Archive | September, 2010

Something Smells Funny

28 Sep

“What is that?” Derek asks from the couch. His face is contorted and gross-looking, like a taller, more Polish Benjamin Button when he was a baby.

A face that only a m...GOD WHAT IS THAT?!

Derek scans the living room.

“What are you talking about?” I ask.

“It stinks in here. It smells like what that baby from Benjamin Button looked like.”

We both shudder.

I sniff the air. After a few inhalations, it’s clear: something stinks in that room. Derek lifts the couch up and looks underneath it.

“Anything under there?” I ask.

“Nope. Just some some gum wrappers, a chip bag and a human hand.” Derek sets the couch back down. We both turn white. I experience a flash of sickness in my gut. Derek lifts one leg slightly off the ground and farts. “Ah,” he says. “That’s better. Do you want to look under the love seat?” He begins to walk toward the love seat.

“Derek!” I exclaim. “Derek, what did you say was under that couch?” My voice is high with tension.

“Just some trash and stuff.”

“And stuff?” I ask.

“A human hand.” Derek seems confused by my frantic demeanor.

“DO YOU THINK THAT MAYBE IT’S THE ROTTING HAND THAT SMELLS SO BAD?!” I scream, now perspiring along my back and under my arms–you can’t tell, though. I’m wearing Old Spice High Endurance Smooth Blast antiperspirant–because who wants to just smell good when you can smell and feel great?

“Listen, Kyle. It’s a Brozowski family tradition to keep the hand of a homeless man under the living room couch. It wards off bad spirits and the homeless.”

My mouth slightly agape, I say nothing.

“If you’re going to freak out about it, we can move it.”

“Move it.”

“Yea, to, like, the sun room or something. Maybe the laundry room.”

“How is that any better?!” I ask.

“Out of sight out of mind,” Derek responds.

“It was out of sight before! Now I just know about it.” That vein in my forehead is starting to protrude just a little bit.

“Pish posh,” Derek responds, casually waving his hand to and fro.

“Please get that hand out of the house, Derek,” I say, trying to remain as calm as possible. The room goes quiet and all that can be heard is the soft trickling of water running through the fish tank filter.

“Kyle, do you like evil spirits?”

Trying to think of a single evil spirit I was still friends with, I shake my head to signal “no.”

“Do you like me?”

“Well, of course,” I say.

“Do you like being accosted by the homeless?”

Seeing where this is going, I sigh heavily, but still respond. “No.”

“Then I think we should keep the hand.”

“Absolutely not! It smells like death in here!” I point at the hand, hidden beneath the couch. “And that thing cannot be sanitary.”

“Oh, it’s sanitary,” Derek responds.

“Yea? How?”

“I sprayed it off with a hose before I brought it in.”

My head begins to hurt as I lift up the couch, inhale just a whiff of the pungent stink, dry heave, and put the couch back down.

“Derek, get that thing out of here.”

Derek puts his hands on his hips, huffs, puffs, and begrudgingly removes the hand.

The smell dissipates quickly. That night, I lay in my bed. As I pull the covers around myself, I’m suddenly gripped by a feeling of being observed–yet I am alone in the room. The sounds of distant screaming swirls above my bed. I throw my blankets over my head, attempting to hide from any apparition that hovers above me.

My heart pounding, I almost jump out of my skin when there’s a knock at the door and the muffled call of “Got any change?”

Next door, Derek laughs bitterly.

The End.

My First Day at My New Job

15 Sep

I recently started working as a tutor at Lewisville High School.

The school looked like that school from Boy Meets World.

Aged. Stone and brick. Traditional architecture. Students everywhere.

“Why are all these kids here?” I asked no one in particular.

“Who are you talking to?” the security guard standing by the front door asked. I turned to him.

“No one in particular,” I responded gruffly, turning up the collar of my trench coat which, considering the 94-degree heat, was purely for vanity. “My god, the heat,” I whispered. My butt was sweating profusely. A tiny bead of sweat adventured down into the chasm of my butt crack. He was never seen or heard from again.

I approached the class and opened the door. The teacher was addressing the class. Typical.

“Oh, hello,” he said, slightly startled. “Class, this is one of our new tutors. Please, introduce yourself.”

I removed my trench coat in the most dramatic way possible, in hopes of startling the children and inspiring fear, by whipping it around my body and throwing it directly at the largest child I could see while spinning around really fast (Most of them were a blur; I was trying to remove my trench coat in the most dramatic way possible. You know how it goes.).

The boy quietly removed the coat from his head. I walked over quickly and took it from him. I placed it on a hanger and put it in the closet.

“My name is Kyle,” I said. “Kyle is my name, but you may call me ‘instructor’.”

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” the teacher, Mr. Lampassas, said. He had beady eyes and a haircut that screamed “I was chosen to make my owner’s head more aerodynamic.” I roll my eyes at Mr. Lampassas and turn to the class while he continues to address them.

My first group was a science group. They wanted to learn about chemicals and shit.

“So, if I mix Magnesium with poop, what happens?” Rodrigo asked. What a strange question. What a strange boy. What a strange time to be an American. [Editor’s Note: I feel like you’re losing focus here. Are you feeling all right?]

“Well, son,” I said, shifting softly into song, “If you want to learn ’bout poop…” I stood up and put my foot on the chair–now giving into the deep-seeded and oft-repressed desire to sing in public. “You better get the scoop… and leeeeeaaaaarn!” The class stood up around me.

Because no matter what you mix

With that smelly stuff

It’s all just gonna smell like shit.

And your mom’ll make you talk

To the preacher and a doc.

But not the kind of dock where you hid that guuuuuuuy!

Upon hitting the final note, the teacher did a back flip, but landed poorly and broke his neck. He died instantly. He released his final breath and several snakes spilled out of his eyes. [Editor’s Note: Okay, Kyle. This is too much. Please contact me.]

“Welp!” I said, taking off my hands and putting them on the floor. “It’s time to get to work!” Two or three of the students evaporated immediately. They made the sounds of a cow mooing. The rest of the students got out their classwork folders from the mouth of a gigantic toad that sat in the back of the classroom. “Please begin working on the assignments in your folders while I turn the sun back on.” I walked to Mr. Lampass’s recently vacated desk and turn the sun back on. “No big deal,” I say, and wink to Jesus, who had just walked in to make sure my first day was going well. [Editor’s Note: We’re not putting this out. We need to talk. You need to talk to someone.]

“Mr. Irion!” Jenine, a young girl who is a student called, “Your trench coat has come to life and is trying to sell me on 3D films!”

“3D films?!” I asked, angrily. I got on the tiny giraffe to my right and rode it to the coat. [Editor’s Note: Did you drink the red stuff that was in the jug in the refrigerator?”]

“What do you want?” the trench coat asked, but then immediately became my father. I tried to talk to him, but he spoke only in whistles and bird sounds. [Editor’s Note: Kyle, that was humming bird food! You need to go to a hospital!]

But I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t go to the hospital. I thought I was… [Pause, look to the ground thoughtfully.] I thought I was invincible. So here I am. Wherever…this is. Do I regret it? Do I regret drinking that delicious, acidic, horrifically sweet beverage that Editor left in the office fridge? No. I don’t. And you know why?

Because nothing’s sexier than getting your stomach pumped.

😉

The Stars Are Starry and Star-Covered! 3010! BEYOND!

7 Sep

Captain J.K. Stardust drops the reigns of his space horse.

“Whoaaaa, Zignut,” he says to the mechanical cylinder between his legs. The cylinder does not respond. A kid watching nearby snickers, thinking Stardust was kidding, but after Stardust kicks the cylinder with his homemade spurs and whispers to it, the kid stops smiling so much and just goes to tell an adult.

J.K. Stardust, captain of the Interstellar Exploration Response Team ship Big Borderrito© (Sponsored by On The Border!), is calling his day’s work to an end. While most StarSpace-onauts chose to be beamed down from their OTB Tasty Fleet Mothership, Stardust prefers to ride down on his space horse, which he called Zignut.

Stardust’s space horse is a mechanical kind of machine whatever pod that you can ride around in space. Its official title is an Inter-Atmospheric Transport Module.

Stardust walks into the Civic Hall of his moon colony.

“Ah,” Stardust says to himself, breathing deeply the recycled air of the Hall. “Colony, how I love thee. Your name rolls from my tongue and out into the air with the lightness and beautiful twinkling of starshine glistening off the surface of a pond.” He sighed again. “I love thee, Colony Z677512 Beta, Flip Alpha Column.” With this, Stardust smiled, threw off his space helmet, and walked to the Hall’s innermost chambers. His helmet struck the ground loudly. That helmet cost the government $6 million. The fact that nobody caught the Captain’s helmet before it hit the ground means two things: Stardust needs to be fitted for a new, $6 million helmet and that someone just lost their job.

“Hey,” Phil Jigson, the man who just lost his job, says, waving to you, the reader. He’s not very attractive, but he seems nice, most co-workers say. “Not very attractive?” Phil asks. Let’s ignore Phil for now.

Easily ignoring the peon Phil, J.K. Stardust pauses for only a moment as the pneumatic doors whoosh open and he steps into the Hall.

“Captain Stardust,” the Judge says. No one knew the Judge’s true name. There was a time when his name was known by all in the galaxy, but that was hundreds of years ago. Judge is currently being kept alive by an intricate system of cutting-edge biotechnology, almost constant infusions of fresh bodily fluids, and chicken wire.

“Yes, my liege,” Stardust says, kneeling slightly and putting his hand over his eyes. Doing these two motions at the same time throws off Stardust’s balance. He falls over like a sleepy infant. The sound of Stardust’s crumbling frame echoes throughout the enormous hall.

“Yikes,” Magistrate Jazz Feltrus whispers to his clerk, who sits on his right.

“Captain Stardust,” the Judge repeats, his double chin vibrating with the heavy timbre of his voice, like a gigantic waddle or a sleeve made of lunch meat. “You have been brought before this court for behavior unbecoming of an IERT captain. “Would you like your crimes read to you?”

“If I don’t ask for them to be read to me, can we just forget all this happened and move on?” a deafening silence. “As adults,” the Captain adds. “As adults, let’s just forget about all that’s happened and m–”

“Silence!” the Judge screams. “With or without dictation, you will be tried for your crimes.”

The Captain’s face drops. “Fine, read them. There can’t be more than four or five anyway.”

“There are sixteen.”

“Sixteen?!” Stardust exclaims. He begins to run through all the possible crimes he committed while in command of the Borderrito ©. Coming up with a number close to thirty or so, he stops counting and decides that maybe the Judge isn’t so off base. “Sixteen sounds good.”

The Judge begins. At first, the council is audibly appalled by the the charges brought against J.K. Stardust. After a while, though, they get used to it, accepting the fact that Stardust is a man of considerably low moral density and that any indiscretions he commits should not come as a surprise.

At the reading of the eleventh crime, Stardust seems visibly frustrated. “That space donkey was made for beating.” The council stops shuffling through their documents. The Judge stops reading off charges.

“Space donkey?” Judge asks. “That ‘donkey’ is a woman. That was a charge of sexual assault.”

The Captain seems lost. “So the donkey can also file paperwork?”

“No, you sexually assaulted a woman, not a donkey.”

“Oh, my.”

“You didn’t think that was a woman?”

“No, I had no idea.”

Scattered murmurs.

“Honestly,” Stardust began, “I thought I was bonin’ a space donkey.” He smiles, blushing. “Oops!”

“J.K., I’m sorry, but we have no choice but to relieve you of your command of the Big Borderitto©. You’ve brought shame to this council and to this colony and to your own family name. You may leave.”

“What to do?” Stardust thought. “What to do? My life…my life…” He walked slowly down the astro-street, moon dust sitting completely still before him. A moon tumble weed sits completely motionless. There is no oxygen on the moon (other than what’s in the self-contained colony bubbles) and there is no breeze. Stardust remembers this and tosses his “Rainy Day Kite” in a nearby trashcan. It’s in the shape of Buzz Aldrin’s prostate, from which he and all his cohorts were cloned.

An ad hanging from a sign by a shuttle terminal reads “LOOKING FOR EXPERIENCED SPACE MEN.” Stardust is exhilarated with happiness. His eyes looked down a bit further “FOR A FANTASTIC JOURNEY!” A picture of a coy looking, red-headed gentleman was placed beneath this. It seemed exactly like something Stardust would be interested in. He ran his scanner over the ad, checked the address and begin to walk.

He walked to his hover car and then drove to the place.

The building the ad leads him to is a large, monolithic construction. Its spires and sharp angles give it a very strong air of foreboding.

“This place looks like it’s for boating,” Stardust says, clearly misunderstanding the meaning of the word “foreboding.”

Stardust approaches the door. It isn’t pneumatic. Strange. He remembers from his history books that some men had to, in ancient times, push doors open to enter rooms. Until now, he was sure that this was a kind of old wive’s tale used to trick children to go to bed on time. Now he saw that it was no yarn.

Inside the hall sat the coy, red headed gentleman. He was clothed in a large silk robe that covered his entire frame lest his hands and head. That coy, red-head. Coy. Koi.

“You’ve come for the journey!” the red head calls.

“I’d like to hear more about it, yes,” Stardust says.

“It’s a fantastic journey!”

“Yes?”

“To a strange, new world!”

“Yes?” Stardust is starting to get excited. He’s beginning to hope. Could it be that his life amongst the stars wasn’t over?

“A world of ecstasy!”

“Where is this world?!”

“Heaven, dear son.”

Stardust’s shoulders slump. Even though God had formally retired some time in the late 2000’s, some of His followers still clung to his memory and the promises He once offered.

“He’s retired,” Stardust says. “He’s living in New Maine with his wife and dog.”

“Well, He–”

“–And the Heavenly Host.”

“But, you s–”

“–Howie Mandel.”

“Howie Mandel is the Heavenly Host?” the coy red-head, now confused and visibly lost, asks.

“Does it matter?” Stardust shrugs his shoulders, sighs heavily and walks out of the Church.

When he closes the door behind him, he feels that a new journey has begun, whether he likes it or not. Stardust now begins his journey of retirement.

I Hunt Down Spam Bots from my Comment Boxes

3 Sep

You don’t know this, but my site is swarming with Spam bots. Don’t worry, they can’t affect you–no, these spam bots (do I capitalize “spam”?) [Editor’s Note: Only if you’re talking about the meat-product.]

You don’t know this, but my site is swarming with delicious Spam bots.

Delicious violence!

[Editor’s Note: We need to hire back that designer.]

Seriously, though. Every day when I sign on, below the folder marked “Comments” is a folder marked “Spam.” Inside the spam folder is all the comments left by spam bots that are programmed to sift through blog posts, searching for key words to latch onto–key words that apply to the product being sold by the spam bot’s creator. For instance, if I mention Viagra in a blog post, it’s almost assured that I’ll get a comment that reads something like this:

“Great blog. Really shed some light on the choices I have when it comes to my ED medication. Thnx!”

And that comment’s commenter will be a link to a discount ED medicine web site.

Every now and then, I’m tempted to let a spammer stay. This is usually when they appeal to my sense of vanity–when the comment they use to advertise is so vague as to possibly be believed as legitimate. Here’s an example from a floral website.

“This is really great. Adding to my blogroll!”

Here, you’d only know it was a spam bot if you looked at its source.

Anyway, I’m getting longwinded, and I’m sure that by going half a page without a reference to genitals or misogyny, I’ve lost three-quarters of my readers (I’m looking at you, dad), but with no further adieu, my adventure.

“EDITOR!” I scream from my office. My shirt is off. I’ve spread butter on my chest.

“What?” Editor asks, throwing the door open. “What’s wr–” He sees my glistening chest and in it–his own reflection, and in that–years of crushing disappointment and a face that only a mother could decide to go ahead and put up for adoption.

“These SPAMMERS!” I say, slamming an indignant fist on my desk. My other, more amicable fist reaches over and rubs the owies out of his brother.

“Is there not a spam blocker on the site?” Editor asks, taking a few steps toward my desk.

“There is, but I’m tired of having to sift through this crap. I’m tired of my site being used for shameless plugs!” A comment from a hair-plug bot immediately appears in the spam folder. “How the hell did they do that?!” A religious group’s bot immediately inquires as to my salvation. “That’s it!” I say, standing.

“Kyle, stay calm. Every time you say ‘That’s it,’ something terrible happens. Just stay calm. Relax.” A beep from my computer tells Editor and I that a new comment has just arrived. It’s from an all-natural relaxation supplement. “All right. Go burn someone to the ground,” Editor says.

My first stop is at the offices of a discount pharmaceutical company, who gave me such gems as this:

“Gr8 post! Are you tired of letting *her* down? Try our products NOW!”

Although I am absolutely tired of letting her down, I am offended beyond measure. They also sent me this:

“Wow. Informative. You really know your stuff, don’t you?”

The first giveaway that this was a bot was that it called my blog “informative.” Anybody who’s anybody knows that I don’t know my stuff. I don’t know stuff.

I find the building where the company is located. It’s a man’s house in a suburban neighborhood south of Dallas.

I knock on the door.

The door receives my knock gracefully, and without fear. I eyeball the door for a moment. It’s Oak. Figures. The door opens to a man who looks much like me. He’s white and a man. He might as well be my brother.

“Brother?” I ask, my voice filled with shock and wonder.

The man looks confused. he runs his hair back over his hair, which is pulled back tightly into a pony tail that hangs down to his belt. his mustache is twitching slightly in the breeze. He looks at me with his one good eye and asks me what business I have with him.

“My name is Kyle. I’m from IronKyle.com,” I say. He looks at me blankly. “I am IronKyle.” He looks at me blankly. “I am IronKyle from IronKyle.com” Believing he’d fallen asleep, I snap my fingers inches from his face. His head jerks back and he swats at the space where my hand had been, but my hand was already back at my side. My hand is too fast. And too furious.

I’m still smiling approvingly at my hand when he asks me again what I want.

“You’re spamming the shit out of my site, man. I want you to stop.”

“IronKyle.com, you said?”

“Yea. You’ve been targeting me for weeks. I’m not your golden goose, you understand?”

“Golden goose? Listen, I’m not targeting you. The bot runs on an algorithm. It looks up keywords no matter how many,” he pauses, smiling deviously, “or how few hits a web site gets.”

My hand twitches in response, longing to make contact with his stupid, white face.

“Just watch it, spammer.” I say. “Just. Watch it.”

I walk down his drive to my car. I open the driver-side door, remove a half eaten cheeseburger from a bag in the passenger seat, and throw it as hard as I can at his rear window. A majestic explosion of beef, mustard, pickles and lettuce.

“How many hits do you think that got?” I ask, flipping him off and getting back into my car. I drive away.

Realizing that I just threw half my lunch at a stranger’s car, I decide to go home and get some food. I eat a bountiful meal of peanut butter, large pieces of cheese, and beer and fall asleep on the kitchen floor. When I wake up, I have spam comments from hair growth companies, online poker leagues, and online colleges–but none about erectile dysfunction.

The End.

Love,

Kyle

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