Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Vortex of Holiday Horror That Is My Post Office

The U.S. post office is already the worst place on Earth. Let's just clear that up right now. It's musty. There's a glass case that holds just boxes that look like they've been there since 1910. And postal workers always look like they just walked out of a showing of Schindler's List

But then a few months ago they shut down my post office and started re-routing the mail to another location. That's when the U.S. post office (particularly my branch) became the worst place in the universe.

But let's back up a few years, so you can hear everything that brought me to this conclusion.

It all started with an eviction notice. After my landlord bought the building I live in, the man who used to own the building just continued to live in his apartment on the first floor like nothing had changed, like some kind of Miss Havisham of building ownership. The city finally put up an official eviction notice. He moved out or was lost in an unfortunate wedding dress fire. I'm not sure what happened. But a week after I moved in, the eviction notice was still on the door downstairs. And although it specified that it was for only the first floor apartment, the mailman just continued not delivering my mail, assuming I was living there illegally. I left him notes. I called the post office. I wasn't getting any bills or checks. I finally had to walk down to the post office to confront him and convince him I wasn't a squatter. Reluctantly, the mailman finally agreed to give me my mail. But you could tell that he wasn't happy about it. You can imagine him as Newman if it helps you picture the delight the mailman had felt about standing between me and my mail.

The second time I had to go down to the post office and yell at people came when I noticed someone had been opening my mail. A Christmas card from my grandma showed up torn just so. A bill dangling out of its envelope. I filed a complaint. What can I say? I'm 1) suspicious and 2) a complainer. After I complained, my mail started turning up in perfect condition again. Odd.

But nothing prepared me for our post office branch being closed and integrated into another one.

Last week, I walked over to collect a package of things I had ordered online. If it helps garner sympathy to my situation, you can imagine these things were Christmas gifts for poor children. When I walked in, the line had 20 or more people in it, all of us trying to collect and mail packages for the holidays. Now, if you are familiar with standing in line at the worst post office in the universe, you already know how this works. There is one person at the front of the line who doesn't understand 1) how to swipe a credit card 2) cardboard boxes 3) that shipping live animals is illegal 4) why the post office won't take a check 5) why her son won't pick up her packages for her even though he has a car. She has 187,000 questions about every little aspect of shipping her package to Germany and, no, she doesn't have the address or know the name of the intended recipient. And with that, the line comes to a complete halt. By the time I left that day, blood shooting from my eyeballs, there were over 40 people standing in line. The line was so long, no one knew where to stand anymore and it just kind of coiled in the doorway.

The next day I had another pink slip. Another package to pick up.

Now, all of my issues would be resolved if the mailman would just leave my packages so I wouldn't have to go down there, but if you'll recall, my mailman is Newman and is still mad at me for yelling at him those [two] times. So, he leaves me pink slips instead and giggles all the way back to his mail truck.

I decided to go as early in the day as possible. It was 11 AM when I walked through the door. There were three people in line. I silently congratulated myself. And then I stood, and stood, and stood, and stood there. For twenty minutes. I was third in line for 20 minutes. The customer at the window was like, "When did it start to cost money to send things? I demand to see a manager!" Finally, she left. The line moved forward, and soon I was first in line.

Now, you're probably thinking that being first in line means that I'm next. You silly, silly person.

When my turn came up, a middle-aged dude in a huge hurry rushed to the window. "SOMEONE ELSE WILL HAVE TO WAIT ON YOU," he said to me and then said to the worker, "I'm just getting one thing. I just need a box to wrap something. It's in my car. I'm in a huge hurry and I'm not waiting in that line. Have you seen that line? Why don't you have more windows open?"

Another ten minutes went by.

I finally got my package after thirty minutes and trudged home to rethink my life choices.

The next day, I had another pink slip.

Frodo had it so good. He only had to go the one time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's a Wonderful MURDER: Part 2 (now featuring MORE MURDER)

I've been watching lots of episodes of The Wire in preparation to write...

It's a Wonderful MURDER: Part 2 (now featuring MORE MURDER)

When last we visited Detective Clarence, hot in the pursuit of the infamous Bedford Falls murderer, George Bailey, he was just preparing to leave the city morgue in search of "the big guns." The big guns he was referring to was his partner, a crack detective with 25 years of experience on the force. The locals called him "Burt the Cop."

Detective Clarence knew he wouldn't have to look far to find Burt. He was probably at Martini's Strip Club trying to forget in the only way he knew how.

Clarence found him there and sat down at the bar right next to him.

"Clarence. Remember those days on the force when life was really bad around Bedford Falls?" Burt slurred, sipping from his glass of cordial.

Clarence nodded. "I remember."

"Women on the street showing all that leg. Guys crashing their cars into innocent trees. Speeders."

"There's a murderer on the loose, Burt. I need your help."

Burt swallowed the last of his cinnamon liqueur and said, "A murderer, eh? At least it's not something more serious, like loiterers. Let's go."

Now, you're probably wondering about the whereabouts of one Mr. George Bailey, murderer and all-around town nuisance. Well, he was holed up in the back of Old Man Gower's crack den, plotting his next move.

"I need to take out Mary the Mouth," he said, referring to his ex and former associate, Mary Hatch. She was known as "the Mouth" for two reasons: her inability to keep her trap shut when talking to the police and the fact that she kept her teeth sparkling white and beautiful. George Bailey opened a new box of Christmas lights and began checking the bulbs. An angel would be getting her wings that night.

"Where are we going, Clarence?" Detective Burt asked.

"To the only person who can help us," Clarence replied, pushing his foot to the floor. Soon, the car was speeding through the streets of Bedford Falls at over 30 miles per hour.

"Who's that?" Burt asked.

"Mary the Mouth," Clarence replied.

They arrived just as Mary the Mouth was leaving the library. She wasn't a librarian, just a kleptomaniac with a penchant for good books.

"Hey, fellas," Mary said, flashing her sparkling teeth at both of them and clutching her coat closely around herself.

"Whatcha got in the coat?" Clarence asked.

"Awwww, come on. I'm clean," Mary replied.

"It sure doesn't look that way," Burt said.

"I've been off the stuff for six months," Mary said.

"You're lying, Mary," Clarence said. "I see a copy of War and Peace right there."

"I'm holding that for a friend," Mary said.

"We're gonna have to take you in, Mary. We need to talk about George," Burt said.

Hearing the name, Mary screamed and tried to run away, but Clarence caught her arm. Books of all trim sizes, age levels, and page counts fell from her coat.

"You tell us where George is and we won't run you in for library book theft," Detective Clarence said.

"I don't know where he is," Mary said, still struggling to get away.

"Don't lie to us, Mary," Burt said. He dangled a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in front of her face.

"Fine!" Mary shouted. "Anyone looking for George Bailey should head over to see Big Chief Potter. But that's all I'm saying!" Mary the Mouth grabbed the book and scampered away as quickly as she could.

"I guess we're going to head over to that casino with the super racist name then," Detective Clarence said.

To be continued...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's a Wonderful MURDER

Christmas is on its way, and you know what that means? If you guessed that murder is afoot, you win a prize. So just let me know where I can mail your yule log. (I hope your mailbox is flame retardant.)

I just realized it's been two long years since "The Baby Jesus vs. the Santanator," a tale that my mother called "definitely sacrilegious" and the New York Times said nothing about as they are still unaware of it. It's time for a new Christmas story for 2012. So, put out some metal cookies for the Santanator and hug your Joseph Gordon-Levitt sex pillow tight and let's get this Christmas season started with...

It's a Wonderful MURDER

"Look at this picture. Do you recognize this man? His name is George Bailey, and he's wanted in five states. If you'll watch this black and white footage of George Bailey as a child on the enclosed video cassette, you'll see that even early in his life, he was a dangerous individual. Watch closely the part where he tries to drown his brother. Taken out of context with the sound off, it's extremely chilling. So chilling it might make you deaf in one ear and want to shake the dust of this crummy little town off your feet and see the world. Therefore, I'm depending on you, Detective Clarence, to go out there and apprehend this dangerous criminal. Godspeed." --Police Chief Joseph

Detective Clarence rolled up the unnecessarily jolly WANTED scroll he had received from the chief of police that morning (along with his homicide department Secret Santa pick) and buttoned his coat against the cold early-December wind. "Christmas is a time for sharing," the detective mumbled aloud as he took a swig from his flask. "I'll be sharing these bracelets with this George Bailey come Christmas." He was, of course, referring to the police lingo for handcuffs and certainly not a diamond tennis bracelet, which would make a perfect gift for the woman you love so that she can tell all of her best friends that you went to Kay Jewelers.

The latest of George Bailey's victims had just been freshly-delivered to the city morgue. Cause of death was still unknown, but there were lasso marks around the victim's throat. Detective Clarence hopped into his car, which was an unmarked police car and definitely not a Lexus wrapped in a big red bow, but that gives me ideas for Christmas presents for the woman you love if she's not into tennis bracelets. He sped to the city morgue to investigate.

"The vic is pretty messed up," said the coroner, pulling back the sheet to reveal an extremely jolly (but extremely dead) face. "We haven't found anyone to identify the body yet, but we suspect it to be the suspect's Uncle Billy. And sorry about my speech impediment. I pronounce 'suspect' and 'suspect' exactly the same way."

Detective Clarence pulled a photo from the case file he carried with him. "It's Uncle Billy all right. AKA, the Forgetter. He's a world famous jewel thief. But he's not actually wanted by the authorities because he always leaves the loot behind. See the strings on all his fingers?"

The coroner nodded. "Why do you think Bailey killed him?"

Clarence snorted. "For no other reason than being a sicko. And that Uncle Billy owed him $8,000 he lost gambling at Big Chief Potter's Gambling Emporium and Reservation."

"Wow, what a racist name that place has," the coroner commented, sure to express that he had absolutely nothing to do with the naming of that establishment and blames the author.

The detective nodded silently. He was looking closely at the corpse. "I just don't understand why this Bailey likes to decorate his victims like Christmas trees, meticulously checking every bulb to make sure that none of them need to be replaced and wrapping them in tinsel." Then, he got an idea. He carried the Christmas light cord to an outlet and plugged the corpse in. A bell went off in Clarence's head as the lights revealed that they were arranged like angel's wings. It was the killer's calling card.

"I'm gonna need to call in the big guns on this one," Detective Clarence said. He was, of course, referring to metaphorical guns and not actual guns, which make great gifts for the woman you love, if she's a professional sharpshooter and definitely not into tennis bracelets or expensive, unnecessarily gift-wrapped cars.

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sometimes I Get Spam Comments. Sometimes They Are Hilarious.

 I'm not even going to edit this shit. Just read it and BEHOLD:

H.e al of a discount red bottom shoes sudden opened his eyes,captivation up the amp about a switchgrass al of a sudden afraid branches anon beeline action over area Gaelic is angled over,absolutely did not apprehend red on the bottom of shoes the buyer will al of a sudden angr.Red Bottom Pumps For Women y,pah!Scream and went aerial out of here!Clear a moment,That old man Buyiburao,a jump,larboard duke point SHITAI:You met with added failures the adulterated for nothing,see I do not annihilate you!Held up the cobweb sticks red bottoms shoes for cheap too harder in the past!Brilliant abreast Xiangyemeixiang,duke approach interr.upted a switchgrass,advanced duke absolutely abandoned silent,to overlook the flattery,cobweb angry point the old mans shoulders!The old man was furious:Damn,Im not searching for you,but you had nosy.

I don't know what happened here, but I think they are trying to sell me shoes...

Here is my translation:

Hey, everybody. Make some beeline action and come buy your shoes from Red Bottom Shoes. We have all your favorite kinds of shoes, like branches shoes, action shoes, Gaelic shoes, and sudden anger Red Bottom Pumps for Women! That's right! Scream and jump up in the air if you don't believe me. But clear a moment. Now, here's a story about an old man named Buyiburao, who was a larboard duke, which is like a regular duke but with extra larboard. He absolutely refused to annihilate anyone and instead liked to stand around holding up cobweb sticks. But he was attacked by the brilliant Xiangyemeixiang with a switchgrass. Then, everything was silent. And the larboard duke pointed his angry cobweb at the man's shoulders. The man was furious! "Damn!" he said, "I'm not searching for you, but I got your nosy." Red Bottom Shoes. Don't let the larboard duke get your nosy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Frightening Friday: The Very Boring Werewolf

Just doing some yard work. 

Well, we've once again reached that part of October where it's almost over, but not quite, so I am forced to not say, "Well, we've once again reached that part of October that is the end of October." In short, it is nearly the end of October, which means if you haven't picked out your Halloween costume yet, you are doomed to spend Halloween night wearing a costume made of sadness.

Which brings us to today's Frightening Friday post. I've done a lot of research into supernatural beings. I read all four Twilight novels and once dissected a strange, hairless, dead creature I found on the beach that might have been a chupacabra but was probably a raccoon who died of rabies. So, I feel I have the inside scoop on the daily lives of the supernatural. That's why, after I got back from receiving many, many rabies shots, I sat down and wrote this story about werewolves. I hope you are prepared for the terror of...

The Very Boring Werewolf

Far, far away on a dark, dark street in the suburbs, there was a house. And in that house lived a werewolf named Steve. But as you likely guessed, he wasn't always a werewolf. Sometimes he was just Steve, the marketing coordinator.

Every morning non-werewolf Steve would go to the office, and a coworker would say, "Hey, Steve. How's life treating you?" And Steve would respond, "Good. Good. How are you?" And the coworker would respond, "Not too bad. Want to grab lunch today?" And Steve would say, "Sure thing" and later, the two coworkers would eat soup together and make awkward conversation. Sometimes after work, Steve would go home, do something boring like read the newspaper, and go to bed. But sometimes--on full moon nights--Steve would go home and turn into a werewolf. And that's when things would get interesting.

Because while non-werewolf Steve might spend his nights playing Scrabble against himself before falling asleep at 8 PM, werewolf Steve did things that were far more exciting.

On the nights Steve turned into a werewolf, he liked to go out. He liked to get crazy. He would drive over to the local Applebee's and grab a non-alcoholic beer. After that, he would get even crazier. He might head down to the Home Depot and look at lawn mowers. The guy would come on over the intercom and say, "Customers, we will be closing in 15 minutes." And what would werewolf Steve do? He would keep on looking at lawn mowers until FIVE minutes to closing. Then, he would head out to the parking lot AFTER NOT BUYING ANYTHING, get into his Camry, and head out to do something EVEN CRAZIER.

Werewolf Steve would drive to the library. The library would already be closed, of course, so Steve would sneak up the front walk. AND HE WOULD DROP HIS LIBRARY BOOKS OFF IN THE OVERNIGHT BOX. And guess what else??? The books would be due that day, and because it was now after closing, Steve would end up paying a nickel in fines! But that's not all Steve the werewolf did on full moon nights!!

After going to the library and turning in his books totally late, Steve would drive out to the woods where it was dark and spooky. He would get out of his car and walk down the deserted road. At the end of the long, spooky road, he would drop in unannounced to visit his grandmother!!! AND THEN HE MIGHT HELP HER WITH SOME HOUSEHOLD CHORES!!! "You're such a good boy," his grandmother would say. Then, she would insist on feeding him LEFTOVER SPAGHETTI FROM THE CHURCH POTLUCK FOR DINNER!!!

Finally, at 10 PM, Steve the werewolf would do the craziest thing of all. He would head home. He would go in through the garage door, say hello to his cats, and then walk over to the refrigerator to just look in and see if anything looks good. But then he would think about the big sandwich he had for lunch and the leftover spaghetti and decide to pass on an evening snack. But if you think that's the end of Steve's evening, you're wrong. Because after a long day of working, turning into a werewolf, and going out on the town for a lot of crazy errands, Steve would turn on his computer. He would get on the internet. He would go to And then! Steve the werewolf would look for a NEW SHOWER CURTAIN!!!

And then he would fall asleep in his recliner during an old episode of TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Frightening Friday: Cursed Dismembered Animal Appendages of Death

Whatever you do, don't make any wishes.

Back in the olden days before PETA, people thought it was hilarious to sever animal appendages and keep them for luck and also for fun. If you lived in the olden days and your friend came up to you at school or the Civil War and said, "Greetings, chum, behold my lucky rabbit's foot!" you would probably get really excited for him and think he was the cat's pajamas. But in current times, if your friend comes up to you and says, "Hey, dickbreath, take a look at my lucky rabbit's foot," you might scream and scream and have nightmares and unfriend him on Facebook. This is because people have become increasingly sensitive to the suffering of animals. No longer can you freely skin a raccoon and wear him on your head, even though you might want to because the raccoon in question is a total homophobe. Nowadays, if you want to skin a raccoon, carry a rabbit's foot, or put a curse on the paw of a monkey so that people who make wishes upon it end up in terrible circumstances, you have to deal with a lot of criticism and red tape.

Unfortunately for the people of today's Frightening Friday story and monkeys everywhere, it takes place in modern times, and we cannot disregard the feelings of the monkey whose dismembered paw plays a central role in a great deal of misfortune.

Cursed Dismembered Animal Appendages of Death

Agatha was a normal girl in every way but one. And that one way was that she hated everyone and everything and wanted to spread misery and woe wherever she went. Now, perhaps you think you know someone like that. Maybe it's your older sister, an unpleasant movie theater employee, or Torquemada. But all of those people love something or someone. Your sister loves Chad, the sousaphone player in the school marching band. The unpleasant movie theater employee loves quitting time. And Torquemada loves persecution. But Agatha did not love anything or anyone. The only thing that even came close to bringing Agatha some kind of happiness was selling cursed souvenirs to the tourists who visited her town. But even that made her angry and unpleasant.

"Hell-O! We're from out of town!" tourists would titter when they entered Agatha's dark and unpleasant souvenir shop.

"Woop-de-freaking-do," Agatha would grunt. "Buy something or get out."

But people on vacation just thought she was being a quaint local and would quickly gather up as many cursed snow globes, keychains, postcards, and bottles of chipotle barbecue sauce as they could carry and purchase them for all their friends back home.

Some of them might make it to their vehicles before it would happen. Others might make it to the nearest gas station. But no matter how long it took, some kind of misfortune would befall those tourists. A flat tire. A bee sting. Plummeting 500 feet to their fiery deaths at the bottom of a steep gorge. Agatha would read about it in the local newspaper and grunt with a very low level of satisfaction and carry on with her day.

Now, Agatha had a special side business in the back of the souvenir shop, and that side business was selling cursed dismembered animal parts. The reason it was in the back of the souvenir shop and not right out front with the rest of the cursed souvenirs was that she had not filed the proper paperwork to sell said animal parts with the U.S. Department of Cursed Severed Animal Appendages. As I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of red tape involved with using parts of animals for amusement, decoration, or doing ill will to others, and Agatha hated red tape right along with everything else.

But as you can imagine, it can be very dangerous to deal in cursed animal appendages. You might, for instance, be stocking the shelves in the back of your souvenir shop, carefully placing the cursed and therefore, ironically, very unlucky rabbits' feet in the bin where they go while wearing a pair of unwieldy lead-lined anti-curse gloves. And because your gloves are so unwieldy, you may accidentally topple a bin filled with cursed monkey's paws with your elbow. And as one of the cursed monkey's paws falls to the floor, it may brush your bare ankle the moment you say to yourself, "I wish I didn't need these stupid gloves!"

Oddly, that is exactly what happened to Agatha in the back room of her evil souvenir shop. The dropped cursed monkey's paw brushed her bare ankle, and instantly, Agatha developed a pair of lead-lined anti-curse hands.

"Arrrrrrgh!" Agatha screamed, and she did this for two reasons. The first reason is that the entire floor was now covered with cursed monkey's paws, and Agatha hated messes. The second reason was that, as anyone with lead-lined hands knows, they are extremely heavy. So, as soon as Agatha's wish was granted, she was cursed with not only lead-lined hands, but terrible posture as well, as her hands quickly fell to the floor. And if you thought Agatha was cranky before, well...

What followed was a terribly disgraceful display involving an angry person with a sore back crawling around on the floor, digging through a lot of monkey's paws and crying a lot as she tried to wish her hands back to normal. It was a very sad display, and I don't want you to have to witness it, even with your brain. Just know that Agatha's hands (and life) were never the same again. The government found out that she was dealing in unlicensed, cursed goods, and her shop was closed down. PETA caught wind of the situation and made a commercial about it starring Pamela Anderson fellating a banana for some reason. A few very depressing years went by, and Agatha moved to India to try to find some peace through spiritual healing and meditation. But one night, as she walked down the street dragging her extremely heavy knuckles on the ground, she was mistaken for a monkey by a shaman with no respect for animals.

So, if you are in a marketplace in India and someone offers to sell you an extremely heavy monkey's paw that he promises will grant your every wish, don't buy it. It's cursed. And also Agatha never washed her hands.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Frightening Friday: The Bermuda Triangle Is For People Who Like Their Geometry with a Side of Death

Many people would argue that Friday is the most frightening day of the week. Personally, it doesn't frighten me, as I once won an award for bravery and it just so happened to be a Friday and I was wearing a grizzly bear suit at the time to ward off anything that might leap out and try to scare me.

But if I were you, reading this right now on a Friday, I would be extremely frightened. Because the subject of this week's story involves one of the scariest things I can think of, and that thing is geometry.

When I think of geometry, it reminds me of two terrifying things: math teachers who make you get up and work out problems at the chalkboard and the Bermuda Triangle. Both will make an appearance in today's terrifying story. So, grab your compasses, your graphing calculators, and a good, sturdy ruler for biting on in case you are overcome by terror. And now the story will begin...

The Bermuda Triangle Is for People Who Like Their Geometry with a Side of Death

Triangles are not, by nature, a terrifying thing. Take, for instance, Doritos. What could be less frightening than a light brown triangle wearing a coating of orange nacho cheese dust? So, when the Bermuda Triangle started swallowing ships, airplanes, and the occasional human being, people began reconsidering the terror factor of triangles. Especially in a town 700 miles from the Bermuda Triangle where this story begins.

It was a town called Certain Doom, and for good reason too, as it sat on the very edge of a cliff overlooking a valley filled with extremely pointy rocks and man-eating lions. The people of Certain Doom were already very paranoid about gusts of wind, earthquakes, pointy rocks, and man-eating lions. So, when it was announced on the news that the Bermuda Triangle may have claimed another victim on a morning in October many, many years ago, the townspeople did not handle the news well.

"AAAAAAAAAAA!" screamed a fifth grade girl in music class at Certain Doom Elementary.

"What is it?" asked her music teacher in alarm.

"A triangle! Over there with the percussion instruments."

"AAAAA!" said the music teacher. "Class dismissed forever!"

The school was evacuated and the S.W.A.T. team was called in. Two days later, the building was leveled, and too terrified to put anything new on the now-empty plot of land, the people of the town built a 75-foot-tall fence around the area. Lest the evil triangle return to have its revenge and/or swallow the town's vehicles and citizens. And that was only the beginning of how the town began cracking down on triangles of all sizes.

The citizens of Certain Doom soon created a special task force whose job it was to eradicate all triangles in town. But because even the word "triangle" was terrifying to the poor people, they refused to even use it in the title of the task force. And so the Three-Sided Pointy Thing Task Force was formed. And their first stop, naturally, was the grocery store.

"Quick, task force!" one of the task force members shouted. "We must get all of these bags of Doritos outside and smash them before the triangles get us!" The task force leapt to action, and soon they were all stomping on hundreds of Doritos and breaking them into non-triangular shapes that were terrible for dipping.

"Oh, no! My shoes are covered with cheese-flavored triangle dust!" one of the task force members shouted, mid-stomp.

"Andrews is tainted!" another task force member shrieked.

"AAAAAAA!" Andrews said and then threw himself into Certain Doom Valley where he was impaled on a pointy rock.

"AAAAAAAAA!" said another member of the task force who had watched him jump. "That reminded me that I'm scared of heights!"

"AAAAAAAAAAA!" said a third task force member. "I just realized that the only kind of tortilla chips we can buy at the grocery store now are Tostitos Scoops."

"AAAAAAAAAAAAA!" said yet another task force member. But he had nothing else to add.

It is very important for me to mention at this point in the story that not everyone in town was afraid of triangles and found themselves rushing out to their closest toast point emporiums and stomping all of the merchandise into dust. Some of the people of Certain Doom were logical and intelligent human beings who had a healthy relationship with all shapes, including three-sided pointy things.

One of these people was a local math teacher. And she thought everyone in town was overreacting.

"You're overreacting," the local math teacher said.

"No! I'm not!" replied the local pizza chef. He had just discovered that if you cut a circle-shaped pizza into equal-sized pieces, they turned into cheese-covered death triangles. "This pizza must be destroyed."

"Fine, I'll take it home and destroy it," the math teacher said. She was extremely hungry and had no patience for nonsense, as she had just spent the day talking the principal out from under his desk after he discovered that when he cut his peanut butter and jelly sandwich into halves, it made two extremely gooey triangles.

"I don't believe you," the pizza chef said.

"Please, just give me my pizza," the math teacher said.

"No! You'll destroy us all," the pizza chef replied, brandishing a pizza cutter.

"If you don't, I'll do something you won't like at all," said the teacher.

"What's that?" asked the very doubtful chef.

In response, the math teacher took a geometry book out of her bag, opened it to the chapter entitled "TRIANGLES," and as the pizza chef fainted in terror, she took her pizza and left. The move was either incredibly brave of the teacher or incredibly foolhardy, depending on your stance on triangles and stealing pizzas.

Now, you're probably wondering what my opinion is on triangles and the stealing of pizzas, as I am the author. Personally, I do not condone the stealing of pizzas. I once worked at Pizza Hut and was the victim of many a dine-and-dash for which I received no tips and an an extra trip to the salad bar of hurt feelings. As for triangles, if you aren't afraid of those, you will be in a second.

Did someone say Pizza Hut?

So, you see? Triangles are extremely dangerous, as the math teacher learned 10 minutes after she arrived home with her stolen pizza and choked to death. Luckily, for the the people of Certain Doom, the sacrifice of the interloper was enough to appease the triangle gods on that day and they were spared. But if you find yourself traveling through the Bermuda Triangle on a dark and spooky night...beware of sharks.


*I did not create the top image, but it is a work of brilliance.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Frightening Friday: The Very Inexperienced Murderer

It's a proven fact that sunglasses are experienced at hiding guilt.

If you ever find yourself standing over a dead body with an ax and an overwhelming feeling of regret, I would advise not burying the body under the floorboards of your own home. This is for several reasons. First of all, dead bodies are messy and get stinky very quickly. Secondly, you may incriminate yourself when someone inevitably finds it. And finally, it will drive your pets crazy because there is nothing pets love more than digging up and eating stinky dead things. Also, if you live on the third floor of a building, like I do, burying a body under the floorboards is just asking for your second floor neighbor to wonder why there is a corpse hanging from his chandelier.

In case that introduction was not enough of a hint, today's Frightening Friday story is about hiding dead bodies. More specifically, it is about hiding dead bodies poorly and stinking up your entire apartment building. So, grab your can of Glade Hawaiian Fresh air sanitizer and a few towels to jam in the cracks around your door and let's jump right in...TO TERROR. 

The Very Inexperienced Murderer

Nathaniel was not an experienced murderer. Oh, sure, he'd thought about it once or twice, like when his landlord told him he would fumigate for rats that time and never did. Or when his cousin showed up to his barbecue empty-handed when Nathaniel had clearly asked him to bring potato salad. But he had never actually followed through with it.

So, when Nathaniel really did murder someone, he was quite unprepared. He had not laid down a single sheet of plastic to protect against brain spatter. He had not found a kill room where he would not be disturbed. And, worst of all, he decided to dispose of the body by burying it under the floorboards in his own home. "It'll be fine," he insisted, ignoring all the incriminating bone fragments that decorated his ceiling. "Nobody will ever know that Mr. Dudley was here." Nathaniel haphazardly mopped up the blood pool, put a rug over it, and sat down for a nice cup of tea not five feet from where he had hidden his victim.

But you probably need some back story now. It is quite unfair of me to dump you into the best part of the story without explaining how this all began.

Not only was Nathaniel an inexperienced murderer, he was also an inexperienced optician. How do you become an optician when you have no experience whatsoever? It's simple, really. Move into an office building and put a sign on your door that says "OPTICIAN." When people who need glasses come in and ask you for your credentials, just show them a brown rectangular piece of paper with some squiggles on it. Then, give them the expected vision tests. After they come pick up their glasses and before they can complain about the headaches, quickly move your offices to a different building. The person cannot see and therefore will never find you. But valuable career advice is unimportant. What's important is how an inexperienced optician was driven to MURDER.

"Excuse me," said Mr. Dudley, who would soon become the victim of a very inexperienced murderer.

"Can I help you?" asked Nathaniel, who would soon become a murderer with slightly more experience than he had before, which was none.

"I bought these glasses from you last week, and they are giving me terrible headaches," replied Mr. Dudley, completely oblivious to his status as a pre-murder victim.

"That's impossible!" Nathaniel scoffed. Not only was he an inexperienced murderer and optician, he was also an inexperienced customer service representative and, like the people at Hotwire, he didn't know how to not be a complete jerk.

"I assure you that it's not," said Mr. Dudley. "I came in last week and looked at your credentials on that very blurry piece of brown paper. Then, you held up two fingers and asked how many I saw. I picked out some new glasses, paid the price of 8 million dollars, which--as an inexperienced buyer of glasses--seemed reasonable, and left. But yesterday, after I wore my new glasses for two hours, I thought my head might explode."

"I understand," Nathaniel said. "But I suspect your problem is that you are an inexperienced sufferer of headaches."

"Whatever could that mean?" asked the so-far-inexperienced victim of murder and glasses buying.

"I mean that, due to a possible lack of experience in having headaches," Nathaniel said, "perhaps you are not suffering from headaches at all. But maybe you are experienced in imagining you have a headache."

"Why would I do that?" Mr. Dudley asked.

"Because imagining things is fun," said Nathaniel. "Maybe you would like to experience it now. Go on. Close your eyes and imagine. I will be right over here packing my optician equipment into these moving boxes."

But if there was one thing Mr. Dudley was experienced in, it was being distrustful of people putting things into moving boxes. One time, his parents--who were inexperienced at not leaving their children behind when they moved--left him behind when they moved.

"How dare you?!" Mr. Dudley, experienced exclaimer of exclamations exclaimed. "I demand a full refund."

And it was then that Nathaniel, who was inexperienced at giving refunds, decided to kill him. Soon, Mr. Dudley became quite experienced at being a dismembered corpse. And, if you'll recall, those dismembered parts ended up under the floorboards of Nathaniel's house.

Perhaps you are experienced in reading the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and are already aware of what will probably happen next. Nathaniel will soon gain some experience in feeling guilty. The guilt will begin to drive him to madness. He may even start hearing noises coming from under the floorboards. And at the climax of the story, he will declare for everyone to hear that he is, in fact, the murderer of Mr. Dudley.

Unfortunately for you, this particular story of body hiding was not written by Edgar Allan Poe. It was written by someone far more experienced at being currently alive and much less experienced at being successful.

What actually happened was that everyone who lived in Nathaniel's building soon began to gain experience in detecting odd odors. Ones that seemed to be coming from the empty apartment directly below Nathaniel's. Because, as you perhaps did not foresee, Nathaniel lived on the third floor of his apartment building, not in a place more experienced at hiding bodies, like a mausoleum or Drew Peterson's house. After a week of stinkiness, even the actually-experienced murderer who lived next-door to Nathaniel and kept dismembered heads as trophies on his mantlepiece called the police. And Nathaniel, inexperienced murderer with experience in being caught, was caught.

However, all of the detectives who were called in to investigate the crime were inexperienced in buying glasses from an experienced optician and missed the valuable evidence linking Nathaniel to the crime. A mistrial was declared and the prosecuting attorney became experienced in crying a lot.


**Credit to whomever Photoshopped the above pic of Poe.
***I keep typing his name as Pie. I just had an idea for Edgar Allan Pie. It's a giant pie you trick one of your enemies into climbing into. And then you bake him alive at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


October is a very special time of year. Halloween candy has already been on store shelves for two months. Festive Christmas trees are popping up all over town. People on Facebook you haven't seen since high school are talking about getting a jump on their holiday shopping.


If you are a long-time reader of Welcome to Bethville! you know that Frightening Fridays started in 2009. On every Friday during the month of October (unless I get busy or my brain is broken) I post a new ultra-scary story, guaranteed to chill your bones and wet your pants. Which is a terrible combination of things. If you've ever fallen from a toboggan and into an icy lake, you know what I'm talking about.

But, if you like wet pants, chilled bones, and having to go shopping for a night light well into your 30s, then come back here on October 5.

In the meantime, feel free to peruse the Frightening Friday archives, which I posted below.

Terrifying Evil Clowns of Terror
The Gourmet Zombie Brain Eater
The Impolitely Accused Witches of Salem
The Babysitters Who Go Check Out That Mysterious Noise Alone Club
A Very Depressing Tale of Lost Hopes and Dreams
The Flying Dutchman in 2010
Hotel Room Showers Are Scary
Dracula's Terrible Houseguests
The Camp of Questionable Safety Standards
The Shirtless Werewolf and Vampire Epidemic
Dr. Frankenstein: Dead Body Hoarder
and the very special...
Choose Your Own Terrifying Contingency Plan

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Illicit Romance with Jason Bateman

bateman hearts
See? Even Spongebob is excited

In second grade, I fell in love.

I mean, I'd loved things before, like my cat, cheeseburgers, and getting to watch She-Ra without my brother complaining that He-Man was better (it wasn't). But this was different. It was true love. With a boy.

I loved David Hogan. Or more specifically, the actor who played him on The Hogan Family, Jason Bateman. I started out watching The Hogan Family casually (you know, back when it was called Valerie), like kids do with TV shows. You know, ALF is over and you just watch whatever comes on next. Pretty soon, I was like, "Shut up already, ALF. My boyfriend is coming on." I would grab the Strawberry Shortcake comforter off my bed, wrap myself up in it, and flop down on the floor in preparation. Week after week, during that time slot it was all about me and my true love. I even imagined him romantically showing up at my school in his Corvette (because, as you know, Corvettes were the epitome of cool in the 80s) and driving off with him to some romantic place like Pizza Hut where we could be alone.

But then something bad happened.

One night there was a very special episode of The Hogan Family. Willie, David's extremely irresponsible horndog younger brother, decided to spy on a female neighbor's slumber party to try to see some teen girls in the nude. Apparently, that episode was the talk of the teacher's lounge at school the next day where my mom heard all about it. That night, she told me "NO MORE HOGAN FAMILY FOR YOU, MISSY." And that was that. I was banned.

Now, before you get the idea that my parents are some kind of lunatics who have nothing better to do than monitor my, and my siblings', television viewing choices, know that this was an extremely rare event at our house. And it was usually the result of a visit from my mom's stepmom, who we will call Vanity St. Elsewhere, for the sake of her privacy. One time Vanity St. Elsewhere came to visit and caught me watching The Golden Girls and immediately reported to my mother that all Blanche and her friends ever talked about was S-E-X, and she was surprised that someone so young would be allowed to watch it. So, my mom suggested (read: insisted) I watch something more wholesome instead. No more Golden Girls. I just knew that Vanity St. Elsewhere's recent visit was the cause of all of the increased vigilance over The Hogan Family.

Of course, as you probably already guessed, all of this only made David Hogan more alluring. Our love could live on, but it must be in secret. And so, I took to sneaking around. If I turned on the kitchen TV while I was doing dishes and kept the volume really low, no one would have to know what was on. Other nights, I would just sit close to the living room TV if nobody else was around and quickly switch the channel if some tattletale walked through. I had ears like a coyote and fingers like a blackjack dealer. This went on for a long time.

And then in 1987, the Hogans' house burned down. It was the most special of all of the very special Hogan Family episodes. (And there were so many "special episodes" back then.)

It was a school night, and I ended up staying awake long after my bedtime thinking about it. The next day in school, I struggled to stay awake, even as our teacher wheeled in the VCR and said, "We're going to watch a video today and then talk a little about fire safety."

My ears perked up.

Our teacher had taped the episode. And so we watched it, and I sat there the entire time, nervous that any moment my mother would burst through the door and shout, "NO! Stop corrupting my child!" But she didn't. I got to spend time with David Hogan, and in school as well. It all felt extremely naughty. My face got red every time David was on screen. Did we even talk about fire safety afterward? It doesn't matter. I had a dirty little secret. I wouldn't even tell my mom about my day when I got home that night, just shrugged my shoulders and put another Brussels sprout into my mouth.

But the tide turned on that day. Willie's roof escapades were forgotten. Parents were praising the show for dealing with house fires and loss in such a brave manner. Eventually, my mom forgot altogether that she had banned me from watching it, and I was free to do whatever I wanted. But by then David had lost his youthful charm and I realized that I had a crush on a full-grown man who was going to college and dating women with breasts. So, I developed a crush on a boy my age instead. And that was the end of my illicit several-year romance with Jason Bateman.

I suppose the best conclusion to this story is that as I was looking for photos to head this post, my face got hot and I had to close the browser. You've still got it, Bateman.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In the Very Near Future, I Will Have My Revenge


Ring ring ring!

Ring ring ring!

Bob Costas: Hello?

Me: Hi, is this Bob Costas?

Bob Costas: Yes, yes it is. Who is this?

Me: Who this is doesn't matter.

Bob Costas: Fine. What do you want?

Me: I have a very important question for you, Bob Costas.

Bob Costas: And what is that?

Me: Do you watch Breaking Bad?

Bob Costas: Of course I do. It's the best show ever.

Me: I thought so. So, did you see the series finale which aired just this evening on AMC?

Bob Costas: Not yet! It's on my DVR all ready to watch though. Why do you ask?

Me: Hank figures out that Walt has been Heisenberg all along and Walt dies. Jesse changes his name and escapes to France.

Bob Costas: What?

Me: You heard me, Bob Costas.



Worst day ever.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why the Rumored Finding Nemo Sequel Is Super Important to Me

I think I spotted him just over that ridge!

Rumor has it that there will be a sequel to Finding Nemo. And nobody is more excited than I am as I only watch movies about lost fish and those who have lost them, and I'm getting pretty sick of re-watching Finding Nemo and Splash 3: The Remorse of Walter Kornbluth (I mean, how many times can Eugene Levy fall off the dock and into the water wearing that ill-fitting wetsuit??? Honestly!) Truth be told, I've been trying to get a sequel made for years. I even wrote a screenplay in case those Hollywood bozos needed one. Here it is!

Found Nemo
Ext. Ocean- Day

Marlin: I found him!

Everyone else: Whew!

Marlin: Don't ever disappear again!

Nemo: I won't, Dad. Thanks for finding me!


Before you say anything, know that I realize it needs to be fleshed out a lot. This is just a rough draft that I put together quickly so that I could say I wrote a whole screenplay and impress people. But it clearly has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I mean, what's the plot? It's right there in the title. Does it have excitement? Definitely. Marlin has found Nemo. That's pretty exciting, considering he was lost the whole last movie. Will Nemo disappear again? No, because the last line right there reassures us that he won't. No further search for Nemo is necessary. Resolution.

After that they can do Finding Nemo 3: He's Right There but Marlin's Eyes Are Totally Closed, Finding Nemo 4: Off the Hook (Starring Eugene Levy. He already has the wet suit.), and Finding Nemo Disrespectful: The Teenage Years. Then, I can move on to carrying out my ultimate goal, which is making a feature length film based on that episode of The Cosby Show where they have a funeral for Rudy's goldfish.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Your Hotel Housekeeper Is Judging You

So judging you.

Going on vacation and staying in motels, which I did recently, always reminds me of two things. This and that time I was a housekeeper at a motel for a few months in college.

When I remember that first thing, I'm all, "REAL tomato ketchup, Eddie?" But when I am reminded of that second thing, I also remember that I am happy I don't do that job anymore. Because, let me tell you, I've seen some things. "What things, Bethany?" you ask in my mind, your curiosity piqued. "Things," I reply ominously, shaking my head and looking at the floor as if I can say no more without being violently ill. It is a very dramatic imaginary exchange indeed.

But this post is not a tell-all detailing all of the animal blood and used condoms I've scraped off of television sets. I'm not some kind of sicko who delights in making you feel like vomiting up that spinach wrap you ate two hours and six minutes ago. I'm putting this post here as a public service. Because when people go into hotel rooms and close the door, they sometimes think that what they do in there stays in there. And I'm here to tell you that it doesn't.

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID IN THAT MOTEL ROOM. You think nobody knows. I know. Somebody had to go in there after you left. That somebody was me. I told everyone what you did.

I've now had 14 or so years to think back over my time as a housekeeper. I've been to therapy. I think I'm ready to write about it now. The question is are you ready?

Well, either way...

There are many kinds of hotel guests. And I'm really good at stereotyping them. What kind of guest are you? Read on to find out. I'll start with the best and work my way down.

1. The Phantom.
The Phantom is the best kind of hotel guest for a housekeeper. He checks in late. He checks out early. And when a housekeeper goes into his room, it looks exactly the way she left it the day before. There will be a single wet towel hanging in the bathroom. The bed will be slightly rumpled but still completely made. Exactly five squares of toilet paper will have been used. Did someone sleep here or just walk in, take a dump made of Scrubbing Bubbles, and leave? Was the guest even human? When you are a hotel guest, try to be a Phantom. But if you can't be a Phantom because, after all, you are a human who pees and poops and eats things, maybe shoot for...

2. Bob and Carol.
Bob and Carol are a nice married couple. "Thirty years together! Can you believe that?" They're on vacation, usually in town to see the kids. They want housekeeping service tomorrow, but today they will get along just fine with a few extra towels. Bob and Carol spend 20 minutes each morning discussing how much of a tip they should leave the housekeeper. "Is $5 enough, Carol?" "I don't know, Bob. Maybe we should check the Google." Be a Bob and Carol. But if you can't because you are in a super big hurry and took a giant dump and the toilet wouldn't flush and you're too embarrassed to call the front desk, I suppose it's okay if you're a...

3. Count Dracula.
Count Dracula cruised in at 2 AM looking for a cheap place to crash. If check-out time is noon, you can bet that Count Dracula will be hauling his bags out of his room at 12:01 on the button, wearing his sunglasses, stinking of the pizza he ordered from Dominos at 3 AM. On a scale of Daffodil to Bloated Dog Corpse, the smell in his room ranks somewhere around three-day old underwear. But it's not Count Dracula's fault. He's just not a morning person. At least he's not as bad as...

4. Frat Bros, Dave and Brad.
Dave and Brad are nineteen years old. It's their first time checking into a hotel without Mom and Dad. They've saved up some cash from their jobs at Modell's Sporting Goods and it's time to partay. But they have a dark past. Once upon a time, one of their parents uttered the words, "Let someone else clean it up. That's what they get paid for." And after that day, Dave and Brad were total assholes who fail at life. Have you ever taken a shit in a pizza box? Dave and Brad have. Have you ever drunk an entire 24-pack of Bud Light and peed off a hotel bacony into a pool? Then your name probably isn't Dave or Brad. Dave and Brad eat Doritos. Nacho Cheese Doritos (no other flavor will do). But when they aren't eating those Doritos, they are mashing them into the carpet and rolling around in it. On a scale of English meadow and the Thames River, ca. 1820, the smell in their room the next day is Thames River, ca. 1820. But they still aren't the worst. That award goes to...

 5. That lady from that episode of Hoarders who made you dry heave.
Have you ever walked into a room and immediately wanted to kill yourself? I have. These people DO. NOT. GIVE. A. FUCK. And I don't punctuate mid-sentence and use all caps lightly. That lady from that episode of Hoarders who made you dry heave, or as I like to call her, The Most Horrible Person Alive or TMHPA, takes a shitty diaper off her toddler, sees a trash can, and throws the diaper into the bathtub instead. Then, she turns the water on and smears the diaper around the tub. Was she raised by feral cats? Probably. TMHPA starts her day by going out and getting takeout from KFC. She takes it back to her room, eats 90 percent of it, then takes the remaining gravy and just rubs it on things. And then there's the smell. One time I was on the subway and there was this homeless lady who smelled so bad that they had to stop the train and evacuate it. While we were standing there waiting for the next train, she walked by. Everyone on the platform was gagging. Someone threw up. People were screaming. If you take that smell and subtract six, you'll get the smell of TMHPA's hotel room. How can one person smell like so many bad things at once? I don't know.

But there are some things I do know.
1. Don't ever touch any part of your bare body to the duvet cover on your motel bed. Ever. They are not washed daily, no matter how handsome you are.
2. Use the "Do Not Disturb" sign if you're fucking between the hours of 7 AM and 2 PM, when you know housekeeping is around. Your body is super gross. Rather than standing there red-faced and scandalized in the hallway like your porno brain imagines it, your housekeeper is running down the hall to tell her housekeeper friend about your flopping man-titties and pantomime vomiting. Don't be the story your housekeeper tells everyone/Tweets at the end of the day.
3. There are pubes in that bar of soap you left on the shower shelf.

I'm going to go drink a lot now and hopefully erase the memories writing this dug up.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Nephew's Action Story (with Explosions)

Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail from my nephew. He wrote me a story. Here it is, with photos.

An Action Story! 
by Grant

The war started as killing guys.

But one day everything exploded.

Everyone died.

But then a boxer came.

But then World War 3 came.

The boxer stayed alive but everyone didn't.

So a helocopter the boxer had but he had a friend to.

So his friend and him fought until they both died.

The end.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Tale of Lies and Face Wash: The Prequel

My morning face cleansing routine.

I won't keep you in suspense any longer! Here is the super awesome prequel, which I'm told by critics is better than Prometheus!

Ten years earlier...

The president of the Clean & Clear corporation and the president of Neutrogena were set to have a secret meeting in their top secret tree house behind the Johnson & Johnson corporation.

"You know what I hate?" asked the president of Clean & Clear.

"What?" asked the president of Neutrogena.

"I hate it when people have clean faces!" said the president of Clean & Clear.

"Me too!" said the president of Neutrogena.

"I have an idea!" exclaimed the president of Clean & Clear. "Let's make a top secret plan so that everyone in America has super gross and greasy skin."

"That's a great idea!" said the president of Neutrogena. "I'll help you with it because we're best friends."

"Cool!" said the president of Clean & Clear.

The next day, the president of Clean & Clear and the president of Neutrogena went to see their other best friend, the president of Hellmann's.

"Hey, Hellmann's president," said the two best friends. "Do you want in our secret plan?"

"What is it?" asked the president of Hellmann's.

"We want everyone in America to have super gross and greasy faces!" said the president of Neutrogena. He was so excited, he peed a little.

"What!?" said the president of Hellmann's. "That's literally the best idea ever! I'll help you!"

"Neato!" said the president of Clean & Clear, high-fiving his two very best friends in the whole world.

"Hey, everybody!" said the president of Hellmann's to his entire workforce. "Do me a big-time favor and start putting that mayonnaise in these containers instead! And put some mentholated smell in it too."

He showed them some tubes that said "Clean & Clear Deep Clean Cream Cleanser" and "Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser."

"Why should we?" said an employee.

"Because we're going to give everyone in America gross and greasy faces, and there isn't a thing you can do about it, buddy!" replied the president of Hellmann's.

"Okay!" said the employee. 

And the workforce took off bottling mentholated mayonnaise in the misleading face wash containers.

"This is so much fun!" giggled the president of Clean & Clear.

"I know!" chortled the president of Neutrogena.

"We are the funniest heads of corporations ever!" snickered the president of Hellmann's.

Within a week, everyone in America had super gross and greasy faces. The three friends looked out on America and chuckled nefarious chuckles at the people and their extra clogged pores and shiny foreheads. The plan was working perfectly!

But there was a downside, as there is with any nefarious plan to give everyone in America gross and greasy faces.

One day, while the president of Clean & Clear, the president of Neutrogena, and the president of Hellmann's were sitting in their top secret tree house, they got a visit from the president of the Pam cooking spray corporation.

"I'm the president of the Pam cooking spray corporation," said the president of the Pam cooking spray corporation. "Let me in!"

"What's the password?" queried the president of Neutrogena.

"I don't know!" said the president of the Pam cooking spray corporation. "But I am very, very important in the field of cookware greasing, and I'll get really mad if you don't let me in."

"Fine!" said the president of Clean & Clear. He opened the door.

"What do you want?" asked the president of Hellmann's.

"What's the big idea with giving everyone in America gross and greasy faces?" the president of the Pam corporation asked.

"We thought it was funny. And what does it matter to you anyway?" asked the president of Neutrogena.

"I'll tell you why it matters to me! My sales have gone down down down. And worse, some famous chef discovered that face grease is ten times more slippery than Pam cooking spray. And now everyone is greasing their cookware with their faces," replied the president of the Pam corporation.

"That's revolting!" said the president of Neutrogena.

"Tell me about it!" said the president of the Pam corporation. "Last night I ordered an omelette at my favorite restaurant and I almost barfed my guts out and died."

"Gross. I can't believe you ordered an omelette," said the president of Clean & Clear. And then there was an awkward silence for five minutes.

"Put it right, or else there will be heck to pay!" said the president of the Pam corporation.

"What are you going to do about it?" asked the president of Hellmann's.

"I'm super good at intimidation is what," said the president of the Pam corporation. "I'm part of Big Oil after all."

At this, the three best friends and corporate heads laughed and laughed.

"You should be the president of comedy," said the president of Neutrogena.

And at that, the president of the Pam corporation left very upset, wiping tears from his extremely greasy face.

"Next, I think we should make ranch dressing shampoo," said the president of Hellmann's. And that is where the story ends because I'm bad at writing endings when my face is this greasy.


A Tale of Lies and Face Wash

Total dick.

The label said, "Deep Action Cream Cleanser." And I said, "Really? Because I've been burned by face wash labels before. They say 'deep clean,' and then I wash my face and afterward it still feels like I fell face first into a vat of french fry grease."

"Oh, ha ha ha," the label said. "You're such a kidder. Read right here. It says, 'Deep Action Cream Cleanser removes dirt, oil and make-up deep down to the pores as you wash. Its oil-free formula won’t clog your pores and a special cooling ingredient leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean.'"

"Okay! I totally believe you, Clean and Clear! Let's do this thing!"

I paid the required $7.99 and took my new friend Deep Action Cream Cleanser home. "This is going to be awesome," I said. "I can't wait to feel that refreshed and clean feeling that you promised me."

I washed my face excitedly. And afterward, my face felt like the underside of a funnel cake.

"Hey! My face feels super greasy, you lying jerk of a face wash!"

"Mwahahahahahahaha! You fell for it again! God, you're so gullible!"

"CLEAN AND CLEAR!" I shouted, shaking my fist at the heavens.
To be continued....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A War of Wills With My Horrible Downstairs Neighbor

My neighbor and me sharing some quality time.

Three years ago, I moved into an apartment by myself. It was a huge step for me because I had never lived alone, and although I had never experienced living alone, I knew it was exactly the right decision for me. Because 1) walking around the apartment in your underwear, as I like to do, is awesome and 2) 99.9% of roommates you find on Craigslist are CRAZY. And I couldn't take it anymore. I realized that it's worth the extra money to live by yourself in a smaller space when you aren't afraid of waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of your roommate playing the trumpet or using your vacuum cleaner attachments to tidy her pubic hair.

"Ah," I thought when I moved in. "Finally! My own space where I can make a giant mess, and no one can stop me or complain about my dishes or my cat being an asshole or anything else."

The best part was that I got a reduced rent for "as long as I wanted to live in the building" because of some issues with the boiler. And since mine was the only finished apartment at the time, I would have the building to myself for two months. It was amazing. So quiet and so dark at night, it was like sleeping in a giant Isatoner slipper. (Or at least what I imagine that would be like.)

And then Bull Moose Ejaculator moved in downstairs.

I call him Bull Moose Ejaculator because I'm positive that the sex noises that came from his apartment sound exactly like the Alaskan wilderness during mating season, minus the pleasant chirping of birds. Plus, he snored loud enough I could hear it through the floorboards.

So, this was the exchange, I realized. No more crazy roommates, but now I had to deal with loud neighbors and thin walls. But I tried to remain positive. At least I could lock the door between myself and those vexing me.

Eventually, I got used to Bull Moose Ejaculator. When I heard the bed downstairs start creaking, I would just put on some David Attenborough and fall asleep on my couch to the sounds of nature. And I had grown up around my dad falling asleep in the middle of movies and snoring over all of the dialogue, so BME's (as I lovingly nicknamed him) snoring became kind of a comfort to me.

When he moved out at the end of the first year, I must admit I was a little sad to see him go.

And then a new neighbor moved in to take his place. We will call him Asshole Shitbagginson. And that is where the story really begins.

On the night Asshole Shitbagginson moved in, I woke up at 2 AM to what I can only describe as Johnny Cash shouting into my ear while banging on a trash can with a stick made of angry cats. And while I love Johnny Cash, it seemed excessive. The next morning I called my landlord to ask him to politely request that the neighbor to keep his music down. "Sure, sure. I'll talk to him," my landlord said. A few days went by and the music persisted.

I finally went down to the neighbor's apartment and knocked. It seemed rude for me to not just go down there, introduce myself, and explain my situation. Maybe he wasn't aware of the thin walls. He seemed normal. And nice. And shocked that he had offended my tender eardrums. "It won't happen again," he said. The next morning at 6:30 AM, I woke to, "DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER LOVE? AFTER LOVE? AFTER LOVE?" And I was like, "Seriously, Cher?"

It seemed odd that Asshole Shitbagginson was not only listening to his music loud again after agreeing not to, but also doing it clearly out of spite. When I knocked on his door again, he didn't answer. I called the landlord. "Sure, sure. I'll talk to him," he replied and then left for an unannounced month-long vacation, where he would not have access to a cell phone.

After a month of unreturned phone calls, I just gave up and accepted that my downstairs neighbor was a shithead. He listened to his music at top volume all day and into the night. He shouted into his cell phone. He stumbled around his apartment like a cart horse with a broken leg, slamming cabinets, moving furniture, possibly jackhammering. "You get reduced rent," I reminded myself and put in my earplugs.

But then, one night when I was using my Wii Fit, during one of those brief periods when I decided to take up working out, I realized that the weird banging noise I was hearing over the TV was the sound of my downstairs neighbor pounding on the heating vent that connected our apartments, clearly trying to get my attention. Unbeknownst to me, I was being the loud shithead on this occasion. Embarrassed, I got off the Wii Fit and tiptoed around the rest of the night in what I hoped was an apologetic way. But I couldn't help but feel that, considering the noise he made on a regular basis, couldn't he give me a free pass to be slightly loud once in a while? Apparently not.

It was a few months after that incident that I was getting ready for work one morning when I noticed that Asshole Shitbagginson had not listened to anything but Adele's "Someone Like You" for several days. "That poor, loud, rude bastard," I thought. "Even he is not a stranger to heartache." I almost felt sorry for him. This went on for a month.

On the day it finally stopped, I was somewhat startled when I was awakened at 7 AM to Johnny Cash. His Adele period seemed to be over. Could it be that Asshole Shitbagginson had found love at last? The next day I heard a woman's voice coming from downstairs and realized I must be right.

A week later, I was sitting on my couch editing a manuscript about eating disorders (as I often do) when I began to hear shrieking. Had someone run over a howler monkey in the street outside? It didn't take long to realize that the shieking was Asshole Shitbagginson's new girlfriend. "OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!" she screamed for hours and hours and hours. "Sweet Jesus Christ on a Cracker," I said aloud to no one but my cat. "If you're going to fake an orgasm for longer than ten minutes, have the courtesy to put a pillow over your face." My cat flopped over on the floor and tried to lick her butt in response. The next day, through the vent in my bathroom, I heard the unmistakable sound of balls slapping against wet ass as Asshole Shitbagginson treated his new lady friend to some romantic shower time. "OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD." Would it ever end?

I put down the riveting manuscript and called my landlord again.

"Sure, sure. I'll talk to him," said the landlord.

As their relationship grew and they spent more time together, I began hearing conversations like this:

Asshole Shitbagginson: WHAT?
Asshole Shitbagginson: WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE?
Girlfriend: WHAT?
Asshole Shitbagginson: I SAID WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE?
Girlfriend: I'M PEEING.
Asshole Shitbagginson: WHAT?
Girlfriend: I SAID I'M PEEING.

It seemed fitting that somehow the loudest man on Earth had found what appeared to be the loudest woman on Earth. I would have been happy for both of them if they had managed to not be the biggest assholes alive. If this were a fairy tale, it would end, "And the loudest man on Earth and the loudest woman on Earth moved to Siberia and no one ever heard from them again." But it's not.

At some point during all of this, I lost my assertive nature. I don't even knock on the door anymore when the music gets loud. I just pound on the floor with the hammer I keep under my coffee table. And Asshole Shitbagginson, true to form, shouts up, "WHAT?" And turns the music louder.

There will be no conclusion to this story until one of us moves. And I'm not going. So for now I will conclude with, "Sure, sure. I'll talk to him." And then just not do anything.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Mother's Day from Your Son, Norman Bates

When I was in high school/college, I would write my mom special Mother's Day cards from various fictional characters. I'm presenting this special Mother's Day message to you unedited, complete with the double spaces after every period, just like I learned in typing class. 

And now, a special Mother’s Day message to you from your dear, dear son Norman Bates.
Hello, Mother.
It’s me, your son Norman.  I know we haven’t been together for a while, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you.  Have I told you that I’m sorry I killed you and Leroy (or whatever that guy’s name was) and then tried to preserve your body so I could keep you forever?  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Must’ve been those taxidermy chemicals.  Remember that time I hid your body in the basement with the preserved and you were so mad?  God, those were the days.  Hey, do you remember when I decided that I missed you so much I would just put on your clothes and pretend I was you and have conversations with myself?  Ha ha ha!!!  I had almost forgotten about that.  And then, as you, I killed a couple of people and then I tried to cover it up by dumping their bodies in the swamp.  Looking back on those days makes me laugh hysterically now.  It’s too bad you were dead for that.  It was a pretty funny time.  Hey, listen, do you mind if I keep that blue flowered hat?  I always liked that one, and when I miss you just enough I put it on and dance around in nothing but a bed sheet.  Just so you know, I have kicked my addiction to pornos, and as for that whole peeping tom thing, well...that was just a phase.  Reggie, my cell mate, set me straight on who his bitch was right after I got here, know...I’m growing to love that guy.  I miss you, Mom.  Sometimes late at night I miss resting my wittle head against your rapidly decomposing shoulder.  Take care of my birds for me.
Love, your son