The Angelfish of Giza (Excerpt 4)

Giza, New Mexico, population 53,219, sat in a narrow stretch of hot land running from the prosperous north to the downtrodden south. To the west, desolate hills rose up and up through picturesque valleys eventually leading to a mountainous region and beyond, then diving into expansive bombing ranges of evil and hot desert land and to places called Alamo City and Las Corsica and eventually the state of Ari-zoned-out. To the east, red crumbling cliffs lurched above bottomless pools and formed a desolate plateau that carried on past the nearly indecipherable Texas border toward places like Yellow Plateau with its wretched Dairy Dew drive-in full of bugs and human piss; Amberfield, home of the ugliest woman ever seen; and onto hot, brown and alphabetical Lupland — an open-face hot beef sandwich thrown into the dirt.

Giza’s cliché Main Street, a mostly straight line, dissected the city directly down the middle, from north to south, like cranial sutures deeply sewn into a burrito-shaped skull of desert-bleached bone. Paramount Avenue ran from the west to east — or east to west depending on what end of town you were coming in at or leaving from — and dissected the city perpendicular to Main, crossing through it in downtown. Beyond the confines of the city proper, on the outskirts, there was the farmland, arroyos, stinking dairies, ranchland and rancheros, shacks, wide meadows, fields, haystacks, heart bending farmhouses, pockets of sunsets, thunder, gulley washes, creepy natural gas factories, chuckling newsies doing cocoa-puffs under moonlight, star maps of glittering silver made the world there, hot Mexican food cooking, a sun dropping big and golden, hot, like red sauce on a La Torrential Bravo burrito.

And there was something in the air or the water or the blood flowing through that place that had a visible effect on the people. It was almost as if giant scientists in lab coats were looking down from above and poking and prodding with gloved tentacles inside a sterile box. That talk of Giza, New Mexico being one big psychological experiment may have been true. There was a madness that brewed there. There was a loneliness, too. Was it the isolation? Was it the relentless dry heat of summer? Was it merely the gathering of lost souls in Hades on Earth to party and ache for a few years?

There was lawlessness, gang pride and shooting in the streets and it was all tangled together with rich white peace and sun-pulsing preaching. Old-school Jesus duked it out with Evangelical aluminum storm shelter prayer warriors. There were deep cultural contrasts indeed, yet they flowed through a heat-wavering pall of consistencies. Giza was the city that should have never been, yet there it was, like some sheltered bruise on a pee-colored map of New Mexico.

There was Old Mexico-like ghetto, there was prosperous land. There were dirt roads, there were carefully constructed oversized landing strips of polished concrete. There was an abandoned Army air base still rung with barbed wire fence — but it really wasn’t all that abandoned. It still glowed at night and men with guns marched there. There was a brand-new Buddha-Mart, an attempt at non-confrontational big box retail, dubbed “the biggest in the world.” Probably not true, but then again, what was, what is? There was a big community college and a small airport. There were mid-century strip malls painted pink and brown. There was a small zoo inside a park with a kiddie train and a carousel and there was an urban legend that they kept a man inside a cage there and used him for human mating experiments. Crack whores and Christians strolled the same mall together. Murderers waltzed down the streets and laughed on the hot sidewalks while biting into delicious burritos. Musicians strummed guitars on the back porches of haunted houses beneath golden beer light. Pyros torched schools and jilted lovers blew up houses and gunned down firemen. The jail was always full. Overflowing even.

The tallest building downtown was 13 stories high. There were two high schools — homes to the Galactics in the north and the Fire Ants in the south. There was a military school for bad kids. The big fair came every August and the whole banging place smelled of cotton-candy sweat and new sex. The excited screams and laughter from the torturous rides floated up to space and bumped into the orange moon. Someone always got shot. There were a lot of funeral homes. Old people liked going to Buff’s, the cafeteria restaurant behind one of them. It was convenient in case they choked to death.

Summer seemed to last forever, and the oppressive heat boiled brains and other internal organs. It seemed the sun rarely shut itself off. There were not enough dark clouds and cool rains, not enough ice cream to calm the madness, not enough popsicles for the girls to deep throat, not enough electricity to whir fans, not enough clean, dark holes in the ground to escape to. At times it was like a dome of Los Angeles exhaust clamped down tight over the whole nutty joint of Giza. There was no room to breathe. There were not enough men of the cloth to excise all those flames of hell coming up to chase them through the wild desert.


Have you heard of not peddling religious texts in a public library?

So, yes, yet again, I was at the damn public library trying to get some writing done. If you are familiar with my other library rants — found under the, Have You Heard Of? menu tab at cerealaftersex.com — you’ll know I always seem to run into some kind of trouble or annoying distraction at my local library.

Well today was no different as some miniature Ralph Malph mofo from the Happy Days universe in Milwaukee appears out of nowhere and starts talking to me. I’m sitting there all alone at a private booth with ear buds on, minding my own business, listening to music of high vibration and positive energy, and typing away at my laptop. I give him a perturbed look, remove my ear buds and say “What?”

He starts in on how’s he’s selling books to raise money for something or whatever, I really didn’t catch that part because he was talking so damn fast, and he starts showing them to me and they’re all books about God and living a godly life and going to church and having abundant joy and so on and so on… And then he had a book about Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., too, and I was like “You know he was all about civil rights and equality for all people and an admirer of Gandhi.” And the kid was like, “Yeah, of course I know that… He was also a Baptist minister and had a strong Christian faith so that kind of cancels out the other things.”

As soon as he went on talking, I put up a hand and said, “I’m really not interested.” He gave me a butt hurt look and immediately walked away mumbling something about me being a “Jerk who lacks true faith.”

I had initially heard the boy, who sounded like a girl, talking to someone else in the booth behind me and I seriously thought he was giving an oral book report to a teacher or something but then he just kept dropping the word God and so I thought maybe he was a student at a religious school. Nope. He was trying to sell religious books to people in the public library. Has the whole separation of church and state thing just gone completely out the window?

How the fuck is this allowed? I guarantee if some kid was running around the public library trying to sell Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim texts, people would lose their minds — kind of like how Al Pacino does when he sees a cantaloupe.

Now, the kid can sell religious books out his ass if he wants, I have no problem with that, but at least do it in the proper forum. And I guess I can’t completely blame the kid because there is probably some oblivious nut-job adult behind the whole scheme. Yeah! Sure! It’s a library. The library has books. What a perfect place to try and sell books! I don’t know. Maybe during a book sale? Outside? I surely don’t appreciate someone coming up to me while I am trying to get some work done for my heartfelt, yet edgy and subversive literary website, and push religious books on me. I don’t go to his church on Sundays and try to drum up followers for cerealaftersex.com. Are you kidding? They’d have me sent directly to hell without passing GO. And all without reading one word of my work. Kind of like passing judgment without reading the Bible. That’s called a zinger.

Now, you’ll have to forgive me if I am coming off as a bit harsh today, but it’s not been the best day. I have chemical imbalance issues that no one has really figured out the proper remedy for and so I have days where I lose my shit, get dark and withdrawn, and am generally not very pleasant to be around. I’m also upset about not being very successful. That’s really been buggin’ me lately. I may end up working in the sporting goods section at WalMart next week. No offense if you work in the sporting goods section at a WalMart. It was the first thing that came to me.

Anyways, I’m all about equal rights and religious liberty and all that jazz. If that’s what you believe and the way you want to live, fine, have at it, but don’t try to push it off on me, especially when I’m writing bitchy op-ed pieces at the public library. So, there you go mini Ralph Malph, go be giddy about God and sell your books until you’re heavenly blue in the face, just do it somewhere else.   

And even though I shot him down like an autumn mallard dancing in a blue sky, at least the kid probably has a bright future in missionary work… come to think of it, so do I.


Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 7)

Author’s Note: You can read the previous episodes of this story by going to the Serials on Cereal tab in the menu bar at cerealaftersex.com.


I would have never believed it myself had I not witnessed it in the realm of real life, but there he was.

“Karl! What the fuck are you doing here!?” Roy blurted out loud enough for the whole world of the underground dead to hear.

Creepy Karl from Indiana held up a dirty, empty plastic milk carton. “I tried to stop you, but you just tore off. You all forgot your milk jug back in California. I thought I’d bring it to you.”

“I swear Karl, you’re cuckooier than a bowl of Cocoa Puffs,” Roy said, exhausted in spirit.

“No, no. I’m just trying to be a decent citizen of the world.”

“What kind of shit is this, Karl?!” Roy demanded to know. “You’ve been following us, and not because of some god damn empty milk jug. You’ve got some serious explaining to do or you’re liable to lose even more teeth. You’ll be swallowing them right down with a warm blood chaser after I punch you in the face.”

“No, now, Roy. There’s no need for physical violence here,” Karl said, and he craned his wrinkled neck to get a peek at me in the bed over Roy’s shoulder. “Oh. Looks like I might have interrupted a hot love session.”

“Roy! Get him the hell out of here. Right now!” I screamed out.

“You heard the lady, get the hell out of here before…”

“Before what?” Karl sneered. “Before you call the cops?” He moved up and down on the balls of his feet, snickering. “Now, that might not be in your best interest, Roy. You know, considering everything that’s transpired among you two and the outside world.”

I got up out of the bed, a sheet wrapped tightly around my body, and I went to stand by Roy and looked that son of a bitch Karl right in the face and pointed my pissed off finger at him. “You don’t know shit about us, so quit playing like you do,” I said to him.

“Well, on the contrary young lady, I do know a few things. Things like how you’ve been fornicating with an outlaw.”

“That’s none of your god damn business,” I seethed.

“But it is my business. And it most certainly is the business of those that I represent. It’s a sin. They know it. I know it. Seems like you’re the only one who doesn’t know it, or maybe you just don’t care.”

“I have no god damn idea what you are talking about, mister, and I don’t really care to,” I said to him. “Now, I’m going to go take a shower and when I get out, you better be on the other side of the Rio Grande, Karl.”

As I walked off to the bathroom, Karl called out something that stopped me dead in my tracks. He said: “Royal is wondering why you ran off with this here killer.”

I turned to look back at him. He was smiling some victorious smile like he had beaten me, beaten Roy, too. We were caught in some sort of web I didn’t fully understand yet. “What do you have to do with my husband?”

And just as he was about to speak, a beat-up car came pulling up to the motel with a bad-news rattle. There was a little lighted sign strapped to the roof and it read: Jim’s Clean Pizza. Roy glanced at me and said, “Finally. I’m so damn hungry.”

Roy went out and paid the kid and then came back inside with a plastic 2-liter of lemon-lime soda pop and a big cardboard box, and the room started to smell so good. It was that smell that told you that you were about to indulge in some delicious goodness sliding down your throat and into your hollow belly. Kind of like when Roy lets loose when he’s in my mouth.

I’ll tell you what, though. That damn Karl watched Roy all the way as he carried that box over to a little table and set it down, and I could tell he was going to ask for some damn pizza. Aw, holly hell. I’ve seen this fool drink milk and I sure as shit wasn’t looking forward to seeing him eat pizza. But Roy invited him to stay so we could talk about things. But the weird thing is, he didn’t ask me what I thought about it at all. I think it was a strategy to keep our enemy close as we worked stuff out. But I was already fast-forwarding in my mind to killing this lump of trouble and dumping him deep in the desert so the buzzards could carry him off to the afterlife in pieces.

Roy sat down, rubbed his hands together in anticipation, and opened the lid of the pizza box. “Hell yeah!” he said. “Meatballs, pepperoni, and black olives. Damn that looks good. Well come on you two, pull up your asses and grab a slice before I eat it all myself.”

“Those sure are small meatballs,” Karl said as he curiously peered into the box.

Roy chuckled through a mouthful. “I’m sure you know plenty about small balls, don’t you Karl?”

Karl gave him a stern look of disapproval, reached a spindly hand into the box, and retrieved a piece of pizza. “My balls are big enough, Roy.” Then he slurped the pointy end of his slice into his mouth.

“Well, I sure as hell hope I never find out, Karl,” Roy said to him with another laugh.

“Would you all mind not talking about your balls while I’m trying to eat,” I said to them, and then I filled some motel cups with that lemon-lime soda pop and passed them around.

“Sorry, Sally,” Roy said. Then he cleared his throat and looked around at our humble gathering. “This sure is weird as hell,” he pointed out.

“So, Karl,” I began. “What was this talk about my husband?”

He was tipping his cup back as I said this, and when he got it all down, he smacked his rutted lips and looked at me with a strange grin. Then he turned to Roy and said in an uncharacteristic tone and even with a different voice, “I think it’s time we tell her.”


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Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 3)

Author’s Note: You can read the first part of this story here: Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 1) And the second part of the story here: Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 2)

“Cereal?”

“Yes. Cereal. You have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve had a decent bowl of cereal.”

“Well Roy, what kind of cereal do you want? I suppose I could find some sort of a grocery store in this seemingly wretched town.”

He thought long and hard about it. “What’s that kind that has the little leprechaun that’s all dressed up in a green suit on the box? You know, the one that runs from the people trying to kill him and steal his gold.”

“Lucky Charms?” I quickly guessed.

Roy enthusiastically snapped his fingers and smiled wide.

“That’s it. Lucky Charms!”

“I don’t think they were trying to kill him, Roy. I think they just wanted some of his Lucky Charms.”

He scratched at the scruff on his chin and thought about it. “Oh. I guess that makes sense.”

I got up and went to grab my purse and head toward the door.

“Whoa, Sally. You need to let me cut off some of that hair before you go out again.”

I touched my head and wondered.

“How much?”

Roy studied me for a moment.

“About six or seven inches. Grab them scissors you packed and have a seat.”

He pulled out the chair that was tucked under a round, wobbly table in the corner by the curtained window and I sat down in it. He stood behind me and before he started cutting, he ran his strong fingers through my hair as if saying goodbye in some strange way. His hands slid down to my shoulders and he started to rub them. His fingers worked deep into the tension buried deep within.

“Make sure you get the milk, too. That’s pretty important,” he said as he continued to massage me. “And some kind of bowls and plastic spoons so I don’t have to eat like an animal.”

“Sure, Roy. I’d be happy to.”

“Good girl,” he said, and he patted me on the head like a puppy before beginning to roughly snip away at my dear golden locks.

As he went about it, he sometimes tugged as he cut, and it sort of hurt.

“You sure you know what you’re doing?” I asked him.

“It doesn’t really matter. We’re not going for beauty and style, Sally. It’s just to have less to tuck up inside a ball cap,” he answered.

I stayed silent and watched as he worked the shears and my hair fell in clumps to the floor all around me. He suddenly stopped and came around to look at me from the front. He seemed concerned.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. You look great. Hell, I should have gone to beauty school,” he said with a laugh.

“Can I go look at it?”

“Go ahead.”

I went into the pale-yellow bathroom and turned on the light. I looked at myself in the mirror with hesitation.

“Holy hell,” I whispered to myself. “I may never get over this.”

The cut was choppy and uneven, and it looked as if I had gotten my head stuck in the business end of a good ol’ boy’s lawnmower.

“Well? What do you think?” he called out.

“Shit, Roy! I look ugly.”

A moment later he appeared in the doorway and smiled at me. He reached out and touched my messed-up hair.

“You could never be ugly, Sally,” he said. “Not in my world.”

That’s when he suddenly leaned in and pulled me to him for a long, deep kiss. As it went on all hot like that, he fumbled to take off my top as I worked to undo my husband’s jeans that Roy was now tightly encased in.

We made our way out of the bathroom in a heated tangle and ended up falling on the wrecked bed. And that’s where he savagely undressed me and then blessed me deeply with his manhood until I was screaming.

When it was all done, I got dressed and put the ball cap on my head and tucked in my hair like Roy said. He was naked and sleeping on the bed when I went out and got into the car.

There was a man standing outside a few doors down and he looked as if he must have had a really hard life. He was standing there in a pair of shorts and with no shirt smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. He had real long stringy hair coming off a balding head and it danced undisciplined in the hot wind. I tried not to look at him, but it was kind of hard not to.

Well, sure as shit, he noticed me and came walking over toward the car. He tapped on the window, and I rolled it down part ways.

He got uncomfortably close, and his eyes danced all over me.

“What can I do you for?” I asked him with jailhouse-like authority.

He smacked his gross mouth at me and then cleared his throat.

“Are you heading into town by any chance?” he asked me with a weird, slow-drawn, high-pitched voice you wouldn’t expect to come out of any sort of man.

“I’m headed to the grocery store to get some things for my husband.” I motioned with my head toward Room #13. “He’s inside the room right there.”

The odd man turned and looked at the door to Room #13. Then he softly chuckled.

“Oh,” he said. “I suppose you two were the ones making all that sex noise earlier, huh?”

“Excuse me?”

He grinned and his teeth were a train wreck, and he waved his half-withered hand at the air around him.

“I can’t blame you,” he said. “I’d get in as much as I could too… With the way the world is and all.”

I nodded at him with a hint of impatience. “Well, I really need to get going before the store closes. My husband needs some things and it’s real important I get them for him.”

“Right, right,” the man said. “But just a minute. As I was about to ask… Would you be able to give me a ride just down the road some?”

“Oh, I don’t know. No offense, but I’m usually not one to give rides to strangers.”

“My name is Karl and I’m from Indiana. There. Now we’re not strangers.”

All the same, Karl from Indiana. Without my husband along, I’m just not comfortable with that.”

He turned and pointed down the roadway, presently being washed in the preambles of a desert dusk.

“Just down to the liquor store. I’d walk, but my legs aren’t what they used to be. It’s really not all that far.”

I sighed. I didn’t want to be a cruel person but at the same time I was scared.

“Okay. I’ll drive you there, but you’ll have to find another way back. Deal?”

He danced around in the parking lot and laughed like an insane person.

“Great. Great!” he exclaimed. “But don’t go anywhere yet. I’ll be right back. They won’t let me in without a shirt.”

But then I did something that would turn out to be really stupid. When he trotted off and went inside his room, I tore out of that parking lot without him.

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Have you heard of 15 items or less?

I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store.

“That’s 15 items or less mam, can’t you read the sign? It’s all lit up there in green and white in the grocery line.”

She had more like 15 times 15 items in her cart and damn coupons on top of that. I could tell the wild-haired hippie clerkie was getting all screwed up in his mojo by her lack of consideration for the rules and etiquette of grocery shopping.

I could tell the guy ahead of me, the guy with the black plastic basket with just a few things in it, wanted to punch her in the face. I could tell he was a bit peeved with all his heavy sighing and mumblings under his breath which soon became audible to the world over the loudspeaker:

“You dumb bitch!”

So, as I said, I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store. My life clock was on hold. I looked around and all I saw was candy bars and flustered clerkies running here and there because they looked all short-handed and stuff and I guess that was because of the wildfire and everyone on fire and dying.

So, the world stopped inside of me whilst it spun like a swarm of horny hornets all around me. I thought about the universe while I looked at chocolate bars. We know the universe is there – but where exactly is THERE. Where IS the universe? Chocolate bars with almonds. Coupon-clipping clods taking up time and space. Why am I so worn out and disheveled?

The beep, beep, beep of the checkout lanes buzzed around in my head. I was there, but I was not there. I was thinking outside of the box, I always think outside of the box, way outside of the box, because I do not like the box. The box is full of narrow-minded doinks easily swayed by false flags and idiot box propaganda. 642 channels and there is nothing on.

I waited and waited, grasping my shopping cart like a baby carriage, gently rocking the carton of organic milk and bag of donuts into a restful sleep.

I noticed how her inflated flesh was packed tightly into her polyester, frantic pants. She seemed annoyed that the clerkie wasn’t doing his job properly when he slammed her hunk of watermelon down on the counter.

“Please be careful with my watermelon! I want to speak to your supervisor!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

If it wasn’t against the law, I would have pulled up a couch and coffee table and sparked one up right then and there. But then everything is against the law, isn’t it? Slamming someone’s watermelon is a violation of someone’s rights, right? Everything is a violation except for the ones who create the code of violations and place them in our heads and warn us that they are violations.

It’s 2:06 a.m. and I cannot sleep. It’s too hot to sleep. I have words tumbling around in my head that make no sense and I need to just tap them out for right now.

529 words, no make that 531 words, no … 538 words … of blah.

I am looking at the spine of a book on one of my bookshelves: The Day After Roswell.

 Turn to page 137 and the seventh sentence will be your future:

“He told the New York Times in 1955 that the nations of the world will have to unite, for the next war will be an interplanetary war.”

Just what I need, interplanetary war.

The Lonely Arcade

Photo by Mikechie Esparagoza on Pexels.com

shattered windows cry like Sunday peacocks
warning of the impending doom of glass
falling like rain
on the slaves of the night
the weary soldiers
trudging through a thick fog of poorly scented gloom,
thick like bruised syrup,
thick like hot, metal mud
clogging the valves of another heart
gasping for love –

the wind blew through the lonely arcade
dead leaves danced
against the dirty brick of store fronts
the faded head of a plastic clown,
the old paint of his face peeling away,
wobbled without notice
his wide eyes
stared off into nothingness
and I could hear him laugh at me from the inside
as I walked on by
not a charming or entertaining laugh,
but a hollow, haunting one
and it perpetuated the chill in the air,
the loneliness,
the frozen desolation –

all the shops were closed for the season,
all the gamerooms shuttered up tight
and a couple ratty kids
raced through on their bikes
their shouts
and hate-filled laughter
echoed through the walkways,
bounced off the big panes of fragile glass
and pounded against my head …
I listened
as the sound of their whirling wheels faded away
as if they had suddenly taken flight
then crashed into a cloud –

and I stuck my cold hands in my pockets
looked down at the gurgling stream
from atop a small, stone bridge
searching for a glimpse of reality
in the icy waters below
as it flowed
like thick sex and lava
tumbling over the smooth stones
and the sound
of silent cold
beat against my head
and I drew my sword
and ran it through my imagination
causing me to fall over the edge
to vanish,
to drown in the void
of an angel’s troubled and guilty soul …

I’ll show you my cereal if you show me yours (With Poll)

I’m someone who eats cereal at night. I’ve never much enjoyed cereal as it was intended – a breakfast food to kickstart one’s day. Not for me. I’m not really into kickstarting my day. For me, cereal is much more of a snack food, a bowl of deliciousness cradled in my lap while watching House Hunters or My 600-Pound Life in bed with my wife.

I have to admit that I’m a sweets guy. I like sugary cereal. That’s unfortunate for me because not unlike the late, great Wilford Brimley, I have DIE-A-BEETUS. The Lucky Charms leprechaun is literally killing me, or rather, I’m letting him kill me. But what a way to go. Maybe more on that struggle later. But it’s the weekend and I thought I would just do something short and simple and fun today.

So, choosing what my favorite cereal is not an easy task for me because there are so many I like. But I’ll narrow it down to my Top 10 – in no particular order:

Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries

Lucky Charms

Corn Pops

Honey-Comb

Sugar Bear’s Golden Crisp

Post Raisin Bran (Has to be Post because IMO it is the best)

Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes

Grape-Nuts

Apple Jacks

Cocoa Pebbles

And there you have it. Now that I have confessed my cereal desires, what about you? What’s your favorite cereal? Check out the poll below and vote for your favorite.

But before that, I guess it’s only fair that I share my worst cereal experience – and that would have to be: Cracklin’ Oat Bran. I’d rather eat avocado smeared atop a piece of tree bark.