Saturday, December 31, 2005

A New Year Greeting from Mr. Grey

Hello, Turbot residents.

From the Grey Family compound to you, we extend our warmest wishes at the start of the New Year. "2006! It'll be a great one for Grey!" We expect this year to be one of our most profitable years ever. America & the World have really taken a shine to the Prepared Beef products that we sell. So, the projected profits for this year are through the roof.

Turbot Town-folk, you are hard workers! The best kind of hard workers! People who are 100% loyal and willing to work for a little less than the average worker because they know it's about the team & the company, not them.

I admire your willingness to enter into the two story aboveground building that we own. The ten stories that stretch underground and offer all sorts of additional facilities for manufacturing are almost a bonus. The way you people work down there makes an owner realize that sunlight is not as important as people believe. Fluorescent lights work just as well. And, they stay on all the time. Don't they?

Well, I could go on for hours. Turbot truly contains the hardest working group of people I've ever encountered. A ready work force willing to chip in!

This New Year will be the greatest! Thank you, Turbot!

With love,
the Grey Family

Sunday, December 25, 2005

We found them!

Arthur here, everyone!

Tim Patrick is sitting here with me, Marlene and his mom. Alyssa is back in her trailer. They are safe and warm and well. Merry Christmas.

It is snowing again. Coming down hard. About an hour ago, much to our joy and surprise, we came upon them wandering around from the direction of the swamp. I knew that we hadn't looked through there as well as we could have but it was so cold and visibility was so low... Don't blame us.

They seem fine. Strangely enough, Tim seems more mature. I always knew him as being a kind of rapsaclliony kid but he seems a lot more, well, mature. It's odd. Alyssa's the same. She seems happier. They wouldn't tell us what had happened although, frankly, some rumors have spread. Both of them denied any sort of relationship beyond friendship. Marlene would say that I am not the best judge of people but I believe them. I think something else happened. What? Who knows?

Regardless, they are back. And, get this, Tim even brought a gift for his Mom! A lovely necklace with little faux-diamonds on it. It is Christmas. We were worried that it might not be.

Merry Christmas, everyone. They are here. They are safe. We will talk to you in a few days. We're going to have dinner and rest. We hope you are well. Talk to you soon.

Seasons Greetings and Love,

Marlene & Arthur

Merry Christmas

Marlene & Arthur wish you and yours...

Merry Christmas

May your day be merry and bright.

We have begun searching for Tim & Alyssa. The snow stopped. We got 9 inches. It's cold and tough to move about. The State is sending a snow plow but it will be a few hours. Once again, if you hear or see anything, please contact us through the blog.

I will update everyone at the end of the day. We will be to busy searching to do anything else.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The snow has stopped our search

Another update from Marlene.

The crew are back from Old Hagar's and the factory. They didn't find Tim or Alyssa.

Mrs. Patrick is with us tonight. She's going to share a little Xmas dinner so, we're hoping, that should boost her spirits. I've made turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Arthur made perogis. We always have a wonderful meal.

About six inches of snow on the ground and there's no sign of stopping. It is 10 degrees out right now. So cold. It's tough to see.

Arthur says that they went as deep as they could into the swamp but it was just too tough to see. Sorry. We're trying our hardest. First thing tomorrow, we'll start up the search again. It's Christmas so we should have better luck.

Say prayers for us tonight. And, for them.

All of us here in Turbot wish you a beautiful Christmas Eve. Keep your loved ones close. They can get lost just like that.

Search Update

Nothing yet.

The searchers are still in Old Hagar’s Swamp. But, it’s a blizzard out there now. We’re pretty sure everybody’s safe but… We’re a little worried.

Tim vanishes. Alyssa’s gone. We don’t need another predicament on Christmas Eve.

Some of the security guards at Grey’s have agreed to take some time searching the factory. A few of our folks are going over there to help them out. We’ll keep you posted.

Tim, we hope you’re somewhere warm. My thermometer’s reading 4. We’ll get 8 inches by Christmas. We should be in our trailers, peacefully celebrating. But, we’ll keep looking. Just don’t be lost. Please.

Update from Arthur on Tim! And Alyssa!

We haven't found him yet. That's the first news.

But, we have been looking. A little while after Marlene posted last night, we heard the parties pass by. They were yelling for him. So we joined them.

Most of the park spent the evening scouring the trailers, the Rural Route, the diner, the lake. We're getting ready to go into the Swamp in a little bit. It got down to 6 degrees last night. As you can imagine, you'll lose your extremities in weather like that. But, folks had cocoa and hot soup for the lookers. Marlene stayed back at our trailer and supervised a bit. We're hoping that, once we get into the swamp interior, it will warm up slightly. (We're guessing here. Wishful thinking, probably.) It started snowing at 5AM and it's getting worse. Brisk & visibility is dropping. But, we're determined to find him.

We'll put up Mrs. Patrick and Tim for the next few days and some of the other folks have volunteered their places for other nights. We're trying to wrangle Jack Turbot's trailer for a little while. It just sits there, after all.

So, stay tuned. If you hear anything, send a comment or an email. Marlene is at the computer.

Keep warm and safe. Merry Christmas.

Arthur Y

Oh, crap, crap. I'm sorry. They just told me this and I just told Marlene and it's coming in faster than we can type.

No one has seen Alyssa since last night when she left the party. She doesn't answer at her trailer. She doesn't answer her phone.

Alyssa, if you're out there, please contact us. Tell us you're safe. This is not the time of year to vanish.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Grey's Big Xmas Party

It's Martha, everybody. Well, I made the figgy pudding. People ate it. Or at least the pan emptied out by the end of the night. I guess that means folks liked it. I didn't have anyone come up to me complaining so...there you have it.

The caroling was a bit more exhaustive than we had wanted it to be because the elevator broke down. Kept breaking down is actually a more exact description. In between SUB3 and SUB4, we sat for twenty minutes gradually losing layers of Dickens-style clothing. There were no elevators in Victorians times, apparently. Or were there? I don't know and I'm not sure I care.

Mr. Grey and his family were there. Although, the first sign that something strange was happening came when Mr. Grey was not dressed as Kris Kringle. He was in a very smart business suit and, alongside his kids, he had three lawyers. Hey, we thought, lawyers like to have fun too!

It was fun. Until, the rumors started to spread. (Well, the third time the elevator stuck underground, nine stories underground, was possibly when the fun began to wear out a little. Close harmonies become tougher to do when you start to become afraid for your life.) The first rumor was that one of the lawyers was actually a pinata filled with summer sausage. That rumor didn't last long.

The second rumor involved no gifts for anyone this year. This rumor was not true because we were all given brand new shoelaces. Color of our choice. I went for maroon. Arthur got a lovely beige lace. So, Mr. Grey didn't back off of that.

Rumor three involved Guam. A company trip to Guam. Not true.

Rumor four was that something rotten was about to happen. This is the one that spread fastest and touched all corners of the room. It affected everyone, except Alyssa. She left early. No team spirit, that girl. If she was in packaging, I'd give her one heck of a talking to. The something rotten involved everyone getting fired and the factory being shut down all the way to some sort of Mad Cow-esque plague infesting all of us. We would be burned to prevent spreading. The strangest rumor involved something about Mr. Grey's youngest one, Goldman. Something about the child possibly being sick or doing something...That one I never quite sussed out. But...

Mr. Grey stood up at at quarter-past nine and made his announcement: "I am selling the Plant. There shouldn't be any layoffs but if there are you can still keep your job by moving to Guam." There was the Guam rumor made true in a disturbing way.

Well, as you might imagine, that was the end of the party. People tried to keep dancing but it didn't work. By quarter to ten, Arthur and I were home. Here I am now, writing this.

Frankly, this is not the way we wanted to spend our Christmas. Things feel odd over here at Casa Yurvis.

To top that off, we've just spoken with Mrs. Patrick. Tim is still missing. I'll get back to you when I get an update on the plant or on Tim.

We're going to sleep now.

My son, Tim Patrick, is Missing

Hello. My name is Mrs. Patrick. You may know my son, Tim, from his column. He really likes Heavy metal, a lot.

We've been without a home since the flood back in October. We've been staying at people's trailers and such. The past two nights we've been under awnings. But, it's got really cold. I feel like a terrible Mom but I had to trade almost everything we own away for food money. Tim knew this but... Santa isn't coming this year.

I don't know if he knew or I don't know what happened but this morning, when I got up for work, he was gone. I asked around but no one has seen him. Whether he ran to Ovid or is hidden in Old Hagar's Swamp, I don't know.

I just realized that I have no way of getting a message from you if you have any information on my son. I guess you can leave comments on the blog. I'll try to get to a computer. Maybe Marlene & Arthur can help me out.

Just, please, if you see him or know anything, contact me. Thank you so much for your help. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cyril P. and his Xmas Smells

If Santa kills your Mom and Dad on the way home from visiting Grandpa in the Old Loon’s Home, get a good therapist. No, get a great therapist. Having a nun yell at you and punish you all the time for being wicked and sinful doesn’t help anyone. The Mother Superior in this film is the character I would have thought “Most Likely To Get Killed” (she’s rather deserving) but she survives. I don’t mean to sound crass but where’s that comeuppance I’ve come to expect?

There aren’t enough good Santas in the world to exorcise this one real stinker. The poor boy in this, Billy (?), is just wrecked. After the extended opening, we get an extended post-opening involving him as a youngster, traumatized by Christmas! Then, we get him grown-up and he is not well. In fact, he’s nuts. So, he starts hurting people in a very serious fashion with assorted things that really hurt.

The man is crazy; the man kills. What’re you gonna do? A lot of people kill or at least that’s the opinion I’m forming. There’s always a reason and a lot of the time I wish it’d stop. It’s not very festive, this movie, what with all this killing.

What it is is Hollywood’s latest Smell. Something the family can approach, scratch and sniff really good. And, frankly, that smell is Christmas. I don’t want to say: Stay away from Santa. What I want to say is: Stay away from Santa if he has an ax. If it’s dripping with blood, that’s an even better sign. Billy tries to hold back all his rage but it doesn’t work. Xmas death flows.

Public Service Announcement from Them to Us. Although I think this is a rough message for the holiday, I do know that life is not easy. My trailer has had a strange musky, sour odor in it for a week now and I haven’t found out what the heck it is. I’ve drank all the eggnog. There’s no milk. I don’t own pets. It’s driving me crazy but I still review! I still teach you the lessons!

Merry Christmas to me! I am really great! Send any appreciation to The Turbot Tribune c/o Cyril P. Send now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Alyssa's Final Journal Entry

Christmas is almost here. Today is the Solstice. I don’t know, folks. Something doesn’t feel right here. I…

Let me tell you. I’ve never owned one of those little village things. You know, the fake snow all around and little green trees and fake homes and/or business establishments named after characters from Dickens and you stack them all around so it looks like some sort of festive place you’ve never been. I always want to know what’s going on in the houses. They always have second floors and I always want to see (or be) in there. I don’t know why. Oh, whenever they have sled or ski runs with multiple levels, I always want to go down them. There was one called “Log Cabin” that was meant to be someone’s home. (I stayed at a log cabin once for three weeks. I’m sure it was very interesting.) I like the “Log Cabin” because there’s a little lake out front with a tiny boat in it. But, the scale of the boat is wrong. It’s about a 1/4 the size of the water, which would make it ridiculous to have. Several good rows and you’d be on the other side. In fact, the man is such that he could probably leap across it or at least bounce once in the middle and go from there. I love these things.

A memory that is leaving me... Being in a knicknackeria in a cold town. A wall cabinet nook...three stories of these things. It’s laid down with white cloth and flows from the first level to the very top. Shops on the bottom leading to the banquet halls and festive homes in the middle flowing to the ski lofts, sled runs and frozen ponds for skating up top. It’s breathtaking. A miniature breathtaking. I stare at it for a very long time. It’s glorious. I’d love to be there. But, I never will. This I know and understand.

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want it very, very bad.

I’m restless and I feel detached. I haven’t stood on top of my trailer and taken the air for weeks.

I don’t know. I thought maybe this would help me out. Blogging on. The first few times it felt great. But, it doesn’t do a damn thing anymore. I’m going to wrap it up. See you around. Merry…

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Black Metal Column

Hey, Nut balls! It's me, Tim Patrick! Guess what? My life blows! Talk to you later. Munch!

Here’s the thing… I’m waiting on Christmas. It’s roaring our way. We’re staying at Mr. Murdoch’s trailer. It’s a little small but he says, “Ba-boom! We can stay over the Holidays!” Well, guess what, Nope! December 19. We’re sleeping under an awning of some trailer or other hoping that no one catches us.

Merry Christmas! I hate everybody. I haven’t had batteries for my CD player for three days. Black Metal? None for me thanks. In my mind, I hear the pounding and feel the reverberating bass but for real…I ain’t got shit in a sack, Jack.

And, here we go. You’ll love this. Guess who doesn’t own a single black metal CD at the moment. I don’t need to hold a quiz. Me. We traded in all my CDs so Mom could get some cash for Christmas. Mr. Murdoch made me some sort of CD-R but it doesn’t play on my stuff. So…bite it. This sucks.

Santa won’t be visiting because where the hell will he visit? No presents, no nothing. I hate that rain so much. Mom doesn’t know where we’ll go next. The only fun I’ve had all week was writing this. And, who knows if Marlene And Arthur will be able to read my writing because it’s so dark here.


If we get somewhere warm and lit-up by Christmas, I’ll give a yell. If not, F**k it. Right in the ear.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Interview with the Slicer

This is tiresome. But, if you hold it straight, it might work...Thank you. Yeah. It’s very tiresome. The slices of beef are all done right now. Smell ‘em...Nice, huh? Yeah. And, it’s my job to slice it. What?...Oh. Marinate, slice, then packaging, It’s just us 4. Well as I said, it is tiresome. We work pretty hard. 5-10 hr. shifts a week. Slicing and slicing . Yeah...No Ha! We get asked that lot...There are no fingers in the beef...Yeah. Of course you can. This hand is just missing the 1. This one has two gone but I can still grasp. See?...Those 3 are stitched back on. You sort of favor the other fingers at that point...Why only 4 slicers? This ain’t so glamorous. It doesn’t have the mystery that the marinaters hold. It doesn’t have the camaraderie of packaging. It’s just slicing beef...Oh sure, I like everyone here fine. But, our hands are our trade. So, there isn’t a lot of rogue chatter down here, ya know. We’re always watching our hands...Oh yes. The company helps out. A bit. Well, they request us,, to watch our hands. They request that fairly regularly. Any and all accidents are frowned upon...When we can’t use one of our hands, we are terminated. Oh sure, we have a pension...But, when we lose the right amount of digits, we’re done. We retire. The pension is however much we have accumulated. The Safety features on the slicer are pretty hi-tech. This guard is a strong plastic. Hit this red switch and everything shuts off...Yeah. It can be tough to remember to hit the red button when you’re in the middle of losing a finger. Hey, you panic too, dont’cha? See?...What don’t we get?...Here...Write this down...Ready?...One of the rules of the job is that we must have two working hands, as I said. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 year, 5, 20 or 30. I’ve been here 20 and I’m doing all right...As long as we get to the hospital in around half an hour we’re fine...Sure, you have to drive fast. Nearest hospital’s 45 minutes away. And, if someone hasn’t called ahead...They retired Burlap Miller last year. He got there and the hospital was just swamped down. They could not get to him. Poor soul. Watched his job and hand die right there...He was 28. Really good, too...He does OK. I haven’t heard from him but he gets a decent wage...Oh. Really? I didn’t know. Is there...When was the funeral?...Yeah. That’s why. I was working...Poor guy. How did he do it? Oh...Well, I don’t imagine that’s so painful. Yeah...Yes. They do cover medical and disability for everyone else. But, the hand and finger problem isn’t a disability under “Prepared Beef Rules”. It just means early retirement....How does that strike me? Now look Mr., I’m a Slicer, that’s what I do. This is my calling. I am excellent at what I do. Are we gonna have accidents? Sure. Try doing this 50 hours a week. You get sloppy. It would be great if we had more people to do it but it’s just too dangerous and too rewardless, if that’s a word. The carolers don’t even stop by here on Christmas. We have to go to them...Is it thrilling? Slicing beef? No. It’s a job. It’s what I’m good at...Look OK, OK. I’ve had enough questions, all right...Ya know what, we work here because when this started we got all sorts of benefits. But, as we got bigger, they went one by one. Medical and disability? 20 years ago, we had that. They took it away. If I stay another 20, I get full pension. But, I don’t know if I’ll make it. And, it’s too late for me to transfer. You need more than the Frankenstein Monster’s hands to do other things in this plant. We can’t even marinate. Closed shop. They won’t let us in. Hey, slicing’ll take anyone. But, they have to trick ‘em. Or, get someone like Burlap who doesn’t-didn’t care and thinks the world is his and he can’t get hurt. But, someone like that is usually pretty careless and they’re gone quick. This job...Here I am. I can’t go. I think I can’t...I don’t know. This isn’t something I like to think about...I...I’m going to go back to slicing. Mind the beef on the floor.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Trees - 4th Installment

In the last installment, Dave and Mr. Thomson completely failed to sell a tree to a man named Ruben.

KEITH is asleep on a chair. DAVE walks in. KEITH jumps up.

Aaaahhh! Wooaahhh! Hey!

He looks around slowly, catching his bearings.

Oh no. I’m still in this trailer.

We lost another one.


I don’t know. I think it was Mr. Thomson

Has he sold one tree for the Troop?

Chris said he does all the time.

I’ve never seen it.

Chris said he used to sell cars.


Who knows? I guess he used to sell ‘em downtown.

Why do we never see him selling then?

DAVE shrugs. He takes a sip of his cocoa and makes a “Cold! Yuck!” face. He pours the cocoa out of their shattered window. Refills himself with another. Pause.

I gotta piss. Who has the key?



MR T is holding a key on a rather hefty chain.

Do not let anyone have this! Do not place this down anywhere! Don’t let this out of your sight
for a moment! Do not let anyone else in! Do not lose this key! You got me!

DAVE really wants to go pee. But, he lets out a heavy nod that MR T smiles at.

Hurry back!

DAVE rushes out.

As previously mentioned, they are on one side of the school in an almost cul-de-sac sort of area. There is an entrance in the corner nook. DAVE tries the door.

MR T (distant yell)
It better not be open!

It’s not.

DAVE puts the key in the door and steps inside.


Not a modern school. Straight out of the 50’s.

The steps are very large and gray. There is an entrance to the basement visible. (A Fallout Shelter.) There are two large double doors that lead out into a hallway.

A rather hefty sized staircase winds up to the second floor. DAVE steps through into the hallway. A long dark hallway.

Numerous doors lead into classrooms. He passes a cafeteria and a large kitchen area.

In the center, there is a large gymnasium. DAVE rounds a corner and heads towards some doors and a water fountain.

He goes into a bathroom. We see, in a moment, that it’s the “GIRL’S” room.

The building is empty.

Long dark hallways all of which loom around rather ominously. Maybe in the distance someone is heard. But, it’s nowhere near DAVE.

A loud toilet flushes.

DAVE comes out a moment later, rubbing his hands on his jeans. He begins to go back the way he came. Suddenly, he turns and runs the other way.


DAVE is just spazzing and rushing along making all sorts of whooshing noises. He passes the windows to the gym, which has a large stage in it. He rounds another corner. He is now in the front hallway.

Passes by the “PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE” and the main entrance to the building. He rounds a corner, taking a bit of a slip and spill.

He keeps running. Then, he zips to the end and the door he started at. He looks thrilled.

He is panting slightly. After a moment, he opens the door and begins to step out. Before he does, he checks his pocket. There’s the key! He steps into


LOUIS and SVEL are loading a tree onto the family’s car. There are a few other people floating around the trees.

DAVE strolls towards the tree field as the snow begins to fall a little harder.



Nearing the end of their shift.

In the parking lot, several cars are visible. Something is going on inside the school.

KEITH, LOUIS and DAVE are lobbing all sorts of snowballs at each other.

LOUIS is taking the brunt. SVEL is sitting on the step down from the trailer. Some folks are browsing through the trees and MR T is spending a bit of time trying to sell.

The snow is picking up.

I think it’s really going to come down.

Yeah. It…

DAVE gets pummeled with a ball in the face.

Oh man. My nose.

He wipes the snow away.

The radio said that we’ll get six inches before the day is out.

DAVE picks two huge armfuls of snow and flips them at KEITH.

KEITH lets out a yell and gets a big face full.

DAVE rushes up and knocks him over whooping off into the distance.

LOUIS laughs and laughs before getting hit.

Keep an eye out, Louis!

MR T (yell)
Hey, one of you goofs help me out here!

None of the goofs go.

Dave, you get this one!

DAVE runs by, whooping towards MR T. When he’s very close, he yells and leaps into the air. OOMF! He hits the snow. Laughing and laughing.

MR T is standing with a family who are buying a medium sized tree. DAVE gets up.


MR T is sorting through cash. He points at a tree.

That one, Davy.

Gotcha, Mr T.

DAVE lifts the tree, which is just a little heavier than he can handle. He falls over.

Quit the goofin’ and help them out.


The family begins moving towards their car.

DAVE struggles behind them.

As this happens, the next shift begins arriving. A lot of portly boys! One can only imagine how the trailer is going to handle this one.

DAVE falls down a lot but the tree gets there in the end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How do you make Figgy Pudding?

I mean, what is it?

Marlene here, loyal readers! Happy Christmas to you!

We’re having our Annual Christmas (Holiday) Prepared Beef Party at Grey’s on the 23rd right after work. It starts on our floor at 5. We are the Carolers this year so I’m going to dress in one of those Victorian England outfits like the Victorian English people do.

We try to make the carols as beefy as possible. “The First Jerked Beef” “O Come All Ye Spices” “Silent Beef” “God Rest Ye Merry Marinaters” Things like that. I’ve been rewriting lyrics so they should be great! The only problem is the Freezer floor. None of the guys there speak a lick of English so I’ve written a beef related carol about Père Noel and we’ve been learning some basic French. The carol’s great but the basics aren’t going as well. We thought we’d try speaking some Spanish instead.

After the caroling (and visiting every floor takes some time, trust me), we convene on the ground floor for a big hoohah. Mr. Grey & Mrs. Grey and all the little Greys will be there wishing us well. Mr. Grey will be dressed as Santa and handing out bonuses. Last year, it was prepared beef. We’re all excited about what this year’s bonus will be.

I’m in charge of the figgy pudding and some sort of myrrh related non-alcoholic drink. Hopefully, I’ll be able to whip something together. Arthur and I have such a busy schedule. We go to his family in Ovid on the Eve. On the day, we have my family in from Horseheads. I’ll tell you all about that next week. Right now…the party…

There will be tacos, perogis and kashki. Every year we have such a great time I wish I could invite all of you. I’ll give a run-down for you afterwards. Oh, I almost forgot! This year, Mr. Grey says he has a big announcement for us so we’re all on edge. Good! Bad! Who cares? It’s Christmas. We have a great…I said that already.

There will be dancing and streamers and eggnog with brandy and little sweaty wieners on sticks from the Marinater Floor. If Arthur can figure it out, there will be pictures.

“On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me beef in a giant beef tree.”

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Alyssa's Journal #4

Well, it’s been a while. Why is that? It sure isn’t because things have gotten real exciting down in the Supplies Floor over at Grey’s Prepared Beef. I’ve been trying to write something more substantial for the site. A story, a poem, a something. But, I’m not pulling it off. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired or I’ve got some kind of block or if I’m just not a writer. I sure thought I might be. But now…who knows?

And, oh yes, it’s Christmas. Oh boy. My Mom will not be coming by this year because she’s going to some sort of All-Holiday Bingo Fest down in Florida somewhere. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a stray cat to spend the holiday with. Or maybe one of the creepy Marinaters will spend Christmas Ever with me. God, I shudder just thinking about it.

I’ve bought a tree and some lights. I’ve got a jug of that eggnog with the brandy already mixed in and a dream for a better tomorrow. But, I don’t know if Santa and friends can pull anything off for me. “Santa helps those who help themselves.” Oh, cram it.

I don’t mean to sound crass because I don’t feel crass. Not really. When it comes to the holidays (especially Christmas), no other time of year excites me more. Christmas, especially, works on my senses like no other time. I mean, my gosh, go to a good candle store and buy a dozen or more Christmas related candles (from specific ones like Cinnamon or Egg Nog to more vague “conceptual” candles like “Christmas Morning” and “Holly Wreath”). The memories those smells will bring to you can be pretty astounding. Some are specific (many of the fir related ones) but some are...they do a strange thing. There is one called “Christmas Eve” and when I smell it, it’s odd...What does Christmas Eve smell like? This candle’s odor conjures up memories beyond sensory. I think it’s something to do with the name, honestly, maybe. The smell of the candle coupled with the name stir and draw up the memories of that time. (This is true because my memory is always vague before I found out the candle’s name. The fragrance can be enjoyed outright but due to, I guess, the limited amount of smells you can jam in candles, it works best when you also know the name. Your nose smells something but a push doesn’t hurt.) It’s strange. To smell each candle as it burns...Christmas. The day is not just one word; it is 100 different things vying for your mind’s attention.

Tip… Buy cinnamon sticks. Warm up your eggnog. Remove it from the stove right before boiling. Stir the cinnamon stick around a bit. Be good. These are the holidays and, frankly, you don’t want to be a snicker doodle! Take the stick out and drink. Drink hearty. Life doesn’t begin when you’re dead. It starts when you’re very much alive.

I just took a deep breath. See how I ramble when the feeling of the holidays hit me. I can blather like that forever. Maybe that’s what I need to write. A great Christmas column or story. Give me some time. Let me dwell on it. This could be the start of something.

By the way, have you read that Trees thing? I like it. Maybe I could take over for an installment or two. Is anyone listening?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holiday Drink Recipes

The Stankwell Falls Fizz

2 parts vermouth
2 parts apple jack
a jigger of maple syrup
a prune

Mix well. Drink fast.

AKA Monte Carlo Punch

Enjoy! Drink wisely.

Arthur's New Favorite Movie Is...

2 Fast 2 Furious!!

This movie was incredible!

Car chases! Beautiful women! Good-looking guys! Slick stuff!

The first one was all right but this one will send you crazy! I can’t say enough good things about it. Go out right now and buy the DVD. Special Edition and all.

I, Arthur, recommend this film to you, the reader. Enjoy

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Trees - 3rd Installment

In our last installment, Mr. Thomson had just called Dave out of the trailer. The first customer of the day had arrived in the Christmas Tree lot.


There is a guy, in deep dark flannels, looking at the trees. He prods them, pushes them, and goes at them as if he were testing melons at the supermarket or something.

This is RUBEN, repeat shopper. DAVE approaches. Mr T lurks amongst the trees. Why? It’s certainly too creepy to be some sort of support. But, I think that’s what he thinks it is.

DAVE is not a salesman. It’s not something he likes, no matter how many times Mr T tells him otherwise.

DAVE approaches RUBEN.

How you doing, sir? Can I help you with anything?

No thanks, young man. I’m just browsing.

OK. Well, one of us’ll be around if you need anything.


RUBEN touches the trunk of one of the trees. He put his finger in his mouth. DAVE walks away. MR T pounces out when the customer is out of earshot.

Stay with him.

He said he’ll come out when he’s ready.

You gotta get in there and make the sale.

If he wants to buy, he’ll buy.

Get back there.

Mr. Thomson, come on.

Let me show you how a real salesman does it.

DAVE closes his eyes for a moment.

WE SEE the searing hot cup of cocoa.

The steam is replaced by MR T’s breath flying into DAVE’s face.

C’mon! C’mon!

DAVE follows MR T to RUBEN, who is still smacking trees.

Good morning, sir. How are you?

Doin’ allright.

Can I help you out?

Just browsing around. I’m trying to find a real good one.

MR T motions to the one they’re looking at.

That’s a great one.

It’s nice.

You can’t get better than a Douglas Fir.

That’s what they say.

How about it? We’ll give you a good price.

How much?


RUBEN looks unthrilled by the price.

That’s a little under the going rate.


We’ll wrap it up and put it in your car for you.

I could pick this up and throw it over the fence.
Why would I make a kid struggle to my car?

That’s part of the service.

Ahhh, I don’t need it.

He looks around and frowns. DAVE tags behind.

My family doesn’t come around much at the holiday.
Generally, I’m alone. I want a real good one. One
that feels right ‘cause it’s just the cat and me.

RUBEN is looking at things the whole time he talks.

Sweet cat. I call him Ruben. That’s my name too.
Ruben. We’re the Two Rubens. He’ll try and eat
the tree given half a chance.

Snow begins to lightly fall.

In the distance, another car pulls up. A family slowly gets out.

When you’re by yourself, you either don’t care
or it’s got to be perfect.

I know.

You do?

I’m in… (whispering) I’m a divorced gentleman right now.

There you go. I’m buying Xmas gifts for myself this year.
I’m wrapping ‘em up and putting them under the tree
with my name on them. “FROM: SANTA.” I don’t know
whether that’s pathetic or not. I can’t tell.

There is a pause. MR T seems to be on the very edge of saying something. But, he doesn’t… Instead.

MR T (pointing at tree)
This one would look really great with some gifts under it.

RUBEN nods.

Yeah. Well, thank you. I may come back later.

MR T points at the first tree.

$5 off that one.

No thanks.
(to DAVE) Have a merry Christmas, kid.

DAVEYou too.

RUBEN smiles and leaves.

LOUIS and SVEL are with the other family.

MR T watches RUBEN go. He looks down at DAVE.

Guy’s a tough nut to crack.

DAVED’you think he’ll come back?

I don’t know.

DAVE nods and heads back to the trailer.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Greetings of the Season from Turbot!

Hello, everyone! Marlene & Arthur here! Christmas is rolling upon us so we thought we’d send you this little article. It appeared in the Weekend Edition of the Turbot Tribune. We hope it helps you and yours have a safe 25th! Talk to you soon. (We have to go shopping!)

M & A

A Safe Xmas

Everybody enjoys Christmas. It’s the one time of the year when you can really be yourself (or somebody else). You can really just have just a great, great time. Wow! This is a time for everyone, stinky and non-stinky alike.

Certain features of the holiday, however, can be quite lovely but dangerous. Let me give you a list.

-The time to buy gifts is before December 24. Do not rush out on the 24th willy-nilly trying to buy. Especially if you’re drunk.

-A tree is a great addition to any house but do not light real candles on it. They can flame up and kill everyone. Death is a tough sin to wash off the hands.

-Enjoy eggnog in limited quantities. That’s a lot of egg, that’s a lot of nog. And, you’ll throw up all over yourself if you have too much.

-Lights are nice. They blink, they don’t, and they’re very festive. But, do not wrap them around a cat. Cats are unpredictable creatures with a penchant for running away. Lights are electrical objects with a penchant for electrocuting living beings.

-Presents are wonderful. But, don’t give gay. Nothing ruins a holiday more than getting a gift that clearly was not thought out beforehand. Consider whom you’re buying for before you buy.

-Fruitcake is a caring and traditional gift but no one eats it.

-If you’ve eaten too much at dinner, take five...and then eat some more.

-Do not drink the tree water.

And, last but not least,

-Santa’s boo-boo’s are for thankin’, not for yankin’.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Turbot Residents are #1 in Giving Themselves Awards!

-Hey, you’re horribly ugly!
-Oh, don’t you start.
-Start what? I just noticed it now.
-Dear, oh dear. And, you know what, Mitchell? You ain’t so great yourself.
-No...I know that but, boy oh man, you got something...there’s something...yeah...Why didn’t I notice it before?
-I cast a magic spell over you.
-No. I think you’re just stupid.
-Oh, hey!
-Keep it quiet! Why are you always so loud?
-I’m not “always” so loud.
-Spare me. You’ve been this loud as long as...
-You’ve been that ugly?
-I’ve got a fist and it’s about to hit your fat little mouth.
-Try it...Au!
-Yeah. Go back to sleep, Mitchell.

Mitchell and Noreen Winton had been arguing like this eternally. And, yes, Mitchell was always loud and Noreen was really ugly. But, that was just Mitchell’s way and Noreen had an excellent knack for make-up.

But, there’s was a love. The first couple married in Turbot. One year after its naming. They’d been married for over 20 years now and had, sincerely, run out of things to say. There life had been based around their jobs and their status in the small town. And, unfortunately, it was really about being Turbot’s first couple. (Although, they never liked to admit it.)

And, the magic and celebrity of that wore off faster than it takes you to read this. (Don’t pretend like you read it really slow) The milky after glow turned into a sour fluorescent shine, with all the headaches that go with that...

This couple had been in love. But...

I guess it’s time for another Turbot History Lesson.

Turbot History #8:
Until Stan Turbot left for good, the people in the town took it into their great and mighty heads that everything in their town could be commemorated as a first: 1st head cold, 1st holiday, 1st exchange of gift, 1st bounced check, 1st baby born, 1st kitten found, 1st broken bone, 1st case of chronic anal clog, 1st fire, 1st flood, 1st fist fight, 1st neighbor complaint, 1st loud party, 1st big time wasted and, yes, 1st couple married.

They were a bit of a gambling duo, the townsfolk used to say, always willing to bet something on something trying to get something. That’s the way it went down and they missed 1st baby born by one month. Mitchell never forgave Noreen that month when her cycle was just a little off and her period came early and it threw off their plan and she conceived a week later and, hells bells, it didn’t work so great.

A second honor, so they believed, would have sealed it up for them as the 1st Couple of Turbot. Damn and blast!

-Damn your ovaries, Noreen!
-I’m pregnant! Leave me alone!
-The Coopers are gonna beat us out.
-She’s 2 months already. You’re 3 1/2 weeks.’s have been born before the 9 months were up.
-I’m not saying anything. But, it’s our kid. Certainly he or she could be coaxed out a little earlier.
-That’s a plan.

So, the second title the Winton’s took was 1st Stillborn 1 1/2 month Premature Baby.

Not all honors are remembered. Nor should they be.

Once So Proud and So Everything to the people of Turbot. Now...just like all the others. And, their slow decent into this eternally circular bedtime argument began.

And, it got worse when they won the title of 1st Retired Couple. Because, by that time, Stan was gone and nobody cared about the title: They cared about making prepared beef and drinking. The Winton reign was over and all they had to look forward to was looking at each other for forever.

(If Turbot’s 1st couple ended up like this, it doesn’t take Copernicus to imagine the rest of the couples.)

-Oh boy.
-I’m gonna throw you out of bed.
-I’ll throw myself out...Ow!
-Someone kill me! Please!
-Stop being so loud!
-Does this really go on forever?
-Wait! I think...Damn.
-I thought my heart stopped.
-One day.
-You wish.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bring Back My Metal To Me!!

Good Gravy! It’s almost Christmas!

And, we don’t have anywhere to live!

It’s me, you nuts! Sorry I haven’t written in a while. Ever since the flood back in October, we have been homeless. Hopping from trailer to trailer. This is the first chance I’ve had to ball down and just feel it out on-line. Suffice it, no new METAL! (Not nu-metal, you fat pack of bones!)

Somehow my CD’s and MP3s have been going “straight into Satan’s backside”! I don’t know what’s happening. I thought maybe it was my Mom but… They’re vanishing! Into the Realm of AGOTH!!!!

Man, I wanna freakin’ rock! I wanna rock until it hurts my batch! I’ve asked Santa for a bunch of stuff but we don’t have an address. We don’t even know where we’re going to be on the day.


I wanted to review the latest Opeth masterpiece but before I could listen to it…Flood! The story of my life.

They want me to play the myrrh Wise Man in the school pageant. I said “Sure. As long as I can play him as a Rocked-Out Satan Loving Sonofabitch!” They’re still considering my offer. I think it would add a much needed injection to the play. Boring! There’s the baby! There’s the star! We’ve got it. Oh look, shepherds. We watched a movie the other night called “Island of Death”. The piece is set somewhere in Greece. That’s got an awesome shepherd in it. Watch out for your delicate backside! ROCK!

Crap. No music. No home. That can’t stop my spirit. When I close my eyes at night, I can hear the growl and smell the fresh riff passing through the air. Awesome!

Next time, Christmas! I will rock you!!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Great Aunt's Great Adventure

One day, a fine Tuesday, my great aunt, Silvania Tallman went out to her blue mailbox and got out three pieces of mail: 1 to Resident, 1 to from her sister and one to Silvania Tallmin from the U.S. Dept of Weights and Measures. She opened it up, figuring she could say she didn’t catch the name misspelling until she’d had a glance at it. Inside, she found a very oddball letter.

Dear Ms. Tallmin,
Our dearest regards to you and yours. We have recently heard about your achievements in the realm of linguistics and were interested in acquiring some of your time and talents for our organization. Please call us at ---- and ask for Mr. Grant.
Yours sincerely,
your Department of Weights & Measures

My aunt had spent the past 22 years packaging prepared beef. She could not claim a single achievement in the realm of linguistics. Silvania gave a call, asked for Mr. Grant was put on hold for 20 minutes and was eventually disconnected after listening to muzak versions of Barry Manilow songs that she liked better than the originals. Government issued Muzak, she supposed.

After this call, she tried one more time, the same thing happened. So, she forgot all about it. Two weeks later, a second letter arrived.

Dear Mrs. Tallman,
We have not heard from you. We are a little worried. Are you well? Please call us at --- and ask for Miss Granth. Hope to hear from you soon.

Your friends,
the Weights and Measures Bureau.

So, Silvania tried again. Nothing. The only person she talked to would not listen because the call wasn’t for her department and everyone there was on lunch. And so, more Barry Manilow-muzak and waiting and wasting time. She showed it to her best friend, Madge, who suggested talking with Dr. Krause because she was once a Government Doctor. Silvania said she would but didn’t because it was silly advice. The Government was like a large corporation. Just because you worked in Sales didn’t mean you had any idea what Shipping did. Dr. Krause had enough to do. Luckily, Silvania’s indecision was cleared up by the sudden arrival of a third letter.

Dear Marnie Tillmin,
Hello fellow U.S. citizen! My name is Bonton Grant and have I got a proposition for you. 3 weeks in Jamaica all expenses paid at a hotel with a large pool. Sound great? Sounds great. You bet it is. And, it’s all yours for a small assistance. We need your help with some weights and measures related problems. Your skill as a linguist, especially with your overwhelming knowledge of the Romance languages, is desperately needed. Call ---.
Yours truly,

Suffice it to say, Silvania could not get a hold of them. Try as she might. Everything she could. Nada. But, the letters kept coming and coming and here they are:

Dear Tallman,
Please reply to our missives. We know you have the number. We need you here to do some important work. Thank you.
Weights and Measures, U.S. Government

Dear S. Tillmoon,
Do you love the gram as a measuring standard? I have a feeling you do. And, if this feeling is worth anything to you, call us. Please.
Whites and Measureballs

Dear Occupant Tallman,
Jesus Christ, do you not care?! This is shattering for everyone and you find it well to act this way? This is wrongness. There is nothing of stopping you. Call.
It’s yours,
the people of Measures

And the final letter from this weird address:

Dearest Slavinius Toorman,
Enclosed please find a check for $0.00 made out to nobody for your non-assistance when you didn’t help us. No thanks.
Weights & Measuires, U.S. Gov’t

Then, they stopped. And, Silvania didn’t hear another peep for the longest time. She went about her self, doing what she’d always done and having a nice time. Six months after she got the non-check, a letter came, certified, and it cleared everything up a bit. A little ways. Certainly, it made most things clearer then they had been.

To Ms. Tallman,
We thank you heartily for doing your patriotic duty and not giving in to foreign marauders and shady characters. Those letters you received a while ago would have tempted anyone, even me, but you are strong. Well done, I imagine you were wondering what was happening. Someone like you, though, probably had your suspicions. Well, I can’t say much but I can clue you in. The French were after the Gram again! It’s hard to believe. It seems like every five years, doesn’t it? Remember the last time? I’m sure you do. How could you forget? How’s your left side?

Anyway, hope you’re well and thank you for being a “good American.”
Gen. Roqufort-McWilliams,
Dept. Of Weights & Measures

Silvania kept all the letters and read through them now and then. The only spot that really gets here is the General’s question about her semi-paralyzed side, which was true. The accident that caused it was what kept her away from Prepared Beef. All the rest she could dismiss as a mis-mailing accident but...

What would the French do if they got the gram? What sort of havoc can you wreck with it?

“Oh, how different that is.”

Thursday, November 24, 2005

To All Our Readers

Marlene & Arthur wish you...


We've got turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls and an extra-large pumpkin pie.

If you're in Turbot this afternoon, stop by and see us. We'll set a place for you.

Peace, love & us

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Trees - 2nd Installment


The boys reach the trees, which are still covered in snow. They begin to pat everything off, sending clouds of snow flying all around.

Where’d you suppose Matt is?

Who knows?

Do you think he’s all right? Maybe he’s sick.

Louis, whenever anything involves getting up early,
Matt’s sick.

He couldn’t help us haul the trees cause he was

He’ll show up around noon.

“Feeling much better.”

DAVE nods. They continue patting.

D’you think Mr. Thomson makes Matt and Chris do
knots at home?

Ha! “C’mon guys, you can have some ice cream if you
can tie a lark's head hitch for me.”

KEITH and DAVE laugh.

I like the square knot. That’s easy.

He mimes tying it.

You’ll have to show me some day.

Dave, you don’t know the square knot?

I just don’t do knots well. I can’t figure out
those diagrams and Mr Thomson’s breath is too
strong. All I want to do is get away from him.

He smokes a lot.

My dad says he drinks too.


I think he starts with wine.

I don’t get it, Dave. How have you got this far in Scouts
without being able to tie a knot?

When it comes time to tying anything, we know to leave it
up to someone else.

So, you’ve just avoided tying knots.

I’ve gotten lucky.

Most of the trees have been patted down. The three converge on a very large green tree. It is probably about 8 feet high. Keith is around 5’ 7” but it still towers over him. They pat up it as well as they can.

My dad was thinking about buying this one.

“The $50 giant?”

Yeah. Last year they had one bigger than this.
It went for 60.

Who bought that?

K & D
No one.

The boys begin to walk back to the trailer.

Mr. Klebes ended up buying it.

Mr T is outside the trailer. He is elaborately stretching with a cigarette in one hand. He is doing the “Ahhhh! It’s good to be alive but who really believes it” shtick. Kind of showing the boys that it’s good to be up this early doing something they really don’t want to do (except maybe LOUIS).

None of the boys are interested.

LOUIS goes inside the trailer to speak to his dad and get some cocoa.

MR T continues his over elaborate routine.

Ahh, boys. We’re warmin’ up the water. Have some cocoa
and coffee soon.

The boys nod. They begin to go inside.

So, what do you boys think? Is it going to be a good
selling day?

KEITH is able to make it through the door into the trailer. Unfortunately, Mr. T catches DAVE’s eye.

You up for some selling, Dave?

I don’t really like selling, Mr. Thomson.

MR T puts his hand on Dave’s shoulder.

You’ll learn son, you’ll learn.

DAVE seems vaguely disturbed.



The interior gives new meaning to the word cramped. There are a couple of fold out chairs and a beat up card table. The table is covered with cups, strainers, packets of cocoa and an old sports section.

There is a small counter against the back wall. It’s right by the window, which continues to let cold air blow in. SVEL is trying to seal it off. There is a small hot plate with two burners: one for coffee, one for hot water.

LOUIS is standing next to it with a mug reading “CATHOLIC PARENTS GET TO THE [heart]!” There is a small plastic spoon poking out.

Now, Dad!

It makes a noise when it’s done, Louis. Just give
it a minute.

KEITH begins to make himself some cocoa. Dave enters with a strange look on his face. He walks over to SVEL.

Mr. Vyvenberg went through that?

At just the right angle.

I wouldn’t think he would fit.

Well, he did.

I wish we’d had a camera.

SVEL nods.

DAVE begins to prepare some cocoa. The kettle begins to make noise. SVEL pours out bowling water for the boys.

They begin stirring. LOUIS’s eyes light up with excitement. For him, this makes it all worth it. The other two aren’t as convinced but they clearly like their cocoa.

Everyone sits, sipping. Steam from breath and steam from cocoa and coffee mingle together, lovely. So peaceful…

It can only last for a moment.

There is a loud pound on the side of the trailer. It wobbles dangerously. There is another pound. The boys look towards it but don’t move.

SVEL stands. There is another pound.


SVEL leans out with coffee. He has a look at the pound. MR T, cig in hand, is pummeling the side and looking off into the distance.

You’re going to knock the trailer over again.

Send one of the boys out! Customer!

SVEL looks up.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Look at that field! Is that majestic or what? It grabs you hard, don't it? Right by the poh-poh’s. This side nothing but wheat. This side covered in majestic ears of corn. They move in different ways. People love that. The wheat stalks ripple, like great fir trees in the midst of a wind. The’s more a person in the cold trying to stay rigid and solid but still giving. But, the corn doesn’t snap. That’s the thing. The corn will not snap. It just moves in a heavier sway is all. People are entranced. They love to watch the field move. Kids run in and out of the fields. Playing, getting lost. This is one of the few places I know of where people treat it with reverence. 10 years now, I’ve been growing and folks treat my farm real kind...Real kind.

They don’t know the other thing about all of this.

Well...this ain’t gonna get published for everyone to see is it? All right then...ya know, every year I have a great crop. People come from all around when I have my Annual Bread and Corn Festival after harvesting. We assemble around the fallen stalks and eat and party and really live it up. It’s something. I hope you’ll be here for that. So many people and fresh bread and corn on the cob and corn chowder like you wouldn’t believe. Well, you might believe it. But, you’d do best to act like you don’t. So...the folks love it. They watch, next morning, as I drive my big truck loaded with wheat and corn away. A thrill. It really is.

But, let me show you something.

Feel this stalk. Yeah. Strong, almost ready to be picked. Now, have a look at this corn. Hmmm....what d’you think? Looks pretty good, huh? A strong, healthy yellow. I’d ask you to try a bite but it’s made of plastic. The stalks are made of some sort of high-endurance material. Same with the wheat. Yeah...This is all fake. My big truck hauls all these fakes to an air-conditioned storage space where it sits until fake planting next harvest time. I have a series of different sized stalks stored away there. These are the strongest because they’re out the longest. Very real, huh? And, no one knows they’re fake. If they do, they’re keeping it to themselves. So, fancy man, what d’you think about that?

I don’t farm a damn thing. Never did. I make my money selling rubber goods that I make out of my home. PULLCO.COM on the Net, if you’re interested. But, this...The town can be very conservative. This is “keeping up my exteriors” as it were. I’m Turbot’s one and only gentleman farmer. I work hard and do well. I mean, come on, it’s not easy simulating growing crops year after year. Middle of the night, replacing stalks. Always hoping that the sudden, massive growth and someone’s putting 2 & 2 together never coincide. It’s worked well so far. And, when someone finds out, well...I’ll focus all my time on rubber goods and, if the people of this town wanna rail-run me out of town, so be it. My Rubber Goods Monthly says that the market has never been better. I agree wholeheartedly. I’m doing incredible.

I don’t say that what I do morally is so great but people round here love the festival. You should see the faces. Not just the youngsters but everyone. It’s a lively day in Turbot, which is not that often as I’m sure you’ve seen. So...I may be a liar but I’m the best lying gentleman farmer ever. Ever. What d’you think about that, Mr. Scribble Britches?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

One More Jump

Wally, Debi and John-John, dressed in layers to keep out the cold, ran into the small gully of thistle-filled bushes that ran alongside the train tracks leading out of Turbot. A train really didn’t stop there but there was a small platform where a lineman worked. Every once in a while a train would stop to unload some sort of supplies for the town. But, generally, nothing. What would happen, though, is the engineer would slow down and give a wave to Eustace in his little office with the orange light or he’d hit the horn hard if the old man was sleeping. Regardless of what was done, the train slowed down.

The kids growing up in the rather slow town of Turbot had relished this ‘slowing down’ for years. Many of them loved train hopping. That’s why Wally, Debi and John-John were hunkered down in sharp-pointed bushes watching the approaching light on the train slow down. The train came through at 11:42 PM every other night. It was now 11:41 PM and these kids were anxious. The only light around was shining, bright and harsh, from the big halogen over the station. And, the approaching train.

All three were veteran jumpers. John-John, at one time, was known for being able to hop on the second car after the engine. They would ride the train a mile or so and hop off as it slowed down for Ovid. All the kids loved it. It was fun. But, tonight was a little different. Tonight, they had something to prove.

-Here it comes. Debi was peering over the thistles. -About half a minute.

Wally nodded and had a look at John-John. -Are you ready?

-Ready as I’ll ever be. John-John cleared his throat and spit. -I just hope it’s a long haul tonight.

Debi kissed his cheek. In this dark, her pale white skin and raven hair made her look like and oddball angel. -It will be, babe.

But, John-John didn’t notice the kiss. He was raising up his crutches, primed to move.

The train had slowed down. No horn tonight. Good, that always made it easier.

The trio tensed up. The train began to glide past.

John-John’s eyes welled up tears and his face cracked a smile when he saw extra cars at the end.

-Let’s go. Wally whispered loud over the clack and click of the train.

The trio poured up the gully and ran to the train. Well, Wally poured and ran. He reached the train in seconds and grabbed the rungs on the 4th car and pulled himself up. The wind tore threw his hair and pressed his face into elation. But, when he had a look back, the elation left his face although the wind did not leave his hair. Watching Debi and John-John broke his heart.

Debi was trying to shuffle her boyfriend towards the train. It was clear now that they should have planned this better. John-John’s crutches and his foot were barely stumbling across the pocked and gravely pre-track space. Debi was trying to support him to the train but she was a small girl. So, Wally hopped down from his cherry spot and ran to them. They had to get John-John on this train.

-Thanks, Wally. Debi smiled under the tremendous strain of trying to rush her crippled boyfriend to the train.

-Yeah. Thanks. John-John looked as determined and as fierce as he always did train jumping. It’s just now he was fierce and determined on crutches.

-Come on. Wally went to the damaged side of John-John’s body and scooted it up. Debi cinched up the other side.

Their speed to the train doubled. By Car 16, they were there.

John-John’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the rungs stretching up the slowly moving storage cars. The other two had seen this look before. Normally, it was quicker. He was feeling out the train. Looking for the right one.

After a time...

Two cars down. A red car with the code AT-374 alongside it. Debi and Wally had a look at each other and nodded. John-John steadied himself on his foot. Her friends readied themselves under him. The car arrived and he was boosted.

-Grab it! Grab it!
-Come on, hon!
-Give me a sec!

Debi’s body was shaking under his weight. John-John’s stretching body was tilting lopsided onto his girlfriend. Wally tried to raise him higher. Just when Debi was about to drop, John-John grabbed a rung. He was on the train.

His foot hit the ground once, precariously close to the wheel, as the crutches dropped and his friends let go. Debi and Wally shuddered but he pulled himself up.

John-John was on a train again.

His friends whooped and cheered, ecstatic. Then, they watched as habit tried to get him to climb with both feet. In an instant, he slipped and fell with a puff of dust and a series of bruises, next to the train.


To his side.

John-John was coughing, dusty and bruised but ready to try again. -That was the wrong car.

-Babe, maybe we should just forget about it.

John-John lost his determination for a moment. He looked at his girlfriend with eyes that were glazing over. His mouth hung open for a moment and...

Wally hauled him up. -No time for crutches, John-John! Pick your car!

Debi, a little weary, grabbed the other side.

John-John pointed at an approaching faded green car. Wally nodded. With an audible huff, the two friends boosted their crippled pal to the rungs.

The train began slowing.

Three chilled kids strained for the rungs. Puffing and huffing. Trying to get John-John attached to this train. The rung approached.

-I’m gonna miss the rung! I’m gonna miss it!
-We can’t lift you anymore, John-John!
-I’m gonna drop him!

The train got slower.

Rungs alongside the crippled boy. He grabbed at them but his girlfriend slipped and he missed and he swore and Wally began to move him but Debi stumbled and the two fell heavy to the ground. Wasted and defeated.

But, the train had stopped.

Slowly, the bruised train jumpers patted themselves off and began to watch the stopped train. Wally stood up. Debi stayed down, next to her winded boyfriend.

The train was so quiet. It was very dark here. The halogen was faint in the distance and the moon’s light barely helped. Slowly, they listened to the approach of the man with the lantern.

-What in the hell are you kids doing out here? Vaudeville?!

-Uh-oh. Wally tried to cinch John-John up. But, he fell over again.

Debi’s teeth began chattering and she tried to hide her face with her hair. But, you could still see her just fine.

The engineer cast light on the dusty trio. He was a man of about 50. He knew right away that these kids had been riding trains for a long time. This pretty girl, her shaven-headed boyfriend and their longhaired buddy. Somehow the train jumpers always looked like this. But, he’d traveled the country by rail 4,723 times. Not a lot was new to him. -You guys are gonna get hurt. What are you doing?

Debi spoke through chatter. -Please, mister! Please don’t have us arrested! I...

-Shhh! Shh, shhh! Please, pretty girl! No one’s callin’ the police on anyone. I just...Holy Jesus! Boy, you’re missing a foot!

John-John flushed and brushed dust from his face.

The engineer frowned at them. -Why are y’all jumpin’ trains when he’s missing a foot?

Wally looked at the engineer and then at John-John and Debi. They shook their heads at him. So, he turned to the engineer and said -This young man was the best train jumper in Turbot! He...

-He just wanted to make one more jump, Debi said, sweetly. That’s it! Then, we’re gone.

-I’m just too ‘uckin’ crippled to do it, John-John mumbled.

The engineer had a look at his train. -This the car you wanted?


-Grab it now.

-It doesn’t count if it’s not moving.

There was a long pause presided over by the crickets.

The engineer checked his watch. -How far you wanna go, son?

The trio perked up trying to hide their enthusiastic smiles. -A mile?

-Can you hold on for a mile?

-I’ll be behind him, Debi said.

-OK. The engineer helped John-John to his feet. -I got 10 minutes. Let’s get him up there. The engineer began going to his engine.

-Hey, Mr.! John-John said. -Why are you...?

The man smiled at them. -I used to jump trains too, kid. I was the best around. Until...I lost three toes under a coal car wheel. Now, I drive ‘em. He ran to his engine. -Get ready!

The trio prepared themselves by the faded green car.

And, the train began backing up. All the way to the engine.

(John-John was heard to mumble -3 toes- angrily. But, Debi gave him a shot in the arm.)

The engineer gave ‘em a Thumbs Up and the train started moving. Kind of slow but moving. The trio tensed up as the green car passed and they dove for the rungs. Moments later, they fell to the dust again. But, the engineer was extremely amiable.

It took three tries but, finally, John-John got up there. Debi got behind him. Wally took the next car. And, they rode, at a faster pace, a clear, cold, dark and glorious mile. John-John laughed and laughed until tears came to his eyes. Debi hugged him tight. Wally smiled.

The train slowed. The kids got off. They thanked the engineer but could not get him to back up the mile to get John-John’s crutches.

It was a long walk home but worth every minute.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Trees - 1st Installment

Hello, Readers. I think we're back on track now. Not sure what happened over the past week but... Forget it.
This is the first installment of a piece that our resident scribbler Dan Budnik is working on. It's holiday-themed so he will be sending us new sections up until Christmas. Here's hoping it makes sense by then.
- Marlene Y
Trees (1) by Daniel R. Budnik

This is the main setting for our story.

It is a large lot that houses a Catholic grammar school. We are in a cul-de-sac portion in back of the school.

One side of the lot is the school. One side is the wall for the cafeteria with a large dumpster in front of it. The other side is the fenced-in field.

Large goalposts are on either end of this very long field. In a far corner, there is a baseball diamond, bleachers and a fence backdrop.

CLOSE TO THE FENCE, within the field, are the trees. Christmas trees, about three dozen of them are spread out across a rather large space. Set up like a miniature forest. Strings of lights stretch over the top of them.

Off to one side, there is a mid-sized trailer that has seen better days. There are large rust stains, it is a very unpleasant greenish color and, boy, is it wobbly.

You walk in through the gate and the trees are in front of you. Trailer to the left.

There is a sign reading “XMAS TREES FOR SALE! SUPPORT BOY SCOUT TROOP 326!/ Thursday and Friday: 5-9PM/ Saturday-Sunday 10AM-8PM…Until December 23.”

There is snow everywhere in the field. The parking lot has been recently plowed. The piles of snow are mushed up against the dumpster wall. Occasional flakes of snow waft down.

A large car pulls up and parks. A large man, MR. VYVENBERG, steps out. When I say large, I mean very hefty.

This is the Scout Master. He is alone, with a large cup of coffee and a big, big belly. He is opening the field gate for a new day of selling. The door swings open with a loud creak.

Mr. V has a look at the trees and smiles. They are very festively draped in snow. He swipes at one and a cloud bursts off of it.

Mr. V is very bundled up and his breath his very visible. He trudges to the trailer, which has a cinder block for a step up and in.

The Scout Master lifts himself onto it and unlocks the door. He steps inside. The door closes behind him.

We stay outside. The trailer moves around rather alarmingly with him inside. The trailer is really gross and stained at this distance. There is something leaking out of the side.

There are two small windows on the front and a small vent on each side. On the back, there is one small window that may have something blocking a portion of it.

There is the continued sound of something moving around inside. The trailer shifts and lists. Several very loud creaks don’t bode well for the structure.

After a long moment, the back supports buckle, twist, snap and drop. There is a loud yell as the entire thing creaks over, swiftly. It stops on its base at a jaunty angle. But, Mr. V doesn’t fare as well. After a dangerous pause, there is another yell and his body bursts, in a very awkward fashion, through the window. It drops into the snow.



Three boys are watching a whirring ambulance pull away.

13-year-old DAVE, smart kid with some sass/ 13-year-old KEITH, smart also but rather vague looking/ 11-year-old LOUIS with a Scandinavian accent. He seems rather bewildered.

After a moment, an adult voice is heard. MR. THOMSON an asst. Scout Master. MR T is around 50. Mostly bald, with glasses. He always smells of cigarette smoke and, possibly, booze. He has a tendency to get to close to you while talking.

Boys, it’s a rough thing when someone you know is
seriously hurt…

Mr. T leans into the boys. A little too close. They all lean back.

…but I just want you to know that I’m here to help
you at any time

Thanks, Mr Thomson.

Maybe when things die down a little, if we get a
chance, we can practice some knots.

LOUIS smiles but the other two aren’t so thrilled. MR T pats DAVE and KEITH’s heads and goes away. The boys watch him leave. DAVE starts smiling.

I can’t believe the trailer fell on top of Mr. Vyvenberg.

That’s weird.

I hope he’s all right for Christmas.

The other two nod.

Let’s get to work, boys.

The boys get to work.

WE SEE that several large thick concrete blocks now prop up the trailer. It doesn’t look any sturdier. But, it might not fall over. LOUIS’s Dad, SVEL is walking around it.

MR T approaches. The boys are off in the distance.

How’s it look, Svel?

I think it’ll stand. I think

The boys zip around to the back. There is some debris spread throughout the crushed down snow along with a little red mixed in.

Oh no. Ouch… That looks bad…

Isn’t it going to be really cold in there?

DAVE scans around the site and spots something in the ground.

Well, he brought some cocoa didn’t he?

DAVE lifts something from the snow. It is the cocoa and coffee bag. As snow falls from it, so does cocoa and coffee. Smashed from the packets.

I hope we have some left over.


We’re gonna freeze.

MR T pokes his head out of the broken window.

Allright, boys. Here’s what needs doin’! Get out to the
trees. Pat the snow off. Don’t scrape it. Pat it. You’ll
tear the needles off if you scrape. Make sure the sign’s up.

The boys start walking away while MR T is talking.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The trio of nuns fought the creature valiantly

but it still ate Mildred.

"Fight valiantly! I shall return!" she yelled as she was munched down.

Lucine was a tough broad who would throw debris at the creature. Concurrently, Josephine spun and flipped around it, hair flying, looking for that weak spot.

Its screams were the aural equivalent of biting tin foil. Except the tin foil gets caught in your tooth and every time you bite down it's terrible but you're having a tough time picking it out.

(The editors of this blog would like to apologize. This entry was supposed to be "How To Hold a Cake Walk" by three of the Leading Ladies of Turbot. For some reason, it is now something about nuns fighting a monster.

Currently, we are accepting any submissions for our "Movie Sequel" series. The first volume "Horror After Party Beach" is out in January. "Killers in Space 2" follows in February. Does anyone have plans on a "The Last Slumber Party 2" or "Don't Go Back In The Woods"? Give us a ring.

See, right there. We think someone has our blog password and is breaking into our posts. For a blog about Turbot, we've had very little Turbot-related material over the past week or so.

Tranny Curious? God knows, we are! Here at Cohen, Stark & Avery, touching other people's

If anyone knows how to rectify this, please contact us at

Hunt, Ortmann, Blasco & Palfry!
We'll come to your house!
We'll beat up your dog!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A blog entry

Memo from Dave's Video
November 1, 2005

To: All Staff
Re: Burgess Meredith

It has come to our attention that certain employers have been alluding to this gentleman as simply "The Penguin". In fact, this venerable character actor who has appeared in numerous motion pictures such as "Grumpy Old Men", "Rocky" (where he played the lovable old coach guy), and "The Manitou". Please keep this in mind during further conversations. Thank you for your support.

All Staff_____________________

Performing Tonight at The Brown Psychedlic Palace: Holistic Jim & The Dawn Patrol!!!
Tickets: $15 Show starts at 7:30

You can take your Universal Grammar Theory and shove it right up your poop shoot.

The New Novel's Characters:

Jessup March - Professional Laugher. As he laughs for a living, he never laughs in real life. In fact, he rarely smiles. A good guy with a wicked sense of humor.

Mother March - Sweet old lady with a tinge of the insane setting in. She is a Sweepstakes Mama. Spends all her money on (sweepstakes) magazine subscriptions. Tries to cash those big, blank (fake) checks in Sweepstakes entries. Convinced that Ed & Dick are talking to her. Becoming troublesome.

Sarah Holstead - Independently wealthy woman. Interested in becoming a Professional Laugher. Finds Jessup to be fascinating. Lives affluently. Has Hugo, big dog, to protect her from burglars. (Mainly neighborhood kids.) Great woman.

Harvey Lewis - Jessup's cousin. Slightly odd. He's been saving his body hair since age 7. No one is sure why.

Stinson Lewis - Jessup's other cousin. Saves underpants in large bags by year ("vintages"). Can gauge what undergarments you're wearing by sniffing the air.

Hugo - Sarah's dog. Loves her. Would do anything for her. Very jealous of Jessup. Faithful.

"When I was younger, I was more of a sausage person."
"Oh yeah?"
"Bacon was always so greasy."
"My family never had any pork in the house."
"None at all?"
"No. They were sort of healthy people but..."
"No pork, huh?"
"Wow. No pork."
"None. None."

Here is the winning poem from the 8th grade competition:

People are funny in
Many ways, but
the funniest
Way of all is
when they be

Cristen Gerai will be receiving a $15 gift card to and a small blue ribbon that will have her name on it but it will be spelled "KIRSTEN GERARD". Great poem, Cristine.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I don't remember my own nudity

“(he had done a few “nudies” before all of this)”

I had not! Or had I! It’s so tough to tell! I wasn’t naked. Are we talking about me being naked? I’m afraid my ass doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. Especially under hot lights.

This time I know what I must do.

The woman stood and frowned at the videos. “Is this all you have?”

“We got a rush on the new releases! Sorry, Princess.”

Princess Castorsky ran her fingers through thinning gray hair. Ya know, this always happened on Tuesday. 3 for 2 day at Video God. You drive 15 miles to the greatest town and what do they have to offer: “House on Bare Mountain”, “Blaze Starr Goes Nudist”, “The Sinful Dwarf” and “The Curious Dr. Humpp.” All soft core, low budget nonsense. An old woman can’t even get her congenial rocks off anymore. Every single hard core was out. Not that they had a lot but every one!

A young man with a grocery basket full of sweet, sweet porn strolled by. (9 tapes) “Young man, are you gonna watch all of those?”

“I tape ‘em.” He looked at the Princess, smiled and pointed at “The Sinful Dwarf.” “Kicks ass.” He winked at her and went to the register.

There were the “nudie cuties” and the “roughies” and the artsie-fartsies and the hard core and the burlesque. But, I never heard of a Double XX. Single and Triple. But not XX. Does that mean two hugs? Or kisses? I forget. in Japan or Hong Kong they have ratings like that but, I mean, you’re either pretending to do it or you’re doing it. And, there’s either close-ups or there's not.

The man soaped off the corner of the trailer and checked its shine/ sheen. More than acceptable. So, he put his cloth back in his bucket along with his industrial strength stripper. Then, he laughed and ran into the night. Mask concealing his face, bag in hand and his black cape the only other article on him.

In the morning, the Parkes would find their trailer's blue paint completely stripped off and a 4-cheek dirt print from the Masked Naked Trailer Paint Stripper.

If this was what was meant by “nudies” than Grampa would oblige. He had done this as a younger man. But, he’d never been caught at it. One chilly autumn half the trailers in Turbot were stripped free soon after he had freely stripped.

“Why, Grampa? What was the thrill?”

“To raise awareness.”

“Really? For what?”

“Yes. I'll have a melon with that.” His pants would hit the floor and he'd take off running towards the Swamp.

When I thought about it later, the melon thing made about as much sense as anything else he said. Really, what convincing reason could you give for doing something like that?

Friday, November 04, 2005

International Symposium on Super Heroism and...

...Super Villainy.

Presided over by Switzerland's only super hero - Neutral Man!

With Super Heroes : Castanet & Bongo

With Super Villains: Apocalypse Mistress & The Transgender Warrior

Neutral Man: I'm glad you could all make it here today. Let's start the day here: For those unfamiliar with you and your individual exploits, please enlighten us. Castanet?

Castanet: Thank you, Neutral. I'm Castanet, 1/2 of the team of Castanet & Bongo. We've been a superhero team for seven years now. Our battles include tussles with Bad Man, Pepe Villa, Achilles and etc. I'm 6' 1", 153 lbs, blue eyes, my hair is auburn and when I'm not working, I design things. Bongo?

Bongo: Crime fighting is the way I strive to find the natural balance inside myself. Finding the spot from where all my peace flows. Some find it through art. Some find it through their children. Obviously, I found it through crime fighting.

Neutral Man (NM): Esoteric but interesting. Thank you.

Bongo: Castanet had already said everything practical. I was strapped for chatter.

NM: Super. Villains, please. Apocalypse Mistress?

Apocalypse Mistresss (AM): Thank you, Neutral. I have been a Super Villain on and off, for three years now. Orignially, I was the sidekick for Terminal! The man whose touch brings death! With my discovery of the Apocalypse Switch, these things have changed.

NM: Do you have the Apocalypse Switch with you?

[AM holds up the small wooden box with the Apocalypse Switch in it.]

Castanet: Oh no. Why did you bring that here?

Bongo: What would possess you to bring that to a peaceful discussion?

[AM looks shocked.]

AM: Of course I brought it. I trust the cleaning people at the hotel with this? HA!

Transgender Warrior: What if they flipped the switch? For fun?

[There is a chorus of "God Forbids!"]

AM: Exactly! That's why it's here.

[Castanet and Bongo back down.]

AM: Where was I?

{The transcriber refuses to place anything else in Bold.}

NM: I think you'd finished. Transgender Warrior?

Transgender Warrior (TW): Hello. I'm the Transgender Warrior. Practicing non-gender specific villainy for almost ten years now.

Castanet: I'd no idea it was 10 years.

TW: This December.

Castanet: Wow! What d'you know? We'll throw you a party.

TW: Castanet, you are the most conscientious of the super heroes.

Castanet: Thank you.

Bongo: Can we get back to the talk?

TW: Sorry. As far as super powers go, I have none.

AM: Oh, don't say that! You've got inner power.

TW: Thanks.

Castanet: I agree. Although we don't fight on the same side, I still think you're morally sound.

Bongo: Well, I think you're morally goofy. All three of you. Could we discuss the topic at hand?

NM: Yes. First order of business. Super Heroism. What, intrinsically, is the nature of a hero?

Bongo: A self-worth question?

NM: More archetypal.

Bongo: Gotcha.

[Pause. All assembled look at Bongo.]

Bongo: Hey, how about you give me a mnute?

AM: Most heroes I've discovered have a real ridiculous goody-goody feel to them. I think it's probably from not having enough love at home or in their daily life.

NM: You think heroism stems from a necessity for a sort of need for love that they just don't receive regularly. So, they use the adulation they receive heroically to compensate for that.

AM: Yes.

Castanet: I would agree...for certain heroes. I think "Everything Man and the Important Squad!!!" are in that category. Bongo and I have different...reasons.

AM: What?

Castanet: Generally, I see all evildoers as a royal pain in the ass. Disrupting order and all that. It's our job to restore the order.

Bongo: Agreed. I do just fine in the love and affection department. I don't think I'm specifically "good" or "bad". I just fight on the side that saves lives and doesn't hurt people.

TW: I don't think I specifically want to kill or hurt.

Bongo: Well, you have.

TW: I'm more for disrupting the stultifying order that everyone becomes hypnotized into following. Specifically sexually.

Bongo: Oh, that's a pile.

TW: What? It's true!

Bongo: Pile.

[TW and Bongo start to tussle. Castanet and NM try to calm them.]

Castanet: Bongo, calm down!

NM: Boys, cut it out!

TW: Boys!

[After a moment, AM sighs. She takes out the Apocalypse Switch.]

AM: Guys, come on! Guys, look!

[They see the switch. AM's hand poised to flip it and destroy the world. The fighting stops.]

NM: Thank you.

[More transcript follows]

Monday, October 31, 2005

Story Time

Hello everyone. Marlene here. This is a story submitted by a nice man who works in the Marketing department of Grey's. I think it's lovely. Enjoy!
I’ve grown tired all the time and I think it has something to do with what I eat for breakfast. When I was a virile, young sprout, they told me, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Stacy. So, eat healthy now. And, I don’t just mean a bowl of ‘Fruity Sugar Malted Balls’ or ‘Blackwell’s Chocolate Chunks’. I mean eggs, home fries, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, an omelet, a crepe, some toast with some jam or jelly on it, etc. It’s all about energy. You need that energy to begin your day.” And, they were right. For 25 years, my breakfast has consisted of two eggs (any style, poached if I can have ‘em that way), four long strips of bacon, a glass of orange juice, two pieces of toast with strawberry jelly and a piece of cantaloupe. Time passed, I worked hard at my job and life became more complicated, so did my breakfast. As the years peeled away, I became larger (mainly my ass) and assumed that more food was necessary every morning to keep my energy level at its desired capacity. Gradually, I increased the amount I ate. My regime went from 2 eggs to 3 or 4, four long strips of bacon became a half dozen, a glass of orange juice, prune juice and a Vegetable Medley drink, 4 pieces of toast marinated in strawberry jelly, a piece of cantaloupe along with a side of three buttermilk pancakes or French toast powdered with sugar. Well, daily intake increased. And I now eat 6 eggs, 5 buttermilk pancakes and ½ dozen pieces of French toast, 12 strips of bacon alongside a big slab of Canadian Bacon, a crepe filled with cheese, a 2-liter of Mountain Dew (to make up for what I felt to be failing energy) and a small box of chocolate covered cherries. Yet, my energy level is still way down. I find I barely want to leave my room let alone board the bus and go to work. I long to change my breakfast diet, to make me more peppy, but I fear any subsequent loss in energy that might occur.

Of course, the tired could come from my family. I wouldn’t put it past them. My mother had died three years ago. She was a charming and gregarious woman who instantly became the life of any party she became a part of. A fun lady who enjoyed a big buffet as much as the next woman. My dad, in contrast, was a gym teacher. Yelling at kids all day takes the energy right out of ya, I guess. I never heard the man say more than five words at the same time at any time. But, after Mom died, everything changed. Dad suddenly acquired an “urge to live”, as he called it. I asked him what he’d been doing with Mom for all those years but he didn’t answer. He sold the family house as is, which was a little annoying as all our family photos and quite a few of our childhood belongings were in there. But, Dad didn’t even take notice. He took the money from the sale and rented space in the garage of the house across the street so he could have an “Eternally Nostalgic” view of the Homestead. The remainder went towards the purchasing of a ‘79 Plymouth Home-On-Six-Wheels trailer. A truly gross looking machine which had strange rusty stains all along the bottom and smelled like a small, sheltered, damp place no matter how much you disinfected the thing or aired it out. I asked him why the sudden urge and he claimed that Mom came to him in a daydream and told him to spend the rest of his life traveling around the country and then from the North to the South Pole. By time he left on his journey, one year ago yesterday, he had taken to living entirely in the trailer. The man couldn’t use a bathroom anywhere but in that trailer. “It’s cramped,’s cramped!” he’d say stumbling towards the RV’s permanently stained kitchen table, “But, it just makes me appreciate, so much more, the enormous expanse of the world when I get out.” I thought maybe it got a little too hot for him in there. But, despite my pleas, he set off across Our Great Land and then up to the North and down to the South. The last thing I heard him yell, as he drove out of sight, “I’m hoping to pick me up some hitchhikers! With short shorts so tight!” A month later, he started sending requests for money as he’d left his ATM card in the garage. He was my dad. How could I turn down his request? I also have one brother, Trevor, who ran off years ago to become a traveling troubadour throughout Europe. We haven’t heard a thing from him since. Oh, except some bi-monthly requests for what he calls “Troubadour Restitution”. It’s not much, though. 2/5 of my income went to the two of them and, with that, almost all of my love, hopes, tears and wishes. Working lots of overtime to help them out barely kept my eyes open at 8AM unless I had three big, big cups of coffee.

The job, which I’ve held for the past ten years, has just recently begun to make me tired. I don’t know if it’s the primary source of my tiredness but it certainly doesn’t help. Ten years I’ve been there...and I’m convinced that they are not looking out for my happiness. I have been bucking for this job for weeks. I worked for it, campaigned for it, shmoozed the bosses, greased palms and did every damn thing I could think of. It didn’t work. I couldn’t get it. I mean, it was there in my grasp and they gave it to Danny D! “This is Danny D! Can I get you somethin’ nice?” Jesus, that guy makes me angry! Well, he did make me angry. Now, he just makes me tired. That job in Government Reporting - Verifications should have been mine. The president of the branch said I was the best employee Government Reporting, and maybe even the Retirement Plan Division, ever had. I was the #1 man in Government Reporting - Statement Exceptions and I missed a job in Verifications (who are, by the way, closer to the windows) to that spud Danny D. My anger became rage that became tired because it had nowhere else to go. I gotta get a new job. Or a second one. But, I just don’t have the time to look.

And, whose relationship with a certain woman named Sally wears them out? I’m afraid that’s me. Sally is what I like to call a “big girl.” Not fat, mind you: Big. A bit thick. And, since I’m a bit thick, I think my women should be likewise. I met Sally a year ago out at Seneca Park during the big Employee Picnic. There had been hot dogs, enormous amounts, and I sincerely enjoy hot dogs. After about 8 or 9, my ass felt particularly lugubrious and I decided a walk round a couple of nearby trees would work wonders. So, I began walking and bumped, after a 2nd revolution, directly into the most beautiful vision I’d ever encountered: Sweet, Plump Sally. A shock to all my senses. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking and talking. Over the next six months, we were together every other night in our pre-wedlock bliss. Of course, wedding bells were in our future or so we figured. There is, however, an obstacle, a force larger than both of us that is cheesing her off to no end. My great and enormous love for my own ass. Here’s where it ties in and I can see now that the threads of my own destruction, my feelings of great lethargy, were purely my own creation. I suppose then, as much as I try to ignore it, my love for my enormous ass makes me tired.

My fanny intrigues me in a way that may be considered unhealthy. I remember when it was a tiny little compliment to my body and how it’s grown, gotten a little hairy, a little flabby. Wherever the wind blows it, I let it go. Let it run wild in whatever pair of slacks I happen to have on at the time. Why not? I believe it to be an ass of epically, beautiful proportions and I am so glad it’s mine. And yes, it is for this reason that I eat so much breakfast (watching my ass increase in size increases my self-worth), this is why my family’s gone (they have no love for one who cares more for his posterior than them), this is why I lost the promotion (Danny D. has the smaller ass and can fit in any chair, regardless of size. Mine must be custom built. You know why.), this is why Sally is leaving me (a woman does not appreciate a man who prefers his own ass to hers) and this then is why I’m tired. Chasing my tail for all time.

I’ve grown tired all the time but I’ve become accustomed to it.

Fat Narcissus
By Daniel R. Budnik

Copyright 2005 by Daniel R. Budnik