Toilet for Sale or Rent

My toilet lies under the ocean. My toilet lies under the sea.
I dream of Toilet with the light brown hair.
(I think I shall never see
a poem lovely as a toilet.)
I saw the best toilets of my generation destroyed by Sani-Flush, starving hysterical
scrubbing themselves through the Ajax streets at dawn looking for an angry brush...
There's no place like Toilet.
The cow jumped over the toilet.
Popeye toil't till he puk't, and then he toil't s'more.
I'd have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for them meddling kids and their mangy toilet.
Rub the lamp and receive three toilets.
The Great Wall of Toilet.
The Big Toilet.
That Toilet'n Town.
(Short toilets got no reason
Short toilets got no reason
Short toilets got no reason
to live)
I ain't got no red toilets...


some good places to drink beer

on the couch
on the toilet
in your car
in my car
at a bar
at a pub
at a tavern
at a restaurant
at a cafe
at a hotel
at a motel
at an inn
at a dive
at a fleabag motel
at an hourly motel
in a hot tub
in the kitchen
on the front porch
on the living room floor
at the kitchen table
under the kitchen table
in the front yard
in the back yard
in the swimming pool
in the bathtub
in the neighbor's yard
in the street
in the alleyway
in the driveway
in bed
at work
in a dream
in a daydream
in a daydream at work
on an airplane
in a bus
on a train
on a skateboard
on a hike
at a picnic table
on water skis
while parachuting
on a brewery tour
in jail
on the beach
in the forest
in the desert
in an empty irrigation canal
floating on an inner tube
in a submarine
on a boat
on a raft
in the closet
under the bed
in the rec room
in the woodshed
by the woodpile
at the bowling alley
at the baseball game
at the football game
in the parking lot at a baseball or football game
behind the 7-11
behind the Rite-Aid
on the side of the road while hitchhiking
on the side of the road while sunbathing
on the side of the road while reading
at the library
at the pet store
at the grocery store
at the political rally
at a concert
at church
at the bus stop
at a piano recital
under a full moon
under a starless sky
in solitary confinement
in a museum
at a hockey game
at a basketball game
at a soccer match
in the electronics department at Sears
on a riding lawnmower


and more spam I've received

vertabrae twine
boundless license
brittle die
fanciful blusher
administration momentary
pour schmaltzy
hooky truancy abrupt
phi appliance childish
priority reputable
air traffic controller yacht
rocking chair wow
electric yardstick
contraption barnacle
junk mail blow-dry
huh headway
vie grocer
sitting agonized
cancellation rigmarole
refrigeration endowment
insight unfamiliar
boost gloominess
chauvinistic hermetic
itch cook
warn enlightened
lacy unsettled
color indirect
run tantalizingly
do my shamefaced
despair other
demoralize smarts
fidgety poised
grungy manipulation
leer node
whim bribe
tidal sin
oatmeal tabulate
baffled typify
go potential
overpriced former
hydroelectric friendless
railroad crossing exec
annotated hypothermia
remake cringe

subject headers of spam I've received

runway bump
subculture servant
urbane variously
trench double
gain grease
cargo deportee
preliminary enrichment
drab BBQ
deal sluggish
visor stiffness
dopey pleat
urban variously
obedient holy
restive decapitate
presecutor culmination
hurdler casing
cactus competence
crimson hypotheses
augment gigabyte
pasteurize lowdown
nobleman youth hostel
aquatic foundation
tolerance amelioration
nightie grown
leggings garter
detonator ploy
eagerly blackhead
lib discretionary
foxhole disclose
inflation Eskimo
janitor southwestern
equate hood
fridge fast food
screwdriver rascal
simper deal
sabbath shafer interlude
indoctrination hoard
researve guarantee
writer classical
orange ceiling
swimmer lumbering
blond avaricious
electric shock
inoffensive hesitantly
adamant high roller
cultural resin
clung greenback
nicely conversant
gold medalist foci
harassment choppiness
coffin wildly
currant orientation
backhand radiant
periscope thousandth
home loan simulate
fill incoherent
malted milk drinker
elect wages
marsupial gross


w, w, w, w, w, w words (or not)

woofwoofhoof (I now pronounce you dog on horse)

b,b,b,b,b,b words (or not)

bowwowvow (I now pronouce you dog on dog)
Boiserious, Idaherroneous


that wasn't very nice

Someone threw a large carrot? Now, that wasn't very nice, thought someone as she stood in line for mixed nuts. As she approached the front of the line, she could see in the distance as a '75 Barracuda careened over a cliff and crashed in an enormous ball of fire and twisting metal. Imagine, she thought, wasting a perfectly good carrot.

follow the directions correctly

The grizzly bear lives on Rural Route 2, Snow Cave, Past the Icy Creek and Up the Old Tree-Covered Mountain, Stop for Huckleberries in Season, Have a Sip from Glacial Fjord Lake, and Sleep All Winter and Burn the Fat. His place is easy to find if you follow the directions correctly. A perky bottle of chianti and a small bunch of fragrant wildflowers in water are appreciated.

someone threw a large carrot

What about the mixed nuts? There was a promise of mixed nuts, murmered someone in the crowd. Mrs. Chainsaw walked by clutching a canvas shopping bag full of cans of condensed soup and one greeting card. Mrs. Abscessed Tooth bicycled by with a large bunch of celery strapped to her back. Everyone turned away from Mrs. Chainsaw to watch as Mrs. Abscessed Tooth whooshed by. As she approached, someone threw a large carrot at her head. The carrot missed and hit Mr. Garden Hose on the nose. The hitchhiker leaned over to lend him a hand. As the hitchhiker leaned over, Father noticed his long lost pet fly strip, Pasty, affixed to the hitchhiker's back. He hitched a ride on a motorcycle driven by a monocled salmon with a gold tooth. As they sped down the road, Father spotted Ernest, lying still in a large pile of leaves. "It is, after all, only a large pile of leaves," said Ernest. Back in town, a bewildered gardener asked an ancient librarian about the nuts.

as it approached a cliff

Mr. Hutchings-Claymore gripped the steering wheel tightly with both of his hands. He wore a plain white tee shirt and faded brown corderoy beret. He held an unlit pipe in his teeth. The stereo was turned off. One sock was white, the other tan. A two-day old newspaper and a cheeseburger wrapper lay on the passenger seat next to him. In the trunk, Mrs. Hutchings-Claymore lay bound with rope and duct tape over her mouth. A bowling trophy, adorned with a plastic silver eagle, was taped to Mrs. Hutchings-Claymore's hands. The car accelerated as it approached a cliff.


enjoy the soup

Mrs. Chainsaw stood in line at the Rite-Aid waiting to purchase a greeting card. What's your card say?, asked someone. "I'm very nervous right now," answered Mrs. Chainsaw, to no one in particular. Is it a Christmas card?, asked another. Maybe it's a happy retirement card, said another. "I'm too nervous to eat soup," muttered Mrs. Chainsaw. Is it an enjoy the soup card?, mused a stranger in a red and black wool flannel shirt. Oh yes, that must be it, everyone agreed. Enjoy the soup, said everyone in unison.


stuffing large underground silos

The Cheese Doodle War started innocently at first. Crunchistan began stockpiling crunchy cheese doodles near the border of Puffalonia, pouring the doodles into fortified, waterproof underground bunkers. Officials stated this program was to ensure a steady supply of crunchy cheese doodles, but government officials in Puffalonia feared Crunchistan was in fact preparing for all out cheese doodle war.

A few weeks passed and still Crunchistan continued filling underground bunkers with the popular cheese snack. Citizens in Puffalonia, startled at their neighbor's hostility, began marching in the streets, demanding retaliation. All the while, Puffalonia, under the leadership of the Snacking Party, began secretly stuffing large underground silos with puffy cheese curls. During this time, a covert operation was begun, as undercover intelligence officers from the Cheesy Intelligence Agency, or CIA, filled short-range missiles with Cheez Whiz.

Tensions grew more and more serious. Cheese doodle shortages predominated in both countries as citizens stockpiled underground bomb shelters. A few foolish people even resorted to spraying plastic packing peanuts with spray cheese, but their resulting deaths served as a reminder to others that only authentic doodles sustain life.

Weeks passed. Puffalonians and Crunchistanians marched in the streets of their capital cities. Television pundits traded barbs and predicted the other side would blink first. But no one ever blinked. Each country stepped up production of cheese doodles. Each country increased its enormous stockpile of cheese doodles. The world watched with horror as the two feuding countries dug a deep moat between them and built enormous cheese doodle catapults aimed at one another.

And so the Cheese Doodle War started, when one day a guard, snacking on a bag of nacho corn chips, tripped on a pebble and fell into the moat and drowned. It is not even worth noting which side he was guarding. It was many years ago, and everyone has since lost the taste for cheese-flavored snacks.


burning cougars saving schoolchildren

Top Ten Things to Do When a Small-Time Lit Mag Editor Rejects Some Bit of Writing You Sent in the Vain Hope of Publishing It:

1. Invent unconventional sports team names: Peoria Peanut Butter Aficionados; Lubbock Storm Drain Sox; Portland Scabby Elbows; Tacoma Jongs; Nevada Sexually-Transmitted Disease Sufferers; Atlanta Melted Velveetas.
2. Pick bits of lint out of your navel while awaiting a train.
3. Eat God Save the Queen brand sardines packed in oil you bought at Rite-Aid.
4. Pat your pet fly strip, Pasty, on the head and stare at the wall.
5. Pack a small duffel bag with three changes of clothes, a small handheld tape recorder, one pencil, and a pad of recycled notepaper, then walk to the street corner and stick out your thumb for a ride.
6. Accept a ride from an elderly man who says he's going to hell but can drop you off at a gas station somewhere down the road.
7. Sit on a curb in front of a gas station somewhere and hum "God Save the Queen."
8. Get out pencil and pad and outline an "All in the Family" episode you remember from years ago in which Archie says something bigoted and Meathead objects and Gloria cries and Edith gets Archie a beer.
9. Draw a stick figure lying on a bed of nails surrounded by burning cougars and imagine it's an editor who, though he liked your bit of writing, said he would pass on it anyway.
10. Write a short story about burning cougars saving schoolchildren from an advancing tornado.

check his pockets, navel, and knee behinds

More Things to Do, This Time While Waiting for a Train to Arrive in Station:

1. Pick bits of lint from the bottoms of your pockets.
2. Pick bits of lint from your navel.
3. Pick bits of lint from your sweater.
4. Pick bits of lint from behind your knees.
5. Wonder how bits of lint became lodged behind your knees.
6. Pick bits of lint from the cashmere sweater of the man seated next to you in the waiting area.
7. Explain to the man seated next to you that lint has been found to be highly toxic.
8. Ask the man seated next to you if you could check his pockets, navel, and knee behinds.
9. Pick bits of lint from between the cheeks of your derriere.
10. Wonder where the man seated next to you has disappeared to so suddenly.

God Save the Queen

Top Ten Things to do While Waiting for a Freighter to Arrive in Port:

1. Clip fingernails while whistling "God Save the Queen."
2. Clip fingernails while scratching crotch and humming "God Save the Queen."
3. Clip fingernails while burping up last night's dinner and singing "God Save the Queen" at lungs' full capacity.
4. Clip coupons for God the Save Queen brand toenail shavings at Rite-Aid.
5. Stop clipping coupons for God Save the Queen brand lip balm at Rite-Aid and slip into a coma and fall off a park bench onto the ground, scattering several dozen pigeons in whirrs of surprise.
6. Walk slowly toward a bright light at the end of a long, long tunnel, while in the background a tinny, scratchy recording of "God Save the Queen" plays.
7. Cough uncontrollably and rue the day you dropped out of barber college to pursue a career schlepping God Save the Queen brand vacuum cleaners door to door.
8. After dreaming of the lost financial opportunities that could have been had by opening a chain of God Save the Queen Barber Colleges, wake from a coma and find a half dozen sardines in your left breast shirt pocket.
9. Clip a coupon for a tin of God Save the Queen brand sardines packed in oil at Rite-Aid.
10. Read an upside down road map of Switzerland with a God Save the Queen brand magnifying glass purchased at Rite-Aid.


it's always the same face

cuckoo spit: a frothy secretion exuded on plants by the nymphs of spittle insects.

Sheeyit, said Randolph, we's got us all kinds'a cuckoo spit in these parts.
But why's they nymphs all over them leafs, wondered Randolph to himself silently, looking askance. Randolph sat down on an ancient tree stump, the rings rubbed smooth over the years. In the distance black clouds of starlings darted through the sky, the round orange sun stretched out tired and dropped below the horizon. Randolph scratched his knee and looked at a healing, pink scab on his knuckle.

Somewhere, in a convention center, Curtis Spittle of Thermos Falls, Idaho, handed out Reverend Nineball "Prayer Mysteries" to passers by, many of whom quickly deposited them in the nearest waste bin, where some time later Mr. Spittle dug them out, saved the ones that were clean, so he could leave them under windshield wipers in the Applebee's parking lot next door.

Sheeyit, said Randolph, there must be a million things I don't know. The sky by now was quite dark, filling with rain clouds, the air filled with sounds of distant traffic and an intermittent train whistle. Every day I look in the mirror to see what I find and it's always the same face looking back at me, Randolph thought. He remained on the tree stump as it began to rain, fat drops of cold water splashing on his head.


how do, howdy, hello, howzit, ho ho

Five strangers introduce themselves in a crowded convention hall. Hello, my name is Bob my friends call me Bob my wife calls me Bob my kids call me for money and I represent the Affiliated Tooth Powder Consortium of Hedgehog Flats, Arkansas; how do, howdy, hello, howzit, ho ho (hoo boy). Greetings, my name is Curtis Spittle of Thermos Falls, Idaho, and I represent the Reverend Nineball "Prayer Mysteries" series, which you might have seen stuck under your windshield wiper a time or two at your local shopping mall; how do, howdy, hello, howzit, ho ho (go to hell). Folks, allow me to introduce myself I'm Pete Patoot of the Sunshine Denture Alternatives Project, yes in fact we are working this very moment on a new kind of dentures made of recycled plastic and huckleberries and the test cases we're running in Vietnam look veeerrrry promising; how do, howdy, hello, howzit, ho ho (what the hell?). Me? Oh, I'm Kathy McVeigh no I'm no relation of the Reno Rental Truck and Manure Company of Waco, Texas, and I'm here this week to present an exciting new line of products we're calling Blammo Storage Boxes, as we say, "they're blammo!" How do, howdy, hello, howzit, ho ho (duck!). I guess that leaves me I'm Theocrates Miller of Yonkers, New York, representing the Q-777 Instant Mashed Yams company, a business venture of the Upstate New York Yam Growers Cooperative; how do, howdy, hello, howzit, ho ho (I gotta get in on the ground level of this yam thing).


lying in a large pile of leaves

Ernest lay in a large pile of leaves. Mr. Oil Stain approached and said a silent prayer. Mrs. Chainsaw sat under the oak, its branches bare and brown, and stared straight ahead, tears welling in her eyes. Professor Leaf Rake remained a respectable distance away, reciting poetry to the wind. Mrs. Abscessed Tooth was not there. She was at home baking, as she did whenever she was nervous.

Mr. Garden Hose approached the large pile of leaves, poked Ernest with a stick, and grumbled, you're always trying to get our attention, aren't you? Well, I'll have none of it!

I think he might be dead, said someone as a crinkly yellow leaf lofted into the cold, brisk wind.

I'm just a man lying in a large pile of leaves, replied Ernest.


don a tutu and do the splits

You should be watching football, said Mrs. Hutchings-Claymore. No, I should be cleaning out the rain gutters, said Mr. Hutchings-Claymore. No, no, you sit and eat cheese puffs and drink beer and watch football, said Mrs. Hutchings-Claymore. I would rather sip sparkling cider, eat celery sticks, and clean out the rain gutters, said Mr. Hutchings-Claymore. You will sit your ass on the couch and drink beer and fart and scratch yourself while watching football, said Mrs. Hutchings-Claymore. I will shave my back and don a tutu and do the splits in the front yard, said Mr. Hutchings-Claymore. I will smash the television with a sledgehammer and pour buckets of white paint over your bowling trophies, said Mrs. Hutchings-Claymore. I will watch football now, said Mr. Hutchings-Claymore.


suspended momentarily in air

You must drink more whiskey, said the advertising executive to the gathered crowd in a nursing home.
What did he say? Did you hear that?, asked Willis, an 87 year-old retired plumber.
I SAID YOU MUST DRINK MORE WHISKEY, said the advertising executive, his blue and gray striped silk tie resting on his left shoulder.
Floor Hickeys? Mormon Keys? Musty Wise Guys? Young man, you will have to speak up, exclaimed Bridgadette, a 92 year-old former go-go dancer, her voice a graceful whisper, suspended momentarily in air.
In the corner, a record player spun a scratched polka record, tubas blaring and accordions wheezing repeatedly in a perpetual loop.
GET OUT OF YOUR WHEELCHAIRS AND GET DRUNK, said the ad executive, his face red, bits of spittle exploding from his inflamed lips.
An overweight tabby cat sauntered into the TV room, mewed and rubbed its legs against a wheelchair tire, and then flopped onto a small pile of coarse white hospital towels in the corner across from the gramophone.
Quincy, an 82 year-old retired letter carrier, waking from a short nap, stretched his arms wide to his sides, leaned over and asked the cat, young man, have you seen my flask?

pour everything into a large wooden barrel

Recipe for Authentic Hungarian Style Ham Goulash:

Three smoked, cured hams (preferably without bone)
Three white onions, peeled
Three cloves of garlic, peeled
Three tablespoons of kosher salt
Three pinches of black pepper
Three bunches of lemon zest
Three hours of free time
Three gasps of air
Three horrified stares with hands on cheeks
Three Hungarian peasants who know how to cook
Three pasta rollers
Three people versed in the art of rolling pasta
Three buckets of fresh rain water
Three cows
Three sewing needles
Three burlap bags of celery
Three bushels of Hungarian paprika
Three roller skates
Three times a lady
Stir, mix, and chop with three hand blenders on the surprised gasp setting
Wait for a while
Pour everything into a large wooden barrel
Cook over an open flame in your back yard until done, about three hours
Invite the neighbors. All three of them.

veinte questions

Uno: Mr. Vats of Glue, why are there rats in your mouth?
Dos: Mr. Leveraged Buyout, why do I hear muffled screams in the trunk of your limo?
Tres: Mr. Redundant, why do you sit in a corner and cry, your sobs echoing off the walls?
Cuatro: Mrs. Tampon, why do you flit like a hummingbird in the kitchen while you cook?
Cinco: Reverend Butthole, where can I find a good deal on tires?
Seis: Dr. Rancid Milk, why do you lie dead in a pool of blood?
Siete: Mr. Question, do you ever look in a mirror and burst into fits of insane laughter?
Ocho: Mrs. Wilted Lettuce, why did you slit the throat of poor Dr. Rancid Milk?
Nueve: Judge Leadfoot, why do you sleep while justice dies a slow, painful death?
Diez: Senator Urine, how much did your leather shoes cost the peasants of Guatemala?
Once: Se├▒or Vanquished Peasant Village, why do you heave mirrors at black cats as they scurry past?
Doce: Miss Unhappy Childhood, why do you miss your childhood?
Trece: Mr. Gargantuan Tooth Gap, why do you insist on calling chocolate pudding "chocopud"?
Catorce: Professor Leaf Rake, how do you maintain such a positive demeanor?
Quince: Mrs. Chainsaw, why has no one seen Mr. Chainsaw in four months?
Diez y Seis: Mr. Garden Hose, what are you sawing and nailing at night while the town sleeps?
Diez y Siete: Reverend Pie in the Sky, could you please share your recipe for cheese surprise?
Diez y Ocho: General Yowza Yowza, as you scan the horizon, do you notice the clouds gathering buckets of rain?
Diez y Nueve: Doctor Three Eyebrows, if two dogs run toward each other at two hundred miles per hour and collide head on, will the resulting force as they strike weld the animals together, resulting in one dog?
Veinte: Mr. Bags of Blue Paper, why do you go from door to door selling religion to hung over roofers and road workers?


a small plot of dirt

Ernest set up a booth at the county fair. Behind him he cordoned off a small plot of dirt behind yellow police tape.

Mrs. Chainsaw stood in line gripping prayer beads and talking nervously with Mrs. Abscessed Tooth.

Mr. Oil Stain fumbled with his car keys in his trouser pocket and thought about high school football. "The world's gone crazy, waiting to see a bunch of nuffin,'" harumphed someone. Professor Leaf Rake replied, not knowing exactly who had spoken, "we must remain open to the opportunity to learn."

Mr. Garden Hose reached the front of the line and barked, "well, you damn fool, this better be worth getting off the couch for."

"It is just a small plot of dirt," replied Ernest.

this is a postcard

This is a postcard of the inside of a nostril. Note the presence of black nosehairs, snot, and remnants of a tissue, plus miscroscopic bits of fingernail. Wish you were here.

This is a postcard of the inside of a bucket. Note the tangy taste of grapeseed mixed with paint thinner and cow's milk. Wish you were here.

This is a postcard of a postcard factory. Stooped women in hairnets push wire mesh bins from one corner of the factory across the cold concrete expanse to the other side of the factory. Wish you were here.

This is a postcard of an industrial-size dryer in a laundromat. A fruit pie wrapper and two pair of pink Jockey shorts litter the chipped green concrete floor. An old woman pushes a wire mesh cart of laundry from one corner of the laundromat to the other. Wish you were here.

This is a postcard of a 100-yard long stretch of highway between Colfax, Washington, and Pullman, Washington. The highway is black with a double-yellow line down the middle. To the sides of the road are impressive expanses of wheat stubble and several bird carcasses. Wish you were here.

This is a postcard of a postcard of a postcard. Wish you were here and here and here.

the bottle on my nightstand

You must drink more whiskey, said the doctor to the diabetic.
I try, said the diabetic, but often I am too full from eating pork rinds and drinking buttermilk.
You must drink more whiskey, said the doctor to the diabetic, or you risk losing a leg.
I will try, replied the diabetic, but I cannot see the bottle on my nightstand, and I lose my way at night as I stumble to the toilet.
You must drink more whiskey, said the recording.
I do not like whiskey and it makes me dizzy and lethargic, replied the diabolical beast.
You must drink more whiskey, said the advertizing executive to the homeless waif.
I will drink more whiskey when it is time, said the homeless sous chef.
You will drink more whiskey now, said the drill sargeant.
I will kill your dog, said the plebe, a warm bottle of whiskey clutched to his chest.
I will drink whiskey and kill your dog and drive to the pier and torch an abandoned warehouse.
All I asked is that you drink more whiskey, said the priest between sobs.


her chance to see the world

One day a strong wind gathered and dislodged Pasty, the family's pet fly strip, from the metallic Phil's Soothing Foot Wart Pads sign on the cinder block wall of the gas station in some effete town somewhere. The fly strip flew twenty yards and became attached to the back of the hitchhiker's faded jeans jacket as he walked out of town eating a well-chewed ear of corn.

Pasty, sensing this was her chance to see the world, held on as tightly as she could. In the distance, back at the gas station, a bewildered gardener emerged, scratching his bald dome and peering into the back alley.

a very large pile of corn cobs

Would you like regular or premium, asked the old librarian. Is this where I can see the world's largest pile of corn cobs, asked the bewildered gardener.
No, it is not, replied the old librarian.
I am sure I was told that there is a very large pile of corn cobs here, said the bewildered gardener.
Sigh, said the old librarian.
Sigh, asked the bewildered gardener.
It's in the back alley, said the old librarian.


Graduation Speakers

Valedictorian: Kevin Hitler, "Seize the Day: Make the Future Today"
Salutatorian: Buffy Stalin, "Don't Let the Small Stuff Get You Down"
Class President: Todd Pot, "Dude, Where'd We Leave Our Diplomas?"
Class Vice President: Jennifer the Hun, "Remembering Mom's Milk and Cookies: Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned Around the Kitchen Table"
Class Treasurer: Chip Capote, "Oops, I Did It Again"
Special Guest Speaker: Tim Jong Il, Speech TBA

a brief lament

Oh, my soapy suntan, swooned Susie the candlemaker as she doodled on a map of the polar ice caps with a pencil. I'm ever so uncontained and gradually disappearing.


coughing fit

cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough coug coug coug cough cough cough cough cohabitate couch cough cough conch cough cosigner cough cough coochie coo cough cough cough cootie cough coug cough copulate cough cough cog cog cough contra coug copayment cough cough constipation cough cough cough cope cop cough cough couch couch couch couch cough coup coup de ville cough cough cooperate cough cough coulee cossack cough cough cough cough cunt cough cough contradict cough cough cough coagulate coug coup cough cough cough cow couch cough cowl cough cough cough syrup cough cough cob corn cough cough contract cough coug cou co


Ten jacks players gamble and smoke under a full moon.
Nine submariners tell lawyer jokes.
Eight bowling ball polishers recline in the yard discussing politics.
Seven tennis ball manufacturers bake apple strudel in the kitchen.
Six basketball officials stand in an aisle of cheese puffs at a truck stop and fret about world hunger.
Five onion ring breaders sweat profusely.
Four carriers of bowls of hot and sour soup lean on a windowsill in Elko, Nevada.
Three crosseyed rabbits run into traffic in Shanghai.
Two mincemeat pie eaters finger flatware nervously.
One tax auditor walks into a diner and says gimme coffee you gotta gimme coffee.

a happy tune of yesteryear

How much is that doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie hey numbnuts are you even reading this doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie hey are you fucking doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie hey douchebag doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie hey dickhead needle doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie doggie in the window?

wow what a drag

Fanny sat on her Florence while on vacation in Ludmilla.
Jim Bob ate pine needles while receiving dialysis at the truck stop.
Pee Wee drew cartoons of elephants while pooping his diaper in sociology class.
Uncle Thurburt belched rhyming couplets while drinking egg nog out of a dog dish.
Cousin Winnie smoked hashish on the roof of a VW camper van while naked.
Jim Bob drove his truck into a brick wall while eating a bowl of cereal.
Fanny vacationed with Ludmilla and Florence in Nancy, where they ate horesemeat sandwiches.
While Uncle Thurburt was away at a retreat for auto insurance salespeople, he received orders to join his marine unit in Iraq.
Pee Wee sat on the floor in a puddle of urine while listening to Seven Habits of Highly Successful People on tape.
Jim Bob pulled glass shards from his beard.
Uncle Thurburt hid out in Cousin Winnie's van and ate chocolate chip cookies and drank beer out of a dog dish.
Pee Wee pooped on the floor during a political science lecture.
Jim Bob phoned Fanny in Nancy and asked Florence to put Ludmilla on the line.
Jim Bob used a pine needle for floss.
Jim Bob turned Uncle Thurburt in to the authorities.
Uncle Thurburt drove a VW camper van into the surf at high tide and flooded the engine.
Cousin Winnie said wow what a drag.


A Night at the Hams

Bridge Over the River Ham; Seven Hams for Seven Brothers; Ham Wars; Raiders of the Lost Ham; The Ham Commandments; Ham Hunter; Hamloose; Revenge of the Hams; 2001, A Ham Odyssey; A Clockwork Ham; Apocalypse Ham; Hamfinger; Easy Ham; Million Dollar Ham; Back to the Ham; Ham at Tiffany's; The Wizard of Ham; Napoleon Ham; Gone With the Ham; The Maltese Ham; Pulp Ham; The Great Ham; What About Ham?; The Day the Ham Stood Still; Bill and Ted's Excellent Ham; Brokeback Ham; Das Ham; Life is Ham; Ham Story; Invasion of the Ham Snatchers; Raging Ham; The Silence of the Hams; An American in Ham; The Good, the Bad and the Ham; Mr. Smith Goes to Ham; It's a Wonderful Ham; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Ham; Brian's Ham; Ham Doesn't Live Here Anymore; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Ham; To Catch a Ham; The Birth of a Ham; A Ham for All Seasons; The Longest Ham; The Last Temptation of Ham; The Passion of the Ham; Polterham; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Ham; Monty Python and the Holy Ham; Hamfellas; Hamface; Roger & Ham; La Dolce Ham; The 40-Year Old Ham; The Ham Strikes Back; When Harry Met Ham; A Passage to Ham; Good Night, and Good Ham; Almost Ham; The African Ham; Hamspotting; Looking for Mr. Goodham; Dirty Rotten Hams; Au Revoir Les Hams; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Ham; House of Sand and Ham; New York Hams; Short Hams; Hams Don't Cry; Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Ham; Ham Actually; Blazing Hams; 9 1/2 Hams; Field of Hams; Dances With Hams; The Sound of Ham; The Ham of Monte Cristo; There's Something About Ham; All the President's Hams; Charlie and the Chocolate Ham; Chitty Chitty Ham Ham; The Manchurian Ham; All Quiet on the Western Ham; Last Exit to Ham...

ham ham ham ham again

Stand by your ham; I'm gonna wash that ham right outta my hair; somewhere over the ham; do not pay attention to that ham behind the curtain; everyone deserves their fifteen minutes of ham; I'm just a coal miner's ham; all in all, it's just another ham in the wall; 99 bottles of ham on the wall; Humpty Dumpty fell off the ham; the hambone's connected to the ham; do you take this ham; here's looking at you, ham; the running of the hams; this one time, at ham camp; Adventures of Huckleberry Ham; Ham Solo; Oh, Danny ham; dog is man's best ham; A Midsummer Night's Ham; Everything You Always Wanted to Ask About Ham But Were Afraid to Ask; Schindler's Ham; ham up your butt (drum rimshot); ring around the ham; don't squeeze the ham; Hammy Sosa; the ham heard round the world; Of Mice and Hams; Snow White and the Seven Hams; if I only had a ham. It's fun to stay at the H-A-M.


a vital means of survival

Chicken Burrito arrived in these parts thirty years ago when the Rabid Paunch people, who subsisted on artwork made from macaroni and paper plates, still roamed the hills. Chicken Burrito dealt a deadly blow to the Rabid Paunches when he settled on a two-play paper plate, robbing the peace-loving native people of the Land of Big Teeth of a vital means of survival. Chicken Burrito married Cheese Burrito and had many children, populating the Hairy Armpit Valley with hyperactive Chicken Cheese Burritos who, when left outside too long, turned rancid and very, very bored.

Off in a corner, Mr. Garden Hose thought, "so what if he's got hisself a damn hole in the ground, I got me better stuff'n that."

them mud puddles down there

A line of people stood waiting to see Ernest. Once each person reached the front of the line, Ernest whispered in his or her ear.

Mrs. Chainsaw giggled nervously while she waited. Professor Leaf Rake and Mr. Oil Stain talked about high school football. "I bet he's got sumpin' to say 'bout them mud puddles down there at that grocery store," whispered someone.

Mr. Garden Hose approached Ernest.

"Well, what the hell's it gonna be," barked Mr. Garden Hose.

"It is just a hole in the ground," whispered Ernest.


like sands through the hour glass

At birth, I cried before emerging from the womb.

At one, I learned to drive stick.

At two, I ate calamari for the first time.

At three, I traveled to Rome as the Canadian attache in charge of naval affairs.

At four, I stopped wetting my bed with the help of electroshock treatment.

At five, I suffered a nervous breakdown.

At six, I wrote a novel entitled "Where Garden Gnomes Fear to Tread"

At seven, I accidentally wet the bed while staying a weekend at the Hilton. The concierge beat me with a telephone receiver.

At eight, I won ten thousand dollars playing blackjack.

At nine, I was a guest on the Dick Cavett Show.

At ten, I read Gibbons's "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

At eleven, I burned a bag of dog shit on the porch of a grouchy old man.

At twelve, I watched the movie "Shane" for the first time.

At thirteen, I jumped off a bridge. Later that week, all my friends jumped off a bridge, too.

At fourteen, I burned ants with matches. Later that week, I burned my dog with a blow torch.

At fifteen, I sat on Santa's lap and asked for an aircraft carrier.

At sixteen, I stole a box of wheat crackers from a bag lady who lived in a cardboard box under a bridge.

At seventeen, I punched a kid at church in the balls for saying the word "yowza." I'd warned him.

At eighteen, I joined the circus and grew a second penis.

At nineteen, I learned how to play bocce ball.

At twenty, I swam with translucent jellyfish on a tropical island in the Pacific.

At twenty-one, I served three months in prison for hit and run.

At twenty-two, I rejoined the circus and grew a third penis.

At twenty-three, I traveled as a roadie with the Rolling Stones.

At twenty-four, I voluntarily admitted myself into a mental health facility.

At twenty-five, I learned sign language.

At twenty-six, I took a dump in a grocery store parking lot and cleaned myself with a brown paper bag.

At twenty-seven, my pet turtle, Chester, drowned in a swimming pool.

At twenty-eight, I embezzled three million dollars from a teachers' pension fund.

At twenty-nine, I read the Bible from beginning to end.

At thirty, I readmitted myself into a mental health facility.

At thirty-one, I joined the Peace Corps.

At thirty-two, I beat and robbed travelers and left them for the lions while on safari in the Serengeti.

At thirty-three, I became a Jehovah's Witness. At thirty-three and a half, I became a former Jehovah's Witness.

At thirty-four, in a drunken stupor, I fell and knocked my head and received a serious concussion.

At thirty-five, I rejoined the Jehovah's Witnesses and took a job demonstrating carpet shampooers door to door.

At thirty-six, I had my third penis removed and placed in a glass jar.

At thirty-seven, I completed the Sunday New York Times crossword and celebrated by jumping off a bridge. Several days later, all my friends jumped off a bridge, too.

At thirty-eight, I entered law school and worked nights grooming camels.

At thirty-nine, after losing a race for Congress on the revived Bull Moose Party ticket, I wandered into a Brazilian jungle wearing nothing but a rubber raincoat and saltwater sandals.


it is just a hole in the ground

A small group of people gathered around Ernest. "Everyone," said Ernest, "this is a hole in the ground."
"Why, it's a hole in the ground," stated Mrs. Chainsaw cheerfully.
"Don't need no damn hole in the ground," grumbled Mr. Garden Hose.
"Oh, I beg to differ. There is a wide variety of uses for a finely dug hole in the ground," mused Professor Leaf Rake.
"I saw on the TV that they's dug a real big hole in the ground over in some town somewhere," said someone.
"Well, it is just a hole in the ground," replied Ernest.

The small group of people swelled until it was a crowd of people lined around the hole. "Whatcha gonna do with it," asked Mr. Oil Stain.
"I'll give yer two bits fer'it," offered Mr. Garden Hose.

a day begins like any other

Sleeping. Sleeping in a car. Sleeping in a car driving into another car. Dying in a car. Careening into traffic. Careening into a canyon of surprised armadillos. Armed children roaming the backwater spaces of America. Dusty teeth and swollen tongues. Sleeping in the staring sun under a black tarp. A cloud of flies under a black tarp in the staring sun. Hordes of flies in a dying canyon under the careful eyes of daisies. Sleeping. Sleeping in the dust and daisies, roaming the backwater spaces of America. The pope is in the desert searching for his teeth. Barking dogs ask why the clouds fill the sky with questions. A child sleeps in a car surrounded by sagebrush and morning kildeer. On the dash, a jar of strawberry jelly and a plastic spoon.


listless urine art bleats

Let's Pretend to be Beavers and Build Dams
That's grapes, it farts with a milkshake, bards and steaks, an arrow pain -
Lenny boos a panty raid. I am hurried, OK, listen to your shelves burn -
wood slivers brown seeds, don't whittle your brown seeds. Throw it up ralph ralph,
who's there, grapes no, drapes no. Latter Day Saints who fear awful lights,
dune lights. Tire in a dryer, exterminate the severed heads in a parking lot so
dire and a wombat fight. Elf hair, was no chumming in a slurry with the Murrays
weaving goose down pillows. Ream by ream supporters waffled, clumps of toothy
cops. Like on that shallow plain! Whatever. Uh oh, overkill, pop your zits,
commie gropes, and hair dos. Shave your legs, sever your shaft. Wood brews its
own mead, listless urine art bleats. Tinfoil me with the rupture and the
revving tent in the night - ah-ight. You vitrified, pistol whipped, Shazam, Spam, Orange
Jell-O, translucent pretty food.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams and I got mine.

Sex on a dock - fishy odor. Don't be distraught in orange glower. Hash and ferns,
Jesus, glisten like an elf, child. Pluck him in unicorns and bra snapping,
flood insurance. Anti-aging cream cake. Anti-aging Cincinnati. Flights and handles,
slight emotive. Stoop drown, stoop drown. Catch a bulrush, hush hush. Oy vey,
you mean no beer - clown's here. Rent a game and share Claire! A peppermint,
a peppermint, a peppermint of eyes. Awful me some lotions, awful me aloe vera,
and I deplane.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams and I got mine.

Sister Sledge trapped in a nice continental breakfast ride. Mount St. Helens.
Christian Slater. Ronald Reagan, Danny Partridge and Conrad Baines.
Bison privy, clam chowder, Jell-O bags, kapow! You sympathetic, patronizing,
Spam, but knock, OK? OK.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams.
Let's pretend to be beavers and build dams and I got mine...mine...

(adapted from "It's the End of the World As We Know It," with apologies to REM)

a can of soup ties its shoes

A can of soup grows in Brooklyn. A can of soup lines up to join the Army. A can of soup practices the piano. A can of soup speaks to the Rotary Club. A can of soup comes home from war. A can of soup paints a self portrait. A can of soup shoots its brains out. A can of soup ice skates in Central Park. A can of soup gets the sniffles. A can of soup takes a job on Wall Street. A can of soup takes night classes. A can of soup gets married. A can of soup celebrates his bar mitzvah. A can of soup pilgrimages to Mecca. A can of soup walks on the moon. A can of soup suffers from arthritis. A can of soup purses its lips. A can of soup wears a top hat. A can of soup votes Republican. A can of soup marches against the war. A can of soup rusts on a sunny day. A can of soup has children. A can of soup reads the newspaper. A can of soup stares out the window. A can of soup dies, dreaming of all the lovely soup cans in the world.

ham ham ham ham

Ham bones, pink ham, canned ham, hams across America, President George W. Ham, ham shank, spiral ham, Boston Ham Sox, Ham I am, ham-a-rific, ham-tastic, ham-diddly-doo, how much is that ham in the window?, I left my ham in San Francisco, there is no ham there, the cow jumped over the ham, eating her curds and ham, ham radio, ham television, 50 Ways to Leave Your Ham, hamster, ham on toast, ham sandwich, ham-faced, Ham Flakes, tie a ham around the old oak tree, the Star Spangled Ham, put a ham in your butt, Elvis Presley-shaped ham, The Ham Also Rises, ham trading cards, 1965 Pontiac Ham, the Great Wall of Ham, ham on a stick, the Grateful Ham, ham-flavored M & M's, hamhead, ham-fisted, no sense crying over spilt ham, ham-scented toilet paper, ham water, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Hams, Mr. Gorbachev--tear down this ham, ham leather, get off my ham, gee your ham smells terrific, we have nothing to fear but ham itself, World War Ham, No Ham Zone, no ham no foul, start spreadin' the ham. Ham, can you hear me?

knick knacks, refuse, and outright trash

The hitchhiker slept slumped against the cinder block wall. Seven feet above him an ancient metallic sign advertising Phil's Soothing Foot Wart Pads shone in the late afternoon sun. In the dumpster, five empty apple juice boxes, three aluminum beer cans filled with chewing tobacco spit, seventeen assorted newspapers and catalogs, six soiled diapers--two cloth and four disposable, two used syringes, a bucket of chicken bones, seventy corndog sticks, two dozen empty sixty-four ounce beer bottles, a Spanish-English/English-Spanish dictionary, eight empty prescription bottles, four banana peels, two whole bananas, a skateboard, a dead cat, a plastic bag full of human hair, a tube sock full of thumb tacks, a portable radio covered in dried barf, thirty-three stray kernels of corn, an Etch-a-Sketch, three hundred and one paper clips, two wasp nests, a pie plate, fourteen dozen cigarette butts, six used condoms, a half dozen empty bottles of strawberry wine, one empty bottle of raspberry wine, a biography of Lee Iacocca, three expired packages of steaks with prices twice marked down, twenty-three wads of gum, sixty-seven candy bar wrappers, fourteen moldy loaves of white bread, ten loaves of moldy wheat bread, five empty tins of chili con carne, two dozen empty cans of dog food, fourteen empty cans of cat food, five empty bottles of motor oil, two empty bottles of STP, three dozen empty cans of snuff style chewing tobacco, two Playboys, a plastic football, four pencils with teeth marks, a 1987 Chicago Bears calendar, fifty-eight empty packs of cigarettes, three hundred plus cash register and gas pump receipts, and other various paraphanelia, knick knacks, refuse, and outright trash, including a monocle and two recently opened packages of German bratwurst.

a place for frying sausages

I have no sausages for you to fry, said the old librarian. But is this not the place to fry sausages, asked the bewildered gardener.
No, it is not.
It is a gas station. Would you like a corn dog?
A gas station?
Yes, a gas station. The library has closed and converted into a gas station. The fruit leather is where the reference desk was once located.
What about a place for frying sausages, asked the bewildered gardener.
Shh, said the old librarian.

a total lack of evidence

Hey, this is Hank "The Birdmangler" Buttpinscher, Jr., again. My court-appointed attorney, Frank Linmint, just called (Why does he have a phone in solitary confinement, you ask? Hmm, good question. Another good question, smart guy, would be how not one but two guys came to be known as "Birdmangler"). Anyway, to get to the gist of the matter, I'd like to say my last post was for entertainment purposes only, just like a big 'ol ceramic tobacco pipe, and in no way should anyone, especially Sheriff Jimbo Joe Jake Jackson Jones, Jr., take that post for serious. Neither should he or some group of vigilante types or a troop of boy scouts or other nosy people like that crime-solving priest Mr. Cunningham go on a digging trip behind my garage under the large pile of grass clippings, especially since my case is bein' appealed cuz of a total lack of evidence.

under the large pile of grass clippings

Another guest post by Hank"The Birdmangler" Buttpinscher, Jr., reporting from inside solitary confinement:

You know, being on the "inside" sure makes a guy realize all the stuff he takes for granted on the outside. For one thing, when your rear itches here and you reach inside your britches to take care of it, the guards think you're pulling a knife out of your rear. Then the next thing you know you're in a headlock and your eyes are full of pepper spray and a guard pulls your right arm behind your back in a half nelson and your 5% loss of motion in your shoulder becomes a 10% loss of motion and then you start crying and all the guys are snickering and hooting and hollering and calling you bad names you don't want to repeat like "The Birdmangler" is a big fat dingleberry or "The Birdmangler" is quite the silly goose, and then you wish you could kill again, just take guys like they're your neighbor wife's husband and run them over with your tractor and then hack them to pieces and bury them behind your garage under the large pile of grass clippings.

a brilliant kind of nonsense

Why, this is a brilliant kind of nonsense, said the student to the professor. The professor--a motorcycle enthusiast salmon with shiny, silvery scales, wavy hair, gold tooth, and a monocle, replied, yes, this is a brilliant kind of nonsense, thank you for noticing, now toot toot off you go get off my lawn do your homework and memorize the periodic table of contents may be under pressure before tomorrow I will assign more homework and not tell you anything about it, OK? This is a brilliant kind of nonsense, said the student to the professor.

promising to send postcards

The family sat around the breakfast table eating ostrich eggs and pickle relish. "Please pass the used motor oil," asked Mother. "Please drown yourself in a vat of boiling monkey urine," said Sister to Brother. "I'm rubber and you're glue," said Grandmother to Pasty, the family's pet fly strip. "Are you quite finished with my eggs," asked the annoyed ostrich. Father sat in his customary seat, reading the backs of cereal boxes and sobbing. "The puzzles, the puzzles," he muttered, but no one paid attention.

Some time later, in a terrible fit of anger, Pasty ran away from home in a violent windstorm, promising to send postcards back home to her "family of schmucks," yet she was blown into a cinder block wall at a nearby gas station where she stuck to an ancient metallic sign advertising Phil's Soothing Foot Wart Pads. There she stayed, in good weather and bad, thinking of Father sobbing, his chest heaving, the end of his nose dripping snot.

in some effete town somewhere

Not more than five minutes later the hitchhiker realized that he needed to use the facilities. He might have considered relieving himself behind the dumpster, but the last time he tried that the owner of Bud's Gas Station Bistro and Patisserie in some effete town somewhere shot his shotgun straight in the air and told the hitchhiker to "git." This is how the hitchhiker came to be in this place leaned up against a cinder block wall next to a dumpster at a gas station in some town somewhere that he can't find on a map and probably can't remember how to spell, like Coeur d'Alene or Hopscotch or Truth or Cosequences or Elko or Shit on a Stick, Saskatchewan. Gathering his courage the hitchhiker walked into the gas station mini mart grabbing his crotch and dancing and hopping up and down. "Need the key for the restroom, please. Ooh, is that a real monocle?"

a melange of flies

Many months later the hitchhiker found himself in a gas station deep in the woods of some place he'd never heard of and couldn't find on a map. He bought a bottle of cold root beer and leaned up against a cinder block wall next to a dumpster. It was summer and the rancid trash, full of paper pop cups, hot dog wrappers, and soiled diapers attracted a melange of flies. "Melange," thought the hitchhiker, rolling the word across his tongue like a sweet, after dinner liquer. "Melange." I was there a few months ago, some tired old town stuck in the hot hills of Georgia. "No," it was some guy I met in a phone booth twenty years ago frantically looking for a dime. The hitchhiker gulped his root beer, belched, and thought of his beloved, dead wife.


his beard grew long and gray

After five weeks the hitchhiker's wife grew old and gray, and one morning she curled up on the ground and died. The hitchhiker said a prayer and buried his wife. She had been a good wife. He looked off into the distance and said he would stay in no place again long enough to feel pain. The hitchiker walked to the highway and caught a ride to another town. In that town the hitchhiker wandered for several hours before falling asleep on a park bench. He slept for a week and accumulated dust and leaves and his beard grew long and gray. The hitchhiker awoke and he walked among elms, oak, and ash and wondered at the slant of sunlight as it illuminated the park in gold. He walked for many miles and left town and walked into the mountains among pines, firs, and aspens and he wondered at the slant of sunlight as he followed deer tracks in a meadow. The sky became faint and night came and the hitchhiker slept in the meadow until the sun warmed him and woke him.

on a large stone in the river bottom

It was in the river bottom where he learned the guitar. The name of the river was Hal and it flowed through the land of Hal in the country of Hal, capital city Hal. Hal learned to play guitar in the river bottom. He sat under the Hal tree and sang songs about Hal, the beautiful mountain range of granite and ice where he had been born. It was while growing up in the mountains where he first read about the philosophy of Hal and knew then that only through all things Hal would life be worth living. He sat on a large stone in the river bottom and closed his eyes and strummed his guitar. In the clear night sky, Hal shimmered bright.

others were old and yellowing

I have no links for you to peruse, said the old librarian. But is this not the place to peruse links, asked the bewildered gardener.
No, it is not.
Do you have another question?
The old librarian went back to work. There were stacks of papers at her desk. Some needed her signature. Others were old and yellowing and had been stacked on the desk for many years. The bewildered gardener continued standing at the old librarian's desk. He yawned.
May I help you?, asked the old librarian.
Do you have any links to peruse?, asked the bewildered gardener.


like my forefathers and foremothers

It was in that place somewhere some time ago when I ran into someone who had once been someone I knew and we talked about some stuff and it was so fun to reminisce about those times, whenever and wherever they were. When she left she said she'd call and I said I'm glad and I walked through the alley rubbing my head and seeing floating blue blotches and thinking of the hitchhiker whittling sticks on the burned out porch, not to mention the well-coiffed salmon with the monocle and gold tooth, and suddenly I knew I had to walk alone in the mountains and commune with the ducks and squirrels and live off the land like my forefathers and foremothers, and it was then I knew my life had been vague, a chalk outline in the clouds, purple without meaning and direction.

motionless on the hard pavement

The cans of tomato soup sat in a cardboard box on the loading dock of the grocery store. There was a bit of water seepage on one corner of the box. Five of the cans of tomato soup were dented. Three had sprung leaks, causing ten cans' labels to be damaged.

In the store, the store manager tightened his belt and tucked in his white cotton short-sleeve shirt. His tie had pictures of Tabasco bottles on it for which he'd saved up twenty proofs of purchase. It had taken three months to arrive, but he felt the wait was well worth it.

In the front of the store a woman worked the cash register scanning groceries. She was thinking about the store manager's threat to make everyone work on a holiday without overtime pay. A salmon came through her line and bought three-ply toilet paper, two lottery tickets, and some skin lotion. She noticed his wavy hair, gold tooth, and monocle. Hi, I'm Pete, he said.

In the parking lot the hitchhiker lay motionless on the hard pavement staring straight up into the blue sky. He was playing a harmonica. The instrument was lodged in his mouth, and his arms were at his side. He didn't know the name of the song because it was one that he had made up of his own accord, but it did sound vaguely Appalachian in its style.

On the loading dock, the cans of tomato soup remained in the box. From a distance, birdsong.

burned out porch whittling sticks

The hitchhiker had set down roots over the past month. He decided to try wearing socks and he got a job at Sears installing car stereos and alarms. He began a 401K plan and got married. The hitchhiker's wife built them a house and then she burned it down because it was too small. He said her actions seemed rash. He invested in an Internet startup company and retired. Every day he sat on his burned out porch whittling sticks, thinking about the open road, just the black strip of highway and endless blue sky. Freedom. Somehow the hitchhiker had allowed himself to get tied down over the past four weeks and he couldn't see a way out. It's difficult, he thought, to release yourself from the daily routine. His wife, sitting next to him knitting sweaters in a rocking chair on the burned out porch, often wondered what her husband was thinking about. This went on for many weeks.

a condo in the mountains

There are some mountains near where I live and they are covered in trees and snow and bears live there. Last week I heard mentioned that someone was going to build condominiums with wet bars and jacuzzis in those mountains and charge people a fee to walk on paths and see all the trees and squirrels and bears. This got me to thinking about the time I was doing laundry in a city in another country somewhere and how the machines there ran on tokens that you had to buy from some guy with a long gray beard and a blue and green striped rugby shirt whose breath smelled like absinthe. I bet he doesn't have to rent a condo in the mountains just to get to smell fresh pine needles and crisp high altitude air. I bet whatever city it is he lives in keeps lots of good things free and doesn't mind if you babble incoherently and sing national anthems while walking around chasing floating blue blotches and threatening Monarch butterflies with matches.

however many weeks or years

Recently, while shopping for paper plates, floss, apple sauce, light bulbs, cream cheese, hemorrhoid suppositories, fruit pies, pipe cleaners, masking tape, milk, stool softener, and pulp free orange juice, I ran into someone I had known from someplace and we talked about all the great times we had had wherever we had known each other however long ago it was and we really really laughed and enjoyed seeing each other again after however many weeks or years it had been. While the floating blue blotch was talking to me I spotted the pipe cleaners and excused myself and said I'd be right back. I jumped into someone's grocery cart and acted invisible and it seemed to work.

the drain said it had tried

She said once while we were smoking and making love on a pile of nails that I should walk slowly away from her through an alley of vomit and newspapers and give up all thoughts of what brand God smokes. I thought gee that's strange I know someone is here but all I see are floating blue blotches and all I can hear is a whistling noise and the national anthem of some country somewhere. I walked into the street and floating blue blotches honked and screamed at me. Suddenly a bird landed on my shoulder and farted. I cupped my hands and let the bird smell its own fart. It said thankyou and floated away. Just then the drain said it had tried acid more than once. I looked around for my monocle.

in that same city in whatever country

Once, in a restaurant in a city somewhere, I stared at a book of matches for some time. I wondered how I too could become a minister of God. Would God like it that I had been smoking? Does God smoke? Can God get emphysema and yellowed fingers and bad breath? I bet God smokes Benson and Hedges light menthol 100's.

Once, in an Internet cafe in a city in some country somewhere while my clothes were washing in the laundromat next door, I read online that some people like to cup their hands over their rear ends when they fart so they can smell their own farts. This made me sad for amputees who have to rely on wind currents or the kindness of friends or strangers.

Later, I was at a standup Turkish kabob stand in that same city in whatever country that was and I was whispering the Canadian national anthem to myself. "Oh Canada, with that flag that's black, light blue and white..." Someone told me that's not really how the song goes, but I generally like to make up national anthems as I go. "Oh say can you pass the ketchup, by the lawn in the eerie light..."

I think God should smoke. A cigarette is great after sex, or a Turkish kabob for that matter. The smoke accentuates life and makes it easier to ignore the floating blue blotches and images of angry women with hammers. The next time I'm some place where they sell stuff, I will buy God an ashtray.

the blue blotches

She said if you're looking for something to do you could take a walk barefoot through a pile of nails. Oh? That does sound like fun, I thought. It's been ages since I've had a nice healthy jaunt barefoot through a pile of nails. I hope some of them are rusty.

I don't know if you were paying attention, but she also suggested that you dip your head in lighter fluid and burn off all your hair. Apparently the scorched look is "in." Ooh, I do like to be fashionable. I wonder if this is what the fashionistas in Paris and New York are doing.

Once, I got lost walking in a city somewhere. Someone told me that my head had been damaged by a hammer. I could hear voices and I could see a long dark tunnel with floating blue blotches that moved around and around. They followed me. Later I woke up in an alley and she was there, caressing my back. Then she suggested I walk away from her slowly.

I wondered, is this what the fashionistas in Paris and New York are doing? The blue blotches made everything look wonderful, but the ringing in my ears was bothering me. The alley smelled like vomit and newspapers. I walked away from her slowly and into a long dark tunnel.

the good kind, three ply

The salmon pulled up on his motorcycle. His scales shone silver and glittered in the sun. He said his name was Pete and he'd come to town for toilet paper. I said the store's right there. He said thanks. Pete went into the store and bought toilet paper. The good kind, three ply. He also bought two lottery tickets and skin moisturizer. I was taken aback. I began crying. I cried for all the pitiful salmon who could not ride motorcycles with the wind in their hair, who could not shop at the grocery store, who could not spend afternoons dreaming of lottery winnings and smooth skin. I cried for my crying to stop. I hoped for a miracle for all the salmon. Most of all I hoped for a monocle.

the one musclebound kid

If you grew up in the Western United States in the 1980s then most likely you know about tumbleweeds and Irocs, beer bongs and hair bands. These are the images I see in the windstorm I imagine over and over: Bon Jovi in the desert as the sun descends over the horizon, a multitude of young women with huge hair (BHA: big hair alert), a small hole in the ozone following them around from millions of cans of hair spray. At every party there was always the one musclebound kid with straight sandy hair cut like a bowl, freckles, eyes that didn't seem to open all the way, and a consistently mean, nasty temperament. This kid was always near the keg, and often attached to a beer bong. Most likely today he's a successful stock broker who beats his dog.


the boy in the bean bag chair

Do you smoke pot? I smoke pot, said the hamster. I smoke pot, said the horned toad. I tried it once but I didn't like it and I didn't inhale, said the toaster. My wife used to sell it before she got so stoned she drove into a rhinocerous and totaled her car, said the pencil sharpener. I've tried acid, said the drain. Why does everyone care if I've tried pot asked the pot. Because it would be funny if you had, said Mr. Bubble. No it would not, said the pot.

The conversation went on for several hours while the boy in the bean bag chair drank grapefruit juice and considered the arrangement of ranch dressing flavor crystals on corn chips. He could see constellations and moonscapes and banana seat bicycles jumping over trash cans. He was hungry and needed to pee. His mouth was dry. Something was really funny but he couldn't remember what. Something was really very very funny. The toaster asked for some corn chips.

middle of a blinding dust storm

The hitchhiker stopped to massage his feet in peanut oil. His feet, blistered and brown and smelling of peanuts, would cause him to give up his travels for at least the next month. He looked around. He was standing in the middle of a blinding dust storm. A tumbleweed blew past and slammed into a chain link fence. There it would stay for the next four and a half years. The hitchhiker yawned. He scratched his elbow. He thought about chicken soup. Ten years ago his mother told him he could grow up to be President of the United States. That was a silly thing to say since he was a Canadian and atheist. The hitchhiker's mother would say "there is no god, eh, and the void that occupies the space god would if she were real don't make no junk, ya hoser." This made the hitchhiker feel better about himself. He rubbed peanut oil between his toes. A car drove by and a freckled boy in the back seat, perhaps ten years old, flipped off the hitchhiker. Where am I, wondered the hitchhiker.

all the pretty horseradish

The boys all decided to order rare prime rib with sides of au jus. The server had crossed eyes, but they were blue, and beautiful like the ocean. Her voice was sirenic and her chest flat. She wore a velvet cowgirl hat. Pink, it matched her underwear, though the boys did not know this. Only the omniscient narrator, and Tamara, the server, knew this. Tamara asked herself, I wonder if the narrator will also tell them about the tattoo on my left buttock? I was really drunk. The prime rib dinners arrived with baked potatoes garnished with butter and fresh ground pepper. The plates filled with blood and were lined with lumps of prepared horseradish. Tamara had eaten dinner before her shift started, some chicken dish the cook made up to get rid of leftovers. The boys wondered about her underwear, but not being the narrator, they simply had to be satisfied with all the pretty horseradish.

mastermind of a vast criminal empire

Some say the fire that burned down their house was started by the family's cat, Fluffy. Fluffy, a suspected meth cooker and convicted ivory smuggler, remained silent, saying only that she would miss the family's dog, Rex, who was tragically lost in the blaze. Later, Rex's remains were found in the smoldering embers of the fire, a bullet hole to his right temple. Fluffy was brought in for questioning but later released when an unidentified City Alderman posted bail. Subsequently, all charges were dropped.

Dateline recently sent an undercover reporter, "Mimi," to befriend Fluffy and try to find out the truth. Was Rex the victim of a mob hit? Is Fluffy the mastermind of a vast criminal empire? And who in City Hall is helping Fluffy to cover up her crimes?

all the pitiful salmon

The salmon was wearing a monocle and leather riding pants. He had a rubber riding crop and a gold tooth and sported expensive French cologne. When he pulled over in the convertible Cadillac he asked, in impeccable Spanglish, "Hey hombre, donde esta a good place for cerveza and oysters on the half shell?"

Taken aback, I began crying. I cried for all the pitiful salmon who could not drive, who could not talk, who could not sit in smoke-filled taverns knocking back beer and oysters. I cried for the world and prayed for a cleansing rain. Most of all, however, I wished for a monocle.


The previous post has been inspired by a love of Russell Edson, ketchup, saltines, farting, beetles, murder, Mother, Father, Sister, tattoos, anchors, nuclear nonproliferation, Annie Proulx, bellies, and, lest we forget, Yorkshire Pudding.

the murder of the helpless beetle

The family sat around the dinner table eating ketchup packets and saltine crackers talking about nuclear nonproliferation treaties and the short stories of Annie Proulx. Father sat in his white BVD's, his hairy stomach bulging; he scratched his Naval Academy anchor tattoo and said to Mother, "now, why don't you pass the Yorkshire Pudding, please?" Mother grabbed a handful of ketchup packets and threw them at Father. "Thank you," said Father. Sister leaned over and farted. "And thank you," said Father to Sister. "Would you like some Yorkshire Pudding, dear?," he asked her, wiping ketchup from his chin. "Why, yes Father. Thank you ever so much," she answered. Father opened several ketchup packets and spread ketchup all over his hairy belly. A beetle scampered across the floor toward Father, who crushed it with his bare foot. Sister leaned over and licked Father's belly. "This is very good Yorkshire Pudding, Mother," said Sister. "Thank you ever so much," said Mother.

How cruel of Father to kill the helpless beetle.

glittering mountains of gold

Sitting in the dark not smoking (it's bad for you) I was thinking about the sweep of human history, how over tens of thousands of years the earth was covered in people not smoking (it's bad for you) who hunted and gathered and learned pottery and poetry and began to think about laws and religions and sacrificing virgins to the gods (they're bad for you) who were usually, by most accounts, angry and jealous and spoke to humans as burning bushes or talking teapots or gossiping gooses (they're bad for you) but then somewhere along the line some people began questioning why they were always kept poor in a world of glittering mountains of gold (it'll get you) so they set sail across the stormy seas eating salt pork and scanning the horizon for shorebirds and slivers of land until finally they came across a continent and came ashore and proclaimed gold for god (or was it god for gold?) and the people not smoking who were already there hunting and gathering and practicing pottery and poetry began to think about laws and religions and sacrificing virgins for these new friends, these new friends whose eyes filled with glittering mountains of gold, spears, swords, blood, and religion.

(what won't get you?)


superman blanket and football slippers

A guest post by Hank "The Birdmangler" Buttspinscher, Jr., reporting from Torino, Italy, the site of the 2006 Winter Olympics:

First of all I'm not sure but I think the people here don't know jack shit about good barbecue and throwing peanut shells on the floor. These are two of my favorite hobbies back in the good ol', along with complaining about the 5% loss of motion in my shoulder, picking lint from my belly button, eating scrambled eggs, drinking tequilas and coke, racing tractors with the neighbor's wife, hanging out with the neighbor's wife, driving the neighbor to the airport when he goes outta town on business, tickling the neighbor wife's feet, smoking cigars in bed, scratching my rear, scratching the neighbor wife's rear, drinking beer, drinking beer, drinking beer, riding in grocery carts, waking up with the sun in my face, hanging out with the dog and the clicker, drapes closed, ice pack, warm Superman blanket, slippers shaped like footballs, leftover pork chops, mashed potatoes, playing pull tabs, gambling, spitting, shooting, scratching, screeching, drag racing, and Garfield.

loud, smelly gymnasiums

Well, let's give blogging a try. It might be as much fun as flogging, or juggling, or jogging, or mugging, or jiggling, or mumbling, or fumbling, or farting, or darting, or drawing, or bathing, or bamboozling, or boozing, or barfing, or crying, or crooning, or craning your neck, or massaging your girlfriend's feet, or using a flow-bee, or flossing your teeth, or baking meatloaf, or eating snails, or speaking Swahili, or mopping floors, or eating Top Ramen, or writing letters to friends who have died, or looking at old photographs, or imagining conversations, or dreaming of Greece, or getting drunk in the shade of a peach tree, or having sex under the seats in a crowded gymnasium, or imagining having sex under the seats in a crowded gymnasium, or having your photo clandestinely taken while you're having sex under the seats in a crowded gymnasium, or noticing that the cheers have gone silent in the crowded gymnasium, or staying at home for three weeks because you don't want to hear whispers and snickers in the grocery story (or at work, or from passing motorists while you're hitch-hiking, or from anonymous receptionists and clerks who all can see what you hope they're not thinking about, but they are); or it might be as much fun as writing really long sentences using words like ka-bipple or kerfluffle or curmudgeonly or sanctimonious, or using all the various shades of blue in the crayon box, or eating sand, or peeing into the wind, or walking on the beach with a dog, or playing frisbee with a dog, or petting a dog and dreaming of loud, smelly gymnasiums. I wish I were a dog.