Identity: a monologue

Dammit, Mike, I know I’m not an alien! I’m not stupid. But you seem to think I’m stupid. At least if I’m an alien, I have a reason for being stupid- for being awkward and not getting things! If I’m an alien, of course I wouldn’t be able to tell when you’re kidding. Or when I tell your mother the title and artist and even the year of the song from 60 years ago she’s trying to remember, she won’t look at me like I’m an al—well, she will look at me like I’m an alien, but it will be because I AM!  Why would it be so bad if I were! What’s the harm in believing if it helps me cope! I can make a paycheck just as easily- I work from the house mostly anyway. It’s my delusion. Join me. Wouldn’t it be cool to be married to an extra terrestrial? You can teach me your human ways. I can show you how to manipulate your simple human emotions through music. Maybe you wouldn’t appreciate seeing how easy you are to influence. Maybe all musicians and storytellers are aliens, too! But I could make you see yourself in a new way! You’d appreciate your world more! For me, going camping with you would have more purpose if I could try to track signs of UFO exhaust, or broken branches, or artificial clearings….Let me be an alien, Mike. I guess I could try to be a witch or something… no. I’m an alien. A Star Child. I know those online quizzes are bunk, but…maybe. I’m just creating a hypothesis to fit the facts.  Don’t limit me- limit us—by denying who I want to be. Stay, Mike. Teach me how to be human. And we’ll explore this planet, it’s customs and people, together.

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Addiction: a monologue

Hi. My name is Shelly and …I’m an addict. It started last Octobe—no, I guess it started when I quit. No. It really started when I was 9. I started smoking. I saw one of the older kids, Adam? He was a couple grades older and always wore a jean jacket with little pins on it, like Fraggle Rock and Madness.  Anyway, he and a bunch of his friends were puffing and chewing on cigarettes, the candy kind? It was cold, so they were making their breath look like smoke. They looked so cool. They way they held the candy between their fingers, the way their lips puckered as they sucked the sugar. So I went to the convenience store by our neighborhood. Did you know those candy cigarettes are kinda hard to find? I wasn’t about to ask Adam; I was just some twerp. So the store didn’t have the candy cigarettes, but they had real ones. So I got some. Real cigarettes. So anyway, I smoked for 24 years. I finally quit a couple years ago after my 14th try. But it left a hole, y’know? I’ve tried to fill it, find thrills. I drive recklessly. I tail people and slam on the brakes when they don’t floor it to go thru the yellow light, then I cuss ‘em out. I order crazy things off the menu. I went to the Asian store and got boiled silkworm larvae! Anyway, the hole was still there. Then October rolled around. The stores were filling up with holiday stuff, right on time. The fast food places were, too. I remember my first one. The line was long, I was just staring at the menu, I already knew what I wanted, when I saw the most beautiful picture of the yummiest concoction! I told the girl, “One eggnog shake please.” I just now realized I forgot to order my lunch that day. I took that cup, I sipped, I slurped, I fought thru the headache and stopped only to breathe!…Yes! This is my addiction! I am addicted to Jack in the Box Eggnog Shakes! It may not be as glamorous as your cocaine addiction, sir! Or your sex addiction, ma’am! But when I find myself at Jack in the Box drive-thru at 11pm ordering my 5th shake of the day, what else would I call it? I’ve tried resisting! I can go 40 minutes before I start salivating. I get all squirmy. I get itchy, man! I try drinking water, drinking milk, but before I know it, I’m back there ordering another. And I’m not the only one. I see other people there, too. We don’t look at each other, tho. It’s like looking in a drooling, sweaty, shaky mirror. What am I supposed to do! Tell me! How do I get this sweet, spicy, cold monkey off my back, huh?  What? January?…Seasonal!  Fuuuck!

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Straight, Gay or Anime?

I work hard, but I gotta play

So much porn, but short are the days

You gotta choose,  you can’t delay

You want it straight, gay or anime?

Who cares about society’s mores

“I like it just about any way”

At least that’s what he say

But me, I like it anime.

Straight’s got the best clichés

Gay’s got a kinky dossier

But when I want real risqué

All the way, it’s anime!

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Man, I Gotta Pee

Man I gotta pee. I should get up and take care of that. But I really should harvest this DNA first. ..shoot, did I do this one already? I can’t concentrate, but I need to get this done. I’ll just go…Oh yeah, I took my Crocs off. I can hold it. Let me reformat this spreadsheet…that’s better. Is that better? Maybe it should have stayed 4 columns.  Why did I have all that coffee? That’s ridiculous, I’ll have to pee sometime anyway, whether or not I drink coffee. I just maybe wouldn’t have to go right now.  Now I’m thirsty. I can get up, go pee, AND get water while I’m up! Perfect plan. Except I really need to get SOME work done.

Here comes Karen. Why can’t she just email me? She takes forever to say what could be said in two sentences. She is funny, though.  Aw, she brought me a mouse! She’s so sweet.  Yes, I heard about the hybrid results due next week. Yes, I’m ready. No, I didn’t know James asked Jamie out! How cute! No! Don’t talk about how you went to the Falls last week! I know it’s misty and loud and SO MUCH RUNNING WATER! I can excuse myself- Karen will understand. Oh no, here’s Scot to talk to us. I really need to talk to him, too, about the singing gerbil he sent me. Of course, he and Karen need to do their catching up first. I can get him later.

Shoes on, excuse myself, and…Finally! I can feel my bladder unclenching in anticipation. Not yet, bladder, not yet! We’re getting there. What’s that growling? I’m not near the kennels. I think Kenny has a hissing whistle from one of his animals as his ring-tone, but not a growl. Where is it?  It doesn’t sound friendly at all…oh look! It’s a mini sasquatch! So cute! C’mere little guy. How’d he get out—ow! You’re a mean, impotent little one! Where’s Kenny? This is probably one of his. Don’t run away, little dude—

Is the floor shaking? Why is the floor shaking? Screaming? What’s going o—Oh, oh god no!  Don’tpeedon’tpeedon’tpee! Runrunrun! The ladies’ room! Hide there! Open, you goddamn door! Fuck! PULL! Shut it shut it, damn hydraulic, shut…IT’S GOT MY ANKLE IT’S SCRATCHING- NO-TICKLING ME! With tiny, hairy fingers? It’s Midget ‘Squatch! Get in here, you! Shut the door, barricade it- but the door opens OUT! Mop! Mop or broom through the handle to …what? I can’t think, I gotta pee! Put the trash can here, just for now, I’ll hear if it gets in- shut UP Midget ‘Squatch! Stop SHRIEKING! Let me PEE!

Why oh why do they make us wear jumpsuits? Why can’t I be a guy so I can unzip the crotch and whip it out- not YET bladder! Ignore all the screaming, ignore the alarms. When did the alarms start? Panties down and…aaaahhh. I could be here awhile… Go away ‘Squatch, I can’t relax my nethers with you here. The crashing and pounding outside isn’t helping either. Close my eyes, focus, think release…Oh, you’re whimpering now? Fine. Up. It’s weird, but I can pee with you on my lap… No, I can’t.  What’s that noise? The trash can’s moving! Legs up! Damn my short legs, but I can just brace them against the walls. I feel vulnerable like this, but—sh, shhh, ‘Squatch. I can just see…what, WHO! Oh thank god it’s a who! A man who, not ideal, but I am NOT in condition to receive guests. Pull yourself together, woman! Aw, ‘Squatch, it’s okay, I just have to get dressed.  Bladder will just have to wait.  He’s gonna freak when I make a noise, dress quick! He did freak! Really? He jumps on the sink? Oh hey, it’s Scot!

It’s just me, you’re very brave. Yes, I saw the beast, yes, I’m aware I have a miniature sasquatch clinging to my leg, no, I don’t know what’s going on, yes, I have an idea, and, even though you didn’t ask, I STILL HAVE TO PEE! You DON’T think now’s a good time? I don’t care, I don’t intend to soil myself, I don’t have an extra jumpsuit!  So excuse me…

What was that hiss? Something hissed! Or psst-ed? Scot heard it, too. Look at the coward, running to the corner. To a hole in the wall? The hissing is coming from there! Why is there a hole in the wall? Thank god, Tamika! Is that a vent? It’s a secret passage? Are you kidding me? OK, go, Scot! You too ‘Squatch? But I still gotta…Aah! The trash can moved! Did it move? I don’t wanna be left here alone!  Alright alright, I’ll go! Hey, pretty comfy in here for a crawl space.  Was I crazy for leaving? We were safe in the ladies room, weren’t we?

Where is Tamika taking us? To the observation booth, of course! It’s behind bullet-proof (and abnormal strength-proof) glass in the testing room! So …we’re in a what now? An extension of a testing maze for the rataroos- cool. But why to the ladies’ room? Oh, to sneak away, yeah, Bentley can be a pretty controlling boss. Yeah, I think I know what that monster is. It’s Cody’s and Ellie’s illicit side project. Figures they’d let it get out of hand.

So just trudge trudge on hand and knee, trying not to think of pee, or look at Scot’s ass in front of me. Or ‘Squatch’s either, for that matter…oh, would you look at that? ‘Squatch is a girl! My knees are beginning to hurt…that’s what she said! Oh man I’m punchy. Are we there yet? I see light!

Alright, we made it to the testing room…with the observation booth all the way on the other side. It looks kinda full already. Just like my bladder, harhar! Okay, this is a big room. Let’s go guys, they got the door open for us –gogogo! In pops Tamika, in goes Scot…Oh crap, the floor’s shaking again. Nonono don’t close the do—Fuckers! Just you and me ‘Squatch! Get behind me! Let’s see what I’m up against…Shit.  Man, that’s one huge, ugly critter! The legs bend in TWO directions? And what’s up with those ears? Are those LEAVES? Cody? Ellie? You in there? They better be in that observation booth.  Lemme know exactly what I’m up against.

It spit at me! That’s disgusting! Good thing it’s cross-eyed and missed me! That’s right, ‘Squatch, yell at the rejected del Toro abomination! That space under that steel table looks mighty inviting right about now. Follow me, ‘Squatch! With any luck there’ll be a potty under there—Ha ha.  Augh! How does the creature know my name? Whew, that was just Cody on the intercom.

Cody you goddamn, power-hungry, mothe—I don’t care that you and Ellie were trying to create the ultimate dairy/fruit smoothie! Humans weren’t meant to- Nooo! It’s got ‘Squatch!  Put her down! How do I stop it, Cody? What do you mean you don’t know? Alright, you vile monstrosity, you’ve done it now! Attaaaaaack! I got your…ear, or whatever! Mmm, that’s kinda tasty!  Let go, let go of ‘Squatch! Take that! How do you like that, huh? Geez, it’s high up here! Stop gnawing on ‘Squatch! Stop… tearing… up … the lab! Stop…being…mean!  Uh oh.  Don’t don’tdon’t. Stop bumping me so much!  I’m gonna… I can’t stop it! Bottle-uncorked! Tide-going out! A hot mountain stream! Grip-released! Aahhh. Gushing. Draining. I feel so light, so free! Can’t stop if I wanted to. Maybe nobody will notice?  Whoa, hey, what’s it doing? The creature’s going down! It’s wilting! My pee! It’s killing it! HaHA! I win! Run ‘Squatch! Run to safety! Woohoo! In your face, crazy monster!

We did it, ‘Squatch! C’mere, cutie! The smoothie monster is dead! Even the biggest, yummiest smoothie will always be killed when combined with pee! Wheee! Guys, you can come on out now, you shivering cowards. Wait till I get my hands on Cody and Ellie…aw, I’m too pumped to stay mad! Must be the post-pee high.

Yeah, everyone, high-five! I did it! Put me on your shoulders! No? Ah.  Right.  I’m, uh, damp, in the most unpleasant way.  Oh! Hey there Scot! Not put off by a little pee, huh? Sure, you can help me out of my jumpsuit! Wait, you hid in the ladies room because why? But you’ve never watched me before, right? …Let’s go for coffee and I might give you a show later!

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5 Ways to Deal with Your State Burning

5 Ways to Deal with Your Home State Burning

1) Accept it:

There’s nothing you can do. You’re not a firefighter. Let it all burn. Fire is God’s ultimate cleansing tool. Why He chose a flood to purge Noah’s world instead of fire is the Bible’s only great mystery. Just pack a bag, go to your cousin’s house the next state over, and watch the flames on tv.

2) Work on your photography skills:

Sure, everyone in the area is taking their own pictures of the smoke plume, but none will be with YOUR unique perspective from the square foot you are standing on. Zoom in on the light-play of the setting sun through the ashfall.  Focus your phone’s camera on the reflection of the flames on the night clouds and smoke.  Instagram it.

3) Have a fire party:

Invite your fellow newly homeless friends and neighbors.  Set up a playlist (using stereo equipment borrowed from a smug friend who lives in the middle of concrete and asphalt) of fire-related songs: “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel for example. Supply lots of hot dogs and marshmallows and long sticks. May as well make a delicious snack out of the unstoppable flames! Alternately: if you fled with pictures of your ex, now’s the time to toss them into the encroaching fire.

4) Find out who your real friends are:

If they don’t offer up their home to your 3 kids all under 6 yrs of age and your 7 cats, they aren’t your friends. If they don’t offer to drive you to your electrolysis appointments and take you to see Magic Mike, they aren’t your friends. Actually, you may find mere acquaintances bending over backwards to show everyone what good people they are! Take advantage of this. Suckers.

5) Start over:

Face it- your life sucked anyway. Hide away and get yourself declared missing/presumed dead. Assume a new identity and become a much cooler, smarter, more successful person. This is the role of a lifetime (well, after your original, anyway) so put your all into it 24/7 and fake it till you make it! Sure, you’ll still be you, but try not to think about that.

 

 

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I wish I could help you. I wish I could give you some advice. But anything I can think of just sounds hacky. And I’m certainly not qualified. I don’t know your situation. I don’t know you.

God knows I’m genetically/chemically predisposed to depression. But I feel my depression has mostly been situational. My most recent bout came from a feeling of aimlessness and uselessness. I wasn’t doing anything I really wanted, but I didn’t know what I wanted in the first place. Now I’m in school. I have a goal, a reason to get up in the morning. I have very clear progress with each assignment turned in, each box checked. But I worry what will happen when I graduate. Is school just procrastinating? Even if I find a good job right away, I may fall right back into depression again. I don’t know.

I’ve never seriously considered suicide. Briefly, as a teen. But I considered it cheating. I most certainly am a quitter when called for. But suicide felt like a last resort after trying everything else. I haven’t tried everything else yet. I’m still here.

For other people, their depression isn’t situational. Fucking chemicals. Your parents’ fucking genes. There’s no escaping that if that’s the case. Just drugs. I do recommend anti-depressants for those people. I know a woman who takes them. She said she barely needs them, really, but she doesn’t like who she is without them. I don’t really know what she means, but my first thought was, “Then change who you are! Don’t mask the problem, or escape it. Fix it.” But that’s not fair. If she’s really a better, funnier person with the drugs, and happier, then who am I to say.

I recently wondered what’s so bad about suicide. If someone really wants to go away, why is that wrong? My father, a therapist, without me even asking, volunteered some information. He said that among jumpers who survive the fall, the vast majority’s last thought was, “Oh my god, this is a mistake. I want to live.” So besides the waste of suicide, the shame of seeing a promising life end, the potential mistake of it is the scariest.

Sorry if this is too serious. It’s not clever or funny or veiled. You’re probably feeling ten times worse now, reading this. All I can say is: figure it out. Deal with it. Get a prescription if you have to. If your family can’t/won’t help you, find someone who will. Keep writing stupid, silly jokes. Fill the jokes with your pain. That’s where the pain belongs.

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Asses & Elephants

My piece “Asses and Elephants” was meant to be scathing satire of the election but became a viral dinner party strip game and recipe instead.

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