50 Euros? Was that right? He fumbled for the correct handbook. He was more of a pen and paper guy, which is why he didn’t have the handbooks on his phone. For him, printed hard copies were the way to go.   

Oh shit, this wasn’t the right one. This was the handbook for Trying to be Friends with Someone You Are Still in Love With. He’d been reading it from cover to cover, over and over, while killing time and drinking at Mata Hari earlier today. 

“Should you come back when you have your handbooks in order?” She had an Eastern European accent.  

“Just a second” OK, was this the book he was looking for?  

“I can save you the trouble. 50 Euros for a ten-minute of me using my hand. Another 300 for a full hour, and I'll be naked and you can go inside me.” 

“Yes, 300.”  

As she pulled her spandex uniform over her head and off, he read through the Fucking a Hooker handbook.  

If it is your team’s ball, you are most likely throwing in, so you want to call out your play and throw it through the 'tunnel'” 

Oh dammit, this was the Playing the Hooker Position in Rugby handbook.  

“So sorry, just a moment.” Ah, here it was.  

No kissing, of course, he already knew that. But also, no driving in and up to push into the clit. No nipple pinching or suckling. He kept pinching her nipples though, and she kept telling him to stop it.  

He thumbed through pages, trying to find out exactly what he could do. Jesus, why didn’t he read this before? Why was this even a good idea? Oh right, drinking and reading Trying to be Friends again and again.  

Dirty talk would have been OK, but he never acquired that handbook. Good God, so many rules. Basically, all he could do was straight in and out.  

50 minutes of his limpish, pseudo-hardness, just enough to go through the motions of fucking. It likely didn’t help that he’d been drinking, but he’d lost the Drinking Responsibly handbook a long time ago. 

They tried Missionary. They tried from behind.  She probably needed to revisit the Pretending I’m Really Enjoying this and It’s Hot for Your Benefit, When I Just Lost another Bit of My Soul handbook. He could tell. 

10 minutes left when they quit. And while they lay naked together, chatting, he thought he should read Disposing of that Emotional Corpse, yet again. This had not worked at all. Or maybe, he should order a copy of That Emotional Corpse is Getting Awfully Ripe, Time to Bury It and Move On.   

In an unguarded moment, she casually ran her fingers through his chest hair and mentioned that she’d wanted to go skydiving someday. Straight out of the Mayfly Moments of Happiness handbook.

Lunar Maze

Clearly his decision-making left a lot to be desired. First off, he was wandering through a maze. Never a good start. The Minotaur. The Shining. Nothing good ever happened in mazes.

Yet, here he was wandering through one right now, guided by a strange old man he’d met at a pub. Why would anyone follow a complete stranger into a maze in a foreign land? Especially a guy that limped with a little crooked wooden can and wore in eye patch and went on and on about ancient rites and rituals and something about the old ones.

Apparently, it was the sort of thing he would does, because here was, drifting towards his ultimate demise and wondering how he ended up there. And now, of course, the wolves howling. And the mist. And the full moon. None of this suggested that things were going to turn out well.

So it did not surprise him at all when they had reached the center of the maze, and the old man had transformed into a werewolf or a tentacled Cthulhu or whatever. It didn’t really matter what it was. Suffice to say that he’d once again found himself leaving a pub or bar or roadside moonshine stand and ending up in an unhappy situation. One that he’d reflect on later and feel a deep-seeded feeling of existential dissatisfaction.

The old man completed his transformation into some sort of horrific creature that should have stuck fear into his heart. But really, this sort of thing happened all the time and was quite predictable.

So here was the part, where he would flee. He started to run, but his heart really wasn’t into it. He’d likely need a lot of coffee and ibuprofen tomorrow.

Trouble in System Telco Line 1 

It was supposed to be a casual, NSA thing, when Madison met the fire alarm system that had trouble in telco line 1.  

Still a fondness, an infatuation quickly grew between them. In some ways they couldn't be more different. One a living, breathing human being. The other an alarm system for the fire suppression system. Still, they had common interests. Like fire safety. The alarm system wanted everyone to know when the fire suppression system was faulty. And Madison wanted to be warned before being burned alive in a fire.

Madison admired the supple curves of the alarm system's switches and circuits. Its hot and sexy fire-engine-red shell that had all the bevels and perpendicularity in the right places. The adorable wailing it made when it blared Not Sure, Not Sure, like the sound of a truck backing up. Its bright LED display that indicated there was trouble in system telco line 1.

Even when it was clear that the alarm system’s annunciator was not securely attached to the wall and that it had a few loose wires, Madison was smitten and embraced the emotional risk. 

When the couple approached the three month mark, the alarm system began beeping No More, No More. What else could Madison have expected? It had been clear from the beginning that there was trouble in system telco line 1. It only took a single call to Housing Code Enforcement before an inspector was sent to the building, where both Madison and the alarm system resided, and cited the building's owner for a coding violation regarding a nonfunctional fire notification system.

Still, even though it was really over, for Madison the relationship was ash that still held some heat and laying awake some nights with a home spun cocktail in hand and teared-up eyes, imagined the sound of the alarm singing Still Here, Still Here.

Short Wave Number Stations

76582, 76582, 40822, 40822, 76582, 76582, 40822, 40822, 76582, 76582, 40822, 40822, 76582, 76582, 40822, 40822 ...
(Hey you, Hey you, Hey you, Hey you ...)

Lincolnshire Poacher
FBBBAGFEDF: 5422, 5746, 6485, 6900, 6959, 7337, 7755, 8464, 9251, 10426, 11545, 12603, 13375, 14487, 15682, 16084, 16475
(Please pick up some coffee and a meat sandwich from the butcher. Beef or chicken. No pork. No fish.)

Nancy Adam Susan
Baker, Edward, Charlie; William, Susan, Peter; Otto, Susan, Susan; Baker, Edward, Charlie; Otto, Susan, Susan; Frank, Young, Peter; Nancy, Adam, Susan; Frank, Young, Peter; Otto, Susan, Susan
(We need to talk. The kid is failing Algebra. Parent teacher conference in two weeks)

Swedish Rapsody
87999, 15703, 15703, 06067, 06067, 52663, 52663, 52663, 52663, 54009, 54009, 90618, 90618, 16274, 16274, 95108, 95108, 41089, 41089, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 09096, 87999
(I see a little silhouetto of a man; Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango; Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me; Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo Figaro - magnifico)

Big Data

Spreadsheet: Root cause analysis of urination, March 2006 to May 2nd 2009   

Hypothesis: Urination is primarily an intentional, sometimes vindictive, squid-like response. 

Now we'll get down to the bottom of this, thought Rick Pernumero, a data analyst for IBM. If there was one thing his professional life had taught him was that, with a root cause analysis, he could determine the underlying causes of his child's urination and put a stop to it. He resolved to accumulate the necessary data in an incident report until he had gathered a statistically significant volume of data points. 


Date: March 12
Incident: Asked child to buck up.  

Future incidents were not limited to states of buckled or unbuckled, but also over the quality of buckling, such as around the neck not being a valid state of being buckled. 

Date: March 12
Incident: First day driving to new school

The child immediately wet her pants when he announced the trip right before they were to leave. Furthermore, for the duration of the trip, the child flailed their feet around the gear shift and pulled his hair while they were en route to the destination. 

Rick recorded several more similar incidents related to trips to other schools, medical visits, and other daily errands. Despite several near death experiences, He was confident that he was slowly putting another piece of the puzzle together.  

Date: March 19
Incident: Asked to complete an assigned chore: sort through the recycling for curbside pick-up  

Structure was important, he had been told by numerous mental health professionals and community resources, so he did his best to implement a regimen of chores and other routine activities.  

However, child would offer to sweep the floors when asked to vacuum the rugs. When the offer to vacuum the rugs was accepted, child would express a preference for sweeping the floors. When offer to sweep the floors was accepted, child thought it might be better to vacuum rugs. 

Still, he felt he was making great progress. Although no other assigned chores were completed that didn't result in a physical fight, recycling was completed 80% of the time and only 23% of the time with a urination incident!    

Date: April 15
Incident: Asked child to simplify eight sixths

Efforts to do homework were abandoned, but Rick felt that he had accrued an adequately sized homework urination data sample

Date: April 17
Incident: Asked child to give Dad a hug

Date: April 21
Incident: Asked child to eat carrots

Urination incidents appeared to be food-specific. Pizza, strawberries, yams, spinach, and ice cream did not trigger urination incidents. 

Date: April 22
Incident: Asked child if they had wiped their butt with the towel?” 

Date: April 23
Incident: Asked child to brush teeth

This request was discontinued after multiple toothbrushes disappeared. Presumed dropped down heating ducts or buried in the backyard. 

Date: April 25
Incident: Asked child to take medication

Date: April 27
Incident: “Ole Plaid Jacket” 


Date: May 2
Incident: Admonished child for getting silly putty all over the chair

Date: Just about every damned day
Incident: Asked child if they needed to use the bathroom

Date: Just about every time every time I left my dinner unattended and returned to find that it had been eaten.
Incident: Asked child what the fuck happened to my dinner

Date: May 23
Incident: Asked child Why is there fucking coffee in my laptop? 

After 3 months, Rick Pernumero compiled his data and ran it though statistical software and applied factor, cluster, and principal component analyses, regressions, and other analytical techniques. And because he could not concede that there was no discernible pattern in the data and the child's behavior was as random as a roll of the dice, he concluded that he didn't have a sufficient data sample and decided to gather more and more until he could finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Cult Wanted

Recently, I have had to admit that I am powerless over my own poor judgement and decision-making. My life has become unmanageable, but I have come to believe that a power greater than my self can restore me to sanity. I have, therefore made the decision to turn my life and will over to a God of my own understanding. In my best judgement, that God should be the charismatic and narcissistic leader of a cult.

But it has to be the right cult. What I'm looking for: 

I love playing games and seek out drama. I need a cult characterized by discord that encourages conflict among members. A cult based on the concept of radical honesty, where I can just tell it like it is, would probably be a good match. Zen cults where everybody just chills need not apply.

I'm equally comfortable wearing togas, potato sacks, hippy garb, or nothing at all. I pretty much look great in whatever I wear, so I can adhere to any cult dress code. Except I will not wear dress pants.

I don’t care for the suicide pact variety of cults, and I'm not chopping any wood.

I like to travel, so a cult that is constantly on the move to avoid the authorities would be a good match.

I play hard, but I don't like to work too hard. I'd like a cult that doesn't demand too much from me in exchange for all that it provides. While I'm happy to enjoy all the benefit the cult has to offer, I'd prefer that I not have to work too hard for those benefits. Don't expect me to support recruiting activities that would require walking door-to-door, canvasing airports, or otherwise require too much effort.

I'm quite sensitive to the cold so extra points for cults located in remote areas of tropical forests. Exclusive resorts would be even better. I really enjoy fresh pineapple and coconut. And monkeys are funny. 

The first things people notice about me are my eyes, then my smile, then my kleptomania. Over time, as we grow together, the cult can expect that its communal property will become my personal property. 

I love beef, so a cult that also raises cattle would be ideal. Typically, I eat three pounds of beef a day. 

I am an Eris-loving Discordian. I believe that scissors are the ultimate consciousness, and all living beings reach this state of consciousness through a series of reincarnations from meat to vegetable to mineral to scissors. I am meat, but hope soon to be with my brother, James, who is a cauliflower that I nurture under my pillow.  

I know most cults demand unquestioning allegiance, obedience, and conformity, but if you can't respect my religious beliefs, we might not be a match. 

Finally, good dental and health plans are must-haves for my new cult. 

I only respond to the name Jo Sorebella Herbal Relaxer Calhoun Kikogawa Urithrawiel of Dralinna. So there's that. 

Serious inquiries only.  

Kik Name: josorebellaherbalrelaxercalhounkikogawaurithrawielofdralinna29

Wedding Ring

Once upon a time, there was a Daddy, a Mommy, and a child. The child liked to steal things. One day Daddy’s wedding ring was missing. He’d leave it on the dresser before he went to bed at night. And put it on again in the morning. Sometimes, he would forget. How could he forget? Well, honestly, there was some distance between Mommy and Daddy. 

And one day Daddy realized he had not put it on after a few days of forgetting, and it was gone. Mommy and Daddy went through the usual drill to locate the ring.  

Room searches over and over again. Secret compartments in bed springs were searched. Access panels to plumbing. Under piles of clothes. In drawers full of clothes. Between books.  Some of Mommy’s jewelry was discovered. Skeleton keys to china cabinets. Old moldy oranges. A can of condensed milk. But no ring. 

Fruitless inquisitions. I did not steal Daddy’s ring. I do not go into your room. We have in our hands right now things that came from our room. Those are things that you are stealing from me, and if I did go into your room. It’s your fault for not locking the door. We used to lock the door. But you battered down in one of your violent fits. That was your fault for not buying a stronger door.   

Mom and Daddy kept looking over the next several days and weeks, but over time just gave up. They couldn’t afford another ring, so they made due. Maybe, it had actually just been lost. Stranger things had happened. 

Years passed with great difficulty. 

Then one day, walking outside his daughter’s room, Daddy saw the ring, lying on the floor. He picked it up and wondered what am I going to do with this now? He had filed for divorce 2 months ago. 

The Graduate, A Police Report

Name of Accused: Braddock, Benjamin 

Charge: Stalking
Accused loitered on Elaine Robinson’s college campus, where he was not a student, and repeatedly made unwanted advances to Elaine Robinson in the school library, in her own classroom, and other places that invaded Elaine Robinson's private space. The Accused persisted in these behaviors, despite the fact that Ms Robinson established clear boundaries by stating that the accused should “clear off” 

Accused accosted Elaine Robinson and her fiancé, Carl Smith, at the San Francisco zoo, and made bizarre observations about the monkeys at the zoo.  

Through subterfuge and misrepresentation, the Accused secured the location of the wedding of Elaine Robinson and Carl Smith with the purpose of disrupting the ceremonies and causing a "real scene".  

Charge: Impersonated Clergy
According to the Santa Barbara gas station attendant, the Accused claimed to be clergy officiating the wedding of Elaine Robinson and Carl Smith in order to use a phone to determine the location of the wedding.   

Charge: Disorderly Conduct
At the wedding of Elain Robinson and Carl Smith, the Accused pounds on glass from a balcony overseeing the wedding ceremony. Multiple witnesses report the accused shouting "Elaine"  

Charge: Assault
The Accused allegedly assaulted Mr. Robinson on two occasions. First, in the accused's apartment after an argument had ensued when Mr. Robinson attempted to protect his daughter from the accused's unwanted advances. 

The second assault occurred in front of multiple witnesses at the wedding ceremony of Elaine Robinson and Carl Smith. The accused beat Mr. Robinson with a large cross.  

Charge: Abduction and Kidnapping  
Having worn Elaine Robinson down psychologically and broken her, the Accused abducted her and escaped in the back of a Santa Barbara city bus. 

Public Service Announcement from a Tapeworm

Consider a fine organism like me, the tapeworm—less complex over time, asexual reproduction, streamlined for survival:

Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.

Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
Eat. Shit.
And Die.

Tremble before me monkeys! (Or apes if your going to be that way.) I'm the 9th deadliest organism on the planet!

More complexity does not necessarily breed a better beast. Indeed, I am the apex of evolution and life in the universe. (Don't even talk to me about the Tardigrade. I don't want to hear it. Glorified bugs is all they are.)

I'm Sorry You Made Me Do That

I’m sorry that you left the meat for the cook-out unattended in the kitchen. It was a foregone conclusion that I would take a crap on the floor and mix my feces into the bowl of raw hamburger. What did you expect would happen? You should have been much more careful.

I’m sorry you left your wedding ring on your nightstand in plain sight. Although, you have told me many times not to go into your room, you did not lock the door, so it really was your fault that I borrowed your ring.

Yes, I did return it. When I left it on the floor for you to find, perhaps before you vacuumed it up.

I’m sorry, but you should have known what I would do with silly putty.

I'm also sorry that you left food in the pantry. Of course, I would eat it all. Yes, even drinking the can of condensed milk. But you only have yourself to blame.

I'm especially sorry that you stored all the tools in the basement where anyone could get at them. It might have been more sensible to secure them in a locked room or at least kept the most lethal ones in a padlocked tool locker. Why you did not, is certainly perplexing to me.

But since you didn't, I now have all sorts of tools at my disposal when you fled into the room with the rest of the family. I could attack the door jam with the plyers, and there were hammers and crow bars and hack saws.

I don't even understand why you had all this stuff. Most you hardly ever used.

Except the drain rooter. You used that a lot, because the upstairs sink was getting clogged up all the time. Which of course, was because you kept trying to get me to brush my teeth, and it was much easier to squirt the tube of toothpaste down the drain.

And while I'm getting all my apologies out of the way, I am sorry that you were so damn insistent that I brush my teeth. You thought I had thrown the electric toothbrush down the air conditioning vent, but actually, I buried it in the backyard.

I think that about covers it. If I missed anything, I'm sorry. But I'm a bit distracted by the current situation you put all of us in. Not only me, but the rest of the family. It's just sad. You could have been more thoughtful.

Imagine if you just had that one tool, the drain rooter, that you actually used. A drain rooter would have been no use to me at all right now, and all of this craziness could have been prevented. I'm sorry you didn't consider that.

Scientific Project on Telekinesis with Graph

That the mass of an object impacts the distance that an object can be moved using the powers of my mind.

I applied the powers of my mind to objects that varied in mass.

  • My science textbook

  • My pit bull

  • My mom’s car

  • My house

After applying the powers of my mind to each of the objects, I measured the distance that my mental powers were able to move the object.

As noted in the bar graph (see below), all of the objects were moved the same distance.

The powers of my mind are infinite as my mental powers can move objects the same distance, regardless of the object’s mass.


Flight 904

He fantasized that on his trip to Bali his plane would crash in the ocean, and she’d see it on the news and be heart-broken, but miraculously he would survive the crash and be scooped up out of the water after surviving for days floating in the ocean. She would be overjoyed at the news that he was, indeed, alive.

And then on his trip to Bali, his plane did, indeed, crash over the ocean. Imagining that he would soon be reuniting with his lover, he joyfully prepared for the plane’s collision with the rolling waves below. The impact on the water’s surface shattered the plane into bits; debris sliced him into pieces at his happiest moment.

Communication Skills

Tell me one fact. You haven’t told me a single fact, yet. Where did you hear that, the news? Those aren’t facts. That’s hearsay.

What are you being so distant and irritated for. Just because I said that your personality was disgusting? That was like 5 minutes ago, already. Why can’t you just get over that, so we can move on with our lives and be happy. Now, give me a hug.

What’s so obnoxious about that? I just shared that I find the way you hug is condescending and insincere. That’s not obnoxious. That’s communication. Open communication is important in a relationship.

What good has politics done for anyone? One fact, please. Medicaid. What? I’ve never heard of a President Johnson. I’m going to Google it.

I took psychology before I became a teacher, so I understand people and relationships. Something that you are very confused about. Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. I’ll say it again, because I’m not sure you’re getting it. Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.

Tell me one fact. Enough with the history. That stuff doesn’t count.

You might feel comfortable folding your arms, but it is making me so super uncomfortable. It makes me feel contradicted while I’m being furious with you. I’m going to have to ask you to stop.

You still haven’t given me a single fact. I have one. My investments are doing so much better now. What do you mean you need that tax cut. Other people? I don’t get it.

Another Straight White Guy Sad about the End of a Relationship as the World Bursts at its Seams

They’d been drinking quite a bit before going to the Light Festival. While they’d stood in line for a ride the Ferris Wheel, a previously unfulfilled dating wish of his, she engaged a mother and her young kids waiting behind them, complimenting the young girl on her warrior costume.

(A car rammed into a crowd of protesters)

Once on the Ferris Wheel, they kissed, and out of the corner of his eye, he could see the Harbor spinning past as he pressed his hand between her legs and felt the wetness through her jeans.

The sex had been great fun with all the trappings that he enjoyed. Restraints and collars and floggers, and once he chained her to his mantel piece.

(and a state police helicopter crashed into the woods Saturday as tension boiled over at a white supremacist rally. The violent day left three dead, dozens injured)

And he thought nostalgically about the time while all four of her limbs were tied securely to the bed, he jammed his cock into her mouth.

And the time that she walked out of the shower in the morning, when she thought he had already left, stark naked with a towel wrapped around her head.

And when he went upstairs one night after watching an episode of the Wire, and she simply welcomed him into bed.

(The violent day left three dead, dozens injured, and this usually quiet college town a bloodied symbol of the nation’s roiling racial and political divisions)

But now, she pauses at the street crossing looking back, dressed in baggy pants and a black blouse, a single mother, adoptive daughter, religious rape survivor, recovered addict, and an international development worker. And then she waves goodbye and walks away.

( - Sarah Rankin, Associated Press)

Jack Spratt

She had stood by his hospital bed, wearing a summer dress printed with skulls grinning of the dead. Pretty in a dumpy, pot belly sort of way; her deep eyes glistened in the hospital light. She held the cold rails tightly, smiling with crooked teeth and a tired, sagging face.

He did not speak, and he did not smile as he had lain with his gown draped over his bony frame like a table cloth. Handsome in an immaciated invalid sort of way. Sunken eyes and cheeks; he smelled like urine and vomit. He slowly reached through the tangle of wires and tubes keeping him alive, held her hand and sighed.

They had listened to the rain patter on the window and knew they would be together, eating strawberries, dipped in chocolate or cream cheese, or lightly dusted in sugar.

When she became pregnant, her favorite strawberry dip was tartar sauce, and the taste grew on him over time.

During a winter in the Midwest, she told him to slow down, right before the truck swerved in their path on the snow-dusted, glistening-black highway. He tapped the brakes lightly, and the car started gliding to the formidable treeline along the roadside. He turned away, and the car spun around, and around. Their four year old kid in the back seat laughed and laughed, having a rocking good time.


You did it. You really did it. How could you?

He was mine. I found him under the bush in the rain. Next to the lady with her office in the apartment. He looked so sad and wet, but so adorable.

There might be a whole litter in those weeds. I’ll just get another one.

I can go there if I want. You never said not to.

No, you didn't.

I hear you. It’s not a marsh. It’s just some puddles in the grass, because it rained last night.

What are you talking about? I had to use the sandwich meats. We don’t have any cat food. I had to take care of it. That’s why I fed him a saucerful of milk.

He likes people food. I had to feed it what it liked. You were trying to starve it.

How could you say such a terrible thing. He wasn’t a stuffed animal. He was a real. With a name.

It’s perfectly clean and fine. How could you turn your back on that poor helpless thing. He's my baby.

What are you talking about? I did not spill milk, and the sheets could be washed anyway.

I’m not going to wash them. You should wash your ugly dress. You look like a giant candy corn.

What are you talking about? There’s no such thing as consequences.

I don’t need choices. I need to get out of here and away from you crazy people. You’re not going to brainwash me. I’m eleven and I know things. I know all about the Greek Gods. About Zeus and Athena, and that guy that saw the naked woman bathing and fell in love with her.

Nothing. There’s nothing in my hand, Mom.

It’s just a pickle. It lives in my sock.

What? I can’t even have a pickle for a pet.

You’re cruel and unjust.

Shut up, I’m talking. I’m like cheetah breath, not a pair of scissors. You’re not even a caterpillar.

You don’t understand anything. I’m using a metaphor.

I couldn’t even say good bye to my cat, my lovely baby. You never loved anyone. That’s why you and Dad are going to get a divorce.

No, it’s your fault.

Shut up, Shut up, Shut up, or I will stick a knife in your heart.

Get off me, get off. I can’t breathe. You’re killing me.

You’re lucky you just got a few scratches, because if you touch me again, I will stab you in the face.

I’m glad you’re crying. I don’t love you. I could never love you.

I’m a terrible person? You’re not even a real person. Your spirit guide is a rotten dandelion.

Stop crying I said. I don’t want you to cry any more. If you didn’t take everything I loved, everything would be OK. He was a stray, my baby. He didn’t belong to anyone but me. He liked to watch funny shows. He didn’t like to watch long boring documentaries. His name was Murphy.

The Desperate Foolishness of One Particular Rugby Winger

So here you are running around on a rugby pitch. No forward passes. No downs. No helmets. One of the positions is hooker. That weird throw-in shit when the big players get lifted in the air. The scrums with players jammed up against each other like ... like what? Mutant Siamese twin beetles joined at the head?

Is it OK to talk about Siamese twins? Should it be conjoined twins? You can't really say. Since you started drinking again and went on the prowl for the younger ones half your age, your moral compass doesn't know North from South. (The fact that there haven't been any younger ones probably makes you feel a little cheated. You feel you've gotten a second rate midlife crisis, don't you?)

You might have thought blood and booze would have made a string of casual encounters easy pickings, but you underestimated your psychological disorder, sexual inassertiveness syndrome, and your bad grammar, which btw is often an online dating dealbreaker. And the drama and messiness from the breakdown of your nuclear family sure don't help much.

And what seemed like a good idea when you got divorced in your forties? Playing Rugby. Why? So you could hit people without worrying about assault charges? Keep your mind off whether your emotionally challenging daughter will get pregnant?

Look, your team just won the ball from a turnover on a counter ruck. Quick, get into position near the sideline. Run, dammit.

On offense your passing is bad, and on defense you can't tackle. And you're new so you’re playing wing, running up and down the sideline and maybe getting the ball. If you do get that ball, just run and keep running.

If only you'd started playing Rugby sooner. What a player you could have been. Now, it's a race to some decent play before your body gives out. Still, your midlife crisis did yield a badass leg sleeve tattoo that anyone would have to admit looks great with the kilt you bought from the Renaissance Fair. An awesome swirl of whale and squid locked into a yin-yang embrace of tentacles and maw that are both dealing mortal blows and a gentle embrace that represent the relationship with your ex.

Unlucky, knocked up. Unlucky as a knock-on when a loose ball’s been bouncing around the pitch.


While waxing metaphorically about your maritime tattoo, there was a penalty against your team. The other side opted to kick, and the ball is now sailing way behind you to the spot where you should be now. Chase after that ball--run as fast as those old legs can take you.

You manage to scoop the  ball up and turn around to see controlled chaos converging. Kick it. You need to kick it into touch without fucking it up.

Don't fuck it up.

The 8 Man

The 8 man lies on his back with coaches and players gathered around. The scrum half says stay down. The coach laughs in relief when the 8 man gives him the thumbs up and cracks a joke. What do you call kids born in a whorehouse? Brothel sprouts. It's a common joke. Someone helps the 8 man to the sidelines.

"You'll be out for a month they say. And no drinking for 24 hours."

Terrible, he thinks. The idea of abstaining from drink for a while is a bit of a slap, like a counter-ruck after a tackle. (The 8 man relates everything in life through rugby metaphors.) He tries to remember if he's been taking the medication prescribed for his low grade depression. He's nearly certain that he's paid the electric and water bills.

The last time the 8 man sees his kid: downtown. She is 19. The white masonry of buildings rise, the sidewalks are paved with red brick, and the tracks for the light rail run up and down the road. His kid pauses a moment in the dimming light of dusk, before heading down Lexington and then the intersection is empty.

His team mates support him with pats on the shoulders and the back of his head.

The kid develops a topsyturvy religion based on an inverted reincarnation scheme. When you die, you become your favorite animal. (The kid is going to be a kitten.) What happens after the kitten dies, then you  become a plant, and then a thing. These scissors (presented as evidence). They’re a slave.

The 8 man stands on the sidelines holding an ice pack to the back of his head. He thinks he's lucid, even though he's confused about now and before and later. His team is ahead  by 2 points as the game winds to a close, but the other team has possession and is moving the ball down the field. Their fly half, tall and lanky, gets the ball and drop kicks it from 30 meters out. Dammit, the 8 man thinks as the ball hurtles through the uprights, that's a beautiful kick.

Each night the kid asks him if he will brush her teeth for her. She claims that she doesn't know how to brush her teeth. The kid puts toothpaste on the toothbrush and then waves the toothbrush around until the lump of toothpaste, perched precariously on her brush, falls off. Two years pass, and she still hasn’t brushed her teeth.

At the ER, the 8 man gets everything scanned and properly checked out. No headache. No nausea. No blurry vision. He is a tough guy with a hard head, apparently. It's all good, but even so, the attending physician advises no practice and games for a month. And walking is OK, but not running. Sloshes the brain around too much. Also, he musn't think too hard.

He looks for weaknesses in the opponents defense and runs hard through a gap, hit low, but the tackler doesn't wrap. The 8 man spins and skitters across the try line, then runs behind the goal posts and centers the ball.

The 8 man laments the fact that he did not take a piss between those two fucks, especially since the first did occur in a washroom. But hindsight is 20/20, and on the second go-around, there's enough residual sperm from the first go in that pre-cum foreplay fluid that he ends up with the kid and married for awhile.

The 8 man thinks he's had a vasectomy; he doesn't want children, but the result of that semi-casual fuck in the washroom raises a question. 1 in 1000 is the answer. There's enough sperm struggling through that post-operative semen spurt that he ends up with the kid and married for awhile.  

Too far away to make a leaping tackle, the 8 man still chases. Another teammate is able to haul the runner down, and the 8 man is there to poach the ball, stealing back control, if only for a moment.

When she is 9, his kid loves to hear him read "Call of the Wild". It's their favorite story. They laugh at Mercedes, who screams at every little thing, right up until the moment when her imbecile brothers lead them to their demise, falling through the thin ice, at which point she actually has something to scream about. But Buck, the dog, lingers on.

The 8 man sails down the field in ungainly grace, a tattered rag, worn out, running a hard line, and it's all good, this ballet of blood and broken hands, black eyes and lacerations, that chip away at the narrow slice of time that’s left, until just short of the try line; the back of his head slams into the ground, and the ball is out.

Star Trek Fanfiction by Kathy Acker as Read by Jonathan Goldstein

Interspecies Fuckland

In Interspecies Fuckland, a lot of fucking is going on.  Romulans and Vulcans are intermingling to produce strange offspring with pointed ears. Klingons are violently copulating with humans, killing their mates and mounting their heads on spikes before giving birth to bumpy-headed babies doomed to a substandard living that lacks a good dental plan.

In Interspecies Fuckland, Cardassian night porters are performing sadomasochistic rituals on broken glass with the Bajorans they victimized during the occupation. The deviant behavior becomes more perverted by the fact that the Cardassian hemipenis doesn’t fit properly in any Bajoran orifices.

In Interspecies Fuckland, the Sheliak engage in contractual sexual relations that involves protracted foreplay in the form of legal maneuverings and negotiations to determine position, location, time , and amount of mucous that will be exchanged.

Inexplicably, the crossbreeding orgy of unmatched chromosomes by the different hominid species of the Alpha quadrant manage to produce reptile-ape-crustacean-squid offspring with bumpy ass-shaped heads, nineteen nostrils, fish mouths, webbed feet, hands covered with suckers, and leathery skin.

In the fucking free-for-all, the aliens of the 24th century are happy to get skull bonked by a giant hairy bug, but still get squeamish when faced with transgender Trills.

The most tolerant species in Interspecies Fuckland is the Slime Mold of Seti Prime which reproduces by consuming its mates, regardless of number and gender, and dissolving them to absorb their DNA.