Death by roller shoes…

1,600 ER visits and one death have been reported last year due to a growing new menace amongst our children, grandchildren, cousins, nephews, nieces, illegitimate bastards, and crack babies:

Roller shoes.

These “shoes” or as I like to call them, “Lucifer’s Footwear”, have a skateboard-like wheel embedded into the soles and souls of these shoes, making it possible for children of all ages to seemingly hover over the ground like so many devil freaks are often wont to do.  I personally, am scared for our younger generations.  Wheels on the bottoms of shoes?  What’s next?  Indoor plumbing?!  Mass transportation?!  Mobile cordless telephones?!  When will the madness and carnage end?  How many more will have to suffer the little children before the massacre comes to an end?

It is here and now that I say we all ban together to try to stop these atrocities against our youth.  I hereby call to order the first meeting of S.H.O.E.S:  Stop Hurting Our Endangered kidS.  Our mission is to get all forms of extracurricular entertainment off the streets and out of our homes, schools, mosques, and Dairy Queens.  This has to end!  Will another retarded child DIE because of our ignorance to this issue? 

 Meetings will be every 3rd Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. at Chik-Fil-A on Bradshaw Street. 

We will be victorious!!

You’re playing….PLINKO!!!!

Bob Barker is retiring from The Price Is Right after 185 years as the host of the wildly popular game show. 

I think this show is the key to world peace.  If the baby kitties and Snak-Pak puddings running the country would show reruns of The Price Is Right over in the Middle East, all the fighting will stop.  No questions asked.  Darfur?  Done.  No more.  North Korea?  Forget about it!  All the disputes of the world will be solved by one, single, solitary viewing of Bob Barker giving away a Foosball table to an overly excited contestant.  A euphoric, eutopian society will result from all the nations of all the worlds watching Bob work his magic.  You mark my word. 

Letters to my pen pal

I used to have a Korean pen pal named Naru.  I don’t remember how we started our correspondense, but all I know is that one day out of the blue, she stopped writing to me.  Perhaps it’s because she grew restless of me and our budding friendship or perhaps Kim Jong Ill had her entire family kidnapped, but whatever the reason, I am still distraught over the whole ordeal.  Over the years, I’ve kept her letters, and oddly enough, copies of letters I wrote to her.  I’d like to share then with you all now.

January 12, 1991

Dear Erin!  Hello!  My name is Kang Naru and I am 11 years old.  How many are you?  I live in Seoul, South Korea.  Do you know where that is?  I do not know where you live, only that it is in the United States of America.  I would very much like to visit one day, but my family is poor.  In fact, I am writing this letter to you on the back of a cereal box and using a charred stick from our campfire to write out my thoughts to you.  Life is very hard for me and my family.  My father was taken away from us, so it is just me, my baby brother Steve, and my mother.  We live with my grandparents in their one bedroom apartment in downtown Seoul.  It is very hard sometimes because my grandparents are very fat and since we share the same bed, I almost suffocate at night when they roll over.  But enough about me, please, share with me of your family!  I would very much like to hear of you and of America.  Well, that is all for now–it is supper time and it’s my turn to look for wild mushrooms and berries.  Please write back, Erin.  We will be best friends!  Your new friend, Naru.

Feburary 1, 1991

Dear “Kangaroo”.  Ha ha!  That’s a silly name.  All Asian people have really silly names.  My grandpa told me a joke that all Asian people name their kids by throwing silverwear down a staircase and they name the kids after the weird sounds the forks make!  Ching Chong Ping Pong Wang!  My grandpa is the funniest man I know.  It really sucks about YOUR grandparents almost killing you by being so fat.  How can you live like that?!   My grandparents live like, 100 miles away and even my mom says thats not far enough.  My mom hates her parents.  Are you really that poor?  What’s that like?  My family isn’t poor–we have a Nintendo.  Do you have a Nintendo?  I bet so, because I’m pretty sure you guys make all that stuff for us over here in America.  Speaking of America, living here is EXCELLENT!  We have cable tv, so I get to watch all the best new shows; my mom and dad are rich, so my brother and I get all the coolest new toys and games and the best new clothes, too!  Do you ever watch Alf?  I love ALF!!  He’s from Melmac.  I want to go to Melmac one day and get my own Alf so he can be my best friend.  Well, gotta run–my pony is outside my window whining to be ridden around!  TTFN!  Your bud, Erin

Feburary 25, 1991

Dear Erin.  Hello again!  Thank you kindly for your letter!  I was so excited to recieve a reply from you!  I hope you don’t mind that I am writing back to you on the backside of your letter you wrote to me…we ran out of cereal boxes a few days ago and I couldn’t use our toilet paper  because we only have one roll left and it has to last us another 8 days…Mother doesn’t get paid from her job at Nike until then.  Please, tell me; who is this Alf person?  And what is a Melmac?  You must be so lucky and rich to know of such things.  I am humbled by you and your knowledge of so many wonderful things.  And I admit, I am envious of your pony.  We too, have a family pet.  It is a rather large sewer rat that has taken hostel in our bathroom, but he is friendly, so we decided to keep him as our own.  I’ve named him Kenji-wa, after my baby brother who died a few years ago.  He was such a gentle baby–much like our rat is, so I thought the name fitting.  Well, again, I must end my letter here.  Mother is calling me to help unclog our toilet, and I am out of room to write anymore. Please write back with more stories!  I cherish them all, much like I cherish our friendship.  Your friend, Naru

August 9, 1991

Dear Naru.  Sorry so long to write back!  I’ve been super busy with summer camp, playing with my friends all summer and celebrating my 12th birthday!  I was born on the 4th of July!  Isn’t that awesome?!  I would like to thank you and your people for making the coolest fireworks!  They were totally tubular this year!  I got a puppy AND another pony for my birthday this year!  Isn’t that gnarly?  I named my dog “Bubbles” and my pony “Lenny.”  They are the best presents a kid like me could ever ask for!  Gotta run–I’m going to California to stay at a beach house until school starts again!  Smell ya later!! Ha ha.  BFF, Erin

September 15, 1991

Erin.  I’m happy you are having such a great summer.  Here, it is winter and a cruel one it has been to my and my family.  My grandparents died last week.  I am very sad and have had many terrible thoughts of ending my young life to join them in the arms of Buddha.  I am so cold and hungry.  I’m sorry, I must stop now.  I am too weak to continue.  Your friend, N

October 27, 1991

Dear Naru.  Sorry about your grandparents, but at least they won’t smoosh you while you sleep anymore!  I don’t have much time to write; the weather here is pretty nice and my mom is making me clean our pool.  I hate my mom!!  Your pal,Erin

This was about the time that Naru stopped writing to me.  The last letter I wrote to her was marked “return to sender”…I guess she just couldn’t take my total awesome radness anymore, which is understandable.  Her loss! 

Or maybe it was because I was a little racist bastard….

My childhood sucked.

It did, really.  I had a boring, lame, uneventful childhood.  Oh sure, all my stories may seem fantastical and wonderful, but I’ll let you all in on a little secret:  lies.  All lies.  The subject itself is true, but the story is all bullshit.  Corey never beat Mandi unconscious….Mandi was never a lumberjack….Chad never had a family….all lies.  I’m sorry I was so deceitful, but you understand, don’t you?  I had to win you all over and telling little fibs was how I managed to do that.  I’m sorry. 

Growing up, it was just my parents, my older brother Nate, and me.  We had our fair share of good times and plenty of laughs, but nothing compared to the wonderful stories of my husbands past.  Oh, the stories this man tells me!  I am so jealous of him and his brother and sisters!  I wish that some of his great tales could be mine, but alas, they are not. 

I have favorite stories featuring each of the Zulkoski children.  I’ll start with Jennie, the youngest. 

Picture this:  a young girl, all of age three, kneeling beside the toilet.  She is singing ever so softly into the bowl of her porcelain throne.  What song graces the lips of such a precious young child?  “I’m wishing (I’m wishing), for the one I love, to find him (to find him), someday (someday).”  The song Snow White sings into her wishing well in the Disney movie.  How amazing is that?!  Oh, how I laughed and laughed when I heard this story.  And how freaking adorable would it have been to walk into your bathroom to see your youngest child singing her little heart out into a toilet?!  My god…priceless.

Next, a tale of John Paul, oldest son, second oldest sibling.

Young John Paul and Mother Sandra are at church one Saturday morning; Mother Sandra is the church pianist and is practicing her songs for the following days services.  Mom is busy upstairs in the choir loft, tinkling away at the old ivories and decides to take a break.  Below her, her young son John is playing near the pulpit, keeping out of trouble.  Sandy returns from her break and sees John is near the front of the church, standing directly under the statue of Jesus Christ’s crusifixtion.  Little John is looking up at J.C. and yells  up at his Saviour:  “Hey, Jesus!  I’m talking to you!  When are you going to come down off of that cross and play with me?!”  Methinks that if Jesus were to appear before John, it wouldn’t be to play……

Now, a story from the eldest Zulkoski heir, Sarah Deanne.

This story is fairly recent and occurred a few years ago at Thanksgiving.  Mother Sandy’s youngest sister was in town visiting for the holiday and had in tow her four young boys, ages 12 to 4 at the time.  The entire Zulkoski clan was congregated in the living room, chatting and making pleasantries with the visiting cousins and aunt.  It should be noted at this time that these children were spawned from Satan himself.  Ugly as the deepest pits of Hades itself.  Sarah was trying to make nice with her bizarre cousins and asked them if they were all excited to see the first Harry Potter movie, which had just been released into theatres.  The youngest cousin lifts uphis giant head and stares at Sarah with bulging, cross-eyed peepers and says with a lisp, “We can’t see it because it has too much magic.”  There is silence, save for me, who has retreated into the kitchen because if I were to stay in the living room, I was going to lose my shit completely.  “Oh,” says Sarah cooly, “that’s too bad.  It’s going to be a good movie, even if it does have alot of magic in it.”  I had had enough and Jason had to take me outside so I could release the explosion of laughter that was threatening to kill me.  My god….”too much magic….”  That is now the Zulkoski credo.  We’re working on getting official family t-shirts printed up.

And now, for my prize possession, my husband, Jason.  He is the youngest son and second youngest child.  This is difficult, being that Jason has many, many good tales, but this one is my favorite because this epitomizes JJ to a T. 

Mother Sandy had just gotten done baking a special treat:  jam filled muffins.  It was always a thrill to get to eat one of these tasty bites right from the oven, piping hot and delicious, steam rising in your face and crumbs falling all around you.  Mother had just called the kids into the kitchen to let them divulge in the special snack, and Jason was eager to get a big mouthful.  He grabbed a muffin off the counter, handling it carefully as it was very hot, unwrapped the tiny cake, and took a big bite.  His mouth was full of the warm goodness and he was savoring his bite, but his elation was short lived.  His foot was searing with a burning fire of a thousand Hells.  What was this?!  What’s going on?!  He began hopping around the kitchen like a madman, trying to dance the pain way, but to no avail.  Frightened her child was hurt, Sandra stopped Jason from hopping around and asked him what was the matter.  Through a mouthful of muffin and eyes full of tears, Jason told his mother that his foot hurt very badly and it felt like it was on fire.  Sandy looked down at her youngest sons foot and started to laugh.  She tried to hide her outburst, but could not.  The cause of her child’s pain was this:  the apricot jam that had been baked into the muffin had fallen out of the bottom and landed on top of Jason’s bare foot.  Hilarious.

See what I mean?  These stories are amazing!!  I’ve got jackshit compared to my in-laws! 

Oh well.  At least I had my mother and father’s love.

Hi, I’m Tom Kruse, inventor of the Hover-Round!


The more I think about it, the more I love motorized scooters. 

But I hate the commercials that feature them.  All those smug old people, tooling around in their bitchin’ new rides, going three miles an hour on the sidewalk.  This is yet another reason why I hate old people.  Isn’t it bad enough that they’re old?  Do they really need to go around, bragging that they don’t have use their cursed legs anymore?  Fucking elderly sons of bitches. 

Oooh, look at me!  I’m old!  I don’t use my legs to get around anymore!  I got this motorized scooter for free because of my glaucoma!  When I die, my children won’t have enough money to bury me because I rode on a scooter!  I get to ride my scooter in Heaven! 

But Granpa Billy, when you die and go to Heaven, aren’t you made perfect again and free from all earthly strife?  Why do you still get to ride your scooter?  Shouldn’t you be able to walk around without difficulty?

Shut up, you ungreatful little brat!  I fought in World War II!  I deserve this scooter just like I deserved to kill all those goddammed German pigs!  How dare you tell me what I can and cannot do, you little bastard! 

Granpa Billy, stop being mean to me!

Stop your crying, you little nancy boy, or I’ll get up out of the scooter and give you something to cry about!

Granpa Billy, I hate you!  I hope you die!

Well, well, that’s what all those fucking Nazi’s said to me as I held the muzzle of my AK 47 against their coward foreheads, but look at me now, son!  I’m stronger than ever with my motorized scooter!  I am king of the world!  Now shut up and go get me my blanket and cover up my shriveled old man legs! 


Old people are so wrinkly because they are soaked in evil.

Two Wheels Mitchell


This is in honor of Mandi, who is bravely fighting for our freedom.  In Shickley. 

Mandi is a wild child; has and always will be, I’m afraid.  She’s got an untamed spirit that begs to roam free.  She scoffs at authority figures, abuses the elderly, and likes to flash the cameras as they roll on past her.  I love Mandi.

Our junior year of high school was a tumultuous one.  We were antsy to be out of school, out of Deshler, and eager to start our new lives in the world.  We took chances that year.  Some were risky, others were dangerous, and others still….well, we’ve been told we can never talk about those, unless our lawyers are present. 

Mandi was constantly surrounded by drama; she thrived on it.  I think drama was her energy source, much like Doritos and Mt. Dew are mine.  The story revolves around the drama that hung around Mandi like buzzards over a dead body in the desert. 

Mandi always had a gentleman suitor.  Sometimes two or three at a time.  Mandi was also a whore. 

It was a Friday night during basketball season.   Mandi was a cheerleader and I was on the girls basketball team.  After the girls game was the boys turn to tear the court up.  Mandi came up to me after my game, eyes blazing.

“Erin.  Joe’s here.  With HER, ” She was fired up about something.

“What’s going on?  Is everything ok?”  I was concerned. 

“No, it’s not ok.  Joe’s here with Nicole.  He wants his class ring back.  Well, he ain’t getting his fucking ring back!  That’ll teach him to break up with me for a whore!” 

Mandi and Joe had been dating for a few months and as customary with young loves, Joe gave Mandi his class ring as a token of love.  I’m not clear on what occurred for Mandi and Joe to break up, but I do remember that as a sad sort of retaliation toward Mandi, Joe started dating Mandi’s arch nemesis.  He was in town to get back his ring so he could bestow it upon his new love, Nicole.  Mandi had other plans. 

“Are you coming with me?” she snapped.  “That son of a bitch is messing with the wrong woman!” 

I could tell this was going to be an adventure, so I agreed to go along. 

We walked out of the hot, stuffy gymnasium to the cool November night.  An ancient Chevy pick-up sat idling in the parking lot, headlights off.  Mandi half walked/ran over the truck and beat on the driver side window.  Joe rolled the window down casually.

“Hey.  Give me my ring back.  My new lady wants it.”  He had such a way with words….

“Fuck you, asshole.”  So did Mandi…..

“Stop being a bitch and just give it back to me.  It doesn’t belong to you anymore.” 

“FINE!!”  Mandi screeched.  She yanked the huge ring off her finger and threw it through the window into the cab of the truck. 

With that, Joe flipped on his headlights and tore out of the parking lot, spraying us both with gravel.  We stood there for a while.  I was following Joe’s taillights with my eyes and could still here is shit-kicker truck squealing through town. 

“Well, that was fun.  Now what?” I asked.  I was a little disapointed that nothing big went down.  I was half expecting Mandi to leap through the open window of the truck and start wailing on Joe and his new girlfriend.  Mandi let me down, so I was bored.  I sighed and shoved my hands into my jeans pockets.  Mandi was still standing in the same spot, her shoulders heaving up and down, fast and furiously.  She was pissed. 

“Get in my car.  We’re going to follow him.” 

Yes!  A car chase!  If only we had some machine guns or something like that so I could stick my body out the passenger door and fire wildly into the night at the speeding truck.  Images of every gangster movie I’ve ever seen rolled through my head.  Eager for excitement after the initial let-down of earlier, I was all for a good old fashioned car chase. 

We ran over to Mandi’s car and hopped in.  She roared her engine to life, threw the car in reverse, and it was our turn to peel out.

“I’ve never felt so alive!!” I screamed as we sped out of town.  I wasn’t sure where we were going exactly since we had stood around for a few minutes after Joe left, but Mandi seemed to know where to find him.  We got on a gravel road that runs behind the high school and followed it out of town for a few miles.  I was exhilarated.  This was so fucking awesome.  I was involved in a bona fide car chase.  I could die happy…

We drove on, making turns here and there, when after a few minutes of driving, we saw taillights up ahead.  Could it be?  No, not possible.

But it was.  We were pretty close behind the truck and then Joe must of realized it was Mandi.  He stepped on the gas and shot ahead of us, leaving us blinded in a huge pile of dust and gravel.  Oh shit, this just got real.  Not to be outdone, Mandi hit the gas and we lurched forward after Joe.  I now knew what the expression “wild goose chase” felt like. 

Joe tried to lose us several times and was almost successful, but Mandi was determined.  Hell hath no fury like Mandi Mitchell scorned.  By now, the thrill of our chase was starting to wear off and I was getting nervous.  We were going pretty fast, and on loose gravel roads, no less.  I realized I wasn’t wearing my seat belt.  I was just about to reach over and pull it on when I heard Mandi cuss next to me.

“Motherfucker!!  Hold on!!” 

My life flashed before my eyes.  I always thought that was a cliche, but it’s true.  Sixteen years of my life played out in my mind as Mandi grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and yanked on it like a sea captain trying to navigate his ship during a storm. 

What had happened was wehad caught up to Joe again and were right on his tail.  He slowed down until we were practically on top of him, then he slammed on the gas and sped off, enclosing us in a thick fog of dust.  Not to be out done again, Mandi sped up to catch up with Joe.  That’s when she saw the stop sign.  And the headlights coming from beside me.  I had no clue where we had managed to end up, we were taking all sorts of back roads, but I got my bearings straight just then.  It was the highway.  And a rather large semi was traveling west toward town just as we were about to blow through the stop sign.  Mandi slammed on the breaks, grabbed the wheel, and was pulling hard to the right.  I struggled for my seat belt to finally put it on, but the force of us spinning around kept me from connecting the belt. 

The truck zoomed past us, horn blaring, just as we spun a perfect 360 degree angle through the intersection.  We ended up facing the direction we had just driven.  Mandi looked over at me and I at her.  We were panting, gasping for breath, our eyes huge with terror. 

“Holy shit!” I screamed.  “You almost killed us!!”

“I know, wasn’t it amazing!”  Mandi was laughing wildly.  “Are you ok?”  she asked me after she calmed down.

“I think so.  I might need new pants because I think I soiled mine, but other than that, I’m good.”  I was still panting and realized I was holding on to the dashboard for dear life.  I eased my grip and relaxed.  Then I started laughing. 

So here were the two of us, laughing like lunatics in a car that was parked precariously in the middle of a highway intersection.

“Oh my god, I think we were on two wheels for a while!”  Mandi seemed proud of herself.  I admit, it was pretty cool.

Another car was coming down the highway, so Mandi quickly drove back onto the gravel road.

“Well, I may not have caught him, but goddammit that was fun!”

I had to agree.  We drove back into town, stopping at the gas station to get snacks and beverages to soothe us. 

That was the night that I almost died because of love. 

Years later, the whole ordeal seems ironic to me….Mandi is in jail as I write this.  She’s on death row for killing Joe.  See, after that fateful night, Joe realized that he loved Mandi because of how passionate she was about catching up to him.  A week later, they got back together and at the beginning of our senior year of high school, they got married.  It was a small private affair, but lovely nonetheless.  Oddly enough, Nicole was Joe’s best man, but whatever. 

After graduation, Mandi and Joe moved away to a small town in Vermont, where Joe got work as a syrup wrangler and Mandi worked as a lumberjack.  Times were tough for them, but their love survived.

Until Joe got caught sticking his willy where it didn’t belong.  Mandi was out of town, working in Massachusetts and Joe was left behind.  A pretty new gal had just started at the syrup ranch and ol’ Joe to a shine to her.  He showed her around town, and eventually, showed her inside his pants.  Terrible timing is what got Joe dead.  Mandi got done with work a week before schedule and was coming home early to surprise her man.  Too bad it was Mandi that got the surprise. 

Mandi had pulled into the driveway, hauled her lumberjack gear into the garage and was on her way down the hall into the bedroom when she heard the giggles.  Joe had a womanish laugh, so she didn’t think anything of it.   But that’s when she heard two people laughing.  She stormed through the closed bedroom door and saw Joe and his mistress, covered in syrup.  Turns out they brought their work home with them.  Unfortunately for them, so did Mandi. 

She raced back out to the garage and grabbed her chainsaw.  Ripping the pull cord, the great machine burst to life, thereby ending Joe’s and his syrup sluts life, also. 

At her trial, Mandi’s lawyers tried to get her off on the insanity plea, but to no avail.  Mandi was a sentenced woman and was ordered to death by lethal injection.  Her lawyers have tried appeal after appeal, but Mandi is still sitting on death row, awaiting her final day on this cruel earth. 

I visit her sometimes, but being in jail has robbed Mandi of her livelihood.  She’s nothing of the girl that she was a few years ago. 

But that’s cool with me.  She always was a crazy bitch.  Plus, she almost killed me!  I mean, what the fuck?!  Some friend she is!  Shit.  Who does that–trying to kill your supposed “best friend”?  Whatever.  Goddamn.

 Fare thee well, Mandi.  God bless you.  Go play with the angels.

Fire Foot Larkins


That’s my friend Corey’s nickname.  Fire Foot.  He doesn’t suffer from chronic athlete’s foot, nor is he a fire walker.  He’s simply:  Corey. 

Ten years ago, my hometown was hit by a very vicious snow/ice storm.  Trees suffered the hardest blow and branches were down all over town.  The city maintenance crew worked tirelessly to gather all the branches and they placed them in an area just off the side of the city park where they were later to be burned.  The fire was impressive, lasting for several hours and it smoldered for a few days afterwards.

It was a Friday night, just after our high school basketball team had won it’s first game.  Spirits were high all over town and it seemed everyone was out celebrating.  I was hanging out with my two buds, Mandi and Corey, and we were bored with the scene.  We wanted to do something, but had no clue what.  We were in Mandi’s old Ford Thunderbird, driving around town, when we drove through the park.  Our eyes lit up as we drove past the still smoking pile of wood. 

“Dudes, we should roast marshmellows!” said Mandi, enthusiastically.

“Awesome!  Out of sight!” said I.

“It’s on like Donkey Kong!” quipped Corey.

We drove to Mandi’s house and raided her cupboard.  And we looked for food, too.  Success!  Hidden in the back shelf was a bag of giant marshmellows.  We grabbed them excitedly and drove back to the park.  When we got there, we searched for long sticks to use to roast our treats.  Mandi and I were looking on the outside of the pile, because as I said before, it was a pretty big pile and was still pretty hot.

Corey, however, was standing closer to the middle of the pile.  I warned Corey to be careful.  He did not listen so well.

Mandi and I had our sticks and were holding our marshmellows over a hot spot, when we heard Corey yelp loudly and he was jumping up and down, cursing.

“Holy shit!  My fucking foot!  It’s on fire!”

We threw down our sticks and ran over to Corey, who was still dancing around like a retard. 

“Jesus Christ, my foot’s on fire!  Help me!”

You know when you’re in church and your older brother does something funny and you’re laughing and your dad grabs your elbow to make you shut up, but that’s even funnier still and you keep laughing and you know you shouldn’t be laughing because you’re in church and God will smite you forever?  Yeah….that’s kind of what it was like then, too.

Corey looked like such an ass, hopping around, screeching that you couldn’t help but laugh.  I was also concerned for him because his foot was pretty much engulfed in flames at this point.  But seriously, how could you NOT find this humorous at all?  Mandi has very little empathy for anyone, so she was on the ground, laughing hysterically and pointing at Corey’s foot, trying to grab her marshmellow stick so she could roast hers over Corey’s foot. 

I was laughing, too, but was trying to get Corey to stop, drop, and roll, because that is how you get a fire out. 

“Corey, stop moving! ”  I yelled at him.

“I can’t, my foot’s ablaze!” he screamed back at me.

Well, the idiot wasn’t going to stop, so I did what I thought was best.  I ran over to him and started stomping on his foot, trying to snuff the flames.  Now, instead of screaming that his foot was on fire, he was screaming at me to stop jumping on his foot.  Well, what was I supposed to do?  I got the fire out. 

Mandi was still laying on the ground, tears streaming down her sooty face.  Corey limped over to her and kicked her in the side and called her a twat for not helping him.  He hobbled over to Mandi’s car and opened the passenger door and sat down in the seat.  He pulled his shoe off and groaned.

“My new shoes!  Ruined!  You’re buying me a new pair, bitch!”  he spat at Mandi.

She didn’t care, she was still on the ground, unconscious.  A small patch of her hair had caught fire and a stray dog had wondered over and was licking her charred face. 

I made my way over to Corey and picked up his shoe.  The sole was melted on one side and the entire inner side of it was burnt leather.  I could put three fingers into the hole.  I looked down at Corey’s foot.  His sock was ruined, charred and black. 

“Are you ok, Corey?  Are you hurt?”

“What the fuck do you think, Erin?  My fucking foot was on fire and all you did was laugh and stomp on my feet!” 

“At least I tried to help, asshole. ”  He pissed me off.  “I could have just let your foot burn! ”

“But did you have to fucking stomp on it?!  That was like, the worst experience of my entire life!  I think you broke my foot!”

“Oh, shut up, you big fairy.  Quit your bitching and help me pick Mandi up.  The dog is starting to hump her.”

So the two of us, I, furious at Corey for being a whiny little bitch and shunning my heroic efforts to put out his fire foot, and Corey, shoeless and sock-less in the middle of January, walked over to Mandi and pulled her to the car and laid her down in the back seat.  I got into the driver’s seat and started the car. 

We drove in silence back to Corey’s house.  Mandi was still unconsious and was starting to mumble in her comatose state.  Not wanting to deal with her, we left her in her car.  Corey and I walked into his house and his parents were sitting in the living room, watching porn.

“Corey, darling, where’s your shoe? ” asked his mom.

“It fucking caught on fire, no thanks to Erin here.”

“Erin?  Is that true?  Was his foot on fire?”

“Yes, ma’am.   But it wasn’t my fault.  He got too close.  It’s his own stupid ass fault.”

“She’s right, son,” Corey’s dad Mike said.  “You should have been more careful.  You know how flammable you are.  Remember your fourth birthday?  Lit up like a Christmas tree, he was.  Spent months in the hospital.  Skin grafts, plastic surgery….honestly, son, what were you thinking?”  His dad went back to watching porn.

“Fuck you, dad!” Corey roared.  Next thing I knew, he grabbed the lamp next to him and smashed it over his dad’s porn loving head.  The lamp shattered into a million pieces and his dad slumped over, knocked out cold.  Corey’s mom screamed and struggled to get up from the couch. 

“Oh no you don’t, wench!”  He grabbed the same lamp he rearranged his dad’s face with and used to cord to tie his mom’s feet and hands together.  He whipped around to me and said, “Help me get them out to Mandi’s car!”  Not being one to argue with a madman, I obliged.  We piled his parents on top of Mandi in the backseat.

“Get in your car and follow me.  And no funny business.” he sneered at me. 

Scared witless, I did was I was told.  Corey got into Mandi’s car and peeled out into the street.  I was close behind him, terrified of my friend.  What was he going to do?  What’s happening?  Was Friends a rerun tonight? 

We drove back to the park.  Oh no, I thought.  Not again….

Corey barged out of the car and ran over to me.  His eyes were wild and flashing, his mouth foaming.  He never looked so frightening. And I was never more aroused….

“Pull them out of the car and leave.  Go home.  This doesn’t involve you.”

I did what I was told.  I got the three limp bodies out of the backseat.  Mandi was coming to and she looked around, frightened.  I leaned down to her and whispered, “Forgive me, friend…”  I felt Corey’s eyes burning holes into the back of my head.  I had to think quick.  I gave Mandi a hay-maker and she was out cold again.  I slowly turned around and walked back to my car, opened the door, got in, and started it.  Afraid he would change his mind, I drove away as fast as I could. 

I drove home in silence, reeling from the nights activities.  This had to be a nightmare.  It had to be….

I never saw any of them again after that night.  In his rage, Corey was going to throw his family and Mandi into the very fire that had consumed his soul, but was stopped in the knick of time.  Someone had heard a great commotion and called the police.  Corey was apprehended and arrested.  He’s now serving 3 life sentences in a prison for the mentally insane.  Mandi and Corey’s parents were spared.  They spent a few days in the hospital for their injuries, but are doing fine.  Mandi writes to Corey every day….

Me?  I’ve tried for ten years to get the images out of my head.  Luckily, I banked a ton of money after selling our story to Dreamworks, who made an “inspired by true events” movie about us.  It starred Matt Damon as Corey, Winona Ryder as Mandi, Sam Elliot as Corey’s dad, Susan Sarandon as Corey’s mom, Chris O’Donnell as the arresting officer, and Glenn Close as me.  It’s called “Three Banjos” and is up for several Oscars.  With the box office returns, I am rolling in the Benjamins, so I could care less about what happened.  I’ve got mad stacks of coin! 

Who says money can’t buy happiness?  They’re obviously stupid.  And poor.