Monday, July 22, 2019

A Message From Our Sponsor

Last year's office Christmas party. Can you find me? Hint: I'm not wearing cuff links.

Meanwhile, my books can be purchased HERE!

Valium Please!

Glossolalian doxology:
Dropped, the organ-grinder’s monkey did drop, stricken by simian-tuberculosis, dropped with a last stertorous, “Ook.” Hidden in a pink pillowbox the sea otter cracks open a Silly Putty egg while the pinched sunrise brings gnawing sorrow to corrupt fear-laden attorneys. One among them. The Chameleon Virus struck Richard mauve. DNA swab deemed inconclusive by reason of molecular defect. Mint-flavored mitochondria. Put on this hospital johnny; I AM Hospital Johnny! Following triage I’m left in a crowded hall (no rooms available yet – it might be days they tell me with no TV) and given a Valium drip. Rehydration Excitation by the Beach Boys. Was that the one penned by Charles Manson? Like a chain-smoker with a lost larynx burping words, it helps to elude the claustrophobic madness that sterile, hospital boredom brings. Heliophobic Margaret on the beach, masked in sunscreen, marked with Noxzema, flaunting a floppy hat sewn from tatters of the AIDS quilt. Life’s not a funny thing. Twitching brings more brings more Valium-yum-yum. Dancing with a widow at her husband’s funeral: “So long, Bob. Helloooo, Babs!” Writing a requiem that reads like an eighth-grade vocabulary test (treatise, dour, penultimate), chanted by a chorus of illiterate street prostitutes infected with the galloping gleet (this being the 50’s and all). “Gonna need some penicillin here! Stat!” Sorrell Booke playing John Wayne Gacy in a Broadway musical called Love Don’t Shame (1985) to hostile audiences and even angrier reviews. Glenn Strange serving the cirrhotic livers of jaundiced cattle drivers at the Long Branch Saloon. Jerry So-and-so, the convicted robber sentenced to a life of pointless puppetry. Celebrated for glandular excellence. It was all over the news. Didn’t you hear? A Certificate of Achievement was given. Handed out to prostrate multitudes. How you doing, Henry? Big Nurse asks. Okay, I say, hunched over a speeding motorcycle, ready to die in the forecasted crash. We’re going to need a urine sample. Think you can pee through a Lifesaver? Butter Rum? A white table of grocerystore samples with aromas like distressed sighs. More grotesque than a medieval spittlehouse. A voice like Gavin McCloud’s friendly voice slinking across the liquid zoo through air vents of impossible exhaust. Hey there, I’m Dr. Blanket. Dr. Blanton. Dr. Something. I’ll take a look at you in just a minute, okay Chief? Appreciate your patience. Appreciate your patients. In the end it’s as natural as the Lemon Pledge you breathe. Channeling the angry spirit of Ty Cobb as it crunches through a bowl of Grape Nuts in Morse code. Applause at a murder scene. You have to admire his enthusiasm! She tells me all I need to know about my missing father with her catalytic resemblance to Farley Granger. As much fun as an Old Prussian Water Park. No splashing! Remain still! We still need that urine sample. Delirious. The dreary carsick toothache remembrances of the Class of `85. They served cold treacle and rancid beeftallow at the ten-year reunion. Butchered bits of tumorous offal swept from a sawdust floor. Date-rape tunes by Toto and Foghat; the cloying soundtrack to a hurried violation. The sound of sweat. Zippers and flasks. Oh, Hi Heather! You look great! Thanks, I just had an abortion! My third! Well, good for you. Do you have any pictures? You wanna buy some? Gray ceiling full of dead galaxies. Postcards from the Auschwitz giftshop. I stopped caring once Patty Duke died. She wore an expression like her transvaginal mesh had disintegrated. The restaurant served a dish so difficult and unfamiliar you had to get a new tastebud grafted onto your tongue weeks in advance just to experience it. Novelty ice cubes with frozen zygotes inside. Shaped like Peter Ustinov. Drop them in a drink and watch the little gibbons giggle. The chalk outline of a nervous breakdown. A used condom in the beak of a seagull. I’ve never used this escape before. Fake it till you make it. How does it start? Not with the teabags anymore, schmuck. Don’t tell me! The gurney floats the length of the hall. Sick, wounded expressions of degenerative disease pass like decorations, like Japanese lanterns strung across a garden party of awkwardly posed rigormortis cadavers. “Hey, make `em 69! Haw-haw!” It’s the 1920’s all over again. Like nothing happened. Casey Kasem: This next dedication goes out to all you used tampons out there! He calls running across a graveyard “corpse-surfing.” Everything smells like Ben-Gay here. I’m ready to give that urine sample now. No justice for the families of the neighbors of the families of the victims. How do you think they feel? A greasy-mustachioed mechanic with a prostate full of worms has an opinion on the Middle East. Get rid of it. Relocate everyone to Tampa. Sleet on Doppler radar looks like dead Rotarians. You could see it on TV if you had one. A foraging Sasquatch finds a McDonald’s bag on the side of the highway. Pictures exist of the hairy behemoth eating the remains of a twenty-piece chicken McNugget meal (you want fries with your colonoscopy?). It chews the sauce out of the packets. An Eskimo feeds a fire with books written by Adolph Hitler’s kid sister. She wrote children’s books under the name Namby Pamby. It must be done. Lemme check your vitals. Nancy Walker, murderous and menopausal travels to Baltimore and kills her ex-lover with a lawnmower blade. The tabloids fail to mention the utter insouciance of the event. My life can be condensed into one sentence fragment: Another Stanford Prison Experiment gone wrong. Novelty toilet paper presaturated with LSD and planted in countryclub bathrooms along the East Coast. Sexual mayhem. Situational neurologists treating chronic pain with pornography. Can you lie back for me? Does this hurt? How about here? In high school the girls nicknamed me Getthefuckawayfromme. At the reunion I wore a scarlet nametag. When I was a kid my mom got me Kojak bedsheets. “Who loves ya baby...” bald Savalas mumbled from the pillow. I’d never even seen the show. There is something else, I tell the doctor (blanket). One of my testicles is hard and swollen. And I come without ejaculating. America’s Sweetheart is a dead manatee on a dead-end street in a dead town. I feel the warm thigh of the nurse against my arm. Sweet memory of the brief encounter will haunt me for years. Using Google to search for the cruder things in life. A porn site exploiting the visual shock of apes and amputees (Chimps and Gimps) locked in carnal congress. My left nut feels like a golfball, has for months. A blockage perhaps? I show him. He feels. Awake from a daze, Mrs. Belbaum finds the Butterball in her baby’s crib. “Oh no! Joey!” That turgid song by the Cowsills about decomposition on a sunny day. Remember when Bernhard Goetz was on The Love Boat? Julie the Cruise Director had blow on her nose. They found human gall-bladders in the seaweed and had to close the beach. Illegal dumping of surgical scrapbuckets. Measure the facial expression of a man dissecting a dog and the data will match this doctor to the millimeter. A CAT scan is indicated. That and an ultrasound. They must begin at once and I’m still drunkdrunkdrunk. Mutilated soldiers file through the turnstiles of a petting zoo. Touch the goat with your armstump. How does that feel, Private? Fine Sarge. Just fine. What did you expect? Nothing to be afraid of. I heard The Scorpions playing just before the gunshot. Treatment and outcomes spill onto the floor like some kind of greasy discharge. Sucking the pus from used bandages. The sugary perfume of medical waste. The blind shriek of thrombocytopenia. What? Catheter penance for my sins. Metastatic action boy. Fuck. More Valium please, Doc.
·         Valium, please.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Don't Forget to SEIZE Your Very Own Copy of Pancreatic Carburetor!!

4 out of 5 people writhing in straight-jackets recommend Pancreatic Carburetor to their friends that chew gum.

 The critics have spoken! (in strangled, discouraging tones):

"Stories about stuff. I think..." -- Pat McGroin

"Migraine inducing..." -- Benjamin Dover

"I liked it up until the first story..." -- Heywood Jablome

"Reminds me of roadkill..." -- Connie Lingus 

"The literary equivalent of used kitty litter. You know that ammonia smell? Like that..." -- Buster Hymen

Aw yeah!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Music Hath Charms

I worked with this lopsided cat named Glen back in the kitchen when I was a cook and he was a dishwasher and high-schooler. We didn’t work together long. He didn’t last. He would do shocky stuff like draw on the whites of his eyes with a felt pen and extinguish cigarettes on his arms or tongue. He did it to show people something about himself. Probably the shockiest thing he did was listen to Frank Zappa. See, the kitchen staff would take turns with the tape player and we were bent on irritating each other. It didn’t seem to be about enjoying the music. So, one kid would play Blood Feast and another kid would play Dinah Shore and I would puzzle people by playing abrasive “sound sculptures” I taped off college radio. And Glen would play Uncle Meat or something. We were using music to say, “Fuck you,” to each other.

But it wasn’t all negative. One night Glen drew a happy face on his eyeball. You can’t get more positive than that. 😃

Friday, June 7, 2019

Common Side Effects

I am alone in my fondest memories. 

In the late eighties I worked as a cook at a restaurant called The Crazy Horse Pub. I cooked for the dinner crowd. The kitchen closed at 11:00 p.m. so I usually punched out after midnight. I would go home wired on caffeine and adrenaline and unwind by drinking copious amounts of beer and watching TV. There wasn't much on after Letterman but one night I caught a gritty oddity called The Headless Eyes (1971) at around two o'clock in the morning. I couldn't believe my luck! I'd never heard of the film but it was a strange alchemical mix of New York grindhouse sleaze  and undergound arthouse weirdness. The eyeball gore surprised me (remember, this was on  broadcast television) as did its focus on the tortured villain who scoops out people's eyes (with a spoon!) to make his art. I ate it up. I have not seen the film since that wonderful night and don't want to. My memory is no doubt frayed and flawed but I don't want to destroy it by watching the film with fresh, contemporary eyes. I want to keep it pure. 

I treasure these 80's memories...

One night, again after a shift at The Crazy Horse, I was looking for something interesting on the radio and heard this weird show hosted by a guy who sounded drunk. His voice was grumbly and torn and he said, "Yee-yee," a lot. He played a strange mix of 60's garage and psychedelia  and 80's punk (Husker Du, Replacements etc..). The song that caught my attention the most was a long, psychedelic masterpiece that really blew my mind. It took me around ten years to learn it was Slip Inside This House by The 13th Floor Elevators.  Roky Erickson R.I.P.

Please note that my savoring these memories in no way endorses a nostalgia for the 1980's which I considered a kidney stone of a decade.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Reach

The release of Pancreatic Carburetor was anticlimactic. Now I just feel ill and empty and old.

 Outsider voices from the void

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Pancreatic Carburetor

My final collection of short stories is now available. I am depleted. It may take years to replenish my supply of short fiction. I'm going to direct my full attention to my novel-in-progress, Cocktails & Cancer (formerly Anosognosia ). Stay tuned...

The Book is Here 


Monday, June 3, 2019


Welp, I uploaded my final book of short stories and I’m just waiting for it to become available. I always feel sick and depressed when I make my projects public. Now that the die is cast I want to change every word, or worse, destroy the evidence. Maybe I’m not cut out for this jazz. I don’t have the spirit for marketing and self-promotion. My confidence plummets at this stage of the game.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.  

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Seizures and Skag

The proof copy of my book Pancreatic Carburetor arrived yesterday. It looks good, thick. The font is large and easy to read. A perfect gift for the farsighted senior in your life! Pancreatic Carburetor is going to be my last collection for a good long while. I need to replenish my supply of short stories. Right now I couldn’t fill a pamphlet.
     Having had seizures, I think I know what it’s like to be dead. It is abrupt nothingness. Seizures slam into you without warning and you’re in a death-like state. It’s lights out. You don’t think or dream or anything. It is stone cold zilch. This is not bad. It’s not scary. There’s no point in worrying about death because you won’t know what hit you.
     I once had a seizure and collapsed on the stairs outside my apartment. The guy who lived across from me asked me if I were okay. I came out of my miniature coma, told him I was all right and wobbled into my apartment.
     My neighbor then went around telling the other tenants that my collapse was due to heroin (which it was not). I was pissed off that he was spreading untruths about me. I didn’t want the whole fucking building to think I’m a junkie.
     And then the neighbor died. He was roughly my age. I saw them break through his door with an ax. He was dead all right. I never even learned his name. I don’t know what killed him. Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if he overdosed on skag?