Category Archives: Humor

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 As Usual Eyebrows

Close up shot of a person wearing creepy contact lenses and with frosted eyebrows.
Photo by cottonbro studio on

For some reason the cement tasted like butterscotch pudding when I got shoved to the sidewalk, face hitting first, teeth bent, nose shoved to one side, forehead gashed, and the worst of it… Eyebrows completely scraped off, now two little brown caterpillars on the sidewalk dying in the morning sun.

When I got up and brushed myself off, the people streaming by in both directions stared at me. Some pointed and laughed, others showed disgust. Not a single person stopped to make sure I was okay. Not one. Even with blood trickling down my face. As usual.

It was the morning, and I was hungry and had been on my way to the bagel shop for some breakfast like I often do when I get shoved to the ground. I was aching and banged up and without any eyebrows, but I was still hungry, nonetheless. I decided I would carry on with my plans and go into the bagel shop anyways. They have a chocolate chip bagel there that will blow your balls off. Of course, with all my other injuries, I suppose I didn’t really need to have my balls blown off, too.

I found some fast-food wrapping paper discarded in a nearby trash bin and cleaned myself up as best I could. Then I made my way to the bagel shop, my stomach growling. The place was packed, as usual. I stood in the lengthy queue, craning my neck to see if Cliff was working beyond the throng somewhere. It was crowded and noisy and I could tell people were looking at me and mumbling things that I am sure weren’t flattering at all as I stood there looking like humanity’s most puzzling freak. As usual.

Cliff was a longtime counter clerk at the bagel shop, and he was nice to me. If I ordered a medium coffee, he’d make it a large. If I ordered one bagel, he would slip me another one for free. He looked at me funny sometimes, too, like he was in love with me or something. Maybe that’s why he gave me extra coffee and bagels. I was okay with all that for sure, but I just wanted to be friends.  

Cliff was short. He was the shortest person who worked at the bagel shop. I always wanted to ask him if he fell under some sort of special classification of very short people, but I never did because I figured he’d get pissed off about that. His shortness is the reason why I always have to put in the extra effort to see if he’s around. I don’t really care if he’s that short, but maybe he does. He’s loud, too. I suppose he’s trying to make up for being short. It’s like he screams everything he says or thinks whoever he’s talking to is horribly hard of hearing. If I don’t see him, I can usually hear him.

“Hey, Ernie!” he called out when he had finally caught sight of me. He had a big grin on his squarish concrete face, colored a smooth peppery gray because of a recent clean, close shave.

I raised my hand and smiled to acknowledge him, but I didn’t yell anything like he did because I’m just not that type of a person. When I finally got my turn at the counter, Cliff looked up at me and made a face. “Jesus Christ! What the hell happened to you!?” he screamed over the din of the crowded bagel shop. “Did you get in a fight with a lawnmower!?”

I laughed about that. “No. I didn’t get in a fight with a lawnmower, Cliff. That would probably prove to be fatal. No. I got shoved down out on the sidewalk.”

“Shoved down!? Why!?”

“The city’s a crowded and animalistic place, Cliff. Someone was in a big hurry or maybe running from the cops. I just don’t know. Guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Cliff scoffed and reached into the case for two chocolate chip bagels without even asking me. He knew what I liked. “And what the hell happened to your eyebrows!?” Cliff wanted to know as he shook a small white paper bag open and dropped in the bagels. He curled the top of the bag with his fingers and set it up on the display case. “It makes you look like a freak without any eyebrows!”

I chuckled even though I was embarrassed. “Yeah. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that. I hope eyebrows grow back.”

Cliff looked at his co-workers who were scrambling all around him. “Do any of you guys know if eyebrows grow back!?” he shouted to them.

A tall young woman with red hair and a pale face who wore far too much makeup stopped and touched at her own eyebrows as she thought about it. “I think eyebrows grow back.” She looked at me and made a face like she was super grossed out. “God. For your sake, I hope eyebrows grow back.”

“I mean, come on, it’s hair right,” Cliff said. “Hair grows back, so, yeah, eyebrows should grow back. Don’t worry about it, Ernie. Hey, hey. Maybe you could take one of those crayons the ladies use to draw on their eyebrows… What’s it called?” he said, snapping his fingers as he thought about it, and he looked at the tall redhead with too much makeup. “Come on, Sally Sue. You should know this.”

“It’s not a crayon. It’s called an eyebrow pencil,” the pale Sally Sue said, shaking her head like Cliff was a real idiot.

Cliff pointed at me and grinned. “There ya go. An eyebrow pencil. Get yourself an eyebrow pencil.”

I shook my head for a moment as I considered it. I reached for my bag atop the display case and sighed. “I don’t think I want to wear makeup. That’s sort of weird. And just going into some place and buying makeup. That’s really weird.”

Cliff chuckled. “Weird? Hell, Ernie, anything would be better than how you look right now.” He handed me a large coffee.

“Cream and sugar?” I asked to make sure. I must have cream and sugar. As usual.

He winked at me. “I got you covered, my friend.”

“Thanks. I’m going to go sit down now and maybe read the newspaper or just stare dreamily out the window as the city slides by like corpuscles in human blood. See you later, Cliff.”

Cliff gave me a friendly wave. “Take care, Ernie.”


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 II)

The Unexpected Meeting

The Misty-Eyed Stormtrooper (Episode II). Photo shows man in white hat and white shirt holding a loaf of bread while he works in a bakery.

When things had quieted down and most of the other stormtroopers were settling into the barracks for the night, Karl retrieved his secret cookbook from its hiding place and snuck off to the communal kitchen to bake bread.

He rummaged through the cabinets to gather bowls and utensils and pans and all the ingredients he needed to make a hazelnut 12-grain bread. He joyfully busied himself in the quiet of the kitchen and he thought to himself how much better it was to be baking bread than blasting shit.

While he gave the dough time to rise, he sat down at one of the tables and retrieved his personal communication device. He searched for information on Paris and all the different patisseries there. He got lost in the pictures and the descriptions and he studied maps and he tried to remember the names of streets and the different arrondissements, or districts.

He fell so deep into a delightful trance of study and inspiration, that Karl the stormtrooper didn’t realize someone else had come into the communal kitchen. Suddenly there was someone menacing standing above him and looking down.

“What are you doing in here?” the intimidating figure asked with a hint of evil in his voice.

Karl suddenly shot up from his chair and stood at attention. “Commander Altiar. Sir. My apologies, I didn’t notice you had come in.”

Commander Altiar was dressed in a stiff gray uniform, and he wore black gloves and shiny black boots and his hair, the color of the planet Tatooine, was perfectly combed and lightly oiled against his head to ensure not a single strand would fall out of place. He slowly walked around the young stormtrooper and looked him up and down judgmentally. “I asked you what you are doing in here? It’s past curfew. Why aren’t you in your bunk?”

“Sir, I’m sorry sir. I’m baking bread and I’m afraid I lost track of time.”

Commander Altiar stood toe-to-toe with Karl and scowled menacingly into his eyes. “Did you say you’re baking bread?”

“That’s correct sir. Bread.”

Commander Altiar nodded as if he was overly suspicious of the young stormtrooper’s story. He walked around the kitchen looking over all the things Karl had laid out on the counter. The commander ran a black leather finger through a scattering of flour. He studied it intently for a moment, and then asked, “What kind of bread are you making?”

Karl cleared his throat. “Sir. Hazelnut 12-grain bread.”

Commander Altiar returned to where Karl was standing and got in his face again. “And what exactly do you plan on doing with this hazelnut 12-grain bread?”

“I plan on eating it, sir,” Karl nervously answered.

“You know,” the commander began, and he looked at the number tattooed on Karl’s neck like a black ink branding, “No. 14788. I’m also quite fond of bread.”

“You are, sir?”

“You seem surprised by that, No. 14788.”

“I didn’t realize commanders enjoyed bread, sir.”

Commander Altiar chuckled softly and looked young Karl the stormtrooper in the eyes again with great sincerity. He even smiled a bit. “Have you ever been to Mamiche on the Rue Condorcet?”


“It’s a wonderful little shop in Paris, France. On Earth. They have the best damn bread in the universe. Have you ever been there?”

Karl felt a tingling sensation rise within him. He couldn’t believe what the commander was asking him. “No, sir. But I would love to. It’s one of the biggest dreams in my life.”

The commander moved his head back in attempt to further survey what the young stormtrooper exactly meant by that. “Are you not satisfied as a soldier in the Evil Empire, No. 14788?”

“Permission to speak freely, sir.” Karl announced.

The commander took a seat at the table, folded his hands as if about to pray and looked up at Karl. “By all means, No. 14788. I’d love to hear what you have to say.”


“Yes. I’m not a complete tyrant lacking passion for things in life. Go on. Speak to me about it.”

Karl sat down at the table with him. “I don’t believe I’m cut out for a life as a stormtrooper, sir. It’s just not me,” he began. “What I really want to do is bake bread and make pastries. I’ve done a lot of research and I know the city of Paris, on Earth, is the best place to be if I were to truly make my dreams come to fruition. I guess what I’m saying is, if I had an opportunity to not be a stormtrooper and I could travel to Earth to learn about making bread and pastries, just like they do on the Great Intergalactic Baking Show… I believe I would be very happy.”

The commander nodded his head silently for a moment. “And what if I told you, No. 14788…”

“You can call me Karl, sir.”

“All right then, Karl. What if I told you I could turn your dream into a reality.”

“Sir!? What? How? Why?”

“Calm down, soldier. I can see your passion is genuine, but I want you to prove it to me.”

“Absolutely, sir. How?”

The commander nodded toward the area of the kitchen where the ovens were. “I want you to bake me the best damn hazelnut 12-grain bread you ever made in your life. I want you to bring it to my quarters for me to taste it. I want you to utterly overwhelm me with your understanding of rise, flavor, and structure. I want a perfect bake, Karl. I want you to blow my balls off with this loaf of bread… And if you do, I will excuse you from your duty to the Evil Empire and allow you to leave this place, forever. What you do after that is entirely up to you.”

“Sir? I, I can’t believe it. Are you serious? You would do that for me?”

The commander got up from the table and adjusted his gloves for a moment. “I know that you and the other men talk shit about me behind my back, Karl. I’m not an ignorant man. I know you all consider me to be this growling, unfeeling brute of a commanding officer, and that’s fine. I expect that in my position, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a soul or a heart underneath it all.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I was a young stormtrooper once, just like you. And I had dreams as well, other dreams, dreams that didn’t include…” And he looked around the room at something invisible. “Didn’t include being on the side of evil. I, like yourself, Karl, had a passion for baking. I wanted to follow your exact dream. But I didn’t. I didn’t take the risk, Karl. And now I’m just an ill-fitted officer hated by the men serving beneath him. I regret that every single day. I don’t want that to happen to you, Karl. I don’t want you to have this same sickness of regret. It’s what a good leader should do for a soldier with real spirit, Karl. So, what I’m saying is, don’t disappoint me with a bad bake… And no soggy bottom. Carry on, soldier.”

Karl clicked himself to respectable attention and watched as Commander Altiar walked out of the communal kitchen with a swoosh. Karl felt himself all over to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. “I can’t believe this,” he whispered to himself. And then he smiled, and his guts roared with a feeling of ecstasy, and he jumped up and down like an excited child and cried out loudly, “Yes! Yes! Yes! I’m going to be a baker! I’m going to be a real baker!”

And then reality suddenly hit him, and he remembered what the commander had said: “I want you to bake me the best damn hazelnut 12-grain bread you ever made in your life… I want you to blow my balls off with this loaf of bread.”

Karl suddenly sunk down in his own self-doubt. “But what if it’s not the best damn hazelnut 12-grain bread I ever made in my life? What if I don’t blow his balls off? What if I just mess it up? I’ll be resigned to a life of just blasting shit.” He sighed. But then he brightened with determination, he slapped himself in the face, pulled himself together, he reiterated his dream in his head and heart. “Come on, Karl! You can do this!” he encouraged himself. “You’re a good baker, you’re an excellent baker, and you’re going to go far… Farther than you have ever been in your whole damn life.”

Keep an eye out for Episode III. You may read the previous part of this story here: The Misty-Eyed Stormtrooper (Episode I)

Episodes of the Ephemeral Green Ego

The ghost of the ephemeral green ego.

I went to the library to do some research on what it means when one loses one’s marbles. I can imagine my mind as a cluster of marbles – the colors being emerald green, earth blue, cherry red, tiger orange, a hazy gray, a ghost white, a mauve mouth, a yellow memory in stone, aluminum silver, gaseous pink, lonely brown, Sand People taupe, leprechaun rainbow gold – and they were clustered there like I said, in a chalk circle and the shooter was cocked and knocked and rolled like circular glass and the marbles scattered like the thoughts in my own head.

Crack, palooey, brainwaves wobbling, dreams unremembered, love at times cumbersome, love at times more delicious than any life anyone ever had, palooey, the marbles move like a spiral galaxy, arms spitting glass balls, eyes tumble and roll, the pupils all gyroscope and nonsense like buttery grape jelly in a spaceship.

I unhinged my laptop, set up my mouse, plugged in my earbuds so that I could listen to third eye activation music. It helps me think and glow and be bulbous in thought. I started going through websites about marbles and psychiatry because my own psychiatrist told me it would be helpful to do my own research on my own condition. He called it something like getting in touch with my inner self. What the hell does he know about my inner thoughts? Everything, I suppose.

I reached into the pocket of my light navy-blue jacket and retrieved my pack of Russian red Camel cigarettes. I didn’t even think about being in the library and so I just put it in my mouth and lit it and started smoking. It didn’t take long for the young skinny hippie guy at the circulation desk to come over and start yelling at me – but in a quiet way because we were in the library – and he said to me, “Sir, there’s no smoking in the library. You have to take that outside immediately.”

I looked at him and then I looked at my Russian red Camel, the tip glowing and a swirl of grayish white smoke coming off of it like a genie coming out of a bottle. “Oh,” I replied. “I guess I didn’t realize what I was doing. Habit, you know.”

“Yes. A bad habit at that. And I must ask you again to please take it outside.”

“But I just sat down and got my computer all set up… Can you watch my stuff then?”

“I can watch your stuff, but please make it quick.”

I was sitting on an uncomfortable, stodgy couch in the office of my psychiatrist, Dr. Infinity. I always told him I thought his name was made up because he was hiding something from a past life.

“No,” he would tell me. “It’s not made up. It’s my real name.” Then he’d point to all his framed degrees that hung on the wall that had his full name printed on them in black calligraphy: Dennis M. Infinity.

“What’s the M stand for?” I asked him once.

“Mikael,” he answered.

So, Dr. Dennis Mikael Infinity sat across from me with his notepad and sharpened pencil and he wanted to know how I had been.

“I had a really strange dream that has me concerned.”

“Why are you concerned about this particular dream?”

I hesitated to tell him because he had a bad habit of being overly judgmental. “I dreamt about the Jolly Green Giant.”

He shifted uncomfortably in his expensive IKEA chair. “The Jolly Green Giant?”

“You know, the giant green guy who makes vegetables.”

“I don’t think he actually makes the vegetables. I believe he just oversees the process. Nature makes the vegetables. Life makes the vegetables.”

“Okay, Doc. Whatever you say… But in this dream, I was watching him from a short distance, and he was walking among the cornfields and the squash vines and the bean poles and the rows of peas and beets and carrots…”

“I get the picture. You don’t have to mention every vegetable known to man.”

“Well, he stopped walking and was just standing there looking across the land with pride and he had his hands on his green hips and then all of a sudden his underwear fell down.”

“Underwear? I don’t think the Jolly Green Giant wears underwear… It’s a leafy tunic as I recall.”

“Well, in my dream he was wearing underwear.”

“Was it green underwear?”

“Yes. Everything about him is green. Can I finish telling you about my dream now?”

“I’m sorry. Go on.”

“Like I was saying, his underwear just fell down and then he started…”

Dr. Dennis M. Infinity leaned forward with growing interest in my story. “Started what?”

“He started making pee on all the vegetables.”

“Making pee?”

“He was peeing on all the veggies!”

“That’s disgusting,” the doctor said, and he made a notation on his pad with his pencil. “Are you sure he was really peeing?”

“Yes. He was peeing all right. And he wasn’t even holding his big green thingy in his hand. He was just letting it go on its own, and he was laughing about it, like it really made him happy to be peeing on all those vegetables.”

My psychiatrist removed his glasses and pinched at his eyes like I was causing him great distress.

“What’s the matter?” I asked him.

“You’re dream. It’s very strange. I’m not sure what to make of it.”

“It has to mean something.”

“Have you recently had any bad experiences with vegetables?”

I glanced up at the ceiling and thought about it. “No. Nothing comes to mind.”

He looked at his watch and happily sighed. “My, my. We’re already out of time. Thank goodness.”

“But what about my dream?”

“Let me think on it for a while and we can talk about it more next week.”

“All right then. Bye,” I said, and I got up and walked out of his office feeling like the biggest tool in the world.

Dr. Dennis Mikael Infinity sat at a round Formica table in the fancy, clean breakroom at the office where he worked with all the other mental specialists. He pulled a sandwich out of a brown paper bag, unwrapped it from its wax paper and bit into it. He washed it down with some Coke in a red and white can.

One of his colleagues, a bastard named Brett Walker came into the breakroom and joined him at the table. He set down a white foam comtainer and eagerly opened it. Dr. Infinity craned his neck to see what he had to eat. It was Chinese food. Vegetable lo mein. “Looks like I have a better lunch than you,” Dr. Walker teased.

“Vegetables,” Dr. Infinity mumbled.

“What’s that about vegetables?”

“Oh, my last patient was telling me about the most bizarre dream he had. It involved vegetables.”

“Oh really? Was this patient a woman? Did it involve a cucumber?” the other doctor chuckled oddly.

“No, no, no. Why does everything have to be sexual with you?” Dr. Infinity protested.

“What can I say. I’m a very sexual guy. Do you know how many women I’ve slept with in the past week?”

“No. And I’m not sure I want to know.”


“Twelve!? Bullshit.”

“It’s true,” Dr. Brett Walker boasted, and he took a big steaming bite of his veggie lo mein, and then suddenly made a face as if he was extremely grossed out.

Dr. Infinity took notice. “What’s wrong?”

These vegetables taste funny. Like nasty funny. Ugh.” Dr. Walker tossed down his white plastic fork and closed the lid of the food container.

“You’re not going to eat it?” Dr. Infinity asked.

“No way. It tastes like…”

“Jolly Green Giant urine?” Dr. Infinity curiously probed.

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

Dr. Infinity sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Nothing… But would you mind if I took your container of food?”

Dr. Brett Walker looked at him like he was really weird, stood up, and pushed the lo mein in his direction. “Be my guest. But why?”

“Research,” he replied.

“Whatever Infinity. Hope it doesn’t kill you.” Dr. Walker scooted away from the table, stood, walked to the door and went out.

The psychiatrist opened the lid to the lo mein and peered inside. It didn’t look bad, he thought. He sniffed at it. It didn’t smell that bad, maybe a little off. Dr. Infinity looked around the breakroom to make sure he was truly alone. Then he reached in with a hand and scooped up a big sloppy plop of the lo mein and shoved it in his mouth like a starving caveman from the Paleolithic Age. He chewed slowly, swallowed, and then repeated the actions until the entire container was empty and licked clean.

The doctor drained his can of Coke, got up from the table, disposed of his lunch trash, and went back to his office. He sat there at his desk in the dim quiet and looked out his big window at the world. Far off in the distance, beyond the streets and the buildings, past the highways and the dams, nestled up against purple mountains were great farm fields of golden green, and that is where he saw him, the Jolly Green Giant watering the world with revenge for what the unnatural made him.


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.


The Misty-Eyed Stormtrooper (Episode I)

Stormtrooper action figure looking out at the ocean.

A Longing for More

On the planet Placitas in the far away galaxy of Fresh, a young stormtrooper bemoaned his place in the endless universe from the comforts of his bunk in the barracks at Outpost 9.

His incessant sighs and puzzling mumbling caught the attention of his bunkmate who was just below him casually flipping through a dirty intergalactic magazine and saying “Oh, yeah,” with a boyish delight.

He looked up at the bottom of a mattress, which was his ceiling in sleep, and yelled out, “Can’t you ever be happy!? Your misery is making the rest of us miserable.”

The young stormtrooper looked over the side of his bunk. “Sorry, Toby. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“You didn’t disturb me. I just hate to hear you being so bummed about life. Why don’t you come down here and look at these pictures of great space tits. That’s sure to cheer you up.”


“What’s the matter? You don’t like space tits?”

“You don’t need to be so… So gross about it. Don’t you know anything about women? They don’t want to be treated like objects and spread open like a roasting chicken in a glossy magazine for your salacious appetites.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Toby climbed out of his bunk and stood so that he could see the weird young guy he was talking to. “What the hell is wrong with you?”


“You don’t go for chicks anymore?… Because if you don’t, I’m going to request a bunk transfer.”

“I like chicks just fine. But I want a real relationship with a real woman, not some picture in a magazine.”

Toby scoffed at his remark. “Good luck with that around here, space boy. Not much to choose from.” He waved the magazine in the air to show it off. “Sometimes you gotta take what you can get.”

The young stormtrooper rose and sat up on the edge of his bunk. “That’s just it. I want more than just what I can get. Can I tell you something in confidence?”

“Yeah, buddy. Sure.”

“I don’t want to be a stormtrooper anymore.”


“Would you be quiet.”

“What the hell do you mean you don’t want to be a stormtrooper anymore?”

“I’m sick of blasting shit. All we do is blast shit. And if we’re not blasting shit, we’re just standing around waiting to blast shit.”

That’s the life we chose, Karl. That’s what we do. You made an oath to the Evil Empire.”

“I know, I know. But I’m really struggling with this as a career choice. I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake. I don’t want to be on the side of evil.”

Toby threw down his dirty intergalactic magazine on his bunk and put his hands on his hips. “I don’t know what to tell you, Karl. You’ll just have to wait until your service time is up.”

“But I can’t. I can’t wait 15 years. That’s like a prison sentence.”

“You have to. Otherwise, it’s considered desertion. Do you know what they do to deserters?”

“Put you in a cage with a hungry Wookie and no way to get out.”

“That’s right, Karl. Do you want to get your head ripped off by a Wookie?”

“Of course I don’t want to get my head ripped off by a Wookie. I’m not stupid.”

“Then you better watch yourself. Do your job and keep these wayward ideas to yourself. What the hell would you do anyways?”

The young stormtrooper named Karl, serial No. 14788, looked around the barracks to make sure no one was eavesdropping. “If I tell you, promise you won’t make fun of me?”

“All right.”

“Do you ever watch the Great Intergalactic Baking Show?”


“Oh man. It’s great. I stream it on SpaceFlix.”

“What the hell is it?”

“It’s this amateur baking competition but they take it very seriously. There’s like 12 contestants from all over the universe and they bake all kinds of different delicious things, and they get judged on it by this stodgy bastard and this old chick and the ones who do well move on to the next round and the ones who do bad get kicked off. Then at the end they announce the winner, the champion baker.”

Toby shrugged and made a silly, mocking noise. “A baking competition? You watch people bake? It sounds stupid to me.”

“It’s not stupid, it’s awesome. It’s relaxing and helps me take my mind off having to blast shit all the time. In fact, the show has totally inspired me to do greater things in my life.”

“What greater things has it inspired you to do?”

“I want to go to Earth and open my own patisserie.”

“Earth!? Earth sucks. Why on earth would you want to go to… Earth.”

“Keep your voice down. Yeah, I know Earth sucks…”

“That place is populated by a bunch of idiots. All they do is kill each other and destroy their environment.”

“Yes, yes. I’ve heard how ridiculous Earthlings can be, but they have the best pastry schools in the universe. I want to go to Paris, that’s a magnificent city in a place called France, and learn about something more than just how to use a blaster. It’s my dream, Toby. I have to follow my dream. I need more out of life.”

Toby scoffed and shook his head at the young stormtrooper. “Wowza. I don’t know man. Earth is pretty far away. And you have to have a lot of space bucks to travel, let alone go to school and open your own patisserie.”

“I’ve been saving up for a long time. I’m sure I could find a good pilot with a fast ship at a reasonable price. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning. But I need you to promise me that when it all goes down that you won’t rat me out.”

“Nah. I wouldn’t rat you out. But at least let me know when you’re about to fly the coop. You better not leave without saying goodbye.”

“I will… And I won’t.”

The barracks suddenly illuminated with a flashing red alert light and an alarm started yawning in and out. “Great. Another drill,” Toby said, looking around. “Looks like it’s time to suit up and get to work. And don’t forget your blaster this time.”

Keep an eye out for Episode II