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S T R E A M # 5

Ok, so, there’s a dog with a knife in the backyard. He’s holding the neighbor hostage. He wants bigger bones to bury – the dog does. And the neighbor happens to have big bones. That’s the claim he’s made, anyway, that he’s a “big boned” man. (Rather than fat.) I don’t want to give the dog bigger bones. He’s only half-buried the medium-sized bones I’ve tossed out. So I think the dog is being a snot-nosed scumbag. Well, he’s not really a scumbag. He’s a cute pooch. But he may well be snot-nosed – a spoiled snot-nosed pooch. And I can relate. My stepfather thinks I’m spoiled and snot-nosed – and I do blow my nose quite a bit. So I can relate to the dog – but only up to a point. Although I am hairy, I am not canine. I have no tail to wag. But the dog is being irrational. I, too, am often irrational. That said, I would never hold a knife to anybody’s throat. At least not in any premeditated sense. I don’t dig that sort of behavior. Too much guilt involved. Violent behavior results in guil

Forlorn Cacti

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For your amusement (or disgust), please find hereunder a recent exchange of text messages...   MA :  U left you’re plants [plant emoji] their worried [frowny emoji]  ME :  What makes you think they’re worried?  MA :  Because they said  ME :  What makes you think they’re sad?  [She sends a photo of a potted baby cactus and a potted baby succulent sitting on a window sill.]  MA :  Because they’re looking out the window for you  ME :  How do you know they’re not facing you?  MA :  Because they said,  “where’s [FireVaney]?”  Did u forget them?  ME :  They’re TALKING?!  MA :  Did u  ME :  They’ve never spoken to me.  MA :  Why of course  ME :  They must like you more.  MA :  Did u forget them?  I told them u can go home tomorrow  ME :  Well they just sent me this text: “On second thought, we’d like to stay.”  MA :  Really  ME :  Cacti are very tech savvy.  MA :  You’ll have to apologize forgetting them  ME :  But they said, via text, that they want to stay.  MA :  U don’t want them  Now the

S T R E A M # 4

The dog ate the tomato at the stroke of midnight. When he told me this I referred him to the nearest post office because they might have missed it. The post office likes to know about the whereabouts of dog-consumed tomatoes. Exactly why they want to know is a matter of national security. This is what they tell me. And I ate a tomato at a quarter past ten last night, but the post office doesn’t care. They only care about the dog. Which is exactly why I need to drink coffee after every TV show that displays cats eating tomatoes at the diner across the street from Jack. I don’t know who Jack is. I don’t know who Tom is. I knew a Tom once. I know a different Tom now. I’ve probably known a few Toms in my life. This is the job description from the deposit account in San Francisco. When I tasted the lima bean it tasted like ice cream from the Bob in Detroit. I’ve known a few Bobs, too. Time to turn up the music. I drink tea when I eat at the Chinese place across from the train station. I’ll

Pompous Armpits

FireVaney busses and wipes down the tables. Here’s what he overhears…  “Something’s the matter with my armpits. Not sure what. More hair, more skin. Maybe both. Just thought you should know.”  “So Ry’s, what, twenty-one? You know this seventeen year old he’s seeing? Yeah, he says she’s seventeen. Mm-hm. So few days ago they’re at his place. She puts a blindfold on him. Leads him out the building, down the street. All the way to the Red Line. The Belmont stop. They ride the L to Howard. She leads him, blindfolded, across the platform to the Purple Line. They take it all the way to Wilmette. That’s where the tracks end. She guides him out the station, then down the street. I dunno which street. No idea how far. They end up in a field. I dunno what kind of field. I didn’t ask. I didn’t think to ask. But they’re in the middle of this field. She whispers in his ear, ‘I want to make love to you.’ If they went ahead and did it, I don’t know if that’s where they did it. But why else would

Pit Stink

Why do we have to smell so bad? And everything that comes out of us, why does it all have to smell worse? Why does poop have to smell so bad? Is it so we won’t eat it? Is that really why? Was that just how stupid our prehistoric ancestors were?  And God said, “They might eat their own shit — so, uh, I’ll make it real stinky — yeah, that’s what I’ll do.”  Maybe Caveman Bob got curious one day, bent over, and took a hard look at what he’d just squeezed out of his butthole. And maybe he said, “Huh. That’s kinda like what chickens do. Then again, what I just did there is more cylindrical than spherical. And I never make a white one. Most importantly, mine doesn’t have a shell — THANK GOD. But I say we drop it in a pot of boiling water for twelve minutes and see what happens. Or, we could scramble it up with cheese, ham, onions, and green peppers. If anybody asks, just say it came from Denver.”  That’s when The Lord stepped in and said, “No, no. That’s shit. Nothing like an egg. Believe you

Cheeky FireVaney

The “backroom” of the Chicago Coffee Cadre (store #7). FireVaney washes dishes. Clayton enters and hangs up his jacket.  FireVaney   You two have a good time?  Clayton   We get along great.  FireVaney   I mean,  [ slowly ]  did you two have a good time?  [ Brief pause. ]  Clayton   Is that any of your business?  FireVaney   ‘Course not.  [ Brief pause .]  She a screamer?  Clayton   What?   FireVaney  Does she scream?  Clayton   No.  She’s quiet.  FireVaney   Maybe you don’t satisfy her.  Clayton   No. She once said she can see colors.  FireVaney   She color blind?   Clayton   No.  FireVaney   What colors?  Clayton   She didn’t say.  FireVaney   She didn’t say?  You didn’t ask?  Clayton  She said she saw colors.  So I said I saw spots.  FireVaney Cute. Next time ask what colors.  It’s important.  Clayton   Important? How?  FireVaney   You want her to see bright colors. Hot pink, not beige. Road flare red, not slate gray. If she’s seeing beige or slate gray, you’re doing something wrong.

We're At That Greasy Spoon On Clark

August 2, 1999   Honest to God (although I’m an atheist) this all happens:  I’m not hungry but I tag along with Jorge and Clayton to that greasy spoon on Clark and order an omelet anyway.  Lemme back up. It’s way past midnight and we’re walking along Clark, near where that greasy spoon is. You can tell by the unlit lampposts and un-signaling traffic signals that most of Clark is still powerless. * Maybe my AC, Jorge’s AC, Clayton’s AC, or all three of our ACs together , blew the neighborhood transformer. That greasy spoon’s lights are on, though; so we go in and grab a booth by a window. And like I said before, I ordered an omelet I didn’t need. On the jukebox in the corner, pop classics by the likes of Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor are followed by modern classics by the likes of Prince and Mariah Carey. Clayton orders the most cheese chocked-filled omelet I’ve ever seen. He spends more time forking gobs of melted cheese away from the rest of the omelet’s eggy-ness than he does actually

Ginny

10/24/2001 : Would you believe I was standing beneath the lit marquee of the Music Box Theater this evening, reading an Emily Dickinson chapbook? I was, but I was doing a poor job of it. And, no, I wasn’t there specifically to read poetry. But I might’ve been the first dude to read Dickinson at that particular location. And, no, I wasn’t reading it aloud. * In fairness (to me), I hadn’t thought to read it aloud. I bring a book or a magazine along wherever I go, just in case it rains. Gotta have something to hold open over my head. Can’t have a sudden shower muck up my carefully sculpted helmet of hair. And if I want something to read, I’ll take an umbrella. But seriously, it’s all about the waiting. If city life doesn’t cultivate patience, then it definitely cultivates insanity. If I find myself waiting (anywhere) beyond the walls of my apartment without something to read, I’ll end up gazing at the passersby, instead. They might gaze back. They won’t smile, though. Never mind if

S T R E A M # 3

I chew a lot of gum at night when the rain pours down the chimney and the tomatoes don’t sing their happy little song to me. This credit card will not eat my juice because it is not liquid Jell-O that I have not served in a Tupperware container from 1982. I must pause now to pick my nose. The noise sounds shaper this week to my right ear. All noise sounds shaper. The noise shows daller in my left ear this week. All noise to the left sounds daller. Or duller. And sharper. No. It’s either or. It’s either daller or shaper. The dogs won’t drink the water that is set out for them at night. Why does everything have to happen during the day when the sky isn’t blue and my car won’t start eating pooh? The sound of the sound isn’t the sound at all. Instead, it’s the sound of noise. You know the sound of noise. If you don’t, tune your TV to a cableless, station-less broadcast station, if you can. You want good, ole fashion broadcast “ snow .” Dat there’s noise, pure and simple. Or, or, or, visit

HELLarious

A laugh from hell woke me up at four o’clock this morning. It emanated, or so it seemed, from the same semi-distant place where I often hear the laughing woman. * But this new laugh, the laugh from hell, it was definitely male in nature, if not in origin. Call it incontinent, this laugh. This laugher laughed so hard it must have hurt. What sort of bloody sod laughs harder than is nearly humanly possible at four in the morning, and again thirty minutes later, and once more at five o’clock? You’d have thought the cackles were forced out of him the same way a small child squeezes a rubber ducky to death. I tell you, this laugh, it was a laugh of agony. The way you’d puke and shit out some serious food poisoning — like lose ten pounds overnight to the toilet kind of food poisoning — that’s how hard this loon laughed. Mayhap he could not sob. Say some psychological or biological impairment stifled his tears. So, instead, he laughed — laughed at it all and all of a sudden. It certainly see

Three Twenty-Eight a.m., Sunday, 21 August 2005, But Really Nine Thirty-Two a.m., Sunday, 22 August 2021

Stu is home. He was not home before he sat down to type this. But he is home now. Stu is sleepy. Notice that he writes in the present tense and in the third person. Does he succeed? Observe how he avoids the use of contractions. Does he fail? Know that his real name is not “Stu.” Does it matter? Although Stu tends to stew he is never up this late or this early. And yet, and so, or nevertheless, apart from typing this , Stu finds the energy to stand on a chair and smear the north wall of his bedroom with the guts of some many legged bug. Yes, some many legged bug had the audacity to crawl up his wall. And now it is smeared: the bug, its guts, the wall. Well, smeared not ALL over his wall. Most bugs, in this day and age, are not so large. (Compared to walls.) Add to the lengthy list yet another completely valid reason for why Stu should have the walls of his room repainted. But he waffles. Why? Because waffles are tasty. No, he waffles because he does not want to lose his privacy to a pa

Laundering Sorceress

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Wench! *   It’s all your fault! Solely. YOU alone are to blame… Why my stage-focus is now non-existent, why my entrances are all late, my cues dropped, my lines forgotten, my props left backstage, a million things… You, wench, washed my costume; and now that it smells so good — now that I can’t stop sniffing at my Bounce scented sleeves — I can’t act! Never before has a costume of mine felt so soft, smelt so clean! Alas! This snags at my entire Method-esque approach. Wise men from the Dark Ages simply aren’t supposed to smell so… so fresh, nor appear so… so pristine. Worse: Now? I’m probably the most immaculate character on stage — possibly cleaner than the king himself! It simply won’t do. Not that you should pluck the costume from its hanger and sully it in the dirt of the nearby tot lot — NO!! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I FORBID IT!!!! I’ll just have to…  as they say…  in the “biz”…  “ Use it.”  Yes. Henceforth, I’ll have to be known as the Neat As A New Pin Wise Man. Yes.  From now on? 

S T R E A M # 2

April 7, 2008 : The alligator ate the lollipop at seven twenty-three in the morning. He did not enjoy its taste. So he spit it out and ate a tuna fish instead. But he didn’t enjoy the tuna’s taste, either. It probably needed some mayo. That’s just a guess. What meat isn’t improved with a dab of mayo? A dab of mayo and a bit of grilling. Eh? Alas, these are pleasures an alligator — or, at least, your typical alligator — could never know of. Crocodiles are an altogether different matter somewhat entirely. Thus, or hence, mayonnaise and grilling are two benefits of being human. Like the word “moist,” mayo gets a bad rap. This is foolish. Moist cake is tasty. Dry cake is intolerable. Any dry turkey sandwich is improved with a dab or a smear of mayo. While a dab or a smear or a glob of, say, Grey Poupon is preferable to mayo, such is not always readily available. Mayo, on the other hand, is nearly as ubiquitous as simple tomato ketchup and basic yellow mustard. The sun goes down for a momen

Digressions from Apples

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04/26/05 : An Apple  must  be crisp. [FireVaney holds out a large, ripe, shiny one for all to see.] When an apple loses it crispness — and this occurs shortly before its innards begin to turn brown — you should no longer hold interest in it. A soft slice of apple — you should spit it right out. And you should not care how it looks — that spat out, masticated apple slice — after your teeth have attempted the munching of it. A non-crisp apple is an insult to your teeth and taste buds. Not that you shouldn’t savor a skillfully prepared apple pie, apple cobbler, or apple sauce. No, no. Love apple sauce, and the rest, but only if they meet or exceed the standard. Whose standard? Ah. If you’ve lived long enough to enjoy several (if not many) different apple pies / cobblers / sauces, then you — yes, you — should’ve developed your own standards by now. If not, keep sampling. Trust your taste buds, not your gut. Trust your gut only if it upsets you. But when you take a bite out of an apple,

A Candle Rose, A Silver Frog

If she calls, that means it's on. And if it's on, I'm keeping the condoms in the car. And if I need them, my life will change. I'll have a girlfriend. One HELL of a girlfriend. That is, if it's on. It might not be on, though. She could forget to call. She's a busy gal. Lives moment-to-moment. My buddy says, “Mid-afternoon, send a text to remind her.” I'm thinking I will. And if it's on, I've got the condoms in the trunk. That, and the candle rose. Assuming it's on, to keep the condoms, even just one, in the wallet could jinx it, the whole thing. Especially if one falls out. It’d probably make her laugh, though. Definitely, it would make her laugh. But maybe not. Or, when I'm paying for dinner — again, assuming that it's on — or paying for the flick, or for mini-golf, or bowling, or bocce, or whatever we do, she might catch sight of the circular shape of it, the condom, pushing up from inside my wallet. Yeah, but she's the type to smir

Stupid Hair

Hello.  [Wave.]  Question for you:  Are you happy with your hair?  Really happy?  Perfectly happy?  [Assuming silence, replies of “No,” or boos:]  Ah.  So you hate  your hair?  You  loathe,  detest,  or at least  disagree,  vehemently,  with it?  [Assuming applause and/or cheers:]  Well, in that case,  perhaps we’ll bond  over this next bit…  [ ALT. I: Assuming cheers, replies of “Yes,” and/or applause:]  So you’re happy  — completely happy — with your hair, huh? Mm? Eh?  What do you love  most  about  your hair?  [Repeat answer(s).]  Ah. Yes, I can see that.  [Lean in.]  Just between the two of us,  I envy your hair.  May I borrow it?  [Assuming “No.”]  Smart choice.  I might not give it back.  Would you please stand,  so that  everybody can  marvel  at your  exceptional  head of hair?  [If “No,” then say, “Dude, take it from me: Flaunt it while you’ve got it.”]  [Assuming he/she/they stand(s):]  Everybody:  Please:  “give it up” for  the person [or: people]  with full  confiden

The Bright Side of Doom & Gloom

08/10/16 : This is an opportunity. Take advantage of it. Why not? It will cost you a trip on the L-train. There and back. How much is that? Four dollars and fifty cents. True: It’ll cost more if you are assaulted. But assault is unlikely. Particularly in the middle of the day. Especially since the authorities are on “High Alert” following the most recent spate of assaults. None of which have occurred in the middle of the day. But consider: if you are assaulted, you’ll have something to write about. Assault —for the author — is an opportunity. (Assuming the author survives. Assuming no permanent brain damage.) What’s more, you have no pressing commitments. You can afford to take advantage of this opportunity. So… do so. Even if you aren’t assaulted, you’ll come away with something. And let’s be clear: What, at root, is it, i.e., this opportunity, after all? * From the moment you set foot outside you are confronted with the possibility of inspiration. Shouldn’t that be enough? Again, t