Friday, June 29, 2012


I'm FINISHED. MindTrip is done. Now to let a few people read it, and to get it proofed. If I don't have your email address and you'd like a copy, let me know.

My brain's too tired to think of anything good. I... will simply... post a new old story in celebration.

The people of the village were impoverished and dim-witted, so they were easy targets for con artists and mimes. The town rested on the flatbeds of a small valley. The soil was rich and fertile. Unfortunately, the ignorant folk were unaware of the possible ramifications of agriculture, so they plucked up any stray vegetables that were stuck in the dirt and refused to grow more.
In fact, a small majority of seven families controlled anything even remotely resembling farming. Every winter, Brother Joe would toss out a hand of grain into a field, cackling wildly. Some of the crops grew, but most of them were eaten by birds, who were just pleased that they got so much food.
Crops were few and so everyone pretty much stuck to eating Hostess Twinkies with the occasional Vienna sausage. Folks got their money from stuffing envelopes, an occupation discovered by Jill Anderson when she was surfing the Internet.
So life was happy, even though most of the older people had really bad stomach problems and the smallest children (even little Bob at the tender age of 3) cried for milk instead of Gatorade.

Suddenly, a young sly man strode into the midst of the township. He wore tight blue jeans and a green and red striped shirt. "Is it Christmas?" some of the villagers wondered, but it was not.
No, but this was not an imposing gentleman. He had a silk necktie and a funny moustache that crawled over his face like a centipede making its way up a dogwood tree. His hair was a tousled mass and his nose was normal. His shoes were manufactured by Nike. He looked quite like an older, depraved Bob Saget.
"Lor," he said, shaking his head in a confused manner. "You fellers got any food? I'm hungry."
"Have a Twinkie," said one of the natives, peering at him. "Have a Twinkie, sir."
"No thank you!" stated the gentleman quickly. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name: Seymour."
"Seymour?" asked the town to itself quietly. "Seymour? Seymour."
"And how do you do?" asked Seymour. "I will make a delicious meal if you would like. A delicious meal the likes of which you have never seen!"
"But we are poor," stated a villager. "We are poor and have no food to make a delicious meal."
"Oh, that is fine," said Seymour. "All I need is a big rock and a pot of water. A cauldron, if you have one. That is what is in all the illustrations of the various versions of stories like this, anyways."
"We have a large stone AND a cauldron of water!" cried the fortunate villagers. "But what will you make!"
"It is called Stone Soup," Seymour stated proudly.

Hours later, the rock was cooking up mighty fine. Seymour tasted the soup carefully.
"Blugh!" he cried, spitting out the soup. "I mean, it is not quite done yet. I believe it needs more seasonings. What this soup could use is a nice onion."
"I have onions," one woman said hesitantly. "Several. They grow in my garden."
"May I have one?" asked Seymour.
"No," the woman told him.
Seymour cooked the rock some more. He tried it again, gagging. "This soup could sure use celery!"
"I have some celery," a man told him. "Would you like some?"
"Yes," said Seymour.
"That is too bad," the man told him. "So would everyone else!"
Seymour felt foolish. "Well, does anyone have salt? Or garlic?"
"Yes," said a boy. "I have garlic."
"Hand it here, boy!" shouted Seymour.
The boy handed him a big piece of dirt. "Garlic!" he cried. "Garlic for the stone soup!"
"This is not garlic," spat Seymour, throwing the dirt at him. "I hate you."
Eventually, Seymour got a couple of Vienna sausages and a Twinkie to put in the soup, but it wasn't too good, since no one wanted to give away their food. It took fifteen envelopes to get a Twinkie and twelve to get a Vienna sausage.
The soup wasn't any good and Seymour left the village angrily. Some punks met him on the path and beat him good for trying to trick the good people of the town, and Seymour never ever came back.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Four

All but finished. The second draft is essentially done. I just have to do one last sweep for typos and then Rebecca edits it. EXCITING TIMES.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

I didn't understand what Father's Day was really all about until I celebrated my first as a dad. Here's what it is: like a mini-birthday. There's no candles, and probably no cake (not unless you really want one.) It's just a nice excuse to be pampered.

I woke up really early, because my brain likes to torture me in the mornings. Everyone else was already awake. Rebecca gave me this FANTASTIC card she made online with pictures of her and Audrey (which now resides on my desk at work) and a create-your-own-board-book set. So far, everyone seems perplexed by the idea of a 'board book' - it's one of those heavy, square, cardboard books for kids. The kit comes with three blank books, adhesive stickers, and markers. I'm really excited - I don't do a lot of visual art stuff, and I have some REALLY good ideas for things I wouldn't ordinarily do. NO SPOILERS.

I mowed the lawn and I grilled, because those seemed like appropriately Dad things to do, and I made crème brûlées and worked a jigsaw puzzle, because those seemed like appropriately Fun things to do. Audrey was REALLY adorable and cuddly and happy, and so was Rebecca, and it was a great day.

Lately, I haven't spent a lot of weekends just enjoying life. I really like it when I do. I'm maybe fifteen pages from finishing the second draft of Mindtrip, and when it's finished, I'm taking some time off. I already know what my next book is about. I'm not going to try to get it published; I'm just going to enjoy writing something for myself (which seems obvious, but when it takes a year to write a book, it can feel like a waste writing something that no one else will read.)

So I'll write the occasional short stories and post them along with my older stuff. Otherwise, I'm going to spend the next few months just thinking about the plot for the next book. I already have the beginning and a few pages worth of notes I've compiled over ... I guess the last three or four years (I actually started working on this in Texas!)

The thing is, writing for an hour and a half a day, four days a week is exhausting. And Audrey is really, really demanding. I can't NOT write - it's compulsive behavior. But I can try to give it a rest for a while and recharge.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

Normally, I post new stories on Friday. But today is special. Today is Sarah Kroh's birthday. And in honor, we're moving Friday's post up to Tuesday night. This... is a special reposted story in honor of her big day.

Sweet Sixteen

"Surprise!" my mother and father shouted in unison, laughing gaily. I stared at the photograph in my hands. My throat was dry. My hands shook with tension. I gripped the picture so hard that my fingers almost tore through the page. Did I need glasses? Was I losing my mind? Or – worse – were the words I read a true portent? 

Just a moment before, I'd excitedly opened the pink box, now discarded on the floor near my left ankle. A sixteenth birthday only comes around once in a lifetime. All day, I’d imagined the fancy party later that evening; charming, cleanly shaved boys, beautifully groomed girls, delicious finger sandwiches, strobe lights. Well, I thought grimly, maybe the strobe lights will distract the other guests. 

All I'd wanted from my parents was a new convertible. Not a Porsche or anything - a nice, current model, one that was fast and had good mileage and made my ass look like a dream when I stepped out. I'd even planned on it. When I invited the kids from school over to my sweet sixteenth, I handed out embossed invitation cards that read "Come see my hot new ride!" Everyone was envious.

And when I'd stepped down to breakfast, after dreaming all night of speeding around quiet neighborhoods with the bass up and the top down, I’d seen it on the kitchen table. A fancy pink present topped with a tasteful green bow. I’d squealed and ran to open it.  But instead of car keys in the little box, there was only a picture. Frowning distastefully, I had pulled it out, gripping it loosely between forefinger and thumb like a used sheet of toilet paper. 

The photograph showed a greasy man with a hideous smile on his face. His lips curled hatefully, reminding me of two slugs performing a ballet on a salt lick. His lank, insipid hair draped a wrinkled, nasty face with squinty eyes. And just in case I could not recognize the man, he'd helpfully autographed the bottom of the page: 


(Pictured here was a series of four hearts hastily sketched and an ‘XOXOXO’)


* * *

            "HONEY," my mother shouted as she banged on my bedroom door. I’d dead-bolted it shut while I fashioned a little hobo stick out of a few paper towels and the stick off a little American flag. Inside were all of my important possessions - a little plastic saxophone, a cassette tape of Tommy Tutone's greatest hits, a small handful of candy corns. It was time to blow this Popsicle stand.

I opened the window and stared out at the concrete below, trying to figure out the best way to descend from the second story. I wished there was a trellis to climb down. 

I heard a noisy rattle at the door, and then my father began to yell. "We paid a lot of money for this, and you aren't going to ruin it! Your friends are going to be here in an hour and imagine what they're going to say if Steven Tyler is here and you aren't!" I cringed and then crouched, preparing to leap. I might die, I reasoned, but that was better than the alternative. I was just about to jump when the doorknob turned and the door opened. 

"Sorry," Mom said, smiling that bullshit fake apologetic smile that grown-ups get whenever they screw you over. "I had a key." 

"This is the worst day of my life," I yelled, breaking the hobo stick across my knee. "Why is it whenever anything important happens in my life, Steven Tyler has to be there?" 

"Baby," Dad said, "you love Steven Tyler. He's been your hero since you were ten years old."

"When I was ten years old," I said, gritting my teeth, "I used to pick my nose and save the boogers for my collection. That's just what little kids do." 

My parents both looked at each other, and Mom sighed.

"Sugarplum," she said, "it would be rude to not let Mr. Tyler come to your party. He's really excited. I'm making his favorite kind of cake." 

"What kind?" I asked.

"It's a lemon coconut cake with cocoa sprinkled on top."

"That sounds disgusting. I want a chocolate cake."

"This is close enough, and Mr. Tyler loves this cake," she said. She raised an eyebrow.  "And you'd better be polite. He'll be here any minute."

* * *

Two hours later, I stood scowling by the front door, shaking everyone's hand as they entered. At first, I was apprehensively excited, but after the fifth person asked where my sweet new ride was, I grew tired of greeting guests. How should I explain it? "No, sorry, I didn't get a convertible. But Steven Tyler is going to show up later and eat some birthday cake!" I hoped that when he showed up, no one would recognize him and I could play it off. Maybe I could make everyone believe that it was my father's lover, come to exact some sort of hateful retribution for a sex crime so dastardly that it didn't even have a name. 

"Wassup?" announced another anonymous androgyne as it stepped through the front door. It sported a backwards cap and hairless baby chin. With its shoulder length hair and squeaky voice, I couldn't tell if it was a particularly ugly girl or a particularly girlish boy. I silently pointed towards the large bowl of Chex mix in the middle of the living room, sighing heavily. 

Actually, things were beginning to look up. No one had been creative enough to bring me any sort of present, but a few kids had palmed me a ten dollar bill as they walked in, so I was holding roughly seventy dollars in my pocket. The stereo in the living room was playing some good music, some sort of hip hop electronica, and everyone was starting to dance. Well, sort of. We were at the uncomfortable age when everyone was afraid to dance with members of the opposite sex, so everyone was bobbing up and down separately while holding canned sodas. But so far, my sixteenth birthday party was really happening. Everyone seemed like they were having a nice time. 

And wonder of wonders! Steven Tyler hadn’t even showed up. I looked at my watch. According to Dad, he should have arrived around 45 minutes earlier. Please, don’t let him be fashionably late, I wished. Please say he took the money and split. Maybe this would be the best sweet sixteenth in the world. 

These thoughts had just swarmed through my mind like a hive of bees, and as if God had heard them and wanted to make a mockery of the honey in my brain, the front door slammed open and a - I hesitate to say "man", more a disheveled mass of hair and lips - walked in. 

"YEA-AHHHH!" shouted Steven Tyler. He took a swig from a bottle of whiskey he was holding, belched, and held up a hand to silence the already silent crowd. "WHAT UP, EVERYONE! HOW YOU ALL DOIN! LET'S MAKE THIS THE MOST ROCKIN SWEET SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY EVER, C'MAWN!" 

My throat closed up and all of my dreams faded away. Blackness covered my peripheral vision, and I swayed. I felt my knees buckle. Was I going to faint? 

Just then, one of the androgynous boys snickered, pointed at Steven, and said "Check out the birthday surprise! It's that sweet new ride we've all been hearing about." Everyone started to laugh. Steven Tyler looked surprised for a moment and then he said, "I'M THE SWEETEST! YuhAAYUH!" After shouting this last (word? I’m still not sure what it was), he strode over to the stereo and poked the eject button. 

"Hey, come on!" someone protested angrily. Steven Tyler picked up the CD in the same disgusted way I'd picked up his autographed picture that morning. "A BURNED CD? ELECTRONICA MIX? WHAT’S ALL THIS!? YOU CATS NEED SOME REAL MUSIC AT THIS PARTY, UH YEA YEA YEA-AH!!" He slipped in a disk and pressed play. 

Immediately, the opening strains of "Love in an Elevator" began shaking the house. "GOO WINNG DOOWWWN," howled the studio recorded Steven Tyler. The real Steven Tyler stood in front of us, smiling with giant liver lips. He closed his eyes and lip synched along. 

One girl started crying, and several kids walked outside to call their parents and say they needed to be taken home. I didn't blame them. I bit my lip with frustration. Would Steven Tyler ruin every party ever? It seemed that the answer was yes, absolutely. 

"WHERE’S THAT CAKE YOUR MOM PROMISED!" Steven Tyler yelled out to no one in particular. He didn't even know whose birthday it was. I wanted to pretend that I didn't know either, but someone looked at me and said “Yeah, where's that cake?” 

Steven Tyler walked over and hugged me. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YEA-AAHUH!" I felt greasy and misused. "LET’S GO GET US SOME CUH-YAH-UKE!!!" he yelled and sang at the same time. 

Mom brought out the cake. As expected, it was mildly yellow with a brown powder sprinkled on the top. The words “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” were scribbled in icing. Actually, it really didn't look that bad. Sort of like an overripe banana. I'd almost convinced myself to try the cake when Steven Tyler stuck his nasty finger into the cake, pulled it out, and licked it. 

"EAT THE CAKE!" he sang. "THERE'S ONLY ONE THING THAT IT'S GOOD FOR!" Then he laughed hysterically. "THAT CAKE’S AMAZING, MRS COMBS!!!!" he told my mother, who was busy trying to light all the candles on the cake. 

"Thank you, Steven," she said, smiling and blushing. I remembered that she'd once told me that she had a huge crush on Steven Tyler in her youth and I felt sick to my stomach. 

The stereo was still playing Aerosmith tracks. That - along with the ragged hole in the top of the cake - eliminated any hunger I might have. I did not even want to look at the birthday cake, which - due to Steven Tyler's disgusting finger - now read "HAPPY BIRTRDAY". But everyone crowded around and sang, and I had to blow out the candles. "Make a wish!" Mom exclaimed. 

"HERE, LET ME HELP!" chirped Steven Tyler, and he blew on the candles. His fish-like lips flapped like a heavy, damp curtain in the wind. Spittle flew everywhere, and the candles were extinguished. "YUH YEAAH-AAH!" he shouted, and everyone clapped politely. Mom cut everyone a piece, and it tasted exactly like it sounded. Like a lemon coconut cake with unsweetened cocoa and Steven Tyler spit on top. I couldn't even eat two bites, and I noticed a lot of untouched slices sitting around the house later. Steven Tyler ate five pieces while he drank half the bottle of whiskey. 

Half an hour later, he was crawling around on all fours and dry-heaving. I never actually saw him get sick, but there was a rancid smell from behind the potted plant in the corner. He stood up every few minutes and ate another plateful of cake and had another swig of whiskey (just watching the rising and falling levels in the bottle, I estimated at least three bottles consumed during the birthday party) and then he crawled around on the floor and talked to himself some more. About the only times he walked like a normal human being were when he was hitting on the fifteen-year-olds from my class or when he was putting in a new Aerosmith CD. After the first CD ended (he announced that it was a mix of his very favorite tracks), he started on the very first Aerosmith album and went through them all chronologically. 

Somewhere after “Night in the Ruts” but before “Get a Grip,” Steven Tyler came up to me and asked if he could borrow five dollars “for a magic trick.” When I opened my wallet and said all I had was a bunch of tens, he said “YUUAAYUH! LET’S TRY EM OUT!” and took them all. Then he tucked them in the waistband of his leather pants. I didn’t even try to get it back. That was all the cash I had in the world and the only birthday present I got, other than Steven Tyler’s presence.

* * *

Steven Tyler stuck around at my Sweet Sixteenth for nine hours. Long after all the other kids had made sad, fake excuses and left early, Steven Tyler told me he was going “to make sure [I] got my money’s worth.” Then he passed out for a few minutes, whiskey bottle still in hand. When I finally went to bed, he was still listening to his own albums and staggering around. 

The next morning, I woke up feeling ill. My stomach ached and I couldn’t stop thinking about the evening before. Would anyone ever talk to me again? 

When I walked downstairs, I saw the worst sight ever. Steven Tyler was passed out in the living room. His thick lips were smeared with the remains of the birthday cake, and some icing was on his nose. The remains of his last bottle of whiskey were spilled on the carpet and he smelled like he’d pooped himself. I wanted to push him a little with my foot so he’d wake up, but I was also uncomfortable about rousing him. 

When I turned off the stereo, he snorted and woke up a little. When he realized I was the one walking around, it was like an electric shock hit him. His eyes lit up. “WUH-YAAAYUH,” he shouted at me. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY! WAWNA BIRTHDAY SONG?” 

“My birthday was yesterday, Mr. Tyler,” I said, but he didn’t care. “TAWKIN BOUT THANGS THAT NOBODY CARES,” he yelped like a kicked puppy. “WEARIN OUT THANGS THAT NOBODY WEARS.”

 I backed out of the room and went back to bed. And as I covered my head with a pillow, hoping that he’d quiet down and hoping the neighbors couldn’t hear, I felt a little sad. My parents had believed that hiring Steven Tyler was a smart and considerate thing. They thought that they were making my birthday an affair to remember.

And who was to say that they hadn’t? As I listened to Steven Tyler’s shrieking in the living room, I realized that I was now an adult, that Steven Tyler had somehow ushered me through childhood and into maturity. And, remembering the way that my mother had blushed while looking at Steven Tyler’s freak show lips, like two painted goldfish wriggling for air in the middle of his face, I hoped to God that I’d been adopted.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I really don't know anything about this. Really. I found this in a "My Documents" folder. It was modified in October of 2006. I don't remember anything about it. As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to read this story for the first time in five-and-a-half-years. This could be exciting.

A Hog. A Sled. A Harley.

From the time I turned thirteen, all I wanted to do was to ride a motorcycle. To live the exciting life of a biker. To race down the streets at night, the smell of burning rubber and gasoline in my clothes.  To grow my hair long and unkempt, a Santa Claus style beard flowing down my chin like so much spilled soup. To ride with the big boys, to wolf-whistle at the ladies. Sometimes when I was walking up to the drug store to get a bottle of Snapple, I thought about how incredible I’d look with the wind flowing through my long hair as it fluttered around my face like the tassels on my handlebars.

Actually, I’d tried growing out my hair a few years back. Unfortunately, it was curly and bristly, and all I could manage was a sincerely impressive afro. And my beard would only grow to the level of intense stubble – patchy stubble at best. I had several places I couldn’t even grow hair on my face. And it was a completely different color from my hair, more a dirty blonde than brunette. Instead of looking like a biker, my mother told me, I looked like a homeless bum who’d somehow blipped in from the 70s – an impression made worse by the fact that I often took to wearing Hawaiian shirts and capris out in public.

But I was damned if I was going to let my dream go. I was twenty seven, and it was time to live my life. I was going to become a biker, and I was going to look incredible. And so I looked at myself as an uncarved mound of stone: to sculpt out a biker, I would have to cut away everything that didn’t look like a biker. The first was my hair.

I could not trust anyone to help me – the last time I’d asked my friend Dave to give me a haircut, he’d used the electric razor to sculpt the words “CHARLES IS GAY” in the back of my hair. Only he wasn’t really proficient enough to make it legible and it just looked like I had a large, unwieldly bald spot. No, I would have to manage this on my own. I carefully used a pair of scissors to cut away chunks of my hair as close to the scalp as possible, then I used an electric razor to finish it off. I was bald, which sort of looked biker-y, but I wanted long, flowing hair.

I’d previously looked around at the local wig shop and found what looked to me to be a dream wig – it looked sort of like Jane Fonda’s hair in Barbarella. It looked badass, totally like a biker. When I slid it on and looked in the mirror, I just smiled. “Oh, man,” I said out loud. “You are one bad ass.” I tasted the dirty word in my mouth and liked the way it sounded. “Bad – ASS,” I repeated. Just four years ago my mom would have washed my mouth out with soap for saying it, but now – I was a biker.

I’d also purchased a fake beard and spirit glue, and I now pasted the beard on. Only the wig was golden yellow and the beard was a Santa Claus style beard from Target and the two didn’t look so good together. I shrugged and said to myself, well, bikers aren’t known for having exquisite personal appearances.

I had a blue jean jacket I’d picked up from Goodwill, and I also had an old tattered pair of blue jeans I’d worn when I was seventeen. The jeans didn’t fit so well any more and I couldn’t button them, but I also had a really cool extra large t-shirt from Joe’s Crab Shack, so I left it untucked and so no one could tell that my pants were not completely closed. I looked in the mirror in a full-length mirror and I jumped up and down and squealed. I looked pretty much totally like a badass biker!


But what is a biker without a posse? He’s nothing; worse than nothing, he’s a target for other biker gangs. I needed to join a gang, and fast. But there was a big problem.

My mom made me promise three things when I moved out. ONE: I must never eat leftovers that were more than a week old, TWO: always wear a clean pair of underwear EVERY day, and THREE: never ever EVER ride on a motorcycle. I hadn’t broken any of the promises yet, and as much as I wanted to this time, it would be disrespectful to my mother. So until she was dead, I had to stick with my 12 speed Huffy. Now, some people think that a Huffy isn’t as cool as a motorcycle. They’re wrong. Maybe because it isn’t as big, or isn’t as loud – that’s what they’ll tell you. But two months before, I’d taken a big roll of duct tape and taped on a bunch of stuff to the bike and spraypainted the whole thing black – a couple of broomsticks, some empty cans, a Troll doll, and an AM/FM walkman with mini speakers. The effect was so amazing, it looked incredible. If you saw me driving down the street and you heard death metal blasting through the mini speakers you’d totally slow down and say to yourself, man, I have got to stay out of that badass’s way.

I got on my bike and started pedaling down the street, blonde hair waving in the wind. My Santa Claus beard was a little askew; I told myself next time I’d use more spirit gum. It was a pleasant June morning and it wasn’t too hot yet, but it was just hot enough to make my blue jean jacket completely unnecessary, which is why it looked so cool. Mr. Fonders down the street squinted at me nervously, but I waved to him and said “It’s just me, Mr. Fonders,” and he said “Hi Charles” and went back to watering his lawn. It was incredibly empowering.

I thought about yelling, “WHAT UP, BITCH,” just like I saw this guy do on television, but Mr. Fonders was pretty cool in his own way. Some old guys have those stupid things in their gardens that look like ladies bent over and you can see their big flowery underpants, but not Mr. Fonders. He grew tomatoes and peppers, and once he brought over three pink tomatoes and some peppers and asked if I could use them. I said yes, and when he left I ate half a pepper and threw up. Then I took the tomatoes back up to my high school and threw them at the brick wall and laughed like crazy. So Mr. Fonders and me were cool.

“Get a bike and join my cool gang, Mr. Fonders!” I yelled at him, and he looked up from watering and waved to me again. I didn’t have time to wait, so I just kept pedaling. It was a really nice morning.

I turned the corner and kept biking. My Santa Claus beard kept making my face itch, so I scratched it a little and kept on going. I thought about biking up to the drug store and getting another Snapple, but then I thought, how many bikers have you ever seen drink a Snapple, dumb ass? They drink root beer, right from the bottle.

They didn’t have bottles of root beer at the drug store, but at the dollar store next door they had some, only they weren’t cold. I thought, probably bikers have to drink warm sodas too sometimes – they don’t have a cooler on their bikes. That gave me a really good idea. What if I taped a little cooler to the back of my bike so if I wanted a soda later I could have one? I figured I’d do it when I got home.

On the way out, I saw these two kids with these really crummy bikes. The guys looked like they were twelve, and one had a orange girl’s bike, and the other had a blue Mongoose bike from Toys R Us.

“Those bikes are terrible!” I said, pointing proudly to my bike. “This is what you’re lookin for! Something totally awesome like this.”

The two boys just looked at me. I felt really sorry for them.

“You guys wanna go join my biker crew?” I asked. “We can go down the main way peel out toss down a few skynners and then smoke a dirvy.” I said it gruffly, just like I imagined a biker would say.

The two boys looked at me a little longer. The one with the orange girl’s bike said, “What’s wrong with your beard?”

“Nothing,” I said.

“It’s sort of falling off,” he pointed out.

I quickly adjusted the beard.

“What’s all that mean?” asked the other boy. “Peel a… dirvey and all that?”

I shrugged. “Motorcycle code, my man. You’ll figure it out along the way. You guys wanna ride out? We goin all the way down the junction, son, all engines open and flyin like skeedles.”

The two boys looked at each other, then at me. “No,” finally one admitted. “We’re watchin Pokemon in fifteen minutes.”

“You aren’t invited to see it,” the other boy informed me, and they both got on their bikes and rode away. Sissies, I thought. They weren’t tough enough for the biker lifestyle – but I would always be tough enough!

I spent the next two hours trying to find someone cool enough to ride with me. I saw one guy on a Vespa and I tried to ride with him, but after two blocks he turned down a sidestreet. I saw another guy on a bike, but he was wearing those skin-tight clothes and wearing a helmet - obviously a professional bicycler, and NOT the kind of compadre I wanted in my motorcycle club. I saw two biker guys downtown on some really cool Harley Davidson motorcycles, and I asked if I could ride with them, and they laughed and said sure – only to drive way faster than I could, leaving me behind. I was so mad I tried to memorize their license plate numbers so I could call the cops on them for speeding, but they went too fast and my eyesight is kind of bad. Also, my wig kept flapping in my face and it made it hard to see.

Finally I just rode to my best friend Chester’s house. Chester’s mom answered the door, and she gave me my first real laugh of the day. She looked scared and said, “OH NO, A BIKER! GO AWAY, YOU BAD BIKER!”

“Ha ha!” I said to her. “It’s just me, Mrs. Larrington!” Chester’s mom was a hoot. For the longest time she called us the CHUHs, because Chester and Charles both started with a CH. But after we graduated high school, Chester said she had to stop. I was always disappointed that she didn’t call us the CHUHs any more.

“Goodness, Charles,” she said, covering up her heart. “It’s you! You almost scared me half to death! Hold on, I’ll get Chester.” 

Finally after what seemed like half an hour Chester came downstairs. He was still wearing pajamas, even though it was 3:45 in the afternoon!

“Who the fuck?” he said – then he realized who it was. I couldn’t believe he said the “F” word right in front of his mom.

“Hey, Charles,” he said. “What up?”

“Hey, man,” I said. “I’m just… you know, bikin around, getting a biker club together. You want to join?”

“Naw, fuck it, not today,” Chester said. “Let’s do it tomorrow. Today is pajama day.” Then he trudged back upstairs.

I just stood there for a while, feeling sad. Finally, Mrs. Larrington gave me a hug. “Chester hasn’t been feeling himself today,” she said to me, rubbing my hair with one hand. “Come back over tomorrow, okay, dear?”

“I sure will,” I said, and hoisted one leg over the bike’s frame. “That’s cool! Here I go, Mrs. Larrington – watch me!” And I switched on the AM/FM radio, turning it to the hard rock station, and pedaled down the road towards home – a vision in black and blue, a demon of the road, hell on wheels.

Friday, June 1, 2012


This is another one of my Most Favorite Things I've ever written. This is my Boswell story. I was a really, really gullible kid. Once, this kid at summer camp told me that the camp counselors kept him in the basement where they were making him build a nuclear bomb so they could take over the United States. He convinced me that he was extremely knowledgeable about building nuclear explosives and that I had to help him or the world would soon be under the control of our camp counselors.

This has been a recurring theme throughout my life.

Mike was just a regular guy - he liked his hamburgers with mustard, his reality shows with animal-testicle devouring, and his centerfolds with big hineys. At night, he'd feed his chihuahua, grab a frosty beer, and sit back in his easy chair to watch the latest sitcoms. He never really laughed at the sitcoms, but he felt compelled to watch them - "The storyline," he told me once, though the shows had no real continuity and there was only a tenuous connection between one scene and the next.

Yes, Mike was just a regular guy. A regular guy, that is, until one soul-scarring day when he went back in time.

Later, when he tried to think back on how he had traveled some two hundred odd years into the distant past, he couldn't remember. Mike couldn't always recall the precise details of the incident, but he sure did like to tell me about all it. "One time," he confided in me, "I banged this, like, old England broad with a big ass."  He nodded at me with big eyes, showing his utter sincerity. "Daayyumnnnn," Mike concluded, raising one eyebrow.

I feel that it is my duty to document Mike's adventures for posterity. Perhaps it may seem silly now, but I believe that we should all nod our heads solemnly and listen to the story of MIKE, the greatest time traveler of all ... well, of all time!

Without warning, Mike found himself in the 18th century, the most dangerous century of all time. Fighting for his life, no way of knowing where to go or what to do! Quickly he adopted a British accent so that no one would know his true identity. I wouldn't believe it myself if he hadn't told me.

"Lewwwk heeeyahh, loove," he told a beautiful young American woman who was walking next to him. Actually, it wasn't really America yet - from the way he explained it to me, it was actually a collection of 'colonics.' So if I understand him correctly, it was really a colonical girl. "Lewwwk heeayh, loove," he told the colonical girl. "Oyyy am een Loove wif yeww." She smiled at him and they began making out right there.

Suddenly, an enraged George Washington drove up in his horse and buggy. "Bitch," shouted Washington,"I'm going to fuck your shit up!"

"Neeeew, Moyyk," shouted the beautiful colonical girl with the large breasts. "We've ewwwnly joost met and oym fawwling in LEWV wif yewww!"

"I shall defend thou honor!" yelled Mike, and pulled out his gun, shooting George Washington in the face repeatedly until the gun only clicked, clicked. "My God," someone cried, "Who will sign the Declaration of Constitution now?"

"I will," said Mike, quickly forging Washington's signature on the now bloodstained paper. "To arms," he cried, "let us kill the damned British!" Grabbing some tea, he threw it in the Gulf of  Mexico to rally his half-man, half-android troops. They all came - one by one - with giant rayguns and uzis.

The British began oozing up from the soil. Hideous shapes that seemed to come from a heavy metal album cover. They oozed and grimaced, occasionally stopping to vomit a heavy stream of sewage onto the American soil. Mike cringed at the sight - he felt his sanity slowly draining away. "QUICK, MY ROBOT LEGIONS," he told his army, "ATTACK THE BRITISH!" And they did, tearing off the horrors' heads with surprising ease like popping the tabs off of a Coke can. But the British kept coming. Mike knew that he must do something!

Quickly he rolled his twelve-sided die and summoned a level 15 mage to attack. The mage cast FireAsh(+2 Demon protection) on the evil British army and suddenly they all began melting and shrieking, a high-pitched noise that would haunt Mike until the end of his days - or so he told me. "Personally," he said, "I think I could get over it - in time." At this, he smirked and crossed his arms, indicating that the story was over.

Sometimes he would elaborate on the stories - certain elements would change, mysterious details were added. At one point, he defeated the British by rolling over them with a "Super-armored magical tank." It was a damned exciting story. Yet I would always feel that I was missing entire important scenes. He would sometimes allude to a mysterious incident in which he shook Batman's hand.  Once, he told me that he made out with "something like, twelve, maybe twenty British colonical chicks." He also hinted that perhaps he had died and they had sent back a robot in his place - and then he had risen from the dead, "just like Lazarus," and defeated the robot clone using incredibly awe-inspiring Ninja powers.

Mike was pretty much all I talked about for about a week until he got fired. Apparently he couldn't work because of a "ninja-related injury" and spent all his time drinking coffee and drawing pictures of girls with large behinds. He also flexed his muscles quite a bit. After Mike disappeared, I got very excited and figured that he must have gone back in time again. But my manager told me, no, he just got fired.

I cannot begin to explain how scientifically important a time travel venture is. I hope you can begin to imagine the implications of such a journey. Let us remember Mike and his fantastical journeys always. Perhaps these writings will outlast even me so that my children and their obnoxious children can learn of Mike, the Time Traveling Hero of the Twenty First Century.