Friday, August 11, 2006

Now They Done Fucked With My Freedoms

GODDAMNIT. Fucking terrorists have seriously ruined life for the rest of us this time. When they were just bombing buildings and randomly murdering whoever they felt would forward their shitheadedly self-absorbed “Me-me-me! Look at me! I’m being repressed!” cause, I honestly felt comfortable ignoring them. Sure, my card could get drawn at any old time, and I could be killed by some chick whose family needed the cash, or she was developmentally disabled and easily convinced, or perhaps she even met me one time at a Burger King back in 1995 and didn’t like the cut of my jib.


I was cool knowing that there are (still) random assholes out there who have nothing better to do than complain about their plight with explosives as their voice. Humans are really, really stupid that way. Plus, we’re extremely self-destructive, even without the whole “martyr”, “I’M THE VICTIM HERE”, “by any means necessary”, “jihad, bitches!”, or “Operation ____-ing _____” as a catch phrase.

But this whole no-carry-on-luggage thing is total bullshit. Total. Bullshit.

The “terrorists” have crossed the line now. Shit’s gotten personal. Mad-personal, yo. [That’s ghetto-speak, only used when one is “fittin’ to RAISE UP!”.] Do these terroristas have any idea how often the jackass companies, who own the planes their trying to destroy, LOSE my goddamn luggage? Once is too often. But anyone who has traveled would be ecstatic if they had only ONCE experienced the maddening dealings with douche-balloon airline carrier agents over how exactly one’s luggage could manage to end up in a more interesting destination than the owner did.

Having had some important shit get re-routed on a couple of occasions, I started carrying anything of actual value (if you actually GET your luggage back, and find it has been pillaged, you’re pretty much shit out of luck unless you complain for fifteen years and the value of your crap is below their pain threshold: the approximate value of a used Timex Ironman watch) in a carry-on so as to avoid getting stuck in a foreign country with NOTHING but my dick in my hand.

This is solely because airlines LOSE luggage. It’s somewhere in their Corporate By-Laws. Their charter with Federal Aviation. It probably has a well-known and well-worn term in their industry: “Baggage Attrition”, "Cyclical Mishandling", "Fuck It Man, Reading Isn't Fundamental" or some such nonsense.

Shit. And now the foreign “terrorists” are in cahoots with the domestic "air carriers", combining forces like the Wonder Twins of Fucktard Evolutionomics in a concerted effort to send my shit to Trinidad every time I fly to Chicago. And I can't even bring a fifth of bourbon onto the flight anymore? Have you ever tried to drink enough of those $5 thimble-sized bottles to ENJOY a shit-stank flight on Northwest Airlines? Have you? That's easily four million dollars in cash you'll need to be carrying with you, and you can no longer carry it in a goddamn bag.

Thank your Allah, Baby Jesus, Fred Flinstone or whoever you cry to every night, for me.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I Don't Know. I Just Ran With It.

The following is a story I wrote for a contest. A McSweeney's contest. The point was to utilize a writing prompt to build a little short story. There were 13 prompts from which to choose, and I have no idea how many winners will be involved. I assume 1 from each prompt will be chosen as a finalist, and then the best of those 13 will get all the beans.

Actually, I have no idea what their plan is. I just liked the idea of the prompts. So I ran with it.

Here was my chosen writing prompt:

Write a story that begins with a man throwing handfuls of $100 bills from a speeding car, and ends with a young girl urinating into a tin bucket.

Here is the story that won for that prompt:

A Day in the Life of R. Kelly.
By Jenny R. Thomas
- - - -

"See, girl? Those bills ain't nothin' to me, plenty more where that came from— No, no, not in the bucket; I got people to dry-clean the upholstery! Shit."

My WORD. Honestly, I REALLY like it. It's one of those stories that you read and you're like "it says so much with so little, or the other way around or whatever. Damn, I wish I wrote that."

Here is what I wrote (I was a tad more wordy, and far less witty. And that's awesome.) Ignore the formatting, as it is for a much more narrow column layout.


Puffs of greened paper shot out of the passenger
window of Shelly’s ’82 Le Sabre. Understandably, she
was extremely upset at the loss. “Damnit, Charles!”
She only called him ‘Charles’ when she wanted to fry
his scrotum. In calmer moments she referred to him as
‘Upchuck’. But not this day.

“You’re just on a bad trip, thas’ all! NOW ROLL THE

No response from Upchuck, who continued his mission to
evacuate the cash.

Shelly fell to her most common state of being:
resignation, ingrained from her playground days of
defending her questionably retarded sibling. Watching
with continued resignation as the money went out the
window, “you got to be fuckin’ kiddin’ me here.”

But this time he seemed far worse than normal.

Shelly was never the sharpest of shed tools, but
certainly more capable than those with Upchuck’s list
of afflictions. Her hair was post-wrestling-match
ratty. Skin marbled like strawberry ice cream. A
wardrobe that consisted chiefly of beer
advertisements. Her twenty-six years on earth took
double that from her body. But she was a survivor,
and whatever she was: she meant it.

Upchuck, two years her minor, was little better. He
too suffered from lack of proper pruning and the mats
in his curly dark hair were sure signs that he had
never worried about floss or voting. Whatever limited
possibilities were once in his grasp had been swept
away by a healthy diet of corner store liquor.

The car swerved its way along a rural highway to the
house of a cagey chemist of particularly ruthless repute,
Thomas Landry. His confidants and associates referred
to him as ‘Paul’. No one knew why, and no one seemed
to care about the incongruity.

People owed Paul money for various reasons. Shelly
and Upchuck were two of those people. The money, and
the reasons.

“Snakes! The snakes! SNAYYYYYKES!” Chuck repeated
as he feverishly shoveled the currency from the
floorboard to the passing outdoors. Pointlessly
scattering the small fortune into nearby stalks of
poorly tended wheat. An empty bottle of Mad Dog 20/20
slid in and amongst the dwindling pile of cash by his
feet, periodically getting caught up in Upchuck’s
handfuls, but always finding its way back to the

The money would soon be lost to the wheat.

An hour prior, things were looking much better for the
pair. Decidedly better.

They were near the end of a broad-daylight robbery of
the peeling-paint, dirt-lot, outskirts-of-town
laundromat where Shelly usually earned minimum wage
night-managing illegal immigrant labor. She figured
it to be the easiest target in town. That, and she
knew the hotel accounts paid their monthly bills in
cash earlier that morning.

Ignacio, the day manager who accomplished little more
in his life than time for pedophilia in neighboring
states, was on duty. His small gut hung over the line
of separation between a pair of brown pleat-less
corduroy slacks and a tan Western short sleeve shirt.
A brushed cowboy hat topped his head, its brim
mirroring the lines of his mustache. He always talked
about getting spurs for his boots, though he’d never
ridden a horse.

Even though Shelly had no real weapon for the holdup,
she did have her wildly unpredictable brother in tow.
To their desired end, Upchuck was wielding an ancient
stapler like a hand grenade in his left hand, and with
his right he was swinging a clutch of detached metal
coat hangers with furious menace.

While fairly unimpressed with their efforts, Ignacio
was doing his best to comply with the demands. “Are
you sure you want to do this Shelly? I mean, your job
is gone now.”

Shelly, somewhat shocked at the stupidity of his
statement, “well, yeah Ignacio. I kinda figured
that’d be the case.”

Upchuck suddenly ceased his curious offensive, and
without a single effort at a smooth transition of
mood, began to whine pathetically. “Hey, Shell, I got
uh awful headache an’ I need some Bayer or somethin’.”

“Damnit Charles. You get drunk and you get hung over.
No surprise, so shut up.”

Quietly, “but my face hurts, Shell.”

“Christ. Ignacio, you got any Tylenol or whatever in
yer desk?”

“Uh, no.”

The three of them, swimming in their own frustrations,
stared at each other for a few muted seconds. Then
Upchuck started threatening to cry. Shelly and
Ignacio shared a brief exchange of agreed annoyance,
until Upchuck dropped the stapler and put his hand to
his face. The right hand, still armed with a dozen
strips of cheap wire, began swinging wildly, knocking
items off of the counter near the already opened

Ignacio, more out of frustration than a desire to
help, cut in. “But I hear coffee helps with those
hang-over tremors.”

Before Shelly had a chance to respond, Upchuck broke
in with authority, “well then go make me some of that,

Ignacio turned to Shelly, “can I?”

“Well, shit. But don’t think about callin’ anyone or
nothin’ because we ain’t leaving without the money.
Got it, you per-vert?”

Ignacio lazily walked back to the rear office,
curiously without chaperone. On his way, he picked up
a box of individual rat bait packets. When he opened
the door to a dreary, un-air-conditioned room that
contained a desk, small bookcase, and dented filing
cabinet, Andrea was sitting shyly at his desk.

Barely twelve with a makeup job befitting a circus
entertainer, light acne, and retro-80s garb, Andrea
wore more the mood of a captive than a welcomed
visitor. She was obviously uncomfortable with his
entrance, and though rather timid, she spoke almost

“Your myspace page said you were eighteen. But you’re
not. You’re old.”

With hand-waving dismissal, Ignacio grabbed a small
can of Maxwell House off the bookshelf next to his
coffee maker, and poured the packet of rat poison in.
He shook the can with calm vigor, opened it, and
handed it to Andrea.

“Yeah, eighteen. Whatever. And you’re not sixteen.
Now piss in this.”