Monday, October 11, 2010

The story NPR would never read on the radio

So I was listening to the NPR one day, as is my wont. Fantasizing about Kai Ryssdal, most likely. And then! What was this? They were having a short story contest! The story must be very short - it would take only a minute to read aloud - and begin with the phrase "They said the house was haunted." It should end, naturally, with "and things were never the same again."

I began to write feverishly, terrible idea after terrible idea blossoming on the page. Yes, it would be about a Japanese tentacle monster. But it would be a retired tentacle monster! There would be no schoolgirl molestation in this story, no sir. "I should check the rules," I thought. "To make sure there's nothing to disqualify me from this contest other than my own inclination to write things that can never be broadcast in public." I googled. I googled again. This contest was nowhere on the internets. Not NPR, not PRI, not KQED, not KQED's elderly disfigured cousin, KALW. Alas, the contest appeared to have disappeared. And yet, my story remained, dripping slightly. And so I present to you:

The Story NPR Would Never Read on the Radio Even If I Could Find Their Contest, Which I Cannot

They said the house was haunted. And it was. But it was also leased. It’s not like he was staying there illegally. Being on the right side of the law was very important to the tentacle monster. Rather, the retired tentacle monster. To clarify, he hadn’t retired his tentacles–there’s no way to rid yourself of your own ungainly, seeping limbs without taking yet more ungainly, seeping measures–but he was certainly finished lurking in deep-sea caves, crushing the hulls of schooners, and doing whatever he did at his last job, of which he rarely spoke.

“I was summering in Japan,” he’d say. He’d cough.
“Look, I thought we were making an art film. We all had tea after. The girls were very friendly. I still get Christmas cards.”
I picked at a scab on my wrist, avoiding several of his eyes.
“I didn’t plan on becoming the symbol for everything that’s weird about Japan,” he mumbled, curling a long semi-transparent tentacle around a die and tossing it in a perfect spinning arc. “Yahtzee.”

He never had visitors. I found him only after hearing a strange scratching emanating from the basement apartment. It came at odd hours, an unearthly echo. One night when the lights flickered out from a heavy rainstorm and the scratching filled my ears, I grabbed a dim flashlight and slowly walked down the steps. The door to the basement slid open, creaking, spilling out the dark within. I turned on my flashlight and there he was, a pile of overcooked pasta. The monster turned. “I was making an etching,” he said, showing me an exposed copper pipe. “It’s a schooner.” And nothing was ever the same again.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Werner Herzog reading Madeline > practically everything else I have experienced in life thus far

Moment when I realized that this was going to be amazing: They smiled at the good and frowned at the bad, but being children their concept of good and evil was not fully formed, and it would shock a grown person how much gray area existed along their moral compass. In truth, children are next door to sociopaths.

Discovered via Chateau Thrombeau, which is itself quite delightful.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Online dating Part II

"So have you met Mr. Right on here? Or just me hahaha"

Why would you inject your awkward nervous laugh into a WRITTEN CONVERSATION. Mother of god. These people.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Top 5 Parting Gifts Given Me by the Elderly

5. Empty cream-cheese container filled with sugar cookies.
4. Beige scarf, long sought, eventually located in plastic bag. Musty.
3. Small plastic sandwich bag of cooked noodles.
2. An exchange receipt good for $14.21 at McCaulous Department Store, which is apparently a place that exists.
1. Glass bottle, label scratched off, quarter full of herring.

A visual representation of numbers 5 and 4 and the joy they brought to my life:

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Joy Showers > Regular Showers

Unfamiliar? A joy shower consists of the following steps:

1. Get on boat.
2. Feel alive.
3. In addition, feel sticky.
4. Dive into the warm embrace of the sea.
5. Climb back on boat.
6. Lather entire body down with dish soap. Joy is the preferred brand, but any handy solvent will do.
7. Fall back into ocean to remove soap. Scrub thoroughly. Aquaint self with passing sea-life.
8. Back on the boat.
9. Grab handy water nozzle and quickly rinse off salt water.
10. Don't forget the crotch.
11. Lick arm to test for saltiness. Taste nothing but the sweet flavor of LIFE.

You may not actually be clean, no, but BY GOD you feel it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Efficiency in online dating

Thank you for your message, but due to the volume of applicants, I am unable to write you a deeply personal letter in response to your own. For your convenience in future dating endeavors, I have checked off the reasons why we will most likely not be getting a drink in the near future:

___ You're horribly disfigured.

___ You have made vaguely creepy comments about my body. I know. I'm tricksy. I include a picture with the boobs, but am then creeped out by your vocal appreciation of them. Oh, fickle woman!

___ Your sincerity and honest emotion, while sweet, are not really my thing. Honesty has no place in online dating.

___ I have an old-fashioned attitude toward body modification and your hair/tattoos/facial piercings/weird whatever cause me to judge you harshly. Oh, cruel societal norms!

___ You said that you're passionate or that you work hard and play hard or could go out on the town but are also happy to stay in to watch a movie or some other painful dating cliche I can't abide.

___ Your profile is a wonderland of typos and/or you don't know how to use commas and/or you don't spell out "you". For future reference, this makes you look stupid. Even if you're not. But you probably are.

___ You're a pescaterian/vegan/locovore/
whatever the kids are doing these days to prevent themselves from eating bacon.

___ You appear to be super political. While I'm not opposed to politics, you know, existing, people who consider themselves "political" tend to spit when they talk and make me tired.

___ You seem cool, but we're in a business of snap decisions here and, sadly, I'm just not thinking it's going to work. Sorry, dude.

___ Other:

Please keep in mind that this online dating thing is a cruel game of roulette based on random whims and miscommunication. You really do seem quite pleasant and I appreciate the fact that you made the effort to message me, but as the great Pat Benetar once sang as she aggressively danced with a troupe of quasi-hookers toward their quasi-pimp in order to break free of their gender roles and return to their suburban families who missed them and will never know they were maybe-hookers: love is a battlefield.

Best of luck!