Category Archives: Comedy

A Restless Vessel

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on

He was feeling restless in his overheated testicles on that day when everything changed.

The man named Steeple resembled a yellow wooden pencil as he shimmied down the sidewalk and away from the store on Story Street that sold mostly women’s lingerie and unmentionable undergarments. One of the clerks in the store had caught him grotesquely fondling frilly panties that were displayed like religious pamphlets on a table in the center of the store. He had been quite brazen about it, too—whispering unspeakable things and moaning. The clerk forcefully asked him to leave.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy I’m in trouble,” he said aloud to himself in a sing-song kind of way in his getaway. He walked rapidly, his long legs skating along awkwardly, arms pumping, elbows cocked out to the side. He kept turning around to look to see if anyone was following him. His head spun in all directions as he scanned the cityscape for a fresh poppin’ police cruiser tailing his ass. There were none.

He ducked into a small park and hid behind a tree. He suddenly had the urge to make pee and he undid his zipper and let it out. A woman holding a small child by the hand saw him as they passed by. “What are you doing!?” she cried out. She whipped the child around so she wouldn’t be able to see him.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy I’m really in trouble now!” the man who resembled a yellow wooden pencil said, and he quickly zipped up and scurried off like a frightened small mammal.

“You’re a pig!” the woman called out after him. “You should be behind bars!”

Steeple started to run, tripped, and fell, and then hurriedly got back up again. He had ripped his pants when he fell and could hardly stand it. He went straight off to see Mr. Calypso, the tailor on Harding Street.

A small bell attached to the door jingled when he walked in. “Hello… Mr. Calypso! Are you here!?”

A short man with flowing white hair and a big white moustache wriggling beneath his swelled nose emerged from the back of the shop. “Oh, hello there, Steeple. How are you?”

“I’m having a rough day,” Steeple replied. “A very rough day. And now my pants are torn… Right here in the knee.” He displayed the rip to him.

“Oh, my,” Mr. Calypso said, and he came out from behind the counter to take a closer look. “Take them off and I’ll get them fixed up for you.”

Steeple looked around the dim shop. “Right here? But people will see me in my underwear.”

Mr. Calypso bent his head down and looked at him judgmentally over the top rim of his glasses. “Do you think I have that much business?” He waved a hand in the air. “No one will come in, but if it makes you feel any better, you can come sit in the back with me while I work. Okay?”

“But then you’ll see me in my underwear.”

Mr. Calypso shot him an annoyed glance. “It’s underwear, Steeple. Everybody wears underwear. If you want, I’ll take my pants off, too. Then we’ll both be in our underwear. Okay?”

“That’s fair,” Steeple said, and he followed the old man to the back of the shop and the area where he did all his work.

“Now,” Mr. Calypso began as he undid his pants and stepped out of them. “I’ll just sew on a patch, okay?” He folded his own pants neatly and set them aside before spreading Steeple’s pants out on a broad table. He sat down on a stool and clicked on a light and went to work repairing the pants. “So, what’s this about a rough day. Do you want to tell me about it?”

“Just between you and me?”

“Just us, my friend.”

“I got caught messing around in the women’s lingerie shop.”

Mr. Calypso suddenly stopped what he was doing. “What? What kind of messing around?”

“I was just touching the women’s underwear.”

“More god damn underwear! What’s with you and underwear?”

“Yours are funny looking, by the way.”

Mr. Calypso looked down for a moment at his plain white briefs. “Never mind that!”

“Have you ever touched a pair of women’s panties?”

 Mr. Calypso chuckled as he went back to fixing Steeple’s pants. “It’s been a few years.”

“They’re so nice. So soft and lacey and… I just can’t help it. I mean, men’s underwear are like tool bags, whereas women’s underwear are like cradles full of lullabies.”

Mr. Calypso looked at him strangely and shook his head to cast off the words Steeple just uttered. “And so, what happened? You were touching them and then what…?”

“The lady that worked there, she like, yelled at me to stop and I ran out of the store.”

“Well… I don’t think they’ll send you to prison.”

“And then some woman and her kid caught me peeing in the park. That’s when I ran off, fell, and ripped my pants.”

Mr. Calypso laughed out loud. “Oh, my. You have had quite the day. Ooo hoo. Anything else?” 

“No. Not yet.”

“Come on,” Mr. Calypso said. “Don’t be so glum. It could be worse. It can always be worse.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“I am right. I’m always right.”

They were silent with each other for a while as the tailor finished his work on the pants and then presented them to him. “Good as new,” he said.

“Thanks,” Steeple said, and he hopped off the stool where he had been sitting and put the pants back on. “What do I owe you, Mr. Calypso?”

“Don’t worry about it… Think of it as the one good thing that happened to you today. Free pants repair. I know it’s been bleak.”

“I appreciate it… I’ll see you around.”

Steeple walked out of the tailor shop and went up two blocks to a coffee house. He ordered a regular coffee and a piece of cherry pie. He sat in a small booth by a window. He sipped at his coffee and poked at his pie with the tips of the fork tines. “Oh, boy, oh boy, oh boy, I’m a damn fool,” he whispered to himself. 

A moment later something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. It was a red balloon floating listlessly in the air. He followed the white string down and saw that it was tied around the wrist of a young girl. It was the girl from the park, and her eyes were boring into him like the gigantic drilling machine in the movie At The Earth’s Core.

The girl tugged on her mother’s sleeve and when the woman realized who it was, she thrust out her pointer finger and yelled across the restaurant, “That’s the man who made pee in the park! Security!”

Steeple panicked. He roughly got up from the table and ran out of the coffee house without paying the bill. He ran and ran and kept on running. A police cruiser eventually rushed up beside him; it’s lights suddenly illuminated and there was the blurp blurp sound of warning.

Steeple could run no more, and he hunched over and placed his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath. The new patch felt strange against his palm. He could see the officers approaching. Then once again from the corner of his eye, something caught his attention. There was someone sitting in the back of the patrol car. It was Mr. Calypso the tailor and he was scowling back at him and wagging a finger of shame in Steeple’s direction.

“Oh boy, oh, boy, oh boy,” Steeple mumbled as the officers of the law roughly put him up against the outside wall of a building. “It was all just a trick. Life is nothing but a trick.”


The Lobster Guy (Two)

The Lobster Guy. Two women on a beach. One woman is trying to pull a lobster from the other woman's bathing suit.

In the mechanical cacophony beneath bright lights and with the scent of poultry death in the air, Truman Humboldt reluctantly worked.

“You know, I really wish we were shelling lobsters instead of breaking chicken necks!” Truman Humboldt said loudly to the stout Mexican woman working across from him.

“Huh?” she said, with a puzzled look on her face, the noise of the factory floor making it hard to hear him.

“Lobsters!” Truman repeated with frustration. “I wish these were lobsters!”

“Lobsters? These aren’t lobsters, fool. You el pollo loco,” the Mexican woman said to him, waving her blue rubber-gloved hand at him in a dismissive gesture, and she went back to work, completely ignoring him.

Truman didn’t fully understand what she had said. “Thanks a lot!” he yelled back, and he smiled his awkward, yucky teeth smile, a smile that did nothing to improve his burning red complexion.

At lunch break, Truman sat by himself at a long table in the cafeteria looking down at the plastic tray in disgust. He spoke aloud to himself. “Chicken sandwiches. I hate chicken sandwiches. How many times do I have to tell you people I HATE chicken sandwiches!”

The chatter in the cafeteria died down and people stared at Truman and whispered.

One of the supervisors noticed Truman’s outburst and went over to him. “Everything okay there Truman? You seem a little tense.”

“Yes, Mr. Munich, everything is fine. I just wish we had some better menu choices.”

“Well, you know, it’s a free lunch. The company wants to be sure you are well fed because we care about our employees. But, you get what we give you. If you don’t like it, why don’t you bring your own lunch?”

“You know Mr. Munich, thank you, I think I may start doing that,” Truman said, the answer being tainted with a hint of sarcasm. “The only problem is, Mr. Munich, I couldn’t get a decent lobster in this God-awful town if it came right up to me on the sidewalk and bit me on the ass!”

Mr. Munich laughed and patted Truman on his bony shoulder to help soothe the situation. “Don’t you mean claw you on the ass, Truman,” he laughed. His loud, annoying chuckle was plainly insincere. “You know… Because lobsters have claws.”

Truman was unimpressed and somewhat insulted by Mr. Munich’s lighthearted joke. He feigned a snicker and rolled his red, swollen eyes.

“Oh, come on, Truman. It’s funny. Laugh a little once in a while,” Mr. Munich told him. “You’re much too tense about all this lobster stuff. We just want you to be happy here. You are happy working here, aren’t you?”

“Well, I guess so, it’s a job,” Truman answered. “You know how it is these days.”

Mr. Munich sat down next to Truman. He retrieved a white handkerchief from a pocket and dabbed at his sweaty brow. It was always too hot in the factory.

“You know, Truman, we do very important work here,” Mr. Munich began. “We process chickens for people all over the country. Why, just this morning, you may have broken the neck of a chicken that will be enjoyed by a thankful family in… Florida, for example.”

“Florida is hot and muggy and there are too many bugs and alligators and old people there. I hate Florida,” Truman snipped.

“Well, okay, wherever then. How about Maine? You always talk about going to Maine.”

Truman grew angry. “How dare you Mr. Munich! People in Maine only eat lobster! Lobster god damn it!”

“Hey, hold on Truman, settle down. There’s no need to get your tailfeathers in a ruffle. I’m sure some people in Maine eat chicken. They must. I mean, people in Maine can’t eat lobster every single day.”

“I could, and I would if I lived there instead of this shithole. I would eat lobster every damn day, and you know what, if you came to visit me, I wouldn’t let you have any lobster at all. I’d say to you, ‘No lobster roll for you, Mr. Munich,’ and then I’d tell you to get the hell out of my restaurant.”

Mr. Munich stood up and just shook his head.

“Okay Truman, you win. If you’re going to be like this, I’d rather not talk to you right now. You’re a good worker, Truman, but I think you’re losing your marbles. I would like for you to report to the company counselor this afternoon before you leave for the day. I think you need to talk to someone. A professional. I’ll let her know you’re coming.”

Truman Humboldt lightly knocked on the half-opened door of the counselor’s office in an upper part of the chicken plant where he had never been to before.

A soft female voice answered. “Come in.”

“Hello,” Truman shyly said, his heart thumping, as he looked at the well-dressed woman sitting behind a cluttered desk.

“You must be Truman, right? I’m Maggie Barrymore,” and she stood and extended her hand.

Truman grasped her hand with his and he got nervous in his gut, for her skin was very soft and warm to the touch. His was cold and damp.

“Please, sit down,” she said to him, and she subtly wiped her hand on her skirt.

Truman took a seat across from her. He became even more nervous when he saw how attractive she was, how perfectly professional and pompous and pouty and precious she was. How completely unlike himself she was. He wanted to taste her despite how distasteful she was to him. Just because she would never have anyone like him.

“So,” she began, adjusting the smart glasses on her flawless face and readying a pen to take notes. “Mr. Munich told me you had some trouble in the cafeteria today. Do you want to tell me about that?”

Truman looked down when he spoke. “Oh, I wouldn’t call it trouble. I was just a bit upset about having to eat a chicken sandwich again.”

“Truman, you can look at me, I won’t bite.”

“Unless you want me to,” Truman heard her soft voice inside his head say, like a radio in another room.

“Oh, I’m sorry, mam, I’m not always good around people, especially nice looking and put together people such as yourself. You have a fantastic vibe, sort of.”

“Well, thank you Truman, but we’re here to talk about you and what happened today.”

Truman heard her sensual voice in his head again, the radio turned a bit louder. “Do you want to take me to bed? I’ll let you do anything.”

“Well, like I said,” Truman nervously stammered. “I was mad about having to eat a chicken sandwich again. I just wish they had other things for us to eat. But then Mr. Munich suggested I should bring my own lunch from my own home if I wanted to, and I think I may just do that, mam. That’s about it.”

“You can call me Maggie; you don’t have to call me mam. That makes me feel old.”

Truman once again heard her mystical voice in his head, and he began to shake and scratch at his face. “I want you inside me Truman, right here, right now. Give it to me on my desk.”

“All right then… Maggie.” Then Truman brightened when he suddenly felt he had something meaningful to say, to a woman. “Do you happen to like Seinfeld?” he asked her.

“You mean the TV show?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty funny I guess, but let’s talk more about…”

“Would you like to come over to my house and watch it with me some night?” Truman nervously blurted out. “I could fix us dinner and maybe you would let me kiss you at some point in the evening. It could be like a hot date.”

Maggie Barrymore was a bit stunned and cleared her throat before she spoke again. “Now Truman, that would be highly inappropriate, and I would appreciate you not ever saying anything like that again. We work together. We are to act professional. Is that understood?”

Her imaginary voice penetrated Truman’s mind again. “You can kiss me anywhere you would like to, Truman. And I mean anywhere.”

“I’m sorry Miss Maggie, it’s just that you are… So beautiful. Like a perfect lobster just pulled from the chilly waters of the Atlantic.” Truman let his eyes close as he paused to imagine a life with someone special and beautiful beside him. “I would love to butter you up and eat you.”

Maggie Barrymore pretended to ignore his odd remark and nervously shuffled through some things on her desk in hopes of ending the meeting as quickly as possible.

“I was going through your file, and it looks like you’ve been with us for about four years?” she said.

“That’s right,” Truman answered, returned to reality.

“So, what brought you to Neptune, Nebraska? Seems like an odd choice for someone who’s so into lobster.”

“My grandfather owned a house here, and he left it to me when he died, and I had nowhere else to go after my folks kicked me out of their house in Lincoln, so I came here to live.”

“Why did your parents kick you out?”

“They were tired of me being weird and living in the basement and always talking about lobster and wanting to go live my dream life in Maine. My dad wasn’t my real dad though, he was just a step, and he was mean to me sometimes. He would tell me that I wasn’t a real man, but that I was just a scared little pussy in a man’s body. He just wanted it to be him and my mother by themselves. I never had a real dad, I mean, not that I know of.”

“That’s awful. I’m so sorry to hear that,” Maggie said, feigning empathy. “Do you ever talk to your mother anymore?”

“No, she died not too long ago. She had cancer in her brain, and of course my stepdad doesn’t want anything to do with me. So, here I am Miss Maggie, in Neptune, Nebraska, just trying to survive life while I chase my dream.”

“I’m awfully sad to hear that about your mother, Truman. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot.”

“Hadn’t we all Miss Maggie? Hadn’t we all.” 


You can read the first part of this story HERE.

The Chick-fil-A Witch Project

Close up photo of a person s hands cutting pickles. Why does Chick-fil-A put pickles on a chicken sandwich?

The day was gray and cold, the sky the color of frozen steel and whipped cream dipped in a downward spiral of war perhaps. My hot cheeka beside me, the one I continually long to mount like an animal, suddenly got a craving for a fruit bowl, but at all places… Chick-fil-A.

We were in the big town this day, the town that has a Chick-fil-A and all the other things of consumption-fueled modern life, many in triplicate, fourplicate, fiveplicate… And so, our loving guts tell us to take advantage, to taste everything we can, when we can, however we can.

I pulled her in for a long love kiss, her lips winter warm, and then I pulled the car into the long drive-thru line, as it always is, winding, binding, crammed and cramped. Chaos. I am always amazed that this many people are so desperate for a chicken sandwich that they will sit in a line 4 miles long and waste half of their day, half of their life, waiting, for a mediocre chicken sandwich doled out by breaded bigots.

But my woman wanted a fruit bowl. And I decided I would become one of the overcrowded crowd and said, “What the hell, I’ll get a chicken sandwich. How about a spicy one?”

She looked at me with grave concern. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean, with everything that happened with your guts last night.”

I thought about it. Maybe she was right. Maybe I should take it easy on the spicy food. I gave in to her wisdom and utter beauty. “All right. I’ll just have the regular chicken sandwich. What kind of crap do they put on it?” I asked my lovely because I am not always wise about such things.

“Just pickles.”



“Who wants pickles on a chicken sandwich? That’s evil and wrong. Someone needs to put an end to that.”

“And I’m sure you’ll be the one to do it,” she said.

The line inched forward.

I looked past the big windows and into the dining room of this particular Chick-fil-A, and there I saw all the people stuffing their tired faces with chicken sandwiches, nuggets, and waffle fries, alternating bites between sucking sips of their big soda pops through red plastic straws. Slurp, slurp, chow chomp, chow chomp …A feeding frenzy of madness, sadness. I wondered what stupid things they were talking about. I imagined the cacophony of societal collapse contained tightly within that box. My eyes went to the front counter and the madness there as the workers desperately tried to survive the onslaught of orders and demands and complaints… “I’d punch someone in the face if I had to work in there,” I said to the steering wheel. My hot woman was looking at her phone. I put a hand between her warm thighs.

The line inched forward.

My anxiety was kicking in as we approached the young woman standing outside in the cold and holding her order machine. I always get nervous in drive-throughs because I’m afraid I won’t be able to remember everything to say or the right thing to say. And then all those people behind me breathing up my tailpipe. There’s too much pressure to order quickly and precisely.

I rolled down the window. There was no happy smile upon this Chick-fil-A worker’s face. There was no greeting of love. In fact, she was as cold as the late autumn day that encapsulated us and everyone else around.

“Name for the order,” she barked like a bitch seal stranded on an ocean rock.

I gave her my name. Had to spell it as usual so they wouldn’t jack it up: AARON.

“What would you like?”

“A regular chicken sandwich,” and I stressed, “NO pickles.”

She angrily tapped something into her computerized pad.

“What else?” she heartlessly wanted to know.

My hot babe leaned across me. I breathed in her scent as she said, “A fruit bowl.”

“Small, medium, or large?” the young lady snapped at us as if we were a complete inconvenience to her Chick-fil-A existence.

“Large?” my wife said with some confusion for she did not realize there were so many various sizes of fruit bowls.

The bitch seal punched some more stuff into her electric order pad and rattled out the total. I handed her a credit card and she bawled us out for such a faux pas. “You pay at the window!”

I pulled forward within the stream. I felt crushed, embarrassed. I didn’t understand. “Then why is she even out there with her stupid little electric pad with its card reader?” I asked my woman.

She shook her head. I wanted to be on her. I loved her madly.

As we inched around toward the window, which was a doorway, my thoughts drifted to the recent Chick-fil-A commercial I saw on the television. It was one of those commercials with deep feelings between a customer and a worker. You know, where they sit on some comfortable Chick-fil-A couch, and they relate a traumatic Chick-fil-A story and there’s tears and hugs and love and it all culminates in a stupid life-long friendship.

In this particular commercial that I was thinking about, a woman was having a hurried, frenzied day and she forgot to take the shake she had ordered when she left the restaurant. Well, have no fear lady because Lupe, or whatever her name was, is coming after you with that damn shake. In fact, Lupe is going to chase you down with that shake. Lupe is going to run two blocks to make sure you get that shake you ordered. Why? Because she has the Chick-fil-A spirit. She has Chick-fil-A soul. She has Chick-fil-A gumption. It’s because she loves you lady, she wants you to have your shake and enjoy it. She wants you to be happy and fulfilled.

As long as you’re not gay, of course. Which is weird because in the commercial there was so much giddiness and joy going on between these two women that I thought they were going to start making out.

So, I told my wife, in reference to the young lady that just took our order, “There’s no way in hell she’d run two blocks to bring us a shake if we had left one behind. No way in hell.”

“She’s no Lupe,” my babe said.

“That’s for sure. What a bunch of bullshit those commercials are,” I complained.

It was finally our turn at the doorway and the young man there politely took our payment and handed us our bag of food. “Thank you,” I said, and I pulled out into the madness of the world.

My woman undid our food bag as I drove. She spread my chicken sandwich open like sex to inspect it because she loves me and wants me to have what I want. “They put pickles on it,” she warned me.

I flipped out. “That bitch. She did it on purpose. She didn’t care about my Chick-fil-A experience at all! Why is nothing ever true!?”

My wife pulled the pickles off before handing the sandwich over to me. That’s love I tell you. She touched pickles for me. She may have even eaten one. I like pickles, but I like them where they belong. Like on a hamburger, not a chicken sandwich. Sometimes I just don’t understand this world.

“I should be in a Chick-fil-A commercial,” I said. “But instead of love vibes on the couch, I’ll be bitching about pickles.”

My wife was busy poking around in her fruit bowl. “You do that, my love,” she said as she put some strawberries in her mouth. She sure does love that fruit bowl, I thought to myself, and then we Took it to the Maxx over at T.J. Maxx. But that’s another story.

The Misty-Eyed Stormtrooper (Episode III)

Photo of sliced bread. Misty-Eyed Stormtrooper.
Photo by Marcel Fiedler on

The Life Stopper Challenge

Karl the stormtrooper carefully balanced the board on which rested his hazelnut 12-grain bread as he made his way through a hypnotic corridor at Outpost 9 on the planet Placitas in the galaxy of Fresh.

When he arrived at the quarters of Commander Altiar, he nervously pressed the call button and waited.

 “Yes, what is it?” came the voice of the commander from the other side of somewhere.

“It’s Karl, sir. The stormtrooper. I’ve come with the bread you requested.

The door quickly slid open with a swoosh, and Karl stepped inside. The commander’s quarters were opulent compared to the simple, crowded barracks that the young stormtrooper was accustomed to. He looked around at the elaborate furnishings, the decorated walls, the large windows looking out upon the rutty, desert-like landscape of the planet Placitas and all the dots of light in the night sky that roared above it. The commander was out of uniform and was wearing a shiny robe of red and black that went down to his shins. His feet were bare, and it all struck Karl as very odd for he had never seen a commanding officer in a robe and with bare feet before. Those two worlds rarely mixed, if ever.

The commander took notice of the young stormtrooper’s obvious discomfort and chuckled. “You don’t believe that I’m always in uniform, do you Karl? I do take time to unwind and relax. I have to shower and change clothes like everyone else. Please, come in. You can set your bread down over here. I’ll grab a knife.”

Karl set the bread board down as ordered and waited. The commander returned with a large, silver bread knife with a glinting, gently serrated edge. He waved it around recklessly as he spoke. “I must tell you, Karl. I’ve really been looking forward to this. I know it may seem strange to you that I’m so excited about bread, but sometimes being a commander in the Evil Empire doesn’t allow a proper balance between work and a personal life. I’m afraid having hobbies and other interests outside my official duties are often frowned upon by the higher ups, so it’s nice to be able to indulge when one can… Now, let’ see what we have here.” The commander diligently looked the loaf over. “The color is good,” he said. He picked it up and rapped a knuckle against the bottom. A hollow sound would indicate to him that it had been baked long enough. “Seems done,” he said with a pleased smile.

Karl nervously looked on as the commander worked the knife into the center of the loaf with a precise sawing motion. Once cut through, the commander picked up one half and studied the interior. “Hmm, looks like you have a good dough structure, it’s not over or under proofed so the rise is nearly perfect.” He flipped the half loaf around to look at the underside again. “No soggy bottom here.” He poked at the inside with a finger and was happy with the spring back. He looked up at Karl and smiled. “That’s an excellent bake. You really nailed it. But let’s hope it tastes just as good as it looks.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

The commander kept his eyes on Karl as he tore a piece from the loaf and put it into his mouth. He chewed slowly. Then he closed his eyes and bowed his head like he was saying a prayer as he continued chewing and thinking deeply. That worried Karl. A sick nervousness began to rise in his guts, and he thought that at any moment the commander was going to spit the bread out of his mouth and order Karl to be executed. When the commander opened his eyes and looked at him, Karl feared the worst.

“That’s fantastic,” the commander said. “I love the flavor you’ve achieved. It holds in the mouth superbly. It’s got an amazing chew. Absolutely fantastic.”

Karl released a great sigh of relief. “Thank you, sir. Thank you so much.”

“I mean it. Well done. That’s an excellent loaf of bread. You should be proud of yourself,” and Commander Altiar reached out his hand to congratulate the stormtrooper with a firm grip and shake. “Congratulations, you blew my balls off as requested.”

“Wonderful. I’m glad my bread blew your balls off, sir. I was really worried you were going to hate it.”

Commander Altiar beamed at him. “Take some advice, Karl. Don’t ever reveal your doubts when you’re up against a challenge. It only robs you of confidence.” The commander slapped his hands together to clear away any breadcrumbs. “Now, I suppose you’re eager to get on with your life. As I am a man of my word, I’m relieving you of your duty to the Evil Empire. I of course will handle all the authoritative nuances that are bound to creep up. But I would be quick to say your goodbyes and leave this place and be off to France.”

Karl’s head drooped for a moment.

“Is there a problem, Karl?” the commander wanted to know. “I thought you would be ecstatic.”

“Of course, sir. I am, sir. It’s just that…”

“What is it?”

“Well, I’ve never been much of a traveler, and I don’t have too many connections… Anywhere. I’m not sure where to begin.”

“You begin at the beginning, Karl. I’m sure you’ll do what needs to be done to reach your destination,” the commander instructed. “I wish you the best of luck.” The commander proceeded to cut another slice of the bread. He raised it to his face and inhaled the aroma. “I think I’ll make some toast. Would you care for a slice, Karl?”

“No. That’s okay. I should probably just get back to the barracks and get my things together. Thanks for all of this, sir. I greatly appreciate it.”

The commander studied him for a moment and sensed the unfinished business that sat upon the air. “You act as if there is something else on your mind, Karl. What is it?”


“Yes. Go ahead. Just say it.”

“Would you come with me?”

The commander froze and only his eyes moved, and they moved all over Karl trying to decipher his deepest intentions. The young stormtrooper was suddenly worried that his request was far too bold and that he just destroyed his only chance of ever getting away from the Evil Empire and fulfilling his dream to just bake.

“Did you just ask your commanding officer to run away with you?” Commander Altiar said in a somewhat bitter tone.

Karl stammered. “Sir. Yes, I did, sir. It’s just that you have a far greater knowledge of space travel, and I was hoping you could perhaps act as a guide. I know you have your own ship. You must be a good pilot. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I just wanted to ask anyways. My apologies if I overstepped my bounds. I’ll be on my way. Thank you, sir.”

Karl turned and made his way toward the exit.

“Wait,” Commander Altiar said.

Karl turned and looked at him. “Sir?”

“I suddenly find myself at that familiar crossroad of regret, Karl. I don’t know if it’s just the high I’m feeling from this delectable bread, but something tells me that I should say ‘yes.’”

Karl stepped forward. “I’m only asking for passage. Once on Earth I won’t be a burden to you any longer. I swear it. But I would be eternally grateful for your help.”

“All right, Karl. That sounds fair enough to me. But I will only do this on one condition.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“That you bake me some more bread.”

Keep an eye out for Episode IV

The October Oatmeal Project (A Halloween Story)

White salt flats surrounding a shallow pool of light blue water. There are brownish, jagged mountains in the background below a deep blue sky.

A Strange Dream

The ghost of Wilford Brimley rode upon an ocelot across the dry-skinned floor of the salt flats out beyond the perimeter of Brigham City, Utah where he lived in a holy water and whitewashed adobe abode. He was strung out on cinnamon-tainted oatmeal and lomticks of toast as he rattled along the parched earth singing opera like Oasis. The sun was creeping up like an erection and the morning was already hotter than Hades, even in October Halloween time. That’s just the way it is where he was.

The ghost of Wilford Brimley saw visions of blue-hatted Quakers churning butter and browning biscuits out ahead somewhere on the steaming deck of the desert and he clicked his teeth and tugged on the reins so the ocelot would get the message and turn and pick up the pace because he wanted to go there to get a closer look at how they lived.

He reached down and patted the wild cat because he felt somewhat sorry for him. “I know this isn’t the right kind of environment for a cat such as yourself, and I’m sure you don’t like it, but I sure do appreciate you giving me a ride across the salt flats. At least the few trees and the hills in the distance are dappled with the colors of October. Isn’t that just fine?”

The cat hissed in return. “I don’t care about the weather, but you’re too heavy and you’re going to bend my spine and then I won’t be able to run and hunt. That’s a pretty big deal to me. I’m not made for carrying around someone who eats too much oatmeal.”

The ocelot suddenly stopped, and the ghost of Wilford Brimley flew forward and off the cat and hit the crusted dirt like a tossed sack of potatoes. He groaned some and shook his head before trying to stand. “What the hell did you do that for!? You could have at least warned me you were going to stop so abruptly.”

“I told you. You’re too heavy. I can’t keep going with you crushing my back like that. I’m not an elephant, you big goof.” And then the ocelot ran off and the ghost of Wilford Brimley watched the animal go until it disappeared into the shimmer of an oven-baked and mirrored horizon.

Grape Jones clicked his eyes and suddenly yelled out in his bed and shot straight up, panting. “What a weird dream,” he groaned out loud. He clumsily reached for his cell phone that was sitting on the table beside his bed and called his latest girlfriend.

Her voice was fresh and sparkly like a grapefruit at a sunny breakfast. “Hey, what’s shaking baked potato?”

“Hey babe. I just woke up from another one of those weird dreams.”

He heard her sigh in frustration on the other end of wireless phone space. “Were you Wilford Brimley again?”

“Yeah… But this time I was his ghost.”

“Grape, you really need to get over this Wilford Brimley shit. I’m tired of you walking around and talking like him all the time, going on and on about die-a-beetus, and eating all that god damn oatmeal. It’s ridiculous. You’re a grown man. Snap out of it and live in the real world already.”

“I know, I know. I get it, but it’s almost Halloween and I was hoping you’d let me dress up as Wilford Brimley one last time. And then after that, I’m done with it. End of story. I promise.”

“I don’t know, Grape. It’s hard for me to believe that. You’ve said the exact thing multiple times before, and you never hold true to it… And anyways, I’ve decided to go out with friends for Halloween this year.”

“What!? What do you mean go out with friends!? We had plans! I thought you were coming over to binge watch Our House and pass out Halloween treats to all the little tricksters.”

“Yeah, um. Look, Grape. You’re a nice guy and everything, but none of that is really my idea of fun. At all. I mean, it’s Halloween. I want to party, not sit around and watch Our House all night. That show’s like from the 80s, and it’s so stupid.”

“It is not stupid. It showcases some of Brimley’s finest work as an actor.”

“He’s an asshole in it.”

“He’s not an asshole. He’s just stern and overprotective because he cares about his family. Give the guy a break, his character suffered a terrible loss on the show. And it’s got some pretty good life lessons in it which frankly you could use.”

“Yeah, whatever. Look. Don’t call me anymore… And by the way, your name is stupid, too!”

The line went blank, and Grape held the phone out in front of his face in disbelief. “Yeah, whatever, too, bitch. I don’t need a Wilford Brimley hater in my life.” He set his phone back on the table, snuzzled back down into the bed, covered his entire head with the sheet, and began sobbing uncontrollably.

A Hallowed Halloween Lesson

When Grape Jones pulled the front door open, there before him stood a small cluster of children in various Halloween costumes. He himself was now craftily disguised as the infamous peddler of oatmeal and sound advice – Wilford Brimley – his hair powdered white and a matching bushy moustache wriggling away above his mouth, round-rimmed wire reading glasses perched on his nose, a rumpled white shirt, suspenders holding up his baggy chinos.

Beyond his Halloween visitors, in the streetlight-lit pinkish dark, other children were running up and down the sidewalks on either side, laughing and chattering, ringing doorbells and crying out “Trick-or-Treat!” The group now before him did the same. “Trick-or-Treat!” their chorus rang.

Grape grinned and in his best Wilford Brimley voice said to them, “Well, my, my, aren’t you a scary lookin’ bunch. Let’s see,” and he pointed at them in turn. “Looks like we got a witch, a vampire, a princess…” And his eyes fell upon a boy wearing a moppish blonde wig, oversized reading glasses and he had what looked to be blood smeared all over his mouth. “Hmm, and who are you supposed to be? A flesh-eating zombie?”

“Not a flesh-eating zombie. I’m Jefferey Dahmer.”

“Oh, Jeffrey Dahmer. Now that is scary.”

Then Grape looked upon another boy who was wearing a sun hat, sunglasses, a button-up Hawaiian shirt that was too big for him, khaki shorts, and sandals. “You must be cold in that outfit,” Grape said to him.

“Nah, I’m fine.”

“Off to the beach are ya?”

“That’s right. I’m U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas. As soon as I’m done trick-or-treating, I’m headed to sunny Cancun to selfishly escape my responsibilities to the people who voted me into power.”

Grape let out a grand grandpa-like guffaw. “Now that’s a good one, young fella. A very good one… All right then, let me get all of you your treats.”

Grape ducked inside to the table near the door and grasped in one arm the kettle of oatmeal he had prepared earlier while he dipped a silver-colored ladle into the warm cereal with the other hand. “All right now, hold out your bags,” he said to them when he returned to the opened front door.

The children did as they were asked, each gladly holding out their bags or orange plastic pumpkins that never let go that smell of Halloween candy from long ago. Grape raised the first ladleful over young Jeffrey Dahmer’s bag and poured in the gloopy oatmeal. The boy looked down in absolute shock.

Grape did the same to the next child, and the next and the next, each one of them making their own unique face of disgust. “Eww,” the princess said. “My candy!” and she began to cry. When Grape got to the kid dressed as Ted Cruz on his way to holiday in Mexico, he gave him an extra heavy helping of oatmeal and sloppily plopped it in.

“What gives, mister!?” the Cruz kid snapped. “You just ruined all our treats with this damn oatmeal!”

“Now, now, kids. Calm down. I’m doing you all a favor.” And in a stern, lecturing tone he said to them, “Don’t you know what’s going to happen if you eat all that candy?”

“Yeah. I’m going to enjoy it,” the boy dressed as Jeffrey Dahmer smarmily replied. “At least I was.”

“Well, now that may be true,” Grape continued. “But in reality, what may seem enjoyable to you all right now, could very well be bad for you later on in life. You see young people, it’s important to always weigh the consequences of your actions.”

The small cluster of kids looked up at him, disgruntled and confused and Grape sensed it. “I’m talking about die-a-beetus, kids. Die-a-beetus.”

“What’s die-a-beetus?” the girl made up as a green witch with a black pointed hat asked.

“It’s a disease you get from eating too much candy, and it can kill you!” The young girl dressed as the princess wailed even louder now. “That’s right, you should be crying about it,” Grape stressed, beaming at them like a grumpy old man. “This is very serious. All that candy is going to be the end of you. I’m just being the fella who’s trying to save all your young lives from irreparable harm. I’m trying to do good by you. That’s why I gave you oatmeal. It’s healthy for you. It’s got fiber and it doesn’t rot your teeth out.”

Now the young princess screamed, dropped her candy bag, and ran off. Her older brother, that being the Jeffrey Dahmer boy, chased after her. All the others followed as well, except the boy dressed as Cancun Cruz and now he scowled up at Grape and it was nearly frightening.

“Thanks for ruining our Halloween, gramps. I’m going to go tell my dad, and he’s going to come back here and beat your ass!” And with that, the Ted Cruz boy ran off into the night.

Grape stood there for a moment listening to the sounds of Halloween flow up and down the cozy street of a Brigham City in October night like an unsettled river of glowing orange and flashlight beams dancing. He sighed and shook his head. “Kids these days,” he said aloud to himself. “They just don’t know how to listen.”

Before turning and going back inside, Grape eyed the young girl’s bag of candy crumpled up there on the walkway in front of his house. He bent down to pick it up and carefully brought it inside. He locked the front door and turned off the porch lights.

He took the girl’s bag of candy into the kitchen and dumped the contents into the stainless-steel sink. He picked through the oatmeal-splattered treats as best he could, and the pieces he saved he set aside in a glass bowl. The rest he threw out.

He took the bowl of candy into the living room and settled into the old couch he had there. He reached for a remote control and clicked the television on. He used another remote to power up the VCR (Video Cassette Recorder). The screen flickered for a moment and then the tape whirred to life and Grape Jones slowly ate all the candy while he watched episode after episode of Our House before cascading off into another wonderous Wilford Brimley dreamland.