Thanks Carla

My eldest daughter almost talked me into adopting a one-eyed cat. He was the type of creature that could only be loved by someone benevolent like my child. I said no, but if I would’ve said yes, he would’ve been named One Eyed Willie, because as a Goonies fan, it would’ve been the axiomatic choice. HEYYYYY YOOOOOU GUUUUUYS!

One Eyed Willie was one of the cats up for adoption at the Humane Society over by Walmart. We take our daughters there by way of bribery if they’re patient while the wife and I peruse the thrift shop next door. We walk in and battle back the ambient barks and meows with an affable hello to the girls up front. There’s a transparent box on their desk for donations. I always put in a five. And I make sure they see me do it, kind of like we all do when tipping at a coffee shop. That way, they know I’m not just stopping by to let my children harass their kittens. But like I said, the kittens only have to deal with the harassment if my children let me and the wife shop.

Just like a Goony, I feel like a treasure hunter at the thrift shop. Once, I found a cutting board with a big “J” on it. I have an extensive collection of German steins thanks to the thrift shop. I even found a framed copy of “The Irresistible Waltz” by Vivaudou. I paid twelve bucks, but I’m pretty sure it’s worth fifteen trillion. The wife is more pragmatic in her shopping. She usually buys clothes which she wears for a few months before dropping them back off as a donation. We both have our routines. We walk in, give each other a high-five, and then split up like a football team after the huddle. Or at least, we used to. Now we walk in together and find the mannequin with a moustache to see Carla’s latest “work.” Carla is the ridiculously nice woman at the checkout counter.

Here’s her first installment; I’d say this is an obvious protest against bourgeois consumption and its effects on the next generation:

Child

This one besmirches nudity and our misplaced idolism:

Iron Man

This one is just a nice cross-dresser standing next to a chicken and holding some GMO broccoli:

Cross Dresser

Would you believe that someone actually complained because of this last one? Apparently, someone took a break from their thrift shopping to gripe about the fact that a male mannequin was garbed in a dress. For fuck’s sake; art critics piss me off. And despite my sarcastic tone, that’s exactly what Carla is doing. She’s making art. Sure, it’s a bit ironic that a mannequin is being treated inhumanly at a thrift shop benefiting the Humane Society, but whatever. I think it’s awesome. Art is one of those things that just pops up at times. Carla’s efforts should be applauded despite the fact that she’s blurring the gender lines associated with an already androgynous mannequin. And that’s why I sat down to write this. So… dear Carla, as a long time and avid patron of your thrift shop, I’d like to say thank you for the smiles.

Dirty Clowns

I don’t usually entrust my children to meth heads, but then again, I don’t usually go to the carnival. You have to let go a little bit to enjoy the carnival, especially the small and seedy ones. Somewhere deep inside, you know the food is poison, but you still eat the funnel cakes. You know the games are rigged, the rides are unsafe, and that the profit margin enjoyed by the carnies is ridiculous, but you skip through it all holding hands with your sugar-addled children. Fuck it; we’re at the carnival, let’s do this.

The wife and I took our children and our parents to the county fair here in Durango this past weekend. The rides were small and rusting. The tickets were expensive and the carnies were toothless, but we had our fun; that took some serious “suspension of morality” on my part. You see, they guy operating the flying pink elephants was a scab covered meth-head. He weighed a buck-thirty at most, and at six-two, even diehard bulimics would’ve called him skinny. His hair was a garish red. He had four teeth I could see. His cloths were dirty and his pockmarked skin was covered in cheap tattoos. Most of them were evil clowns that’d probably earned him all sorts of street-cred amongst his fellow carnies. He was constantly twitching and scratching and moving his mouth like a dog that’d licked up some peanut butter. I’ve had plenty of friends that’ve lived a life of meth addiction and I can see the signs; this dude should’ve been on a D.A.R.E. poster.

But I sent my daughter up the ramp towards him and his flying pink elephants. She was alone and five years old. She had her tickets in hand and bounced with excitement. The carnie reached down and took her tickets. He led her to an elephant and strapped her in. She didn’t even notice him. I started looking around. Nobody else seemed to notice him either. He’d shout instructions to kids or try to help parents, but he could’ve been a ghost. Did they see him but look away thanks to his condition? Or did their minds gloss over his presence because he was on some lower echelon? I guess it’s possible. The carnie was just a bit of human flotsam that’d come into our town. He was quick to come, soon to leave. He was ephemeral.

I made a point of noticing the carnie, and I made him notice that I noticed him. I called to my daughter and told her to hold on, and then I stood at the bottom of the ride’s ramp and stared up at the carnie. I did my best to flex the muscles around my eyes and bore through his skull with invisible lasers of rage. Really? You’re going to get high on something cooked in a trailer, pick your skin to shit, and then touch my precious monster before operating the flying elephants that bring her joy? Fuck you. Notice me noticing you goddamn it. He did. His eyes locked with mine. He gave a toothless smile. My expression was deadpan, my eyes pissed. His smiled died and went to that place where he kept his dreams. He turned and started the ride. The elephants went up and down. The dirty lights flashed and the tired music played as the children cried their delight. I stared at the carnie. He worried over his remaining teeth with his tongue. The ride eventually ended and I collected my child. She left with nothing but good memories.

All the rides, all the attending carnies, were like that. The rotund gentleman operating the Ferris Wheel wasn’t much different than the dude by the pink flying elephants. Sure, he was fat and drunk as opposed to skinny and high, but he had the clown tattoos. People seemed to look around him as they got on and off the wheel of wrought ferrous. Again my daughter got onto the ride, this time accompanied by my mother, and again I stared at the man running the ride until he noticed me and acknowledged my disdain with a lowered head. I stood there clean and sober with all my bullshit in the past, as he stood there chest deep in all of his bullshit with his spiked big-gulp. Again, my daughter survived and came back to me covered with a smile.

It started to rain so we packed it up. My oldest daughter had met some makeup covered child of a similar age that looked years older thanks to the pain she wore. The new comer had pined for tickets and even borrowed my daughter’s coat. But that’s alright. My daughter is a precocious little punk so I didn’t even have to tell her which lessons to learn from her day at the carnival. She told me all about how the new girl had taken advantage of the endless supply of tickets I had doled out, and how the girl said she wished her father was like me. My daughter felt sorry for her but kept her at a distance. My work there was done. I looked back at the carnies who were still working the rides and standing invisible in the rain, and then we all got into my truck and left.

I’ve found a bit of empathy in retrospect. I guess it’d be easy to end up like that. You’d fall into a part time job in the carnival. You’d get to travel, see the states, get paid in cash, and taste a bit of freedom. Maybe there’s a girl, pretty and rebellious, working in the cotton candy both. The two of you could hook up and share your freedom. But then the opportunities fade as you drive from town to town. You pick up a vice, get a few dirty clowns tattooed on your forearm just to fit in, and then you earn your cloak of invisibility. Your girl gets pregnant, maybe it’s yours, maybe not, and now she’s anchored down somewhere in the heartland with a child. The new girl who slings cotton candy doesn’t even look at you because there are younger bucks operating other rides. Your dreams and your teeth disappear, and now there’s a man at the bottom of your ramp staring up at you like you don’t deserve to see his daughter. The scabs, the choices, they might wear off on his precious child. There’s nothing left but the night, the shitty motel rooms, and the vice. 

Carnie

I write and sell books and they never cost more than a dollar. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI

One Way Ticket to Mars, the Green Monster, and a Better Condom for Bill Gates

I usually try to keep my writing timeless because I’m a bit allergic to topical rants, but this has been an especially odd week so I can’t resist. So I’ve decided to veer left, to do that which I usually don’t, and talk about what’s going on outside my window. The three mini segments below are nothing more than little snippets of thought that came to as I sampled the odd slice of pop-culture pie that was the third week of April, 2013. As a point of reference, I was eating Cadbury Crème Eggs and listening to Bryan Adams when I started writing this. Yes, I know the former is for Easter and the latter is for fourteen year old girls in the early 90’s, but whatever; this is my office/bedroom and I’ll do as I please. Here it is:

***

I loved being an Alaskan, I despise being a New Mexican, and lately, I’ve been contemplating what life would be like as a Martian. Mars One is a company based out of Helsinki, Finland, and if you send them a short video and a small fee, they’ll think about giving you a one way ticket to Mars in 2023. Jesus. Right now, if I didn’t have a wife and two daughters, I’d be rehearsing in front of my webcam instead of typing this nonsense.

Can you imagine how ridiculously cool that’d be? My wife, the pragmatic, has pointed out the obvious: the mission probably won’t happen, and if it does, everybody is going to die. They’ll probably have to deal with wayward asteroids and weird little extremophiles and insanity induced extraterrestrial cannibalism (fingers crossed) but that’s half-empty thinking. Hell, the incalculable amount of street cred that’d come from my first Martian Tweet would almost make the entire trip worth it. A short video, a small fee, and boom: I’d be the first red planet rock star. I’d wake up every morning dressed like an extra from Barbarella (look it up kids) and do a few anti-gravity aided back flips. Sure, it’d get old, but that first moment of pure gravitas, when my boot imprints upon some other world, would be worth it.

But it’s not going to happen. I have a wife and kids and credit card debt so my place is here. But what about you? Maybe I can inspire you to throw away your terrestrial existence and go to Mars in ten years. Then maybe you can write my name on the endless red dunes and give me a bit of that vicarious fame. I’ll tweet about it, comfortable on my blue planet, and consider my mission accomplished. You can sign up here: http://mars-one.com/en/about-mars-one/contact/21-faq-selection/251-do-i-qualify-to-apply

***

If ever there was an allegorical creature that’d represent the United States, it’d be the Hulk. It’s a shame that these jihading terrorists aren’t fans of Marvel Comics because it’d save everybody a shit ton of grief if they were. I guess I just don’t understand why they, the terrorists, can’t learn from history. It’s as if they’re doomed to repeat the same failure over and over like that damn proverbial fly that constantly runs into a window in an attempt to define insanity. They bomb and hijack and kill and then die but it really doesn’t do a damn thing besides strengthen the hatred between our two cultures. Yes, I realize that’s their aim, in part, but they’ve got to realize that they’re losing.

And Boston? Seriously? That place is literally a town full of Irish bad-asses that’ve dedicated their lives to worshiping a lost cause: the Red Socks. Those two brothers kicked the Hulk in the shin. He’s going to grow and turn green and yell something about smashing, and next year, the Boston Marathon will be twice the size it was this year. They’ll run the same route past a soon to come memorial with pride in their eyes and middle fingers in the air, and if anything, Boston will be stronger. Hell, even that damn wall in the outfield of Fenway Park is called the “Green Monster”, but I guess jihading half-tards aren’t fans of baseball either.

***

I have no clue what I’d do with sixty billion dollars. It’s a hard figure for me to fathom. Seriously; that’s the same thing as sixty thousand million dollars, which sounds like a number my four-year-old would make up, but it’s not. It’s the balance that you’d find at the bottom of an ATM receipt in Bill Gates’ pocket.

It’s probably better that he has it and I don’t, because while he’s the type that forms foundations and cures diseases, I’m the type that’d pit a polar bear against a velociraptor to finally put an end to the argument. And yes, with sixty-billion dollars, you could totally go all Jurassic Park and resurrect the velociraptor, so shut up. My point is this: while I’d wake up and use my fortune to do a double back flip in a Lamborghini (which I’d land perfectly in a pool full of pineapple jello), Bill gates is the type that wakes up and decides to create a better condom.

The dude’s a superhero. With one fell stroke and a bit of latex, the intrepid billionaire plans to take on STD’s and over population. Or rather, he’s going to pay you to take on STD’s. Well, you know, that doesn’t sound exactly right but whatever. Bill Gates is offering up one hundred thousand dollars (which I imagine he found in one of his couches or something) to the first person to design a condom that people will actually use. Here’s the link if you think you’ve got a worthwhile idea: http://www.grandchallenges.org/Explorations/Topics/Pages/NextGenerationCondomRound11.aspx

It’s perfectly logical when you think about it. Either he invents the perfect condom today, or Apple beats him to it tomorrow. They’d probably call it the iDom and it’d be white and sleek and freakishly expensive. We’d all flock to the gas stations to keep up with the trends as soon as the iDomS and iDom2 came out. Actually, you know what’s really weird? The spell checker on this PC has no problem with “iDom2” so maybe I’m on to something. Shit. Okay, for the record, the iDom was totally my idea first and I hereby claim all inherent rights associated with the name and demand my one hundred thousand dollars.

***

Anyway, both of the books I’ve published will be free for the next five days. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI