Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poo Party by Justin Grimbol

     “Why can’t I stop shitting?” he yelled.
Heavy tears rolled down his cheeks. He had been in the bathroom, sitting on this heartless toilet, for over an hour. He had flushed six times. The smell was monstrous. He couldn’t stop.
“Why did this happen now?”
His roommates were throwing a party and it was getting wild. He could hear them dancing and laughing. Tits were being pulled out, he was sure of it. People were getting naked, he could tell by the way they were cheering.
“Oh God have mercy on me!” he called out to the heavens.
God did not respond.
He kept pooping. It was as if his ass was the sky and the toilet was the ocean and this was the perfect storm.
 Soon the hooting and hollering turned into moaning. He could hear flesh smacking against flesh. He could hear sucking sounds. His cock got hard. As he cried and squeezed out long turds, he jerked his dong. He was desperate to be included in the party in some way.
The sex sounds became more intense. Eventually the moaning turned into screams. He could hear flesh tearing and bones breaking. He was just about to come when he saw a puddle of blood seep under the door. His boner became limp. His eyes widened.
Finally, the shitting had stopped. But he no longer wanted to leave the bathroom. He no longer wanted to join the party. He wanted to hide.
“Help!” he heard someone knocking on the door. “She’s killing everyone!”
He ran to the shower and shut the curtains.
He sat there, trembling.
Even after the screaming stopped and things became quiet and the sun had risen, he refused the leave the bathroom.
“Dear God, help me,” he begged as he lay in the tub, naked, in the fetal position.
The door shook and then got ripped off the hinges. A woman walked into bathroom. She was a seven foot tall woman with a firm, curvy body that was covered in blood. Tusks jutted out of her mouth. Her eyes were piss-stain yellow.
She didn’t notice him.  She sat on the toilet bowl and started to shit so loudly the entire house shook.
The smell was potent. It filled the boy in the tub. He became dizzy. His body shook. Horns sprouted from his head. His limbs stretched out and his muscles bulged. He screamed in pain as his teeth grew into long, cock-shaped daggers.
When he was done transforming he looked up and saw the lady-monster was standing over him. Her eyes were wide. She mounted him. The sun was up but the night wasn’t over yet. This girl was ready to party. 


Justin Grimbol went to Green Mountain College for thirty years. He majored in Partying and Dry Humping. He is the author of DRINKING UNTIL MORNING and THE CRUD MASTERS
Copyright 2013 Justin Grimbol

Monday, January 28, 2013

This Year's Exhibition

Barley was a beautiful middle-aged woman with hard Hs all over her face who could barely get the horses to stop trying to eat her. She presented the exhibit after the horses had been drugged with a derivative of a flower that only grows in a three foot square plot of the Amazon. It blooms but one night a year. The drug synthesized from this flower had a value of one million dollars per dose, but it was worth it to get the horses off her, Barley reasoned.

She presented the exhibit well, but this exhibit was not nearly as impressive as the one from last year (hardly any mutilates, only one amputee) so all the Einstein-haired scientists scowled. This should have been their big day. Instead, it ended for many of them in the same manner as sex. They left weeping and clutching at their wild, white hair. Barley wished the exhibit would have been better, and bit her nails, and fixed her hair, even though all the scientists had left and even though none of the scientists were even remotely attractive men, nor did the scientists have time for sexual relationships, not with this year's dearth of brilliant new specimens.

"I wish I would have chosen a different career path," Barley said to one of the specimens in the exhibit. It nodded politely and requested to be released from its cage, as usual. As usual, Barely ignored the response and pushed the button that supplied electrical current to the grid beneath the specimen's feet. The specimen screamed and jumped monkey-like around the cage. Barley barely heard the cries. The other specimens cowered and whimpered in a very pathetic fashion. "I wish I would never have become a presenter of perverse mad science experiments."

She was serious. When the horses woke up they ate her.

Copyright 2010 G. Arthur Brown

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Murdered Reality by J. W. Wargo

I dropped to my knees. My eyes started to leak.

"I'm so sorry," was all I could choke out.

He choked up a bit of transparent blood and kept repeating, "It's okay. It's okay."

I wasn't aware he had moved, blindly assumed he was hiding out in his lair more often now since he had grown so noticeable. He had actually abandoned that place for a new one on the other side of the floor, right behind an old, dirt soaked mop. I didn't bother to check behind that same mop when it was time to spray down the floor and walls with chemical cleaner and scrub it spotless.

The sound of their searing bodies filled the room as several of his neighbors ran in all directions, the burning of their skeletons equaled only by the sound of their pathetic, tortured screams.

Admittedly, part of why this job exists is to see that any particularly problematic population booms of the less desirable types are kept in check, and part of me agrees with that fact. But not him. Never him.

He was special. Tenacious. He had little fear and was seemingly content with his station in life. He and I, we had an understanding. We had even grown to respect each other, and I just pulled the guillotine on him.

Crawling out from behind the mop slowly, he limped on six usable legs, dragging two behind him. I couldn't see it at first. My mind pushed away the vision it was receiving. The vision held firm, then pushed back so hard the resulting realization hit me like a dropped piano.

I sat with him until the very end, remembering him and sharing my energy to help release his life force into the ether. I gave him a funeral by toilet. His vessel a soft, one-ply raft to send him off through a sewage nirvana ending at that big, moist, dark, abandoned basement in the sky.


J.W. Wargo, Nomadic Bizarro Storyteller, is neither here nor there, but a little bit of everywhere. You can find him on your city's sidewalks busking for his next meal, or at jwwargo.blogspot.com. His first book, AVOIDING MORTIMER, is now available on Amazon.

Copyright 2013 JW Wargo

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Houdini Gut Punch! by R.A. Harris

Houdini gut punch!”
Gavin's soul's clenched fist thrust through the sac of fermenting fish flesh Eric had become. He over-extended though, and clipped a buzzard flying overhead. As it fell to the ground like a feathered brick, it became clear that it was actually a glass trinket designed to look like a weeping logician.
Another needless casualty,” Gavin was heard to remark as his face, smeared with the telltale pink taint of libido, emerged from the hole his fist had created in Eric's bloated belly.
Eric slurred some words back at him, but to all intents and purposes their meaning was lost. Jets of photo-voltaic foam spit from his wide open maw arced in strange patterns, criss-crossing and blending into each other as they danced in the potential gradient, before softly tumbling to the ground like feathers in a vortex. Or maybe a million feathered logicians made of irreal glass, massless and almost symbolic more than anything.
Gavin's soul felt itself disintegrating into tangents as it unwound from Eric's being. Apparently a soul can't exist without some kind of binding to the world. Gavin didn't mind, he would rather un-exist than stay bound to a rotten fish pile.
Eric murmured that it was the man with the gun what did the thing that made that other thing that he did to Gavin happen. The last twist of fabric that constituted Gavin's soul was able to form a final thought, “Damn it, I should have known... zombie bullets,” before a wave of Cartesian logic excrement pulsed across the room like a single strobe light. He didn't think, therefore, he didn’t was.


R. A. Harris lives in England, a merry land made up inside his head. He writes bizarre fiction and some of it gets published. Go here: www.leakylibido.wordpress.com to see some of his famous flash work.

Copyright 2013 R.A. Harris 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Featured Flash!

So I'm doing this FEATURED FLASH thing now.  Posting stuff by other writers whom I like, some of whom are young and new, some of whom you may have heard of.  Sometimes it won't be "proper" flash but poetry or prose-poetry or even song lyrics.  Sometimes it will be dark and serious, light and zany, surreal and mystical, gross and obscene.  But it's all stuff I like and that I think is worth reading and spreading around.

Up coming work from R.A. Harris, J.W. Wargo, Justin Grimbol, CV Hunt, Andrew Freudenberg, Sean Tigert, Shawn Blair, Eric Stoveken, Karl Fischer, Laura Lee Bahr and John Edward Lawson, amongst others.

Not to mention S.T. Cartledge, Mr. Nihil and Edmund Colell whom I have already featured on the Strange Edge.

And my stuff will be sprinkled in there, too. Because I'm selfish and prolific. 

Keep checking back.  I'll be updating a whole lot.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Much Delayed Ray Fracalossy Interview

One of my favorite writers, whom I stumbled upon almost accidentally at the (currently non-operational) New Absurdist, author of Tales from the Vinegar Wasteland (rereleased by LegumeMan ), Ray Fracalossy, allowed me to pester him with a few questions.  He answered these questions.  Then I decided to publish the whole thing, call it an interview and post it here on my blog.  Without further ado:

GAB: When did you start writing?

RF: I've dabbled with writing since high school, but never found my voice until I discovered the New Absurdist website around 2003. I actually discovered the site through a surrealist newsgroup.

GAB: Why do you write?

RF:I think I mostly write as therapy. I'm also not a writer who feels any need to mass produce. In fact, I'm of the opinion that most people only have a limited number of stories within them before they begin to repeat themselves. I think that's true with most art as well.

GAB: You have expressed to me previously that you think of yourself as an absurdist. In your mind how is absurdism different from other genres such as surrealism, irrealism, magical realism or Bizarro?

RF:I've heard all those terms tossed around. Modern absudism is virtually indistinguishable to surrealism and irrealism. I'm sure there may be subtle differences, but they're all contrived.

It comes down to a preference in labeling. Magical realism is a different beast, and I find that term a little confusing. From what I know, they share elements, but absurdist writing is much freer. That was my initial attraction to the genre. It can be very non-linear. There doesn't even need to be a plot, a definite beginning or ending or any strong characterization. There can be all those things, but it's not necessary.

Bizarro is just a catch phrase. A made up genre trying to tie all oddball writing together under one umbrella. So I guess all absurdist fiction is Bizarro, but not all Bizarro is absurdist. Again, lots of common elements. I'm not a big fan of the term. It implies certain things.  Bizarro seems to attract writers captivated by disturbing images. I think a lot of Bizarro authors would be writing horror if they didn't find that genre so over done. It's also very cultish and kitschy, tons of pop culture references. Very B-movie influenced. I think my main complaint with the genre is its disposition towards novels over short stories. I love short stories. There also tends to be a lack of childlike innocence concerning Bizarro. Often they appear to be shooting for shock value, or a gross out.

GAB: Which other absurdists are you reading?

RF: Daniil Kharms is a must. Other old schoolers I enjoy reading include Alexander Vvedensky and Eugene Ionesco. Barry Yourgrau is real good. His stories are always short and in the first person. Very dreamlike. Other good reads include Eric Chevillard and Valery Ronshin. Lewis Carroll ranks high. At the moment I tend to be reading more nonfiction. I've always preferred it.

GAB: What non-fiction in particular?

RF: Biographies, anything regarding altered states of consciousness, texts pertaining to the spiritual or paranormal.

GAB: Are there any Bizarro authors that you do particularly enjoy reading?

RF: D. Harlan Wilson, Kevin Donihe, Matt Revert, Bradley Sands, Gina Ranalli. (Although she isn't fond of the label either.) Again, my favorite stuff by them is their short stories. I'm not up on Bizarro. Not following it, I may be missing writers I would really enjoy. Christy Leigh Stewart is really good as well. You can find a bunch of her short stories online (http://christyleighstewart.com/). Very clever stuff. I'm also a fan of your writing.

GAB: Also, you've got a relatively unconventional view of psychopharmacology. Can you elaborate on your views of the subject and explain how this ties in with your overall worldview, view of the mind, writing as a therapy, etc.? 

RF: Wow, heavy stuff. Like a rather large portion of the population, I've had my own personal experiences. I'm neither for nor against dabbling with chemically altered states. It can indeed come with a price, but life is a series of gambles. Considering that the human population spends their sleeping hours in a hallucinatory state, and while awake experiences everything from memory flashbacks, daydreams, fantasies, and the countless hours we sit hypnotized by television and music, which is another very real altered state. People cry at movies. How weird is that? So dabbling in chemical realities is not really all that unnatural for mankind. It's the nature of the beast.

I often feel guilty being caught in the consumers web spending money buying books and music, material possessions, but I think we need it. We need the Internet. We need new experiences, new sounds, new thoughts, CONSTANTLY. I think that is the real purpose of life. Live, and send those experiences back to the source.

Regarding writing as therapy, it's often used in psychology. Hard to say its impact on me, as I'm restless, and tend to need a drink or something just to sit still and focus. Most of my writing is done late at night, or semi intoxicated.

GAB: I too love short stories and find it puzzling that in our fast-paced, instant gratification culture that novels far outsell short fiction collections. What's you theory about why this might be?
RF: I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's like certain movies. Lots of action, everything is spelled out. People don't want to think too much. So a novel paints everything out for them. But it's a lot more effort reading a novel. I'm a horrible reader. Most novels I've read, I read in bits. I put them down and move on to something else, and return to them much later. Reading itself can zone you out. I can't maintain that focus. My bookshelf is full of books, all with bookmarks stuck in them.

GAB: Do you find that films have an impact on your writing? If so, which ones have been particularly influential upon you?

RF: The Marx Brothers movies have probably influenced me. Other than that, I think only the approach has influenced me, meaning sometimes I'd write a scene as if I were writing a film script. I'd see the scene in my head as if it WAS part of a movie, and try to do it justice.

GAB: And music - you played in the band Lord John. Do you find much connection between the composition and performance of music, and the process of writing fiction?

RF: Only in the finalizing process. Tweaking a song is not that different than doing editing. Similar mind set. In both cases you're looking for the definitive final version of a piece of art. Other than that, it's apples and oranges.

GAB: Is "Tales" the only book you've written?

RF: The only novel. I have two e-books available for free download: mOsbURAnd and Garbage Head.

GAB: Was Tales from the Vinegar Wasteland a very personal story? It seems like there are elements of your self in it, though maybe I'm just wishing them to be there.

RF: Stupidly so, to the point that I was certain huge amounts of it wouldn't make sense to the general public. There were a huge amount of ‘in' jokes in it, as well as other personal things, such as things people had told me, or odd things customers at work would spout, and I'd scribble down.

The blue gary apple game is an actual game my nephew created where you chase someone, and yell, "Get back here, you Blue Gary Apple." It was too weird not to use somehow. He was also the inspiration for the flashback where the main character thinks back on a children's book he's read, where a boy's pillows come to life. I used to make up stories for him about such events. There's mention of The Jesus Lightbulb, which I thought would be a good band name. The chapter titled "More money for paisley shirts" was an unused song title for my ex-band The Narc Twins. Gregory has a fear of dogs, like myself. The main character has a phobia of driving, and is extremely introverted, also like myself. I don't think it's possible to write without throwing huge chunks of yourself into the mix. I think those are the bits the reader enjoys the most, because they come off as the most true. But I do wonder how much of the obscure bits I put in there made sense to anyone at all.

I also made myself a character in the book, and it's a fairly well defined representation of myself, seen through my own eyes.

I threw just about everything into this book, because I wasn't sure where I stood creativity wise. I was feeling as if I'd spent my load, was insecure about myself and the future in general, and pulled a Dylan. There's a story where Dylan was so unsure of the future that he composed "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" from the first lines of a stack of songs. I constructed Vinegar Wasteland the same way. It's a swan song, in case I never do anything else. It breaks the fourth wall, uses allegory, is self aware, and uses a bunch of tricks and gimmicks to grab the reader. I threw in the proverbial kitchen sink, thinking if this is the totality of my official output, hopefully down the line, someone will sing its praises.

I'd also like to announce its re-release by Australian publishers LegumeMan. It's an honor that they found my trashy little novel worthy of a second pressing. And many thanks to Afterbirth Books for giving me an outlet in the first place. I'd also like to say the best thing that could possibly happen would be if my book influenced someone who went on to have some success. Good luck to all you odd ball writers out there. Don't lose the faith. Keep believing and producing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Stop by Mr. Nihil

A flaming bus speeds through the night. Inside it are two men. One is Jack Friendly, a man in his late 50′s with an Ernest Borgnine somatotype, blonde hair, and one eyebrow, black. His other eyebrow had vanished, mysteriously, a few years ago. Jack Friendly is the captain of this ship.

The second man is Fred Mindy, who is clearly on the phone with his wife. “No… ye… no, baby, what I said was… no… no… yes, of cours… no, yes, when I said you looked pretty in that i… what? Yes! Baby, of course i… no… no… but you… yes…” make up, in various assortments, the extent of the dialogue coming from Fred Mindy. Jack Friendly can hear all of this and wishes he couldn’t. If only his hearing had disappeared instead of his eyebrow.

“Yes, dear, I…”

Sighing, Jack Friendly leans forward and glances upward, through the windshield, at the flames licking the roof of the bus. As the fire spread, maybe it would burn off his other eyebrow. He hated having just the one. Jack Friendly thought of himself as being like the Batman villain Two-face, only he had just the one face… and the one stupid, black eyebrow. That would technically be a unibrow, wouldn’t it? An off-centre unibrow…

Jack Friendly was glad that the bus was on fire. Then, he remembered being a kid, at a specific point in time when another kid was telling him that people with unibrows were werewolves. He knew another kid named Rafael, who had a unibrow, but was not a werewolf. Maybe Rafael hadn’t had the right kind of unibrow… looking into the large overhead mirror, Jack Friendly smiled to himself at the thought of being a werewolf.

“Honey, I wasn’t looking at… no, I…” intoned Fred Mindy from his seat on the bus. “I can’t do that right now… I’m on a bu… ye… yeah, yes… yes, ok… ok, fine.” Hanging up his phone, Fred Mindy tugs on the little cable that lets the bus driver, in this case Jack Friendly, know that a passenger, in this case Fred Mindy, needs the driver of the bus to stop the bus.

Jack Friendly hears the little bell, and looks back at Fred Mindy via the mirror mentioned earlier. For a moment, he just stares. Finally, Jack says to Fred, “Sir…” but Fred Mindy interjects “I have to meet my wife…”

Jack Friendly continues, “We can’t stop here, this bus is on fire…”

To which Fred Mindy replies “I know. She’s waiting for me at a gas station.”


You can find much more of Mr. Nihil at his infamous website http://nihil-and-rat.com

Copyright Mr. Nihil 2010

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Puking Tears by Edmund Colell

Owen opens his burning, restless eyelids and rolls on his side, finding 7:30 glaring red from his alarm clock. He curls up, pauses, and rolls out of bed. The chill pushes him back, the tile shocks his feet, and a headache grows. As he yanks the clock’s cord out, sounds buzz in his skull. The noise deepens until he crawls back into bed and buries himself in his blankets. It returns a minute later, louder, a random chorus of familiar voices scorning him for laziness. He shoots back out of bed and cools his face with his hands. His own voice breaks through his thoughts. Get ready for work.
The thought punches his gut. I’m sick.
Take a pill and slam some coffee, pussy.
He stumbles into his bathroom, flips the light switch, and flinches. A dry, white glob bulges over his medicine cabinet mirror. A tape recorder crowns its center. Who’s here? Owen snatches a razor from the sink, brandishing it at the open-curtained shower before slamming and locking the door. With the buzz gone from his brain, only his breath and pulse stir the silence. No intruders. Breathing deep, he loses the adrenaline high, but a little fear lingers for the recorder. He strokes the buttons, each one mushy but dry. He presses Play, and it crumbles.
The tape chuckles. A man’s voice joins it, light with youth but raspy with age. It says, “Good job! You pushed a button and not pulled a trigger.”
Owen cringes. He taps Stop, then pushes it, then jabs, this one hard button cracking his knuckle. 
“Remember me? Need a hint?”
Owen sucks on his swelling finger. The pain distracts him from the tape’s message, but he throws a response: “Fuck off.”
“I caused everything bad in your life, I abuse you every day, and I slept with all of your exes.”
The hints snuff his pain and sink deep. In the tape’s dead air, he reviews every enemy he ever made. Only one of them has stuck around since middle school, but the voice and the cheer don’t match. “You’re not m –”
“Time’s up, me. Stop thinking so slow.” In the stunned silence, the tape continues: “If you’re listening, then the therapy and pills didn’t do shit. I have new medicine for you.” The glob shifts, pulling the medicine cabinet open. A dark amber bottle sits on the other side, label-less and filled to the neck. “I took the liberty of distilling your memories and goals. Drink fast and put it back. It can’t be exposed to light for too long.” The tape stops.
Owen reaches first for the door, but a thick force coaxes his hand off the knob. The bottle’s promises draw him closer. Help me. The bottle warms his thin hand. Its mouth kisses him, and he kisses back. Its tongue slips through his teeth and down his throat. He tips the bottle up and chugs. Plastic and meaty flavors bathe his tongue. The taste buds catch sweet hopes, salty relationships, spicy mood swings, sour failures, and bitter ends. He drains the bottle to its last thought. It warms in his belly. Then it burns.
Owen burps a cold, acrid gas. His skin itches while red patches spread over his hands and lips. Pulling off his tank top and boxers, he finds the patches growing on his chest and groin as well. He scratches them, leaking mucus over his nails. The itch crawls down his throat. All the while, the vicious buzz erupts and screams through his brain.
The tape starts again. “I hope you didn’t drink all of it. This stuff only needs a sip.”
Owen holds his head and smashes his forehead against the recorder. Its gummy body re-inflates after every hit while his buzzes deepen. They drown all sound and overflow into his gut. Nausea hits. He curls over the open toilet. Gushing out, the vomit tastes salty. The buzzes clarify into shouted insults, each one stabbing him. Another wave of puke rises up his throat, and tears flush down his face. They taste the same.
Owen rests his arms on the toilet seat and holds his face between them. Drool hangs from his lips. More spurts of tears flow out his mouth. Every time he tries to rise, another barf pulls him down. Stop. I don’t have time.
“Feel a little better now? Just take another sip when this happens. Good luck at the office, me.”
As Owen pushes up to glare at the recorder, the tape slot pops open and the tape vaporizes. The white glob swallows the recorder and soaks back into the mirror. Owen falls back to the toilet and dry-heaves. Nothing more, but the sickness lingers. Picking himself off the floor, the mucus on his hands trails to the seat. It can’t break. More mucus sweats through his red patches, spreading over his body.
He stumbles into the shower and cranks the hot water. The first cold blast rattles his skin and hardens the slime. More scum bubbles beneath, breaking through the crusts and making them grow. His hands and arms become too paralyzed to scrub it off. He thinks of the clock again, of his boss writing “Fire his useless ass” on a sticky note and calling in someone reliable, and a new red patch sprouts on his scalp to bleed slime over his head. As a disgusting helmet hardens, Owen sees pictures in the slime. Each picture shows shameful moments of his life in third-person, with him as a scummy statue instead of a human. Hundreds of them appear before his eyes alone, and he shudders to think of the millions forming the shell around him. He stops fighting.
Even when I help myself, I fuck it up.
The shell traps and clogs the new scum beneath. It backs into his body. A fever boils through him. Can I die this way? The thought brings an image of police breaking in to find the juiciest and grossest corpse of their careers. He pictures the funeral where his few loved ones pretend respect for a man who poisoned himself with his own gunk. The last speaker is the tape recorder, talking from its gloppy white pile on the podium. “I tried. Making myself sicker should have helped me to purge, not wallow. Maybe I really am the piece of shit I always knew I was.”
A hatred for his distant self burns hotter than his fever. He tenses the muscles around the patches, forcing the gunk out. He strains harder with every breath, but rips his skin instead of the shell. With every pulse, he forces his blood and slime against the shell until it cracks through. Owen thrashes until he falls over, splitting the rest open. The shower’s hot water cooks his opened wounds. But as he stands up and the last of the mucus drains from his body, taking the patches with it, he feels lighter by half of his weight. His shell lies crumbling on the shower floor. No buzzes rise to his mind.
Owen dries his blood off. He opens the medicine cabinet again and sees a bag of gauze, roll of tape, and bottle of rubbing alcohol. He packs and patches his wounds, then checks his clock again. 8:15.
He knots his tie with a smile.

Edmund Colell's work has appeared in, or will be appearing in Verbicide, Legumeman, New Flesh, Christmas on Crack, Amazing Stories of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bizarro Central, and Screaming Orgasms of Bizarro Love.

Copyright 2013 Edmund Colell

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Juniper's Window by Mr. Nihil (including Potato Baby)

Juniper ran her finger along the rounded edges of her phone, absorbing the cool of the plastic into her being.  This sensual black plastic warmed her nethers, dampening her panties.  She began this affair about a year and a half ago, at work.  At first, she spent her breaks with the phone, but at this point, Juniper no longer cares about her job, and simply caresses the phone at her desk persistently throughout the day.

I know where Juniper works, and about 6 months ago, I started going to her office on my lunch breaks.  Juniper doesn’t know me, I just saw her one day while I was at that office- her lips slightly parted, her cheeks and bosom flushed, her finger on the phone.  Since she doesn’t know me, and because I have no business at her office, I stand outside of her window and watch her for about 35 minutes, Monday through Friday.  My lunch break is an hour long, but it takes about 10 minutes to reach the office, and 9 minutes to get back to my place that I work, as I always hit a red light en route to Juniper, and a green one on the return trip.

Since I’ve started watching her, Juniper has been spending less and less time actually working, and more and more time in some sort of sexual bliss with her phone’s plastic shell- I know this because I follow most of her co-workers on Facebook.  Many of them don’t have locked profiles.  So involved is she with her phone that I didn’t think she ever noticed me peering around her window frame in the afternoon, but today, just for a moment, her eyes flickered upward, and our gazes met.  I’m just sure of it.

Mr. Nihil did the illustrious cover art for my first book Kitten, part of the New Bizarro Author Series of 2012, released by Eraserhead Press.  Mr. Nihil has a lot of comics, flash fiction, flash animation and other stuff at http://nihil-and-rat.com.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When Television Ends by G. Arthur Brown

There’s nothing on television, especially when it’s off.  My television is always off now that there’s no power.  Aggie is bored.

“Make something happen, Daddy!”

I grab my screwdriver and go to work on the set.  It’s not like we are going to be plugging back in.  The parts I can’t get out with the screw driver, I pull out with pliers or knock out with a hammer.  Until all that is left is a box with a clear glass screen.  Now I can do some puppet shows.  Aggie should like that.

But I’ll level with you.  This television really isn’t big enough for a good puppet show.  My puppets, likewise, are not made for a stage this small.  But I do have a large window in the front of my house and plenty of spare lumber. 

Construction on a big television-set-style stage takes over a week, but that’s because I frequently stop to eat cheese.  Aggie also needs assistance from time to time, being only four years old.  There’s only so much food I can put in her bowl at a time before it just goes bad.  I get the giant set finished by Thursday night, must see TV.  All the neighbors gather round to peer in my window that is now a screen. 

I’ve made the backdrop look like a coral reef.  But I hadn’t thought that through at all, and I don’t have any puppets that really make sense on the seabed. 

“Just pretend this clown is a clown fish!” I shout before I begin.

I enact a very poor rendition of Finding Nemo, without most of the jokes because I’ve forgotten them.  They never find Nemo in my version.  I’d decided it would be better if he is eaten by a killer whale, played by a polar bear puppet that I call Mokito.  The audience is really touched.  There’s not a dry eye in the, well, I was going to say house, but they are in fact in my front yard.  My yard is full of wet eyes.

Luckily there is a theater critic in the audience.  He approaches me after the show, holding a torch to light his way because it is dark at this point, and I remove my puppets to shake his hand.  Then he fiddles with his mustache and says, “I can’t say the script was good, but your casting decisions were tremendously bold. I really think you managed to poignantly lampoon the military-industrial complex when you had the mermaid rape the crab.  In honor of your success, I’m giving you a hickey.”  As he sucks on my throat, I think that this will be awkward to explain to people.  They will look at my neck and see what looks like the marks of a night of passion, then I will have to vigorously explain to them that it is, in fact, an award bestowed upon me for my successful puppet show.  I have ten different puppets!

Once the critic relinquishes his suction upon me, he totters off awkwardly into the night.  Bearing a lantern with green glass that gives an eerie glow, the local schoolmarm approaches me shortly thereafter and suggests I come to the single-room schoolhouse and do a puppet show to educate the children about the dangers of swallowing bees.  “They can sting your stomach,” she reminds me.  It had been some time since I’d seen a puppet show about not swallowing bees, and I had frankly forgotten the risks. I tell her that they will have to come to my house, because I would never be able to get a giant television set into that small building. She agrees and compliments me on my hickey and offers to show me her tits.  But I am a gentleman, so I never look upon the female form unclothed.  I tell her to meet me behind the milk barn in an hour wearing a burlap sack to obscure her naughty bits.  She rushes off at a gallop, and I call after her, “For I am a gentleman!”

Then I remember that I’ve forgotten all about Aggie.  I had put her in the oven three hours ago.  Surely she is overdone at this point.