Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Single Light

A single light.  In a string of fifteen thousand fucking lights, it only takes one to put the whole string out of commission.  Of course, they don't make strings of fifteen thousand, but if they did it would only take one burning out and the entire God Damned thing would go black.  But it wasn't fifteen thousand black that Christmas eve, it was just two-hundred and fifty.  Two hundred and fifty lights just gone out at eleven fifty-five on Christmas eve - the middle string - the ones that draped over the eves in front of the door.
    "Honey," Eileen said, "honey it's very important to the kids that all the lights are up."
    I looked through the window at the small patch of darkness and watched snowflakes slowly dance their way to the ground.  It wasn't like I cared.  Why should I?  We had plenty of lights on the house.  We had plenty of presents inside the house.  We had plenty of everything and Eileen could never see that it was because of me.  I had bought it.  I had worked for it.  I had built it all.  But she would never admit that.
    "Eileen, Sugar, it's one string, okay?  I'll take them all down after the holidays, and next year when I take them out I just won't put up that string.  Simple.  I'm really not interested in going out in freezing weather to fix one damned burned out light bulb."
    "They're LED."
    "They're LED lights," she explained, "they're expensive.  We're not throwing away a whole string just because you're lazy."
    "So now I'm lazy?"  I sighed.  "Fine, I'm lazy.  But I'm still not going out on that ladder and trying to fix one bulb in two hundred and fifty.  I spent the last six hours building the doll house for Samantha.  I'm not going out in that."  I waved an open palm at the window.  Eileen looked at me.
    The ladder was cold and so was I.  Let me rephrase that:  The ladder was colder than I was, so it wouldn't give me back my hand after I placed it under the eve.  I pulled on it - even though I knew better - and ripped a small patch off my hand as the skin gave way before the frost.
    "Stupid," I muttered.
    "What was that?"  Eileen asked.  She had her hands wrapped around a mug of hot cocoa, steam billowing up from it, her body covered in fur.
    "I said this is stupid," I told her.  "It's utterly, and completely, ridiculous."  I stormed up the ladder.  "If you think the kids are going to notice that one batch of lights is out, tomorrow, when they've got a damned mortgage payment's worth of gifts, you're nuttier than your mother's fruit cake."
    "I don't think there's any reason to bring my mother into this."
    "I think there's every reason to bring your mother into this."
    "Oh, yeah."  I yanked a bulb out and looked through it.  Seemed fine so I put it back.  "Because you're her.  You've become her."
    I looked over my shoulder and caught a flash of her eyes and saw her suck her cheeks in against her gums, which two years ago would have meant I had hit a cord and we wouldn't be sleeping together.  That night it just meant we were back into our old groove of not sleeping together.
    "Just like her."
    "And you're just like your father," she told me.
    "I thought you liked my old man."
    "I pretended to."  She dug a furry toe into the powder covering the grass.  "For you."
    "Well."  I plucked another tiny piece of glass and peered through it.  I didn't know what I was looking for, but I was hoping I'd know when I found it.  "Luckily we don't have to pretend any more."
    "This entire night has been pretend."  She straightened her spine, her eyes flashing silver in the light.  "We pretended we loved each other."
    "And the Oscar Nomination goes to..."
    "You're not fucking funny."
    "I used to be."
    "I pretended you were..."
    "A lot of pretending, Eileen."
    "Would you just fix the stupid light so I can go inside!  It's cold as anything out here."
    "So go in."  
    "Not with you on that ladder," she scolded me.  Kicked more snow.  "If you fell no one would know til morning."
    "What do you care?"
    Her mouth opened and closed a few times, and she stared at me.  I felt so small that she could have squashed me with her tiny rubber sole.
    "I just care, okay?"
    "Okay, fine."  I yanked a new bulb and studied it intently.  Clear as anything.  Put it back.  "I'm just wondering.  You've got a life insurance policy on me, right?"
    "You're such a piece of shit, you know that?"
    "You've told me before."
    "And I meant it."
    "I believe you."  I sighed away from her, into the darkness.  I glanced back and saw her standing there, the cocoa cold now, no steam.  Her hands were still wrapped around it for warmth, but none was provided by the mug .  My hands were frozen stiff and the spot without flesh was sore and pulsing as I moved from light to light.  But, still, she looked great.  I couldn't put my finger on why, but she reminded me of the first Christmas we spent together.
    We were just out of college, and she and I had rented a house at a ski resort because she wanted to have a white Christmas.   We had laid in bed for hours, watching the snow slowly flutter its way to the ground, playing in the breeze and kissing each individual flake as they made their way together towards earth.  We had gone outside to eat the small crystalline drops, and then we had thrown snow balls at each other and I had chased her down, kissed her, and we had made Samantha, our oldest.
    I checked another light - I was almost ten percent through the string - and looked at her again.  Long ago I had decided this marriage was over.  I hadn't decided it as much as it had been beaten into me.  
    I was told: "face the facts, man, your marriage is over."  "Look, this is as an outside observer, as your friend.  You have to move on."  "It's already a foregone conclusion, the only question is: who pulls the plug, and when."  All good advice, I guess.
    But up on that ladder I felt the familiar pang in my stomach at the thought of losing her.  It wasn't her fault.  It wasn't really mine.  It was a cycle we had drifted in to.  The cycle where every single time I wanted to say I was sorry, she wanted to fight, and by the time she came around to talk, I didn't have anything left to say.  
    That old, recycled cycle.
    I checked the next light and saw a tiny fleck of soot inside it.  I shook it a minute, and looked again.  One small burn mark, just above the base.
    "Found it."  I flicked it at her and fished in my pocket for the spare.  Found it.  Plugged it in.  Instantly the string came to life.  "See, no big deal."
    "That wasn't nice."
    "Throwing the light at me."
    "Oh, come on, it was a joke."
    "You're not funny," she said again.
    I turned away from her and sighed again.  My breath flowed out gray in the cold.
    "Jesus Christ, Eli, what do you want from me?"  I turned back to her as I asked and I caught a flash of white before snow slapped hard against my cheek and I lost my balance.  Crashed to the pavement and felt my bones rattle as my muscle softened the blow.
    "Holy shit!"  Eileen burst.  "Are you okay?"
    I stayed limp until I felt her body close to mine, then snapped forward and grabbed her arms.  Saw the look of abject terror on her face as I tossed her into the snow bank to my right.  Then I hopped up and started piling snow onto her head.
    She burst from the bank in a flurry of powder and flailing limbs, and I turned as fast as I could and jetted back into the house.  She followed me with a snow ball in each hand.
    "You're not funny!"  She lobbed one at my head but it was far right and it splattered against the wall.
    "Yes I am."  I cut around the couch and watched her.  "I'm the funniest man you ever met.  Remember?  You love me so much because I always know how to make you laugh."
    "That was six years ago."  She arched her arm for another rocket, but held it.  "Now you're just a pain in my ass that I can't get rid of without losing my house and half my time with the kids."
    My stomach knotted and my eyes flushed with water.  I let my eyes bore into hers.
    "So that's how it is," I croaked.
    "Sorry, babe," she didn't look sorry, "but that's how it is."
    I rocked back against the wall and stared at her.  The snow was melting in her hand and small droplets of liquid were falling down to the carpet.  I couldn't believe I had let it get this far.  I couldn't believe she was really that done with me.  
    I took my ring off.  Crossed around the couch and set it lightly on the coffee table.
    "Then we'll file the paperwork on Monday," I told her.  "I'm sick of making you miserable.  I'm sick of being miserable.  I'm sick of fighting with someone I used to love so fucking much."
    I left her there, holding what was left of the projectile, and went upstairs.  
    The shower water was hot and it turned my skin red as the blood my broken heart still pumped.  The bare part of my hand burned as the water cleansed it.  I couldn't be sure but I thought I tasted something salty as the water swept over my eyes and ran down to my mouth.  
    Eileen wasn't my first love, but she had always been my love.  I don't believe in love at first sight, but I believe in love, and I love Eileen.  I always have, and I always would.  The truth that hit me so hard as I let the scalding mix of hydrogen and oxygen flow over my body was that I was being totally consumed with fear.
    I wasn't afraid of a divorce.  I wasn't afraid of the legal fight.  I knew Eli wouldn't take me apart too bad.  And I wanted her to have the house, we could split the time with the kids, and I would take care of her, money was never a problem.
    I was afraid of losing her.
    As I stood there, tears washing away under the flow of the shower-head, I realized that any life with her was better than a life without her.  Even if it meant fighting every single night.  Even if it meant I was miserable for the rest of eternity, I would always be happier with her than I would be alone.
    I got out of the shower and toweled off.  Dragged my palm across the mirror to clear the dew and looked at the reflection.  I wasn't impressed.  The man looking back at me was broken.  Not even a man.
    I left the bathroom and stopped halfway past the threshold.  
    "I'm not ready for this to be over," Eileen said.  She stood in the middle of the room, mascara tracking down her face in odd angles, twisting my ring between her long, thin fingers.  "Can we talk?"
    "No snow balls?" I asked, regretted it.  She was trembling, and so was I.
    "No snow balls."
    "Sure, let's talk."
    "I mean really talk."  I watched a drop of fluid fall from her eyes and drizzle down her cheek.  It hung on her chin for a moment, before dropping to the carpet.
    I crossed the room and took my ring out her hand.  Brought it over to the dresser - where my coat was laid over the top - and fished out a fresh bulb from the pocket.  I held it up to her.
    "It only takes one," I told her, "to light it all up again."  I smiled at her, and winked.
    "You're still not funny."  Her voice broke as she spoke.
    "I know," I said, "I'll work on it.  Promise."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Death of Christmas - By Bill Pryst

Christmas Reed drew hard on his cigar and spit a bit of tobacco juice, letting it dribble down his chin and hang there, gelatinous, before wiping it off with his sleeve.  The stubble made tearing noises as it was dragged over the rough canvas.
    "Got damned injuns," he swore, "if I could I'd kill e'ery one of em."
    "Well, you can't," Kid Krinard reminded him.  Kid was about sixty, with a bulbous stomach and a back that had to be set every time he lifted something heavier than his rifle.  But he was a sure shot with his Winchester and that was good enough for Christmas.  "We ain't here ta worry bout no damned injuns, neither, we're here to do a job.  Now let's do it."
    "Who made you king of this here operation?" Christmas asked.  He was short as an elf and named accordingly, but he was the meanest, most sadistic killer the Arizona Territory had ever seen.  And he was so fast with his peacemakers his victims were full of lead before they heard the leather on his holster move.  "I know what we came for, and I know what we're gonna do."
    "All right, Christmas, didn't mean no harm."
    Before them the town BitterBrew unfurled like a bad case of the Shivs.  Indians and freed slaves and whores and gamblers and cut throats, all vying for their piece of the vice.  It was the kinda place Christmas would love to get lost for a few days, but he knew he couldn't.  Within the hour there'd be a man dead, and he was going to kill him, and even in BitterBrew there was laws against killing a man without due cause.  Laws that said two hundred dollars wasn't good enough cause, neither.
    He looked up at the Kid, and winced.  He was gonna enjoy putting a bullet in the old bastard's head.  Enjoy it something fierce.  Specially since he knew the man was waiting for his chance to end Christmas, and keep the whole bounty.
    "Let's get this over with."  Christmas spit some more bile into the dusty, rock strewn street and started the long walk to the saloon.  A tumble weed the size of an oxen rolled slowly across the path.  Eye's watched the pair as they closed the gap, and then calmly pressed through the double-hinged doors and entered the saloon.
    The place was packed to the rafters with blacks, whites and reds, men, boys, women and more men.  A feral dog scampered about, stealing men's half-turned mule meat as they hit on big busted women who slipped their hands through their pockets looking for loose change.
    Christmas sauntered up to the bar, climbed a few feet until he reached the top of the stool, and dropped a silver on the counter.
    "Whiskey," he said.
    "Mister, that'll buy you a whole lotta whiskey."
    "Keep it, I'm lookin for someone."
    "Who's that?"
    "Man called 'the Sandman.'"
    "An who should I tell him's lookin'?"
    Silence enveloped the saloon like a weight.  The talking stopped.  The laughing stopped.  A Mexican stopped drinking half through his shot.  The dog took the opportunity to scram with a half a chicken in his jowls, ducking under the doors and leaving a rooster tail of dust as he made his escape.  The only sounds were from Krinard's Winchester as he jacked in a shell, and movement from the second story, just above the men's heads.
    "Mister Christmas..."
    "Just Christmas."
    "Christmas, sir, I don't want no trouble."
    "You ain't got no trouble, Sandman does.  If I was here for you, you'da known it when I put a bullet between your eyes.  Now," he leaned forward, "where's the Sandman?"
    "He's upstairs," the barkeep caught on his words, "upstairs with one of the ladies, but..."
    "Good," Christmas cut him off, "then I have time for that whiskey."
    "Let's get this done now," Krinard said from behind him.  "We ain't got all day."
    Christmas spun around, now able to look him in the eye.  "I may be goin to hell, Kid, but I'm not so low as to keep a man from enjoying his last taste of a woman before I plug him.  Now sit down an have a drink with me.  We'll get to killin jus' as soon as I say."
    "You're the man, Christmas," Krinard grumbled.
    "I know."
    The bartender brought over two glasses, cleaned them with his towel, and poured the whiskey.  He slid the silver back to his guest.
    "On the house, Christmas, sir."
    "Keep it," Christmas said again, "for the damages."
    The barkeep tucked the silver into his pocket and disappeared.  Christmas tossed back the shot and lit his cigar.  Behind him the patrons had either shuffled out, or gone back to drinking.  
    "How long do we give him?" Krinard fussed.  "I wanna get outta here and get my money."
    "You'll get your money.  Let's give him a minute.  Some men take longer than a few seconds, you know?"
    "I hear there's somebody lookin' for me," a voice came from behind them.  
    Krinard snapped around, his rifle held ready.  Christmas calmly leaned over and took the Kid's full glass of whiskey.  Downed it.  Then turned and looked at the speaker.
    The Sandman was young, younger than Christmas imagined a man who'd killed twenty could possibly be.  He might be thirteen.  Maybe sixteen.  Maybe five.  But he was built alright, standing a good five eleven with long, thin appendages that come from growing too fast, too soon.  He was wearing his gun belt like he knew how to move.
    "Yeah," Christmas said slowly, "I'm lookin and I guess I found ya, Sandman."
    "Too bad for you," he said, "you'da lived a lot longer, you hadn't."
    "Wanna do this here?" Christmas asked.  "Or outside?"
    "Up to you," Sandman told him, "you wanna die in the shade?"
    The crack of gunfire came from Christmas's right and Krinard fell in a spray of blood, his rifle dropping to the floor with a thud.  Christmas was off the stool in a flash, his peacemaker already in hand and firing.  
    His first two shots went wide left but not by much, and the third caught the Sandman in the shoulder.  But he had his piece out, too, and put a hole in Christmas' thigh as the little man backed out of the saloon, firing.
    He tripped down the stairs and landed on his ass in the dirt.  The peacemaker went back into the holster and the left one came out.  He scuttled backward and scanned the windows of the saloon, but saw nothing.  
    He was in trouble, and he knew it.  Two against one were bad odds.  He had counted on that when he brought Krinard.  But it was obvious to him now that the Sandman had another gun with him, and Christmas was down his extra hand.  
    A bullet struck dirt beside him and he rolled and saw the Sandman standing in the middle of the street to the west.  Before he had a chance to fire, a bullet cut through his shoulder and he spun to find the Sandman standing in the middle of the street to the east.
    "What?"  Another bullet caught him in the opposite shoulder, and he spun again, and again the Sandman was to the west, but the man in the east hadn't moved.  "How?"
    "They call us the Sandman," one explained, "because we put so many people to sleep.  But they call us that, too, cuz the Sandman can be everywhere at once, and so can we."
    The Sandman walked calmly up to five paces away from Christmas and smiled.  He raised his pistol.  "But it ain't easy being the Sandman."  
    The gun bucked and spit fire and the Sandman to the east buckled under the weight of a bullet tearing into his shoulder.  
    "Sometimes," he wheezed, "it takes sacrifices."
    The western Sandman adjusted his aim, and pointed the long barrel at Christmas.  "Merry Christmas, midget," he said.  Fired.  
    The blast knocked Christmas' head back as the bullet tore through his brains and burst from the back.  He collapsed to the ground, blood pouring from his wounds and mixing with the dry soil.
    "You know," the Sandman said, "eventually word'll get out."
    "Bout Christmas?" the Sandman asked.
    "No," he told his twin, "bout the fact that there's two of us."
    He lit a smoke, and smiled, again.  "By then, we'll have killed so many they'll stop coming."
    His mirror image frowned.  "They'll never stop coming.  No matter how many we kill."  
    "Well then, we never have to worry bout gettin bored, do we?"  The Sandman turned and started towards the saloon.
    "How's the girl?" his brother asked.  "She's awful purdy."
    "You wanna have a go at her?"
    "Hell yes," he patted him on the back, "if you don't mind it."
    "Nah, she won't know the difference."
    "Oh yes she will.  When you was in San Antonio, I went and got myself circumcised..."

Friday, December 9, 2011


Stay tuned for Christmas stories from Bill Pryst and Damien Wright.  We just have to get our facebook page in order (i.e. to fucking work... piece of shit... only works when it wants to) and then we'll have a short a week for your enjoyment.
Merry Pagan Holiday Turned Jesus Day
The Brothers Finn

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sneak Peak: The Contagion By Damien Wright


 “TAX EVASION?  You’re holding a seventeen year old kid on tax evasion?”
    Chad Turner leaned against the hard wall of the FBI field office and watched his contact closely.  Chad was long and lean, dark and smooth, and not in any mood to deal with the fucking NSA.  The agent, his current contact in the Administration, was tall and thick and looked like he was constipated.  Chad assumed he was: too much HGH would do that to you.
    “Is that even legal?”
    “Of course it is,” the agent answered.  “We found a hundred and fifty thousand dollars… among other things, in a safety deposit box under his name.  We can put him away for at least a year for that, plus a few more for possession with intent.  And that’s if we can’t put together any other charges.  It’s all in the folder.”
    “I didn’t realize the NSA was interested in people’s taxes.”  Chad kicked himself off the wall and snatched up the folder, let it fall open in his hands and glanced inside.  “That kind of changes my opinion on the urgency of paying them.”
    Chad flipped through the pages.  He had seen them all before.  At seventeen, Toby Smith, AKA ToBiN, was already a career criminal.  He was a good criminal, by Turner’s estimation, but obviously not smart enough.  He had gotten caught.
    “How’d you get into the box?”
    “Well, we contacted DHS with his name.  They checked it out and then kicked it over to the IRS.  They looked into the family’s financials, which were all fucked up, so they got a warrant to look into the Mustang….”
    Chad was already getting bored.  The only thing worse than doing business with the NSA was having to actually meet with them face to face.  No Show Assholes, every one of them.  They’d sit behind their computers, or work out or whatever they did to look like tree trunks, and then swoop in and take the glory after Chad saved the day.  He had a worse title for the FBI, though.
    “Which was Toby’s,” he cut the agent off.
    “Right, but bought for cash and in his dad’s name.  But, naturally, when they checked the signature….”
    “The dad’s didn’t match?”
    “No, so they were able to get a warrant to check Toby’s financials and they found the box.  They opened it in accordance with the warrant and found about twenty thousand worth of Oxycontins, ten thousand worth of cocaine, another twenty in bootlegged games and such, and a hundred-fifty grand in cash.”
    “Why not hit him for the drugs?”
    “We are not,” the agent said gravely, “giving this to the DEA.”
    “Okay,” Chad sighed, “but they didn’t give it to Cyber-Crimes either?”
    “He’s listed as a national security threat.  DHS would have the lead if he wasn’t a hacker.  So….”
    “He’s not a hacker,” Chad corrected, “he’s a code monkey.  Get on with it.”
    “Well,” the life-sized GI Joe figurine shrugged, “we can push the tax trial for a year or so, ask for no bail because of the circumstances, keep him out of sunlight until we find what’s on his computer.  He’s known as ‘ToBiN’ online.  He’s well known for….”
    “I know what he does,” Chad cut in again.  He knew everything there was to know about Toby Smith, that was his job.  If he didn’t know, then there’d be a problem.  The fact that the NSA was just now finding out illustrated everything he despised about them.
    “Yeah, I guess you would, wouldn’t you?”  ‘Roid-head Bob’ looked at him condescendingly, and then continued.  “Anyway, the little shit never actually uses any of his viruses, at least not when we’ve been able to track him, so we can’t charge him with any of the anti-hacking legislation.  We could give him ten years if he’s been stealing and selling copyrighted games, which we believe he has, but we can’t prove it.”
    “What about the games in the box?”
    “Can’t prove he stole them, and he hasn’t sold them yet.  As is, it’s copyright infringement, that’s it.  If we can get two more names we can hit him with conspiracy and then he’ll serve some time, but just having them isn’t enough.”  Again, Roid-head Bob looked Chad over.  “I thought you would know that.”
    “So you figure you’ll take him off the streets with the tax charge and gather more evidence while he sits in jail,” Chad repeated from memory.  One thing government agents are not, is original.  “Makes sense.  What do you need me for?”
    “We found a program on his computer, and we can’t figure out what it is.  I was hoping you could talk to him and clear it up for us.”
    “Sorry, guy.”  Chad pressed the folder back into the man’s chest.  “That’s not what I do.  I don’t work for the NSA, they work for me.”
    “I was told you were a consultant, the best.”
    “I am,” Chad nodded, “and you’re not.  None of you are.  I use you when I need you, not the other way around.”
    “This is a matter of national security,” he fumed, “we called the Secretary of Defense and she sent us to you.”
    “Did she?” Chad asked, not impressed.  If they would just learn not to give his number out, he’d like politicians a lot more.
    “Yup.  She said if anyone could figure out what it was, you could.”
    “Give me the program,” he grumbled, yanked the phone out of his ten thousand dollar coat pocket and fired it up.  The douche handed him a small flash drive and he pressed it in.  “One would think someone else knew something about their fucking jobs.”
    “Excuse me?”
    “You heard me.”
Chad studied the programming code with mild amusement.  It was a “Cherry Bomb” virus, designed to detonate at a specific time and date.  Deferred release was the official term.  But this one was very sexy, extremely well made.  Made for a purpose.  He wasn’t surprised they couldn’t figure out what it was.  It was written in a code only a select group of underworld writers could ever fully understand, a dynamic code, constantly shifting and changing encryption.  Toby hadn’t finished it, though, which was strange.  It was a masterpiece.  The fact that Toby didn’t finish writing it sent a warning pang through Chad’s stomach.  It meant he was definitely planning on selling it.
    “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” the guy in the suit that cost less than Chad’s boxer’s asked, puffed up his chest like an exotic fish.
    “I’ll talk to him,” Chad ignored the question and open the door to enter the interrogation room, but stopped.  He turned slowly towards the agent, smiling, “You won’t be here when I come out, will you?”
    “No, but I’ll be watching.”
    “Good,” he said, “watch and learn.”


Chad crossed the room and was immediately slapped by the hot, humid air that poured from the vent above the accused.  It’s in no way illegal to toggle the thermostat to keep a suspect unhappy.  Chad saw it all the time.  There were more elaborate means as well, but heating up the room and making the suspect sweat was just as effective as the next measure.
    “So ToBiN,” Chad watched Toby’s eyes light up when he heard the name, “why don’t you tell me about the cherry bomb.”
    The room was small and well lit, the only furniture a metal table and three uncomfortable chairs.  The large two-way mirror on the far wall was the room’s most prominent feature.  The rest was very monotonous and depressing, not unlike the rest of the field office.  In the chair against the solid wall sat Toby Smith, a chubby young man with red hair and green eyes.  His face was flushed and he had sweat on his brow, which beaded about the same size as his freckles and acne.  He was still shackled, and he held his hands in front of him on the table, twiddling his thumbs and muttering to himself.
    Chad ran a well manicured hand through his short, expertly cut hair, and continued, “I would expect better work from you.  It’s not finished, I presume.”
    Chad studied the kid, and knew by the glazed look in his eyes that Toby hadn’t been fed in a while.  Another nice infraction that couldn’t be proved in court.  Lower the blood sugar, lower the will to fight.  Toby was eyeing him back, and squinting as if trying to think.
    “Oh wait, I know you,” Toby said finally, “you were ‘The Titan’ back in the day, right?  ‘Turner the Titan’ they call you online, you’re my idol man.”
    Chad grimaced and looked down.  He hated that name.  Only a fourteen year old kid would put his last name in his online alias.  Chad had been fourteen, but it still stung.  He used to get off on people admiring him, but now it was just one more liability.  He didn’t know how Toby recognized him, but shit happened.
    “You’re a fed now man?  That’s fucking disappointing.”  Toby shook his head and shifted in his chair, looking frustrated more than anything.  “I guess they pay you well for screwing your comrades.”
    “Toby, listen to me,” Chad said calmly.  “I had a chair and a choice very similar to the one you have now.  They’ve got you on tax evasion for the money in your deposit box.  They found the drugs, which they can use to charge you with intent to distribute narcotics, and they’ll get the conviction.
    “They’re investigating you for trafficking in bootleg programs and games.  You’re looking at ten to twenty years on that one, alone.  Add in this little baby,” he held up the flash drive and spun it in between his thumb and forefinger, “and they can tack another twenty on.  If they decide to make the terms run consecutively, you’re looking at forty-one years bitch time.  Is that what you want?”
    Toby tapped his foot steadily, glaring across the table.  Young, dumb-ass, cowboy, Chad thought.  He used to be one of those cowboys, but not anymore.
    “I’m seventeen,” Toby said, and straightened his back, “they can’t touch me.”
    “You’ll be tried as an adult,” Chad shrugged, “and they’ll send you away.  Or they’ll just wait a year to file the charges, then you’ll be eighteen, and you’ll be screwed.”
    “They can’t do that, I know the law.”
    “You’re dealing with the federal government, man.  They can do whatever the fuck they want.  Ask the boys in Guantanamo.”  He shrugged again.  “Give them some time.  They’ve already got their lawyers looking into it, and soon they’ll have you charged with so many different things you won’t be able to read all the indictments without your eyes getting fuzzy.  They’ll have to hire a speed reader just to save time.
    “But,” Chad continued, and lightly ran his long fingers along the smooth table top, “if you cooperate, tell me what I need to know, they might go easy on you.  Maybe they drop a charge, decide to make you ‘queen for a day’ and let you rat out all your little friends.  Who knows?  But you’ll have a chance.  I’m being honest with you, Toby.  If you don’t talk, you’re shit out of luck.”
    Chad let Toby think on that for a moment.  He watched him make his decision.  There was never any real possibility that Toby would stand up for something larger than himself.  That was why he was on one side of the table, and Chad was on the other.  
    Toby looked down at his lap.  After a few moments of that, he looked around the room, studying the bright white, painted walls.  Then he gazed at the mirrors for a moment, and finally looked back at Chad.
    “You can’t prove it’s mine,” he said finally.
    “They found it on your laptop.  Don’t fuck with me.  Even if I found it in a dumpster I’d now it was yours.  There’s only two coders in the country that could write something like this: You and SpEkTeR.”
    “Man, fuck SpEkTeR!” Toby snapped.  “Fucker couldn’t write something that nice if his life depended on it.  He sits on his ass and collects credit cards.  Fucking sell out.”
    “Why isn’t it finished?”
    “How do you know they didn’t just bust me before I was done with it?”
    “Because, Toby,” Chad said, and leaned in close, “I know everything.  Fifteen years ago they arrested me and offered me a job.  They did that because I’m the best in the world.  You left it unfinished on purpose.  Now, tell me what you know.”
    “I don’t really know anything,” he stammered.  “Okay, so I am finished, at least I’m done with it.  That’s the way they wanted it.”
    “I know that.”  Chad leaned back, checked his diamond cufflinks.  “Why unfinished?”
    “People do that all the time.”  Toby shrugged.  “They do it so you can’t sell it to a competitor, usually.  Anyway, these guys gave me very specific details on how they wanted it.  I made it to the letter the way they asked.  I don’t know who they are, or what they’re gonna to do with it.”
    “How much are they paying you?”
    “A hundred thousand.”
    Chad raised an eyebrow and glared back across the table at him.  “For an unfinished program?”
    “I don’t understand it either, but that’s what they offered.  I have a lot of people ask for unfinished stuff,” he repeated.  “I figured this guy sort of knew what he was doing.  Maybe he just didn’t know how to do the whole thing himself.  It’s a lot of money, I know.  But what do I care?  I’m a business man: I aim to please my customers.”
    “He had you write it in a very unique code.  Guy like that knows what he’s doing.”
    “What the fuck do I care?” Toby asked again, venomous.  “You give a shit about what your employers do?  Company man?  No, fucking A you don’t.”
    “How do you make contact with them?”
    “I don’t.”  Toby spit on the floor.  “They’re supposed to contact me next Wednesday, that’s when the deadline’s up.  They’ll send me a friend’s request and I’ll save a picture file.  Inside will be all the information on the meeting...”  Toby’s eyes lit up and he held his hands together like a prayer.
    “But hey,” he pleaded, “they’ll probably find out I got pinched.  There’s a whole network that watches for stuff like that.  Once someone posts that I got arrested, it’ll be on every hacker blog in like five minutes so I can’t turn on them.”
    “I know that, ToBiN, but we’re going to try anyway.”
    Chad got up and walked to the door, he had nothing more to say.
    “Hey, what happens now?”  Toby sputtered.  Apparently he thought Chad would hold his hand through it all.
    “What the fuck do I care?” Chad mocked as he turned the knob.  “My guess is you’ll have a very unpleasant next few decades. Say hello to Big Bob the white supremacist for me.”
    The door slammed behind him, but Chad didn’t care.  It always did that in field offices.  They ran so much re-circulated air through them he could practically feel himself getting sick as soon as he walked in.
    As his long, steady strides brought him past the lines of cubicles, he checked his phone and noticed a message from Beth, the love of his life.  He opened it, hoping it would lift his spirits, but before his eyes could scan the text a screen opened with the words “Call from Osirus.”  He answered.
    “Yeah Osirus,” he said into the receiver.  Osirus was his digital gatekeeper.  The program that allowed him access to all the government files that ‘consultants’ never saw.  Because Turner Technologies llc. was so much more than an IT firm that ‘occasionally does business with the federal government.’
    “Code in please,” Osirus responded.
    “CT8507,” Chad breathed as he walked through the revolving doors and emerged onto the busy streets of Denver.  “What do you have for me?”
    “SpeKteR is preparing to make a sale.”
    “Tell the surveillance units to wait for me.  I’ll be in Boston in under three hours.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"I don't want any..." - By Bill Pryst

"That's not fair," I say, pour beer from the keg spout into a pitcher.  "You can't tell me I'm staying another night and then change your mind and say I have to go home tonight.  If I go home I have a job and a kid and responsibilities.  I don't want any fucking responsibilities, Jim."
My phone rings.  I pick it up and say "I'm on vacation" into it and hang up.
"She also says we have to bring back the keg."
"We're not bringing back the keg until it's empty.  Here, get me something else to put the beer in."
"We're going to put the beer in our bodies, Bill," Jim assures me.  Then into the phone: "No mom, we'll bring it back.  Don't worry."
He's talking to his mom because she put the keg on her credit card because he was on Temporary DuTy and therefore unable to put it on his card.  He got back the night before.  The keg was waiting.  She's threatening to take me home early because I'm stranded in Temecula with no way to get home short of hitchhiking and my son's been at grandma's now far longer than I promised.
"Why were we drinking champagne all day when we knew we had to finish the keg?" I ask no one in particular.
"Because I like champagne."  Into the phone: "No, mom, we don't have any left."
I look through the patio door and see four empty bottles the size of half-gallons on the kitchen table.  The only reason we quit with the champagne is it was making us tired.  I finish filling the pitcher and start drinking it as fast as I can - from the pitcher.  Monika comes out and puts her cup in front of me, I fill it up and hug the pitcher to my chest.  Monika disappears into the apartment.
Beyond the balcony California is sprawled out lazily from two stories down.  The green of plants never designed by nature for the environment clinging tightly to rocks they can't possibly be nourished by.  The labyrinth of irrigation systems set up to feed the plant-life which never existed until we arrived, and would quickly depart should we ever decide to leave.  The entire state in a constant state of being refurbished and becoming new and improved if only on the surface.  A place where if they decided to put the picture of any celebrity with the phrase "Of Course We're Full of Shit" on the flag no one in good conscience could object.
California, the beautiful whore she is.
"Fuck dude I'm tired," I announce.  "We need something to wake us up.  I only slept two hours last night, and your recliner wasn't exactly the Hilton."
Monika appears in the doorway holding a bottle of Sailor Jerry's in one hand, a set of shot glasses pinched elegantly between the fingers of the other.  Her eyes hold the question I need no prompt answering.
"Jim, your girl's got shots."
"That's why I'm so madly in love," he explains as he joins us on the balcony.
We hold our shot glasses together - each is unique in that he bought each of them in Hawaii when he was supposed to be hold up in Pearl Harbor but instead was in Maui in a beach bungalow with Monika.  We salute each other and down the firewater.  It goes down like shit and I have to suppress my gag reflex to keep it from coming back up.
My blackberry rings again.  "Bill doesn't live here," I say into it and hang up.
"I can't get too plastered," Jim says.  "I have to go pick up the Benz."
"Man fuck the Benz.  Oz and Christy and Eric and Nick and his bitch wife are all coming over."
"We'll wait by the pool."
They get dressed, and I stay in my jeans, T-shirt and flip-flops.
"Aren't you going to put on board shorts?" he asks.  "Go swimming?"
"I don't have any.  I was only staying one night, remember?"  Really I don't have any.  And I don't mind because honestly he's been working out the whole time he was gone and now he's all ripped and shit and I don't really like being around him.  Not without my shirt on.
We hit the pool and bring two pitchers - one of them from the blender.  Go back and refill them.  Oz shows up, meets his friend there, and spends an hour forgetting about his cousins and talking to his friend.  I get two more pitchers.  I'm walking through the complex with two pitchers of cold beer, condensation dripping from them, as I pass a mother unloading her two kids.  She eyes me with contempt and scurries her progeny along, trying to shield them from the debauchery that they're sure to experience later in life.
Eric and Christy arrive.  The sun sets.  We order two pizzas, which are not enough.  Nick shows up with his bitch wife - all three hundred pounds of bad attitude of her.  I invite her to join us.
She sneers and says, "I know you all hate me."
I don't say anything and Nick kisses her goodnight and she leaves.  We head to the apartment, where people are now doing beer bongs and even more shots of Sailor Jerry.
My blackberry rings.  I pick it up and say "God hates gay people" into it and hang up.  Set it on the table, and take a shot.
We play beer pong.  I'm on Jim's team.  Which was a better choice for me than for him.  He was a basketball player and he hasn't missed a free throw all night.  I haven't made one, and he's not very impressed.
"Next time I'm leaving you outside," he says, and sinks one.
"Next time I'm fucking Monika and making you pound on the door," I tell him.  He's still not impressed.
Out of nowhere Bitch Wife arrives.  Carrying her child.  Suddenly Nick has forgotten we exist.  He's talking to his line-backer life partner and ignoring his family.  I sit down next to them and strike up a conversation.  Bitch Wife leaves.
"What?" I ask.
"Dude," Nick sighs.
"You just can't say things like that," Michelle explains.  Michelle is Jim's sister.
"Like what?"
No one answers because they all assume I knew exactly what I said.  They are all terribly wrong.
Bitch Wife is back suddenly and ordering Nick to come with her and take care of their new-born.  I remember exactly the problem and explain that Nick has a dick and that means he is not, and never will be, the bitch in the relationship.
Nick leaves with his master.
"What a fucking waste."  I collapse on the couch.  A beer is placed in my hand, a Shock Top.  "What happened to the keg?"
"We threw the keg over the balcony an hour ago," Jim explains.
"How long do you plan on living here?"
"Until the lease is up," Jim nods, "four more months."
"Good luck."
I'm outside and Keith is bumming yet another smoke.  I can't remember who he is or why he's in Jim's apartment - that's right: he's Monika's high-school friend that Jim was convinced she was fucking while he was gone.  Except Keith is very possibly swinging for the other team and very seriously working at Red Lobster as a bus-boy and was totally unprepared when his best-friend told him to come meet her fiance and his cousin - the thirty year old war hero with more petty cash than Chrysler and his cousin, the psychotic author.
So I give him another "Gold" and light it for him.  Because I assume he thinks that's classy.  I'm wearing my top-hat again, which apparently no one thinks is classy.
"Bill," Jim calls, "your ride is here."
I look over my shoulder and there's my two aunts, come to collect, and I'm honestly not upset.  I'm just thankful I can still walk on my own.
I was fully planning on falling asleep on the balcony and having my cigarette burn my fingers until they blistered.  The two parent figures kinda saved me from that.  They drag me out, leaving most of my possessions in Jim's apartment, usher me to the waiting car, and throw me in.  Right next to my grandpa, who is waiting in the car.
"Grandpa," I slur, "grandpa grandpa grandpa.  How's it going?  This is all your fault, you know that?  You did all of this."
"I don't remember doing this," he says.
"Well," I think a moment, "neither do I.  But this all your fault.  You made all us little pain in the asses."  I always say this to my grandpa.  Because he had seven kids.  And of them they had twenty or thirty kids.  And of those they had forty or fifty or sixty more.  And now, because grandpa didn't want to tie it up, there's hundreds of us little bastards running around.
He should repent, but he seems to be proud of it.
I'm rambling about something I don't even know most of the ride.  The only coherent thing I say is "I need more beer.  Can't sleep without it.  Gotta stop and let me buy some more booze."
"No," one says.
"If he'll pass out, give it to him," the other says.
They buy me a forty ounce Bud Ice can.  Heaven never tasted so good.  Not that I would know.  But I always imagine heaven as swimming against the current in a river made of high content alcoholic beverages for all eternity.  It makes me feel better about my health conscience life-style.
They deposit me on the couch, and all sigh.  I can't fall asleep fast enough.  Only I'm not done.  Why should I be?  When there are so many people I need to talk to right now.  So much to say.  So much genius just ready to spill over and they'll never know what they missed if I don't call them right now and explain how incredibly awesome I am, and they are.
"Jim," I say, "Jim... Jim... Jim... Jim... Jim."
"That's my name, and if you don't stop I'll sue you for trademark infringement."
"Jim... Buddy... Man... Like... Fuck you dude."
"Okay, I'm going to fuck my smoking hot fiance right now.  Go to sleep, Bill."
"Everyone else has!"  I don't know why I say it, I just think it'll hurt him.  Why did I call him again?
"I'll choke you!  I'll kill you!  They train us to kill, Bill!  They train us to kill!"
And my phone dies.  Never has it picked such an opportune time.


I wake up on the couch.  A dog is looking at me and suddenly, all in one terrible realization, I remember that my aunt has dogs and a cat - all of which I'm terribly allergic to.
I'll spend the next twenty hours sneezing and coughing and wanting to throw up.
We get on the road and the aunt's decide to hit the casino:
"We'll make a few dollars and be on our way," they say.  Halfway in - two hours in - and two hundred down they hand me a water bottle full of wine and say, "Here, it'll make you feel better."
"No thanks," I say, sneeze.  "Just run out the credit cards so I can go home."
My blackberry rings, it says CALL FROM JIM.  I pick it up and say "I don't want any" and hang up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Introducing: Bill Pryst

I remember the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer.  I was in New Jersey, on my knees, in a basement, with a construction worker, trying to earn some extra money...

No.  No.  I was tiling the floor.
It was a restaurant and I was working on a Sunday, finishing up the job so that it would be ready for the grand opening.  They had this thing where they wanted to be able to hose down the floor.  Just stand there with a hose and clean the whole fucking room.  So we had to pour like a ton of concrete along the walls and slope the whole floor towards the drain, and then tile it, and it was a bitch let me tell you.  Somewhere along the line, we fell behind schedule (I think it was the moment the owner of the restaurant came through with a hammer, hit a bunch of tiles and announced that any that broke where not set properly.  My boss offered to do the same to the owner's head and see if that was set properly, which didn't work out as well as we'd hoped in that we lost the other half of the job - they let us finish the basement).
So there I am, on my knees with this old, crusty bastard - nice guy, don't get me wrong - and he starts talking about his former life.  The one before his wife turned to heroin and he had to take care of his son, his (now) ex-wife's legal issues and the rigors of owning a small construction business (we were subcontracting under this guy BTW).  He started explaining how he was an actor, and how he used to be a quasi-star in Soap Operas.
I tell him to fuck off.
He says, "No, I'm serious, I was on One Life to Live."
I pull out my phone, and call my boss.  They've known each other for years, I figure he can put an end to this.
"What's up Bill?"
"Hey, I got a question to ask you."
"Was Sammy in Soap Operas?"
"Sammy?  Yeah, he was, but why do you care?"
"I'm standing here with him, and he said he was a bit of a star."
"You're with Sammy?"
"Why are you with Sammy?"
"We're finishing up the restaurant job.  Gotta be done by the grand opening."
"I didn't tell you to finish that.  Fuck, Bill, he still owes me three grand!  I'm not finishing it until I get paid.  You just fucked me, Bill, took away my only bargaining chip!  Get your stupid ass out of there right now!"
And I hung up, and started listening again.
"Not only did I act in them," Sammy explained, "but the producer loved me.  She let me sit in in casting sessions.  One time, she mounted me on the table, and told me I could have her right there if I wanted."
"And nothing.  I was married at the time, my wife was sober, I couldn't do it."
"Oh sure, I regretted it later, but at the time I just couldn't.  I ended up quitting acting and concentrating on my business and raising my son.  Especially when my wife had her problems, the divorce, I just couldn't handle the pressure anymore, and the money was shit.  She turned out to be this big time editor in New York.  Never was sure what the connection between producing a soap and editing books was.  But I still talk to her now and then.  She keeps asking me to write a memoir."
"That only matters," I told him, "if you can write."
A gleam came into his old, half-lidded eyes (by this time, Sammy was a full-time drunk.  Like a six-pack before breakfast drunk.  Which is part of what contributed to his owing my boss 3 g's and their eventual falling out, and more than just a part of this story) and he said, "I can write.  There's a lot of things I can't do, but I can write."
"So you're telling me that you have an editor in New York...."
"Who wants to publish your book...."
"And you haven't gotten off your ass and written it yet?"
He thought for a moment.  "Yes."
And suddenly I was flashed back to a car in a small town in Maine.  (Yes, the state.  If you don't know where it is, don't worry, no one else does)  I was in the back of the car and my two friends were in the front.  We were passing the bowl around (if you don't know what that means, we were smoking pot) and discussing what we would do with our lives (no one mentioned curing cancer, strangely) and how we would get the hell out of Maine.  I took the pipe, tamped it down, and took a hard rip.
"I'm going to be a writer," I said.
Snap back to a basement in Jersey.
"If I wrote a book, and gave it to you," I asked, "could you give it to her?"
He thought again.  "I can promise I'll get it to her desk.  I can't promise she'll like it."
And my literary career was born.  That very night, I sat down at my coffee table - in my basement apartment - with a pen and a three ring binder full of notebook paper, and began my first novel.  It took me nine months.  It was short.  It was convoluted.  And it sucked like a Hoover.
But none of that mattered.
Because Sammy was long gone.  Having burned every bridge he had crossed in his long fifty-five years.  He left everyone he knew with debt.  Changed his number, and skirted town.
He only owed me five hundred bucks.  But he owed far more than that to my dreams.  No editor, no chance at stardom.  Just a three ring binder full of hand-scratched dialogue and plot points.  I felt alone, outnumbered, and dying inside.
But life often plays in the long, forth quarter football none of us can see.  Each second of each quarter seems the most important moment in the world.  But you never know when the other team will drop the ball.  And that's exactly what happened, thousands of miles and years down the line.
What happened?
I met someone.
His name is Rick Glacier and I saw him in a dream.  Big and Cold and in control.  He walked into a room and the ladies followed.  Maybe it was the vodka.  Maybe it was the Rockstar Juiced.  Maybe it was fate.  But he walked into my life and onto my word processor and my life hasn't been the same since.  And last month I was able to get his first story published.
Snap to today.
I'm walking through a Starbucks and wondering if I still have the half-pint stuffed under my seat so I can make a good old fashioned Hottie Tottie and I pass a table piled with books.  The girl at it has her nose half-buried. I stop, look at the titles: "Fiction in the Twentieth Century."  "How to Write Fiction."  "The Greats: Stories from the Masters."
"Well," I say, she perks up, "I see someone wants to be a writer."
"No," she snaps, "I am a writer."
"Oh, I see."  I lean against the table.  "What do you write?"
"Fantasy, mostly."
"Got anything published?"
"Not yet, but I'm working on it."
"Good for you," I tell her, wink.  "Never give up."
I turn and walk away.
"Who are you?" she asks my back.
"Oh," I say to myself, "I'm just a guy who wants to be a writer."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First of all....

This annoys the shit out of me.  It's a story about Jersey Shore being awarded a shit load of tax payer money to shoot their stupid, mind numbing show.  Now, listen, I have absolutely no problem with people being drunk and stupid, if I did the guy in the mirror and I would be constantly at war.  What I have a problem with is people who have no business being famous from the get-go.
"The Situation" is a seriously over-blown situation in-and-of-himself.  First off, what the fuck is wrong with his chest?  Apparently, there's something constantly on fire right there, because he can't ever have a shirt covering it.  Every single shot has him holding the clothing away from him.  I'm not exactly sure who told him to take his shirt off, I just know that the invisible person seems to be everywhere he is, since I can't find a single shot of him without him grinning like he has down syndrome with his shirt hiked up like anyone gives half a fuck who the hell he is, or what he has under his wife beater (and in his case, yes, it is a wife beater.  I lived in Jersey long enough, and knew enough Italians to say - Mike Mr Situation will smack the shit out of his women, because he doesn't have the manly organs to keep them without violence).
But that's beside the point.
Who the hell is Snooki?  And why do I know who she is?
Furthermore, who the fuck is Kim Kardashian, and why in the name of the sweet little innocent baby Jesus should I give one shit in twenty million who, how, or what she's fucking?
These are not real people, they're caricatures of people.  They're manikins.  They exist solely for our sick, twisted fascination with them.  They are not real, like the Barbie Doll is not real.  They fornicate like people, they marry like people, they even walk and talk like human beings, but they are not people.  They are brands, and they cultivate this.
I say this, partly because of a new recognition of what it should mean to be "famous."  But partly because I'm sick of seeing no talent fucks all over the tabloids.
Remember when Music TeleVision played music?  Remember when Disney was for kids?  Remember when sex was an adult pastime, and not a Nickelodeon selling point?  Remember when having eight ten-year-old's sing for sixty hours a week was slave labor?
I do.
But today it's just good television. 
It's just good marketing.
It's just good business.
It's the whole shitty business.  I've turned on my TV for three weeks in the last six months.  Seriously, I just turned it back on, and in three weeks I have had six years worth of Christmas requests.  Every single commercial is a must have.  My boy has no idea anymore what to do with himself with the TV turned off.
"Well, until I can watch TV, what do I do?"
"What did you do before we had TV?"
"There ya go."
"But, am I allowed to watch TV yet?"
"I'm calling the police."
"Thankfully, they haven't legislated television rights yet, so I'm totally within my legal rights to not let you watch TV."
I wonder what the Situation would have to say on the subject.
First, he'd probably take off his shirt (if he was wearing one in the first place).  Then he'd drink all my liquor.  Then he'd explain that New Jersey has the greatest beaches in the world.  And then I'd kick his faggot ass out, and go to the bar, and hang with real people, in Havasu, a place that can and will piss all over the Jersey Shore every chance it gets.
Because we're real.  We work.  We have kids.  We (in our case) are fighting to get recognized.  And we're not real sympathetic to a bunch of over-privileged cunts who don't deserve a free drink, let alone twenty-four hour news coverage....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

He Was Alive...

So I just stumbled onto this article about a weatherman who woke up next to a dead man. According to the article, the weatherman showed up at a friend's house with another friend, proceeded to ingest large amounts of alcohol and illegal narcotics (the witness says he doesn't know exactly what they were taking, but they were snorting it, which isn't a good sign) and then got in the hot tub. Everyone had a grand old time, and passed out, the weatherman and his friend in the hot tub (in the bathroom) and the homeowner on the couch. When the homeowner awoke Tuesday morning, he found the two men still asleep in the hot tub. Correction: the weatherman was asleep, but when they tried to wake up the friend they noticed his face was blue (also not a good sign) and he was wearing a dog collar. The weatherman, now totally fucking freaked, decided to leave the bathroom and vomit in the living room (not very considerate). He then left (for no apparent reason) and came back later to give his statement to police.
 Now, let's all be honest here: Haven't we all had a night like this at least once? You know, you pick up a friend, go over to someone's house, snort a few rails, hit the hot tub, have a few drinks, pass out, and wake up next to a dead body.
 This shit happens.
 It doesn't happen to you?
 Not even in college?
 Oh, shit, you're not very adventurous are you?
 Anyway, I feel for the guy. Not the dead one, but the weatherman. I don't feel for the dead guy because he passed out in a hot tub with a dog collar on. Did he really expect that to end well? I'm not a psychiatrist, but if you've read our previous posts you'll see I'm not a big apologist for people who are asking for it. And if you pass out next to a fucking weatherman with a dog collar on you don't have a great deal of self-esteem, in fact, if you're fucking a weatherman at all you don't, so this guy probably isn't all that sad about getting himself axed. But the weatherman, I mean, shit, poor fucking guy. He's been outed to the whole world in like the worst possible way. Imagine going to work the next day:
 "Hey Bill."
 "How was your Monday night?"
 "Guy's, check out this article about a guy that died this morning. They found him in a hot tub with a dog collar on!"
 "About that..."
 "And he was fucking a weatherman!"
 "Who fucks a weatherman?"
 Then they both get to the same part at the same time. The part where they identify the weatherman. And their eyes slowly settle on this doomed weatherman, standing in front of them. And he looks at the floor and just says "I guess I'll just go clean out my desk."
 I mean, that's not something you bounce back from. I read an article last night about how Monica Lewinsky still isn't able to go to a decent restaurant without being made fun of. And all she did was give the President head, which, honestly, isn't that big of a deal. She was young, he was the leader of the free world, it sounds like the set-up to a bad joke...
 Oh yeah, sorry Monica. 
So this guy is forever the gay weatherman that killed his lover with a dog collar. You might as well tattoo that shit on his forehead. He won't be working for CNN any time soon. I doubt Fox is interested. Hell, even MSNBC has standards. No, this guy is just as dead as the dude with the dog collar. The only difference is the dead guy's name hasn't been released.
So here's my forecast for this weatherman: 100% chance of it raining shit on you for the next twenty years...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sex Sells, and a Rant About Ugly People

Let's start with the ugly people, because this is something I know a thing or two about. Why are you all chuckling? No, I'm not fucking ugly, thank you very much. I happen to be pretty attractive, if you're into short, unsuccessful single dad's with an illegitimate child and more bills than income....
So, ugly people. What brought this to my attention (the apparent plague of ugliness, and no I'm not talking about Lady Gaga) was this article by the New York Times that makes the case that we should protect the ugly from discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act. It's not their fault, they were "Born This Way" (okay, this time I am talking about Lady Gaga).
This is by far the most idiotic thing to come down the pike since obese people were told they were technically disabled, and therefor should not have to walk the extra twenty feet for their Whopper. I mean, really? "Being attractive also helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse (and one who looks better, too!) [sic] and get better deals on mortgages. Each of these facts has been demonstrated over the past 20 years by many economists and other researchers."
Well, there you have it! Fuck paying that lousy six percent on your mortgage! Beautiful people don't have to pay interest, why should you! See, only pretty women ever get jobs. And men, well men: "Beauty is as much an issue for men as for women." Is it really? Okay, maybe it is. Let's do some, really really quick, research. I'm going to list off, in order, the top richest cilebrities of 2011. Read along if you'd like. Ready? Go!
1. Oprah (fat and ugly - in my opinon)
2. U-2 (obviously gay)
3. Tyler Perry (really?)
4. Bon Jovi (annoying, and gay and ugly and anything else I can throw at this Jersey Shore fucking wanna-be)
5. Jerry Bruckheimer (good movies, hideous looking devil)
6. Steven Spielberg (awesome movies, well, used to be. Not bad looking, I guess, but not what I would call "beautiful" either)
7. Elton John (can't hate the guy, sorry)
8. Lady Gaga (no. Fucking NO!! She is NOT attractive! I would fuck nearly anything, and I'd prefer a nice cold corpse to this psychotic whore)
9. Simon Cowell (fine, *shrug* maybe)
(now we come to the good ones)
10. James Patterson (guess how much... just guess. $84 million, this year! I'm sure they figured that in to their statistics)
11. Phil McGraw (really?)
12. Leonardo Dicaprio (okay, gay moment, the guy is fucking cool as shit and can act his ass off)
13. Howard Stern (need I say more?)
and I'm gonna end it there, cuz'n I made my point. Ugly people! Get off your fucking ass's, work, buy some nicer clothes, and get used to the oldest maxim in the book: Money is sexy.
Are we done?
Yes, on that note. Now, the Sex Sells part, which is the other side of the proverbial coin. Money is sexy, but sexy is money. And for some reason, Americans can't admit that to themselves or each other.
Finnean Nilsen Projects first book - Fist Full of Brunettes, written by a drunkard and sex fiend by the name of Bill Pryst, is unarguably literary porn. I'm not blushing, I don't care. What's wrong with that? Why does everyone seem so disgusted?
Are we reaching out to Penthouse to shoot it as a film? Yes.
Are a hundred and twenty pages out of a hundred and eighty sex scenes? Give or take.
So what?
What the hell is so wrong with sex? My sister picks up the book, reads a page and calls me: "What the heck is this?"
"This book. Why would you want to be associated with this trash?"
"Um... Why not?"
"It's the most disgusting thing I've ever read. I can't believe, I'm so embarrassed, that my brother would want to read something like this! Would have thoughts like this in his head!"
And I didn't ask what she thought her husband thinks about. I didn't ask how the fuck they conceived their children if she was still a virgin. Why? Because it's not for me to ask such questions. I let her rant, explained that a great many books are just as explicit, and hung up after reminding her she had little say in what I chose to do with my life.
My dad:
"Would you want your grandfather to read this book?"
I thought for a moment. "I don't see why the fuck not. He had seven kids, I think he gets the idea."
And on and on and on!! It's silly. It makes no sense. We can have graphic violence on TV all day, and very little is said. Tonight I can't wait to watch Hobo with a Shotgun, a film I was assured was so full of gore they literally become torrents of blood. Can't fucking wait. But on the same token, I love Spartacus Blood in the Sand. Is there sex? Yes, lots of it, as much as they could pack into an hour program.
Here's the deal: I like sex. Everyone does (whether they admit it or not). Not everyone likes violence. There's a simple way to say this.
Violence is only fun when it's not happening to you.
Sex is only fun when it is happening to you.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, wouldn't it be nice to have a little more sex, and a little less violence?
Now I'm off to watch my ultra-violent movie, and after it I'll pound down a good-old-fashioned adventure story, with plenty of sex on the side. Because I like my violence, but I love my sex...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Your Call is Very Important to Us

First of all, no it's not. I wish I could record one of those for my ringtone when you call me:
"Hello, this is Finn, your call is not very important to me, or I would have answered it already, but if you hold on I'll get to you at my earliest convenience."
I called blockbuster last night because my dvd was scratched to shit and wouldn't play, and what do I get? "We're sorry, all of our agents are currently busy." I'm not going to argue with terming a bunch of minimum wage workers sitting in cubicles "agents" (the woman who helped me was very sweet, and I really liked her as a person) but is there that huge of a demand? At any given moment is there just a rash of fucking people calling to report scratched disks? And I get it that people are stupid, but do you really have to explain to me how to clean a dvd while I'm on hold? Don't you think I tried? Is the average person so dull that they would rather sit on hold for twenty minutes than take out some Windex and wipe the thing off?
Okay that's a Yes on that last question. People are the dumbest animals alive. I knew a tech guy, he told me the average call to him was fixed when he asked them if the computer was plugged in. "Oh, look at that, nope, thanks."
The problem is the answer is No to the others. I'm sure there's a lot of people calling, I'm also sure they could handle the volume if they hired a few more people. Instead, they assume (correctly) that people have just gotten used to waiting on hold when dealing with businesses (no joke, I've had a business call me and put me on hold. *ring* "Hello?" pause, "Hello, all of our representatives are currently busy helping other customers...").
But that's an increasingly large problem in this country. I recently spent two thousand bucks on a service, and the rep I spoke to before I spent the money said "Anytime you have questions, here's my number, just call." Of course, when I call, I get the classic "Your call is very important to us."
What if other things worked like that? What if you called 9-1-1 and said "Someone help! My husband's just been shot!" And the reply was "We're sorry, all of our officers are currently assisting other citizens, please stay on the line and your emergency will be dealt with in the order it was received. While you're waiting, please ensure that this is in fact an emergency. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you or someone you know gravely injured?
2. Are you or someone you know in immediate risk of being injured?
3. Are you or someone you know committing a crime, or have you seen someone committing a crime?
4. Is there a white male acting in a suspicious way that you think may be associated with terrorism? If You See Something, Say Something.
5. Is there a fire or flood in your area?
6. If you are calling because you are about to enter a flooded wash, Turn Around Don't Drown.
7. Has your erection lasted over four hours?
8. Did a fast food restaurant not alert you to the fat content in their food?
9. Have you or someone you know ingested a poisonous liquid? Drain-o? Bleach?
For quality control purposes your call may be recorded.
Hello, and thank you for calling 9-1-1, how may I assist you?"
"My husband's bleeding to death!"
"Well, ma'am, just give me a moment and I'll see what I can do to remedy this situation." *tap tap tappedy tap* "Okay, and where are you located ma'am?"
"In Los Angeles."
"Oh, dear, you've called the Oakland office, let me just transfer you to the Los Angeles office."
"Thank you for calling 9-1-1, your emergency is very important to us...."
You get the idea. How well do you think that would work out? And then they do ads on there, like the phone company does:
"Did you know that 9-1-1 is now digital? Just one of the ways we're working for you."
"Do you have more than twelve emergencies a month? Ask your representative for frequent fall discounts, elusively through 9-1-1."
All I'm saying is, for Blockbuster: Put a box on your website, where the customer can type in the number on the disk and say it's damaged, or put a button on the kiosk "Return Damaged Disk" and I'll punch it and put the fucking thing in and be done with it. I don't want my lovely "agent" from last night to lose her job, but it would be far more effective. Or, you go the web chat way, where you can have one person helping five customers simultaneously. But don't tell me my call is important to you if you're not going to answer it. Because it pisses me off.
And for the rest of us: fuck renting movies, go out and buy a good book, like Fist Full of Brunettes and put your feet up, turn off the phone, tell the kids to make their own damn dinner, and enjoy yourself. Because nowadays we need something we can hold on to, something tangible that won't crash, like a good old fashion book.
And, of course, your readership is very important to us...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Religion and Politics, Gooney...

..stay the fuck away from them.
I know, I know.
But this is way beyond politics. It is a story about how NASA now believes we need to curb our greenhouse emissions to protect us from aliens who might see all of this pollution, and realize we’re advanced and therefore a threat.
I shit you not.
I can’t make stuff like this up. I wish I could. I wish I got paid to sit around with a vile of acid the size of a mayonnaise jar and talk to all the other “geniuses” and go “Whoa, dude, like, what if, like, what if aliens see all this pollution and say “Hey, these fucking guys, these guys need to go, because otherwise they’ll get too big and then they’ll be a threat.” Because they didn’t notice us before, right? They didn’t get our SETI signal for the last twenty years, right? They didn’t see our guys traipsing around on the moon, right? They don’t see the confetti-like trash we left all over the place while we were flying to Mars, Saturn, all those places, right? They don’t see the Giant Fucking Telescope floating right out there in the open, with little people in space suits crawling all over it, waving, looking through it in a desperate search to find these same, elusive aliens, RIGHT?
But now, after all this time, we get something that relates to a maybe rational thought. All these years after someone gave these fucking schmucks a hundred billion taxpayer dollars, they finally come out with the theory to end all theories about extra-terrestrial intelligence. And what is this incredible, profound, earth shattering thought?
It’s that no matter what we do to prove our intelligence, they think that aliens think (despite the fact that they’ve revised their numbers and admitted there very well may not BE aliens) that no matter what, the way you judge a civilization’s intelligence, is their own ability to destroy themselves.
I’m going to give you a minute to digest that…

Are you now as smart now as you were before you read that? Of Fucking Course Not! This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen since Jackass 3-D! And at least those guys know their stupid, these fucking schmucks think this passes for intelligence. The sad thing is, before this article could be written, someone had to actually pose this as a general threat, and then ten other meatheads had to nod and go “Yes, yes, this is certainly a thought worth entertaining” and then they took MY MONEY and paid themselves while they studied it, and then someone had to get paid to type up this revolutionary new thought process.
Let me clue you in on something, Mr. Scientist, and it’s free: We have been making it patently obvious to everything around us that we are a threat to everyone and everything around us since the first fish swam out of the water in the “Garden of Eden” knocked the other fish over the head, fucked his wife, and said “I Am Man.” We haven’t been hiding it! Take that big ass telescope, turn it around, and point it to any spot on this planet, and you’ll see people getting robbed, maimed and murdered.
You know what, hold on…
My AC is now turned off. We are now officially safe from alien intervention into our self-destructive tendencies. I do it for my fellow man. The rest of you continue to rape and pillage with total impunity, the aliens won’t mind. Someone drop a nuke. I don’t care who you nuke, just fucking nuke someone. The alien’s won’t mind, no big deal. They’ll come down with their little chlorine tester cup and take a bit of our atmosphere and say “No threat here, no need to send Keanu Reeves playing Klaatu, playing Neo, playing Johnny Mnemonic, playing himself (in case you missed it, he plays Klaatu in the movie the Day the Earth Stood Still, in which he is an alien sent to kill humanity for destroying the planet, sound familiar? But, as always, he ends up playing himself) we’re safe.” And then they’ll buzz off to find some other race to kill, and hopefully said race hasn’t had a volcanic eruption any time soon, because a single volcano erupting puts out more CO2 than all the humans have in the history of mankind – combined!
But it’s okay, they missed that. They missed the Crusades (granted, not the best example of human intelligence), they missed the space race, they missed the whole Little Boy and Fat Man deal, you know that little RC car driving around on Mars? skipped it, but now they’re going to get pissed because of your car. Wait, scratch that, they won’t, my air conditioner is still turned off…
Now they’ll be pissed…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Doing Something He Loved..."

So I read an article about a quadriplegic that died skydiving last week. He died when he hit the ground at a hundred and twenty miles an hour after his reserve parachute failed to go off and BAM! he was done. But I don’t really want to talk about the specifics of that case, because they’re funny enough as it is.
I want to talk about the fact that his friends said he “died doing something he loved.”
Really? He loved hitting the ground at a hundred and twenty miles an hour?
Why don’t they ever say that about junkies that overdose? (By the way, there is no “overdosing.” Seeing as there’s no legitimate “dose” of heroin or cocaine or meth, every dose is an overdose.) Or when a lazy bastard dies in his sleep? Why is it that when David Carradine was found with his belt around his neck and his shriveled dick in his hand, no one sighed and said: “Well, he died doing something he loved”?
Yet, every time some wack-job environmentalist gets mauled by a tiger we have to hear about how wonderful it is that they died doing something they loved. Correction: he may have loved tigers, but I doubt he enjoyed being eaten by one.
It’s total bullshit. What they mean is “The bastard got what he deserved.” That’s more honest, that’s actually true. When some shmuck decides he’s going to live with bears, or a fucking living torso decides to jump out of a plane, they got what they deserve when the bear finally snaps on them or they hit the ground…

Thursday, August 4, 2011


By the looks of this thing someone got frustrated and walked away from his blog. Childish, if you ask me, but what the fuck can you do?
So now we're back, and we plan on being really, really, fucking dingy. How's that?