Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Little Things

Sometimes, I don't think we stop enough to consider the little things in life. Things like the way the sun hits my apartment window in the morning, casting a single ray of light across my room. The way my truck shudders when I'm at a stop light. And the fact that this weekend is Halloween and you can buy a ginormous bag of candy for roughly 10 bucks.

Personally, it's all about the candy corn. Sure, they're nothing but wax and sugar (and probably more sugar), but I can eat metric tons of them. I don't like them so much the next day, granted, but they're mighty fine going down.

Now if I could only come up with some sort of 'Peeps and Candy Corn' creation, all my seasonal goodies would meld into one massive, heart-stopping creation. And I literally mean 'heart-stopping.'

Be safe and enjoy the holiday.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

El Payaso: Part 3

The Dame’s right eyebrow went up by a fraction of an inch. “Really?”


“How can you be sure?”

“How many Tex-Mex-Chinese placed do you know serve sake at the correct temperature?”

“Good point.” She frowned. “This could be a problem.”

“Oh, goody,” I said, leaning back in my chair. Yet another paper airplane wafted by. This one said ‘I’m walking against the wind.’ “So, back to my original question: what does the clown mafia want?”

The Dame took a deep breath. “Let me be frank. The clown mafia is in trouble. A war’s coming and they’re not sure they can handle it.”

“How big a war, Frank?”

There was a muffled ‘bang’ from under the table. “That was a just a warning,” she said. “Any more stupid jokes and you can kiss a kneecap goodbye.”

“That wasn’t a warning,” I said. I was particularly proud of how evenly I managed to say it.

“What do you mean?”

“You winged me.”

The Dame looked under the table and then straightened up. “Perhaps a band-aid?”

I shook my head. “I just need to say a bad word and put pressure on it.” I pressed my other calf against the new flesh wound. “Crap. My dad was corpsman,” I said by way of explanation. “Anyway, Fr- nice lady, who could scare the clowns.”

She leaned close. “There’s only one group that’d scare them this bad: mimes.”

Tomorrow: Part 4

Thursday, October 21, 2010

El Payaso: Part 2

“It’s complicated,” she said, as she motioned to the waiter.

He shambled over, feet scraping loudly on the tile floor. He was a big man, in a Hawaiian shirt and a white apron. A Mariner’s ball cap was pulled low over his eyes and he barely looked at us.

“May I take your order?”

“Tofu and cheese enchilada for the lady. I’ll take a lunch size of the stir fry chicken fajitas.”

“Tofu and cheese enchilada and a stir fry chicken fajitas,” he repeated. “Anything to drink?”

“Water’s fine for me,” said the Dame.

“I’ll take a sake,” I said.

“Your order will be right out.” He shuffled away. Another paper airplane sailed past, embedding itself into the wall by the bathroom. ‘Help, I am in a box’ was written on the side. I ignored it.

“Well,” I said, tossing a tortilla chip into my mouth, missing, and having to fish it out of my shirt. “What do the Rubber Noses want?”

The Dame frowned. “You shouldn’t call them that. People that call them that have accidents.”

“What do they do? Beat them to death with rubber noses?”

“Actually, yes. Assuming the rubber nose is attached to a crowbar.”

The waiter shuffled over and placed my white bottle of sake down, along with a matching cup. He bowed slightly as he shuffled away.

“Big sake fan?” the Dame asked.

“Can’t stand the stuff,” I said, as I poured some out and stuck my finger in it.

“And what are you doing?”

“Checking the temperature.” I wiped my finger off. “Did you happen to bring a gun?”

“My .38 is actually pointed at you under the table.”

“Good, ‘cause our waiter’s a ninja.”

Next week: Part 3!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

El Payaso: Part 1

“I don’t much care for guacamole,” I said, pushing the dish away. We were the only two customers in El Payaso, a dimly-lit Tex-Mex-Chinese place that also did donuts. Behind the counter, a tall, thin man in a sombrero was standing motionless. “What’s his problem,” I asked, jerking a thumb at the man behind counter.

“That’s a skeleton,” said the Dame. “Y’know, Halloween?”

“Maybe, maybe not.” I shrugged. “So, let’s get down to business.”

We eyed each other across the table, as a mariachi version of ‘My Sharona,’ the 1979 hit from the Knack played in the background. It was, all things considered, pretty good. The Dame was dressed in a conservative dark suit that left everything to the imagination. It was so concealing it actually bent light around it. I was wearing jeans and an anime t-shirt, just to show I meant business.

“You go first,” she finally said, as she toyed with a cardboard coaster. It had a picture of a parrot with a machete on it that reminded me of the ‘parrot and machete’ stand my grandpa ran back in the old country (Chicago).

“Nah,” I replied with a shake of my head. “I’ve been to this dance before. Last time I got knocked in the head with a trophy and woke up next to a guy peeing.”

“You wanted a tango, you got a tango.”

“I don’t recall asking you to lead.”

“You seemed desperate for a partner.”

“Maybe I just wanted a waltz? A simple box step.”

She frowned and tapped her coaster on the table. A paper airplane floated by. It had a dirty word written on it. “I’m completely out of dancing metaphors,” she finally said.

“You could go with something like ‘you were in the wrong ballroom’ or something.”

“Why don’t we pretend that we had a good ten minutes of witty dancing repartee and get on with it?”

“Fine.” I cleared my throat. “I’m going to have the stir fry chicken fajitas.”

“Tofu and cheese enchilada,” she said.

“Now that we have that out of the way,” I said. “What does the clown mafia want?”

Tomorrow: Part 2

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I'm going to play D&D this weekend. My very good buddy Sean is running a campaign and I'm playing an Illusionist for the first time.

NOTE: This is AD&D with lots of home brewed rules. Yeah. We're old.

You see, the thing is, I just got to 3rd level and will now be wreaking illusory DOOM on everyone and everything. I've got 10 hit points, 6 useable spells, and some major havoc on my mind.

This is, of course, a joke. I'm going to hide in the back and maybe cast a spell if I think it's safe. With 10 hit points, I roll a critical on a sneeze and I can literally kill myself. A plant hit me last adventure. Once. And I was at half health.

NOTE: it was a rather vicious plant, but still. Getting your ass kicked by a vegetable is kind of embarrassing.

I did pet a rust monster, so that was cool. I wanted to keep one and train it as a pet, but Sean wouldn’t let me.

Anyway, have a safe and fun weekend. I’m going to try really hard not to die in game.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This, Not That: Part 2

EDITORIAL NOTE: Several people have expressed concern that my health is poor and that I may die at any moment. I do appreciate the concern, but let me reassure you that things in my blogs are often exaggerated for comedic purposes. For example, I quote my doctor as saying ‘That’s very, very bad,’ when in truth, she only used one ‘very.’

EDITORIAL NOTE #2: Yes, I’m still exaggerating. Let me just say that I am fairly certain that I am in fact, immortal. This hypothesis has been tested on a couple of occasions and I’m still here, so there you go. I realize this is not rigorous science, but that’s why I was an English major.

EDITORIAL NOTE #3: Please do not try and test my assumed immortality. Do not try and hit me with a car, shoot me, stab me, drop things on me, poison me, set me on fire, drown me, hide a bear in my closet, duct tape a steak to me and then let loose a cheetah, or anything else that might hurt. Anvils are right out.

So, there I was at the doctor. She was showing me a printout with lots of numbers on it. Several (okay, most) of the numbers had three digits.

“Very bad,” she was saying. “Dead people have numbers like this.”

“What about that number,” I asked, pointing at a single digit. “It’s low. Isn’t that good?”

“That’s the page number.”

“Then what about that one,” I said, pointing at a number in the low 20s.

“That’s supposed to be high. Around 180.”

“Ah. So what am I supposed to do?”

“Do what you normally do,” she said. “But do the opposite. If you want to eat a hamburger, eat a salad. If you want a soda, drink water. If you want to sit down, run in circles.”

“But what if I want to exercise, should I just sit down?” I asked, somewhat smugly.

“No. Do a different exercise. Here,” she said, handing me a small stack of paper. “These are all your prescriptions. Take them all. Everyday.”

I took the stack of prescriptions. It was like a small phone book. “Wasn’t there anything,” I asked after a moment’s reflection. “That I scored well on?”

My doctor considered this. “Well,” she finally said. “You’re very hairy.”

“Is that good?”

She shrugged. “Probably won’t kill you. Maybe.”


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Never Trust a Woman in a Mask: Part 6

I woke up.

I was in a bathtub full of ice. A bottle of gin was next to me and half a six pack of Coke. This was not the first time I’d woken up in a bathtub full of ice and alcohol and probably not the last, as this always happened when I visited my mother.

I looked around. I appeared to be in a bathroom, which made a certain amount of sense. The odd part was that it was a public bathroom and a heavyset man in overalls was peeing in a urinal a few feet away. As per male bathroom etiquette, we pretended not to see each other.

I waited until he left before I clambered out. Everything below my chest was completely numb and I discovered I was wearing a party hat. I took the hat off and looked at it. It read “Happy Anniversary!”

And then I saw something strange. Inside the hat was a folded note. As I pulled it out, I noticed a faint, rotting smell coming from one of the stalls. I took a few steps away and checked the note.

“Look at your stomach,” read the first line, so I did.

I lifted up my shirt and discovered I had a new scar. It was large and curved under my ribs. Whomever had done it had thought to make two small incisions above it, so it vaguely resembled a happy face.

“Look in the stall,” was the second line of the note, so I opened the door. On the seat was a tray. On the tray was a small, grayish organ that kind of looked like a sack. In the small, grayish organ was a switchblade, which was pinning it to the tray.

“Yes,” read the next line of the note. “That’s your gallbladder.”

I sagged against the doorframe. At long last, it was over. No more sleepless nights. No more sudden, stabbing pain. No more logging into my WoW account and deleting my gear. My gall bladder was dead.

“There are pain meds in your pocket,” was the next line of the note. “And there’s no charge,” it continued. “But, there will come a time when we’ll ask for a favor. You can choose to ignore our request and nothing will happen to you.”

“Really?” I asked.

“No,” continued the note. “We’ll do horrible things to you involving balloon animals. A very small car may be involved, as well as oversized shoes.”

I had a sudden realization. I had to pee. A minute later, I was reading the note again.

“Love and kisses,” ended the note. There was a small drawing of a harlequin mask. I looked at it upside down. “No,” it read, “this is absolutely a harlequin mask.”

I had another realization and then relaxed. My car keys were still there. I then had a third realization about the nature of humanity, but we won’t get into that. A fourth realization then followed: I now owed the clown mafia a favor.

I staggered out of the bathroom, blinking in the harsh, sudden glare of the sun. I was still at the Palm Tree Office Plaza. I ran for the Dame’s office, got lost, had to ask for directions, paused to catch my breath, and then finally made it to her office.

It was empty.

Was the Dame part of the clown mafia? Could she be the Harlequin? Or maybe she was a patsy who owed them a favor? A patsy like me?

I walked outside, threw my hands into the air, and screamed “Noooooooooooo!” to the vast, empty sky. This wasn’t because I owed the clown mafia a favor, but rather because someone had stolen the chair out of the back of my truck. And my bungie cords.

And then I went home and watched cartoons.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This, Not That: Part 1

I went to the doctor last week. It’s not something I normally do.

You see, my dad was a corpsman in the Navy (a medic, more or less) and he had a very simple approach to health care. It went like this:

• If there was no blood, you were fine.
• If there was blood, you said a bad word and then put pressure on it for a minute.
• If it was still bleeding, you doused the wound with alcohol and put a band-aid on it.
• If the miraculous duo of a band-aid and alcohol didn’t do it, you were allowed to stop work and sit down. Reapplication of the alcohol and band-aid could occur.
• If you were still bleeding, an old hand towel would be placed on the wound and then tightly bound with duct tape.
• If, by some miracle, the towel/duct tape combo didn’t work after an hour or two, then it was time to think about going to the hospital.

NOTE: My mom had the sole power of circumventing the above steps and having someone taken to the hospital. She was not a firm believer in the power of duct tape.

Now, you’re obviously thinking that I’m exaggerating for the sake of comedy, but let me assure you, the above list actually happened on more than one occasion.

This is a true story: when I was fourteen and working with my dad on a construction project, a framing hammer (32 ounces) was dropped on my head from about twenty feet up. I remember blinking and realizing I was lying on the ground. I sat up, got really dizzy, almost threw up, and the laid back down again. My dad appeared above me and said (I quote) ‘just rest there a minute, you’ll be fine.’ At some point later, he yelled at me to stop goofing off and get back to work. Which I did.

The above story was not to suggest that my dad was a horrible beast who regularly allowed his children to work with power tools while mildly-concussed. He did the same thing when he was injured as well. Three of his fingers were once smashed under a steel I-Beam. He jumped around for a minute, said multiple bad words, and then duct-taped his fingers together and continued working.

The doctor, as far as I knew, was someone you only saw if an actual limb was severed (happened – seriously, ask me to show you my finger).

So there I was, in the doctor’s office for a follow up after a physical and a blood test. My doctor is a tiny Asian woman who talks very, very fast. She showed me a printout and pointed at some numbers. “These are very bad,” she said. “See this one?” She pointed at a particularly high number. “That’s very, very bad.”

“How bad?” I asked.

“Make you dead bad,” she responded.

Yeah, my doctor rocks.

Tomorrow: Part 2