Fortune

 

 

 

gc

I left the Egyptian Theater after seeing Rear Window feeling incredibly depressed. During the film it occurred to me that no matter what, I would never ,ever look like Grace Kelly. It also occurred to me that I would never be as talented as Alfred Hitchcock, but mostly it was the Grace Kelly thing. I stopped for a slice of pizza and a beer when I noticed a fortune teller across the street.  I really didn’t believe in such things , but it’s not like reality was offering me anything to look forward to, so I headed over to see if she could bullshit me into enough of a happiness coma to get me though another two weeks of selling snake oil to the elderly at my crummy telemarketing job.

I walked over to the shop and went inside. A small dog greeted me as I entered. I sat and waited in the reception area which consisted of a single fold out chair and a small round table with magazines on it.  After a moment a dark haired woman, who seemed to have forgotten to wax her mustache came out and greeted me. She led me to a small back room.

“You have nice eyes,” she said attempting to butter me up.

“Thank you,” I said unmoved.

“So what brings you to me?”

“Shouldn’t you know?

“Don’t be a smart ass,” she said.

“Very well,” I said. “I want to know if my life will ever get any better or if I’m ever going to have a reason to live.”

“No.” she said

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean no, that’ll be fifty bucks, “she said.

 

“You want me to give you fifty bucks for that; are you insane?”

“You asked a question I answered it.”

“Based on what,” I asked indignantly.

“Based on this whole thing you’ve got going on.”

“What whole thing?”

“You plain and pale, you’re old and you have a big nose and you go to old movies and psychics by yourself on a Saturday night.”

“But, I mean …. I mean aren’t you supposed to give me like false hope or something?”

“You seem to be someone who thinks of yourself as to smart to fall for that shit. If I told you’d just talk smack on Facebook and I’m not your human kicking post.”

“So then, according to you I might as well just go home and slit my wrists,” is that correct?”

“Well, you could always just concentrate on revenge. You could make everyone whose ever treated you unfairly suffer.”

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“I have some potions that…”

“Oh no you don’t.”

“If you don’t want potion you could try the internet to get revenge. A fake Facebook profile? Maybe you should fine Jesus?
“Maybe you should asshole,” I said turning to leave.

“Where’s my fifty buck,” she asked.

“Sue me! I said walking out.

All of a sudden I couldn’t move. I was frozen with one foot out the door of the shop. The gypsy came and picked me up. She kept me in the shop for several weeks using me as a conversation piece and a coat rack. I was eventually sold to an antique collector from San Francisco. He had me shellacked and I currently on display in his dining room. I am called “loser on a stick as I am standing on a giant stationary parrot swing.

The collectors are all very fascinated by a sculpture that can talk. I like it here, much better than the call center I had been working in in LA. I am feed very good food several time a day and when they want to exercise me they take me to the park and spin me around on the merry-go-round. The maid washes me every few days and when I can persuade her two she gives me wine or pot brownies.

I’m not sure where everyone thinks I went, although I bet my landlord is upset. I bet they were happy at the call center.  I’m not sure if this curse will ever wear off; I’m not even sure I want it too.

Evidence

 

 

 

 

ssProfessor Applebaum drove down the dark, highway barely able to keep his eyes open. He was still about two hours away from the small, college in Ohio where he was to deliver a lecture on the significance of linguistic evolution in modernist and post-modernist poetry. He could barely keep his eyes open and his stomach growled with hunger.

He saw several signs advertising sustenance of the greasy spoon variety. He got off at the advised exit and drove down a dark winding road that seemed to go on for miles. He saw a sign that said Billy Bob’s Truck Stop.  He speed up a bit at the thought of the delectable food he was about to eat when all of a sudden a bright light flashed in front of him and he felt an enormous thud. He got out of his car in a daze. Standing before him was a little green man with antennas. He had his hands on his hips and was looking at the enormous dent that Professor Applebaum’s Honda had left in his small, square shaped space craft.

“Look at this!” The creature exclaimed. “What are you going to do about this!”

“Um, I….I mean I have insurance its Allstate. Just let me get my card.”

“Are you being series, what mechanic on this planet is going to know how to fix a craft like this, huh, answer me that?”

“So then you are a …an, um I mean a space alien.”

“I prefer the term non sapien earth resident.”

“I see. Well perhaps I can just give you some money and you can go to a planet where you can get it fixed. Is it still flyable?”

“Not to where it will make it to another planet. Someone will have to come down and help me. I’m afraid he won’t take your currency.”

“Well, I really am sorry.”

“Look, there is a way you can help me. I trust you were on your way to the truck stop.,” the creature said.”

“Yes, I was.”

“Well you can buy me dinner. I’m just going to hide my craft in the  forest. I’m Squark, by the way.

“Thomas Applebaum,” the professor said putting out a hand.

Applebaum and the alien arrived at the truck stop about fifteen minutes later. Applebaum was certain that someone would see them and think that his companion was a child in a costume or they would get out a shot gun and kill them both. Instead they walked in unnoticed and sat down in a corner booth. They each ordered large meals with a big basket of onion rings to share. Squark drank beer while Applebaum drank coffee.

“So what do you do” The Squark asked stuffing an onion ring in what Applebaum had assumed was his ear.

“I’m a professor of English at the University of Chicago.”

“Wow, I’ve heard of that place. Are you just taking a road trip?”

“I’m giving a lecture at Oberlin. But, more importantly what brings you here?”

“I’m a research scientist. My planet is dangerously underpopulated. I’m here to study mating habits of earthlings.”

“I see, well we are a rather populous species. How do you go about getting subject?”

“Craigslist, mostly. Occasionally I’ll find people on Facebook or a local watering hole.”

“I’ve noticed people who’ve had encounters with ali…I mean with non sapien earth residents, often hail from the south, is that why you chose Kentucky?”

“Actually, I chose it because it was centrally located. But, that’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. You see the demographic of the people we normally abdu…recruit tends to be low income, middle-aged Caucasians who are not particularly well educated. We’d like to have more educated test subjects.”

“I see, “said Applebaum uncomfortably.

“We in the non sapian community also need to have more credibility and respect and we can really only do this if we affiliate ourselves with more sophisticated people.”

“Uh huh,” Applebaum gulped his coffee.

“I’d like you to participate in a study. It wouldn’t involve anything more than answering a few questions.”

“Well, I’m very flattered, but it’s just that I’m awfully busy.”

“Well, you did ding my ship.”

“How long would it take?”

“A few hours. Of course we would also asked to, you know go on the news and talk about your experience taking the test.”

“I’m afraid I wouldn’t be willing to do that…”

“Why not?”

“Well, I mean a lot of people you know, doubt your existence and well, I have a certain reputation to uphold.”

“That’s why we want you. You’re very credible.”

“Well, I’d like to keep it that way. I don’t understand this, if you want people to know about you why don’t you just tell them yourselves.”
“We tried that on YouTube, but we only got twellve likes. People said our costumes were stupid. We can’t go on the news, someone would try to kill us.”

“Well, I will take the test, but that’s all.”

Suddenly Applebaum began to feel dizzy. The room began to spin and so did the faces of the dozen or so bearded strangers that were in the restaurant.

When Applebaum awoke he was lying on a comfortable bed in a dark room. He looked out the window and so stars flying by him at an astounding rate. He sprang to his feet and hit his head on the ceiling. He sat back down and Squark came into the room carrying a note pad.

“Okay, Mr. Applebaum, now maybe we can begin.”

Luck

pills

 

 

Jennifer Pallyworth sat in the passenger seat of her agents care texting her boyfriend. She glanced up at the rear view mirror to see the camera crew following several cars behind her.

‘On way to tard’s see you tonight,’ the text said.

‘XOXO weer the red pantees,’ her boyfriend wrote back.

“I talked to her mother this morning, she said the whole family is really looking forward to meeting you,” her agent said.

“That’s cool,” Jennifer said looking back down at her phone.

“We got a call from Time they want to do a feature story on your work with CP kids.”

“Oh, I mean …they want to talk about the CP thing….what about the show?”

“Well, oh course you’ll talk about the show. You’ll talk about your work with CP kids and then the tie in to the show.”

“What tie in,” she looked up from the phone.

“When Trisha comes on the show, there’s gonna be an episode about CP. You guys are gonna go visit a farm and the daughter is gonna have CP.”

“Whatever,” Jennifer said.

They rode for a moment in silence.

“It’s just that it seems like it would really, I don’t know that it would make people uncomfortable, ya know. I mean they come home and they just want to relax or something and then …they turn on the show because they wanna look at hot people and then there’s this I don’t know like handicap person and so they get get depressed and watch something else.”

“Well for your information, there have been several shows that have featured people with CP . Facts of Life, that Life Goes On.”

“I thought he had Downs Syndrome,” Jennifer said.”

“Oh, well sorry they’re basically the same thing.”

“Well, did they have one on Friends, no Will and Grace, no How I Met Your Mother, no. People hate reality,” Jennifer said. “I’m just sayin. It’s not the 80’s anymore no one wants to think about that shit.”

“Honey, It’s probably only gonna be for one episode.”

“Why can’t I just do the Ice bucket thing? I paid a lotta money for my tits, ya know? Plus it takes like two minutes and it doesn’t cost anything.”

“That ALF.”

“What the fuck is ALF?”

“I have no idea, but it is not CP and our contract is with the CP association.”

 

“Do you have any Ambien,” Jennifer smiled.

“That’s my girl,” her agent said reaching into her purse.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Trisha looked out the window of her bedroom. She wondered what was keeping them. She just wanted to get this over with. The SAT’s were in a week and this was cutting into her study schedule. She had watched Day Job’s last night and she had been horrified at its moronic humor. She wished she’d never agreed to meet Jennifer Pallyworth, but realized it was the only way to put her branch of Students with Physical Challenges on the map. She needed this for her extra-curriculars. If she could be the first high school SPC president to get on national television she was certain to distinguish herself from the other applicants. She headed downstairs carefully griping the railing tightly as she went.

“She’s late, “she said to her mother.

“Five minutes,” her mother retorted.

“Did you see the show last night, did you watch it? It makes Saved by the Bell look like a cinematic masterpiece.”

“Honey, it’s a great way to raise awareness…”

“She must be a true intellectual to participate in something like that.”

“You’re participating in something like that.”

“Well, it’s not like I can go out for track.” Maybe she’s not dumb maybe she’s just a sell out.”

“Maybe she’s just an actor trying to get her foot in the door,” her mother said.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Trisha said.

Trisha was washing her hands when she looked out the window and saw them. Jennifer was standing outside the car texting and her handler was talking on a cell phone. Her stomach knotted. She could feel the stares and the looks of pity already. Worst of all she could just hear them talking to her very slowly, widening their eyes as they talked. She always wanted to use a lot of big words when people did that, but her speech impediment made it impossible for such things to have the proper effect.

She opened the medicine chest and reached for the Ambien spilling them as she went.

“Shit,” she exclaimed stuffing them back in the bottle and swallowing one on the way.

She walked back out into the living room where the camera crew was setting up.  Phil, the director greeted her as she entered the living room.

“Hi, Trisha” he said sounding slow and surprised and overjoyed to see her.

“Hi,” she said.

“So in just few minutes the doorbell is going to ring and your going to open it and let Jennifer Pallyworth in. Okay?”

‘What’s the doorbell,’ Trisha wanted to say, but though  better of it.

“Okay,” she said. She looked out the window and saw Jennifer put her cell phone in her purse. A makeup artist touched up her lipstick. She pasted on a fake smile and walked towards the door. She seemed to be staggering a bit.

Trisha thought she was probably on something; she smiled to herself realizing this was the one advantage of her condition.

Phil yelled action and she walked to the door.

Etcetera

 

 

 

etc

Cora was looking through the Etcetera section of Craigslist in the hopes of finding a gig for the next day. She came across one that said ‘$100 cash and a night in a luxury hotel simply for filing out a survey about the hotel in the morning.’ The ad asked her to send in her name, age (for demographic reasons) and a picture (So they knew she wasn’t a spammer). She answered the ad and continued searching for a gig assuming that her e mail would get lost amoung a million responses. She was thrilled when the phone rang and it was a woman calling about the ad.

Hi, Cora this is Sally with Double Impact marketing. I was calling about the study. Can you answer a few questions?

“Sure,” Cora said eagerly.

“How often do you stay in four star hotels?

“Six times a year,” Cora said guessing at the appropriate answer.

“What is your annual income?”

“A hundred and twenty thousand,” Cora guessed again.

“How many hours of TV do you watch on your average luxury hotel stay?”

“Um, three?” Cora said.

“And what is your approximate height and weight?”

“Um, I’m about five four and a hundred and twenty eight pounds,” Cora answered wondering what was going on.”

“That’s great,” Sally enthused.

“Now, the study would involve staying overnight at the downtown Hilton on 5th Avenue. You would have to be there no later than 3:00 on Thursday and leave no later than 6:00 am; can you do this?”

Cora agreed to be in the study. She was to meet Sally the next day at a coffee shop near the hotel. She would receive her key and several survey forms. She was told to wear jeans and sneakers. The whole thing sounded strange. She wondered if she was going to be kidnaped. She Googled Double Impact Marketing and found their website. She called and asked for Sally and they told her she was at lunch.

She arrived at the coffee shop right on time the next day. Sally, a petite brunette greeted her as soon as she came in and walked her over to a seat in the corner. She seemed extremely nervous as she went over the instructions.

“Okay, so this is market research for several different clients one is obviously the hotel, the other is Pepper’s Pizza and the others are Sport Time Clothing and Comcast. You will be asked to go up to your room, make sure everything in the room works. If something doesn’t work, don’t call the front desk just write it down on your survey form. At 6:00 order a small peperoni pizza and a Coke from Pepper’s and fill out the form. You are to have the TV on from the time you get there til 11:00 PM. When you get up in the morning, come right back over here without checking out and I’ll pay you, “

“Okay, do you want me to check out the gym or the lounge?”

“No! Just stay in your room.”

“Okay.”

“Wear this with the hoodie on the whole time,” Sally said handing her an orange and blue Broncos hoodie. You’ll fill out a survey on that too.”

Cora walked to the hotel and did as she was told. She watched a Soprano’s marathon, ordered her food and took a long hot bath. She filled out all her surveys and went to bed where she was unable to sleep. She was afraid she would miss the alarm. She wanted to explore the grounds, but she was afraid she would be disqualified.

In the morning she returned to the coffee house, but it was not open. She stood outside of it for about five minutes. She was about to walk back when she heard the sound of a car screeching around the corner. Sally parked clumsily and got out of the car. She appeared to be sweating profusely.

“Hey,” she said.

She reached into her purse quickly and retrieved five rumpled twenty dollar bills and stuffed them in Cora’s hand.

“Thanks for everything, do you have the key?”

“Yes,” Cora said handing it over.

“And the hoodie.”

Cora took the hoodie off and handed it to her.

“Thanks, I’ll be in touch,” Sally said.

“Um, don’t you want the surveys?”

“Oh, yeah…yeah that’s fine,” She said taking them.

“I hope I filled them out right,” Cora said.

“They look fine,” sally said not looking at them.

As Cora walked away she noticed Sally putting on the sweatshirt before getting in her car. She stood and waited for the bus. She pretended she didn’t notice the red stain on one of the twenties.

Smoke

craig

 

 

Morton Titleman sat in his tiny cramped room surrounded by old newspapers and comic books. He opened his sixth Pepsi of the day and a large bag of Cheetos. He went on YouTube and critiqued several of the music cover videos. He went to Craigslist and ranted and raved about how women in Los Angeles were all stuck up bitches who couldn’t see past a few extra pounds. He went to the talent section and posted an ad:

Sugar Daddy $1000 a month.

If you are attractive and between the ages of twenty and thirty five I would be willing to pay you $1000 a month for you to meet with me twice a month for fun and conversation.

Please send me a full body photo and a little bit about yourself.

He sat back and waited for the photo’s to roll in.

 

 

Brooklyn Everdone came home to the studio apartment she shared with her brother Melvin. As usual, he was sitting on his bean bag chair smoking pot and reading the Bible. She though, once again how she had to get out of this situation. Since moving to Los Angeles she’d only had one audition for a soap commercial. Her job at Kinko’s was on shaky ground and she could tell her boss didn’t like her. She sat down in her Bean bag chair without acknowledging her brother at all.

She went on Craigslist and started to look for a job. She looked at customer service for a few moments, but then she wandered down to the talent section. She browsed the various acting jobs skipping the porn and foot fetish stuff.

“Attractive brunette 25 to thirty. The headline said, she hesitated and then clicked, she had turned 35 the week before. The director was looking for a lead actress for his new independent rom/com. She was supposed to be beautiful, passionate and endearingly clumsy.

‘But, mostly beautiful,’ she thought. She submitted her photo and resume anyway. She looked pretty good in the picture, her make-up contoured, the lighting perfect, she didn’t understand why she didn’t get more responses; they would have make-up and lighting on the set of a movie, would they not?

She clicked on another ad, asking for an actress from 25 to thirty. This time it was for a girl doing a YouTube monologue for a new play. She was supposed to be plain looking with no make-up. In the monologue she was to relive the characters experience of being invited to a pig party at the age of 16.

Brooklyn moved on to the next ad without sending in her picture. There was an ad for yet another YouTube video, this time, they were looking for an actor to play a prostitute. She thought about it for a moment. It would be good exposure, or would it? What if the camera man and make-up artist didn’t know what they were doing and shot her at her unattractive angle. It occurred to her that she wouldn’t have any control over the comments. Her stomach knotted at the thought of this. She wanted to be seen for who she really was. She moved on.

“Sugar Daddy” the next ad said she clicked on it for a laugh. She read the ad and looked across the room at her brother who was now appeared to be high as a kite. He was swaying back and forth as he prayed. She thought how nice it would be to have her own studio.

He got up and put on his jacket. He exited without saying a single word to her. She looked at the ad again. She wondered how many girls would actually be willing to do this. She thought of an inspirational quote she had seen on Facebook, “It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge.”

She couldn’t remember who said it, but it made her well up with tears for  She had faith in herself.

She took a deep breath and stood up and went to the bathroom where she did her make up and hair. She took off all of her clothes and snapped a picture on her web came. She answered the sugar daddy ad. She sighed and went to see if her brother had left her any smoke.

The Update

fa

 

 

Kendell sat in her cube looking at Facebook and talking to the customer. The customer was going on about the frozen broccoli she ordered having arrived unfrozen. Kendell gave a sympathetic ‘uh huh’ occasionally.

She was looking at his pictures again, she couldn’t help it. Every day she told herself that she would unfriend him or at least fix it so she couldn’t see his posts. She was looking for clues as to what had happened.

As the woman screamed and cried Kendell scrolled back to the month before, to Halloween. There was a picture of them in their Sid and Nancy costumes, they looked drunk and happy. At first she hadn’t even wanted to go, but he had said that they were both new to Chicago and they should check out the old town bars. She had ridden the train for an hour to get there. They had wandered from bar to bar talking like their characters and not gone back to his place til 3:00 am.

She scrolled up to the next week as the woman on the phone prattled on about how the company had completely ruined her chicken pot pie recipe.

She’d called him on Monday, they had a brief conversation and he said he’d said he’d call her back. He had posted some Eminem songs and a quote from Edgar Allen Poe. On Tuesday he’d posted nothing. He had finally called her back on Wednesday and they had, had what seemed like an awkward conversation in which they had made no plans for the weekend. On Thursday he hadn’t posted anything, she had heard nothing all weekend. He’d posted a few random songs and articles and then nothing for a week.

The woman on the phone demanded a refund. Kendell attempted to interrupt her to let her know that she could definitely get one, but she could not get a word in edgewise.

She continued to scroll down to the following week that was when Susan appeared. At first there was just a picture of them standing in front of a movie theater. Then there were picture of them At the Sears Tower. Two days later there was an ominous one of Susan standing in front of the bathroom mirror while he was taking a picture in the background shirtless.

She scrolled up some more, there it was the picture of him with her entire family at Thanksgiving. She had visited Susan’s page and looked at her pictures. The two women were similar looking, both were small thin rather ordinary looking blonds, they were both 30-years-old. She wondered what the deciding factor had been. She had tried making a few post of her own indicating happiness. One of her having lunch with a friend another looking cozy with a male coworker; she doubted he even saw them.

She rolled all the way up to that day’s date which was December 5th. He had posted, ‘going to Vegas with my honey for New Years. Kendall decided to post something indicating New Year’s plans. “Big date on New Year’s pickin a new dress….” She wrote.

The woman on the phone’s tragic story had come to a close. Kendall offered her a refund and ten free bags of broccoli. She put in her note.

“10 free brock and refund for freezer fail” she wrote.

She took the next call.

The day wore on. She was just about to leave when she was called into her boss’s office.

“I don’t know if you think it’s funny or what, but you’re not supposed to put notes about your personal life in the notes section of an order, and you’re also supposed to put an order there. This isn’t the first time you’ve done something like this, were going to have to let you go,” her boss had informed her coldly.

Kendall sat at the bus stop holding a box of her stuff and wondering what she was going to do next. She got on the bus and looked at her phone. She had ten updates.

She starred in horror as she saw that she had posted the note about the broccoli to his wall.

She deleted her account without reading the comments.

 

One Onion Ring

 

 

 

WIN_20140709_184211 (2)

I must be honest; I am an exceptionally attractive male. In my fourteen years on this planet I have been able to get away with that which less fortunate men cannot. I often go up to strange women on the street and rub my body against them. I rub my face on their inner thighs and their only response is to squeal with delight, stroke my head and tell me how soft my hair is and how beautiful I am. Too be fair it might be because I have had a certain operation that makes women feel I am not much of a threat. If you have ever read The Sun Also Rises I am sure you will understand to what I am referring.

I do not have to work, I am what you might call a kept man. The woman who supports me does not have very much money, but she still treats me very well. I am afforded the best food and personal care as she knows how many other woman wish to be in her shoes. I will refer to her only as Madame.

Up until very recently I was fairly contented with my life. I stayed home most of the day while Madame worked. I watched TV and surfed the net. I did not concern myself with the problems of the world as there is so little I could do about them.

A couple of nights ago Madame came home with a takeout meal. She had purchased for me the finest type of meat and potatoes. She had also purchased some sort of bean patty for herself as well as some sort of breaded item. I finished my meal quickly, tossing the vegetables aside. I had to investigate the new substance. I jumped across the table and sniffed of the circular shaped items just as Madame was putting it in her mouth. She pushed me gently away and I responded by knocking the bag off the table.

She picked the bag up quickly, but in our struggle one of the breaded rings had fallen to the floor. I pounced to the ground and snatched the treat up into my jaws devouring in quickly. I was amazed at how good it was. I tilted my head back to a low the delicious grease and juice to flow down my throat. It was the most wonderful sensation I had ever experienced. The breading danced upon my tongue with all of its myriad spices.

It was gone too quickly. I licked the carpet to capture the remaining breadcrumbs, but soon they were gone as well. I jumped back on the table and grabbed the bag. Madame tried to stop me but I growled at her. Let’s face it, I am far out of her league and if she tries to tell me what to do, I will just find some other woman to live off of. I tore open the bag, but they were all gone. I ate the crumbs and licked the bag until the taste was gone. I sat by the door and cried all night.

When Madame left the next day I attempted to open the door by myself to go out into the world and find more of the wonderful food, but I was unable to maneuver the stubborn tool. When Madame got home I was unable to convince her to buy more. She said they were bad for me (as if they were good for her.) When we went out for a walk I attempted to run away to find them, but Madame held on to me with great strength.

I do not know what else to do. If you are reading this please help! If you know where to get this substance please tell me! I will do anything at all for more. I will leave Madame; I don’t care. I have tasted paradise and I must have more.