Month: March 2012

Abby

The music is too loud in here and it’s hurting my ears. I know some of the words to the songs because my older sister listens to the same stuff when she’s in her bedroom and is playing her iPod and my dad yells at her to turn that crap down. I like my dad. He calls me “Sunshine” and winks at me from behind my mom’s back whenever she’s yelling at me and sometimes he makes funny faces, too. I think mom knows he does it because my mom seems to know everything.

I’m with my mom now and we’re school clothes shopping, which I think is super dumb because it’s only July and school doesn’t start for another two months, but Mom made me come shopping with her anyway. We’ve been to three different stores looking for the right pair of khaki pants. I don’t like the kind with the pleats in the front because I feel like a dork when I wear them. None of the other girls at school wear pleated khakis and I want to fit in because I’m already pretty different from everyone else.

I always kind of knew I was, but one time, I heard my mom and dad talking in their bedroom when I was playing with my dolls in the hallway. I was pretending they were on vacation and using a table as a giant cliff and they were jumping off it into the ocean below them and using my unicorn Beanie Baby to swim them back to the sand so they could jump off again. I could hear my mom crying and I crawled on my hands and knees very quietly to their door so they wouldn’t hear me and I pressed my ear against the door like I saw a spy do one time in a t.v. show I watched with my dad.

“Her medical bills are going to break us, Jack.”

My mom sounded really sad and that made me feel sad, too, because I knew they were talking about me. I have to go to the doctor a lot because my heart isn’t very good. I’ve had a lot of surgeries and my big sister told me I almost died once, but I don’t know if I believe her or not. I think she was just telling me that to scare me. I see doctors all the time and I decided I want to be a doctor when I grow up because all the ones I see are really cool and I want to be like them some day.

I heard my mom blow her nose and she honked like a goose and I had to cover my mouth to keep from giggling too loud because my mom and dad would be mad if they knew I was listening to them.



“Abby, do you like these?” my mom asks and holds up a pair of pants with sparkles on the back pockets.

“I don’t want to have a shiny butt, Mom,” and wrinkle my nose at her. She laughs and puts them down and goes back to searching.

I am so bored. I want to leave. I want to go home and play with my dog, Dave. I named him myself. He’s the best dog ever.

Just then, I see the bouncy ball machine in the corner of the store. My bouncy ball collection is getting low because I keep losing them in the gutters of the house because I can bounce them so high. I dig into my pockets to see if I have a quarter, but I don’t. I look around for Mom and walk over to her.

“Mom? Can I have a quarter, please?”

Mom reaches into her purse and pulls out a quarter and hands it to me, which I grab and skip over to the machine. I put the money in and crank the knob all the way around. The machine is one of those cool ones where you can watch the bouncy ball wind around the inside until it comes out of the little door at the bottom. I watch as it twirls around and reach my hand inside to get my ball. It’s really pretty—it’s clear and has glitter on the inside. I hold it up to my eye and look through it, pretending it’s one of those funny eyeglass things that the Monopoly guy has.

I carefully bounce to the ball to test it; I hope it’s a good bouncer and can go real high. I like to bounce bouncy balls as hard as I can and chase after them, but that’s how they all end up in the gutter and Dad gets mad when I ask him to get them down for me.

The ball is a good one and even with me not bouncing it as hard as I can, it goes up as high as my nose. I look around the store to see if Mom is watching me and I give it one good hard bounce and the ball goes flying out of control. I try to watch to see where it’s going to land and run after it.

It finally stops in the men’s section of the store and rolls under a rack of clothes. I crawl in after it and am amazed at how quiet it is inside. I can barely hear the loud music anymore.

The pants hanging around me remind me of being in a jungle and I sit down and pretend I’m Indiana Jones and I just found the crystal skull and am trying to escape the bad guys by hiding in a tall tree. Whenever I see a pair of feet outside of my pants jungle, I take my pretend knife and chop at their feet because those are the bad guys trying to find me.

After a while, I feel my eyelids start to get droopy. I’ve been shopping all day with Mom and I’m tired. I reach up and pull down a pair of pants and roll it up and lay it on the ground and use as a pillow. I see another pair of bad guy feet, chop them off with my knife, and fall asleep with my bouncy ball in my hand. No way are those bad guys going to steal it from me while I’m sleeping.



I don’t know it because I’m fast asleep in my pants jungle, but my mom is really scared and is looking for me everywhere in the store because she can’t find me. She goes up to a lady who works in the store and is crying because I’m lost and lady is trying to calm my mom down and get her to tell her what kind of clothes and shoes I’m wearing and what my name is, but Mom is crying too hard to make sense.

The store lady finally gets my mom to tell her what my name is (Abby James), how old I am (seven years old), what I’m wearing (Hello Kitty t-shirt and black leggings), and what kind of shoes I’m wearing (red cowboy boots). The people who work in the store turn the music down, go to the front of the store and lock the doors so no one can get in or out, and they start looking for me, but I don’t know that because I am safe and snug in my jungle.

The people who work in the store are looking everywhere for me; in the bathrooms, under tables, in the dressing room, I mean everywhere, but they didn’t look under the rack with the pants in the men’s section until one of the workers saw my bouncy ball roll out from underneath it. While I was sleeping, it fell out of my grip and lazily rolled across the floor. The man who found it separated the hanging jeans and peeked inside and found me. The sound of his voice yelling, “I found her!” woke me and I sat up slowly, rubbing my eyes with my fists.

“Missing something?” the man asks me and holds up my bouncy ball.

I reach up and take it from the man and just then, my mom comes running up to us.

“Abigail Miranda James! What in the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

Uh oh. Mom used my full name. And she sweared. She only does both when she’s super mad and she must be super mad at me, which is why it surprised me when she swept me up in her arms and lifted me off the ground and held me in a big hug. I could feel my shirt get wet from her tears.

“Don’t you ever, ever, ever, ever, ever do anything like that ever again, Abby,” she cried into my ear. My hair was soggy from her tears and snot. I was grossed out, but knew that I had been wrong for running off like that, so I let her get goobers all over me. I didn’t mind that much. I hugged my mom back as tight as she was hugging me.

“I promise, Mom,” and I meant it.

The Starving Tournament

My name is Mudflap Jimmiedean and I have been chosen to take part in The Starving Tournament.

The Tournament is a battle of wits and brawn. Here is my story.

***

I live in a country called Puddin’, and Puddin’ is divided into precincts. I live in the eleventy-twoth precinct, nicknamed The Barrel. Everyone in the other precincts jokes that people where I live come from “the bottom of the barrel.” Ha ha ha, fuckers. Real clever.

Each year, Puddin’ holds The Starving Tournament for shits and giggles. There isn’t any real purpose to The Tournament, except for pure entertainment value. Your name is chosen at random and you’re a contestant in The Tournament. I received my letter via singing telegram just yesterday.

I was in my room watching videos of kitties on YouTube when there was a knock on the door. I got up to answer it and was greeted by a bear holding a bouquet of flowers. As soon as I opened the door, the bear thrust the flowers in my hand and began his song:

“Hey there, ho there, what do you know? Pack your bags, it’s time to go; go to the capital of Puddin’ you must, because tag, you’re it.”

With a great flourishing curtsy, a gesture that made the head of the bear costume nearly topple off the man’s head, he turned and quickly ran down the sidewalk to my house and hopped into the passenger seat of a beat-to-shit El Camino and the driver sped away.

“Fucking seriously?” I said as I looked down at the official invite. There in bold letters was my name, “Mudflap Jimmiedean,” It’s like a fucked-up version of Willy Wonka and the Golden Ticket, only I didn’t want this pass.

I sigh heavily, and close the door and return to my room. My little sister, Prude, was in the living room watching cartoons.

“Ha ha, sucker. Better you than me,” she threw at me, her eyes never leaving the television screen.

“Bitch…” I mutter as I walk into the kitchen and find my mom and dad sitting at the table. They are drinking scotch and playing poker. My mother is half-naked, her blouse and skirt in a pile on the floor. My father is completely nude, save the tie that is wrapped around his head and his trousers wrapped around his neck like a cape. A fat cigar dangled between his lips, the thick grey smoke circling his head. I hate it when my parents play strip poker.

I throw the invite on the table on top of their discarded cards.

“The fuck is this?” my dad asks, his words garbled due to the stogey.

“The fuck you think it is?” I snap back.

My mother hiccups and shouts, “YAHTZEE!” throws down her handful of cards, and slumps over in her chair and quickly passes out and immediately begins snoring loudly.

“Jesus Christ…” my dad grabs his tumbler of scotch and drains it in one swallow. “Well, smartass, it looks like we have our next contestant in The Starving Tournament,” he says as he examines the yellow paper.

“No shit.”

“Well then, Mudflap, you better get your ass in gear.”

***

Next thing I know, I’m standing in the middle of a giant lyceum, surrounded by members of the other precincts. I recognize one boy as Naan, the son of the baker.

He offers an upraised hand feebly in a wave and I nod my head in return. I don’t pay much attention to him because the announcer of The Tournament has started talking.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! The time has come! Welcome to the seventy-twelfth Starving Tournament!”

Wild applause, yelling, cheering, and whistling erupt the lyceum, which is then proceeded by hysterical laughter; a streaker has made his way down from the stands and is running bare-ass naked towards me, his arms outstretched as if to hug me. I stick my foot out as he comes close to me and he goes flying in a naked cartwheel through the air. This cracks the crowd up even more and two armed officials come racing from the sidelines to gather the unconscious man and whisk him away.

The announcer continues unfazed and announces each of the contestants names and reads the rules.

“The first rule of The Starving Tournament is…there are no rules. Okay  you crazy kids, on your mark! Get ready! Get set! GO!!”

Somewhere off to the side a cap pistol fires and it causes mayhem in the lyceum. I have no idea what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing and neither does anyone else. We’re all just running around. I find myself caught in the melee and fall hard to my knees. A strong arm with a huge hand reaches in front of my face and I grab it and am yanked up into the air. The hand belongs to Naan.

“Thanks,” I say breathlessly. “Now what?”

“Fuckin’ RUN!”

***

Bodies. There are dead bodies everywhere. People snuck in weapons and many of them are now dead or dying in the lyceum. Their death throes are echoing off the walls, many crying out for their loved ones. I move between the mangled arms and legs on the ground and pick up whatever weapons I can carry. So far, I’ve managed a grenade launcher, a speared trident, a mace with huge nails protruding out of it, and a tranquilizer gun. From what I can survey, I’m one of the few alive, but I know there must be more because The Tournament isn’t over until only person remains. I continue my way through the bodies and I see movement out of the corner of my eye.

Naan. I am certain of it.

I steady the trident in my hand and poise it for action. I’m pretty good with a trident. Who knew?

Just then, Naan comes flying toward me, screaming wildly and wielding what looks like a small machine gun. He starts firing, but trips on a body and the bullets don’t even come close to me.

I take stance and launch the trident which lands in Naan’s left thigh and he screams.

“Where the fuck did you get a trident?” he yells at me, trying to pry the thing out of his leg.

“I know, right?” I chuckle. I have no idea where I found a trident.

I unholster the tranquilizer gun and take aim at him once again. Naan’s eyes are wild with pain and starts screaming at me again.

“Mudflap! Wait! There’s something I need to tell you!”

“Make it quick, Bread Boy,” I say and I take aim at his chest.

“I’ve…I’ve…I’ve always love–”

“Aw, too late,” and I fire the tranq and it lodges in his chest; a direct hit to the heart.

He looks down at the dart sticking out of his chest, the trident still jammed in his leg, back up at me and he falls to the ground, on his way to death.

Suddenly, trumpets start blaring and fireworks erupt and the crowd goes insane once again.

I’ve done it; I’ve won The Starving Tournament.

***

It’s been a few months since The Tournament and things are pretty much back to normal. Fame and notoriety followed me for a few weeks after The Tournament, but for the most part, life has returned to normal. The only reminder of my victory is the monthly delivery of assorted jams and jellies from The Jam of the Month Club, which was part of my prize.

I savor the jalapeño mint jelly as I spread it in a thick layer over a piece of naan bread and will always remember how I won The Starving Tournament.

***

Da End….?

A.A. Milne Is A Cruel Bastard.

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”

Oh GOD. I am never reading Winnie the Pooh to any children I may have. Hell, I’m never reading Winnie the Pooh again, period. Have you ever read some of the lines in the books? The above is an example. Here’s another one:

“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would I’d never leave.”

STOP IT. JUST STOP IT, OKAY?!

And then, my personal favorite and one that makes me bawl like a newborn lamb every time I see it, which is several times a day, because during a particularly rough time a few months back, my mom found a plaque that had this on it:

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you.”

Please forgive any typing errors I may commit as my eyes have got something in them and are watering rather profusely.

I had no idea how deep that silly ol’ bear was. I have heard of the book “Tao of Pooh,” written as an introduction to Taoism and employs A.A. Milne’s beloved characters to help, but I don’t know if I could read that, either. Maybe I’m just overly emotional right now, or maybe A.A. Milne’s main purpose in life was to leave a legacy of having grown women cry their eyes out every time they read a quote from his Pooh books.

Whatever the case, I’m glad he did it. Sometimes, it’s okay to cry over a tubby little cubby.

I leave you with one more because I’m a glutton for punishment:

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh,” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

My Hero

“Peter, the sink drain is clogged again!” Sundance yelled from the bathroom.

She was taking a shit and left the door open. I hate it when she leaves the door open when she’s shitting. It’s so un-lady-like, and quite frankly, grosses me the fuck out. Have some goddamned couth, woman.

“The Drano is in the cabinet, Sunny,” I yell back in reply. I’m sitting on the lumpy cushions of the ratty, dirty, dog pee-stained, floral-printed old couch in the living room, my textbooks, notebooks, highlighters, and note cards strewn about me. Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology isn’t rocket science, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t feel that way, especially now when I’m trying to study for my finals and my inept girlfriend is taking a dump with the fucking door open and bitching about the clogged drain. My concentration is ruined.

***

I work for the university I attend as parking enforcement and I was writing a ticket for the beat-t0-shit Buick Regal that was not only double parked, but didn’t bother to put money in either meter. I was huddled over my ticket pad, writing furiously away, getting smug satisfaction at being able to write such a hefty fine for the dumbass who was stupid enough to take up two parking spots on the busy campus lot, when the sound of someone clearing their throat behind me brought me out of my focus.

“Excuse me, but what in the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

My muscles tightened in anger and I clenched the pen in my hand until my knuckles drained of blood and turned white. I gritted my teeth and turned to face the voice.

I was struck dumb by her beauty. She was tall but had short, muscular legs that I fantasized wrapping around my waist; chubby but not overweight, a full, round face with plump, pink cheeks; big, grey eyes that stared straight into mine; full, shiny lips that she must have just applied gloss to and I wanted to reach forward and taste for myself; thick brown hair that was held off to the side in a fat braid.

She shifted her weight from one leg to another, hiking her backpack up as it slipped off her broad shoulder. I caught a glimpse of her hands and saw how long her surprisingly thin fingers were and thought about how tightly those hands would grip my hard cock as she gave me a hand job while sitting in a dark movie theatre.

“Well?” she asked with a tone of annoyance in her voice. “Are you going to tell me what you’re doing, meter maid?”

“…just call me ‘Lovely Rita'”….” I muttered in response, hoping she’d catch my Beatles song reference and think I’m impossibly cool and funny and let me touch what I can only assume were the most perfect pair of breasts in the entire universe. They sure appeared that way, the way they were testing the tensile strength of the fabric of the black t-shirt she was wearing.

She smirked, the left corner of her mouth turning up slightly and she let out a small snort. I love it when women snort.

“Well, ma’am,” I stammered, “you’re committing some pretty heinous parking violations and I’m writing you a ticket for your sins.”

“Oh, that. Well, you see, Rita, I was late for class and couldn’t find my parking permit for the lot, so I had to park on the street here and as luck would have it, I spent my last bit of change on a pack of smokes because it’s mid-terms and my nerves are shot and I need the nicotine to stimulate the serotonin levels in my brain to keep me from killing myself before the quarter is over.”

As she rambled on, she reached into her front jeans pocket and produced the aforementioned cigarettes and a lighter and lit the stick hanging between her lips. I’ve never wanted to be a cigarette so much in my entire life.

“Wow. Good story. Still going to have to write you a ticket, though. I mean, honestly–TWO spaces?”

“I’ll give you a blow job if you don’t give me a ticket,” she dead-panned.

I chuckled nervously, feeling my cheeks flush and I nearly dropped the pen and pad.

“As tempting as that is, miss, I’m still going to write you a ticket.”

“Fuck!” She exhaled smoke around the word as it came out of her mouth.

“Look, I’m sorry, but I’m just doing my job…”

“I know. It’s my own fucking fault. Fine…go ahead and give me the ticket.”

She was silent as I finished writing and handed it over to her, the only reply was exhaling grey smoke into my face.

“Sorry,” she apologized and feebly fanned the air around my face as if it would help. “You hungry?” she asked.

“What?”

“Food. Eat. Are you hungry?” she asked again.

“Uh…yeah, I guess…”

“Good. Since you wrote me a ticket, you’re buying. Meet me at Duggan’s Pub at 7p.m.”

And with that, she unlocked her car, got in, started it up, and drove off.

We met later that night and haven’t left each other’s side since.

***

“PETER!” she barked again.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Sunny!” I flung my books off my lap, stormed into the bathroom, swung the cabinet door open, grabbed the Drano, slammed the door shut, and poured the contents of the bottle into the sink.

“There! Are you happy?!”

“…my hero.”

A is for Atheist

I like to say that like Cookie Monster says, “C is for cookie!” Heh.

Hello friends, and welcome to another post about atheism. It’s been an exciting week for me, atheist-wise. I’ve had some good discussions about atheism and they have gotten my grey matter in a tizzy. I love it when that happens.

It has also gotten me to be more proactive in my atheism. For the most part, I consider myself fairly well-educated, but with all things in life, there is always room to learn more and this is my vow to myself: to arm myself with more knowledge…not just in an atheistic sense, but in all aspects of life.

Anyway, I digress.

I follow a lot of fellow atheists on Twitter and one of them wrote this and it made me nod my in agreement. I may have also enthusiastically fist-pumped, as well:

“Believers often treat the existence of God a simple fact and are shocked and indignant when asked to justify their claim of his existence.”

Right on, brother. Right the fuck on.

In my experiences with believers, they are so quick to become defensive when someone like me makes them answer why they believe. It’s like I’m insulting them, and that’s not the case at all. I’m just curious why you think they way you do. I’m not trying to be an ass about it, either. I’m not trying to convert you to atheism, or insult your intelligence or any of that nonsense. I want you to think about it for a second. To think why you believe. Most times, it’s answered with “because that’s what I was taught. It’s what I learned growing up. I was raised a Christian.”

Well…so was I. For twenty years, to be exact, Christianity was commonplace for me. I didn’t have any reason to doubt God because why would I? My parents raised me on the Christian faith, and they are my parents and my parents wouldn’t lead me astray would they? No, they wouldn’t because parents know all.

Or so we think.

Our parents are also human. Shocking revelation, I know. They really don’t know everything about the world as we are certain they do when we were children. But then we see them become vulnerable and make mistakes and maybe, just maybe, they don’t know everything after all.

Take my father, for example. There were several periods in his life where he admitted to questioning the existence of God. There were times where I remember when my older brother and I didn’t have to go to Sunday school or church because Dad thought it was pointless and unnecessary. As kids, this was good news because that meant we could sleep in Sundays, which was always awesome. Then, Dad returned to his belief in God and that meant we did, too.

Looking back at those times, I’m often confused as to what caused the waxing and waning of his faith. I may be making an assumption here, but the last return to the flock was due to the untimely death of my stepmother. In a time where he was vulnerable and lost, he found comfort in the notion that many Christians believe: “when we die and go to Heaven, we will be reunited with all of our loved ones and live together in eternity.”

As a man who just lost his wife, holding on to this belief is probably comforting to him. And as Christians know, the only way to get in to Heaven is having faith, so now my father has immersed himself into the God delusion one more time.

It’s tricky for me dealing with my dad sometimes. We do not discuss religion. He asked me once why I don’t go to church anymore and I didn’t know what to say to him.

“Because, Dad. Your religion is false. There is no God. You’re fooling yourself,’ just doesn’t seem like the wisest response to him. He is my father still and I’m fairly certain he would have no qualms about grounding me even though I’m 30-years-old and haven’t lived under the same roof as him for almost 12 years.

Plus, I’m not going to deny my father the idea he’s going to see his wife again. For me to come in with my atheist guns a-blazing during a tragic point in my dad’s life is immoral of me to do, even though, in my personal opinion, he’s not letting himself properly grieve by entertaining the notion that death has no certainty, that there is life after death, when in actuality’s sake, death is final. There is no afterlife, there is no Heaven where all your dead loved ones are chilling out, waiting for you to join them. It’s harsh. It’s kind of mean. And to me, it’s the truth.

Now, on to something that always bothers me, and perhaps this is all my fault, but whatever. Whenever I post something on Facebook regarding atheism, my theist friends immediately hound me and post comments. Now, I know, I know…if I didn’t want them to comment, I shouldn’t post this stuff, but still. It irks my cookie. I don’t do that to them whenever they post biblical crap on their pages. I keep my comments to myself because my mommy told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, to keep my fucking mouth shut.

Why is it acceptable for theists to make inflammatory comments on atheist opinions, but if an atheist comments on their beliefs, we’re the bad guys and are “trolling” them, wanting to pick a fight? Just today, again via Twitter, someone posted this and a guy, who I can only assume has suffered major head trauma replied to him:

I’ll avoid the obvious smartass reply and point out his glaring grammatical error by using the wrong form of the word “to,” even though I just did, but really? Not only did this guy find it necessary to respond, but he did so with a threat of violence. I’m’ fairly certain he is doing Christianity wrong. In fact, I know he is. I admit to letting curiosity get the better of me and I wanted to read more of his tweets and was not in the least bit surprised to find more hateful bullshit, gay bashing, and grammar errors.

I realize my asking you about your belief in God gets you on the defensive, but to lash out with hate and violence is never cool. Ever. Shame on him for not only coming off as a huge prick, but an uneducated prick at that.

Now, hold on, theists. I know you’re saying, “we’re not all like that!” And I know this, too. Most, if not all of my friends who are Christians do not behave as poorly as our friend up above here does. I realize this. But sadly, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. Ignorant assholes like that ruin it for the rest of you because I’m finding more and more people like him than I am people like my theist friends, and I hate to admit it, but even some of my friends are awful dick-ish to me when it comes to the theological discussions.

My goal isn’t to sit here and insult believers, and I hope theist goals aren’t to insult me, as well.

After all, your beliefs aren’t what makes you a better person, your behavior does.

Peace, friends.

E