Stink Fingers

Mr. Gremler needed five hundred dollars in three hours or else Mobombo Jackson, the bookie, was going to cut his balls off and make him eat them for breakfast.  Mr. Gremler had always been rather partial to his testicles and whenever he thought about them and their future a wave of anxiety swept over him.  The only way for him to get rid of his anxiety was to go to a nudie bar.  His favorite nudie bar was Stink Fingers by the airport.
     In Stink Fingers he would try to find peace in his soul and stop the shaking of his hands.  He would try to figure out how he would get the money.  But as always happened in Stink Fingers, he soon became wildly drunk.
     “Hey…  I’ll lick your clit for a nickel,” Mr. Gremler offered the stripper on the cat walk.  She just shook her head and kept dancing.
     “Show me your tits!” He screamed at her.  She just ignored him.
     “Come on!  Shake those viscous bastards at me!”
     She gave him the finger and then went back to contorting.  Some of the other guys around the cat walk laughed.
     “I want bush!  I want bush!  I want…” Mr. Gremler was interrupted when the bouncer came up behind him and put an arm on his shoulder.
     “Mr. Gremler.  Let’s not have another incident again.”  Mr. Gremler tried to pull the bouncer’s arm off his shoulder but the bouncer just squeezed it harder.
     Mr. Gremler smiled and then asked.  “Tito, what kind of a way is that to treat this fine establishment’s favorite customer?”
     “Mr. Gremler, please, Korea doesn’t enjoy it when you talk like that to her, especially when she’s performing.  Now if you’ll just sit down and enjoy the show quietly there won’t be any need to get indelicate,” Tito said.
     Mr. Gremler nodded and then Tito let go of his shoulder.  Mr. Gremler sat down and continued to watch the show.  Korea mouthed thank you at Tito and Tito nodded back.
     Mr. Gremler sat quietly.  He needed money.  He needed it badly.  With only a twenty dollar bill left he felt desperate.  He looked at Korea’s crotch and envied her for what she had in her panties.  Not only did he want her happy box, but he also wanted all those sweaty green bills of money sticking out.  He drank the last few drops of beer from the bottom of the bottle and then stumbled drunkenly to the bathroom.
     Two strippers were on their knees in the stalls, their high heels sticking out under the doors as they performed acts of oral evil upon the customers.
     Mr. Gremler smiled as he listened to the sweet music of the whores.  It grew louder and louder until he thought his ears were bleeding.  He spun around and thrust his crotch at the occupied stalls a few times.
     Suddenly he lunged down and grabbed the right ankle of the whore on the left and the left ankle from the one on the right and began to yank them this way and that.
     As the whores lost their hand holds, they kept their balance the only way they could:  Like a pair of mad dogs they bit down for dear life.
     The horrified screams from the Johns in the johns mixed with Mr. Gremeler’s maniacal laughter.  “Dance!  Dance I said!” he shouted.  “Dance your wicked dance you evil lesbians you!”
     And as he felt the madness take hold of him he realized there was a way to get the money.
     A few seconds later he came out of the bathroom sweating like crazy and sat down at his chair to watch Korea dance.  She was tired of dancing but none of the other strippers were back from their breaks yet, so Tito just kept motioning for her to stay on stage.
    Mr. Gremler began to wave her over with the twenty dollar bill.  She ignored him out of spite.
     “Come on!  It’s a twenty,” he said.
     He kept on waiving and started squealing, so she came over just to shut him up.  She gyrated her crotch at him a little and then he stuffed the twenty into her pink silk panties.
     She quickly danced away from him and he laughed hysterically.  She looked at him wondering why he was laughing.
     He put his hands around his mouth like a megaphone and then yelled:  “I wiped my ass with that twenty!”
     She blinked and then started to scream as she ripped all the money out of her panties and threw it on the stage.
     Mr. Gremler quickly crawled up on the catwalk and snatched all the money she had thrown out of her panties.  He stuffed it all into his coat pockets.
     Tito was returning from a strange disturbance in the bathroom and didn’t really know what was going on.  But he figured instinctively that Mr. Gremler had been up to something, so he grabbed him by the hair and dragged him outside.  He threw Mr. Gremler onto the ground and kicked him in the stomach twice.
     Mr. Gremler kept laughing even as he coughed up some blood.  Tito looked down at him and then walked back into the club.
     When Tito was gone Mr. Gremler took the money out and counted it.  Two hundred and sixty dollars.  That was enough for one testicle.
     Life, was good…

Seven Broodlings

Max had been nominated for teacher of the year in his district.  The newspaper had done a small article on him.  He meant to frame it but they spelled his name wrong so he didn’t.  The correction was published a few days later but it wasn’t the same.
    All things considered his nights consisted of drinking, chasing tail, and getting shot down.
    The whole professor in a tweed coat thing and a shitty fake southern accent trying to mask a New York accent hadn’t been pulling in the tourists girls since Katrina.  There simply wasn’t the same numbers coming through the French Quarter anymore.
    So he had resorted to seducing his coworkers.  In the public school system there was about a 95% population of slightly educated, Christian female teachers.  Take out the obese ones and you had a remaining 25%.  Take out the ones that were married and you had maybe 10% left that were viable candidates. 
    Still, the odds were in his favor.
    So that’s why he had decided to take Christine out on a date at the recently reopened French/American restaurant named Bourbon Street.  She was an 8th grade teacher at a middle school in the same district as his.  She was a redhead, with blue eyes.  The works.  But an odd straight laced sort of way about her views on things made her more of a librarian than a vixen.  It would take some work but he was up to it.
    “It’s that moment in the movie where the woman starts talking about all her hopes and dreams and you know it’s just over at that point.  So I change the channel or leave the theatre.  There’s no coming back at that point,” Max said as he cut his steak.
    “What?  That’s just awful,” Christine said as she stopped eating her chicken Caesar salad.
    The waiter came over.  “Would you like another beer sir?”
    “I see no reason to stop now,” he responded.
    “The same?”
    “Indeed.”
    The waiter nodded and walked away.  She scowled as she looked down at her salad.
    “That’s what I like to see,” he said.
    “What is that?” she asked.
    “Restraint,” he said between chewing. 
    He gestured at her lack of consumption with his fork.  She went back to eating but slower and more reserved.
    Max ate his steak the way a pissed off inmate on death row would.  Slow, belligerent, and ready to ask for seconds.  That was just one of the things about him that turned Christine off.  The pauses he would take to leer at things and people.  The odd smirks of joy he took when he noticed people suffering at the next table because they didn’t get their food in a timely fashion.
    “What exactly do you do?” she asked.
    “What do you mean?  Like for a job?  For fun?”
    She nodded.
    “Well…” he chewed his food as he thought about how to phrase it.  “You know when people drink too much during pregnancy, or smoke crack when they should be getting an abortion, or simply breed when they should have had a government forced hysterectomy?  Well I’m the guy that takes care of their kids.  I herd retards.”
    She blinked a few times, picked up a glass of water almost drank it, then put it down.  “You teach special Ed?”
    “Yes, retards.”
    “That’s,” she put her hands on the table.  “I can’t in good conscience believe that.  I think that’s just awful that you should lie like that.”
    “You want to see something really fucked up?”
    “No.”
    He pulled his wallet out and threw a plastic ID card from the high school in New Orleans that he taught at.  He was smiling in the picture but one eye brow was raised.
    “I was drunk when that was taken.”
    She looked at it, then back up at him, then back down at the card and frowned. 
    “Look Max, I don’t know what to make of you.  You seem well…”
    “Like an asshole?”
    “Yea, frankly, yea, and a drunk.  This is very confusing for me.  Sheryl said you were like this but she never said you taught Special Ed.”
    “Is that a problem?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Why would it be a problem?”
    “Because I’m too horrified by you to imagine you teaching those poor special children.”
    He thought about it.  Teaching the little bastards about the finer elements of gambling had been last week’s project.  Malcolm, his prized student, had to be taken to the nurse’s office because of a glue chugging contest.  There was also a lesson in peer pressure in there somewhere.
    “I teach them how to be men…  Except for the women.”
    “That’s just wrong.”
    “What?  It’s not like I beat them.”
    “But do you talk to them that way?”
    “Sometimes…”
    “See, I don’t know if you are being funny or just being you.”
    “What’s wrong with either?”
    “I don’t like either…  I’m sorry.  I just don’t find you attractive.  I mean, this is hard to say because I don’t like being mean.  I just don’t like the way you are.  I think you are physically good looking and I like your smile, half the time, but not when you look at people like a Jackal.”
    He kept chewing his steak.  “OK.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”
    “That’s not good enough for me.”
    “Look, I’m sorry but I just naturally assumed my abilities dealing with retards would naturally give me an advantage when dealing with someone of your mental ability.”
    “What?  Are you- No!  Fuck you!  Don’t you ever talk that way to me!” she stood up.  Grabbed her purse and strutted out with her head held high.
    The waiter came over.
    “Is everything alright, sir?”
    “Dirty bitch…   Another beer.”
    “Right away, sir.”
    The night ended six beers and 8 shots later with a taxi ride home.  He woke up in the shower with the water running over him cold.  His vomit had clogged the drain again and it had flooded around 4 AM.
    After unplugging it with the plunger he went to bed grumbling about hypothermia and woke up three hours later to begin getting ready.  Another taxi ride was required to get him to school since he was still too drunk to drive but good enough for the gifted.
    Class was in the basement of the high school also known as the Tomb.  It was the only class down there, 24 feet below sea level with no windows and almost zero oversight from above.  As long as they didn’t hurt themselves or anyone else every minor infraction was overlooked.  He was sure someday he would be fired as soon as their budget was increased but until then it was his world of black mold and warped text books stacked in the corner. 
    His class came in with the special bus driver leading the pack like a group of bewildered ducklings.
    “Broodlings,” he called them as they came through the door and sat down.
    The bus driver, Shathea, once accidently pronounced Shit-Head at the DMV, glared at him.  “If a man can’t respect himself then how is he going to teach the children he is entrusted with about respect?”
    From a hybrid position somewhere between a slouch and a hunch he responded with “Shathea…  Have you lost weight?”
    She pointed a finger at him.  “You and me, we gonna have words one of these days.” She left and looked back at him once to mouth the words ‘DRUNK’.  He smiled at her and waived her goodbye.
    The seven special ED kids sat at their desks.  Some eyes wide, some staring off at random things, some looking down at their hands in their laps. 
    IQ’s ranged from 78-84 in his class.  Of the five boys and two girls the girls led the pack in intelligence, but they made up for that with a few bad things.  Lack of underwear for a start.  Maria the more attractive of the two was a fiend with the boys.  Alma on the other hand was introverted and violent.  At the age of 15 Maria had slept with more boys then most girls would in their entire lives.  In comparison Alma had beaten more women and men than most violent offenders had.
    At times Max had toyed with the idea of nicknaming them after the seven dwarves or the magnificent seven.  He had even shown them a few movies he could sleep through during the really bad hangovers, but they rarely understood what was going on and the two girls threw off the equation in the end with their constant giggling.
    Teaching the special children had never been what he wanted.  But there was a part of him that secretly enjoyed it.  The thrill of showing them how the popcorn machine worked, the way their eyes lit up when fresh play doe hit the table, fucking crayons, etc… 
    Mostly their willingness to believe anything. 
    “Today, kids…  I’m going to teach you about women…  Now have any of you ever gotten the birds and the bees speech?”
    One of the kids, Alfred, raised a hand.
    “My daddy once told me if I was ever lucky enough to get it in there to never leave anything behind…  And to make damn sure I didn’t pick up anything either.”
    Some of the kids started laughing and so did Max.
    “Wow…  I needed that.  Your dads’ a smart man,” Max said.
    “He’s in China.”
    “With the Asians?”
    “No.  In California.  It’s a jail.”
    “You mean Chino?”
    “Yes.”
    “Good to know.”
     Max tossed a cherry Jolly Rancher from his pocket to Alfred as a reward.  Yes and no where important concepts for them.  He stressed to them the importance of saying ‘yes’ as opposed to ‘yea’.  The candy helped them remember the same way the boozed helped him forget.
    Under his desk in a secret compartment he removed a few bottles and began mixing a white Russian in his Teacher-of-the year mug.  He added a few ice cups to it from a soda cup he had brought with him before class from the teacher’s lounge.
    “See the trick to a solid and healthy relationship is lies.  If you tell the truth people are going to get pissed at you, so most people learn a combination of avoidance, known as omission, and lying.  Do you get me?”
    A few open mouths and squints from the Broodlings.  He took a drink as he reworded it in his brain.
    “Imagine your mom gives you a present for Christmas.  But the present isn’t exactly the one you wanted.  Or in fact it’s one you absolutely hate.”
    “My mom’s a fucking heroin addict,” Alma stated.
    Max paused speaking to chew on a piece of ice from his drink before responding with.  “I don’t doubt that for a second.”
    “Alma’s mom is a heroin addict,” Samuel whispered from the back of the class room and a few of them started laughing.
    Alma spun around and made a fist at them.
    “Samuel!” Max yelled at him.  “What rule did you just break?”
    Samuel lowered his head and muttered.  “Rule number 3.”
    “Right.  Don’t ever under any circumstances talk about anyone else’s family.  Why do we have this rule?”
    “Because Alma will kick my ass again.”
    “Exactly.  And what else do you say now?”
    “I’m sorry, Alma.  I won’t call your mother a heroin addict again.”
    “Good enough, Alma?” Max asked her.
    She was breathing heavy but nodded. 
    “OK, now back to the present you don’t want.  What do you say to your mom?”
    “Buy me something else?” Maria said.
    “No.  You say thank you.  Because if you don’t you are going to hurt your mom’s feelings.”
    “But lying is bad,” Malcom said.
    “No.  Lying is key.  It’s only bad if you are hurting someone or if you get caught.  Especially if you are in a relationship with someone.  The strongest marriages are built on lies.  No one wants to hear the truth.”
    “What if they ask for the truth?” Malcom asked.
    “Especially when they ask for the truth.”
    “Can I have a drink?” Maria asked.
    “Yes you can go get some water,” he said.
    “Can I have some of yours?”
    “No.”
    “Are you lying?”
    “No.”
    She spread her legs.  He wasn’t sure if Maria even owned pants and was positive she didn’t have underwear.     
    “No,” and he opened a book and placed it on the desk blocking the line of site from his eyes to her crotch.  He threw back the rest of the drink and she sighed in frustration crossing her legs back together.  He kept the book up for good measure and started making another white Russian. 
    “Why do you drink so much?” Malcom asked him.
    “I don’t know…  I just hate the way I feel when I’m sober.”
    “Do you get into a lot of trouble when you drink?”
    “All the time.  Especially with women.  That’s the problem with alcohol.  It makes some people honest.  I’m one of them.”
    “Maybe you should lie more,” Maria said.
    “I’ve been telling myself that for years.”
    “Why are you a teacher?”
    “I don’t know…  I’m not a normal teacher though.  I don’t like dealing with normal kids.  I like you guys.”
    “Why?”
    “Because no one cares about you.  As far they are concerned you are never going to amount to anything.  Hell, 50 years ago the Nazis had this plan to wipe you all out.”
    “Nazis?”  Samuel asked.
    “You know, the guys with the cool costumes,” Maria said to Samuel.
    “Oh yea…  I mean yes,” Samuel said.
    Looks like Schindler’s List had paid off, he thought, and in that moment of realization Max felt both spiritually and physically aware of the poison that infected his life, and its name was honesty.
      He was tired of telling the truth.  From now on he would live his life one lie at a time.  Not only to the people he hated but the ones he loved, and most importantly he would lie to himself. 
    That day he decided to stop drinking, to become one of the unwashed masses, to filter everything he said and be loved for everything he wasn’t.  He could hardly wait.     
    Standing up he looked at the Seven Broodlings and saluted them with his half empty white Russian in hand.
    “The last bit of wisdom I’m going to give you is this.  Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to fuck.  None of you are going to be doctors, scientists, or presidents.  My advice to you is to get the fuck out of here, join a culinary program at one of the local junior colleges and learn to cook.  Pay’s not great but at least you won’t starve.  And you three retards in the back.  Though you have never contributed a single sentence in this class, and I’m not even really sure what your names are, I bid you a fine farewell.  I love all my less-than-beautiful Broodlings equally…”
    Maria uncrossed her legs again. 
    “…and God Bless Unclean Women.”
    He finished the drink and walked out of the classroom.  On his way out of the school he pulled the fire alarm.  They had earned it…

Raymundo the Hero

Mathew Cole stood with an umbrella above his head in front of his parent’s freshly dug graves in the Santa Monica Cemetery. A light rain was coming down. His lawyer, Mr. Obanion, walked up to him.
“Mr. Cole, you will never have to worry about money again,” Mr. Obanion said to him.
“I never did,” Mathew said.
“You can do anything you want.”
Mathew was silent.
“Are you going back to school?”
“I am not.”
“Will you consider it later?”
“No.”
“Do you need a ride?”
“No.”
“Will you call me tomorrow? We still have paperwork to go over.”
“Probably not.”
“Well… When you are ready,”
Mr. Obanion walked away but Mathew stayed. When everyone was gone from the funeral he closed the umbrella and let the rain soak him. In the distance he saw a man standing on a hill in front of a single grave. The man was swearing at the grave stone and then started to piss on it.
Mathew was fascinated.

***

As he drove home through the rain he flipped through radio stations trying to find one worth listening to but then started punching the radio with his fist until it broke the skin of his knuckles.
He pulled over into a Ralph’s parking lot and started to cry. A woman banged on his window with a poster that said “STRIKE”.
“Don’t shop here! These people are bastards!” she yelled at him.
He got out of the car and went inside.

***

Mathew walked into the grocery store wearing a black suit, a black tie, and a white shirt. He was dripping water on the floor. He saw the help wanted sign and asked one of the assistant managers if he could apply. After being given an application he was shown to the break room.
He placed the job application form on the small circular table and began to fill it out with a dull pencil.
Drops of water occasionally fell down his face onto the application.
Heather, a young woman, nothing more than a girl with an excellent push up bra, walked in going for the fridge. She stopped when she noticed him sitting there, but just for a second before she continued going for the fridge. The freezer door opened with the cracking noise of ice.
A long sigh came from her and then she grabbed a frozen dinner out of it.
He continued writing without looking up.
“Nice suit,” she said.
He stopped writing but kept looking at the form. “Thank you.”
“What position are you applying for?”
“What?”
“What job are you applying for?”
“Night work.”
“Manager?”
“Stocker.”
“Oh… But you’re so well dressed.”
He nodded and then went back to writing in the form.
“Except for your shoes,” she said.
He looked down at his black shoes. They had mud on the bottom, and a layer of grass clippings on that. A quivering smile spread across his lips, and he brought his feet together, pulling one heel out of each shoe, starting with the left, and ending with the right. Slowly, reaching down he picked them up with his right hand and then walked over to the sink in black wet socks.
Turning the water on with his left hand, he carefully washed the sides of each shoe, until they were clean and dripping shiny again. He put them back on the floor and stepped into them, wiggling his toes into each and pressing his heels down.
The squeaking on the floor would have made her laugh accept for the fact that she stopped breathing when he had stood up. He had reminded her of a wet puppy and she regretted not reaching out to touch his arm when he was at the sink.
He had not looked at her once during the entire time.
But when he did, he gave her a smile and nodded his head once before saying “Thank you,” and then stood up again with the completed form in his hand and left the break room.
She realized she still had the frozen dinner in her hand.

***

The General Manager, Mr. Arthur, was sitting at his small desk, covered in papers, a few cases of diet Mountain Dew stacked behind him. The resume was placed on one of the stacks of paper.
“You understand, because of the grocery worker strike, odds are this job will only be temporary?”
“I don’t mind,” Mathew said.
“Why? Let me rephrase that… Why do you want to work the night shift?”
“I have a winter before I need to do anything. I would like to stay busy.”
“Are you going to college after that?”
“No.”
“But, you look so smart.”
Mathew looked Mr. Arthur in the eyes.
“I am.”
Mr. Arthur opened his mouth, then closed it and looked back down at the resume. He looked back up at Mathew again then down at the form for a second before pulling out a filing cabinet drawer and rummaging through it. Taking a new employee packet out, he quickly checked to make sure all the papers were in it before handing it across the desk to Mathew.
“In addition to all the other things I’ve gone over with you there is a mandatory drug test, before we can hire you and then random drug tests every few months. So be aware of that.”
Mathew nodded.
“Take this,” Mr. Arthur said giving him a package with a urine sample cup. “Do me a favor and seal it tight afterwards, and wash the outside off with hot water. Sanitary, you know?”
Mathew nodded again.
Mr. Arthur cleared his throat with some force and stoop up extending his hand. Mathew stood up as well and they shook hands.
“Welcome to the team, think of us as a family.”
“Thank you. I shall go take care of this, and return it to you promptly.”
“Good, good… And ugh, your shift can start tonight at 2 AM. 2 to 10 AM.”
“I will be here.”

***

Mathew was in the bathroom stall, aiming the head of his dick into the urine sample cup, when he heard the voices of who he would later learn were Orlando and Clint.
“What the fuck! I don’t fucking say motherfucker that much. Fuck him!” Orlando yelled.
“I gotta admit man, you fucking say that kind of shit a lot,” Clint said.
“What? What the fuck do you mean?”
“I don’t know; you always say that.”
“What? What motherfucker do I say all the time?”
“Motherfucker, shit, fuck, bitches… Shit like that, you know.”
“Fuck you, fucking Judas, fucking Jesus killer. Selling out for money is what you are all about.”
“Why do you always have to swear?”
“My language is fucking poetry, yours is the language of dog shit and cock suckers.”
“Fuck you…”
“Don’t make me snap you in half with my dick.”
“The fuck does that mean?”
Mathew could hear a stream of piss hitting one of the urinals. There was a chuckle.
“Motherfucker…” Orlando muttered.
“What?”
“That fucking Chinese whore.”
“What?”
“That FUCKING CHINESE WHOOORE!”
“What about her?”
“Oh man… She made my dick too hard again.”
“What?”
“That yellow bitch rubs green jade stones all over my dick. Hard as a motherfucker.”
“You said motherfucker again.”
“Fuck you. Cunt! See, a white word.”
“Cunt is a white word?”
“All the shitty words are.”
“Green Jade? What the hell is that supposed to do?”
“Makes your dick hard, the fuck did I say!”
“So you can’t piss because you have a hard on?”
“Fuck you…”
There was a groan and then a second stream of piss could be heard.
“Me love you long time,” Orlando said in a high pitched Asian accent followed by laughter.
They left without flushing, and without washing their hands.
Mathew started pissing into the cup…

***

After work Mathew drove home to an empty seven bedroom house in Bel Air. In Los Angeles, in order to qualify as a mansion in the city of Bel Air, a house needed to have at least ten bedrooms with ten bathrooms and a 6 car garage with a pool. His house, as it was his house now, in his name as of 10 AM that morning.
He parked the car in the garage with the 5 other cars, all in excellent to mint condition.
When he went in through the garage door to the house he made sure to take his shoes off in the laundry room.
He sat down to watch TV in the living room, taking his suit off and resting it on the chair next to the couch. The little robots came out in unison to clean his house. Sweeping, mopping, and making the general rounds.
He went to call for food, but heard the message of 186 messages. He hung up, waited a second, then picked it back up and called the family lawyer. He instructed him to go through all the messages and have them taken care of.
He set his cell phone alarm for 12:00 Midnight, and then placed it on the counter foot rest.
He laid down on his side resting his head on one of the couch pillows.

***

“Alright fellow slaves, it’s 2:01 AM, and we are no longer selling booze, so in the words of our illustrious former leader, ‘the customer, can go fuck himself.’ End quote,” Orlando said on the loud speaker.
Though the concept of distributive justice was never previously explained to them, they understood it on an instinctual level. Because there was only enough money to pay seven night stockers to do the work of twelve night stockers, it only made sense that everyone got one night out of the week to play DJ.
Orlando suffered from a unique form of chronic happiness combined with random hatreds and superstitions, one of them being the belief that if he ate spicy peppers every hour on the hour, he would increase his sexual drive. He had to steal two 8 ounce cans a day from Aisle 6 in order to maintain his regimen.
Music was now switched from the married pregnant women age 25 and up station to James Brown’s Sex Machine (1976).

***

Mathew stood in the loading dock, next to six other guys, two Mexicans, two African Americans, one being Orlando, the other being Marbles, one white guy named Clint, nothing more than a Meth addict, and a mentally handicapped man named Raymundo.
In front of them was the soon to be former night manager.
“…and I leave you with the great words of John F. Kennedy. ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ Farewell.”
Orlando raised his hand. “The fuck does that mean?”
“That means I hate you, Orlando. I hope you die. Die on fire.”
“What the fuck?” Orlando yelled at him.
“Shut your mouth Orlando just shut it. Five fucking years I’ve had to listen to that gaping trench of mouth. I know it’s you that’s stealing the fucking Viagra from the pharmacy. We have two cameras in there, not one, but two! Because of your filthy mouth I called my wife a ‘cunt’ in bed once. You almost ruined my marriage. So fuck you Orlando you worthless piece of shit!”
And then the retiring Night Manager charged Orlando and punched him three sharp times before the rest of the night stockers could subdue him.

***

The General Manager had to be called at his home to come down from Malibu to the Beverly Adjacent Store #68 on Wilshire Blvd, which at 2:34 AM was only a 35 minute drive but was made exciting by all the drunk drivers on the Pacific Coast Highway.
By a stroke of irony Orlando had James Brown’s I Feel Good playing on the loud speakers when he arrived.
“And now that the grand dragon is out of here who gets to lead? Fucking Marbles?” Orlando asked him as he held a bag of frozen peas to the side of his face.
Everyone looked over at Marbles.
They called him Marbles because he read books, lots of books, all of them on the subject of romance. Since that kind of reading was obviously for faggots and pregnant women, or women intending to become pregnant, it didn’t make sense to them. Because Marbles, towering at 6’6, African American, 225 lbs. of almost pure muscle, 5.4% body fat, at the age of 56, was obviously not a pregnant woman. This was confirmed by the fact that he had a Puerto Rican girlfriend and a Korean girlfriend, who both attended the same church in Santa Monica.
“I don’t want to do it,” Marbles said.
The General Manager looked at Marbles, blinked once. “What?” he asked in a calm voice.
“I’m not going to lead these men,”
“Excuse me, lead? Did you say lead? It’s just a night shift stocking manager position. It’s not like you have to storm the enemy trench with machine guns blasting at you.”
“Still, it doesn’t suit me.
The General Manager looked at the rest of the stockers. Because of the chain of events set off by Orlando’s constant lawsuits, a policy of no firing and advancement based only on seniority, they had not trained anyone with the proper skills for the job. Orlando sat there with a growing smile on his face.
The General Manager looked at Orlando and smiled back.
“Well,” the GM said. “Because of seniority and our no discrimination policy that leaves only one possible choice.”
“Goddamn right it does,” Orlando said standing up and walking over to stand side by side with the General Manager. Orlando licked his lips ad chuckled evilly as he stared at what he thought were to soon be his subordinates.
“What are you doing?” the GM asked him.
“Let’s do this proper.”
“What?”
“Alright you fucking savages, listen up!”
“Orlando!” the GM yelled at him.
“Don’t fuck up my groove man,” Orlando whispered at him.
“Sit down! I wasn’t talking about you.”
“What?”
“Sit the fuck down! I wasn’t talking about you,”
“What?”
“Sit down.”
“I’ve been here longer than anyone else.”
“No, you haven’t.”
“Motherfucker, I think I know how to count.”
“Raymundo has been here for six years. You’ve only been here for five.”
“So?”
“So if you know how to count then you realize he’s been here a year longer than you have.”
“So?”
“Then because he has seniority, and because we also have a no discrimination policy, then the choice is up to him whether or not he wants the job.”
“The Great White Retard? Raymundo? No, he’s seriously fucking retarded. I’m truthing it here, fat man.”
“Now I already told you about the fucking fat jokes, Oklahoma, New Orleans, or whatever the fuck you call yourself.”
“It’s Orlando, and no way is Raymundo getting the job. Seriously he is fucking retarded. Like medically man,” Orlando said.
The General Manager looked over at Raymundo, who was intently focused on separating a bag of skittles on the table as he organized them by their specific colors. “You want the job of Night Manager for the Stocking Department Raymundo?”
“Raymundo says Yes”, Raymundo said without hesitation or looking up.
“Fucking sold,” the General Manager said to the rest of them.
“No, fuck that,” said Orlando. “We should vote.”
“Thank God this isn’t a democracy.”
“Fuck yes it is. Alright, who’s in favor of me or the fucking retard for Night Manager?” Orlando yelled at the Stockers.
“This isn’t a democracy!” the General Manager yelled at him.
“How many for Raymundo? Raise your hands.”
Everyone but Clint and Mathew raised their hands. Even the Mexicans, who up to this moment Orlando had not realized spoke English, voted for Raymundo.
“No, you two don’t fucking count. You aren’t even legal. Put your hands down,” he yelled at them, but they kept them up anyway.
“Goddamnit, well how many for me for Night Manager?”
Clint raised his hand. Mathew abstained.
“What the fuck? Only one?”
The General Manager started laughing. Orlando stormed out of the stock room.
“Well, what do you think? Is that democracy in action or what?” the GM asked as he turned to Mathew with a smile.
“Do you think Buddha, on his death bed, before being reincarnated asks the question ‘Why the fuck does this keep happening to me?’”
To everyone else the GM responded with, “Yep, and that’s Mathew, the new guy… Fucking creepy.”

***

After the meeting they all went to their assigned aisles, except for Raymundo who went into the office with the GM to go over details. Mathew was assigned to train with Marbles in the back store room loading the pallets onto carts and dropping them off at each aisle for the workers to unwrap and stock the products on the shelf.
Marbles worked hard and he worked fast. Mathew became a machine trying to keep up with him. Lift, twist, stack, lift, twist, stack, lift, twist, stack, he would do it about 50 times loading a pallet before carting it down to an aisle.
The lunch break was at 6 AM. Mathew hadn’t brought anything so he picked up a deli sandwich wrapped in plastic inside a plastic container. He ate half of it.
No one really talked in the break room while they all ate. Orlando sat in the corner with Clint fuming at the rest of the workers. Occasionally the Mexicans would say something in Spanish to each other but would quite down when Orlando snapped his head in their general direction. Marbles read one of his Romance books.
At 6:30 AM they went back to work. Because the earlier meeting had gone over so late they had to work extra hard to get everything stocked and ready by 10 AM.
When Mathew stopped and realized how many tons of cargo they had moved he was amazed. Each pallet held 600 pounds roughly, and he had stacked 80 pallets. 48000 pounds equaling 24 tons. His body was sweating, and his muscles were stiff. He noticed his hands were shaking.
“You should get some gloves and a back support,” Marbles said to him. “And here,” he took out a travel sized container of Advil and opened it shaking out four pills. He took one and then gave the other three to Mathew.
“These aren’t Advil’s. These are Norco’s. It’s like generic Vicodin. Take one now, and then one every 8 hours. “It will help with the pain.”
“Thanks, but I don’t need these.”
“You will. I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Mathew.”
Mathew held on to the three pills, which was fortunate for him because he could barely get out of his car when he got home. He made it into the kitchen and downed a pill dry while getting a bottle of water from the fridge.
Laying down on the leather couch he quickly dozed off before awaking around 4 PM twitching in pain. He took another pill, waited a minute, then said “Fuck it,” and took the third and last one. He sat there watching TV for 30 minutes before going to take a one hour shower and bath in one of the first floor bathrooms. After that he ate a bowl of cereal and then went back to sleep, this time upstairs in his own bed room.
He set his alarm clock for 1 AM and hit the snooze 3 times when it went off.

***

Made it to work with 2 minutes to spare, but he hadn’t shaved. No one noticed.
The next shift was even harder because it was almost exactly the same amount of work, but he started it with his body in twitching agony.
Now that Raymundo was the Night Manager for the stocking department he spent 45 minutes working an aisle himself, and then 15 minutes walking down each one with a clip board, making sure they were all doing their work. The only one who wasn’t, naturally, was Orlando, whose favorite pastime was to try chatting up the hookers that came in from time to time to do their late night shopping.
Aside from alcoholics and college students there were few other patrons at that hour.
Orlando paid no attention to Raymundo when he came up to him and the hooker he was talking to.
“Like a fucking red wood baby!”
“Oh yea, like I really need another hard dick after tonight.”
“Come on, what are you saying? You don’t want to because it’s going to hurt?”
“Nothing gets by you, does it, Orlando?” Raymundo said.
Orlando turned around.
“What?” Orlando said to him with his mouth open slightly and his eyes scrunching up a bit as he analyzed Raymundo.
“Raymundo said, ‘Nothing get’s by you, does it Orlando?’” Raymundo said.
“I heard what you said, I just can’t believe it. Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do?”
“Raymundo is the new Night Manager,” Raymundo said.
“Stop that shit. Talk like a human being.”
“Raymundo is a human being,” Raymundo said.
“Fuck no, you’re some kind of brain damaged fucking retard. Fucking talking about yourself like that.”
“Raymundo is the new Night Manager,” Raymundo said.
“Fucking job could be done by a monkey,” Orlando.
“Raymundo says no. Raymundo says they didn’t give you the job.”
“You calling me a fucking monkey?”
Raymundo smiled a full mouthful of braces at Orlando.
“MOTHERFUCKER!” Orlando yelled.
The prostitute quietly walked away from the scene.
Marbles and Mathew had been listening to the whole conversation while in the aisle next to them. Marbles gestured for them to check it out. By the time they made it around, they saw Orlando hopping up and down yelling about bringing in his attorneys.
“I don’t give a fuck if you are retarded. You represent this store. I’ll fucking own you by the end of the week!”
Orlando was pointing both fingers and using wild arm gestures. Raymundo just stood there with the clip board.
Marbles walked up to Orlando. “Get more excited,” he said to him.
“Fuck that, I’m cool. It’s this retard that’s fucking being a dick.”
“Just go for your break.”
“I just had one,”
“Then have another,” not a suggestion.
Orlando huffed, and then walked away kicking an empty cardboard box but turned back one last time.
“It’s disgusting that they should be putting braces on retards. How long do they live anyway? 25 if that?” Orlando yelled at them.
“Raymundo is 32,” said Raymundo.
“Fuck you!” Orlando said and then left.
Raymundo stood there with his clip board, still smiling. Marbles looked at him. Mathew looked at Marbles.
“You all good, Raymundo?” Marbles asked.
“Raymundo yes,” said Raymundo and then he walked back to his aisle.
“Why don’t they just fire Orlando?” Mathew asked Marbles when they were back in the loading dock.
“They can’t. Not unless Orlando physically attacks someone.”
“How?”
“He got called a bad word by a higher-up once. Since then he has been a legal battle with the company and they can’t fire him until it’s resolved. Policy they say.”
“That’s bullshit.”
“Yea, it is.”

***

What no one knew about Raymundo was that in fact he did mean to call Orlando a monkey. For five long years Orlando had mentally abused and tormented Raymundo about being, quite simply, Raymundo. The fact was that Raymundo started at the same level of pay as Orlando, and had earned multiple five to twenty five cent raises over the past five years, and that Orlando had only received the standard five cent mandatory raise every six months, so that even before the Night Manager position Raymundo was making $1.25 more an hour.
This only fueled the abuse that Raymundo received from Orlando.
His solace was to seclude himself in the bathroom and begin writing poetry, a subject he had taken once at the local community center for six weeks the previous summer.
He sat down in the stall, locked the door and began to look through his portable dictionary to spell the words “lick o rice” and “tick o lish”. The process took on average ten minutes per word.
But now he was the Night Manager for the stocking department and things were going to change.
“Mr. Choc-o-late,” Raymundo whispered as he began to write things down.

***

Mathew ate lunch outside, feet dangling over the edge of one of the loading docks. This time it was a roast beef sandwich. The two Mexican guys came out with Marbles. One of the Mexicans took out a small bag of weed and Marbles got a pipe out of his car to pack it in.
As they smoked Mathew out, Marbles asked him. “You going to vote man?”
“I thought this wasn’t a democracy,” Mathew said.
“Not for Orlando, but for Obama.”
Mathew thought about it. “I haven’t been paying attention.”
“Well it’s next week. You registered?”
“Yes.”
“Good.”
Marbles looked over at one of the Mexicans and said. “This is some good weed gentleman. Gracias my Amigos.”
The Mexicans nodded and then one of them asked Marbles a question in Spanish. Marbles listened and nodded his head. He looked back at Mathew.
“Carlos said you look sad, and he wants to know why.”
“I… I just am.”
“Cheer up man. Things are going to change for the better soon enough.”
They all started getting up but Mathew lagged behind a bit when he saw a white minivan spastically driving through the parking lot. It pulled into a parking space, cutting into the one next to it by two feet. It honked once and then the lights turned off. Mathew assumed a drunk but blinked a few times when he saw a portly young teenager with what looked like either blood or spaghetti stains on his white t-shirt stumble out panting. The child opened one of the side doors and began pulling black trash bags out. He struggled a bit but then got them all out and placed them in a shopping cart.
Too light for chopped up body parts he thought as he continued watching the teenager waddle the cart across the parking lot while trying to keep the top bags from falling off. At one point a fluid leaked out of one of the bags onto the kid’s shirt and he yelled “Goddamnit, Momma!” It wasn’t blood that leaked out. But something was wrong.
Mathew smiled as he watched.

***

Early that day, in the quiet city of West Los Angeles, 16 year old Harold Mums was trying to get a wheel barrel in through the back patio door of his single mother’s house.
“What are you doing with that wheel barrel Harold?” she asked him.
“Nothing Momma,”
“Don’t be taking that through the living room! Harold! HAROLD!”
“Shut up, Momma!”
“Don’t be telling me to shut up! I’m your Momma!”
“I know you’re my Momma, Momma. Just leave me be.”
“Harold!”
Harold scraped the wheel barrel around the corner going down the hallway towards his room, leaving a trail of dirt behind him.
“What the hell are you doing?” his baby sister asked when she saw him go by her doorway.
“Cleaning!”
“Cleaning what?”
Harold banged the wheel barrel through his bedroom door knocking chunks of wood out of both sides of the door frame. His sister came out of her room and stood there watching him as he began throwing Gatorade bottles into the metal wheel barrow. Sweat already dripping down his face as he rushed to fill it up.
“Why are you getting rid of those?”
“They’re bad.”
“Gatorade goes bad?” she picked one up.
“Filled with piss.”
“Gross!” she dropped it on the ground.
“Amanda! Goddmanit, I’m trying to clean this shit up. I don’t have time for these questions.”
“Mommy! Harold is saving his pee.”
“I’m NOT saving my piss!”
His mother ran down the hallway.
“Harold! Why are you saving your pee?”
“I’m not saving my piss!”
“Your pee!”
“My piss!”
“Then why do you have all these bottles in here. There must be a hundred!”
“I hope so.”
“Why would you hope for that?”
“I need the money for COD 5,”
“A fish?” she asked.
“No Mommy, it’s one of his stupid video games he plays online with the Chinese kids.”
He stopped mid throw and gestured at his sister with a bottle of yellow piss. “Hey Amanda! Are you thirsty?”
“Harold stop it,” his mother yelled.
He finished filling up the first batch and wheeled it past them scrapping back down the hallway.
When he got to the back yard he began pouring them out one at a time into the grass.
“Oh Jesus Harold! Not so close to the house. Why are you doing this?”
“I told you Momma, I need the money. I can get ten cents a bottle at the grocery store.”
“Harold, I don’t think you can recycle them after you’ve peed in them. That’s unsanitary.”
“I don’t care! It’s a machine, it will never know the difference.”
“And why would you pee in them before this if you were going to recycle them?”
“I didn’t know I could recycle them.”
“But why would you pee in them at all? Your room is right next to the bathroom.”
“Because I don’t like getting out of bed at night! Ok? Are you happy?”
“Harold you can’t do this!”
“Stop yelling at me. Just let me be!”
Harold did not empty all of them, though. He would later be paid $60 for 60 bottles of clean non drug contaminated piss. Orlando bought the urine then sold it to his weed customers to help them pass their drug tests. He was a man of vision.

***

It was the same routine for the following three shifts. But the constant weed breaks made the grueling labor tolerable. The first weekend Mathew had off he spent it sleeping, almost the entire time.
Because of the way the shifts worked, the Monday shift was actually the Tuesday 2 AM shift. When Mathew pulled into the parking lot, he saw Orlando sneaking around slapping Obama bumper stickers on the back of everyone’s car. At first Orlando bolted but then stopped when he saw it was Mathew driving the car. His mouth opened as he looked at the make and model of the car.
“What the fuck are you doing driving a Lexus?” Orlando yelled at him.
“It’s my car.”
“What the fuck are you doing with a Lexus? You’re like what? 18? 19?”
“18.”
“What the- How come you are working here then?”
“It’s a good distraction.”
“From what? Being rich?”
“Something like that.”
“Say… You wouldn’t want to buy some DVD’s by any chance? I got good deals.”
“That’s alright man.”
“Top quality, I even got porn.”
“No.”
Orlando eyed the bumper of his Lexus.
“No,” Mathew said and then went inside.
For the rest of the night Orlando ran around the store making sure to tell all customers and employees that they needed to vote for Obama, otherwise there would be a race war. And yet secretly he believed that if Obama was to get elected that he would soon be assassinated and that it would be the true cause of the coming race war. He was very excited about it. He needed a new TV and nothing spells FREE like RIOT.
When Mathew finished his shift and came out he noticed Obama stickers both on the front and rear of his car. He sighed but was too tired to take them off.
He slept for half the day and woke up around 1 PM. He drove to a local middle school to vote. He tried not to think about Orlando as he voted for Obama. Yet again he went home and slept till roughly thirty minutes before his next shift.

***

When he awoke he did not turn the news on to find out who had won. But it didn’t take long to find out that Obama had won because of all the cars honking in celebration as he drove to the store.
The employees were as happy as the city of Los Angeles. Every one of them was already drunk. Even Raymundo was drinking on the job. He was on his third Smirnoff Ice. It really did taste like iced candy.
“Nothing sloppier than a drunk retard!” Orlando yelled in Raymundo’s direction.
Raymundo seemed not to notice but soon left the break room.
Marbles came up to Mathew and gave him a big hug. Mathew laughed for the first time in a week. Carlos’ wife had even shown up and they were dancing in the aisles.
But Mathew grew cold very quickly, so quietly he went out to the back of the loading dock. Marbles followed him out about five minutes later.
“I know it’s weird. It’s amazing!”
Mathew nodded his head.
“What’s wrong with you man?” Marbles asked.
“I don’t feel anything,” he said.
Marbles watched Mathews face, and then dug in his pocket pulling out a little jam jar made of glass that had been cleaned out. Inside were little shiny clinking packages wrapped in aluminum foil.
He took one out and gave it to Mathew.
“What’s this? More pain killer?”
“No Mathew, this, is ACID, dropped on a sweet tart.”
“Serious?”
“Yea, take it. Suck on it slowly; don’t chew it up.”
“I don’t know about this, man,”
“I do. I’ve seen you working here for a week now, and I know the only reason why you are doing it is for pain. A rich kid like you, and don’t say you aren’t, would only take this job to feel the pain of manual labor. I’m guessing it’s because something real bad happened to you and that’s all you feel now.”
“Then why would I take this?”
“Because this is the one night, in American history, that you need feel everything at once. You need to experience this. You can’t be a turtle.”
Mathew held it in his hand for a second before unwrapping it. Then he quickly did and put it in his mouth.
“Tastes just like a sweet tart.”
“It is a sweet tart.”
“What’s it going to do to me?”
“Make your world beautiful. Come on.”
They went back inside, Mathew following, making sure not to chew.
He didn’t feel anything at first. About thirty minutes later he noticed he was dancing while loading crates of soda. Suddenly he exploded in tears and ran out of the back of loading dock and around to the front of the store to the parking lot to sit in his car.
The rain started coming down in fat drops. Mathew locked the door. He sat there shaking for a bit before turning the heater on. But the lights inside of the car made him feel like he was inside of space ship.
“Oh whatever the fuck you are, if there is something out there, and if is alive, or if you know that I’m alive… I’m asking you to make sense of this.”
He turned the heat off and opened the glove box pulling a gun out, a revolver.
“Mathew,” he said out loud to himself, in the car, as the sky began to fall with water. “Make a choice not to kill yourself, make a promise to yourself to get through this night.”
He unloaded the gun and played with the bullets in his hand. They felt like magic stones. He put them in his jeans pocket and got out of the car running back into the store the same way he came.
“I want another,” he said to Marbles when he got back inside.
“I’m on three myself,” he said to Mathew as he smiled and gave him another.
Mathew chewed the second one down fast. Tears started flowing down his face again but he kept working.
“How do you feel man?” Marbles asked a bit later.
“For seven days I haven’t felt anything but a cold want that grows in my belly to scream until I spit blood. But I’m feeling something now. What it is, I don’t know.”
Marbles laughed. “That’s the spirit.
The next three and a half hours was an explosion of the senses and emotions. Mathew realized that packaged food was quite possibly one of the most amazing things on the planet, especially in the candy aisle.
At one point Mathew wondered outside again, but this time he looked up at the stars, and saw Heaven the way it was meant to be seen. Orlando came outside and saw him standing there looking up into the sky. He looked up where Mathew was looking but didn’t see anything but stars. Taking a joint out he lit it and then gestured to Mathew to take it. Orlando never shared his weed. That’s how good of a mood he was in.
“Thanks,” Mathew said.
“You want some more of that good shit and I will hook you up anytime. Good prices too.”
“Tastes like mustard,” Matthew said.
“No man, this shit tastes like a seed or something. It’s good shit man. I let this little white girl with big titties suck my dick. I give her the privilege and she pays me in weed. White bitches!” Orlando laughed.
Mathew looked over at Orlando. “Mustard is a seed, you stupid fuck.”
Orlando actually believed he was so sexy, and that his children would eventually have children that had children that would invent a time machine to go back in time to the very beginning of time and teach early savage women the art of doggie style and possibly 69, though it troubled him that there was not proper hygiene back then, nor toilet paper. He spent five minutes explaining this to Mathew, and Mathew just kept looking at the stars.
“You feeling good now? This is the shit isn’t it?”
“I don’t know what to feel, but I’m feeling everything. I buried both my parents last week. Since then I’ve got baked, got drunk, and I have no idea what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I am every fucking molecule in all the hearts of the universe. I’m not God, but Goddamnit I feel close.”
Orlando thought about it for twenty two seconds before saying, “I have an eight inch penis, when it’s flaccid, and when it gets hard the motherfucker’s a red wood.”
“…and I love your fucking music man. See you back inside.”
“Yea, you too man…”
Orlando watched as the kid walked away. He thought what Mathew had said for approximately eight seconds. “You love my fucking music? What, are you a fucking racist?”

***

At lunch he bought six different fruits and three different vegetables that he had never eaten before. He sampled each one slowly, first for color, then for smell, next texture, and finally taste. It was the closest thing he ever had to a religious experience.
Marbles sat next to him in the break room watching Mathew eat. He enjoyed the awe that came from the kid with each bite.
“What do you want to try next Mathew?”
“What’s it like to shower when you’re on ACID?”
“It is fucking amazing,” Marbles said.
“What about fucking? What’s that like on ACID?”
“Some people can’t do it. Some people can. Shit, some people rock when they are on it.”
They were laughing about it when the loud speaker came on.
“Raymundo,” said Raymundo into the loud speaker.
Everyone looked up from what they were doing.
“Raymundo, will now read his poetry.”
“What?” Mathew said laughing.
Surely it was a hallucination.
“Raymundo shall dedicate this poem to Mr. Choc-o-late,”
“Oh shit…” Marbles said getting up. “We need to stop this.”
“Prison Poem by Raymundo.”
They could already hear Orlando screaming “Who the fuck is Mr. Chocolate? Am I Mr. Chocolate? Is that who the fuck he’s talking about?”
As Marbles and Mathew ran through the store aisles so did Orlando. Over the loud speaker Raymundo read the following…

Prison Poem

My name is O-Land-O.
I wish I wasn’t the color of thick molasses.
I wish I didn’t have to pay women to sleep with me.

They found Raymundo barricaded in the Managers office, using cans of diet Mountain Dew to brace the door shut. Orlando was on the outside kicking at it.

Hello there hun.
Wanna have a little fun?
Do you like fish?
Cause I smell fish.
Are you ticklish?
Would you like to lick my big black liquorish?

“Motherfucker I’ve never been to Prison! Fucking County maybe!” He grabbed a fire extinguisher out of its holder and began beating the door with it. “Not fucking Jail, there’s a difference!”
Carlos was laughing so hard he had started throwing up into one of the recycling machine receptor openings.

I’ll steal your government cheese.
And sell it for fleas!

Racists are made, not born, and Orlando had done an excellent job with Raymundo.
“Kill you!” Orlando roared between strikes. Marbles ran at him from behind and grabbed the fire extinguisher away from him. Orlando swung a fist back at him.
“Kill all you motherfuckers!”
Marbles backed up and got ready for a fight. But then the door opened to the office and there stood Raymundo with his clip board wearing a red bike helmet.
“Raymundo’s Ode to Mr. Chocolate,” he said to them all.
Orlando shook his head in disbelief.
Growing angrier with each word he yelled. “What are you wearing that stupid red helmet for your retarded motherfucker!”
“Raymundo’s bicycle,” replied Raymundo.
Orlando picked up a jar of tomato sauce from one of the aisles and threw it at Raymundo exploding it on the helmet.
And then without notice Raymundo charged Orlando smashing his red helmeted head right into Orlando’s face, blood and pasta sauce exploding everywhere. Orlando grabbed his nose as he fell back and Raymundo leaped on him. Orlando began hitting him in the side of the face so Raymundo bit him. Orlando pulled his arm back screaming but Raymundo wouldn’t let go.
“AIDS!” Orlando screamed in terror.
Raymundo let go and spit blood at Orlando and then bit again.
In addition to being a ‘biter’ and a ‘spitter’, Raymundo was also a ‘pisser’ and more importantly a ‘shitter’.
Five long years of shit he had taken, and now he let go as he wrestled with Orlando about the floor in the filth. The whole time Orlando screaming “AIDS!” as he struggled to get away. With one lucky kick to the balls Raymundo rolled back holding his crotch.
He began to cry, “Candy Sack! Candy Sack!” and the tears flowed.
Orlando was stumbling about covered in blood, spit, urine and feces.
“Rapist! He tried to fucking rape me! Rape!”
Marbles, Mathew, Carlos (who was now throwing up in disgust) stood well back. Orlando got to his feet, shaking and then ran from the store smashing past a few display cases on the way out.
“Wow…” Mathew said.
“Yea,” Marbles said.
“Fucking wow!” Mathew yelled laughing.

***

The rest of the night was filled with police report after police report. Though the entire staff had been intoxicated it was not technically a crime since no one had been operating a vehicle.
The tapes had been reviewed and Orlando was charged with assault and battery against a mentally handicapped person. Orlando would not be returning to the store as an employee due to the fact that he was currently wanted for questioning and had fled the scene.
The ACID wore off around lunch time and Mathew slept as well as he ever had. When he showed up for work the next day Marbles ran up to him with a paper in his hand.
“What is it?”
“I want to read this to you. It’s Maya Angelou. You know who that is right?”
“Yes,”
“This is a quote from a TV interview about Obama winning,” Marbles cleared his throat before he began. “I’m so proud and filled, I can hardly talk without weeping. I’m so filled with pride for my country. We are growing up. My God, I’m so grateful…. I mean, look at our souls, look at our hearts. We have elected a black man to talk for us, to speak for us. We, blacks, whites, Asians, Spanish-speaking, Native Americans, we have done it. Fat, thin, pretty, plain, gay, straight, we have done it. My Lord, I am an American, baby!”
Marbles folded it up and put it in his pocket. He was smiling and sniffling a little.
“Tears of joy,” he said to Mathew.
Mathew felt it, and it felt good.
Though the assistant Day Manager was brought in to take over the Night Managers position until further notice, Raymundo was awarded employee of the year, even though there was another two months to go, by the General Manager and then the Regional Manager above him. Though another law suit was being filed against Ralph’s, the joy of never having to deal with Orlando again was emailed all the way to the president of the company, who took a personal day to spend with his family on Catalina Island.
Raymundo’s award was announced before the end of the shift, followed by cheers from his fellow co-workers.
Marbles looked over at Mathew as they were walking out to the parking lot at the end of the shift. “I’m going to miss you man,” Marbles said to him.
“What?” Mathew asked.
“You aren’t coming back tomorrow are you?”
Mathew thought about it.
“No,” he smiled oddly. “How did you know?”
“You look happy. I’ve never really seen you happy before.”
“Yes,”
“Do you know what you are going to do?”
“Not a clue.”
“That’s the spirit.”
Marbles took out the piece of paper that quoted Maya Angelou on and wrote down his cell phone number on it. They shook hands and Mathew got in his dead parent’s Lexus, and drove away. He honked at Raymundo and waved as he pulled out of the parking lot. Raymundo waved back at him as he put his bicycle helmet on and unlocked his bike.
Raymundo now had a license plate on the back of his red bike. It read one word:
HERO

OK, So I Died

OK, so I died.  World of shit right?  No it wasn’t really that bad.  It’s warm, like laying in a bath

with the lights off.  Not quite silent, not quite loud, but you can hear this roar coming closer.

Gets really loud, and suddenly the roar stops and I hear a drop of water hitting a pool.

The lights go up slowly and I’m there.

It’s a doctor’s waiting room.  Oil paintings of a boat on the wall.  Nice calm music playing.

A receptionist looks up.

“He will see you now.”

I look at her and give her the smile.

“Who will see me?”

“You know Who!”

“But I want you to say it.”

She stares at my eyes and gives a cold smile before saying it.

“God,”

“Cool, man.” She twitches at the word “man,” and I walk through the only door.

There’s nothing in the room except for a chair next to a bed with this fat guy on his side

watching TV in it.  Pillow under his head.

“Close the door,” he says.

I’m just standing there.  He doesn’t seem like God.

“I’m going to pretend I don’t know everything about you, everything you’re going to think,

everything you’re going to say, for the next few minutes…  Why?  Because I’m just so fucking

bored.”

He looks over at me.

“How’s it going, man?” he asks with a low chuckle.

Pause…  Then.  “Are you fucking with me?” I ask.

He starts laughing.

“Fuck yea…  That’s the spirit!  Come on boy, we’re going for a ride.”

He stands up, naked, his fuck stick was huge. I don’t meant to say God had a hard on, but His

was bigger limp than any porn star’s blood-filled and purple rob I had ever seen.

“Toss me my bathrobe.”

I looked around and saw it hanging from the chair.  I picked it up and handed it to him.

“Yea, the ladies like it too.”

“That’s cool, man, that’s cool.”

“Serious, they tremble.”

“I don’t doubt it, man.”

“Like a fucking stallion!” He belched and motioned for me to follow him.

We walk through another door and into a garage with 20 different sports cars and 3 sleek

space ships.

“Wait, you thirsty, man?” he asks.

“Urgh…  Yea, a little.”

“Gin and tonic right?”

“Yea…  Sounds good.”

“I like Sake myself, one of the few good things to come out of Asia after I squatted it into

existence…”

He walks over and makes the drink for me.  Then pulls a bottle of Sake out and opens it.

“Toast,” he says to me holding up his bottle.

“To what?”

“To the Japs,” he laughs evilly and we clink throwing back a fat gulp each.

He leads me to one of the sports cars and we get in.  A red one.

“Yea,” he says.  “I like this color.  Red is life; haven’t you noticed it yet?  Blood, fire, sunsets,

shit, I even colored magma, the earth’s blood, red.  Nobody ever seems to understand.  That’s

what I like about you. You seem to get it…  Sort of.  Don’t go getting an ego now.”

“OK.”

“Get in,”

“We start driving, through a tunnel, then out along the coast; it’s California, at night, light

traffic.

“See, I think I might’ve fucked up something fierce this time.  I’ve got all this power, but I

have more questions than answers.  One day I woke up just floating out there in the darkness.

Literally, no stars, no gravity, no physics, nothing.  Then I feel something separate off, and then

more split from that.  But I can control it.  Awhile latter I start putting worlds together.”

God grows silent as he drives.

I take another sip of gin and tonic.  He should have been a bartender.

“I know you got questions, but shit, I’ve got my own.  I don’t know what made me.  I want to

know why I was made.  Fucking women, and I’ve had them all, is like masturbating to a charcoal

sketch of some girl you imagined one late night.  I made you, what you are, hoping to get some

kind of clue.  But I don’t have one yet.  It was that thing you said before you put it into the

skinny girl with big tits and the nose ring in Olympia.  “Let me stir it around in you like God’s

dick in the sea monkey jar.”  Fucking struck a chord man.  You got it, that’s exactly what I’ve

been doing shaking it up.”

God threw another swig back.  The car swerved a bit.

“Don’t worry, man, I got it.”

He stayed in the lane but I could see him tearing up.

“I don’t know who made me.”

He cracks his neck, first right, then left.

“Are you alright?” I ask him.

“No…  No I’m not alright.  I’m tired, I’m…” he trails off.

The wind that roars by the car gets louder as he pushes the pedal down harder.

“For so long I have made and watched a billion creatures live, die, and pray for me.”

“What do you want?” I ask.

“Fuck it, man…  You want to die with me?  You think you’re ready for that kind of leap?”

“No,”

“Fuck it, man…  Let’s do it!”

And the car crashes of the end of the road through the metal railing and into the ocean.

God screamed as we flew into the ocean.

***

So now God is sitting in a straightjacket.  His hair is all fucked up and wild.

I’m next to him in a black suit, black shirt, and dark blue tie.

I don’t even know how to tie a tie.

We are on a bench in a garden.  With plants I’ve never seen before.  They are waving and

undulating in the air.  But then I realize they are alive, like sea anemones.  It’s weird but I don’t

think of plants as alive even though they are.

“Where are we?” God asks me.

“I don’ know, but if you don’t know, then I think we got problems.”

A giant blue snake. Like 10 meters long, and a meter thick came sliding out of one of the

anemones.  It slithered right up to us and raised its head, at least I think it was a head.

“You are now in the garden of space…  This is the afterlife for world creators.”

In the Drunken Whorish Fever

Ohh Jesus… Where am I? What the fuck am I doing in an elevator? Think, damnit. What was the last thing you did? Is that a wine bottle in my hand? Why, yes, it is. A little sip won’t do any harm.
     Tastes horrible. Dead grapes turned into purple red piss. Maybe I’ll have another one.
     “Sir, are you going up?”
     What the fuck? Who said that? I’ll fucking kill you for sneaking up on me like that. Oh, it’s just some girl behind me. Pretty little thing. I bet she could suck a mean dick.
     “Sir, are you going up?”
     Do I have a hard on? I don’t see one. Say something, damnit. Turn on the charm.
     “Is it that obvious?”
     She smiled. Look at that. I think she wants to molest me.
     “No, Sir.  I mean are you going up or getting off? The elevator.”
     Don’t I feel foolish.
     “I think I’ll get off here.” (Getting off? Is that an offer?)
     Make an exit. Go out the doors before they cut me in half. Jesus, where am I? What building is this? I know this building. I think I have class here. But do I have a class right now? Am I late? Must find a clock. Then a whore. To hell with class.
     “Hey! You can’t bring that in here!”
     Goddamn teacher assistants. Ugly fucking wench too. Obviously the product of incest with a dash of bestiality.
     “Did you hear what I said? You can’t bring that in here.”
     What is she pointing at? Oh the wine. She doesn’t like the wine. Maybe I’ll just share some with her.
     “Oh! You sick bastard! I hope you burn in hell!”
     Maybe I shouldn’t have spit it in her face.
     “You know you love it!”
     “You can go to hell! I’m calling security.”
     Oh, I like her. She’s got spirit. Reminds me of a horse the way her nostrils flare like that. But the whores. I must find a whore.
     “What the fuck do you think you’re doing spitting wine at people!”
     Jesus! Someone’s grabbing me from behind. Help! They’re going to sodomize me! Shit yourself if you’re overwhelmed. That’s what you’re supposed to do in prison. Make them find you distasteful. They won’t breed with you if you’re covered in feces. To hell with that! I’m gonna take as many as I can with me. Use the bottle! Use the bottle!
     “Oh my head! He hit me in the head! I’m bleeding!”
     “You want some more, motherfucker?”
     Damn that bottle broke easily. Now I’ve lost all my purple urine. What am I to do?
     “He’s crazy!”
     But you look so pretty covered in all that cheap urine and blood. What’s this? A whole horde of them! They’re coming out of the goddamn walls! The goddamn walls!
     “Back! Get the fuck away from me! I’ll rape your face if you come any closer!”
     Dozens and dozens of them! They’re screaming. They fear me. I shall show no mercy.
     “Please! We didn’t do anything! We’re just on break!”
     Calm down, calm down. Stop sweating. They’ll think you’re crazy. She’s right. Whoever the hell she is, she’s right. They are just on break. Go! Go before they catch you.
     “He’s getting away!”
     That goddamn woman again. Must hide. Must piss. Find a bathroom. There’s one. Quick. To the urinals. Those blessed urinals. Damn that feels good. Nothing quite like pissing. Ahhhhh… So good. I’m in heaven.
     “Oh my God!”
     What the…? Jesus! There’s a woman in here! Some dirty whore is watching me. Is getting off on watching me piss. I do not condone it.
     My god! There’s at least a dozen in here. Is this the men’s bathroom? But wait! There’s men in here to. This is confusing. This is… Oh dear lord, this isn’t a bathroom. This is a classroom! What the hell have you done now?
     “What are you doing!”
     That’s gotta be the teacher yelling at me. Quick, put your dingus away. No, shake off first. Stop screaming, damnit!
     “Excuse me…. I think I’m in the wrong room.”
     My God! It’s a poetry class. Nancies… Every last fucking one. Poetry, the secret language of the faggots and dainties. Women in poetry. That’s what this snake pit is.
     Run, run like a skinny black man. Out the door, down the hallway, more people screaming, sweet Jesus, that fat pig’s coming after me.
     “Stop him!”
     Run, run, run… Hide in here, through that door, hold it shut. Hold that handle as best you can, he’s kicking and screaming, jerking the handle, wedge it shut with that damn brown thing.
     Another classroom. It’s quiet now. So quiet, where did the security guard go?
     “Forget your pants?”
     Who the fuck said that?
     “What?”
     “I asked did you forget your pants.”
     Oh shit… I’m not wearing any. How the hell did that happen?
     “Are you trying to get a fucking rise out of me?”
     “No partner, just wondering.”
     “Do you need any help?”
     Who is this bald fossil? Who the hell does he think he is asking me if I want help from him.
     “No I don’t… Jesus!”
     “It’s so big!”
     What pretty little whore said that?”
     Where the hell did that security guard get an axe from?
     “I’m gonna kill you, you little shit!”
     Oh yea, he loves me… Fuck it. Run. Run before he hacks his way through the door.
     “Get the fuck outta my way!”
     Why are these people in front of me?
     “He’s going for the window!”
     Damn windows! Only open a few inches. Grab that chair! Come on you tubby bitch, move it!
     “Get outta the chair!”
     “Please don’t hurt me!”
     Damn sows! He’s almost through the door.
     “Come on baby, suck in that gut, I ain’t got all day!”
     “Please I don’t even know you!”
     Take hold of the edge, see if you can tip her out of it… That’s it, roll, roll your fat rolls down to the floor.
     “He’s crazy!”
     One, two, fuck it! Now that’s an explosion of glass!
     “Don’t do it!”
     Use the chair, get all the glass, don’t want to cut myself now.
     “I think he’s gonna jump!”
     “He is jumping!”
     “It’s two stories up boy, it ain’t worth it!”
     Oh shit, this is kinda of high… Sip some whiskey from the flask. Think, think about it.
     “I’m gonna cut you up!”
     The man with the axe… Not to be toyed with. Fuck it.
     “Jeronimoe!”
     Ugh! Ground… Gravity. You bastard.
     “Ohh my god he made it!”
     Run just run out into the night… So tired. So tired, think I’ll take a nap. This grass is so nice. Wish I had my blankie with me.
     Oh look… A real live coyote. So pretty. I wish I had a dog. Dogs are so good. Sleep anywhere they like. I wish I was a dog.
     So tired…

I’ll Take My Nubiles Muslim Style…

I’m cooking in the kitchen, a nice Turkish dish this girl taught me a while back…  Just taking it easy for one night.   When Nadia, my roommate, comes in the front door all distraught.  She was supposed to be at the movies.
     “Did you see Munich?  How was it?” I asked.
     “I couldn’t take it, I walked out after 30 minutes…  I just want a solution to the problems over there so I decided to come home and pray to God to drop a nuclear weapon or just wipe out all of Israel and Palestine with some kind of a natural disaster like a tsunami or something.  I just want the violence to stop.”

     I keep stirring for a second and then look over at her.  “Holly fucking retard Nadia…  Your solution to stopping the violence is to drop a nuclear weapon on both Israel and Palestine?”
     “I just don’t want to hear about it anymore.  It’s so negative.”

     Let me tell you a little bit about Nadia.  Nadia was born in Boston, her father is from Pakistan/Atheist and her mother is from Trinidad/Muslim.  She was raised Muslim and supposedly practices it as well.

     “Nadia…  You are aware that Palestine is predominantly Muslim right?”
     “I don’t care; they are just dragging the whole world down; it’s so irritating.”
     “And genocide is your solution?”
     “Well what is your solution?”
     “Well getting on my knees to pray to God to drop Nukes on them isn’t the first one on my list, but go for it…  See if He listens.  While you are at it, ask for a dishwasher.  At least that way you can clean your dishes without the risk of contaminating the rest of us.”
     “What are you talking about?  I’m an excellent cleaner.”
     “Now you’re really talking crazy.”

     Once, when Nadia and I were first roommates back in our old place in Mission Viejo, she decided to clean the kitchen starting with the stove.
     She took a bucket of water and just poured it all over the burners and what not, flooding the water down into the oven even.  She was very proud of herself.  It wasn’t until someone mentioned that it was a gas stove and that she had just blown out the pilot light that it dawned on her what she did.
     We tried to explain to her that here, in America, we don’t clean our stoves by just flooding them with water.  That it wasn’t like a Third world country where you cooked with little fires on the floor and had to pour water over them afterwards for the safety of the village.
     She said we were racist.  When asked what specific race we were making fun of she couldn’t think of a specific one.  So she altered it to sexist, to think it was a woman’s duty to clean the kitchen.  Yet we pointed out that we didn’t ask her to clean the kitchen.  She was stumped…

     See this is not Boston.  This is California.  We do things differently here.  We also use soap and general antiseptics, which she seems to have a fear of.  But I’ll get back to that later.
     “I’m an excellent cleaner, not like you, you dirty infidel.  You don’t even wash before going to pray in church.”
     “Nadia, I don’t pray, and if I did, I think would probably pray for world peace before asking God to send natural disasters to take care of the Middle East conflict.  Are you sure your religion doesn’t have a touch of violence in it?”
     “There’s nothing violent about my religion.  Islam is all about peace.   It’s everyone else who is violent.  We are very accepting”
     “So why was it the first thing you thought to pray for was a mass killing?”
     “I don’t know, Ryan, maybe I shouldn’t pray for that, but I just think all the killing is really sad.”
     “How many nubiles do you get when you go to Muslim heaven again?  40 or 70?  And is it only for guys or do girls get nubiles as well?”
     “I don’t know, but I think women get them too.  Virgin nubiles.  Beautiful Youths.”

     My cell phone starts to ring in my bedroom so I set my sauce to simmer and go answer it.  
Ten minutes later I start to smell smoke and go back into the kitchen.  It’s not my sauce, it’s another cooking pan on the stove with black smoke rolling out of it that was left on high with nothing but a thin layer of grape seed oil which was now burning and takes a lot of heat when you are using that kind of oil.  This is the sixth time she’s done this in a month.
     “Nadia?” I ask.
     She’s sitting at the dining room table, three whole feet away from the stove playing with her laptop.
     “Oh!” she jumps up and takes the pan off.
     I guess the billowing black smoke wasn’t enough for her to notice.
     “You know Nadia, I’m still willing to throw down the money to get you tested for Autism.  Any time, just let me know.”
     “I’m not autistic, Ryan. I’m not like you, I can multi task.” She’s still holding the burning smoking pan as she babbles.
     “I can see that.”
     “I just focus too hard on things.”
     “Like?”
     “I was looking up Nubiles, and it comes from Aramaic, and it used to mean grapes.”
     I give her my look.  “Grapes?  These savages are blowing themselves up at border checkpoints, over grapes?  It better well damn be 70 grapes then because this 40 shit just ain’t cutting it.”
     “It used to mean grapes,”
     “Are they seedless grapes?”
     “No, it used to mean grapes.”
     “I heard you, what a wonderful death bonus system you guys have.”
     “Stop it, we don’t get grapes when we go to heaven, we get nubiles.”
     “Jesus Christ…  Why just 70?  Why not a 100 or even a million?”
     “Because 70 is all anyone could ever handle.  But I’m not sure if it’s 70 or 40.”
     “I don’t know, 70 sounds like a lot but I think after 10,000 years I could be wanting more than that.  Eternity is a long time, you know.”
     “Yes, Ryan, I know eternity is a long time.”
     “And would you really want virgins?  That’s a lot of teaching you’d have to do.  Be nice to get a couple of pros thrown in for good measure.”
     “I don’t know, but my husband will be a virgin.”
     I don’t say anything as I think about it.  “What did you say?”
     “My husband is a virgin.”
     “You’re not married.”
     “But when I marry him he will already be a virgin.  It’s being arranged.”
     “One, how does a person ‘Already be a virgin’?  It’s not like you upgrade your sexual status to it. You start out that way.  And two, what the fuck are you talking about arranged?”
     “In Sri Lanka, the family that adopted me while I was there, I’m going to marry their son.  He’s really attractive and they are well off.  I’m going to have an arranged marriage.”
     “Are you drunk?  Arranged marriage?  Why?”
     “Because I’m Muslim, and they are Muslim. It’s part of our culture, and an arranged marriage is so much better than a marriage for love.”
     “Wait, you don’t even love this guy?”
     “No, but he’s nice, and his family is well off.”
     “Well, it’s good to know you’re not doing this for shallow reasons.”
     “No, American marriages are so bad.  Love isn’t enough.”
     “Maybe not, but it’s how they should start.”
     “No, love isn’t as important as people think it is in a marriage.”
     “That’s insane. You went to MIT and got a Degree in Water Science.  Don’t you know how to think logically for a second?  Could you pretend at least?  You did actually go there right?  This wasn’t some degree you pulled out of a cereal box one morning, was it?”
     “No Ryan, I really got a degree.  But an arranged marriage is just better.”
     “Wait a minute…  He’s a virgin right?  How old is he?”
     “26.”
     “No fucking way he’s a virgin.”
     “Yes, he told me he was a virgin.”
     “A virgin with women?”
     “No he’s not gay, Ryan.  It’s against our religion.”
     “Hold on…  Nadia, you’re bisexual, and you aren’t exactly a spring chicken yourself when it comes to the virginity clause.”
     “Well, I’ll figure that out.”
     “You mean you are going to fake your virginity?”
     “No, if he asks me then I’ll tell him I’m not one.  I just hope he doesn’t tell anyone.”
     “Why?”
     “Because they might stone me.”
     “That I could understand.”
     “You have to be a Muslim before you get to stone women.  Oh, Ryan is that it?  You are jealous that you won’t be able to stone me to death?”
     “A little.  Don’t worry, though, I’ll bring a goat to the wedding.  I’ll be in good with the family after that, and then I’ll get to stone you, no problem.  They’ll give me a day pass.  Probationary period.”
     “You’re so horrible; only you could think of something like that.”
     “I’m not the one praying for a nuclear Holocaust because I couldn’t take 30 minutes of a Spielberg film.”
     “They wouldn’t even let you into Sri Lanka, filthy heathen.”
     “Speaking of, I’m going to have to send your ass back to Pakistan, 14th class air freight.  Worst 50 bucks I ever spent on Ebay.  I wonder if they will refund me.”
     “You’re horrible.  I’ll start a Jihad against you.”
     “Fucking Jihad…  I’ll show you a Jihad.”
     “Do you even know what Jihad means?”
     “To act, to strive, to struggle…  Yea, I got the e-mail too.”
     “Oh, Ryan.  You would’ve made such a good Muslim.  Too bad you’re a European Mutt.  We would never accept you.”
     “You’re right…  I should’ve only paid $25 for your ass.  They took advantage of my good will.”
     “You’re such a bastard!”
     “Fucking squaw… After I get done stuffing you into the fruit crate-shipping box, I think I’ll duck tape the holes closed.  For good measure, fruit flies and all.”
     “Oh my God, my brothers will kill you.”
     “Don’t worry, I’ll give you 70 grapes to keep you happy.  And in 6 months, when you arrive, 14th class and all, some lucky virgin goat herder named Jihad will open the box to discover your remains, and I’m sure the smell will be unique.”
     “You’re such a fucker…”
     “They’ll probably name a village after you.”
     “Oh God, you’re going to hell, with all the other whores.”
     “70 nubiles…  Fuck it.  Maybe it’s not all bad.”

     This cultural awareness moment was brought to you by Pepsi Cola…

God’s Got Blue Balls

“At six forty seven P.M. your heart stopped.  The doctors tried every available means to resuscitate you but they couldn’t.  I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you died.”

            I’m not really sure what the fuck was telling me this but it looked like a little white glowing ball of light.  I’m positive he was a doctor in his past life.

            “But look on the bright side.  You’re in heaven,” it said to me.

            “No shit.  I didn’t know atheists could get into heaven,” I said.

            “There will be none of that language here.”

            “And why the fuck not?”

            “This is heaven.  We will not tolerate such filth.”

            “Whatever.  Where are all the naked titty girls?”

            “The what?”

            “The naked titty girls.”

            “This is heaven.  We will not tolerate such filth.”

            “What are you, a bunch of fags?”

            “This is heaven.  We will-“

            “Not tolerate such filth.  Yea, yea, yea, but what do you do here?”

            “We contemplate.”

            “Contemplate what?”

            “Life.”

            “But you’re fucking dead.  What does it matter now?”

            “Enough of your filthy language.  This is heaven.”

            “Shut the fuck up,” I said and floated away from him to some other glowing balls of light.  One of them was red and one of them was blue.

            “Hey, how’s it going?” I asked them.

            “Quite splendid,” the blue ball said.  “You’re new here, aren’t you?  Have you asked your questions yet?”

            “My questions?”

            “Yes, your questions,” the red ball said.

            “Well no…  I haven’t.  I don’t even know who to ask.”

            “Silly, you ask God,” the Blue ball said.

            “Well where the fuck is that silly bastard, you blue ball of love?”

            The red ball glowed redder and said.  “How dare you speak that way about our Lord and

Master!”

            “Ohh he’s just being silly,” the blue ball said.

            “Do you wanna get silly with me?” I asked the blue ball.

            “Ohh you’re so silly.  We can’t do that here.  This is heaven.”

            “Goddamnit…  All right.  Where can we get silly then?”

            “We can’t.  We can’t take on corporeal shapes,” the blue ball said.

            “Well, why the fuck not?”

            “Because it’s evil,” said the red ball.

            “Don’t be such a fucking prude.”

            “Prude!  Prude!” the red ball said.

            “Come on, blue ball.  Let’s ditch this fucker.”

            “Ohh you’re so silly.”

            But when I floated away from them, the blue ball left the red ball and followed me.

            “So what do you guys do here?” I asked.

            “Not much.  It’s kind of boring actually.”

            “How long have you been here?”

            “I don’t know. What year is it back on Earth?”

            “Nineteen Ninety Nine.”

            “Wow…  I guess I’ve been here for almost three years.”

            “And in all that time you’ve never gotten down and dirty?”

            “No, silly.”

            “What the fuck were you?  A preschool teacher?”

            “How did you know?”

            “Lucky guess.”

            We floated along in silence for a few seconds.  I saw some green balls floating past and then realized that I didn’t know what color I was.

            “What color am I?” I asked.

            “Pink.”

            “Pink!  I’m fucking pink!”

            “Yes.  What’s wrong?”

            “I’m pink that’s what’s wrong.  Goddamnit this is embarrassing.”

            “It’s okay.  I like pink.”

            “Jesus Christ…  Hey?  Is He here?”

            “Of course, silly.”

            “What color is He?”

            “White.”

            “White…  Hmm, what’s the best color to be?”

            “White, then gold, then yellow, then orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green, brown and black.  Nobody wants to be black.”

            “Can we ever change our colors?”

            “Yes, it depends on how you behave.”

            “How did I get my color to begin with?”

            “Well you must’ve been a good person when you were alive.”

            “Really?  I always thought I was an asshole.  Tell me, is there a hell?”

            “Ohh yes there is.”

            “What’s that like?”

            “I don’t know.  I’ve never been there.”

            “But you must’ve heard something.”

            “Well, I’ve heard rumors.”

            “What kind of rumors.”

            “Filthy rumors.”

            “Tell me.”

            “Well, they say it’s like one big Roman orgy.  But if you go there then you can’t ever come back to heaven.  You stay there forever.”

            “What a fucking tragedy.  How do I get there?”

            “You have to get kicked out.”

            “How do I go about doing that?”

            “You have to really make God mad.”

            “Not a problem.  Take me to your leader.”

            “Are you sure?”

            “Bet your pretty little ass.  That’s if you had one.”

            “And I did,” the blue ball said and started floating up past clouds of glowing balls. 

            “You want to go to hell with me?” I asked as we floated.

            “Tempting…  But I don’t know.”

            “Ahh come on, it’s fucking boring here.  All you guys do is float around and contemplate shit.”

            “Maybe.”

            The clouds grew smaller and smaller as we floated up away from them to what looked like a white star.

            “My children,” It said to us.

            “Ahh, are you God?” I asked.

            “Yes my child.  What are your questions?”

            I thought about it for a few seconds and then asked.

            “Canada…  What were you, fucking drunk?”

            The next thing I knew I was laying on the floor in a filthy bar surrounded by Mexicans.  I sat up and looked around.  A woman was sodomizing herself with a tequila bottle on a little stage.  The Mexicans cheered her on.

            The bartender came over and stood right next to me looking down into my face.

            “Welcome to Tijuana,” he said.

            “Thank God,” I said.

Fuck Sharks

     I was floating in the ocean while taking a piss when the shark bumped its nose into my crotch.

     You do know, that they, being the fish, use our ocean as their own personal toilet.

     Well, they can go fuck themselves.

     But at that moment I felt a bit egotistical, so yea, I made a fist and punched that motherfucker

in the nose the next time he made a pass.

     He knew it.

     I knew it.

     I wasn’t going to piss in the Pacific anymore and he’d leave me my balls.

     It was a mutual understanding.

     Swam back to shore.

     Stood there on the beach and watched for him.

     In a wave, I saw his shadow.

     He was watching me.

     Taunting me.

     So I took it out again and shot another stream of gold.

     “Go fuck yourself!” I yelled as I shook off.
  
     And that’s when I got impressed.

     It started as a rumbling as the water began to boil and that bastard jumped about 2 feet and

crashed back in.

     A little kid making a sand castle with a mote stood up and began to cry.

     “Pussy,” I said.

     And that bastard jumped again, 5 feet this time.

     Little kid ran away.

     “Pussy,” I said again, but I don’t know whom I was talking about at this time.

     This is not good.

     20 feet this time.

     Goddamned!

     Felt like pissing again.

     And then, I swear to God, that fucking shark jumped again and didn’t crash.

     He swam slowly through the sky.  Eyes turned black to red.  Tail swaying back and forth

slowly, taking time.

     And the gills pulsed every few seconds, with a deep, deep throb.

     He circled out there over the ocean a few times, but then he turned inland.

     Coming right for me, looking right at me.

     “Ugh, uh, fuck that shit.”

     I start running, the other fucking way.

     Going for my car, doors are open. Keys under the seat, what can I say, I’m lazy.

     Screeching and I’m out of there going Mach 2, but that bastard is up there pulsing in the sky.

     I hit the 10 going east, hit it fast.

     Merge with traffic?  Fuck no!

     If you are in my way, then you get the fuck out of it.

     How do they always escape the cops?

     Got to hit the parts of LA with tall buildings so the chopper can’t see you.

     Downtown it is, right into the thick of it, gold and diamond district.

     Ten thousand Mexicans selling their culture, and 20 Jews glaring at them from the storefronts.

     “Feliz Navidad” plays on this street, and it never stops; guess someone hit repeat and never turned it off.

     Have I lost him?  No, I can hear the pulse and then No!  A red light, and shit I’m stuck!  My

car dies.

     God, you cock sucker, you and me, we gonna have words later.

     Fuck the car.

     Run!

     Out into the sea of illegals, knocking people over, looking up as I go, he’s coming in, no one

can see him, I’m pointing and screaming.

     They can’t hear, or wait, they do, but no one speaks my language.

     He’s going to kill us all, oh God not like this, not here to “Feliz Navidad”.

     “Run Goddamnit, Run!  Can’t you see him?”

     Nothing, they don’t get it.

     Crazy fucking white punk.

     To hell with decency, these are humans here.  The real ones that sweat, and stink, fuck, lie,

cheat, steal love and eat.

     Only one way to get them to run.

     “La Migra!  La Migra!”

     I couldn’t help but laugh as they ran.

     And an odd thing happened, his shadow passed over me and I heard a gnawing crunch.

     Every sound gets real sharp and I ain’t got no right hand any more.  Right at the wrist he took it.

     Fuck!  I jerk off with that hand, you son of a bitch.

  …rage

     “You going to pay for that,”

     Odder thing again, I noticed the blood was dripping up into the sky.  Little drops shooting up

into heaven like bullets.

     Ok…  Gravity just took a vacation.

     That’s just fucking perfect.

     “All right motherfucker, let’s do this dance.”

     I go back to my car with a smile and pop the trunk.  Grab the 1-gallon can of gas I keep back

there, dangerous to keep it in your trunk filled, lazy, I know.

     “Fuck are the flares?”

     Never mind, got one…

     He’s coming in again, fast this time.

     “Now I end you…”

     Holding the gas can next to me with the blood stump I unscrew with my left.

     Feeling the shadow crossing over me, I light the flare against the zipper over my cock

and drop the burning head into the hole of the can.

     BOOM!

     I fucking got you!

     Shit, I got me too.

     Now…

     I’m being chewed up while I’m on fire.

     Roasting him from the inside out.

     I got you motherfucker, I got you.

     Then I die.

     But I’m still laughing.

     Now I’m in heaven, but I’ll tell you about that next time.

 

 

The End…

 


     P.S.  Fuck Sharks!

Firefly July

Joseph was a child that never stopped smiling. And in the presence of his father he absolutely beamed, so much so that in public people who didn’t even know him would often stop his father and say, “My goodness, what a wonderful boy you have there, and his smile, have you considered putting him in the movies? He could sell anything.”
          “Oftentimes I have. Say ‘thank you’ to the pretty lady, Joseph,”
          “Thank you, pretty lady,” Joseph would say smiling up at them.
          And oh the cooing of the pretty ladies would begin.
          “And he’s a charmer!”
          His father would smile and pat his son on the head.
          “Like father like son, my dear.”
          “Oh you’re just wicked,” and they’d swat their hands at his father, making sure to lightly touch him as they did it.
          “And where is his mother?”
          “She is in a better place,”
          “Oh, I’m so sorry,”
          “It is what it is,”
          “Oh sugar, but he is just so wonderful and happy looking. You’ve done a fine job.”
          All throughout the South Joseph and his father drove stopping in one town after another, filling order deliveries for 35 millimeter cameras in the local camera stores. Listening to tapes of Credence Clearwater Revival, drinking Fanta Orange, and being enthralled by the stories of Greek and Norse Gods as his father drove the station wagon.
          Staying in small motels, and occasionally camping in the local sites if weather permitted. In that summer somewhere between Texas and Kansas the month of Firefly July passed with a thousand glowing bugs whizzing by the car at night.
          It was 1984 and the world was magic.
          One morning as they loaded their luggage into the back of the station wagon Joseph began to tell his father about how “In the future all the houses, fire stations, and candy factories would be made entirely of gigantic super strong Lego’s. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Because when you get tired of a building you can just pull it apart and make a better one.”
          His father looked down at him, cocked his head to the side as he thought about it for a second, and then said, “Goddamn Joseph that is excellent idea. I firmly endorse it.  In fact I think you should be the one to pioneer it.”
          Joseph smiled even more. Over pancakes and maple syrup Joseph intended to tell his father about his next great idea. The cloning of miniature dinosaurs, to be sold as pets because after all, what kid wouldn’t want their own Tyrannosaurus Rex?
          As they stood at the back of the station wagon moving the last of their luggage to make sure it wouldn’t roll about when traveling a fat woman in high heels, short red skirt and half empty beer bottle in hand stumbled up to them. The clicking of her heels was only surpassed by the stink of booze that was so strong a spark could have ignited it.
          She stopped about seven feet away from them looking from father to boy and then back to father. Hungry and leering.
          “Can I help you, madam?” his father asked her.
          “I know what you want… You want to fuuuck me,” she slurred and took a solid drink till the bottle was emptied, and then smashed the bottle on the ground.
          “What the shit?” his father said pulling his son behind him.
          She reached down and pulled up her skirt exposing a hairy brown pussy at the two of them and made moaning noises while sticking her tongue. At that angle she also had to use her forearms to press her gut up and back so they could see her pussy properly.
          They grimaced and she frowned.
          Then she pulled a small one shot pistol out and fired one bullet through his father’s face. It was a sharp click, followed by a small hole above his right eye, a trail of red blood running down the side of his nose and off his chin.
          He crumpled and fell face forward onto the ground. Joseph saw a hole as big as an orange in the back of his father’s head.
          Joseph looked back at the woman, her skirt still up, pussy looking back at him, the golden cross dangling between her fat tits.
          She looked at him pointing the gun at his face now. She smiled again.
          CLICK!
          The bullet was a dud.
          “Fucking faggot,” she said to him.
          Then stumbled away down the street, turning eventually into an alley way.
          Joseph stood there, with his hands at his sides, looking at the hole in the back of his father’s head.
          He would never smile the same again…

Fat Rash

The point of working out around midnight at an all hours sports club is to avoid the lines at the machines, the beasts in the sauna, and in general people all together.  But even at this hour some of them slip through.  The fat man changing next to me was no exception.  A man so fat that even his skin was repulsed to be near him.  It was the kind of fat that turns the skin a fluorescent red glow like a spanked pig’s belly.
     I call it the fat rash.
     “They stick this tube up your colon and suck all the waste out,” he said to me.  This was a guy I had never met before, until tonight.
     I nodded my head and kept throwing my gear into the locker.  Having just finished a 4 k swim, I was tired and trying to get out as fast as I could.
     “No, it’s true.  I’ve already lost 25 lbs. from only two treatments.”
     I looked over at him.  Hard to notice a 25 lbs. difference on a man that must’ve weighed at least 380.  Got to lose at least a hundred to make an impact.
     “Good for you man,” I said to him.
     “And do you know of Dr. Atkins?”
     The diet cult of Dr. Atkins.  A doctor so fat, that when he slipped on some ice his fat crushed his head and sent him into a coma.  At least old people have the courtesy to break their hips and don’t drag it out before they die.
     “Yea, I’ve heard of him,” I said.
     “He’s my personal hero.  Such a shame,” he said.
     “That he’s your hero?”
     “No, that he died.”
     “Didn’t he die weighing over 250 lbs.?”
     “That was water retention.  He normally weighed 195 lbs.”
     “So he had 55 lbs. of water retention?”
     “Yes…”
     I didn’t say anything, just kept changing.  Almost done.
     “He was a beautiful man,” Fat Rash said in almost a whisper.
     I finished changing and zipped up my gym bag.
     “Well, I hope things work out between you two,” I said.
     “What?  Oh yes, yes…  But you will try Colon Hydrotherapy won’t you?”
     “Of course I will.”
     “Good.  Remember, 25 lbs.,” he said.
     “I’ll remember.”
     “Promise?”
     “Yea.”
     “Young man like you needs to keep it in check down there.  Flush that evil out.”
     “Gotcha.”
     “I’ll be seeing you around.”
     “I don’t doubt it.”
     As I was leaving Fat Rash whispered the words again.  “…a beautiful man.”