HOW I MADE MY FORTUNE

You ever seen a bunch of dudes wearing fingerless gloves, all huddled around a trash can what’s on fire?

That was me. I invented the trashcan with a fire in it. Cornered the market with drifters, rounders, and ne’er-do-wells. Sure, most of ’em paid in hobo nickels and purloined apple pies, but some of ’em… they paid in wisdom.

Which I reinvested. Now I sleep on a bed made of wisdom. And you could too, for a small monthly fee, to join my newsletter, written in chalk under highways or inside railcars! Convenient!

FIVE EASY STEPS TO HOME SECURITY

FIVE EASY STEPS TO HOME SECURITY
1) Use a deadbolt.
2) Whenever you leave home, leave your shadow behind, pinned to your front door, muttering to itself like you’re still home, and as the sun stretches it over the day its extended fingers can scratch the window sills and confirm they’re inviolate.

3) 3-5 hours before you head out, stop feeding the Hungry Thing that lives in the eaves. Tell the Hungry Thing that you’re never coming back, that it’s on its own.

3) Make sure all windows are clasped.

5) Cast a spell so that filthy thieves can’t see the number 3 and instead see a 3 in its place.

A-ha. I’ve found you out. You read this post & I see you, thief.

A New Way to Be Broken

“Have you told people about this morning yet?” I asked Amanda.

“Who’s ‘people’?” she asked.

“Anyone.”

“I told my parents.”

“But you didn’t post or anything.”

“What, like to Facebook or something?” she asked. “What would I post? ‘I’ve found a new way to be broken?'”

It’s been a long day, folks, but let me skip to the end and tell you that things are pretty much okay. Modern medicine is on this one.

Amanda started feeling terrible at about 2:30 in the morning, which is a time almost exclusively set aside to feel terrible in, but when the vomiting just wouldn’t stop, and her abdomen just kept hurting, after an hour we decided it was hospital time and called a cab to visit the hospital located the closest, geographically.

We spent some time hanging out with a rotating cast of emergency room crew while an IV was put into Amanda to make sure she didn’t get dehydrated, followed by some anti-nausea medication. Finally, a splash of Benadryl and some morphine to put her out for awhile. A handheld and jelly-covered device told us that Amanda’s got gall stones, which might be the problem, and as antibiotics were lined up, a case was made for the removal of the gall bladder.

While we agreed the case had merit, we decided to postpone for a later court date, as the bladder in question was feeling much better and it was 10:30 a.m. and we’d been there for 6.5 hours already. Adding surgery and possibly an overnight stay seemed excessive. Any guest must be aware of the risk of over-staying one’s welcome, even in the face of a gracious host or surgeon.

So yeah. It’ll probably have to come out, so we’ll be looking to schedule something. I’ve planted the idea in Amanda’s head that we should ask to keep it, so we can have it in a jar on a shelf. Maybe pickled in scotch. But we’re home, tired, stocked up on new pharmaceuticals, busy reading websites of nutritional advice.

While the cramping was still at its worst, I was rubbing Amanda’s back and helping her stay under the blanket that came with the room, trying to distract her. I said “You know, if you like this blanket a lot, just remind me and we’ll get you one of your own at the gift shop on the way out. We can even have it monogrammed, if you want. Would you want AJS or just AS?

“AJS” she said into her pillow.

“Not a problem. Also, we could get your picture with one of the hospital mascots. And they’ll be happy to put that picture on a t-shirt, if you want a t-shirt with a picture of you standing next to a mascot.”

“No…” she moaned.

“It’s no trouble. The kids in those mascot costumes get paid hourly. You wouldn’t be putting them out.”

The IV slowly dripped away. I had the fleeting thought that emergency rooms would be nicer if they had bland paintings on the walls, like hotels do.

“But you know what bothers me is that log flume ride they have. It’s dangerous. I don’t care that it’s the fastest way to get from Pediatrics to the parking lot. It’s still January! People get splashed with that water and they’re just making more work for themselves with the pneumonia! They should at least shut it down until summer.”

But by that point, she was sleeping. I went back and sat in the only other chair in the room, which had minimal padding, and tried to sleep a bit myself.

And we waited for the next professional visitor to the room, and for the drugs to work, and for the chance to go home.

— Jan 28, 2013 G+

locked room mysteries

A locked room mystery where all the suspects are claustrophobic. A locked room mystery where all the room’s doors are the Doors of Perception. A locked room mystery where the police never notice the murder because no one can get into the room so they just put furniture in front of the locked doors and forget that there was ever anything back there. A locked room mystery where a key was the murder weapon, but the key doesn’t fit anything in the room. A locked room mystery where the doors open by tunes sung in a certain key, but the murder victim was deaf and all the suspects have nodes on their vocal chords. A locked room mystery where it turns out the doors were just mislabeled and you just had to PULL to get out instead of PUSH. A locked room mystery where the murder victim was found stuck in a pet door leading into the locked room. A locked room mystery where the murder victim is, like, innocence, and SOCIETY is the murderer.

-Mar 21, 2013, G+

oh no teens

There was nowhere left to go. Every movement was co-opted. The only way to go was back into the mouth of the beast and so the kids in our town started wearing polos with company logos on them and loitered in the aisles of those stores. Staying underfoot.

“Do you know where I can find office chairs?”

A contemptuously curled lip. “Sure, man. I’ll show you.” And they’d lead the customer around the store until they found it, like a real employee, the irony so understated that the only way you’d be able to tell is when the teen never drew a paycheck.

A prom full of young men wearing bright vests, pins on them declaring sales, all the girls with nametags and magnetic keys.

Gang graffiti at the commuter train station. Groups like The 401Ks. The Weekend Crew. Shipping and Receiving. A gang hideout decorated with the clipped neckties of rival crews and pamphlets about retirement communities. The teens filling binders with cut out pictures of toddlers, calling them The Grandkids, comparing them like trading card collections, like statements from a diversified portfolio.

We asked the teens why.

“I’m always happy to help a member of the media,” they said.

“Is there any chance I could get back to you after my shift,” they said, straightening shelves of product.

“I will live in any suburb,” they said, “and drive any vehicle that can hold an entire soccer team. I have sliced oranges in the back. For a snack at half-time.”

Teens teens teens. Why do we ever talk to them. Why do they do anything. When we were teens, it was different. And what are we now? At some point, we changed.

“Can we help you?” asked the teens, but they don’t mean it. They’ll grow out of it.

OBSOLETE

From 2011:  At an artistic retreat with good friends, I came up with the project documented here. I had a stack of multicolored disks that were never going to be used for anything, so I thought it might be fun to label them with contents that would be irresistible to anyone who found them.

The ideal for this project would have been to next glue these disks in public spaces so that the content would be doubly unavailable: on a dead format and secured in place. But it’s not in my nature, so here’s the next best thing: images online.

The Signal: EP134

The Signal: EP134 – Exactly 45 minutes of the music you didn’t think you needed. You thought you needed to spend your time learning how to fight with switchblades. Nope. Music. 45 minutes. That’s the key, it turns out.

(I mean, if you’ve got the switchblade already, don’t let me discourage you. Get real good at it. Carve your way through the urban jungles. But when you have some down time, I’ve got some beats and whatnot for you.)

This time out we’ve got dub music from Jamaica, electronic music created by an Iranian-American in Austin with a partner in Portugal via the internet, spooky songs about witches and Frankenstein, dangerous women, jazz, percussion, humming, and sorrow.

Download by clicking on the link (or image) above. The file is available only for a limited time. If you’re interested in the tracklist, it’s in the mp3 itself, in the id3 tags. Or, if you sign up to be a member of our mailing list, The Tuned In, you’ll be among the first on the planet to know when a new mix is posted, and you’ll get a permanent archive link and the entire playlist, delivered to your inbox.

Tarot Reading: Strictly Business

[tarot reading]
The medium deals out the cards. Each one, a business card.

“Your past: Dharmesh Singh, SEO Optimization. Words have held a powerful sway over your past.”

I nod sagely.

“Your future: Emily Langtree, certified public accountant. This could mean you’re going to be held accountable for your actions.”

“Hmm.”

“Your present: This is my card. After 10 visits, get 1 reading free.”

“Are there any other mediums here I could talk to instead?”

Oh, you’ve been to concerts?

Made merrye have I on many occasion, but of all these arrayed tales lurks an single instance wherein have I covered truth in deception’s cloake as a hunter hoods his hawk, confounding you by a false night!

1) The baiting of bear, which slewe two great slaves from the Northlynds
2) A jester, covered in filth, speaking against the king
3) A soft-headed friendly fool who aite a score of eggs to much acclaim
4) A philosopher, drunk in a ditch, urinated upon by my own selfe among many
5) A trump and flute duo: Melryn and The Hound
6) A turnip that looked like the Manor Lorde
7) My children, felled by The Plague, appearing in hovering form and forgiving me my ill tempers and every trespass I made against them in life
8) A party, erupted by occasion on the burning of a landlord’s home
9) Howling at the moon, enraged by something in our bread
10) The Spice Girls

Can’st thou guess which are true and which would fetch me time i’ the stocks?