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.

OK, Stupid

heart

 

 

Tracy sat looking at the OK Cupid Profile for a long moment. The picture was an extreme close up, but it was definitely Blake, her boyfriend. Remembering she was at work she looked over her cube wall to make sure her boss was not coming. She saw the tops of her coworker’s heads. They were quietly working at their desks as if the world had not just changed completely. She sat back down and looked at the profile again as her hands began to shake.

It said he was 32 (he was 36). It said he liked CNN and he always fell asleep during the news. It had a quote from Edgar Allen Poe, even though he’d never read anything by him. He looked a lot better in the picture he had posted; you couldn’t see his gut or his bald spot.

Tracy started working again in a daze. She was hurt and angry, but more than anything else she was shocked. She became angrier as she thought about all the lies he had told on his profile. He said he was really good at balancing life and work when in actuality he was on the verge of being fired. He said he was a social drinker and he drank almost every night. He said that he was working on a master’s degree in film production when he took one class the year before. He said that on a typical Friday night he was trying a new restaurant with friends when really he was passed out on the coach after downing a six pack and a frozen pizza.

She went back to the profile right before leaving for the day. She thought about writing something back, but decided that that wasn’t the best plan. She drove home He had listed six things he couldn’t live without. He said that that he first wanted to say that he was not a very materialistic person.

“bullshit!” she to herself.

He said he couldn’t live without The Subterranean Homesick Blues 45 that he had, his favorite plaid shirt, his harmonica, his copy of On the Road, his keys and his sanity.

“Bullshit” she screamed. ‘Except about the shirt. ‘He Never listened to that old record it hung on a wall, he got the harmonica from his mom at Christmas one year, he skimmed On the Road, he was always forgetting his keys and he certainly wasn’t sane.

“You’re the most materialistic person I ever met,” she screamed.

She got home and drank a large glass of vodka, than another than another. She thought about calling him. She picked up the phone several times and then put it back down. She began to cry. She realized that he was a fat, balding fake with no talent and nothing interesting to say. She’d known it for months now.

She wondered when he had stopped thinking she was worthy of being lied to.  Did he think he could stop because he thought she belonged to him or because he didn’t thing she was worth impressing anymore? She wondered if he was even home.  She hated cell phones, they made it too easy to lie. She drank more of the vodka, soon she was sweating a strong smelling sweat. She took a shower trying not to look at her rejected body.

She got on the computer and looked at the profile again. It said he had been on early that morning. He must have gotten on right after she left his place. She wondered if he was out with someone right now, or worse if he was staying in with them.

She dialed his number but did not hit send. She wanted to plan what she would say. She would tell him how full of utter garbage he was, she would point out every lie on the profile and tell him how she knew everything about him.

She looked at the phone and at the profile.

She knew EVERYTHING about him.

She put down the phone picked up her lap top and began to take an educated guess at his password.

The Complaint (part 24)

comp1

 

Ellen left the apartment very early the next morning, not wanting to run into Kyle. She didn’t even make coffee and she wondered if she was entitled to get a cup from a shop or if she would be expected to pay for it. She still didn’t understand the complicated economic system in Hell.

She walked into a coffee shop and observed the activities for a moment she saw no poker chips change hands. She went up to the counter and ordered a large cup of coffee. The Barista was a woman who had no mouth or nose and could only nod at her order.  She wrote something down on her chalk board.

“Would you like a shot of meth in your coffee?” the board said.

“Um, sure I guess so?” Ellen said assuming it must be legal. The Batista cried as she poured the meth in the coffee. Ellen noticed that the girl had no veins. ‘She must have been a drug addict.” Ellen thought.  As she smiled and took the cup; she couldn’t help that think it was a pretty good punishment.

She drank the coffee on the boat and looked out at the city streets. A head on a wheel rolled by and several pigs kicked it and began an impromptu game of soccer. All of a sudden, Ellen felt a strong urge to jump and join them. She stood up and then sat right back down again realizing she couldn’t just jump off a boat and join in a pig’s soccer game.

She saw a woman with a paper clip for a head and wondered what she was being punished for. She got up again and ran to the other side of the boat as everyone regarded her with puzzlement.

The boat arrived at the office and Ellen got off. She couldn’t wait to get upstairs, a million ideas were racing through her head. She wanted to tell her coworkers about them. As soon as she got upstairs she was called into a meeting. A tall balding man in a nice suit was sitting at the head of the conference room table. Everyone from the punishment department was sitting around the table quietly chit chatting.

“Oh my God, am I late?” she said loudly. They all looked up.

“No, no. You’re right on time, said the man.

Ellen threw her purse on the table and sat down in her chair with an enormous thud.

“So, my name is Ward Pepper and I’m your new supervisor.”

“Hi”, Ellen said with a burp.

Everyone looked at her.

“Um, I thought we’d all go around the room and introduce ourselves. I’m Ward, I’m from Cleveland. I died in a skydiving accident when I was twenty two. I came down here attended HCC where I got my Certificate of Evil, right from there I got a job in the seventh circle as a safety regulator. From there I got a job as a recruiting manager….”

“You mean like for recruiters on earth? You managed the recruiting that goes on, on earth,” Ellen asked loudly.

“Yes,” that’s right”, he replied with discomfort. ”

“Did you ever meet anyone like REALLY, REALLY famous like an a lister, ” she asked fighting the urge to stand up.

“Well, I can’t really say. So anyway. I did that for four years and here I am, why don’t we go around the table and introduce ourselves.”

“I’m Frank Pearson”, a tall thin man said. I died at the hands of a serial killer when I was 23…”

“Oh My God, they kill men. I thought they only killed women,” Ellen sputtered.

“Sometimes they kill men, he said.” I just completed my tenth approved punishment and earned my own apartment. I love Punishment INC.”

An exotic woman in a red dress went next.

My names Pokey, I died when I was 22. I’m originally from Virginia when it was still the colonies when I lived there. I’ve been in punishment planning for a lot of years. I won the Rasputin Award for Creativity in Justice last year.”

Ward looked impressed Ellen rolled her eyes.

A young punker kid with a lot of piercings stood up.

“I’m Kevin, I died in a plane crash back in 83, this is my first week in punishment, I’ve been on the other side of things working in torturer for the last, basically thirty years force feeding rat droppings to salesmen. I’m excited to be here.  “I’m Ellen I died in a mall shouting at the age of 24, like two weeks ago. I just got my second approval. I just found out last night that you can win trips to heaven for exceptional punishments and it is my goal to go to heaven. I’m so really happy to meet you all, I’ve seen you around here but, like I didn’t know anyone’s name and now I do and that’s really awesome. I’m really excited form my next approval. Or even if it isn’t an approval that’s okay because I can learn from it and My first punishment was approved but it wasn’t, but I did learn from it and I just am so excited to EARN that trip to Heaven,” she said in one breath.

There were a few more introductions. Some basic rules were gone over and the meeting was adjourned.

Ellen started toward her desk.

“Hey, Ellen” Pokey said.” You shouldn’t say stuff like that. You have to be really careful.”

“Say stuff like what?”

“Like you want to go to heaven. ”

“Why not? I’m an enthusiastic and ambitious worker.”
“No, I mean if you say stuff like that they’re gonna think you don’t like Hell. You have to be careful what you say, trust me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know why the caged bird snaps

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So, I have become obsessed with the case of Elliot Rodger’s day of retribution.  For those of you who simply can’t keep your rampages straight, Mr. Rodger was the young man who killed seven people including himself in Isla vista, CA a couple of weeks ago. He claimed to have carried out the shootings because he was still a virgin at twenty two and felt that his status was unjust.

 

Recently, I have had little interest in these mass shootings. For one thing they have become shockingly common place. For another, the killers are always so deranged that I, not being a mental health expert, can’t begin to understand how they arrived at the conclusion to go through with their plans. Everyone always asks “how could this happen.” Everyone tries to assign blame for what happened. The conservatives  blame a lack of discipline and religion, the liberals  blame a lack of gun control and the intellectuals blame a lack of understanding.

The case of Mr. Rodger has brought about much discussion of misogyny and narcissism  in our society. A lot of people are saying that Mr. Rodger saw women as objects and that he was completely without compassion for anyone. There are many angry rants on the internet lecturing the now dead maniac about the fact that the world didn’t owe him anything. Many people are blaming Hollywood and the LA culture for the shocking material values exhibited by Mr. Rogers in his videos and manifesto.

I read the entire manifesto  and many an article about the case. I was certainly shocked by the fact that the cops had been to his house, interviewed him and decided for themselves that he wasn’t a danger to himself or others without ever consulting with a psychiatrist.

I have read a couple of famous lunatic manifestos in the past including The S.C.U.M Manifesto and The Uni-Bomber’s Manifesto. In The S.C.U.M Manifesto  Valarie Solanas (the woman who shot Andy Warhol) argues that men are incomplete humans due to their y chromosomes. She also goes into great detail about the way men use woman in our society. She points out the irony of her inability to get a date and the fact that she makes her living as a prostitute. (See Louis CK fat lady rant.)  I also skimmed the Uni-bomber’s manifesto, in which he argues that his terrorism was justified as it was for the greater  good.

Both of these people were insane, but they were also kind of brilliant  and they both had philosophies and agendas. Miss Solanas had a really rough life, she was miserably poor and rejected by every echelon of society, even the freaks at The Factory,  which was Andy Warhol’s studio.   Ted Kaczynski The Uni-bomber  was a Harvard educated mathematician, who had cruel psychological experiments performed on him as a young adult.  They were both obliviously very intelligent, extremely disturbed people who had had lives that I cannot imagine. They’re concern for the world around them, coupled with their medical conditions and rejection by the world they were trying to save must have made them lose their minds.

Elliot Rodger’s “manifesto” contains no core philosophy. It’s not a manifesto at all, just an autobiography. Elliot comes across as a vapid, uninformed child of privilege who has no concern or awareness whatsoever of  the world around him. I wasn’t sure why I was so fascinated at first, but as I read I realized that, save for his psychosis, he reminded me of myself and many people I know especially on social media.

Elliot was born in the UK, but moved to the US  at the age of five. He was the grandson of a famous photographer. The family always seems to have lived just above their means. Although both parents had lucrative film industry careers, the kids he grew up with always had more money than he did. I had a similar experience growing up. Both my parents worked, but we were lower middle class and we lived in a neighborhood that was upper middle class. In the summertime my classmates would go jaunting off to Europe while we went to the Wisconsin Dells. My parents thought that surrounding me with the best and brightest would make me aspire to be like them, instead I developed a terrible inferiority complex and so apparently did Elliot.

To make matters worse when he was a teenager  his father lost everything he had making a documentary about celebrities and religion that no one saw. He actually had to stop paying child support for a while and Elliot and his mom and sister were forced into a rather ordinary apartment. (I bet you anything people will see the documentary now.)

Elliot was a terrible shy kid who found solace in World of Warcraft  which is a very popular video game series. Even though I was never into video games when I was a kid I used to watch hours and hours of television every day. I liked my fictional friends so much better than I liked the few real friends I had. Those few friends were television junkies as well and we all bounded a bit over our favorite shows. The only people Elliott kept in touch with at all after he reached puberty were his World of Warcraft friends. How many of us prefer our online friends to our “real” friends? ” (Why there is a whole TV show about it). How many of us feel we can only be our true selves online to people who are virtual strangers?

When Elliot went to high school his peers began dating and he didn’t, this infuriated him. I also did not date in high school. Although it did not infuriate me to see others dating, it did give me a lot of anxiety about the future. I was not alone. A friend of mine actually chose his college based on the fact that the boy/girl ratio would be in his favor.

When Elliot got to college he began to dress very nicely  in order to get people’s respect and admiration. He felt he had to do this as the other men his college all seemed to him to be tall, blond, white and athletic, while he was a short Eurasian.   I’ve read alot about how sad it was that Elliot was so shallow and he needed to have more self esteem, but was he really wrong? It’s been my experience that guys like that do get more girls and it isn’t because if their acerbic wit or sensitivity. Elliot had no chance of being burly , so he chose to be fashionable. I’ve heard a lot of people say that he shouldn’t have cared what other people think, but  aren’t we all kinda like that?  I would guesstimate that ninety percent of our Facebook post are made to impress other people. When you post a movie you’ve seen are you doing it to promote the artists in the film, are you doing it to share something good with your friends or are you trying to impress everyone with what good taste you have? When you post pictures of a meal you ate are you promoting the chef or your sophistication? When you post your favorite music is it because you think it will make other people happy or is it to show how hip you are; I know what my answers would be.

While attending college Elliot decided that the only way he could get the attention of the blonde beauties he desired was to become a multi-millionaire and the only way he could accomplish this was to win the lottery. Certainly this is a ridiculously extreme notion and a solution only a crazy person would come up with. But, how many of us have told ourselves that we could have  had  something we wanted if only one circumstance in our lives had been different. I, for example always tell myself that if I were prettier I would have been more successful in every area of life. A friend of mine believes that if she had only attend college, her life would be a million times better . We are both oversimplifying of course. Life can throw a multitude of different hurdles at you, at an amazing speed at the last time you would ever expect it. There is some truth to what we think and telling ourselves we are victims  helps to take the blame for our lack of success out of our hands.

Anyone who has ever played the lottery has done so because they wanted to get money for doing nothing. I play once a week. Although I don’t think I’ll win there is some level at which I think I deserve to win or I wouldn’t play. I don’t think I’m alone here.

Elliot  read and believed the book The Secret which contains some absolutely ridiculous nonsense about the laws of attraction stating that if you just want something badly enough and believe you are worthy of it you will get it. It suggest that people who have nothing did not attract enough positive energy to themselves. This is a horrible arrogant and dangerous thing to believe as it would suggest people in third world countries, people who are mentally deficient  people who are handicapped somehow brought it on themselves.

Fortunately, when it comes out of the mouth of Elliot Rodger, it sounds ridiculous. the thing is it also comes out of the mouths of some pretty famous people such as  Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carrey. Mr Carrey discussed the laws of attraction when he was giving a commencement speech for a school he didn’t attend that was giving him a degree he didn’t earn. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to give validity to the ideas of people who are successful no matter what they are successful for. Oprah is certanly a charismatic person and no one knows how to use a their rubber face quite like Mr. Carrey, but these things hardly make them philosophers worth listening to.

 

Elliot says time and again that he feels it is unfair that he does not have a girlfriend when he does everything in his perception to be appealing to woman. I’ve read a lot of articles and posts about how deluded he was for thinking the world owed him anything.

Everyone was told “life is unfair” by their parents when they were little and everyone that I’ve ever met thinks that life should be fair, for them. I always used to ask my parents why they chose to bring people into a world that they knew wasn’t fair.

Our system of government in America is based on the idea that all men are created equal and capitalism itself is based on the Illusion of fairness.We are given one vote each. We are not legally allowed to discriminate based on race or sex. and we are led to believe that if we work hard we will be reward.

The truth is that big corporations and wealth individuals control congress and at the end of the day have much more than one vote, white men make more than anyone and cronyism, good looks and networking determine success as much as hard work.

In the months before his rampage Elliot keeps saying  in his manifesto that he really doesn’t want to do it and that he will give the universe and the woman of Santa Barbara one more semester to put things right. He will try the lottery once more he will go walk around campus more often and buy nicer clothes, etc. How many of us have said something similar to this. Oh, we may not be marking time before a rampage. But, how many people say they’ll give an abusive mate a certain amount of time to start treating them with respect, how many actors or writers say they will leave their reels on YouTube an the script ideas on their website for a certain number of months before giving up and taking them down or firing there manager, or going back home. We all play this game with ourselves, its kind of frightening to see a killer doing it.

So what separates most of us from Elliot Rodger, besides the obvious mental health problems? I think “normal” people have more of an ability to compromise and lie to themselves. If a normal man couldn’t get  hot chicks to sleep with him he would simply lower his standards and go after plain ones. Most of us just accept that what’s holding us back is what it is and there is nothing we can do about it so we focus on other things. Most of us  also have the ability to comfort ourselves with other people’s misery. We are aware that there are people in the world who have it much worse than they do; we don’t do anything about it, but we are aware of it.

Most of us have the ability to laugh certain things off. I have been to Santa Barbara and it isn’t exactly chalked full of sensitive new aged guys. In fact there were quite a few pompous, over privileged assholes. But, go downtown on a Saturday night and you will see a bunch of big, strapping athletic men who are drunk off their asses. There is nothing more amusing than a grown man who can’t handle his booze .

Normal people have an amazing ability to tell themselves that things will get better when they probably won’t. Religious people tell themselves God will save them. Business people tell themselves success will save them and romantics tell themselves love will save them.

Intellectuals scoff at these things, but in actuality intellectuals are the worst ones because they delude themselves into thinking that their discussing these things will somehow make them better.

So instead of asking yourself how these things can happen you may want to ask yourself why they don’t happen more often?