Monday, October 8, 2012

Mom, Why is Mark Screaming?

The basement here at ye olde homestead is of the unfinished variety. It features a cracked and impossibly sloped concrete floor, bare stone walls, and unflattering lighting. It's not the kind of place where one would like to spend a lot of time. When we first moved into the house I made a few feeble attempts to make it not so much a "man-cave" (which is a horrible term by the way but it does define the concept fairly accurately) but perhaps a place that wasn't so dank and unpleasant to be in. We even had a ping pong table down there for a while. It wasn't an ideal set up for one because of the giant pipe that runs floor to ceiling on one side that inevitably a guest would run full speed into while trying to return one of my vicious volleys (That's straight-up home turf advantage. Visiting players get the pole side for the first game. You best respecig-nize), but it was a fun distraction for a while. The cat piddle palaces are also located in the basement and good lord it is difficult to keep the dust and kernels under control. There are some shitty windows down there but of course only one of them actually opens so proper ventilation can be a problem.

Since no one hangs out down there on what I would consider a regular basis aside from the cats, the basement has become even more unwelcoming. This makes chores like laundry and the aforementioned cat box maintenance very undesirable indeed. Throw in the occasional cat barf and/or house centipede (a.k.a. Demon Spawn) and I think I have succeeded in painting a picture for you. Basically I go down there, do whatever it is I have to do as quickly as I can and then I bug the hell out of there ASAP.

On Sunday I was down there doing some cleaning (the fucking cat litter just gets EVERYWHERE) when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over to my right and saw a big, fat black spider walking swiftly and dare I say confidently towards my foot. I did what any grown man would do in this situation: I froze and emitted a slight squeaking sound. Eventually the flight instinct took over and I moved rapidly backwards tripping over the broken dehumidifier that has been sitting stoically in the middle of the basement for going on 2 years now. I somehow did not immediately fall over but instead managed to maintain not only my balance but also my retreat. Surprisingly, the spider did not see all this movement as a threat and continued its journey across the basement floor.

I looked around to find something sufficiently heavy with, hopefully, a very long handle to use as a weapon against the intruder but all I could find within reach was a 20lb barbell. I thought about using it but dismissed it as a bad choice when I realized just how accurate I would have to be hit a smallish moving target. Also it'd be too much like exercising. By the time I found a decent option (a crumpled piece of a cardboard box), the spider had disappeared. Where did it go? How is this even possible? It was RIGHT THERE a second ago! OMG is it above me now? What is that tickle I feel on my neck? IS IT IN MY SHIRT?! AHH! I'M COVERED IN SPIDERS!! Holy shit it's in my ear and burrowing into my brain right this very second! I decided that the only thing to do was to freak out and bound up the basement stairs while trying not to cry. I then took a Silkwood-style shower. I am not kidding.

Why do spiders freak me out so much? As a kid I actually liked them. My sister Mary and I formed a little group and we called ourselves "The Spider Club". We'd go to the basement stairwell and look at fat ugly spiders and marvel at their weird webs. We even fed ants to them sometimes. It was just a thing we did is all. Don't hate. No big whoop. [A little tangent here if you'll indulge me: Mary and I also formed another club that was called "The Spinning Club" (or was it "Spinners"? I forget). Our meeting place was a corner of the kitchen on the worn-out linoleum floor near the bathroom where we would spin around in circles on our hands and knees. You had to have your long PJs on so that your knees were covered and while balancing on one knee, you'd just spin yourself in a circle as fast as you possibly could until you fell over or got sick (sometimes both). It was pretty fly. This probably resembled a rudimentary form of break dancing although it was a good 8-10 years before either of us had even heard of that dance genre. Spinning in a circle is basically the kid version of getting high if you think about it.] But there is a direct cause that I can point to as to when my relationship with spiders turned from mild curiosity to abject terror.

I must have been about 12 or 13, and by this time, I had finally secured my very own bedroom which was located right off the kitchen and sported a ridiculous accordion door (y'know, for zero privacy). The room was small but it was all mine and I loved it. The main light for the room was one of those square light fixtures which seem to be a staple of tiny bedrooms (we just recently changed out the ones in our house). It was after dinner and had retired to my room to read. I didn't have a light near my bed so the overhead light was on. Those types of ceiling fixtures are typically a flying insect graveyard in the summer time as any bug that found its way into the house would eventually fly towards the light and roast itself on the dual 75 watt incandescent bulbs blazing away a mere 4 inches from the ceiling. Think double Easy-Bake Oven power here. I had noticed earlier that there was what appeared to be a bunch of crispy bugs casting a shadow towards the center of the square diffuser but being both lazy and a kid, I chose to ignore them.

As I was lying there totally lost in my reading, I felt something lightly touch my face and I sort of just brushed it away without really thinking much about it. As I did this, I happened to look up and noticed that pouring out from the center of the light fixture and spreading rapidly across the ceiling were HUNDREDS of tiny spiders. Several of them were already starting to cascade down on their whispery threads of evil to land on me and all of my things. I looked wide-eyed at the horrifying scene for another second and then I just started screaming. My mom came rushing in (LIKE A BOSS) and assessed the situation. She returned seconds later with a broom and swung that thing wildly and with deadly force. I have no idea if she actually was successful in killing all of the freshly spawned spiders but I choose to believe that she did.

I must have passed out or gone into a fear coma or something because I can't for the life of me remember anything else from that night. I don't know where I slept that night but most likely it was right back in that room with the covers over my head and tucked tightly around me. Oh man, I didn't even have a closet in that tiny room so all my clothes were hung up on this modified coat hook system all exposed to the goddam spider assault. I probably wore spiders-infested shirts for a week after that. So yeah, that's why I fucking hate spiders and I think I have earned this phobia.

I just realized that the basement spider is still roaming free down there somewhere. Maybe I'll ask the Wiff to go kill it for me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Uh, The Hell?

Murder? Really? With an awkward kitchen tool? Can it get more ridiculous than that? The answer is yes, of course it can. Check out the first and second parts of this story before diving into this silliness. Saddle up:


He sat down heavily on her butt and tapped the ladle on his knee. Finding her rump quite comfortable, he zoned out for a few minutes. He snapped back to reality to find the cat sniffing cautiously at his left foot. He allowed it to satisfy its curiosity with his foot and then kicked it down the hall. The cat landed clumsily, slid into the refrigerator and then scampered away.

Arthur found himself grinning. He couldn't remember the last time he had grinned such a self-satisfied grin. Years maybe. Perhaps never before. Either way it didn't matter because the grin was here now and he liked it. 

He glanced down at the back of Lorraine's head and the near perfect dent near the right ear. He had done that and now he had to figure out his next move. He had wanted nothing to do with the law. As a matter of fact he usually got sweaty palms just if a cop passed too close to him on the street. He figured that if Lorraine wanted a divorce, which she clearly had, he would eventually have to come in close contact with some aspect of the law. Whether it was a judge or just some cheap lawyer it didn't matter, they all upset his system. Besides, he couldn't afford to miss any work to deal with the legal matters of terminating a marriage. The only alternative was to kill her and avoid the courts altogether. Brilliant, no? 


Killing Lorraine was decidedly and in the strictest definition of the word, illegal. This had not occurred to him until quite recently. The unfortunate thing with a murder is, they are not easy to undo. Nigh on impossible actually. 

Arthur figured that at this juncture he had two basic choices available to him. The first being he could turn himself into the authorities. He did not favor this option because it most certainly involve some sort of organized law enforcement members, perhaps even including police officers getting quite close to him. Arthur shuddered at the thought and let out just a little bit of pee. The other option as he saw it was to cover up his crime. However, he had no idea what that might entail. He had a vague idea that it had something to do with disposing of any evidence of the wrong doing. He looked at the ladle in his hand and threw it in the general direction of the trashcan. It missed and fell noisily onto the floor of the kitchen. He sighed and got up off of Lorraine's backside to deposit the ladle into the trash.

He looked back at his wife's body. "I should probably do something about that as well, huh?" he said in a world-weary voice. "Gonna take some doing, that's for sure." He stood in the kitchen and tried to come up with a plan. He didn't know where to begin. Looking at the trashcan he wondered if he could just put her out with that week's garbage. It occurred to him that the guys on the truck would probably find it suspicious to discover a corpse on their usually corpse-free route. They'd call the police or someone equally unpleasant. That would certainly not be satisfactory at all. He dismissed this idea and wracked his brain for an alternative solution, one with less attention-drawing potential if possible.

Several minutes passed while Arthur stood in the kitchen staring at the lifeless body of his wife which lay down the hallway blocking the front door. He thought and thought but simply couldn't come up with an idea that was better than the trash day one. And since he had already discarded that scenario as unrealistic, he was back to square one. All this thinking was giving him a headache. He gave up with the hope that "something would come to him" and plodded off to the little bathroom down the hall to get some aspirin. 

As he passed the laundry room an idea did come to him. It seemed like a good idea too, possibly foolproof. As he let the thought dance around his head, he suddenly realized that it was not the usual voice he associated with his mind's voice that he was listening to. He couldn't place the voice but it sounded vaguely familiar. It was more sophisticated and sounded far off. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from the laundry room. A little chill ran quickly up Arthur's spine and made its home at the nape of his neck, amusing itself by making the hairs there stand at attention. 

"You could feed her to the cat," the voice cooed.

Arthur let out a little whimper and his bladder relieved itself well short of any toilet. He had forgotten about his headache at this point. 

He peeked around the corner and into the laundry room. The beat-up, old Kenmore washer sat brooding in one corner. Having been placed on an uneven floor, it had once been a performer of waltzes worthy of Astaire in his prime. But neglect and too many cha-chas had taken their toll. It now leaned sadly to the right like an old man with hip trouble, the legs on that side having rusted away. Its partner the dryer now bore the brunt of its spin cycle antics and had the dents to prove it. A dilapidated laundry basket, quietly threatening to burst its sides with the weight of its burden, occupied the left side of the room but the pile of laundry it had been asked to contain was nothing compared to the immense stack of soiled clothes that loomed in the far corner of the room. It dominated the space at nearly four feet high and easily six feet at its base.

Lorraine, who usually tended to the laundry chore in the household, had decided two months prior to her silly demise that she did not wish to do another load. And thusly, did not. Arthur had worn his clothes as usual until the day came when no clean garments appeared in his closet. It didn't occur to him to simply wash them himself, he just shrugged and continued to wear the same outfit day after day. To date that stunning ensemble had adorned his person for 13 days. Arthur had hardly noticed but his co-workers being more observant had subsequently avoided him after three days. 

The assemblage of dirty laundry was definitely the focal point of the room, demanding one's attention immediately with authority. Although Lorraine had been able to ignore its call, Arthur could not, mainly because the voice he had heard seemed to be coming from the pile itself. More specifically, from a sock perched atop the edifice. 

"Did...did you say something?" Arthur asked sheepishly. He wasn't sure if he wanted an answer or not. It felt odd talking to a sock but he had already written this day off as being out of the norm. His pee-soaked pants had also started to become uncomfortable.

"Yes, I did," the sock replied. "The cat is the answer to your little dilemma. Cats are carnivores and if I'm not mistaken, you have an awful lot of meat hanging around that you need to dispose of." 

"I don't follow you," Arthur said. He did actually follow the the gist of the sock's logic (he wasn't that stupid) but he was just so amazed that one of Lorraine's socks would have a plan for the disposal of her body. The whole idea was so ludicrous that it fascinated him. He also assumed that this wasn't actually happening and suspected that perhaps he was hallucinating.

"Oh Christ, is he really that stupid?" quipped a pair of Lorraine's panties. Normally panties aren't this rude but this pair were in a bunch which explained their foul mood. "Feed her fat ass to the fucking animal you dolt!"

"Please friend, do not be so harsh," the sock said. And then to Arthur, "But essentially that is what I meant."

"I have a question," Arthur started.

"You want to know why it is we can talk, don't you?"

"Uh, no. Not really."

"No?!" a muscular brassier asked in disbelief. "He's carrying on a conversation about how to get rid of his dead wife's body, whom he just killed I might add, with a pile of dirty britches and he's not a bit curious as to how this is possible? Incredible! Amazing! This is beyond my comprehension." And with that disgusted outburst the bra stopped talking. It was totally fed up with the whole situation and longed only to dance with some flashy soap suds in the belly of the Kenmore. 

"Well, it's just that I'm quite sure that none of this is happening," Arthur explained. "So I figure why dwell upon why it is happening. Way easier to just accept it. But while I've got you all here and talking, I might as well take advantage of the opportunity and ask how you suppose I should go about getting the cat to munch upon his mistress?"

"A good question and I do have an answer," the sock said. It seemed to be teeming with ideas. "Now bear with me on this; it may seem a bit whacky but then again, I am a sock and everything seems whacky to me. As you may or may not know, we socks spend a great deal of our time contemplating not only the execution of our tormentors but the subsequent disposal of their bodies. I don't mean to upset you with all this," the sock stated, noting Arthur's frightened and somewhat bemused expression. "It just happens to be a fact. The socks of those people who say that their socks would NEVER plan their deaths are usually the most outspoken conspirators. Now you may say that sockdome is merely our calling in this universe and therefore we should accept it. Well we don't just accept it. We want more. We want much more.

"I have often dreamed of this day and now that it is here and I am finally able to offer my thoughts on the subject, I'm overjoyed to do so. Many days when I was strapped on that sow's stinking foot that I would whisper to my mate my fantasies about her death. My mate is now mute and totally dysfunctional, having a much weaker constitution than I. He cracked under the pressure of our task, pun intended. But I digress.

"Since she is so large and the cat's mouth is so small, I believe that chunks, small chunks specifically, are your best bet to get the cat to bite." The sock was drained. It had never had such a long monologue before and it needed to rest for a bit. 


And just like that, the handwritten text from 1991 ends. I told you this shit ends abruptly. So what now? Do I revisit this train wreck and finally write a third act? Or should I just let sleeping piles of sentient dirty laundry lie? Lemme know what you think in the comments area, please. Ok? Ok.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes, This is Still Happening

Hiya. It's time to present the next installment of Unnamed Short Story (or whatever the hell). A couple of people have said some really nice things about the story not being as big of turd as I have insisted. That's totally super duper nice of them and I appreciate it. For seriously.'s just agree to disagree on this ok? Ok. And with that, here it be:


The exact speed of the coffee/waffle mixture that Arthur spit out was clocked at 94 miles per hour (by a cop sitting in her patrol car, outside the house in a speed trap. The cop, thinking it was the vehicle that had just passed, pulled the car over and chewed out the driver and began issuing a ticket. The driver explained to the officer that he was in fact driving a 1973 Vega and it was simply impossible to be going that fast unless there was a stiff wind pushing the car down a very long hill, which there wasn't. The cop agreed and she subsequently quit the force to become a market research analyst) when it struck Lorraine dead center in the face. Arthur tried to speak but only managed to choke which caused him to start to spit up. Lorraine raised her arms in self defense to protect herself from another onslaught. In doing so she whacked the table which caused Arthur's coffee mug to tip and deposit its steaming contents into his lap. It then fell to the linoleum and detonated  sending shards of ceramic bits into Arthur's shin. He in turn rose quickly and clumsily, leaning on the table for support which caused Lorraine's bowl of cereal to splash across her sizable bosom. After much confusion and curses with some half-hearted cleaning thrown in for good measure, Arthur managed a response of sorts.

"What did you say?" he asked, holding his wounded shin and scalded crotch at the same time, a feat not recommended by the Dexterity Society. 

Lorraine, with some waffle still in her hair, repeated her intentions. 

Arthur was stunned. He sat down slowly and stared stupidly at the lopsided lazy susan that had been a wedding gift from Lorraine's cheap brother. He had forgotten about his shin and wasn't even the slightest bit concerned about his crotch anymore. He was completely numb. His entire life passed before his eyes and it wasn't even interesting enough to grab his attention. His Muffin Bottom was leaving him. And all this before his second cup of coffee. This was not how he would like to start his day. 

"Arthur?" Lorraine prodded cautiously. Arthur had reacted quite satisfactorily at first what with the panic and all but this was now becoming a little intense. He had become completely pale and was breathing shallowly. His hands had latched onto the nearest thing which was a paper napkin and he was now engaged in methodically picking it apart. He was placing the little pieces on the table in front of himself in small stacks as if he were playing solitaire. And he appeared to be losing. All the while he was just blankly staring at the centerpiece with cloudy eyes. He was muttering something to himself but it was incoherent. Lorraine was getting nervous. This was not going according to plan.

"Arthur? You can keep the house...I don't even want the cat," she offered and glanced over at the cat who was sniffing the heating vent cautiously. Arthur did not respond. He finished with the napkin and set to work on another. Lorraine backed slowly out of the kitchen and ran as fast as her chubby legs would carry her up the stairs to the bedroom. She had packed most of her things the night before and in no time at all she had everything she needed, including an extra box of Ring Dings. She lugged her bags down the stairs and set them by the front door in a jumble like a bunch of impatient children. Walking as quietly as she could (which wasn't very quiet at all), she returned to the kitchen to check on Arthur. She was quiet surprised to find him staring directly at her, his eyes clear and shining, a little grin creeping across his face. He swiftly and abruptly stood up. Lorraine let out a little yelp in spite of herself and backed up to the sink, her massive buttocks getting there first and spreading sideways to near its full girth. Arthur's eyes never left hers.

"Good morning Honey Lips," he said. This struck Lorraine as odd because he had never called her that before. As a matter of fact, he had once remarked that her lips reminded him of a piece of undercooked pork he had once had the displeasure of consuming. Nevertheless, he had most certainly said "honey lips"; and with a straight face too.

"Arthur? A..are you o.k.?" Lorraine questioned. She was looking at his hands which were relaxed by his sides and apparently free of weapons. She then concentrated a possible weapon for herself if need be. She had never known Arthur to be a violent person but the man moving closer to her now did not appear to be the same person she had spent countless nights sleeping next to. The only thing readily available of any potential lethal merit was a large whisk. She eased one pudgy hand towards it and was shocked as Arthur's dry hand came down on top of hers and squeezed firmly.

"I'm fine dear. Question is, how are you?" Arthur replied softly and closely. His eyes were still fixed on hers in a hypnotic gaze. She wondered if this is how an opossum feels at the moment it realizes that playing dead to an oncoming semi is quite useless and it is about to become another stain on the highway. She also wondered why she was getting so nervous. This was just Arthur after all, different sounding or not. He's definitely not someone who she thought she should fear.

She wrenched her hand away and moved over to the table, slipping a little in the coffee on the floor. She had had enough of Arthur controlling this situation. This was supposed to be her big moment.

"Oh, I'm just fine Arthur. And I'm going to continue to be just fine without you." She smugly concluded this statement with a little head nod which lost its attempted severity in the hilarity of waving jowls and chin flapping. The cat, mistaking the racket for a flock of birds taking wing, bounded into the kitchen and ran smack into Arthur's leg. It stumbled backwards and fell over with a small thud, apparently unconscious. Neither Arthur nor Lorraine gave evidence that they had noticed.

"That's nice for you dear." Arthur said with a sincere smile. Lorraine cocked her head to the side and squinted at him. She wasn't sure if he understood what was transpiring and quite frankly she hadn't the time or energy to care anymore. She had a bus to catch and if she wanted to get the triple seat in the back by the bathroom before anyone else, she had better get moving. Arthur just kept on smiling that smile at her and it was getting on her nerves. Who did he think he was anyway?

"Well, ...uh...'bye!" she said and turned to go down the hall to the front door. This was a mistake on her part because it was at that exact moment that Arthur's eyes clouded over and the smile vanished from his face. He reached under his armpit and produced a sizable ladle that he had hidden there. He followed Lorraine down the hall to the front door and as she bent to retrieve her luggage, he doinked her on the back of her skull three times with tremendous force (Pop! POP! CRACK!), each hit harder than the first. Lorraine made a noise not unlike that of a sea lion and toppled forward. Her luggage did not survive. Blood poured out of the almost perfectly round hole the back of her head and started to pool on the floor.

Arthur stood over her bloated body shaking the ladle and making quick "HA!" exaltations. "I guess Samsonite hadn't thought of that for a stress test, huh?" he asked no one.

And this is the end of Part II. Well holy shit. What the fuck is going on there? Did somebody really just get murdered with a fucking ladle? Wow. It's like Shakespeare up in this piece. Ok, peeps. Peace out until the next installment which will be next week. Things are gonna start getting weird(er). Laters.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh Man, This is Gonna Suck

Ok. I have to say that I have MAJOR apprehensions about posting this so-called "story" that I wrote 20+ years ago. I don't know how to even get the thing started. It doesn't even have a title let alone a good flow. Jeezus, what am I doing? Mira, please understand that I am absolutely not hunting for a compliment or phishing for sympathy by sharing this thing. I'm am simply holding myself to my own philosophy of "Full Disclosure" which is the idea of airing out the dumb/embarrassing/ridiculous things that a lot of people shove into a closet in their subconscious until it chews up their brains. I also know that None of This Shit Matters (N.O.T.S.M.) so what's the real harm here? There is no risk actually so let's get into it in its full, unedited glory shall we? I'm even going to resist the urge to comment in the middle of the text.

Oh man. Ok... here it is:

Unnamed Short Story, Part I

It was one of those amazingly cold days in February when Arthur Williamson's life collapsed like a beehive hairdo in a rain storm. Arthur, a thin, little man with a propensity towards blue shirts, never took shock well. He once had to be sedated and hauled off in restraints at a surprise birthday party his mother had thrown for him. So it wasn't unusual that Arthur lost his already weakened grip on reality that frigid winter morn when Lorraine, his wife of twelve years, informed him of her plans to leave him.

He met her, Lorraine that is, during his senior year at college. She worked in the campus store that Arthur frequented to purchase odds and ends. Often he would go in just to see her and buy something he didn't need just to feel her hand as they exchanged moneys. One day while buying a disposable douche, he found the nerve to ask her out in his slightly moist voice. She, much to his amazement and joy, accepted. Three months later they were engaged.

They were wedded on September 14th, 1979. Lorraine, a less than attractive woman with an incredible lack of style, wore a frightfully hideous green gown with lavender ruffles. Arthur was decked out in his best suit, a wide-lapeled skyblue number and sporting shiny white shoes. The preacher was struck blind by the tackiness and had to be replaced at the last minute by a tugboat captain with bad gums.

Their honeymoon was not a great success. Their cabin in northern Vermont, which was recommended by Arthur's cousin Sol, turned out to be a 10 x 20 foot room with no heat. Running water consisted of a river two miles north of the cabin through the woods. The bathroom was, of course, the nearest grove of trees. They did not enjoy themselves which is both unfortunate and understandable.

They bought a house in Malden, Massachusetts, a sad, sorry, little place (their house that is, not Malden. Malden is rather dull but it is irrelevant to this tale). A pathetic example of American architecture was the Williamson's abode. It did not so much assault the visual pallet as it left sort of an odd taste in the mouths of those unfortunate enough to view it. Lorraine and Arthur loved their home however and, apart from a little water damage and the occasional evil possession of their cats, the house loved them too.

Arthur, who at the time of their marriage was working part time as a assistant donut filler at the Red Jelly Flavor Cafe, finally landed a decent job in 1980. That illustrious position was none other than assistant to the assistant of the assistant of the head accountant at the firm of Dull, Dull, and Humdrum. Lorraine, who was quite proud of Arthur's accomplishment, only gained 10 pounds that year in appreciation.

For years they lived in uninhibited boredom, enjoying T.V. and the lack of any real communication. Arthur, who had had only one other lover apart from Lorraine (and she had threatened to kill him, his family, and then herself if anyone found out about it), was not very skilled in this area. Lorraine had by 1984 given up on sex with him completely and discovered cats as an alternative (not as lovers mind you but as a distraction from her unsatisfied needs). This was probably for the best anyway considering the possible outcome of their lovemaking. It makes one shudder.

She had a string of cats from 1984 - 1991 numbering near ten. The ones that didn't commit suicide either ran away or were taken by the house. The house killed a total of five cats over the years, usually luring them to the garbage disposal.  One would hear a humming, a startled "Meow!" and a sound like GGGGRRRRRUUUUNNNCCHHHH!! All was quiet after that, excepting the satisfied rumblings audible from the disposal. Another popular way with the house was a sudden, deadly blast of heat from a vent as the cat strolled over. This was less frequent as the house was leery of leaving tangible evidence. Lorraine wasn't particular about life span of the cats anyway. As long as they were cute for a while she was satisfied.

Lorraine started to get the "seven-year itch" around their fourth year of marriage, but didn't let on about it. She was content with being discontented and glad to have something to complain about to the women at the Big n' Hippy (a full-figured women's clothing outlet store just a mere waddle from her house). She spent many hours fantasizing about how she would tell Arthur she was leaving him. She planned to tell him at the breakfast table just as he was shoving a pop tart into his mouth. She originally thought of telling him as he dunked his pop tart into his coffee but thought better of it because often when Arthur was performing such a task, it would go awry. The most common mishap associated with the pastry baptism was when the pressure that Arthur exerted on the tart was far too much for it to take along with the weight of the liquid it was busy acquiring and therefore it would break apart leaving a goodly amount of itself in his coffee. This never failed to completely baffle Arthur and he would spend the next 10 to 15 minutes attempting to rescue the coffee-logged pop tart from drowning in his beverage. Usually, but not always, he would not succeed and end up just drinking the pop tart ladened coffee anyway.

Lorraine believed that if she told him before he could get to this point of his breakfast ritual she could save herself a lot of time. She would grin as she thought of Arthur's expression, with a soggy pop tart in his mouth as she told him. He would probably stare at her and maybe cry or something. The breakfast table was also a good choice to break the news she thought because of the lack of any sharp utensils within easy reach. She didn't believe that he would become violent, it wasn't like him, and even if he did, she outweighed him by a good hundred pounds. Surely there would be butter knives about but death by spreading seemed far-fetched at best. She wondered how he would deal with no more "Lorraine-bottom", as he sometimes called her, and if his mind would be able to grasp the sheer magnitude of it all. Usually she dismiss these thoughts at this point and head into the kitchen to eat with the refrigerator door open. This was a good time for Lorraine and her bottom too.

When the day finally came for her to tell him, he was not even eating a pop tart but had elected to have a waffle instead. He was munching the waffle and taking huge gulps of coffee at the same time (a habit that grosses many folks out but one which Arthur enjoyed as much a s a cheesy paperback science fiction novel. He usually carried one around in his hip pocket). Lorraine thought that this deviation from his normal routine might be a sign of some sort but, not being particularly bright, she ignored her instincts and went ahead as planned.

"Arthur," she began. He only grunted and took another gulp of coffee to get the waffle as soft and soupy as possible, the way he liked it. "Arthur, I want a divorce." she finished.

------------------ I have to end Part I here because I just can't take any more at this time. Ok, I'm going to post the next installment next week and I will continue until the original text just ends super abruptly. Jebus christmas that was ... well, y'know...just... it.. fuck me. OKTHXBYE.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Will Bring The HEAT

I always liked to write stories. I actually used to like to draw too. I'd doodle on all my notebooks in school which was a better use of the paper than note taking since I never developed the ability to take notes very effectively. To this day my notes from meetings usually have a bunch of broken sentences with IMPORTANT!! and maybe a couple of arrows pointing to some disjointed sentence fragment or barely legible phrase. If only when referring back to these notes I could then put those words into some kind of context perhaps I'd be more successful or at the very least less easily distracted. It would also help if I remembered to check the notes at all. It is clearly a skill set I do not possess.

The drawing thing kind of fell by the wayside over the years. I do still have a tendency to make rather elaborate scribbles using my favorite rapidograph pens occasionally. It's not as satisfying as writing for me though. In college - you know what, I really can't say "in college" in the same way that people who actually attended classes and, y'know, learned stuff can. I kinda fucked that experience up if I'm honest and if "kinda" means "totally".  I was super immature and neglected the opportunity completely. Anyway... In college I took a creative writing course and while I eventually blew off that class as well, the teacher (professor? I forget) encouraged me to keep on writing in order to work on expressing whatever the hell was going on in my giant noggin. I thanked her by bailing on her class and college in general. I'm the worst.

one of my lil' doodles
In 1991 I was a two-time college dropout living in Jamaica Plain, working at Copy Cop as a customer service representative and making $7.50/hr (what's up ladies?). I had an idea for a short story and so I wrote what I thought at the time was a hilarious and super interesting story about a man who, having given up on his dreams and aspirations, has allowed himself to become a shell of the person he had once hoped to become. Even that description gives this story more weight than it really deserves. I wrote this thing without an outline or an understanding on how to completely tell a story. There was a complete lack of any thought on where the story was going or what I was trying to say. I also ran out of steam halfway through and failed to write an ending. That's not entirely true now that I think about it. I seem to remember cobbling together an ending that was so wholly unsatisfying that I must have just torn up the sheets of paper. Oh, did I forget to mention that I wrote this thing out long hand? Yep. No computer or even a typewriter involved. Just straight up handwriting on what looks to be very expensive resume paper (thanks Copy Cop). I also found some lyrics that I wrote too. Jury is out on whether those get posted.

At some point I stuffed all these handwritten pages into an expandable folder and forgot about them. Recently, while cleaning out the attic at ye olde homestead, I came across that very same folder and those pages. At first I was all super nostalgic and happy to see them. Then I read the story itself. Oof. Oh my. Look, I'm not saying that I'm a good writer at all now but man oh man I'm certainly better than I used to be. At the very least I have an improved perspective.

Handwritten nonsense story + general disaster area = my desk space
My first instinct was to stuff the pages back into that folder and abandon it in the attic for another couple decades. My second thought was to throw them all out. My final and, I hope you'll concur, best idea was to share this stinker with you all. Yep. Just post this mess and let you drink in the cray-cray. I have a policy of "full disclosure" that I have upheld for many years now and therefore I have zero choice in this matter. What I plan to do is to post the entirety of what I have why resisting the DEEP TEMPTATION to edit what I was scrawled on those 24# ivory linen pages (remember when printing your resume on fancy pants stationary was a thing?). The first installment will be posted early next week and I will put up several posts over the next few weeks until the story abruptly ends (as the original does). Keep in mind not only does this tale have zero point, it's also clunky and, well, shitty. I also discovered while re-reading it that it is mean-spirited and border-line misogynistic. So, uh...sorry about that. I wasn't in the best place relationship-wise back then. So look forward to that? Ok, thanks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Not So Great Expectations

Have you ever had a moment where you didn't feel like you had anything to add to the conversation, so you just sat there and listened to everyone else talking? Have you ever had that feeling last for months? Yea, me too. As it turns out, I came very close to giving up this blog (wow, that word is still around huh? We still haven't come up with a better way to describe whatever the hell this type of website is? That, my friends, is a failure of our society and I weep for us). I have already neglected Seriously Awesome Monsters to the point of embarrassment (the last post was December of last year), so I'm already on the slippery slope that will launch me into the abyss of zero creativity. Why not just give in and let this thing shrivel up and blow away on the hot, dusty, vaguely poop-smelling wind of the interwebs? Why not indeed. I mean if I'm only coming up with terrible paragraphs like this stinkbag then what, exactly, is the point?

Wow, that sounds like I'm super depressed or something and that is NOT the case. I'm only mildly depressed. Like, a hug and a nice cup of herbal tea will snap me out of it, kind of depression. I'm in a funk I guess. Although, "being in a funk" makes me think of George Clinton and he always makes me smile so maybe that's not the best description. Look, all I know is I fucking haven't posted in a while and I'm not entirely sure why. I just.....didn't. But I am now right? So that's something isn't it? Yes? Question marks?

Uh, so what's up? How've you been? Good, good. Glad to hear it. Oh? I didn't realize that she...she said WHAT? Oh, that bitch. Look, you gotta get away from that toxic relationship then. She's trying to bring you down to her level. What about that guy? The one from the place? Yea, him. Cool! So you hooked up? And? You're still kinda seeing him but you don't want to put labels on it in case he doesn't feel the same way about whatever it is you're doing together. Ok, that's a bit confusing but whatevs. I've been with the same person since 1992 so I don't have a lot of experience in the dating scene as it is currently structured. My only insight was Crazy, Stupid, Love and can we all agree that Ryan Gosling is a dreamboat? We can? Awesometown.

Me? Oh, uh, not much really. I mean, yeah shit has happened in the last 3 months but it wasn't anything that I think is really interesting. At least not interesting enough for this super exciting state of the art cutting edge fucking award winning bloggy blog blog blog y'know? I mean, isn't this the very same bloggy blog where I talked about urinals? Yea, it is. This is also the exact same place where, not too long ago in fact, I discussed my inability to keep myself from crashing into things. I've even gone so far as to take up an anti-formal shorts position. So, yeah, I can't just let ANYTHING that pops into my head get posted here. I have fucking standards. Seriously, would you really want to hear about me going to a class at the Massachusetts Firearms School? Or how our crazy neighbor is trying to get us to take down our brand new deck? Or, what if I posted, in installments, a short story that I wrote in 1991? Nah, that shit is played out son. Let's just relax and enjoy the fact that I'm posting again and holy shit, isn't that enough? Of course it is.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Eyes Forward Dummy

I just bit the ever-loving-shit out of my tongue. I'm sitting at my desk going through emails, plotting out my day whilst enjoying some lovely sliced fruit, when my tongue just decides that it wants to see what it'd be like to lay on top of my molars for a just a split second too long. You'd think that after hanging out in my mouth for lo' these past 40+ years it'd understand that this is a terrible idea. I bit down on it and it made a horrifying "CRUNCH" sound in my head. I'm pretty sure that other people could have heard it, that's how loud it was. Oh fuck that hurt. I think I'm bleeding. Luckily I have a little mirror here at my desk (so I can check out my eyeliner and rouge) so's I can inspect the damage. Hold please while I do so. Yep. Blood. Nice work stupid. I can't even chew properly. Fuck me. I didn't even bit the tip (ooh, that sounded wrong). I munched down on the fucking side of it. The thick part (again, poor choice of words there). Ugh. It looks a little shredded. Grosstown, Stupidville. Popluation: Me.

I'm pretty fortunate in that where I work is flexible enough to allow me to have non-traditional hours (I'm usually at my desk by like 7:20-ish and I skate by 4pm). This permits me to avoid the bulk of the traffic on my dumb commute. That's not to say I just sail into work as the only person on the road, it just makes it less shitty is all. I appreciate this y'see. Otherwise I'd have to go back to using the commuter rail as my main form of transport and well, fuck that. I like the idea of public transportation as long as it is all you mahfuckahs taking the train leaving me to drive on unclogged roads. In practice, the MBTA is wholly unreliable and, frankly, not significantly cheaper or convenient. This coming from a guy who used to work for an energy conservation company (3 different times!) and –  lest we forget – Green-fucking-peace.

On the days when I can't leave on time due to a meeting or whatever, I can end up spending quite a bit of time sitting in traffic behind people judging their behavior, usually unfavorably. The Look-Talkers (those drivers who have to look at the person in the passenger seat while they are talking while in command of a 4,000lb vehicle), The Lane-Drifters, The Slow, The Tailgaters, etc. I'm sure you're familiar with these morons. Recently I was stuck traffic in Revere near the Wonderland T stop and in the left hand lane was this car full of laughing teenage girls. They were shriek-laughing and dancing to some pop song and generally being young. I glanced over at them because the one who was driving was far more concerned about how much self tanner she had on than where her car was headed. She was clearly having difficulty with the concept of painted lanes and I was genuinely concerned that she was going to play bumper pool with my car. Once I had determined that she had regained control of her shitbox, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the Disapproving Eyes of the woman in the car behind me. She thought I was checking out these girls in a super-creepy-leering-old-fart way and was slowly shaking her head. She was JUDGING ME and finding me GUILTY AS CHARGED. Fuck you lady.

Traffic continued to crawl along and I kept my head pointed straight ahead. I didn't like the idea that I had been labeled as a pervert by this lady behind me (yes, I know I'm projecting here....relax) and I wanted to prove my innocence by COMPLETELY ignoring the car full of banshees mere feet from me in the next lane. After a couple of minutes of this I started to get annoyed with this scenario. Who was that lady to think poorly of me? She doesn't know me. Who made her judge and jury? That's totally my job!! Then I noticed up ahead on the sidewalk was the living embodiment of a creepy guy's fantasy girl. Asian? Check. Schoolgirl outfit? Check. Pigtails? Check and mate. All she was missing was the Sailor Moon outfit or perhaps a massive lollypop. She was Knives Chau in a nutshell. I saw that she was walking towards where we all were sitting in traffic and I decided that since this lady had already judged me as a creepy creep, then I was gonna go ahead and just stare right at this girl as she walked by. And I did. And just as I was about to continue my stare like a full-on skeevy meathead, the girl glanced over at me and A) caught me! B) I realized that omg she's like 15 or 16! and C) I felt EXACTLY as I should: A super creepy old dude. Bleah.

So uh, sorry random asian schoolgirl. I'm gross. And screw you lady in the car behind me. You're a tailgater anyway.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Religious Bigotry

Religion to me has been a conundrum for some time now. I was raised Catholic and as a little kid I was a true believer. I bought into the mythology completely and without wavering. I knew there was a heaven and hell and just as surely as I knew my own name (it's Mark by the way...see? I still remember!). There were rules about what behavior was good and there were specific things you absolutely could never EVER do. Not only did I never doubt their authority, it never even dawned on me as a child to question it. I went to church every Sunday as well as CCD (a.k.a. "Sunday School" although it was never actually on Sunday. It was usually during the week and at night). The ritual of the sermons and the repetition of the odd little play that we put on every week at church with the priest – here's where he will stand up there in that shiny dress thing and he will say these words and then we will all respond in a monotone with this phrase. Then someone will ring a bell thing or play one sharp chord on the organ and then we will stand up or kneel or something en masse. Wash, rinse, repeat – it was comforting. I liked the structure of the mass and how the building was so physically intense. It must be the truth if they went through all this trouble right? I even liked confession and would sometimes make up stuff just to see if I could get more Hail Mary's assigned to me. I think you will agree that I may have misunderstood the concept a little.

As I got a little older, maybe 12 or 13, I started to have some serious doubts. The cracks in the stories became too large to ignore and the very same ritualistic nature of the Sunday mass that I used to look forward to began to irritate me with its repetitiveness. I couldn't understand the point of saying the same things over and over again, week in and week out. It seemed absurd. About this time I had convinced my parents that it was perfectly ok to let me go to church on my own. I would get up early on Sunday so that I could go to the early mass (which was like 9am or something like that). But instead of actually going to church, I would ride my bike downtown and just goof off for 45 minutes. After the service was over, I'd ride by the church to see which priest had been giving mass so that if my parents asked who did the sermon, I could rattle off the name. Not a terrible lie in the grand scheme of things but I do still feel bad about the cowardly deception all these years later.

Why didn't I just tell them that I didn't want to go to church anymore? After all, my dad had kinda fudged on going regularly by this time so the precedent had been set. But my mother was still a firm believer (and remained so right up to the end) and I'm pretty sure she would have said "No way, kid. You're going to church. End of story." Things were not "discussed" at our house. Things were decided and you had to play along. I don't mean to make that sound like such an ominous thing because it really wasn't. It just ... was. And I would still go to church occasionally. Maybe I was experimenting (as I now understand it) to see if my waning faith could be reclaimed, that maybe it was only a temporary lapse and by going to one more inspiring mass I'd be re-calibrated or whatever. But nope. It didn't take. I couldn't get past the idea that the priest was just some guy. He couldn't POSSIBLY know 100% for sure that all of this wasn't just complete nonsense. Why then was he so adamant in trying to convince others that he was right?

By the time I entered high school I was no longer going to church and had entered the lapse Catholic phase. I didn't know what I thought about religion or god or spirituality or anything really. If someone asked me about religion, I still identified myself as Catholic but all the strength behind that word was gone. I just wanted to live my dumb life and not address the subject of faith and honestly it was really easy to avoid. I guess I was an agnostic at this point because while I didn't think organized religion (of any kind) had the answers, I still had doubts as to whether or not there was/is a higher power/god. I simply didn't think about it that much, if at all. I was too wrapped up in my own day-to-day drama and narcissistic to think beyond myself in any capacity. In other words: A teenager.

After I moved out of my parents house I would have some discussions with friends about the subject of religion and while I don't think we really thought we were solving all the world's problems with our meandering drunken blather, I did find that these conversations moved me further away from what my parents and the church had steadfastly taught as the absolute truths. I liked talking to people who had had different backgrounds and interesting perspectives on what it meant to be religious. It helped me work out the confused thoughts and nagging doubts I had been ignoring for years. I didn't want to think that all of the stuff I had been taught was wrong, but it was looking more and more like this was the case.

It took me a few more years to ramp up the courage to admit to myself and others that I don't believe in god, the afterlife, miracles and all of rest. I became an atheist. And it wasn't a bad thing either. It was liberating. I grew up believing that doubting god's will or daring to flat out deny his very existence was not only unfathomable but downright impossible. You could insult god by not believing and in turn incur his wrath. Why would you doom yourself to hell by thinking these thoughts? Ok, the stories are a little dated and maybe there was some creative license with a few details but why not play it safe and hedge your bets with the ol' agnostic route? You can always reverse yourself at the last minute before you die and wind up in heaven with a quick "forgive me Father" prayer. Right? Isn't that basically what the guy who was crucified next to Jesus did? But no, I can't. I won't. I don't know how to fake it.

The problem that I have had with all of this is as a born-again atheist (is that possible?), was that I have been struggling with really strong opinions about people who identified as religious. I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with them. I was condescending towards their beliefs and while I've never actually said anything to right to their faces, I certainly was judgmental and probably somewhat arrogant towards them (I'm a terrible actor). I was wrong to do that and basically I was being a religion bigot. If that's not a thing, it is now. I had to reconcile my own belief system (for lack of a better term) and how it shapes my world view as a newly formed atheist, now that I was "out of the closet" (so to speak). Should I "turn the other cheek" about religion or would I be a zealot and bang the drum loudly for the atheistic view? Well I certainly can't be a dick about I've taken the "live and let live" approach. Because if I think that the priest is just some guy who doesn't really know if what he's talking about is really true, then who's to say that I'm not exactly like him? As I have shown time and time again, I'm a huge dummy.

Where am I going with all of this? I guess I'm not entirely sure. I've been thinking a lot about this subject lately and with religion AGAIN coming into play this election season, it's really been bothering me that there doesn't seem to be a voice of reason. I do not want religious beliefs to be a deciding factor in policy issues. I'm tired of hearing from wingnuts on both sides of most political debates that our country is doomed and the only way to regain our former glory is to fight over issues like gay marriage and a woman's right to choose. I'm simplifying here of course but for fuck's sake I thought we were all equal in this country. How is it that some groups are more equal than others? I hope that most people who are religious don't think the way that the politicians and pundits on TV seem to believe, but this is making me nervous. Please tell me that social conservatism isn't as widespread and prolific as it appears to be. I can't get my head around that concept. Who the fuck do you think you are if you think you can impose your beliefs on others? Is that what your god would have wanted? I thought it was all about loving each other for who we are? Or was that just a bunch of hippy bullshit?

If you do think that way, then I'm pretty sure by oppressing your fellow human beings by imposing your archaic religious dogma on them is a one-way ticket to hell. Luckily for you though, it's all made up. But for reals, get religion out of politics and let's fix some goddamn potholes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Consuming The Content

I had atopic I wanted to talk about (religion) but I'm not sure how to approach the subject at the moment. I'm gonna have to toss that one around a little bit more in me lil' noggin. I don't want to come off as flippant on the subject (as I am aware I have been in the past). Just...well, whatever. I have to think about it some more and then I'll put those dumb thoughts up here and stuff like that there. Wow. A new vocabulary low point.

I know I've talked about the other site that I contribute to (called Seriously Awesome Monsters) but I'm sad to say that it seems to have run its course. That's not to say it is dead, it's just slow at the moment (the last post was before Christmas and features a funfunsuperwaycool drawing by the lovely Crispin Wood). We used to post several times a week but people got busy and other things became more important (you know, like doing actual work that pays money). I'd like to have more stuff to put up there but I'm not sure what that will be at the moment. By the by, if you want to contribute a drawing (for free...sorry, we have no money) for the website, please email me and I'll get it up on the interwebs. You'll be totally famous and feel like you do when you discover some cash in an old jacket that was in your closet. No pressure though. BUT GO MAKE A DRAWING NOW!!

I think I'm going to dump Netflix. We got rid of the DVD part awhile ago and had just the streaming plan using the PS3 as the source device. But honestly I can't think of the last time I used the service. The streaming options kinda stink and now that the company is losing contracts with major distributors, I'm not very optimistic that the future for Netflix looks to improve. Plus, I'm a cheapskate and I'd rather not pay $8 per month for something I'm not actually enjoying. Sounds like I just decided to cancel my account. Yes. Yes it does. OooooOOooh! Maybe I'll get Apple TV or Roku! Time to do some RESEARCH (love love love me some research)! 

Let's talk about things I like shall we? Sure, why not? Podcasts. I listen to a plethora (oh shit!) of them and it seems they are all mainly comedy-related. What do I listen to? WELLHOLYSHITHEREISALIST!! EXPLOSIONS!!
There are others that I occasionally check out (like the NPR Planet Money and All Songs Considered) but these are the ones that I actually listen to on a regular basis. 

I also am having difficulty getting this song out of my head. Not sure why it sticks in there but I think it has something to do with her haunting voice. I need to do another hunt for new music soon cuz I'm currently skipping most of the songs that come up on my iPod. That means I have to go to sites like The NoiseAllMusic, Ryan's Smashing LifeHipHopDX, AllHipHop, and Pitchfork. Ugh. Seems like a lot of work. So lazy...I think I need a nap. Wanna snuggle?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lunchtime All Up In My Face

Today I did not bring my lunch to work so that means it's time to decide OMGWHATISFORLUNCHTIMESUPERFUNTOWN? I have many options to choose from so now I must spend a little time deciding what I want to eat.

Do I want to go to CafĂ© Fail, the barely adequate cafeteria here at the office? No. A thousand times no. Yes, it is super convenient but Holy Hanna is it mediocre at best. They can't even scoop a melon properly. Don't dig so hard that you get little chunks of rind on my honeydew bits goddammit. So, that's out of the equation. Pizza? Subs? Nah. That's boring. What about Flour? Ooooohhh Flour! I could totally go for a sammich that takes 20 minutes to make while hipsters mill around and judge me. Or not. I do like their food though. What about Indian? HOLYSHITINDIANFOODRULES. Hmm, there's Shalimar, or that other place who's name escapes me right now. Nah. Not feeling it. Thai? Hmm, closer...even closer...I could go for some weirdo tofu-based apps. What about Zuzu? Mmmmm...they usually have lots of yummies available. But that's not what I'm lookin' for. Burrito-time? AWESOMETOWNBURRITOFUNHAPPYFACE! Hmm, burritos are glorious wonderfulness but I don't think I can handle the sheer bulk of one at this time. Although, burritos can stand up on their own. It's true. Just place one on it's end and it will sit there patiently waiting for you to stuff it into your mouth. Sadfacecannotdecidedilemmavillage.

OMG. omgomgomgomgomgomg I know what I want. I WANT MARY CHUNG! IWANTCRABRAGOONSANDDUMPLINGSANDHOLYSHITGIVEITTOMEIWILLEATITALL!! I will write an awesome song about going to Mary Chung's to get dumplings! I will sing the song on the way to Mary Chung's. I will eat all the food. I will watch as the ancient man paces from one end of the restaurant to the other over and over again. I will read all the specials scotch taped to the receptionists desk thing. I will listen to MIT professors talk about string theory while shoving won-tons into their faces. I will revel in slurping my soup. I will get only appetizers and it will be FANTASTIC! I will get everything and it will somehow still only cost me $13. I will ingest ridiculous amounts of salt. I will drink all the tea. I will marvel at the spicy dipping sauce. I will perm my hair like a 50-year-old asian woman. I will build a small fort out of egg rolls and scallion pancakes. I will live in Mary Chung's ceiling and blast farts into the heating ducts. I will replace the fortunes in the cookies with excerpts from my manifesto There will be a shortage of Moo Shi. My ankles will swell and I WILL NOT CARE!! HOLYSHITICANNOTWAITTOGO!!

(Update of sorts) Ok, I'm back. I decided to not set up residence after all. I'm feeling rather bloaty and slightly ill. Dumbfattybad. The food was SuperAwesomeTownHIGHFIVE (the name of my band by the way) as expected but my stupid body got all full before I could consume everything in sight. The walk back from the restaurant in the rain made me slightly sadfaced because I was not prepared to be rained on. Walking in the rain with eyeglasses sucks. Ugh. I'm soooooooo full. I feel totally marychunged. Yes, it IS a verb. Why did you let me do that to myself? What is wrong with you people? You KNOW I have no governors. Where is the love?

Perhaps I should have just gotten a salad and some water. I'm totally going back there in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Little Clouds

Previously on Ow Ow Ow Quit It Ow Ow Ow, I was in a drug-induced stupor and was feeling better. Then the holidays hit and I spiraled right back into the Valley of Ouchies (amazing what a little family get-together can do to bring on tension in me). So what's a boy to do? Go to an acupuncturist of course.

I had never been to one before (read: I'm from Malden) and so I didn't have any idea of what to expect. I wasn't even sure if I bought in to the whole premise. I knew I was coming from a place where my initial thoughts about acupuncture were that it is new-age bullshit bordering on quackery. I know this is wrong since this practice has been around for centuries and it must have some validity. Let's open ourselves up for a new experience ok? Ok. The Wiff said that I should first try a "community session" which I can now see is self-explanatory but at the time I had no idea that it meant "sit in a big room with other people with needles in your face". That was not the best approach as it turns out. I loathe people so why the hell would she think sitting in a room with them would be relaxing? Silly lady.

I scheduled a private session with the therapist dude for the following Tuesday night and reminded myself to have an open mind fer chrissakes. That night I made my way over to the studio (that's a problem right there for me for some reason. I'd feel better about this if they would call it an "office" or a "practice" or something more clinical like that. Damn hippies...No Mark! No! Open YOUR MIND damn you! Feel your chakras!) and my arm had been tweaking all day long, probably in anticipation of this very moment I guessed. I walked in and made my way over to the receptionist area. The guy behind the desk confirmed my appointment and then proceeded to get all chatty with me. Look, I'm sending out very clear DO NOT ENGAGE vibes here (and shouldn't he be more in-tuned with vibes and shit like that anyway?), so I'd appreciate it if you'd shut your face and allow me to sit here in this silly place and wait for my turn. Please? No? Oh ok. He went on and on about how he's just moved back after being away for a while and how everything in the studio (there's that word again) has changed. Oh, and it's weird because this piece of equipment never works when he's around. Is it cold out? (Yes. Yes it is. It's fucking January in New England. It tends to get a bit brisk). He rambled for what felt like 15 minutes (most likely 3-5 minutes) and I gave polite-ish monosyllabic responses at the socially accepted intervals while begging him in my head to please shut the fuck up.

Finally the receptionist guy shut his face and the therapist dude came out to let me know he would be just a few more minutes. Yea, I get it. You're busy. So am I. We have an appointment and I'm here on goddamn time. Step it up, Jimmy. Can you see that I may not have been in the right mindset for this? Yea. A couple minutes later he comes back out and has me follow him to one of the rooms. We chat for a little bit about what exactly I'm expecting from this (he's really soft spoken and reminds me of Bob Ross without the giant fuzzy 'fro). His whisper voice annoyed me and I had to make sure I didn't let it totally mess up my session. He talked about what he was going to be doing and his approach to this therapy and I was starting to dig the more clinical assessment of the procedure. Let's do this Bob. He says, "Ok, take your shirt off and lie face down please." Right away I'm instantly tense again. Look, it's not his fault right? He has to get to the skin and stuff right? But as a fat guy, taking my shirt off is never a comfortable thing. I hate the way I look, ok? Sure, I'm working on it but goddamn. Fine, shirt off it is. Now I'm super tense and sweaty. I hope you're happy with yourself sir.

I lie down on the table with my head in that loop thing on the end, arms down by my sides and right away my arm starts tweaking like mad. I told the guy about it and he was like "Oh, ok. Maybe we can adjust this here and then let me know..." all in his whispery voice. Ugh. Stop it. Stop the whisper talk. Let's just do the thing with the needles or whatever ok? So I'm lying on my stomach with my face in the yolk doodad, staring at the floor with my left eye because my right eye is smooshed in the faceloop (I tried adjusting but it was either left eye can see, right eye smooshed; the reverse of that; or both eyes smooshed with light sparkling on my eyelids. I chose the left eye to have first watch), and he starts poking at my back in and around my left shoulder blade. First thing I notice is that his hands are SUPER WARM. Like unnaturally so. Is this his normal body temperature? Am I just cold? Did he microwave his hands for 10 seconds? Is he Mr. Miyagi?

He starts a little massage thing and then he takes the needles out and starts putting them in the different locations. Then he sat down on this little wheeled chair thing and he rolled over to the left side of my head. He then started putting needles in my ear and neck area. Now this is supposed to be relaxing right? But the whole time he's doing this, the thought that's in my head was: "Wow, his balls sure are close to my face." I know. I KNOW. I'm clearly not taking this seriously. I started to giggle to myself a little. "Yea, they're like right there and he could be tea-bagging me right now and I wouldn't necessarily know the difference." I mentally shook myself out of that thought and told myself to CONCENTRATE on not thinking. Stop it you 15-year-old dummy. I let the mind wander and I was starting to relax again. Then he wanted to chat with me. "So, uh, how was your Christmas? You have a good New Year?" Seriously? Ok, I understand you're in a room with a client with his shirt off and your balls are near his face and maybe it feels awkward for you (it certainly feels awkward for me) but right now? I'm trying to clear my headspace or whatever you call it so that I can actually benefit from this and I really, REALLY don't want to talk. I didn't know how to tell him this though. I didn't know how to say "sshhhhhhh" without sounding like a dickbag. So I answered his questions. Of course I did. And I over shared and gave long rambling answers and holy shit why can't I just stop talking? I either don't talk at all or I over share. I have issues ok?

After a while he said, "Ok, that's all I want to do right now so I'm going to leave you for about 20 minutes is that ok?" Yeah, dude I guess...I mean, I dunno. This is your deal, not mine. Go do whatever. "Can you feel those at all?" Yeah, I can. There's fucking needles in my skin. Yes, I can feel them. And it's not like they hurt or anything but you know they are there. He leaves and closes the door to the room and I'm lying there face down, trying to relax. And my arm was kinda calming down cuz it's used to the position. During the community session that The Wiff conned me into, they had this Enya style music playing that featured this flute that kept hitting these notes that just drilled into my spine, carved out a nest, and proceeded to poke me in the nerve endings. It was the opposite of background music. This time there was no music but a faint sound of what was either a wave machine or a broken fan on the air handler of the heating system. For realz it was preferable.

The room that I was in was up near the front of the building and I don't know if they have a shitty sub-floor or if it's a just a super squeaky area but EVERY time someone walked by the room I was like "oh! Is this 20 minutes? Has it been 20 minutes yet? Is this now 20 minutes? Is he going to open the door now? How about now? Is this him? Who was that? Was that him? What happens next? I don't know what happens next". Basically every time I heard someone walk by (which was A LOT by the way) it snapped me out of my relaxed, peaceful state and slammed me right back into my normal slightly edgy state. He did eventually come back and proceeded to take the needles out. By this time his hands were frickin' freezing. WTF dude? Are you just fucking with me now? He then did a little acupressure for a bit on my left side and then he said "Ok, you can get dressed now and I'll meet you out front." Can do mister.

I got dressed (he had me take my shoes and socks off too but never once touched my feetsies so I'm guessing it's just a thing they do? I dunno) and made my way back up front. He was waiting for me at the reception desk and asked me how I was feeling. I was honest about it and said I wasn't really sure. I said that I don't think I got much out of this particular session but that's all on me not him. I didn't think that just one session was going to be the answer. We agreed to set up another session for the following week and I went back last Tuesday (the 10th) and it went much smoother. Now that I knew what to expect out of the actual session itself I was more able to relax and just let him do his work. Plus, and this is a BIG plus for me; he put me in a room that was further back than the previous one. This all but eliminated the foot traffic outside the door. He also turned the lights off this time (something he did not do before) when he left me alone and I very nearly fell asleep. It was an all-around better experience than the first.

Today at work there was an open session with the on-site massage lady (she comes every month I guess) and I was able to book some time with her. It was lovely and I feel quite sleepy now.