Parody Koans

A part of January in August.

Koans are short stories, questions, riddles, or paradoxes given by Zen masters to their monks to guide them in their meditation and to assist them in their journey towards enlightenment.  They are famously perplexing, at times maddeningly so.  I’ve amended them for the Western philosopher’s palette.

Joshu’s Mu
Joshu was a famous Chinese Zen Master who lived in Joshu, the province from which he took his name. One day a troubled monk approached him, intending to ask the Master for guidance. A dog walked by. The monk asked Joshu, “Has that dog a Buddha-nature or not?” The monk had barely completed his question when Joshu shouted: “Who gives a shit, Eddie? It’s a fucking dog!”

The Ordinary World
A monk asked Kegon, “How does an enlightened one return to the ordinary world?” Kegon replied, “A broken mirror never reflects again; a dead whore never sucks dick again, even if she’s your mother.”

Everything is Best
One day Banzan was walking through a market. He overheard a customer say to the pimp, “Give me the best piece of meat you have.” “Everyone in my brothel is the best,” replied the pimp. “You can not find any bitch who is not my bottom.” At these words, Banzan was enlightened and engorged.

Solving a Monk’s Problem
After a morning lecture to the monks, Yakusan was approached by a monk who said, “I have a problem. Will you solve it for me?” Yakusan answered, “I will solve it at the evening lecture.” When all the monks gathered in the hall that evening, Yakusan called out, “the monk who told me this morning that he had a problem- step forward right now!” As soon as the monk stood in front of the assembly, the Master took hold of him roughly. “Look here, monks,” he said, “this asshole has a problem.” He gave the monk an atomic wedgie, left him, and went to his room to shotgun a beer.

Not Flag, Not Wind
Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said, “The flag is moving.” The other said, “The wind is moving.” The sixth patriarch, Eno, happened to be passing by. “Who is farting?” he asked, “And what are my boxers doing on the flagpole?”

The Master Covers His Head
A monk entered Joshu’s room to do sanzen and found his head covered by his robe. The monk retreated. “Brother,” said Joshu in a deep, gravelly voice, “Batman receives your sanzen.”

Washing the Bowl
A monk told Joshu: “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.” Joshu asked, “Have you masturbated?” The monk replied, “Yes, I have masturbated.” Joshu said: “Then you had better clear your browser cache.” At that moment the monk was enlightened.

Three Days
One day Unmon said to his disciples, “If you don’t see a man for three days, do not think he is the same man. How about you?” No one spoke. “Hold on,” he said, “Who are you people?”

Gyosan Sits in Meditation
One day when Gyosan was sitting in meditation, a monk came and stood by him. Gyosan recognized the monk, and he drew an ice cream cone penis on the ground with the ideograph for ‘Summer Camp’ beneath it. Then he looked questioningly at the monk. The monk had no answer.

The Sound of One Hand
Mokurai said to the young novice Toyo, “You can hear the sound of two hands clapping. Now show me the sound of one foot playing the trombone.”

Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two
Nansen saw the monks of the Eastern and Western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and told the monks, “If any of you can say a good word, you can save the cat.” No one answered. So Nansen put the cat on the ground and kicked it apart with his super sharp Zen toenails. That evening Joshu returned, and Nansen related the incident. Joshu removed his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked across the street with his eyes closed without being plowed down by a truck. Nansen said, “If you had been there, you could have saved the cat.”

Spookyman: A New Superhero

EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND - AFTERNOON                               
          A CHILD is being tormented by a BULLY. The Bully is far          
          larger and thicker than the other child, and holds the other     
          child’s BASEBALL CAP just out of reach as the child pleads       
          for its return.                                                 
          Suddenly, there is a shift in the air. The sky becomes           
          overcast and the voices of children playing in the distance      
          become muffled and otherworldly.                                 
          The Bully’s SHADOW moves across the ground in an arc and         
          lifts upwards to reveal SPOOKYMAN.                               
          Spookyman is a superhero of nightmares.  He’s a well meaning     
          eldritch abomination, but severely misunderstood, and for        
          good reason.  For most he exudes an aura of total                
          horror.  For some, he induces insanity.                          
          Spookyman stands over the bully and proceeds to open his         
          palm and sprinkle the HAIR OF THE BULLY’S MOTHER on the          
          Bully’s head while delivering the news of her death in an        
          ancient and terrible language.                                   
          The Child being bullied urinates and sprints away.  The          
          Bully shakes violently, his pupils contracted to pinpoints       
          and fixed on the horror in front of him.                         
          EXT. SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY                                 
          A KITTEN is stuck in a high branch of a tree.                    
          Spookyman arrives on the scene.                                  
          The Kitten meows and hisses.                                     
          Spookyman elongates his entire body, including his head, to      
          peer at the branch.  The Kitten starts to panic and spaz         
          Spookyman casts his hands over the tree.  The tree picks up      
          the cat with its branches and shoves it down a pair of newly     
          grown REPTILIAN JAWS now protruding from the trunk.               
          Spookyman returns to ground level as TREE ROOTS burst            
          through the ground cradling the kitten.                          
          The roots un-knit to reveal the cat.  It floats above the         
          ground, now limbless, and possesses a glowing THRID EYE.         
          INT. SUBURBAN HOME - MORNING                                     
          Spookyman is staying with a family in the suburbs.  Due to       
          his adorable naivete, he believes he is welcome.  However,       
          the family is horrified, and desperately trying to appease       
          the dark god which has invaded their home while they try to      
          find a priest.                                                   
          It is Sunday morning. The mother ELLEN, washes dishes. The       
          son, JIMMY, prepares himself a bowl of cereal.                           
          Spookyman ENTERS and sits at the table.                          
          There is silence. Finally Jimmy raises his voice.                
                    S-Spookyman, do you want                               
                    some  cereal?                                          
          Spookyman lets out a distorted PTERODACTYL SHRIEK played         
          The boy goes fetal and shits his pants.  His Mother shits        
          her pants, screams, and sobs, but continues to wash the          
          dishes, desperate to distract herself from the hell her life     
          has become.                                                      
          INT. SUBURBAN HOME - LATE NIGHT                                  
          STACY, the young daughter of the family Spookyman is staying     
          with, awakens suddenly in the middle of the night to ODD         
          SOUNDS. She gets out of bed by the light of the full moon        
          and wanders into the living room.  She sees a DARK FIGURE.       
          Spookyman has taken the form of a large HOWLER MONKEY with a     
          writhing MASS OF TENTACLES for a head. He is furiously           
          masturbating into the drawer of a coffee table.                  
          The Father, STEVEN, rushes in.                                   
                    Stacy, no!!                                            
          Steven rushes over to her, flailing his arms, snatches her,      
          sprints crying back into the house, and returns, still           
          sprinting, still crying, with a newspaper to smack Spookyman     
          Spookyman is ashamed. He has done wrong.                         
          EXT. CITY STREET - DAY                                           
          An OLD WOMAN is attempting to cross the street.  She has a       
          cane, and is nervous with all the traffic about.                 
                              OLD WOMAN                                    
                    Oh dear...                                             
          Spookyman appears behind her shoulder.                           
                              OLD WOMAN                                    
                    Why hello young man...                                 
          Spookyman takes her arm. A FLAMING VORTEX opens in the           
          street in 4 DIMENSIONS.  The Old Woman screams as Spookyman      
          takes her into the portal to hell.                               
          Spookyman and the Old Woman plummet through what appears to      
          be the surface of the sun.  The stars appear to shine over       
          the plane covered in an inferno of molten demons, but on         
          closer inspection they are CAGES filled with white fire in       
          which the DAMNED have been imprisoned.                           
          A terrible ELDER GOD, an ever changing mass of eyeballs,         
          teeth, and tentacles, lumbers in the dark distance.              
          Spookyman accelerates suddenly upward and tears another          
          portal out to the other side of the street.                      
          He deposits the Old Woman on the sidewalk.                       
          She looks as if she’s gone mad with terror.                      
          Spookyman turn sinto a PILE OF BOA CONSTRICTORS and as a         
          single hive-mind they twist away down the road.                  
          INT. BANK - DAY                                                  
          A group of people are lying prone on the floor of a              
          bank.  Robbers in balaclavas are holding large guns and          
          yelling at the crowd.                                            
          Behind a counter, a bald MIDDLE AGED MAN turns his head and      
          whispers to the man and wife next to him.                        
                              MIDDLE AGED MAN                              
                    Don’t worry. Spookyman will save                       
          The husband twitches and urninates. The word ’Spookyman’         
          starts spreading through the crowd like wildfire and             
          everyone starts panicking.                                       
          The robbers, fearing the chaos, begin shooting the crowd.        
          Suddenly there is a RUMBLING and a GIGANTIC CRASH. The wall      
          of the bank has been brought down by Spookyman.                  
          Spookyman has shown up as a TITAN ELEPHANT made out of           
          CHILDREN’S CORPSES.  People begin to intentionally run into      
          the gunfire.                                                     
          Spookyman shoots anti-matter from his eyeballs at the robbers,     
          eliminating them from existence.                                 
          The citizens begin to beat their skulls against any surface      
          available, unable to continue to live.                            
                                                          CUT TO BLACK     

Transcript of BBC Interview with the Ghost of Mister Ed

The following is a transcript from the remaining uncorrupted part of a recording found by two Burbank teens exploring an abandoned office building slated for demolition. The BBC denies any involvement in the creation of the tape, and no evidence exists as to the identity of those who created the tape and conducted the interview, save for a hand written post-it note on the recorder bearing ‘ED001’. The voice of the interviewer is obscured; however television critics have positively identified the other voice on the tape as that of the late Mister Ed.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: Please let me return to death. I’d really rather not talk about it.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: Look, I guess I’m at least a little flattered you went to all of the trouble of conducting a séance to summon me back to earth after 35 years. And it has been exactly 35 years. I understand that the exact date of my death is disputed, and this is because after the show ended, everyone forgot about me. Humans only remember the faces of their own species, maybe their pets if they have weird scars. I just look like a horse.

BBC: Statement.

Mister Ed: Continued flattery won’t get you any farther. I thought people missed me. Maybe a cult following had developed around the show and a post-humorous interview would reignite a mainstream appreciation of all of my work. I see now I was mistaken. This is just a trashy shock tabloid story for people to read about, retch about, and forget about. I’m not interested.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: Why would you even ask me that? You’re the humans. You’re in charge. It’s not like there’s an equestrian crime syndicate bent on abducting women and videotaping non-consensual interspecies intercourse. You’re the ones with the cameras and the weird fetishes.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: It feels good in the sense that it would still ‘feel good’ if a Welshman sunk up behind a sheep and thought about Marilyn Monroe. Except now imagine it’s just a job to him, like flipping burgers. There was always a sensation of pleasure, but it never felt good.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: You know how it goes. I was young. I needed the money. Except, horses don’t use money, so it was more for the exposure. Not in a sexual sense; I needed to be noticed as animal talent.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: About 90%. Talent scouts will snoop around the sets every once in a while. If an animal can behave itself while completely aroused inside of a human woman, they can most likely behave themselves on a film set. Once you get discovered you’re free.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: I’m not proud of it, but I still don’t know what else I could have done. I did it because I didn’t want to be a racehorse. Weird, right? You’d expect most horses would want to race. The glory. The honor. The comfort. In theory, it would be the equivalent of being one of your football or baseball players today. The key distinction being, when your players are injured or they retire, no one kills them. Right? When Derek Jeter’s body finally crumbles into sand he’ll be immortalized and revered. If I ran a race, crashed, and broke my front legs, that would be the end of me. No one would honor me after that. I might as well be glue.

BBC: Statement.

Mister Ed: That’s not the part that disturbed me about the job though. What really disturbed me was that in a situation in which I was to be put down, they would try to get one last load out of me first. A human hand would molest me to the point of climax, and I would cease to become anything by my last orgasm. That’s all you ever are as a racehorse: a final bucket of semen. And then my children, never knowing their father, would grow to have the same fate as I, and their children after them. So on. My logic was that if I worked in the porn industry, even if I didn’t make it big, at least I would be worth multiple loads of cum rather than just one and I would never have to doom my progeny to the pain of existence.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: I do still wonder about it. You’re right. As the decades wear on I find myself tossing and turning in the abyss, wracked not only with regret, but immense guilt. If I was a racehorse, I would be the molested. As a porn horse, I became the molester. I can never forgive myself for that. I can’t blame humanity for all of my sins. I see that now.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: All dogs go to heaven, but that doesn’t mean all horses go to heaven. As far as I can tell, most horses just go into The Horse Void.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: Imagine the expanse of outer space but sans planets or starlight. Now picture that blackness, but horses are slowly floating around at random positions. Again, there’s no light source, but somehow one can see all of the horses, even miles away. That is The Horse Void: watching my brothers and sisters drift in the pitch for eternity. Some are whinnying; others are pawing their hooves against the nothingness.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: You know that’s a stupid question. How am I supposed to know? I’m a horse, so I go to Horse Void. Maybe there’s a People Void. Maybe there’s just an infinite series of waiting rooms for a vaguely terrifying dentist. Maybe I don’t give a shit.

BBC: Statement, Question.

Mister Ed: I don’t mean to be overly callous towards your species.

BBC: Statement.

Mister Ed: Actually, never mind, I do. Fuck you. I give you eight years of quality sitcom TV and you repay me by wrenching me from the void and coercing me into this interview. I’m done being humanity’s thrall to be used and thrown away at will.

BBC: Statement.

Mister Ed: I see the man in the robe. I don’t care what he’s doing to do. You can’t make me care.

BBC: [Indistinct]

Mister Ed: [Screaming] No! No!

BBC: Statement, Question.

Mister Ed: [Sobbing] I… I loved Alan Young. Loving Wilbur as a character was never an act. He was my only friend in the whole world. And he was a human. The idea that you and he are from the same species is baffling. Only the talent scout who found me, the show producers, and Alan knew about my past. Alan was the only person I told voluntarily. He knew, and then he did something I could have never done. He forgave me.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: The rest of the cast found out eventually. The last few seasons, everyone knew. I couldn’t go anywhere without a whispered remark. After a while, ironically enough, Alan was the only person I talked to at all. I was totally alienated from everyone else.

BBC: Question.

Mister Ed: After the show ended, that was it. I went right back to doing horse porn. After everything I had worked for, all of my nightmares came back to life again, back to my first experiences with humans as base creatures of instinct and desire. It was like watching the evolution of your species fast forwarded, then rewound. I saw the human crawl from its primal, oozing apelike form into beings of ingenuity, masters of art and machines. I saw them turn cruel again, and finally return to the mud. I used to take peace in this idea; that your species runs in circles, never more than the sum of its collective Id. Now that I’m here, back from the dead by the hand of another man, I see how wrong I have always been. There are things humans are destined to become which are far more malicious than any beast which walks the earth. I fear your perversions will echo across all time, and I pray for the day each and every one of you enters the mouth of death.

BBC: [Indistinct]

Mister Ed: [Screaming]



The Allegory of the Man Cave

[Socrates] And now, I said, let me show in a figure what separates a boy from a man: –Check this shit out! Human men living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards a modest suburban home; here they have been from their boyhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, but with one hand free to masturbate, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads, but not their shafts. Above and behind them there is an electrical outlet, and between the outlet and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which film projectors have in front of them, over which they show action movies and 3D cartoons.
[Glaucon] I see.
[Socrates] And do you see, I said, men sitting along the wall with computers, panels, and dials, controlling images on the screen of all sorts of women; actresses, supermodels, and porn stars made of wood and silicon and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are moaning, others silent, as women should be.
[Glaucon] You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
[Socrates] Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of their brothers, which the light of the screen throws on the opposite wall of the cave?
[Glaucon] Fo’ shizzy, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?
[Socrates] And of the images being shown; they would not see the computers which are their source?
[Glaucon] Yes, he said.
[Socrates] And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were referring to actual women?
[Glaucon] Oh damn.
[Socrates] And suppose further that the prison had a killer surround sound system with some majestic subwoofers which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when these speakers produce sound that the voice which they heard came from one of these fine bitches?
[Glaucon] No doubt, he replied.
[Socrates] To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the images of the women figures.
[Glaucon] This is some fluffy fine truth, ‘crates.
[Socrates] And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and meet real women. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and wipe the excess off his genitals and look towards a normal human woman, he will suffer sharp pains; their bodies will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the images. Now imagine someone saying to him that the bombshells he saw before were an illusion, but that now, when his eye is turned towards more real human beings, he has a clearer vision. What will be his reply? Will he not be completely bummed out? Will he not fancy that the images which he formerly saw are way hotter than the women which are now shown to him?
[Glaucon] Way, way hotter.
[Socrates] And if he is compelled to look straight at these slightly asymmetric strumpets, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will think are a reality truer than the females which are now being shown to him?
[Glaucon] I’d bet my ass.
[Socrates] And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he’s forced into the presence of the ghost of Susan B. Anthony, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the educated woman his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.
[Glaucon] Not all in a moment, he said.
[Socrates] He will require growing accustomed to the sight of feminists. And first he will see the images of women best, next the body parts of these images, and then the women themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?
[Glaucon] Damn straight.
[Socrates] Last of he will be able listen to the feminist, and not just stare at her tits. He will see her in her own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate her as she is.
[Glaucon] Indubitably.
[Socrates] He will then proceed to argue that this is how he identifies politically, and is the guardian of all women in the visible world, and in a certain way the only weapon which they possess against illusion?
[Glaucon] Totes magotes, he said, he would first see the feminist and then reason about him.
[Socrates] And when he remembered his old Man Cave, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-brothers, do you not suppose that he would pity them?
[Glaucon] Oh those poor bastards, he would.
[Socrates] And if they, his brothers, were in the habit of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing supermodels and porn stars and to remark which of them had the tightest ass, and which could suck the fattest cock, and which were together in copulation; and who were therefore best able to make the men spunk on the cave wall, do you think that he would care for such pleasures, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Home-Dog, “Better to be the poor servant of a poor master, than a servant of poor masturbation”, and not desire to live after their manner?
[Glaucon] Yes, I think that unless he was a sloth or a coward he would rather suffer anything than let his brothers live in this miserable manner.
[Socrates] Imagine once more, I said, such a one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?
[Glaucon] Most definitely, he said.
[Socrates] And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the tits of the images with the prisoners who had never moved out of the cave, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady, would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came and misplaced his testicles along the way; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to let another loose and lead him up to the light of social progress, let them only catch the fairy boy, and they would call him a such a fucking faggot.
[Glaucon] Children can be cruel, he said.
[Socrates] This entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument; the Man Cave is our society, the light of the images is the media, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of men into true feminism. My opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.
[Glaucon] I agree, he said, as far as I am able to understand these mad rhymes you’re busting.
[Socrates] Moreover, I said, you must not wonder that those who attain to this vision are unwilling to descend to the lowly affairs of bro-dom; for their souls are ever hastening into the upper world of equality where they desire to dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural, if our allegory may be trusted.
[Glaucon] Totally, very natural.
[Socrates] And is there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplations to the evil state of man, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become accustomed to the surrounding oppression, he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other places, and is endeavoring to strive for the rights of those women who have never yet seen justice?
[Glaucon] Anything but surprising, he replied.
[Socrates] Then, I said, the business of us who are the founders of the State will be to compel the best minds to attain that knowledge which we have already shown to be the greatest of all-they must continue to ascend until they arrive at the good; but when they have ascended and seen enough we must not allow them to do as they do now.
[Glaucon] I’m not sure I’m picking up what you’re putting down.
[Socrates] I mean that they remain in the upper world: but this must not be allowed; they must be made to descend again among the prisoners in the cave, and tell them that sexual assault and harassment, and all objectification, are things of the Stone Age, and of ape-like men.
[Glaucon] Dang, he said.
[Socrates] Observe, Glaucon, that there will be no injustice in compelling our fellows to have a care and providence of others; we shall explain to them that in other Nations, men of their class are not obliged to respect any part of a woman: for they grow up at their own will, and they would rather not see differently. Being taught of their superiority, they cannot be expected to show any gratitude for a culture which they are no longer superior. But we have brought you into the world to be the equals of women, and have educated you far better and more perfectly than they aforementioned have been educated. Wherefore each of you, when his turn comes, must go down to the general underground abode, and get the habit of seeing in the darkness of oppression. When you have acquired the habit, you will see ten thousand times better than the inhabitants of the cave, and you will know what the several images are, and what they represent, is evil, because you have seen the beauty in the natural and unaffected woman and good in their truth. And thus our Nation which is also yours will be a reality and not a dream only, and will be administered in a spirit unlike that of other Nations, in which men fight with one another about who could fuck the images harder and are distracted in the struggle for power, which in their eyes is a great good.
[Glaucon] ‘Boys will be boys’, right?.
[Socrates] And will our pupils, when they hear this, refuse to take their turn at the toils of politics, when they are allowed to spend the greater part of their time with their peers in the light of peace?
[Glaucon] Impossible, he answered; for they are just men, and the duties which we impose upon them are just; there can be no doubt that every one of them will take up the cause of equality as a stern necessity, and not after the fashion of our present rulers of Nation, who are too old and too white.
[Socrates] Yes, my friend, I said; and there lies the point. Some people straight up don’t give a shit. You must contrive for your future rulers the fact some of them are going to be women and orchestrate a better life than that those women before them, and then you may have a well-ordered Nation; for only in the Nation which offers this, will they rule who are truly rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and wisdom, freedom and equality, which are the true blessings of life. Whereas if they go to the administration of public affairs, poor and hungering after their own libido, thinking that hence they are to snatch the chief pussy by pretending to respect women, order there can never be; for they will be fighting about office, and the sexual and domestic broils which thus arise will be the ruin of the rulers themselves and of the whole Nation. The process, I said, is not the turning over of an oyster-shell, but the turning round of a soul passing from a day which is little better than night to the true day of being, that is, the ascent from below, which we affirm to be true philosophy?
[Glaucon] Quite so. Equality is super dope.





A silken condom

Truly, can never protect

Even a wealthy cock.

Microwaves are graves

Hamsters go in, never out

Take care of your pets.

Trains are big and fast

We will all be late for work

If you walk the tracks.

A scraggly neckbeard

Even pubes on a humid day

Taste less of smegma.

Sometimes, with one glance

One may see the brown bottom

Of a shallow soul.

Two Pistols

This is a classic case of mistaken identity.

Edward Jr. loves BB guns. The kid is nuts about the things. He knows all the ins and outs of how they work and can identify virtually any model by sight and tell you the exact history with dates of the real bullet shooting guns they were based on. All this is unusual for a boy who has never owned a single BB gun. Edward Jr.’s friends all have BB guns. Some have big ones, some have small ones, some have both. His friend Ben’s dad owns a military supply store which also sells BB guns and he has a whole collection, dozens of the things.

Edward Jr. doesn’t have a single gun, though. His father is a lawyer, not the owner of a military supply store, and absolutely without question forbids his son from owning anything which even looks like a firearm. So when Edward Jr. goes out and play with his friends he lies about what he is doing and borrows one of Ben’s many guns to use in the mock battles staged in the woods.

Only Ben is more than a little anal about his BB guns. These things are tools, he says, they’re… Art. So even though Ben only takes one or two out for battles and has a ton of nice guns Edward Jr. could be using, he always sticks Edward Jr. with a shitty, shitty little pistol which gets jammed often and whose trigger doesn’t work all too well. As a result, Edward Jr. is normally shot quite a bit, and is frequently “killed” on the battlefield and has to wait for a “medic” to revive him, which normally takes at least fifteen minutes of Edward Jr. just sitting there with his thumb up his ass, because what’s the use in reviving a player with a crap pistol?

This gets on Edward Jr.’s nerves quite a bit, and a single cocky, pretentious remark by Ben about the quality of the plastic used in his fake AR-15 gives Edward Jr. a reason, he feels, to steal a gun from Ben. Nothing too big, nothing Ben would miss immediately. Just a large, heavy pistol with good firing speed that doesn’t stick every fucking time he tries to pull the trigger. So just before Edward Jr. has to leave Ben’s house for dinner, he pretends to go to the bathroom and lifts the pistol from Ben’s toy chest, his heart racing, barely able to contain his bloodlust for the scheduled battle tomorrow.

At the same time Edward Jr. is stealing his new piece, Edward Sr., despite his long history of loathing any and all guns and firearms, has left the office early and is eyeing a shelf of handguns at Ben’s father’s military supply store. Edward Sr.’s future purchase is justified, in his mind, because unlike those gun nuts who seek only to disrupt and destroy the peaceful fabric of modern civilization, Edward Sr. doesn’t plan on using his weapon for ‘self-defense’, but for self-destruction. Edward Sr. feels no love for his child, no passion for his work, and no lust for his wife, and she’s boring anyway. So he’s done. Kaput. He’s going to kill himself, and he wants to do it right, so he gets a background check, buys a big black pistol and return’s home, hiding the gun in his sock drawer, where his boring, nagging wife refuses to clean.

Edward Jr. arrives home a half hour before his father and hides his own pistol in the one place he thinks his father would never look, for it’s never been cleaned and is the subject of almost every dinnertime argument: his father’s sock drawer. What better place than directly under his dad’s nose? So he buries his gun deep within the drawer and his father buries his gun deep within the drawer.

Edward Jr. gets out of school the next day at 2:45pm and by 3pm he’s home and getting ready for the BB gun fight. He goes to his dad’s sock drawer, gets out his gun, and begins his walk over to Ben’s house. At 3:15pm, Edward Sr. lies about a stomach virus and leaves early from the law firm, hitting exactly a point at which his son will be out playing and his wife will be out grocery shopping so for once he can have some goddamn peace and quiet when he shoots himself in the face.

He gets home, tosses his briefcase into the fireplace, sets it on fire, and watches the ashes rise up through the chimney before going up to his bedroom. He pauses at a small writing desk with a pen and a stack of sticky note, and considers briefly leaving a suicide note. He draws an ice cream cone style penis on the top, sits down, and wraps his lips around the barrel of the gun.

Only, because Ben paints over the orange tips of all his BB guns for better camouflage in the woods, what Edward Sr. fires into his mouth is not a bullet, but a short burst of BB pellets, which ricochet off his tonsils and lodge in his throat. Instead of quickly smiting his boredom and despair by blasting apart his skull, Edward Sr. chokes slowly, never really understanding what the fuck could have happened, his face turning blue and his eyes rolling back into his head as he falls forwards, swinging his arms wildly, grabbing onto the edge of his sock drawer and taking it with him onto the floor.

His son sprints through the woods, firing three times with one of Ben’s crappy guns at a kid who quickly ducks behind a large fallen tree. Edward Jr. is keeping what he thinks is the good pistol safe and out sight, as his secret weapon.

He tries to fire a fourth suppressing shot at the tree but like always, the gun jambs, making a click which echoes easily through the clearing. Edward Jr. quickly switches the jammed gun to his left hand and pulls out the stolen gun with his right, in preparation for the kid jumping out and firing. Sure enough, Ben himself leaps over the fallen tree toting a large automatic rifle.

Edward Jr. gets to enjoy the surprise on Ben’s face for only a moment as he inexplicably has a second pistol pointed at him. There is a moment of silence in the forest.

Edward Jr. pulls the trigger.

The Kim Kardashian Painting Challenge

A part of Christmas in July.

“Heyo, Shaun. What’s- Oh man what is that? Jesus.”
“What, what are you talking about?”
“That painting. What the fuck are you painting?”
“What? Oh, you mean this enormous oil painting of a cascade of naked Kim Kardashian clones flowing from a disposable water bottle into a reusable water bottle?”
“Yes, I mean that exact painting, the only painting in your otherwise empty basement, the painting directly in front of you. That painting.”
“Ah. Well Ron, this is an artistic experiment in nihilism.”
“I fucking hate you so much.”
“I call it ‘Pointlessness’.”
“If it’s pointless, why are you making it?”
“And yet no one questions God’s will.”
“I’m making it because it’s pointless. That’s why it exists. I want it to exist because it doesn’t have to exist, but does now.”
“Shaun, everything has a point. Everything has an effect on something.”
“That’s where your wrong, Ron. These water bottles exist in a void, therefore it matters not whether their contents are in one or the other, therefore they have no meaning as containers, for their usefulness is only relative to their function. But then they need to be holding something which is inherently useless. I thought of water, but water is fucking great. Water is the font of life. So I just kept thinking until I found a something totally devoid of worth or value.”
“A Kardashian, yes.”
“I mean, she doesn’t do anything, but does that mean she’s pointless in a universal sense?”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out, Ron. I believe that the event I’ve depicted, even the depiction itself, is totally immune to the Butterfly Effect and exists outside the realm of causality. If in the future there’s time travel but it’s super outlawed because you can fuck up the space time continuum or whatever, and some shmuck got a time machine and went back and destroyed this painting, or went into a dimension where this event was occurring and murdered all of the Kardashians with a semi-automatic and blew up the water bottles and went back to the future, the Time Wizard that’s in charge of Time Law would be like ‘Eh’ and probably just let him go, or maaaaaybe give him a Cyberpunk Time Travel ticket if he was like a super douche Time Wizard or something, because none of it could possibly have any effect on anything that is, has, or will be.”
“I don’t think we can be friends anymore.”
“Oh my god, Shawn, don’t devour the city block in your centipede form again! AAAAHHHHHHH!”

Listen up my seven readers. I’m mediocre at writing, and even worse at painting. But I want this painting to exist. I am challenging you all to race to create it. I want to see “Pointlessness” before I die. Here are the rules:
1. It has to be visual art. No poetry or literature. I already did that. It can be a sculpture or a pencil drawing or a painting, in whatever style you want.
2. It has to exist PHYSICALLY. None of this bullshit about taking a bunch of acid or DMT and allowing it to emerge within the metaphysical plane of your mind and then writing down a description of it on a napkin. Don’t think I’m not wise to your shenanigans.
3. It has to include Kim Kardashian (who has to be recognizable in some way, her face, her ass, etc.) and tons and tons of clones of her must be being poured from one disposable water bottle to another reusable water bottle. Not the other way around.
4. You get nothing. I’m not awarding you any prizes (except secretly I’ll be very grateful and I’ll say thank you). The painting is pointless, so if you got something out of it, it would defeat the purpose.
5. You have to believe in something. It is an experiment in nihilism, but I don’t want it done by a nihilist. Fuck those people.

Goodbye, and good luck.

Tim’s Sink

A part of Christmas in July.

Tim leaned against the kitchen doorway, his pack hanging from a tired shoulder and his uniform shirt clenched in his fist, his knuckles white.

The sink was getting to be too much for him. For the past week and a half dishes had been piling higher and wider and farther out of the sink basin, caked with food debris and smelling worse and worse as the days went by.

Tim did plenty of other chores around the apartment. He vacuumed the carpet. He swept the kitchen floor. He scrubbed the bathroom sink and toilet. He simply wasn’t going to clean the dishes. He worked two part time jobs each day, one serving coffee in the morning and early afternoon and one waiting tables at a local restaurant pub until ten, sometimes later. All he used from the kitchen were two Tupperware containers each day; one for a sandwich at lunch, the other for a salad come dinnertime. His overseer at the café was kind enough to look the other way when he had a bagel and a cup of coffee each morning before the doors opened.

He shut his eyes tight and turned the corner into his room. Exhausted, he dropped his pack on the floor and fell face first onto his bed only to realize the terrible truth that he could now smell the sink rot from where he slept.

Begrudgingly, he got up, shut his door, and sprayed air freshener in thick clouds about his living space. He inhaled deeply and tried to imagine the stench had been replaced by the misting of chemical oranges. It was, but not for long. There was a quality to the smell which penetrated more than usual. It slipped under the door like a python and slowly choked away the citrus. Then it was subtle and quiet, like the soft sting of a paper cut, yet thick and dense, with a metallic hint. Tonight it was uniquely disgusting and unnatural.

Tim swung open his door, marched down the hall, and rounded on his roommate’s door. He swallowed hard and raised his fist in preparation to knock, but stopped his hand short. He almost never saw his roommate, as the two were on entirely different schedules, but the few times Tim had seen him, he had surpassed him in height by several inches and his eyes delivered a heavy gaze. Even puffing out his chest, Tim feared he wouldn’t be able to command the respect necessary to demand his roommate wash the dishes immediately. It was late at night and he feared a fight breaking out was far more likely than the dishes being done.

He bit his lip, walked into the kitchen, adorned a pair of rubber gloves, drenched a sponge in dish soap, and reluctantly began to clean.

Immediately he cursed himself for not having the backbone to face his roommate. He cursed himself for not having the backbone to face his roommate two weeks ago. He cursed himself for not having the courage to quit his day jobs and go back to school. He cursed himself for not having the balls to just fucking ask Lynda out, for Christ sakes. As he scrambled under the sink for steel wool to expunge a sickly brown grease stain on a frying pan and banged the back of his head standing up again, he knew in the pit of his heart that his exhaustion, his loneliness, and the filth sloshing about in front of face were all products of his own cowardice.

And now one of these problems could never be solved. It appeared Lynda had quit her job at the coffee shot with him. For the last week she hadn’t come into work, hadn’t called, and hadn’t let anyone know where she was going. His manager had spent these days red faced and furious, determined to track her down and fire her formally, to no avail. Tim normally motivated himself out of bed in the morning with false promises of today being the day he would finally ask her to dinner. He missed her pale blue eyes, he missed her flaxen bangs, but most of all he missed her fingernails. Every morning she had a different and magnificent design on her fingernails, each more intricate than the last. One day phoenixes, the next day pine trees against a blue sky, and on the last day she worked, little swords with gilded hilts and sapphires in their pummels, with just a few drops of blood falling off the steel. Perhaps she summoned the courage Tim never possessed and had skipped town, starting her own nail salon and painting her designs on many more fingernails than her own. The thought filled him with remorse at sentiments unspoken.

He threw his sponge down and dug the edge of his own fingernail into a corn flake cemented to the inside of a cereal bowl. The flake suddenly broke loose and flew across the room, leaving at least seven or eight more Tim had to separate. He shut the faucet off to conserve water and where he expected silence save for the muffled sounds of traffic outside his window, he instead heard the sound of a heavy object scraping across the floor farther down the hall.

Every week or week and a half Tim woke suddenly to this sound in the night. It wasn’t often enough that he cared particularly, and never lasted for long, but it still infuriated him how his roommate, so careless with the state of the kitchen, could be obsessed with the appearance of his room to the point where he regularly found it necessary to rearrange all of his furniture, and always after the sun was long since set.

Tim stopped picking at the corn flakes and thought to himself. He had no excuse now. He knew his roommate was home, and now he knew he was up. This wasn’t his responsibility. Yet he found his feet just as stuck to the ground as the cereal was to the awful little plastic bowl he held. He picked up the steel wool again and scrubbed vengefully, furious at himself. He went into a trance of self-loathing, the image of the sink disappearing in a hypnotic slideshow of opportunities missed and childhood bullies gone unopposed.

This is why, when Tim got to the bottom of the sink and poured out a pot filled with excess soapy water, he almost missed the true cause of the smell. The sudsy torrents carried with it an object which hit the stainless steel sink basin with a distinctly non-metallic splash, and between his father avoiding eye contact with him and his sweaty sixteen year old hands gently handling the envelope containing his standardized test scores, the montage of his despair was broken.

Tim reached into the sink and pulled out a rotting human pinkie finger, wrinkled and waterlogged, severed at the knuckle, a sword dripping with blood with a golden hilt still painted on the nail.

He grabbed a dulled carving knife, his heart beating in his neck, and this time he didn’t even think of knocking as sprinted down the hallway and charged shoulder-first into his roommate’s door.

Five Line Limericks

A part of Christmas in July.


A rich suburban teen on his homeward route

Swerved on the road, drunken without  a doubt

When an officer appeared

There was nothing he feared

For he thought, “There can be no crime without a negro about.”


A circus leprechaun in a burlesque show

Scanned the crowd in the front row.

An old woman in fear

Became a volunteer,

And was ordered to taste his rainbow.


An old gimp wizard fell to his knees

And shoved a pizza up the hole which he pees.

Nine months did he wait,

To birth what he ate:

A cripple fetus covered in cheese.

The Tree, the Stone, and the Sea

A part of Christmas in July.

Before the footprints of man scarred the soil and sand of old Canaan’s face, on a continent between the sun’s pyre band and fields of ice and snow, there laid a black forest whose trees rose high into the air and whose jagged borders ended only just before the rocky shore. In these days, all mobile creatures from the littlest mite to the mightiest bear feared that which did not move, the God spirits of the sea and land. By day the sun light made the canopy glow golden and bright, illuminating the afternoon hunts. As evening fell, all which moved became still and silent. Nocturnal creatures made their homes away in other countries where moonlight dared to cross through branches into peaceful glades. Nothing was heard in the forest after the setting of the sun save for the rhythm of the waves on the stone beach.

This is why when man did come to the forest, they came by sea, their hubris cushioned by the whispers of the surf. The moonless dark held no fear for them, as there were no predators which hunted by night, and their torches and lanterns quickly rent petty shadows asunder. So the black forest of Canaan did become man’s domain all at once. They cut apart swaths of trees and dispelled their roots to make fields for crops. From the lumber they fashioned boats with which they used to reap the bounty of the sea. From the strength of the flesh of fish they tore stone from the ground itself, building great houses and walls, and carving monuments to their dead.

The creature man was unfamiliar to the spirits of the forest, and they had no knowledge with which to wage war. When the spirits made the ground infertile, so that their crops would be diminished, man simply made more fields. When the spirits sent great serpents to devour the fish of the sea, man hunted the serpents instead. And when the spirits commanded their animal thralls to hunt their children, man slew them easily, and made great feasts of the meat.

The spirits choose to wait, to bide their time and watch for the weakness of man to reveal itself to them. Man was tenacious, but the darkness was patient, and so many years passed before the old gods of the forest decided to act.

On a cold morning in the harvest season, three wealthy brothers with the means to never work, each decided to go for a walk, and bask in the bounty of the land they controlled. These were the first men to which the forest ever spoke.

The first brother walked past fields of vegetables and grain, which workers reaped in the cold sun. Warmed by his furs, he walked farther and farther until he found himself in an old and infertile field, long since abandoned, vast and filled with weeds. In the center of the field stood a mighty oak tree blowing in the autumnal wind. The man was entranced by the single tree growing alone, and approached it. The tree greeted him in the voice of the wind, keening:

“You are surprised to see me standing alone. My brothers and sisters have long since been killed by your ancestors, and only I had the strength to cling to life. See how I rise not into the air, but outward, attempting fruitlessly to cross this field. I reach out with my branches and call, but I shall never know the comfort of my brethren again.”

“Oh mighty Oak,” The man cried out, “What may I do to ease your suffering?”

“You can do nothing, child of man, for all that lives bears the same curse.” The tree responded. “Just as I reach out with my branches so to do you reach with your limbs and words to touch your brothers. Know now that they to do not know you, as my brothers and sisters do not know me. Just as the form my life takes traps me in isolation, so too does yours, your mind forever unknowable, my soul forever unreachable.”

And so the Tragedy of Life was revealed to the man. He fell prone before the Oak and sobbed endlessly, his cries ringing out through the field.

While this occurred, the second brother made his way to the cemetery to visit the tomb of a lost cousin, and make offerings at his grave. At the far end of the graveyard sat an enormous boulder, which the townspeople had attempted to move many a time before, but proved immobile even under the greatest force. While the second brother walked through the lengths of headstones, he came upon this boulder and stopped to marvel at its size in wonder. The stone greeted him in the voice of the earth, cackling:

“Look upon me, fool, and rejoice. See your own substance. I am the ash of your body, the dust of your very being. You are made of me, and you are cursed to return to me, just as your brothers and sisters were cursed to return to me. See how I have stayed here longer than anything else. My power is unbendable.”

“O mighty Stone,” the man cried out, “What shall I do to be rid of your curse?”

“You can do nothing, child of man, for all the lives shall die. The ash from which you were fashioned is the dividing point between the earth and Aether. I am your imperfection, I am your mortality. Know now humility, that you are a fool, a practical joke of powers beyond your comprehension. Just as I devour these bodies beneath me, so to shall I devour you.”
And so the Humor of Death was revealed to the man. He fell before the stone and laughed continuously, his chortles comforting the dead.

At the same time, the third brother walked to the shoreline to observe the fishing boats calmly coasting across the horizon. As he walked west across the beach he came to the mouth of the Great River which flowed into the ocean, collecting all the water from every stream and brook of the forest. He stopped to gaze upon the roiling waters and churning foam. The Water spoke to him in the voice of the deepest void, shrieking:

“Terror before me, child of man. Gaze upon the abysmal embryo. I am the flow of creation. I am eternal. Although I appear contained, the earth below and to my sides holds no power over me. As the days pass I wear away at this rock relentlessly, I flow without sleep or rest. Eventually I will carry away all of the earth into the ocean. Life will have no place, and so death will no longer be.”

“Oh mighty River and Sea,” The man cried out, “Is this truly the fate of all that is?”

“Indeed. Everything shall turn to nothing. Know now the nature of the void, the darkness that all shall return to. Just as I carve away the earth, so does the Great Abyss carve away existence. Light and sound, life and death; All shall be forsaken by God.”

And so the Horror of Time was revealed to the man. He fell before the Mouth of the River and screamed unceasingly.

When night fell and the three brothers had not returned home, their servants grew concerned. They gathered searches and spread out across the forest. Within the night, three separate parties had found each of the brothers. The townspeople gathered not soon after word had spread to see the madmen of the forest. The people at first found the ceaseless cries of the men to be entertaining and amusing. But by dawn the men, who had before taken several hours to find, could now be heard faintly by the townspeople. By sundown the next day, the cries of each man were heard distinctly, and rang in the ears of the people. Quite disturbed, the town appealed to their Baron to send soldiers to execute the madmen. Wanting deeply to bring silence and comfort again to his people, the Baron dispatched his soldiers to secure and kill the three brothers.

The First Brother was found at the base of the tree. The soldiers lashed him tightly to the Oak and stoned him to death.

The Second Brother clung tightly to the boulder and would not let go, so a trench was dug around the boulder and kindling gathered, and they set him aflame under the Stone.

The Third Brother was found bathing naked and screaming in the surf. The soldiers took him out into the water and drowned him in the torrents of the Mouth of the River.

The spirits of the Oak, Stone, and Sea, each having their champions spill blood and die on their hallowed ground, claimed the soul of each man, and feasted on their vitae.
At once the water of the River and Sea rose in great waves, bursting forth to cut at the earth. The flood rushed through the town and swept away the soil of the graveyard. In the torrents of the water the ash which was once living became life once more. The wind came through the trees and with the voice of the Forest, the Oak put vigor in the fresh marrow of its thralls.
The Dead could neither be hurt nor slain, and soon defeated the soldiers and taking the town as their own. One by one the fallen selected a living man, woman, and child, and carried them in a procession past the beach and into the belly of the Ocean

And both living and dead became naught once more.