad, but never before had his stomach quivered with such anticipation and anxiety.

"Demon Turd! Demon Turd!"

The white man had brought the Demon Turd. He had brought steel tools, cars, and powerful medicines, but this vile object seemed to undo all the good previously brought by the white man. The village elders regretted ever having befriended the white man from the now notorious Buhgah Keeeng.

"Demon Turd! Demooooooooooooon Turd!"

The crowd was now breathing in unison, chanting. The young man approaches. He catches the eye of a particular young beauty, blushing and receiving whispers from two other smiling young women, girls really, about how the girl of his desires will have to kiss him after he's eaten the Demon Turd. He gulps hard. He steels himself. He grips the Demon Turd from the sacred salver.

"Demon Turd!"

All is quiet. The random sounds of the jungle can be heard, but even the sounds nearest to the village seem to have quieted down in respect for the ritual at hand.

The young man holds up the Demon Turd. All are quiet. The young women stop whispering. The old men look away in disgust. The old women pray. Young boys look on in admiration. Young men look on in fear, knowing they too must engage in the initiation if they are to get a girl. The shaman looks on with content pride.

The young man takes a bite. His eyes wince. Tears fall from the corners. He struggles against the gag reflex. It's a sign of weakness to vomit on the first bite. No one has managed an entire Demon Turd down; this young man is determined to be the first. Juices and mayo litter the sides of his mouth.

In a few minutes the spectacle is over. The young man is now truly a man of the village. His face is washed by the young woman, according to ritual, and they are now one. The young man is uncertain if it was worth it. The smell haunts him, follows him, taunts him. But, for now, he's happy. He's a man. He has a woman. The Demon Turd can't harm him any longer...well, once the three days of diarrhea cease. But he has conquered the Demon Turd! Soon there will be more children in the village, his children, and both he and his wife pray to the gods they'll be girls, wishing to protect their children from the fate their father had to endure...the wrath of the Demon Turd.

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