February 13, 2005

February 2005 (Vol. 4, Issue 2)

1. Mirth by Tenzin McGrupp
In a sun drenched stroll through the blooming gardens, pondering the nearing fatality of an old man's life, I was amazed at the tame discourses I managed to bundle together, otherwise known as the Disease... More

2. Super Bowl by BG
She was so drunk/high off of the booze and meds that I would bet she wouldn’t and couldn’t possibly remember how weird she asked me to get. I actually feel just a little bit dirty just thinking about it... More

3. Felicitous Feces By Alexa
The first hints that something was wrong occurred shortly after I lowered my pants to sit on the toilet... More

4. Hindsight, My Friend by C. Anderson Guthrie
Between the lulls in my niece’s self-imposed humiliation-by-cake and her unintelligible baby talk, my thoughts drifted from my brother's house in the Sticks, to a small Fiat Punto on west coast of Ireland... More

5. Happy Birthday Gladys by Tenzin McGrupp
Justin thought of six ways he could kill himself before he made it home. He could break the window in the bathroom and jump 17 stories to his death onto Sixth Avenue, but he wasn't sure he could break the glass... More

What A Long Strange Trip Its Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

Welcome back to my literary blogzine. This issue features two new writers, Alexa and C. Anderson Guthrie. They share two amazing stories in one of my favorite issues in the last few months. I hope that they will be back with more soon. BG returns with a snarky commentary. And yours truly penned two stories, one I had been working on for several months and I whipped up the other inside of twenty minutes. Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site.

Thanks to everyone who shared their bloodwork this month. I always say that the other contributing authors inspire me, because it's true. You guys write for free and if I could pay you, I would. Your time and effort is worth more money than I can ever afford to pay.

I ask that if you like these stories, then please do me and the rest of the writers a huge favor. Tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along the URL. I certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Thanks again. I am grateful that you wasted your time with my site. Until next time.


"What is the most innocent place in any country? Is it not the insane asylum? These people drift through life truly innocent, unable to see into themselves at all. " - Arthur Miller


By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004-5

In a sun drenched stroll through the blooming gardens, pondering the nearing fatality of an old man's life, I was amazed at the tame discourses I managed to bundle together, otherwise known as the Disease. My work was a cancer that infected this brave new world, places that made nightwatchmen at cemeteries yawn at the first twinkle of sunlight. My thoughts have infected thousands and yet I sat slumped upon a stool, warmed up for decades before me with other cursed dreams and hands dipped in blood clutching glasses of scotch, poorly cleaned by unambitious bartenders with head nods instead of real answers.

I stood up showing her how tall I was, daring her to show her grace while she unknowingly spurred my natural senses. And she playfully whispered words and sounds that branded the heart. My pranks and her grace were not enough to make me fear a hallway full of stranded ghosts, wandering aimlessly from this world to the next with little wisdom and the recklessness of a 17-year old skipping algebra class to go smoke cheap weed behind the supermarket.

Mesmerized by her entrance, and sensibly in grief, a weepy Ophelia showered the stage with flowers.
"Rosemary for remembrances...
Pansies for thoughts...
and Herb of Grace of Sundays."
My thoughts had arrived at withered ends. No more to contemplate. Wretched farewells were not my way of expressing good fortune to my departing friends. At your age, love humbles judgments. To live under the wet blanket of a distasteful family, one is unable to forget. Visitations during holidays bewilder and anger me. Fighting souls and dysfunctional alcoholics doomily look upon each other, incestuously glancing into mirrors from time to time, and checking their pulses to insure the madness will not continue.

"Repent what is past," is what Hamlet uttered to his hysterical Mother before he disappeared into the misty night. Will the heavens welcome me into their open arms when it's my time to be judged? Will all my sins add up to an afterlife of banality and powerless remote controls? A beast no more? Anyone with Godlike reason and spited scruples could honor my struggles, but condemn the remainder of my means and strength and will, all of which have been obliterated by gross examples of my misfortune. My vows are unanswerable. My slanderous words have been misinterpreted and thrust out into the airwaves, hijacked without mercy by fanatical snail-eating zealots.

Why is it that the clouds hang over me for eternity it seems? Is that the quintessence of my nobility? I am not alone in standing at the mouth of a river, watching a mourning widow overwhelmed with sorrow and unmanly grief, my fortified heart shielded by her angelic apprehension? Sharing in her misery, the calamity looked us all in the eye. Those were moments when I found myself lost, my thoughts and weary emotions carelessly side-stepped through an unweeded garden, where pricks of razor sharp thorns splattered trails onto my raw flesh, and the frailty of my defenses were exposed with the perfect droppings of my foul blood as my destiny cried out to me.

"My time is almost gone. I must render up the last serious statement I can utter," the spirit of my forefathers confided in me, although I was forbidden to share our conversation with anyone, it stuck with me like two spears from the hands of a revengeful warrior. My humbled philosophy crumbled at the core of our bustling society, trampled underfoot, like a piece of scrap paper stuck to the newly shined shoe of a Lower Manhattan businessman.

The beautified movements of her walk allowed butterflies to flutter inside my intestines. The long strides and the galloping bounce of her soothing hair lulled me out of the danger of inert fear when she walked in the magnificent sun in between high rise apartment buildings, where doormen with reserved voices wore pristine white gloves and starched pea-green uniforms and flashed false smiles. Drunk on her scent and intoxicated by the early morning air, I visited her face too roughly. She snickered and scratched my arm. Normally, I was opposed to the deceptive frailty of thy woman and I would hold my breath with the same stubbornness that I hold my silence.

My actions lent significant burden to my mad outlook. True madness? Not anger, but a honest wave of pity and insanity fueled me and I wondered what was the cause of my defect. My inner emotions, often clouded by morality and civility, were sometimes the substance that thrust me towards perfection and nirvana. My lunacy was my demise. My crafty madness was the key to opening the dozens of locked doors ahead of me.

I used to sleep late on rainy afternoons, where the swift winds whipped raindrops onto the slick windows through which I observed the world before me. My prison, my window. My world, my mind. All worlds are prisons, all minds are behind bars, and my soul sits on a damp prison floor, with narrow walls and infinite time to allow my bad dreams to haunt me. My conceit burnt my fingers. My motives dried up friendships. My wistful passion opposed many a man, without riches and wickless candles, those false entities dressed like middle class soldiers.

Yet I spilled out my thoughts on her gaudy apparel to anyone within earshot. Her aloof kiss distracted my melancholy for several months, while I wrapped up all of her wicked presents and hid them underneath my dirty socks. Her long letters on purple stationary were not enough to end the heartache, although her truthful and affectionate words tickled me with memories of touching moments. Alas, in due time I abused the beauty of our orchard, the one that we grew together and had watched flourish high up on a hill before I shuffled off into the dusk of another out of joint evening, returning eons later, like a prodigal son, nearly extinct to everyone but her, who silently prayed for me, the coward, out of respect.

It was noble to suffer as a youngster, now it grinds my head to the pavement. My dignity no longer matters to me, and I have let those moments slip away like a fading tourist attraction that no traveler returns to ever again. She spoke to me without a tongue, and I answered her without moving my lips or blinking my eyes. My enterprises were poisoned and the thick hue of my aura made little children fall asleep at first sight. My unhatched habits, once years away from forming into monkeys on my back, slowly sprouted among the urine of the fish mongers. My sins have cloned themselves and I see reminders everywhere.

The beauty of the world cannot make me answer questions about the Disease... about the resolution about the pleasing shape that it forms for some, and the dreadful messages it stirs up for others. All I wanted to do was to catch a fleeting glimpse at the conscience of our King, and somehow, someway, my message made her turn her head and leave with the breaths of Hell pulling her away from me.

"What a piece of work," I muttered rubbing the anguish out of my eyes.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

Super Bowl

By BG © 2005

So Super Bowl Weekend is coming up, and since my Lions have never made the big game, I don’t have many memories at all that center around the big day.

Except one.

A few years ago, before the ex and I were married, we went out to her uncle’s ritzy apartment building where they always threw a lavishly catered private party in the residents-and-guests only bar. Not only did I end up winning something like $200 on my squares, but the ex got hammered, twisted her ankle badly, threw a whole bunch of Vicodin on top of the Jack Daniels, and then basically goaded me into this bizarre role playing scenario when we got home. Had we videotaped it, the only shop that would have carried the footage would have been the one Nic Cage visited in 8MM. She was so drunk/high off of the booze and meds that I would bet she wouldn’t and couldn’t possibly remember how weird she asked me to get. I actually feel just a little bit dirty just thinking about it. I think I was about half a step away from putting on a codpiece, a bowler hat, and calling a few of my droogs over to help me out.

You know I only bring that up because I’m fairly certain she stops by here periodically. She’s knocked up again (which is more fun to say about your ex-wife than “she’s pregnant with her third child from her husband of a few years”), so if she reads the above, I’m sure she’ll be annoyed or wistful. I’m not sure which. It’s not like sleeping with me has ever left anyone feeling “wistful” in the end, so I’m going to figure on the former.

“Annoyed,” yes.

“Bored,” sure.

“Unfulfilled,” absolutely.

“Wistful?” Probably not.

By the way, ex-wife of mine, please do stay out of the comments widget. “Plausible deniability” is what I’m able to use to put the blinders on and pretend like you’re not actually stopping by. I’m really not that dumb though.

I only play dumb on TV.

BG is a writer from a small hamlet in Western Michigan. Visit his blog: Random Thoughts and Thoroughbred Selections.

Felicitous Feces

By Alexa © 2005

Rainer and I met at a small neighborhood bistro on the Upper West Side. We planned to eat a late lunch and then retire to his apartment for a couple hours. Although I live only a few blocks from the bistro, negotiating the remaining mounds of snow in the West 70's still presented serious challenges for my Manolo's.

So why the hell did I wear Manolo's after this weekend's blizzard? Let's just say that Rainer is a real stickler for appearances - he's an old-school European in that way. Anyway, I figured that I could handle a couple of blocks in heels because the city had already cleared most of the snow. I'm just happy that he was OK with me wearing pants. Venturing into the cold in the mini-skirts that he usually prefers would've been no fun, even with a heavy overcoat.

I wondered what Manolo would think of me walking in the Manolo's in the snow?

While waiting for our appetizers to arrive, I asked to be excused so that I could pee. Before granting permission, Rainer asked me in a hushed tone whether I had panties on. Of course, I didn't. Rainer liked to fantasize about my pussy getting wet without any panties.

After I told him "No," Rainer's mouth formed the slightest of smiles. He nodded his head and said in his light German accent, "You may go then."

The first hints that something was wrong occurred shortly after I lowered my pants to sit on the toilet.

A loud fart exploded out of the adjacent stall and startled me. In my hurry to enter my stall, I hadn't realized that someone was in the next stall. A series of squeakers followed along with several plops, gloops and even grunts. Soon, fingers of noxious fumes crept through the various cracks between our stalls. Surrounding me with the stench of rotten eggs, they began to choke me - or at least it felt that way because I could no longer breathe through my nose any longer.

I hurriedly finished my business, wiped myself with a fold of toilet paper, washed my hands and fled back to the bistro's main dining area.

Curious about the person who had made such an uncouth ruckus at the toilet, I kept glancing at the restroom door after I sat down. Rainer was peeved that I was a bit distracted and he didn't understand why. But I couldn't help it. I just had to know; and unfortunately, the humor of the situation would've been wasted on my stern German companion.

Several minutes later, a petite, elegant and older Asian lady walked out. She blew me away - literally and figuratively. She's the last type of woman I'd expect to engage in such un-ladylike behavior!

Now don't get me wrong. Although I'm self-conscious about pooping around others and am a toilet farter, I know that we all poop - my shit stinks just as bad as everyone else's. When you gotta go, you gotta go. But if you gotta go when others are around, please make liberal use of the courtesy flush, especially if you're on a toilet that doesn't need to refill between flushes. Courtesy flushes are essential to minimizing the nasty odors. And, for the love of god, refrain from those ungodly grunts!

Rainer and I ended up finishing our lunch and enjoyed several hours of playtime. As a professional, I couldn't let thoughts of the bathroom showdown interfere any more with satisfying my client.

Alexa is an escort from New York City. Visit her blog: A New York Escorts Confessions.

Hindsight, My Friend

by C. Anderson Guthrie © 2005

Two years ago yesterday I was in Dublin, waiting on the girl that would, according to her, "unintentionally" break my heart. I'm still convinced she'd had it planned. I was also waiting on certain bodily functions to catch up to the rest of my body, and to this day, I'm still not sure which pain was worse--the broken heart, or the not pooping. I'm guessing it was the former, but with someone like me, it's tough to tell.

One year ago yesterday, my brother and his wife gave birth to my niece. Not that my brother did much of the work involved, but it sounds better than "He came, she grunted out a child". Sometimes I have a little tact. Just a little.

Now, a year later, I no longer call her "their daughter," she is "my niece."

What do these things have in common? Almost nothing. And no, what they do share is not what you're probably thinking. You people are disgusting; you know that, right? I may have done some things that are considered immoral by many, or just downright nasty by most, but I can say that without any reservation, that I've never crossed over that brother-brother line. A friend's ex? By all means. Ex's sister? Serve 'er up with syrup! But I've never crossed the brother threshold.

Saturday, I attended my niece's 1st birthday party. "Party" would be a bit much, I suppose. It was more of a gathering to watch her discover that cakes tastes better being passed through the mouth, rather than up the nose. But up the nose is funnier.

A party it was not. Come on, the baby didn't even realize that people were laughing at her, not with her. And she definitely didn't understand how to unwrap a present. She was more interested in little pieces of carpet fuzz than what awaited her beneath the brightly colored wrapping paper. It was blocks, in case you're wondering. I let her in on a secret that blocks taste better and make you vomit less, and she seemed pleased to learn this. Either that, or she'd chosen that moment to explode in her Huggies. The expressions are eerily similar.

Between the lulls in my niece’s self-imposed humiliation-by-cake and her unintelligible baby talk, my thoughts drifted from my brother's house in the Sticks, to a small Fiat Punto on west coast of Ireland.

I scanned the living room, starting with my brother, shifting to his wife, and on to my niece. Brother, wife, my niece. Brother, wife, my niece. Three times, I did this. And then, BAM!, back to the car being parked in Donegal town. There have been plenty times in the last two years that I’ve thought about that trip, probably far too much to be anything other than self-defeating. Never, though, had I looked at it the way I did this Saturday.

I've always held firm on my stance that I never want to have children, mostly for selfish reasons. But, if Emily and I had worked out-which, is of course the little bit of Optimist that hasn't been beaten out of my brain by the Pessimist-that's exactly what I'd be dealing with today: kids.

I've always said that having kids, for me, would be a scary ordeal. One that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. My friends, maybe, but that's only because they deserve it. It's not to say that I want kids right now, or that I'm ready to settle down and find an acceptable uterus that will pop a litter of 13 or 14 tiny-handed, non-back-talking little slaves. No, it's just that sort of thing never scared me when Emily was around.

"If I ever wanted to have a child, what would you say if I asked you to be the father?" she asked.

"Would I have to change diapers, or deal with ball-rash?" I replied, part joking, mostly not. I didn't want to deal with either.

"Not if you didn't want to," she said with an unwavering voice.

"Great, where do I sign up?"

Not that I think we were supposed to end up together, whatever that means. Or that I'm all grown up, because the minute I think that, take me out back and put bullet in my skull. Or get me unbelievably drunk, just something to make me forget that I said it. This I beg of you. The last thing I need right now is a baby. Well, that and a drippy penis. Either would be equally horrific.

So, the last few years could've been a complete 180 from where I currently stand. I could be married with a child, and another on the way. This doesn't even make me flinch, or feel uneasy in the slightest. It would've been fine, for awhile.

We would've been great for a few years, but I always held on to my belief that, no matter what happened, we'd get divorced. Don't ask me how I came to this conclusion, I just did. Perhaps it just comes with knowing someone that well. Regardless of that, this question always surfaces:

"If I could alter time, would I go back and do things differently so that we could end up together?"

Even with the unavoidable divorce thrown out of the recipe, my answer is a most defiant "NO!"

Why do I think this way now? Hindsight, my friend, hindsight.

The last two years of my life would've never happened, and that's not something I'm not readily about to release from my gnarled fingers. I never would've met some of the key people that have been, or possibly will be important in my life.

I wouldn't have spent a glorious week in Puerto Vallarta, drinking good beer and having sex in the shower. Or for that matter, I never would've spent a weekend in Key West, drinking bad beer and having sex in the shower. I may have been passed out in the Key West shower with the cold water hitting me in the face, but in my mind, I was having sex. I love my mind sometimes.

In fact, I never would've met Crystal at all, and though we aren't speaking at the moment-I'm not entirely sure why-I still cherish the time we spent together. Time that would've never happened if I'd continued to be another one of Emily's lemmings.

And I know I was. I was a fucking lemming. Anyone on the outside could see that, but I didn't want to. As much as I would've liked to be with her, I am happy with where I've come from and ultimately where I'm going. I may not seem that way all the time, but I am.

I still don't know what I'd do if she finally understood how unbelievably good I was to her-which, for once, I was-and decided to come back to me, or if I saw her walking down the street. I honestly don't. Part of me would like to punch her the face, an another, softer part of me would love to give her a good hate-fucking, but who says I have to choose? Both would give me that warm, fuzzy feeling that I very much crave right now.

Sitting there, on my brother's couch, I finally understood why people have children. And for once, I felt a tinge of jealousy towards him and the family he has helped create.

Just as I came to terms with all this, my brother handed me my smiling niece, and that feeling of jealousy was swept away as she swatted my head with her fat, cake-covered palms, and promptly threw up on my shoulder.

God, I fucking hate kids.

C. Anderson Guthrie is a writer and poker player from Minnesota. You can visit his poker blog: Pokerama-rama.

Happy Birthday Gladys

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2005

Justin sat in his cubicle and stared at the ceiling. He had a headache and tried to count to ten while taking deep breaths in between. He read about doing that in an article on "Relieving workplace stress and tension." It didn't help.

He slumped in his chair and stared at the mountain of paperwork on his desk and sighed. It was only 9:17AM on a Monday and he had at least 40 to 45 more hours of a slow, hellacious week of work awaiting him. He ignored his ringing phone and let the voicemail pick up. He rubbed his temples and smashed his fists on his desk when he overheard Gladys two cubicles down complaining about the fire on the subway that screwed up all the C trains. She complained about everything. The weather. The brand of toilet paper in the women's rest room. The last episode of The Apprentice. The long line at Starbucks. If she were good looking, Justin would have put up with her nonsense, but she wasn't. She was far from average, with hair that looked like it belonged on Brett Michaels twenty years ago, and a wandering eye that freaked out small children. The worst part was that she talked in an annoying Queens accent. Justin desperately wanted to silence her with one of those ball-gags you would find in an S&M catalogue. He felt sorry for her husband and kids. She needed a mute button.

Justin thought of six ways he could kill himself before he made it home. He could break the window in the bathroom and jump 17 stories to his death onto Sixth Avenue, but he wasn't sure he could break the glass.

He could step in front of a bus racing down Fifth Avenue. That would be tough, trying to jockey for position with other pedestrians on a corner crowded with too many people and an ugly mound of grey snow.

He could always wander down to the subway and step off in front of the next Brooklyn-bound D train that zipped through the station. That was painless but he felt bad about all the people on the train who would be delayed.

He could always walk up to the biggest black guy he found and yelled, "I heard Star Jones fucked you in the ass with a cucumber." The downside was he would probably be tortured for hours instead of killed instantly.

The fifth way was to find the closest bar, drink until he was completely obliterated and couldn't see straight, stumble outside and pass out in Central Park on a bench without a coat. He would freeze to death for sure. All of those were good ideas but he always relied on his favorite way to kill himself. Sometimes he even got an erection thinking about it.

Justin inhaled a deep breath and took out a small handgun from a brown paper bag that sat on his desk. He walked over to Gladys' cubicle. She was talking to Juanita from accounting.

"Have I told you, I can't stand Paris Hilton?" she shrieked.

Justin interrupted. "Gladys, I've been meaning to do this for sometime now."

She saw him slowly place the gun to his forehead. Paralyzed with shock, Juanita froze. She wanted to run.

"I used to say, 'Every time Gladys speaks, I want to shoot myself.' Did you know that?" Justin said calmly as he looked Gladys directly in her bad eye.

Justin glanced at the screensaver on Gladys' computer. It was a picture of her daughter's fifth birthday party. The little girl in a pink pigtails was blowing out the candles on her cake. Justin inhaled another deep breath and began singing Happy Birthday to himself. Before he could get to the third line, he pulled the trigger.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.